Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Working with Apples, Part 2


Before we begin, here is a link to Part 1, if you missed it: Working with Apples, Part 1

Okay, so I got the iMac, and swapped out the keyboard and mouse for a set I was much more comfortable with, and it was time to start using it as my “main computer”. Which means, installing programs to actually get stuff done.

The iMac comes with iTunes, for managing music and videos; and iPhoto which gives me basic image editing. It has Safari for surfing the Web. Also Apple Mail, for managing my email; iChat for IM-ing/video conferencing (limited to other iChat users); a quite basic text editor; DVDMaker; and Garage Band.
Which is not a bad set of utilities for an operating system to come with.. but IMHO, the best is Time Machine (I’d sure like to see a Windows version of that!)(Well, Genie Timeline is very close..)

When I was in the gizmo and gadget Superstore looking at keyboards, I also went over to the software aisles — there were three.
One was dedicated to PC games (making it one of my preferred aisles.. ahem).
And a four foot long section, of four shelves, constituted the “Mac Software” section.

A pitifully small selection.. especially when you’re standing in the aisles.


This pie chart might be too generous.. to the Mac.

There were two antivirus titles; about three dozen game titles (of those, 12 were “real games”, and not Solitaire); Microsoft Office for Mac; a couple of PDF-related titles, Quicken, iLife and iWork, and the rest were too uninteresting for me to mentally note.
I guess you could call it a “bright spot” — they did have one Call of Duty title…

So, I didn’t buy any (software) programs for the iMac.

  • For Internet Safety, I downloaded Avast! for Mac (free)
  • For Productivity, I downloaded Open Office for Mac, which allows me to handle my Microsoft Office documents and spreadsheets. (free)
    [Some people prefer Libre Office, also free]
  • For notes/reminders/to do’s, I downloaded Evernote (free)
  • For real chat/video I downloaded Skype (free)
  • For HTML and blogging, I downloaded Komposer (free)
  • For Remote Desktop, I downloaded TeamViewer (free)

I will be browsing CNet’s Apple software section for more titles when time allows. I didn’t see anything too interesting in the Apple Store..

With those titles, and a few more, I have an actually productive machine.
But I’m kind of out of luck in the gaming department,, though, there’s plenty of Time-waster type games,

Please feel free to suggest other titles you’d like to recommend to me, as a Comment (below)

Copyright 2007-2013 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

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February 19, 2013 Posted by | advice, Apple, computers, free software, how to, Mac vs PC, software | , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Will Old Programs Run On Leopard?– Reader Questions*

Today I am going to answer a few questions submitted by readers, in the Q’s and their A’s format.

Q: Will the programs I have on my old Mac run on a new “Leopard” system?
A: There are enough differences in the new OS X 10.5 that some programs may need to be replaced with the latest versions that are “Leopard-compatible” (Norton AV often needs this, for example) to run at their best. The keyword is “may”: most programs will work just fine once you visit Apple Update.
Please note— if you intend to migrate your programs and data from an old machine to the new Leopard machine, make sure you have updated all the software (programs) on the old machine before initiating the migration. Leopard will/can refuse to accept programs that aren’t current.

Q: I am thinking about buying a new iMac and I was told Apple runs on Intel circuits now. Does this mean I would be vulnerable to viruses, worms and spyware like Windows? What security programs would I need?
A: While it is true that Apple runs on the same type of “circuits” as Windows PC’s now, it is not your hardware that is vulnerable to malware and hackers, but the lines of software “code” (programming) that make up your applications/programs.
Now to the second part of your question… The lines of code that make up the Mac operating system (the most recent being OSX 10.5 “Leopard”) are not currently being targeted by the bad guys.. simply because there’s too few machines running it (and the ones that are do not contain credit card number databases). However, some of the programs you would have on your Mac are being targeted for exploits– QuickTime (a media format/player) and the Safari browser, notably. (Neither of which you need, btw.)
And now the last part: as things stand, today, if you are running a fully updated Leopard machine, and the firewall is on, you really don’t need a “protection program”. That statement may not be true this afternoon, or next week, or next month (for future readers, this was written 09/16/08 ) and so you may, for peace of mind, want to install the Norton Internet Security 2008 package*.

Today’s free download: I’m keeping with a Macintosh theme today, and so today’s app is for Apple users. I don’t want it said that I never think of you guys! Watch TV on your iMac with Miro, a C/Net Editor’s Choice. Description: “Democracy Player is a free and open source internet TV/video podcast application, with a beautiful, easy to use interface. You can subscribe to any Internet TV channel, including video podcasts, video RSS feeds, bittorrent feeds, and video blogs. A built-in Channel Guide lists hundreds of channels of all types, all free to subscribe to. Browse videos, download, and watch fullscreen– all in the same application.

* Folks, please don’t write to tell me “Norton is evil”. Read the reviews for NIS 2008. It may open your eyes.

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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September 16, 2008 Posted by | advice, anti-spyware, antivirus, Apple, Compatibility Mode, computers, firewall, hardware, how to, Mac vs PC, PC, security, software, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Leopard wins title of "best"

You might be aware of the long-running debate known as Mac vs. PC (personified by Justin Long + John Hodgman on the humorous “I’m a Mac” commercials). And you may be aware that there’s a debate whether XP isn’t a better OS than Vista. And, you may be aware that there’s a free OS, known as Linux, which has a few proponents who claim theirs is the best.

Which one’s the best? There’s an awful lot of opinions out there (and if you agree with mine, you’re really smart!), but has anyone every done a true, impartial test to determine which one really is the safest/fastest/most features/cost-effective/easy-to-use operating system today? Well yes, someone has– and the latest comes from PC Magazine‘s March issue.
[Yes, PCMag has long been accused of being a Microsoft puppet and/or shill. Look at the name, though: it’s “PC”, not “Mac Magazine” (and, yes, there’s one of those, too). But how do you write about personal computers and NOT write about Microsoft? Hmm?]

The article compares Mac OS 10.5.1 (the latest “Leopard”), Windows XP SP2, Vista, and Ubuntu 7.10 , and it compares them in these areas:
*Installation (ease)
*GUI (the graphical ‘look’)
*Bundled Software
*3rd Party Software

As you might expect, each OS won some categories, and lost in others; for example, Ubuntu is free, so it will clearly win the Price category, and since it doesn’t have a huge budget for graphic artists (and Linux folk aren’t afraid of the command line) it loses the GUI category. To see the results chart, click here.

The scores in each category were totaled to produce a winner, and the “Microsoft shill”, PC Magazine, proclaims Leopard the winner. (And, perhaps more interestingly, XP and Vista tied.)

My two cents: There are a few flaws in this comparison ‘test’ that shouldn’t be overlooked.
*Vista was tested before Service Pack 1
*The first three categories are largely non-factors: Price and Installation are largely irrelevant to most people. Most people buy a new computer, not an OS Install CD/DVD. And a GUI is a GUI– how pretty it looks has nothing to do with your computer’s operation.

I believe the most important factors are Security and 3rd Party Software.. followed by Drivers/Hardware.
In Security: Leopard wins.. not because its armor plating is more bulletproof, but because less than 3% of the world’s computers are running it and so hackers ignore it.
In Drivers/Hardware: XP SP2 wins.. but time will move Vista ahead as more drivers get written and pass MS’s WHQL.
In the all-important 3rd-Party Software category: XP SP2 wins.. but again, time will move Vista into the lead.

So clearly PC Magazine is wrong. XP SP2 is the better OS.. for now.

How can I say that? Games, baby. Games. There aren’t any for Macs.
And of course.. other programs. Walk into a store that sells software some time and look at the size of the Mac section and then the size of the PC titles. That tells you all you need to know.

OS’s and you: But which one is best for YOU? I agree totally with the author of the article in PC Mag (Eric Griffith): it depends on what you use your computer for.
If all you do is surf the Web, and you’re on a budget, Ubuntu is probably your best choice. If you’re a cutting-edge gamer, you probably will have to struggle with Vista for Direct X 10 titles. If you’re a network admin.. Red Hat is probably your OS (are you ready for Server 2008?).

But the fact remains, the OS you use will be the one that came with your computer. And as I mentioned in “Mac Myths“, which brand you decide to buy will probably be decided by which ‘camp’ you joined.. way back in the early days.

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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April 25, 2008 Posted by | advice, Apple, computers, Gaming, hardware, Linux, Mac vs PC, PC, shopping for, tech, Vista, Windows, XP | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment