Top 10 – Flickr isn’t gay

Not too long ago DB and I told members of his family that we used Flickr. We know full well that “flikker” in Dutch means a flaming homo, which made for pretty funny looks on their faces. We then explained that Flickr is photo sharing and storage online and is really very cool indeed.

Flickr isn’t perfect however. The bulk upload is painful to use. Browsing photos is slow and not customizable. But the faithful followers of Flickr have created many plug-ins and tools that makes it even cooler.

Here’s a link to Thomas Hawk’s top 10 Flickr hacks. Check it out. Really.

Google my life

Google is taking over the world, slowly but surely, and they are also taking over my tech life. It happens sweetly and gently, like falling in love. First it’s the excitement of discovering a great new internet email service like GMail and falling so hard for it that you sign yourself up for 5 new email accounts in one week. Then comes Blogger, which you Dear Reader are currently enjoying vicariously through reading this blog. That’s when the hook catches in your mouth and you start being reeled in, albeit smiling all the way.

I didn’t even know I was being Google-ized when I posted short films on YouTube, but we all know what happened there.

Then it was Blogger Beta, and Google Analytics so I can see how many bored interesting and intelligent people are reading my blog.

And now today I’ve succumbed to Google News Reader.

I blame most of this Google-izing on TUAW who routinely post positive reviews about Google services and new things Google is up to. Such posts always make me curious, so I search around for more info, find even more positive input, et voila, I’m subscribed/signed up/Google-ized. It seems to me that Google has almost (almost) as much cool factor as Apple. If Apple had put half as much cool into .Mac from the beginning, they would not be struggling so hard to retain subscribers (like me, an ex-.Mac PAYING subscriber). Apple dropped the ball, and Google picked it up. Ah well, it’s a big playing field.

So what’s the next really cool thing Google will offer that would suck you in?
Integrate GoogleEarth with TomTom route planning?
Post your YouTube video on your Blogger blog just like you can post photos from Flickr today?
Or, ten years from now people will wonder how Microsoft could have become such a big company. After all, if everything is free from Google now, why did we ever pay so much for so little before?

Grey skies above

It’s been a while since I posted anything here and I’m starting to feel a: guilty (which is pretty stupid) and b: like I’d better continue this or I can just chalk it up to another thing started and not continued! Blogging is a committment!

It’s been a very busy time at work (excuse #1) and I’ve had no energy at the end of the day to be creative or interesting. There have been family issues that needed attending to (a pretty damn good excuse) which took time on the weekends. And the last few days a migraine has attacked me (final excuse #3) which made me incapable of doing anything other than sit and wait it out.

Finally when I do start feeling better, and feel like looking at the computer screen for more than a few minutes, I get addicted to playing Sudoku Slam. I was pretty much over my sudoku addiction and the 5 various sudoko books sitting on the coffee table have been untouched for a while. But them TUAW posted a link to this sudoko website and I’m sucked in all over again. This site is great because it takes all the tedium out of the game. So far my best time at solving their hardest puzzles is 3:33. Not bad I’d say. But then I’m an addict and this only feeds me.

Also, since I’m feeling better and have a little time this weekend, I’m looking again into hobby type projects. One of those is ripping vinyl records into mp3’s. Another one is making a cool ringtone for my Treo 650. Having looked around a bit it looks like Rogue Amoeba has the answers for both. And their company has a cool name.

When I was in California last (August) my mom had me help her set up some software and hardware to rip her records. We managed to make it work, but man what horrible software it was! This was the worst UI I’ve seen in years. Imagine Windows 95 type stuff. It works, but it ain’t pretty. Thank goodness I work on Macs and can use software as cool as the hardware. Sorry Mom!

So, dear reader, now that I’ve given you some links to keep you busy, I’m off to do my Dutch homework and take home test, then to try my hand at Rogue Amoeba’s toys…….

Apple non-event 12 September

Am I the only Mac zealot who is less than impressed with the 12 September announcements? As far as I can see the only really interesting announcement was earlier with the new iMac screen size and bump in processor power.

Maybe I’m especially underwhelmed because I don’t live in the US and I don’t have a credit card with a US billing address. Therefore I can’t buy movies or TV shows via iTunes. I can’t even SEE what others can buy once I log in because iTunes knows my story and blocks all the non-available content. What a rip off.

I can understand not selling the TV shows since the networks elsewhere in the world (like our lame NET5 for example) likes to buy the shows a year later than they come out, at a better price I guess, and show them piecemeal. Here they do really nasty things like get you hooked on Grey’s Anatomy then suddenly stop showing the program half way into the season. Just stop. No explanation. No warning. Too bad. Tough shit. This is why I illegally download TV shows using Limewire. I’m forced to by the unprofessional Dutch networks.

But why doesn’t Apple allow us to buy movies? Movies that have been released worldwide should be able to be bought worldwide. Why not?

As to the other “news”, who needs another ipod mini? I have one of those already – a lovely pink one with my name on it. Why would I want to buy another one? I was really looking forward to a new Nano with more storage, or lower price, or video or something interesting. Now if I want to buy a black one I have to fork out for the highest price model. The thing that interested me about getting a Nano, when I have a perfectly good mini to use, is the Nike+ thingy that I can use to kick my running into gear. As a geek and tech junky, that Nike+ add-on looks really cool. But I don’t NEED a new ipod to play music. Now, given this new non-announcement, I think I’ll just look for a sale priced old Nano, in black, with the nice plastic finish that matches my white macBook and not bother with the new models.

Last, and maybe least, is the iTV announcement. Another non-interesting product when you consider that I can hook up my macBook to my TV, or simply get a new MacMini to use exclusively with my TV. Don’t get me wrong, I am a big fan of wireless. I have an airport with airtunes that I use all the time. I’m now sitting outside on my roof terrace with my MacBook connected to the internet. But streaming to my TV? There are better and cheaper ways to get the same thing.

I hope next time Apple really has something to say when they build an event around announcements. Otherwise we will stop paying so much attention to them. Please please Apple don’t become another Microsoft!

Can’t we all just get along?

You could say I’m naive. It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve been called that. I thought that I could walk into work with my new MacBook, which will run all the required software better than the computer that I’ve been given to work on, and all would be fine. I did expect to have to do some convincing, but I didn’t expect to be told, basically, to get that thing off the network.

It’s not that anyone has a problem with Apple products per se (ok, my boss has a THING about Apple, and it’s not a positive THING), but it has to do with standards. Company standards. Control. Efficiencies. Safety.

Let’s be honest. If any IT department really thought about it, if they wanted efficiencies and safety they would give the entire company Macs and throw the PC’s into the bin where they belong. But noooooooooo we have to standardize on mediocrity.

I naively thought that we could think outside the very big beige box.

I need to start my own company………..

A Parallel(s) Universe

As you can see from this screenshot, I sucessfully installed and am running WinXP inside my MacBook. I feel so dirty.

The installation process was straightforward. I haven’t installed software that came with an actual printed instruction book in a very long time. Thanks Parallels for including the book! There’s enough you need to actually understand in order to install the software and run it correctly, but with the book at hand it’s no problem.

The next step is to install our company ERP system (Navision) into the VM (virtual machine), see if I can install and connect to the network using the company VPN, and connect to the company remote desktop. If I can do all those things then I’ve successfully set up this new MacBook to work in a Windows corporate world that includes software that has no Apple equivalent (like Navision). I won’t be able to do this for another week or so, so stay tuned for more info on this experiment.

Now, back to that Spider game….

MacBook – I’m in love

It’s been a while since my last post. I’ve travelled half way around the world to visit family and at the same time pick up my new baby – my MacBook – and I’m in love.

I bought a white MacBook, 2 GB processor, 60GB hard drive, 512k RAM. I also bought 2GB RAM from OmniTechnologies on eBay which I installed myself. The installation was a piece of cake except that I had to push those babies in there HARDer than I though I needed to. It’s not an obvious “feel” when you have them seated in far enough. But second try was fine and now this thing SCREAMS.

What do I like about it?

  1. The feel of the keyboard. It’s a perfect feel as far as I’m concerned. The sound is also nice, no loud clicking noises. I was actually afraid that I’d find the return key too far away but I hit it correctly every time so no problem there. This new type of key is a huge improvement over the old iBooks. A+
  2. The glossy screen. I wasn’t sure about this change since I’d never worked with a glossy screen portable before. I’d never even seen one in action. But I really really like it! I haven’t had any problems with glare and I’ve used this thing outside already. The colors are gorgeous. Also the resolution of 1280 x 800 is a perfect combination of visibility and ease on the eyes. Even though this scree size is smaller than my old iBook, and smaller in height than my ugly Dell work portable, what I can actually SEE is more and brighter and more defined. A+
  3. Speed. I haven’t yet used this machine at work with my huge Excel files, but I’m sure, with what I’ve seen so far, that it will blow away my Dell piece of, well, you know. I must warn you though that you have to upgrade the RAM from 512 if you want to get anywhere. With 2GB this thing is FAST. With 512 I tried to watch a ripped DVD movie which was saved on my hard drive (using VLC) and it just couldn’t show a smooth video. Now with 2GB of course it’s fine. This has to do with no dedicated video RAM in this machine, but as long as you pump up the standard RAM memory it’s not a problem. I’m not really a gamer so I don’t have any info on whether it will run video intensive games with this much RAM installed. A
  4. The usual Apple small touches that make the experience great. Like the magnetic power connection. Like the larger and easier to use trackpad. Like the snap close of the lid. Like the look and feel of the power button. It’s just all so NICE. A+

I haven’t mentioned anything about the ability to also run Windows here because although I’ve bought Parallels software, I haven’t installed it yet, and I haven’t installed Bootcamp (which I probably won’t do). Once I get time to install Parallels I’ll write some comments about that. It was necessary for me to get this software in order to have a hope in hell of using this machine at work (need to run some Windows only software daily).

So here I am in California, visiting family, but all the time wanting to spend more time with my new love. I’m anti-social. I’m a jerk sitting in front of a computer while my parents are talking to me. What can I say? I’m in love.

Tech addicts unite!

Well I did it. I couldn’t resist any longer. The addiction is too strong, the need too great.

I filled up my shopping basket on and pushed the BUY button. On the way is a MacBook 2GHz White, Parallels software, a Kensington flat keyboard, an external 250GB hard drive and 2GB of RAM to install myself. The MacBook has a $100 rebate offer so how could I resist???

My idea is to show up at work carrying my new baby, plug it into the network and get started! Then dump that Dell piece of crap that they gave me to work with. Ah! To work on a Mac all day! I can’t wait! Hmmm, I wonder what our IT director will say?

Editing your tech life

I’m in the process of changing email addresses. I’ve had my old one for so many years that I really didn’t realize what a pain it is to change! It’s worse than moving. When you move you know who you need to notify – everyone who sends you something in the mail needs to know where to send something the next time. And the post office will help by forwarding your mail for a period of time so you don’t miss anything.

When you change your email address sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know. Does my bank have my email address or not? I don’t remember. They don’t email me, but you never know if some day they might want to. And my frequent flier company. Oh damn, what about my credit card company? Maybe I don’t want them to know. I’m sure someone somewhere will fall off my list and will never contact me again. Which can be a good thing too. How to lose an old boyfriend – oops! forgot to let him know that my email address has changed.

The good thing about this is that I should stop getting really annoying spam, at least in the short term. I did a stupid thing and gave out my one and only email address to shopping websites and that’s when the spam started. I should have made aliases that I could easily kill, just for shopping. Now I know better.

My new email is with gmail. I’m giving Google a go. Gmail and Blogger. Let’s see what Google can do for me for free what I was paying $99 a year for on .mac. I’ll write soon with a gmail review once I’ve been using it for a little while. So far, so good.