Saturday, January 28, 2006

John Kerry - Man Of Mystery

From the Network of College Conservatives, a very funny image of John Kerry. Seems that Kerry wants to declare peace and sign a treaty with terrorists! Amazing!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Beastie Boys Fun

One of my favorite bands/groups has always been the Beastie Boys. I have felt that they always try to stretch their music while making statements about just what is going on out there. Now I may be digging deep, but their latest project is a motion picture, with a group of fans taking the video. Due out in March! Caution Adult Language!

Monday, January 23, 2006

Cringely on Bush Wiretaps

Robert X. Cringely has stated his 2 cents on President Bush, and the technical truth about spying on your terrorist enemies! He says: "several hundred NSA communication intercepts wouldn't have qualified for submission by the DoJ to the FISA court, and some of those might not have qualified for FISA court orders even if they had been submitted".

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Olesker Resigns Due to Plagiarism!

Long time Liberal Sun Newspaper columnist Michael Olesker has resigned short of his 30 year anniversary with The Sun Newspaper. I now see that not only Olesker had been unnecessarily rude, but also lazy! Olesker has been on the attack against popular Maryland Governor, Bob Ehrlich, using various statements, facts and figures that now must be called into question. Ehrlich sued The Sun in 2004, and won in Federal Court, however the liberal newspaper has appealed. This is a glorious day for Marylanders, which says go ahead and speak out, but be accurate, truthful, and use your own material.

The article says: Ehrlich Press Secretary Greg Massoni said in an e-mail detailing the ban that Nitkin and Olesker "are failing to objectively report on any issue dealing with the Ehrlich-Steele administration."

Examples of the Plagiarism is shown in the WBAL website at this link.

Monday, January 09, 2006

PC Cooling: Submerged in Oil

I just have to pass this one along. These techies in Germany have outlined, with images, their high end PC cooling experiment, by submerging the PC in Cooking Oil. Awesome way to look at things, though I may not do this myself. Now I don't have to since they did it for us.

See how they did it!

To Apple or NOT to Apple (Part 3)

To Apple or not to Apple! (Part3)
(or Apple iMac G5 from a PC Guys perspective)

Part 3 of my 5 Part White Paper on my experiences using an iMac from a PC user experience has been released. The Holidays sure took a beating on my free time! In addition to work, school, and various chores around the house, I had little time to refine my thoughts and get them out to you in a timely manner. Rest assured Part 4 & 5 will be forthcoming.


Written by Will Wagner
Monday, January 9, 2006

So Far…

My experiment into the World of Apple and Mac OS X has been, I have to admit, a lot of fun. My initial fears associated with the change from one platform to another, one operating system to another, and one whole computing interface to another, have been quelled. I have found that Apple has spent a lot of time and effort into making the Mac easy to use, easy to operate, and less hassle to maintain. In the first few weeks, and then months, which I have been compiling data for this “white paper”, my Mac has been solid, mostly responsive, and easy to understand. In that same time my PC has hung, failed to write a CD properly creating a “coaster”, and my network connection failed to operate several times, forcing me to “fix” the network settings via a Windows button in the preferences. Since I am a highly skilled PC person they were all easy to correct, or to try again, but meanwhile my Mac was sitting there patiently waiting for me to get done with the PC and come back to be able to do something.

Granted, I was, and still am comparing a PC that is a tiny bit older than the iMac, but not by that much. My Windows XP system has had the benefit of tweaks, personal hacks, Norton Utilities and various enhancements via the registry. No such customization was really done on the iMac. Now in this period of time, I have learned several things about my iMac. There are many hidden settings to change the look and feel here and there. But I still feel some major enhancements are missing, or at least I have not stumbled upon the more advanced stuff yet.

I hope to give a general Conclusion later on in Part 5 that will address whether one should switch, or at least consider the iMac during a new purchase. It may not sound like it, but the jury is still out on that one.

Bundled Application Listing

Time to take a look at what kind of software and applications are bundled with the iMac and Mac OS X in general. You will recall this is not the new iMac. This is the previous generation iMac with everything the current one has, except that cute remote that looks like an iPod, and the built in iSight camera.
Lets go alphabetically, shall we? Apple has bundled many applications, some you have already paid for, and some that nag you to register each time you run them.

2005 World Book - Nice application, fun to look at, polished and feature rich. Nice for the kids, and a good excuse for them doing Homework on the iMac. But every PC I have ever gotten comes with an Encyclopedia also. Minus the nag screen.

Address Book - Complements the Email package, mainly used to keep track of phone numbers, and email addresses. But don’t underestimate this partial package. It has several hidden features. Like being able to map the address listed for your current entry through MapQuest. Another very cool feature is you can have your iMac speak the details on this entry. Yes the computer can talk to you, and it does it well.

AppleScript - This software package allows you to run scripts or batch files via the menu. I have not experimented much with this feature, but think it will be used by me as I become more familiar with OS X and find a need to browse the web for information on it. There are many example scripts to test out, and I urge anyone with a Mac to do this.

AppleWorks - Suite of Productivity tools, word processor, Spreadsheet, tools reminiscent of Microsoft Office, but this is free and included in the operating system package. Great feature!

Automator - Much like AppleScript, this is a menu driven graphical interface used to automate processes and execute programs in your given preferences. You select actions from a list of choices for various programs. I don’t know of any program in the Windows world that does this, besides the older Macro Recorder, which has long been discontinued.

Calculator - This is easy a basic calculator application is included. Just like the Windows counter part.

Chess - This is way better than Solitaire, a Chess game is included with OS X, and yes, again it says the moves so you could leave the room for a moment and know when it is your turn.

Dashboard - This is possibly the most popular and highly marketed application. Dashboard is the Widget engine in OS X. It can be quite useful. My only complaint is that it resides on a separate workspace, instead of placing its objects onto the desktop like other well-known Widget programs. Konfabulator comes to mind, now owned by Yahoo, which gives PCs a dynamic useful tools base. Konfabulator wins hands down.

Dictionary - This is another useful application, which allows you to type a word into the program, and it searches for your meaning. I must admit though, I rarely use a dictionary in normal everyday usage, thanks to Microsoft word. Still nice to have for the kids.

DVD Player - Simple enough, the icon looks like an iPod. This app plays DVDs very well, in full screen mode.

Font Book - Mac OS X uses this application as the Font Manager, same as Windows.
Garage Band - This program is hailed as one of the most useful and enjoyable applications included in OS X. Garage Band is just that, it allows one to create music and audio clips for special projects. It takes some getting used to, and is not as intuitive as I would like it to be. But you can dig in right away and begin to tinker around. The thing I do like is that what you enter on the keyboard can be made into any sound when changing the instrument. Fun! I haven’t created any great masterpiece, but this app brings a powerful tool to the family desktop, which could boost musical creativity!

iCal - This application is a Calendar scheduler. Works much like the Calendar in Outlook on the windows side. Nice that it is a separate application, versus a bundled program that requires email to be open. It stands alone quite well.

iChat - One of the most widely used applications today is the chat program, and Apple provides this one that can easily interface with AOL Instant Messenger.

iDVD - This application is a solid DVD authoring tool, bundled with Mac OS X. Windows provides Movie Maker, but nothing as awesome as iDVD. I must say that the intros in iDVD are commercial quality if I ever did see some. Nothing compares!

iMovie HD - This application is a tool used to create content for your DVD movies. It appears to be as nice and clean as the other applications I have looked at. I really like the robustness of the drag and drop. It doesn’t skip a beat. Again, another strong application that makes the Mac OS X worth every penny. I can’t import Windows Media files though, and I feel this is a feature that would be needed for those PC people in a dual computer environment. Perhaps there is a way, and I am too novice yet to have found it.

Internet Connect - This program helps you to setup various modern connection types. I never actually used it since I have broadband. But you could setup your modem connection to your Internet service provider, a Bluetooth or airport wireless connection.

iPhoto - Nice application for cataloging your digital pictures, from your digital camera. Many cameras have their own programs bundled with the camera, but still nice to have this application for those who want a solid Apple designed program to ensure system stability. I would keep it!

iSync - Used to sync your personal files and settings to your roaming .Mac account. I am not using this at this time.

iTunes - What can I say, if you don’t know what this application is, perhaps you should go back to notebook paper and pencils to write letters. Get out the old Records too! iTunes is currently the most popular and widely used music database and ordering system for tracks of commercial artist created music. Usually best associated with the iPod. I like this application for streaming music. I would prefer to enable MP3 as the standard versus ACC format. But I understand ACC enables digital rights management. It is hard to sell music if you cannot control it. In the PC world you have far more choices as to how to manage your music. Free and commercial applications are flooding the net. Windows actually wins this round but by no effort by Microsoft.

Mail - Guess what, this is the mail application. It too is a separate application, and I love this. Mail is simple, easy to use, and clean.

Preview - This image viewer is very simple, but serves the purpose. Earlier, in a previous section, I hinted that it doesn’t allow for easy deletion of the viewed image. However, you are able to adjust the image properties, brightness, saturation, contrast, even sepia, which is usually an advanced option. Use Preview to make a snapshot of the current window. Nice feature!

QuickTime Player - Plays QuickTime movies. I must say that this Mac version is so smooth and fast, it is really amazing. I plan to upgrade to Pro so I can create and save MOV files.

Safari - This is the Apple answer to web browsing, and I have to admit, it is solid. Feature rich menus allow clearing of cache and history very easily. Years ahead of any competition. I am not aware of any special plugins like what Firefox uses, but Safari doesn’t really need them to be good. Fast and solid web browser technology here!

Sherlock - This web based information finder is quite nice. You can search on just about any topic. Though you could use Google, and I normally do, the interface is the well-known Mac feel usable and easy to navigate. For point and click, it really is exceptional. There is even an eBay search section, which I find interesting. This takes you from the eBay site and brings searching to one window. Also search the Internet via Sherlock to get results from many websites at one time. Google is missing though, that’s bad.

System Preferences - This icon is the application that is exactly like the Control Panel in Windows. Change all your settings here.

TextEdit - This is a simple text editor, like Notepad.

Utilities Folder - This folder houses the core system diagnostics, disk managers, and printer utilities. You will also find the Command Line application called Terminal here. For those Unix people, run the Console app to see all Unix style messages. The Screen grabber is here too. Some of the most useful applications I have seen reside on the Mac. This folder beats out Windows without a hitch. Windows just doesn’t include all of these cools utilities. Usually you need a third part program to do what some of these can do, or have to revert to Dos to use the Windows versions when there is an equivalent.

Since my previous issue of this “white paper” I have added many utilities myself. Many or all are free for personal use. For instance, I have added VLC. This program is a simple audio file and video file player. I like it because it is FREE and it is small and loads quickly. It also keeps no database. If I want that I can use iTunes.

Microsoft has provided an Office Test Drive directory, complete with clipart. I also plan to get Office if I can find a cheaper price for the package. Even though AppleWorks is included, I would prefer Office. Like many computer users, I am accustomed to its layout and options, and use it frequently at work.

Next Part 4: What Have I done?

Thursday, January 05, 2006

HGTV Dream Home

Yes, time again for the 1 Million Dollar Home giveaway from HGTV, only this year it is valued at 2 Million! It is located in North Carolina, and a beautiful mountain view home! If I win, I have to come up with a gimmick to be able to pay the taxes. I am accepting donations now!