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Miro September 3, 2007

Posted by Tom in new world, OS X, Portuguese lousy communications companies, Techstuff.
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Get Miro

Miro is the best Internet video player I have found.

This really replaces the TV. I’ve tried Joost or Joust or whatever it was called and it was lots of fancy graphics with no content.

This fantastic app finds free video on the web as well as any video you have on your system and allows you to watch it all from one place. What is even better, is that it downloads video in the background then keeps it for as long as you want (default 5 days) then deletes it (if you want). This ensures you don’t miss great stuff and your hard drive doesn’t get too full.

One drawback is series… I suppose we’ll have to keep on torrenting until Apple or some other media company gets its act together and allows us to buy online. I say this as we have such busy lives and really DON’T have time to be watching TV at fixed times or setting up digital recorders to be doing this for us.

On a side note… I can’t wait till the ridiculous 12 month loyalty scheme I had to sign up to (to get my internet working) of Television is up.

I thoroughly recommend this application.

As the developers of Miro say…

free video!

Excellence beats numbers – VAIO LS vs. iMac August 27, 2007

Posted by Tom in Apple, OS X, Techstuff, VAIO.

There area number of people who ask me why I use a Mac. Now to those readers who use a Mac and who are Stateside or possibly residing in some countries in North Europe this may be something that they don’t hear very often anymore. However here in Portugal, Mac is only just beginning to be noticed by a few savvy users (beyond the hardcore user base).

I am writing this post for those people who ask me the dreaded question. So let’s begin:

Sony have just released a beautiful machine. It’s called the VAIO Living System or less science-fictiony and less appealingly LS or All-in-one (like the cheap printers you can get your hands on nowadays).

Vaio LS All-in-one overall

This is what it looks like.

Pretty nice. In fact– Very nice. I would buy this if had the cash spare ($1,799 or approx. €1320)…

Vaio LS Keyboard

Even the Keyboard looks quite innovative and is fairly thin.

The mouse is nothing to write home about (regular slightly “designed” mouse).

All this looks very good until you compare it with Apple’s latest desktop consumer offering:

iMac OverallThe iMac.

Granted, from the front there isn’t much in it. They both look pretty sleek.

The problems for the VAIO appear when you start looking in 3D and looking closer:

VAIO LS Profile

This is the VAIO’s profile.

iMac profile

This is the iMac’s.

Enough said.

Incredibly this is what the profile of the iMac’s wired keyboard looks like:

iMac Keyboard profile

Now that is impressive design.

I could go on and do lots of other comparisons, chipset, size of hard-drive, blu-ray (this is all but completely irrelevant in Portugal as things stand), but there are plenty of sites that have reviewed both machines (or there will be soon enough) and as I said earlier, I like the Sony. But it is no match for Apple.

Unfortunately Apple don’t make TV’s, though the screens they make on their iMacs are larger and higher definition than this.

Sony’s plus point is the fact that you can plug in your antenna and other TV peripherals:

VAIO Antenna

Which makes it a nice sitting room TV screen…

I have come to find myself watching less and less TV as more of my time is taken up with my family and hobbies, so the TV side doesn’t grab me either.

The worst sales point has got to be Windows Vista.

I use both Windows and OS X at home and was a Windows only user for many years (DOS to Windows Me(that was a disastrous OS that I quickly uninstalled)), I now have XP on a partition on my Mac and don’t like using any virtual system as I feel it ruins the Mac OS to have it there. (In MY mind it feels like running an Opel Corsa Engine when my Bentley doesn’t like the road, only I can’t switch the Corsa off, whereas a separate boot switches off the Mac and lets Windows work for a while). Anyway back to point in hand…

I find OS X cleaner and easier to use. Everything is where it should be. If you change the way the machine connects to the Internet, that’s it, all you have to do. From my Windows experience, there is always some bloody checkbox that is hidden in the advanced features of IE that you have to tick or a properties box that you need to find and change something in after you’ve done what you believe to be the hard work.

I used to enjoy doing those things as I got a sense of achievement. “Aren’t I clever I know how to do x y or z and it took 45 minutes?”

Computers should not be like that for the user. You should be able to make a great piece of work and show it to someone and say look at this, I did this (and quietly add on my Mac) hoping that not too many hear and say

“But that’s easy on a Mac!”

To make this point clear I have two more quick screen grabs from the competing hardware manufacturers’ sites:

VAIO needs this?

And the Mac…


The main difference… simplicity.

Arguing operating systems. June 26, 2007

Posted by Tom in Apple, OS X, Techstuff.
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I recently had a discussion with someone about why they continued to use Windows. It felt like they were trying to justify their choice of operating system to me.

I continue to be amazed by the effect of “I’m right”.

When is it that people will swallow their pride and understand that the OS they have chosen may not be the right one?

In the discussion I was told that comparing Apple to Windows was like two people discussing their favourite football teams. This could be said to be true if they were comparing Manchester United or Real Madrid with Aguias de Musgeira.

My point being that if one grew up supporting Aguias and you had never seen another team from the big leagues play you might well think that Aguias was the best team ever. You would probably argue it to death.
Sadly if you know that there are better teams out there and keep believing your team is best you will try and justify your support. (Oh I live round the corner, my brother plays for them, my family has always supported them, everyone in the neighbourhood supports them, the tickets are cheaper than Man Utd etc etc).
So when it comes down to it we can see that it is really only worth discussing these things with people that understand technology and Operating systems and their possible benefits.
For the record I have an iMac with both OS X and Windows on it. I leave it up to you to work out on which operating system I blog, read my email, surf the web, word process, do my family photos and videos, create web pages etc and which one I use for occasional pages that have been made by slack web designers.

Safari on Windows June 11, 2007

Posted by Tom in Apple, OS X, Techstuff, wordpress on safari.
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Well this is my first post using Safari on Windows… I hope it’s the first ever on wordpress! Anyway, this is great news for us Mac users who are stuck using windows at work. I can now happily go online in my native environment (at least slightly native).
Interestingly the interface on wordpress is similar to Firefox in Mac (as in there are two tabs when writing a new post however the visual tab is extremely flakey ). I am running Parallels 2 with Windows XP. I normally only ever open Windows for sites that only work in Windows (curse those idiot webmasters). So I don’t know how much use this will get at home. All the same, any Apple product that removes me a little from Windows harshness is is welcome.
 Wordpress safari on windows 
There appear to be many unhappy with Apple’s WWDC announcements. I think SJ is doing the right thing by removing hardware announcements from these conferences. They just served to build up expectations for new machines.. and hence denting sales in the run up to conferences.My exam went ok. I am happy it’s over especially as now I can blog to my heart’s desire. What’s more, I celebrated with a caipirinha :-)
 ps the link feature in the visual tab didn’t work, nor did the breaks .. what’s worse is returning to edit mode automatically chooses the visual tab which removes all the breaks etc….
edit : Yikes.. stupidly added safari Beta 3 to my mac and same problems are occurring there. (when will I learn?)

Looking out of Windows at Tigers May 23, 2007

Posted by Tom in OS X, Techstuff.
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Tiger comes through window
I’ve just done a quick tag surf and found this link.
I just had to share this.
I love computers and their OS’s.
I was a Windows fan for many years and this article holds true for me.
At work I suffer Windows.
At home I revel in OS X :-)

GrandPerspective May 4, 2007

Posted by Tom in Apple, Mac software, OS X.
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This is a great piece of software that allows you to see your hard drive and where all your precious GBs are being used up. I can see from my hard drive that I really need to get rid of some Simpsons and Futurama episodes (which I watch while exercising.) I know you can find this data by trawling through the hard drive, it just seems this is much quicker and easier.

GPS and Mac May 3, 2007

Posted by Tom in Apple, geocaching, OS X, Techstuff.
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I am a little upset to find that no mainstream company provides a solution for Mac users. I find it incredible that so many software and hardware manufacturers ignore this segment of the market. The Mac market will grow and users of Mac generally don’t switch back to Windows (if indeed they ever came from there), so I am not too sure what the problem is with providing us with a solution. Maybe they all have unenlightened managers.

Sim City 4 Rush Hour Universal Beta? April 29, 2007

Posted by Tom in computer games, OS X, OS X Games, tech news, Uncategorized.
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This post is repeated in the software section
Aspyr have recently released a universal Binary for Sim City 4 Rush Hour for Intel Macs. They say it still is not supported. Strangely I have been Playing this (albeit occasionally) on my Intel imac for months now. The only thing wrong with it (prior to the patch) was some redrawing issues.
see here for later post on this subject

10.4.9 hurt my Mac April 27, 2007

Posted by Tom in Apple, OS X.

Since I did the software update to OS 10.4.9 my Mac has never been the same. I can no longer print from any program other than Safari ( or at least any other I have tried) and it would seem that new programs will not load. Looks like I am getting ready for an archive and install of 10.4.8. The question is, do I invest in a nice new hard drive and back up everything and start a fresh, or do i risk wasting a lot of time “faffing” around to find my fix doesn’t work.