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Archive for June, 2007

Locked-up!

June 30, 2007 Leave a comment

Tonight was a new experience for me.  Well, for my Mac actually.  I was checking out keyboad shortcuts at this site.  For a noob like me, it’s an indispensible site.  I know there are many others.  Just Google. 🙂

Anyway, I had just done a screen capture (Cmd-Shift-4) and double-clicked on the resulting .png file when the screen just froze.  Froze!  I could move the mouse around, but no response from anything I clicked on.  The keyboad had no effect either.  The caps lock key would light up, but cmd-tab would not do anything.  My iStat Menus in the menubar wouldn’t update.  Everything was just frozen.

Since I was new to the Mac, I didn’t know what the equivalent to Ctrl-Alt-Del was.  So I just held down the Power button until the Mac turned off.  Luckily, turning it back on brought the Mac up just fine.

The one weird thing I noticed though was that the startup sound was on.  I checked the  startup sound preference pane, and it’s still on.  Guess I’ll find out if it still works the next time I start up.

Anyway, it seems to be working fine now.  After all, I’m writing this post. 😀

The one thing I’m wondering about, though, is if shutting it down by the power button was the right thing to do.  Was there something else I should have tried?  After all, I know how to handle these types of things in Windows, but Mac OS X?  I’m a noob after all.  Any advice would be appreciated. 🙂

Categories: Hardware, MacBook Pro

Backing up is hard to do…

June 27, 2007 Leave a comment

Okay, the play on song lyrics and titles is getting a wee bit stretched here, but bear with me… 🙂

On my old Windows PC, I created a batch file way-back-when to copy important documents to a second hard drive I had installed in the PC. Unfortunately, the backup drive is only half the size of my main PC drive, (and smaller than the Mac’s hard drive as well) so there is no way I’m going to be able to back up both the PC files and my new Mac’s files onto that drive. I decided I would get an external backup.

After a little looking around, I decided on an external USB 2.0 drive. I ended up with the Western Digital My Book Essential Edition 500GB external USB 2.0 drive. That should be enough room to keep my files around, eh? My plan was to connect it to the PC and back up both the PC & the Mac through the PC.

So without looking too much into what I should be doing, I connected it to my PC and formatted that puppy to NTFS. So far, so good. I created a directory for the PC and backed up my files, then I created a directory for the Mac and using the backup program SuperDuper!, I started backing up my Mac. I soon discovered though, that based on the throughput, it was going to take well over 3 hours to finish the backup!  (SuperDuper! was making a fully bootable backup of my hard drive…)

I decided that it might be better if I connected the My Book directly to the Mac through the USB. What I came to find out, and what a lot of you probably already know, is that the Mac cannot write to an NTFS formatted partition. I found some information on NTFS-3G and MacFuse to allow me to do that, but in the end, I just decided to create two partitions using Disk Utility on the Mac, format one for the Mac (HFS Extended), and the other for Windows (NTFS using Disk Management to format that partition). Once the drive was connected directly to the Mac, the backup took a little over two hours. Still not great, but I estimate it cut off 35% -40% of the time to backup! Now that I have a complete disk backup, I need to find a way to just backup some of my important documents on a daily basis. That will have to be the topic for another post. Anyone have any suggestions here?

Although I can’t read the Mac partition on the My Book from Windows, I really don’t care about that. I can, however, at least read the Windows partition from the Mac. I know there are numerous other ways to do what I did, but this works for me for now. Maybe later I will figure out how to get NTFS-3G working on the Mac. I’ve also read that for best performance, I should get a FireWire external hard drive instead of USB (at least for the Mac).

Ah, well. Live and learn. And have a whole heckuva lot of fun doing it! 🙂

Roadtrip!

June 24, 2007 Leave a comment

This last month has seen me doing quite a bit of traveling. In fact, from May 26 thru June 21, I’ve been in my office three days! Some of you out there may be thinking, “Geez, that’s nothing!”, but that’s quite a bit of traveling for me.

Luckily, I’m back home for now but one thing all that traveling has allowed me to do is really see if I can live with the Mac on the road. With the exception of taking my Dell notebook with me the last week in May, I’ve been traveling with my Macbook Pro.

And have I missed my Windows-based Dell? Not ONE bit. Well, okay, there was once, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

For just about everything I personally need to do on the road computing-wise, the Mac has performed just amazingly well. This includes a week-long family vacation as well as two business trips. It includes checking e-mail, editing documents and preparing a presentation, running our company’s java based applet, mapping out a jogging course on GoogleEarth, and so forth.  You name it, the Mac did it.

Except for that one thing. On the first business trip, as referenced here, I needed to do some email work in Outlook. We use Outlook Web Access to the Exchange server back in the office. Now in IE, it’s a thing of beauty, seriously. It works much like Outlook 2003 does on my Windows notebook. However, in any other browser, it’s pretty clunky. And that’s what I was stuck with at an airport. So, only this once? Yes, just that once. And that’s because I needed to edit and send a document to a number of people. I like the IE Outlook Web Access because I can start up an email, start typing an address, and it would auto-complete it for me. On other browsers it will not. At any location with high-speed internet access, I fire up Parallels, start up Windows and IE, and I’m good to go. At the airport, I needed to to use my Motorola Q to access the internet. No matter what I tried, I could not get Parallels to see the internet connection through the VZAccess software! I searched around a bit and it looks like it may have something to do with Parallels and USB ports, but I’m not positive. I haven’t been able to look into it further, and it’s not a super-high priority issue at this point. Anyway, I could not get to use the IE-based Outlook Webmail, so I resorted to using Safari to access the Exchange server. I can’t believe they expect me to actually remember complete email addresses! 😛 So there you have it. The one time I missed my Windows notebook.

The one thing I’ve yet to do is connect to my notebook at work using RDC over the Motorola Q at EVDO speeds. I’ll have to try that in the next little while and report back.

new iStat menus

June 21, 2007 Leave a comment

One of my favorite widgets is the awesome iStat Pro by iSlayer.   I love being able to see at a glance what is going on inside my MBP.  Today, they released version 1.0 of iStat menus which lets you do that same monitoring from the menubar!  I’ve downloaded and installed it, and it is just cruising along showing me everything iStat Pro did, without me needing to bring up the Dashboard.  Pretty cool.

Categories: Software, Utility

On Safari

June 16, 2007 Leave a comment

I’m typing this blog post on the new Safari 3.0 beta for Mac.  I’ll have to download the Windows version and try it out at work when I have a chance.  So far, so good with the new Safari.  What do you think?

Categories: Software, Web

Why am I blogging at work?

June 11, 2007 1 comment

If you were my wife, you’d probably be asking yourself why the ol’ hubby is blogging during work hours when he says he’s always so busy…

Good question. Here’s the answer: A few months back, the hard drive on my work notebook was giving out. The company bought me a new hard drive and since everything had to be reinstalled anyway, I asked that Vista be put on it. (Yes, I know about images and we coulda done that, but what’s the fun in that?)

Anyway, to make a long story short, Vista is just not the OS for me. Some of the features are cool, but I’m an XP kinda guy. Not only that, but it crashes apps a whole lot more often than XP ever did. I’m sure that has to do with apps that aren’t Vista-specific, but still… The other thing is that I started trying to use Vista’s sleep feature. When I did that, I would get the dreaded BSOD anytime I tried to shut down the laptop. That just wouldn’t do.

So there you have it my dear wife. I’m able to write in my blog because I’m waiting for the 94 security and app updates to download and install on my newly formatted Windows XP notebook. Hey! I think it’s done. Back to work. 🙂

Categories: Uncategorized

What a country!… err… company!

June 11, 2007 1 comment

As told in my first post awhile back, I finally plunked down the cash for a shiny new MacBook Pro. I had heard rumors of an impending update for the MBP, but I’d also not heard about heat issues, batteries exploding, mooing, and so forth nearly so much as when the MBP was first released. So I thought it would be a good time to get it.

This was on May 17th. Now, as you all know, Apple released an update on June 5th. Less than three weeks after I bought my MBP. You also probably know that the cutoff date for returns (minus a 10% restocking fee) is two weeks. It’s not like I have buyers’ remorse, but… Arrghh! Not only that, but Apple also started their summer Buy A Mac, Get a Free iPod promotion for students, and I missed out on that as well!

So I’m just out of luck, right? Well, what the heck, I thought, I’ll give Apple a call and see if they’ll just throw me a bone of some kind… On June 8, I talked to the manager of the Apple store I bought my MBP from, and this is what he offered me: I could bring in my receipt (assuming I wanted to keep my MBP) and he would give me the new price of the old MBP, which is to say, he’d give me a $200 credit. And with this new transaction, it’d also make me eligible for the free iPod promotion! Whoa! I was not expecting either of those. Legally, Apple was not required to do anything for me, but they did. That is just pretty dang cool.

The final tally? With my education discount, I was able to get the old $1,999 MBP for $1,599, and an 8GB iPod Nano for $50. Not only that, but Apple’s won over a customer for life, and you better believe I’ll be spreading that news around every chance I get.

Categories: Hardware, iPod, MacBook Pro