“I gotta get me one of these!”

January 22, 2010 Leave a comment

This is just way cool.  Who wouldn’t want an iPhone-controlled quadcopter?!  So far no official word on pricing or release date (that I know of–maybe one of you do?), but March 5, 2010 has been thrown around the Interwebs.

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Categories: iPhone, iPod, Nifty Gadgets

Easily shrink pictures for uploading or sending

January 22, 2010 Leave a comment

for Windows

I guess that’s why they call the app “Shrink Pic.”

Basically, anytime you want to send a picture via email, upload one to a blog or share one via IM, Shrink Pic “automatically creates a temporary copy, resizes it and sends it instead.”

For instance, the below picture’s size on my hard drive is 450K.  When I insert the picture into the post (which uploads it into my WordPress storage), Shrink Pic resizes it to 52K, saving me a lot of space for more pictures!  I’ve only had Shrink Pic for a little while, but it seems to work great!  One small caveat, though.  Shrink Pic doesn’t seem to work for me when sending from Outlook 2007 running on Windows 7.  I’m going to contact the author to see what’s going on since the website says it’s supported.

Shrink Pic doesn’t modify the original, nor does it seem to change it when moving pictures from folder to folder, even if it’s something like my online DropBox account.

via LifeHacker

Oh, boy! A new toy!

January 21, 2010 Leave a comment

I hate to admit it, but I’m getting old and lazy.

Lazy because I have school some nights and I’m getting tired of packing the MacBook Pro to and from campus.  Yes, it’s only about 6 1/2 pounds with power adapter, but with books and such, it gets tedious for me to carry around.  Also, since it’s getting a little older (along with me), the battery only goes for about two hours.  Since my classes are usually 2 1/2 hours long, I’d need to make sure I’m near a power outlet and that’s just not possible a lot of times. (Pshah, did someone say paper notes?  Luddite)  The other reason is that it’d just be nice to grab-‘n-go when I’m at home.  Right now with the MBP, I have to disconnect the power, two usb connectors, the speakers, the external monitor, etc.

So the solution?  Buy myself something that lasts longer and is lighter to carry, but that is also light on the wallet.  I took a look at various Mac based solutions, but even an older MacBook started at $750 and I really wanted to keep it under $600  (I actually wanted it to be under $500, but I gave myself a cushion).  I then turned to netbooks.  Many of them met much of my criteria, such as light weight–around 3 pounds–and inexpensive–around $400–but this is where the old comes into play.  My eyes can’t handle those little 10″ screens!  The resolution at 1024×600 wasn’t too great either.  So maybe I would have to save up a little and spring for the MacBook after all.

But while I was doing some research on netbooks through Liliputing and NetbookTech among other websites, I came across the Asus UL30A.  It seemed to be getting good reviews from any number of places but its specs were what really did it for me…

  • 13.3″ 1366×768 screen (just totally trumped the 10.1″ 1024×600, although I may have been able to get by with an 11.6″ or 12.1″ 1366×768 that a few of the netbooks I looked at had, but that extra inch really does help the old eyes.)
  • Core 2 duo CULV processor (as opposed to single-core or Atom).  This one (the 7300) even supports Intel’s Virtualization Technology.
  • Windows 7 Home Premium (as opposed to Home Starter–definitely a no-no).
  • 4GB RAM
  • 320GB HD
  • 12 hour(!) battery life.  This one blew me away, and I found it hard to believe. (Stay tuned for more real-life testing)
  • 3.7 pounds.  Not the lightest, but certainly not heavy, especially when I don’t need the power plug!
  • and other features, which I’ll probably write about in later posts.

I managed to find it at newegg.com on sale for $630 (so just a little over my budget).  Unfortunately, the price is back up to $750, but even then, that’s not a bad price for the features.

And you know what?  I kind of like Windows 7!   I am sure I will be writing more about it as well as the little notebook in the future as I play with them some more.

Categories: ASUS UL30A, Hardware, Windows 7

New to the Mac?

January 20, 2010 Leave a comment

If so, here’s a great post to get you started–“Setting Up Your New Mac: The First 25 Things You Need To Do“.  Of course, one of the 25 advises you to visit their website, but that’s okay.  It’s a great list and I like the website.

I even finally fixed something based on this that had bothered me, but not enough to figure out how to fix it: Control those auto-launching programs!

via MacLife

Categories: Mac 101

Putting your Mac display to sleep

December 19, 2009 Leave a comment

When I was on Tiger, I used a Dashboard Widget called Sleep Display.  It worked great because there was not a quicker way to do this.  Well, when I upgraded to Snow Leopard, I found out that the widget no longer worked!  Luckily, it was easy to track down a keyboard shortcut.  I guess starting with Leopard (10.5) you’ve been able to press Control-Shift-Eject and presto!  Instant display sleep!

Categories: Mac 101, Mac OS X

Dismissing Tiger

December 19, 2009 Leave a comment

No, not Tiger Woods, I mean OS X 10.4.  I’ve actually moved into 2009 by finally installing Snow Leopard.  I must say, I quite like it!

One thing I notice about it right away though: it takes up about 200MB more RAM than Tiger did.  Don’t know if that’s something about my system or not, but now I’m thinking I need to install more memory.  If Snow Leopard isn’t supposed to take up so much memory, please let me know how to get it back down to where it’s supposed to be!

I’ll also be playing with both iLife and iWork, although I think iLife will be more useful to me.  iWord seems to be great, but I (as most of us) live in a Windows world and being more compatible with MS Office is just a wee bit more important than being really cool. 🙂

Taking the plunge

December 16, 2009 Leave a comment

Okay, I went out and bought myself Snow Leopard.  I need to backup my system (probably using SuperDuper), then I’ll go ahead and do the update.  It’ll be interesting to go straight from Tiger to Snow Leopard, but I’m definitely looking forward to it.

I’m really interested in the iLife suite, but not so much in iWork.  I already have the Microsoft Office suite and just about everyone I deal with at work uses it, so I guess I better stick with it.

Updates coming soon!

Categories: Mac OS X, Software