Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Real Tech News Post on Bill Gates

Gang, I just posted what I think is a nice short analytical piece on Bill Gates' opinion of the MIT One Laptop per Child Project. Take a look at the actual posting on Real Tech News to learn more about the Project itself, as well as the coverage I attempted to provide. Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Windows XP on Mac Patch/Kit Available!

This may be the single most compelling reason to purchase an Intel iMac, TODAY! Here is the patch/bootloader that will allow you to load and run Windows XP on that iMac. Grab the files as soon as you can before the thought police threaten legal action. To run 2 different operating systems on the same elegant iMac seems a very likable prospect in my mind. See more info at the original site,

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Apple iMac Review - Update

Folks, as you know I finished my review of the iMac from a PC Perspective. As I mentioned inside the review, I was accustomed to playing my DVDs on the iMac while I was working (sometimes) on the PC. It was a while since I did the DVD test on the PC compared to the iMac. Guess what! I placed one of the same DVDs I was watching into the PC and figured I would watch the DVD and work on the iMac. Well, BBBZZZT, wrong answer! The DVD while playing normal size, NOT FULL SCREEN, looked like garbage on the PC. The simple quality of the iMac DVD software display was astounding. I apparently had not done as fair a comparison as I first thought. I still stand by my original review, but as far as playing multimedia goes, the iMac blows the PC away, hands down. This should be taken into consideration when evaluating the iMac for your home or business.

Link to the review

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

To Apple or Not to Apple! (Part5 of 5)

Ok here it is, my final review of the iMac G5 and Mac OS X.
To see the first 4 parts you can click the links below!


To Apple or not to Apple! (Part5 of 5)
(or Apple iMac G5 from a PC Guys perspective)

Written by Will Wagner
Wednesday, March 08, 2006

This 5-part review sure has been an adventure. Right up front I want to provide a hearty thanks to those who offered encouragement, feedback, and praise. You all seemed very interested in what I had tried to write about. It has been a true learning experience for me, and has helped me understand a lot more about computing interfaces, especially non-windows and other windowing operating systems in general. In this, the final part of my review, I want to provide some final feedback, wrap up my personal experiences, and give you my recommendation. That sure is a lot to do, so lets get started!

The Intel iMac Core Duo has essentially made the iMac G5 obsolete. Not in the sense that it does not or will not work, but more so in the sense that Apple has set a future course towards Intel computer ships. Older G5 hardware will be obsolete in perhaps 6-12 months. Those interested in the Mac will have to consider getting the Intel version before attempting to purchase any G5. This is a good strategy, if you plan to purchase an iMac today; the Intel version is the clear way to go. This is the future. But should you? More to come on that shortly!

Lets look at all the negatives surrounding using the iMac and Mac OS X. Yes, Mac faithful, there are a few drawbacks.

· I saw no easy way to back off of updates installed by Apple. Microsoft Windows has the Add/Remove software option in the Control Panel. Apple needs something, even some basic scripts via menu, to uninstall software for non-technical users.
· There is little to no commercial software available in the retail chain. I mean that you cannot walk into WalMart and purchase a software package or game for the Mac.
· The goofy one button mouse is stone ages behind the 2 or 3 button mouse. It has to go to eBay and you will need to purchase a real mouse.
· iTunes (and iPhoto) uses a proprietary database for cataloging your stuff. I really see no need for this. I would prefer a more open architecture for file management of your private materials. iTunes is a widely used application, but only because it is the only package to use with the iPod, not because it is the very best software.
· Not all of the settings are easily found and set in Finder. You have to manually modify the scripts or use a 3rd party tool for advanced features and settings. I know that Windows is the same with many of its hidden features. I have yet to figure this one out, unless they are leaving an opening for 3rd party developers. Oh and thank goodness for them!
· Heat! Heat! Heat! My iMac G5 gets hot. No wonder Apple has switched to Intel. I hope the new iMac has addressed this problem. The G5 has plenty of fans; they are just always set on low speed. Just not enough air flow! How hot is it, roughly 165F under constant load.
· .Mac is one of those extras that is disguised as an option, buy the entire OS is built with the assumption you will sign up and use .Mac. There should be a way to replace .Mac with your own personal webspace or site!
· It is not easy to see how much space a file is using. Allow us to put that info under each Icon as an option. Yeah you can choose a different view to display details, but I like the Icons view. In Windows you can click on a few files, and the total size is displayed at the bottom of the Explorer bar. I miss that! (There are 3rd party free utilities that serve this function, but Apple needs to supply it)
· Keyboard shortcuts are not shown on screen, in the menu. I admit the funky combinations are powerful, but for a newbie, I have to have a list of them plastered to my wall. Just put them in the menu!
· Thanks to Microsoft, flip4mac has given us libraries to open and save Windows Media files and formats to MOV. Apple should have supplied this one, perhaps in a conversion tool, but since M$ has deep pockets; all the Windows profits have gone to something worthwhile. Even if it is clunky.
· The iMac monitor base cannot be raised, only tilted. Why? Every other monitor manufacturer gives this ability. I can only imagine that since the iMac is so heavy, Apple felt that the neck and computer would not stay extended over a long period of time due to vibrations. Hence only a tilt neck is included. Apple is the innovator, get real, and fix this one.
· USB ports on the back? What gives? I have a few USB devices, and would like at least one on the side or somewhere we can reach it more easily. I have to admit one on the front would look like crap. I can give Apple some credit here for looks over function.
· iMac doesn’t come in a Cinema display? It should. I want a monster monitor with no cables like the iMac! There would only be demand for it if it were fast and top of the line hardware, like iMac.
· In Mac OS X you simply cannot change the size of the little close button icons or maximize/minimize button icons. You must be able to allow users to adjust sizes of these things. When you go hi-res these things are TINY! It takes me 3 clicks to hit it, and I am pretty accurate with the mouse clicks. I never have this trouble on Windows! Windows allows adjustments of visual queues and button sizes.
· The Dock on OS X is not as usable as the Taskbar on Windows. Don’t get me wrong; I think its appearance blows Taskbar away. I just like the way all open programs show up on Taskbar. Not many people like this as much as me, but I want to see all the programs I am running grouped together. The Dock shows little arrows on running apps, but that’s lame for an OS proud of its graphics capabilities. If the App is not minimized, it won’t show up on the Dock, too.
· Multiple desktops are a feature on just about all the Major UNIX operating systems. Apple dropped the ball here. 3rd party to the rescue! Unix gurus want multiple desktop utilities.
· The Mouse cursor can be resized, but the jaggies show up like Paul Bunyan’s favorite tree destroying saw. Again, for a supposed graphical OS, it should be a smooth transition if you resize the arrow. In Windows, no such problems! Matter of fact you can change the cursor all together! Nope, not on Mac OS X. Third party utilities provide this, but why should they need to?
· I was able to drop an audio sound into the default folder for my default sounds, but what about startup music or shutdown music. Windows does it, now! Not Mac OS X. The option should be there for user fun and configuration.
· Apple includes only lame OpenGL screensavers. Give us more eye candy! At least 3rd party developers have many out there for free, but you have to search.
· Installing software is not standardized. Sure most of the time you can simply drop into the apps folder, but some apps have an install script, others don’t. Why make the user drop the software into the Applications folder, allow them to right click on the app they want to install, and have the system copy it. I bet this could be done in Automator or through Apple Script. But make our lives easier; include the script on the file context menu.
· No Audio Input port, only Audio Output. This is supposed to be a users multimedia system, but no input for sound? Wack!
· No Newsreader is included. What? That is a deep hole that needs to be filled. A basic newsreader is very important to my online experience.
· If you like to label CDs, I suggest that you don’t use them in the iMac CD/DVD drive. They could get stuck. Since the unit is hot anyway, the label could spin right off the disc.
· OS X is built specifically to run on Apple hardware, so it is more stable. But not perfect. During a reboot that some virus scanner software recommended, the system hung up hard, and the fans whirred full speed. I had to power it off to get it back!
· Oh and the hardware is one solid main board, not much to upgrade inside, except memory or hard drive. Don’t expect to buy any add on cards or internal capture devices, no such thing! This could be a good thing, easier for users to manage, but your iMac system could become obsolete faster than a normal desktop, which can grow with your needs.
· My Creative Web cam wouldn’t recognize when I plugged it in. Why? It is no wonder that the iSight is now included in the iMac. One less issue to deal with!
· Unix file permissions and ownerships get screwed up every time you install software. Why? This sure seems like a major bug to me. You have to run the permissions correction tool periodically.
· Mac Icons are not easy to change, and your main foundation icons cannot be changed. On windows you can change almost any icon anywhere.
· Mac software, which can be found, is expensive! No wonder people prefer Windows. You may not get world-renowned software, but who cares for a few dollars we could toss it in the trash if we don’t like it. Most Apple applications hover around $100 but some are much more.

Well I wanted to be absolutely honest on my criticisms on the iMac and Apple OS X. I didn’t hold back, and really feel that these issues are mostly things that can be addressed easily. Actually, I see no reason keeping Apple from doing all of them cheaply. We know I can be a critic, what about the items that I really like about the iMac and OS X?


· Great sounding speakers! The size alone would make you think they would be only good enough for whisper music. In fact the speakers are great for standard speech and audio. I love the fact I don’t need to purchase extra speakers or hardware. Plus the fact that they are built right in.
· Talk about Hardware, the iMac is gorgeous! Flat, streamlined, simple, aesthetically pleasing, well designed, compact…. On and on! The iMac is simply the best looking and best designed computer, and that before you even turn it on!
· I found that the iMac was a great system for viewing DVDs. I simply love the DVD player software in my iMac. This iMac looks like a TV, and plays DVDs with magical quality. I could be at my desk working on a project, reading mail, or doing paperwork, and view DVDs easily, they sound good, and the screen is sharp and clear. A bit costly for a simple DVD player, but at least it does other things too.
· The iMac boots very quickly! Blows Windows away, not even close. If I were to compare equal plain vanilla systems, I think it would be a little closer, but still no contest! I even reloaded my PC do be more fair, the iMac still seems much faster at bootup.
· Even though the USB and Firewire ports are on the back, they are all lined up together, in a row, very uniform. On any given PC the jacks and connectors are all over the back of the system, and never next to each other.
· Mac OS X is Unix, and not just any Unix, but BSD. This means it is rugged and built to run. If you like Linux, you should love Mac OS X.
· Since OS X is Unix, there are many ports or conversions of Linux software now being ported to OS X. This equates to a lot of free online software, which happens to be very useful.
· The slot load CD/DVD player and burner is kool. No tray, nothing to worry about, CD simply slips into the side of the iMac cabinet. It is easy to use, and clean looking.
· I cannot say enough about the keyboard. I truly appreciate the sound controls on the keyboard, volume, mute, and eject key for CD drive. Very user friendly once I discovered them. No such thing exists on the PC, except in aftermarket keyboards that add extra expense. I guess in the long run; since the PC is cheaper, these may break even with each other, but the iMac includes them, score one to Apple.
· I upgraded the memory from 512Meg to 1024Meg (1 Gig). This process was simple, easy to do, only 3 screws to unscrew. They never popped out, they stay attached to the unit so they don’t get lost. Pop the memory into the slot, click the ends onto the memory and close up the cabinet. Easy upgrade!
· I was pleasantly surprised to find much freeware and shareware software on the Internet. Even though you cannot find commercial software in the stores, there is plenty of it online, tucked away at your favorite Mac sites.
· Mac OS X was simple to update via the Apple assistant. Took one click to allow my Mac to check for updates. They appeared, and you hit ok. The updates all install, then your computer asks to reboot. In the Windows world you have to reboot on some of the patches right away, one at a time, then check for updates again, what a PC time waster! XP has come a long way to helping correct this, but it is behind the iMac on this one.
· I hooked up my PC printer and it just worked, the driver was already in there. No fancy features like on the PC but at least it works. Windows has been pretty good at hardware detection over the last many years too though.
· I like the Finder program manager / file manager. It is simple to use, and fully object oriented. That means you can drag files to applications, or drag files to printers.
· I currently have my iMac tell me the time every hour. My Mac speaks! I like this feature. I can also have the Mac say anything from a file I want. This feature can also help you navigate the OS if you have sight troubles.
· Mac Icons are very colorful, sharp and attractive! They are sharp even if you grow them to the largest size, as big as a Quarter.
· OS X comes with a wide array of applications, utilities, and programs. If you didn’t want to purchase anything else, you don’t have to.
· Searchlight is fantastic! Type in a word, and the system will search the whole darn system for references to that word. Bookmarks, files, folders, mail messages, music, photos. Everything!
· It is easy to drop an application to the Dock for future use, and even easier to remove one. Drag file to or off the Dock, that’s it!
· The iMac comes with Bluetooth and Airport wireless built in! I use Bluetooth for the keyboard. I know many cell phones today have Bluetooth. Not to mention PDAs. That’s a fine standard feature, one Apple has been wise to include.
· An Ethernet 10/100 jacks in included for wired networking. This I prefer for privacy!
· The widgets are nice little utilities. I prefer Konfabulator, but the built in Widget engine is kool too.
· The Background Image on the desktop has more options. You can tile and stretch, but they are oriented from the center, not from the top left corner of the screen. This is much more advanced and intelligently designed. You don’t have to hit the OK button, like discontinued IBM OS/2, the change just happens.
· Smooth! This one is rather hard to express, but the Mac and OS X seems to run smoothly and present an aesthetically pleasing experience. The actions on the OS are not choppy. When you open windows they quickly fade in or animate from the Dock. Windows has this feature, but it seems like a resource hog on the traditional PC.
· I prefer the 2-button mouse, and as dirty as it seems, I took a Microsoft Mouse, plugged it in, and it worked great. Any 2-button mouse would work, but I got the same one that my PC had. It is USB, and never skips or hops, it just runs reliably. I can say on Windows 2000 there was an issue where the mouse would abort and you had no pointer. Never saw that on Windows XP.
· There is game support on Mac OS X. Quake 3 comes to mind. I have found enough games for my tastes. I prefer small quick 1st person shooter games. I have several Flash files that are games, like PacMan and Asteroids, Tetris, and even Batman. The current Flash player is available for Mac OS X, a huge plus.
· Safari is feature rich, and solid. It has never choked on a web page, which I visited. Safari just runs well. Tabbed browsing has grown on me too, since you cannot see all your separate Safari web page windows running in the Dock. There is a hidden setting you can use, I think, to show all jobs running, but that would get cluttered. Apple took the correct approach here.
· Even though the front of the iMac looks funny, the screen is on the top third. I like the space for sticky notes below the screen. This is a great place for reminders and notes to myself. I don’t use the software sticky notes application, which is included. With space for real notes, it is easier for me.

Well, as you can see I have found much good, and bad about my experiences. Seems to me that the iMac is not perfect. Matter of fact, I see much room for enhancements or changes. The hardware is a winner, many of my problems surrounded the software interface. As a PC guy, I would love to see Windows XP run on an iMac. I like Windows XP, it is the first really reliable OS that Microsoft has given us. However, I like the iMac overall too!
For this review, since day one, I have had the iMac sitting next to my PC. I admit, the PC is more centered, and the iMac is just to the right. I have attempted to use the iMac for much more than just browsing the Web, but it is best suited for browsing, E-Mail, and general Internet related usage. Strangely enough, no newsreader was included. Some modern browsers include newsreader function. Apple needs to include a newsreader.
I have found that the iMac and Mac OS X in general can do all of the things that the Windows XP counterpart can. Matter of fact, there are utilities for almost anything out there you wish to do. I do have some very specific programs and utilities on the PC that I wish I had on the iMac. I am sure they will eventually come, or perhaps I will come across a similar application or script. But no major show stoppers.


Finally, here comes the major zinger of whether I recommend the iMac and OS X, or not.
1. Yes I do. I fully recommend the iMac for your Internet and computing needs. I felt that if my PC crashed and went south, I could use and enjoy the iMac for my computing needs.
2. Now how about the question, “Would I Switch from the PC to Mac, and never look back?” No. I would not. For some things I still prefer the PC. I prefer my music on the PC, in MP3 format. MP3 format is more widely used and supported. But the iMac is a great companion to the PC network, it easily integrates, and can serve as a second system, web server, or just to get various things accomplished while you wait on your PC to do other things. But be careful of .Mac. Be wary of what you purchase on extended agreements or subscription services. Keep in mind that anything on someone else’s server can be searched through or copied. Your privacy is at risk.
3. If I had to choose right now and select only one platform to use, I would have to stay with the PC. I know so much more about the PC and the underlying file structures. Previous versions of PC software count, but in todays connected world you can find any application you need on the Net for cheap or commercial fee. Software is just no longer a factor.
4. If you are new to computing, or don’t know a heck of a lot about the PC in general, or the inner workings, I feel that you would be a better candidate to switch to the iMac. It is a fantastic platform for computing, Internet, and content creation (like video and DVDs). It does it all very well, and builds high quality output. The PC does it all, but is sometimes slow, sloppy (poor output) and prone to lock ups.


Go out and purchase an iMac. I think you will really enjoy the experience as I have done. Whether you need or like the iMac will be based on many personal factors, and preferences. I just don’t see a clear-cut argument for or against either platform. I don’t mind seeing competition though, and Microsoft needs more of it. But Apple would score more adopters as an open platform, which seems important to more people today, if they would create software that doesn’t hook you into their formats and ways of doing things. Make software that is well integrated, but open! This is probably why Linux is gaining so much ground on the desktop, at work and at home.

Thanks for reading, good luck in your review!

Monday, March 06, 2006

Live Simpsons Intro by Fans!

This is very funny, and I wonder why this hasn't been done earlier. These fans went and created the Simpsons TV show intro via LIVE scenes. Really kool to see in live footage, versus the original cartoon version. Check it out!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Hilarious Monkey Mail from

My cousin dropped me some email formatted by this site. The gag is that you create a monkey, type in some text, and it talks. I like the Simon voice best. I was sending notes and junk all night! I guess I am an Internet Junkie afterall. To really waste some time, and get some laughs, try it for yourself! Listen to this message from me!