June 26, 2002

Windows to Mac OS X keystroke conversions

Terrie Miller offers former Windows users tips to using Mac OS X. This is the type of resouce I have been looking for, and I know there are many others out there looking for the same thing. I have asked and in turn have answered some of these keyboard and keystroke questions. The keystrokes took a little adjusting to, but nothing that a couple hours of retraining muscle memory could not cure.
June 25, 2002

Not really a fire drill

How to not instill confidence, have the fire alarm in your apartment building twice this morning (while trying to get ready) and now twice this evening. No apearant smoke, building maintenance is unconcerned, no fire trucks arrive, but nobody knows why the fire alarm keeps going off. Hmmm, good night sleep? Not really likely.

Digital Web needs your help

Are you looking for a great project to volunteer your time? Digital Web Magazine is still looking for people with the following skills to help with the redesign and weekly publication:

Facets through discussion

Christina and Karl explain facets providing a broad overview. Understanding facets is one of the best steps you can take to understanding information structures and how to approach them.
June 22, 2002

MacUpgrades and Macally optical mouse

I stopped by my local and independantly owned Mac store, MacUpgrades here in Bethesda. I had been thinking about a mouse for my TiBook as I am beginning to change my graphics software from Windows to Mac. Mac Upgrades has very knowledgeable staff and is a great small store and repair shop. I found a great Kensington pocket optical USB mouse with a retractable cord.
June 19, 2002

Content Inventory from a master

Jeffery Veen provides doing a content inventory (or a mind-numbingly detailed odessey through your Web site) over at Adaptive Path. The article comes with an Excel template to get you started. Keep in mind this is a painful task, but one that will reap incredible rewards.

Internet more serious

The Washington Post provides the Internet gets serious article today. The article discusses security and copyright issues that have pulled back on the fun. I do not qutie agree that security has to limit fun, it has put a damper on what can be done on the Windows side of the world (a poor framework for the operating system is part of the problem here). The copyright issue does put a lid on fun, as in many cases it really limits picking up on ideas and extending them. Much of this problem falls at the feet of law makers who have set rules in place that were not well thought through from the perspective of information use. The article gets kudos for bringing up Lawrence Lessig's Creative Commons project.
June 18, 2002

Music info from Shazam

Very cool ideas are still bubbling up. In the UK Shazam is offered for mobile phones. The idea is to dial a number, let it record 20 seconds of a song, and Shazam will send a text message back to your phone with the name of the song and the artist.
June 17, 2002

Morons drive

It is all about perspective, I was driving Joy's truck to and from work last week rather than my car. I could see quite a bit farther down the road than in my car. I continually wonder what causes traffic delays. Now I have a better idea. It seems like it is somewhat normal to make a left hand turn from the right lane across three lanes of rush hour traffic (two times in five days), stopping at a corner on the right to let out a passenger, which blocks the left lane and the right lane is turning right leaving no lanes to drive forward then turning right onto the quiet street (seven times in five days), a bus stopping in traffic because somebody is parked in the bus only zone (five times in five days), or having an FBI investigation truck blocking one lane after somebody stole an armoured car and promtly ran it into a tree (once in five days). I am still not sure ignorance is bliss, but I do know there are some f-ing morons driving that are insanely self-absorbed.

Librarys desire distributing electronic books

On the train in this morning I read the NYTimes article librarians fighting for digital books and copyright free content. Electronic content that is easily available is a great way to access books and information. One of the first things I looked of on the Internet in 1992/1993 was the Magna Carta. I remember that I found it through a set of Gopher links. I though this Internet thing was going to be amazing. It is in many ways, but there are folks out their with poor minds that keep them from seeing the posibilities of the future.

Electronic books are a great find and a seemingly excellent use of public libraries. Being that I read this article from an AvantGo NYTimes download (yes, synched off Windows as I am still waiting from the Mac OS X version or a competitor) of the frontpage, business, and technology news. I have read three or four short books on my Palm during commute time. Now that monitors and software are improving reading on a personal computer much easier. Libraries are on the right track. Bless them.

June 14, 2002

Break Bread with Brad Brunch

This past Saturday I had a wonderful time at the Break Bread with Brad Brunch in DC. I met some great folks and got to see Mike and Dineen (whom I only tend to see in when I travel) and now that Brad has posted photos and links I really can tie the faces and names (and URLs). I will post the few photos I have in a day or so. I deeply appreciate Brad putting this together.

Break Bread with Brad Brunch

This past Saturday I had a wonderful time at the Break Bread with Brad Brunch in DC. I met some great folks and got to see Mike and Dineen (whom I only tend to see in when I travel) and now that Brad has posted photos and links I really can tie the faces and names (and URLs). I will post the few photos I have in a day or so. I deeply appreciate Brad putting this together.

Smart Media reader for OS X

I finally have a good USB Smart Media reader that works with Mac OS X, the Imation FlashGO does the job and gives the option for other media and is rather compact, which means it is a perfect for the TiBook. Now that I have an easy way to get photos into the TiBook it is time to switch PhotoShop from Windows to Mac. (My previous reader, ZIO, would only function properly on Mac OS9. They had an OS X driver but it never worked. It had worse problems on Windows XP for a while, as it would shut the system down when the USB device was being plugged in. It took two driver updates to fix that.
June 12, 2002

Paris France design in CommArts

I enjoyed the CommArts Design Interact article on Paris France. One of the pull quotes is very close to one that I continually use around meeting tables at the organizations I work for, "The Internet site or Intranet site is not about or for anybody around this table, it is not for anybody we can reach out and touch, it is for those folks we can not touch and walk through the site or application. This is why we build this site and or application, it is to be used by those we can see or touch. Knowing this we must focus building things in a manner that the user will understand, because we can not explain how we think to guide them so we must understand how they think." This article also provides some great visuals along with the wonderful read.

Mac is great

Jason discusses his Windows to Mac conversion and the Apple switch campaign. At nearly every turn I have found friends, who I consider peers switching to Mac. I was in California recently for a meeting and of the 12 of us there 7 or 8 of us had our Mac laptops and were using them with great ease. The ratio among the technically adept and advanced and the creative users are hitting highs. Those that have always seemed to be on the leading edge and understand techical solutions are all joining the switch to Mac. Mac lacks the swiss-cheese-security of Windows, which is another fantastic advantage.

One of my biggest stumbling blocks with my switch to Mac has been its ease of use. When I loaded MS Office X it was done in four minutes or so and I had only answered two or three questions. Being a Windows user since 1992 (having left a company that used Macs, PCs, and dumb terminals I lost contact with Mac on a daily basis) I had been patterned to expect long painful loads of software that had a lot of questions. I had thought the Office install crashed, I started my usual Windows cursing patterns (because that is the relationship one learns from Windows and I now see that with friends and family that have not joined the smart side of the world), but I clicked Word and it worked and then click PowerPoint and it worked too. I had learned lesson with Mac, things are easier and just work, even Microsoft products can just work (Office X on the Mac is my favorite version of Office to date and Entourage is my favorite PIM (which I did not think anything would ever surpass or equal Lotus Organizer (user since 1993) and e-mail client . Who knew? At SXSW I had a relapse with my ease of use issues when I was trying to get a wireless network link. I knew I was trying to hit a wireless hub that was non-Apple (the Airport setup here at home was a 15 minute setup including tying down the security settings) and that should mean arcane practices again. I tried entering user names and passwords on WiFi connections that had full signals that I had just clicked on from my dropdown list of "available" access points (stop laughing). Yes, it was that simple and it was already working and the Mac just worked again. I happened to be sitting next to a Windows user who could not get it to just work and I was following her lead and picked up her frustration (she is very technically adept by the way). When I figured out I my connection was working all along I tried helping her, but not wanting to mess up a setting under a poorly labelled tab I surrendered. I came away a happy computer user and she a willing Mac convert because Mac just works.

On the business side of my life I have found very little I really can not do. I have found very little I can not do better than before. I still use my PC for some things, surfing the Internet while I eat (don't want to sully my TiBook with breadcrumbs as I have respect for it) and playing some games (my TiBook is now my work machine and audio/visual entertainment machine) as I have not bought a joystick for my Mac.

Now a moment to exude the pleasure of the TiBook. On my recent trip out West I was able to be on the Mac nearly the whole trip (MS Office, OmniOutline, OmniGraffle, and iTunes) nearly the whole trip (more than 5 hours in total). On the first leg, Baltimore to Denver, a flight attendend stopped and knelt next to me as we were nearing Denver (knew what was coming, the "you really need to shut down your computer" stern warning) and was asked what type of computer I was using as I had been working nearly the whole flight, I had the thinest computer on the plane, and had the most wonderful screen on a flight with about a third of the travellers using their laptops. I explained it was an Apple, which the flight attendant stated "you Apple people are all fanatics", to which I explained this was my first Apple I ever owned and I really could not consider it to have an operating system because operating systems cause headaches (being a UNIX developer has had its frustrations at times too) and this computer did not. The attendant said he would maybe think about a Mac. Then all the Dell, Toshiba, and HP laptop users sitting around me started asking questions and giving me their frustrations. The Windows users wanted to know how their Windows business and technical work would port over, for the most part I had already done what they were asking and I could show them because I still had 2 hours left in battery.

Adobe cross platform upgrade is key to Mac

On my way home from a day long meeting I stopped in an Apple store (they are like magnets). I had to ask about an upgrade to Adobe Photoshop. My issue is I have a current Windows Photoshop 6 application. I really want Photoshop on my Mac and really do not care to much to upgrade my PC version. The key is Photoshop 7 cross platform upgrade. It seem the cross platform term is the key to all my issues and having the capabilities of fully jumping to Mac with out having to pay full price for all the software (well Office I did pay full price, go figure). I have had registration and upgrade "issues" with Adobe in the past, but this time it seems I may find no long struggle. Yeah!!!
June 8, 2002

The story of food in a few scentances from Trader Joes

I know I am slow to catch things, but I just noticed the great stories that describe poducts in the Trader Joe's Fearless Flyer are quite similar J Peterman approach. The product descriptions form small stories that add character to the product. The J Peterman catalog was wonderful in their approach to selling their counterfeit mailbag, Key West hat, and other products. The Key West hat is a long billed baseball hat that through the story this odd hat gained an aura of Hemmingway and a mystique. Trader Joes does a similar thing with their food and health products. It is a wonderful touch to quality foods they offer.

XP Home does not allow moving about the mome with Mira

More problems for Microsoft XP Home, it will not work with Mira. Mira is the tablet based operating system MS has been touting that could free users from a stationary desktop machine. The advantages of this are great for businesses and home. In the home Mira has been touted as being a recipe book, a TV guide with remote, and other helpful items around the house all in one "portable" casing. It is a tablet PC. If MS is pushing toward the home environment they had better fix their OS for the Home. Currently the XP Home does not play nice with static IP DSL and older Windows operating systems and does not have the simple and basic standard networking protocol (Samba) to talk with non-Windows machines to easily share files and print services. Step up to XP Pro and you have the basic needs that most home environments need. If you want to run a small office network you are best off using XP Pro. If you want to do much other than share an Internet connection on a Home network buy XP Pro. Now if you want to use any innovative product MS is producing you need to buy XP Pro. Or you could buy an Apple and leave the mediocre software behind.

By the way, MS still not offering an upgrade from XP Home to XP Pro for the price difference between the products. The e-mail contact information on the Microsoft site for sales and upgrade support, does not go to the proper division, you have to call an 800 number that does not pick-up in less than 45 minutes (I give up at 45 minutes and have 5 times now). The price difference between the two products is $100, the price Microsoft wants you to pay is $200. Now to use Mira, to have Microsoft take you where you want to go, and you have XP Home you can pay double the price of the price difference Microsoft set, which is illegal in most states as a bait-and-switch marketing tactic, particularly since the first few rounds of MS marketing materials made no mention what Home was missing, as they do now.

June 7, 2002

Windows to Mac OS X

So you too are considering making your next personal computer an Apple Macintosh with Mac OS X? Mac vs PC offers insights into why others have moved from Microsoft Windows to Mac.

On a similar note I have been looking for resources for folks that are moving from Windows to Mac OS X. I have not found a great amount that take this on. There are resources that are spread around the Web, which can be overcome with a blog or a metablog (think IASlash a small community of posters) or a larger site with resources. Let me know if you have pointers.

IIS on XP Home

Those who have XP Home and want to run IIS (perhaps to build and test ASP) should read 15 seconds IIS on XP Home hack. This is an inexpensive solution to Microsoft not stating anywhere in their marketing materials for XP Home, or in their early tech papers, there is no official way to run an IIS server on the box.

OS X with Moz and Silk

I agree with Damien that Mozilla 1.0 for OS X and Silk (thanks to Brad for his tip in the comments on Moz 1 regarding Silk) is a great browser combination. Silk also helps reading in other on the TiBook when I have the screen turned low to save battery. Silk is similar to Microsofts Clear Type, but with out the fuzz factor, at least on a laptop.
June 4, 2002

OS X Updates

Good news on the OS X front. Yesterday Microsoft updated Office X for OS X, which is a great improvement on my favorite version of Office and Word on any OS platform. The new Office really flies and is quite responsive. Today Mac OS X 10.1.5 released with a few patches that seem to have increased responsiveness also. It has been a couple nice days. Now I get back to writing.
June 3, 2002

PowerPoint War

A PowerPoint battle has been put forth between Michael Sippey and Leslie Harpold. The rules have been laid down and there is more info available. If you do not have a method of viewing PowerPoint you are missing out on the greatest tool of mediocrity. I love what I do because of my distance from PowerPoint on a daily basis. Anyhow, this should be great.
June 2, 2002

Monthly update

The beginning of a new month usually means a few changes here at vanderwal.net. Each month I tweak the site slightly. One of the elements that you will notice is opening a new full window from the comments links. This helps me and I hope it helps you. I will be providing more options to you so you can make the choice what you want to do, but not this month.

Things may be a little quiet here for a few days or more due to the need to get some things done. If I am posting normally or more than normally I must be ahead of scedule.

June 1, 2002

Lighting summer

To me summer begins on the first warm humid evening when you see the first firefly of the season. Tonight summer began. Not only did we see our first firefly, but we gave one a ride for a few miles on the windshield wiper. Every now and then the firefly would light up to let us know it was still there. Ah, summer.

Success lost in the translation

Problems of information use are high-lighted in NY Times Op/Ed "Lost in Translation at the F.B.I.", which to me is a horrifying look at the lack of understanding of what information gathering and analysing skill are needed to do the job.

Cities of Ideas

Today's New York Times provides Creative Cities and Their New Elite, which theorizes that cities with higher than normal gay and bohemian populations are fertile grounds for economic sustainability, innovation, and technical growth. There seems to be a strong correlation between open accepting environments that recognize the importance of creativity and intelligence and the other measures of successful city cores that are economically viable. The article focuses on Robert Florida's "The Rise of the Creative Class: And How It's Transforming Work, Leisure, Community and Everyday Life", which fully fleshes out these discussions. The Austin American-Statesman expounds on the Cities of Ideas in their series. The core of growth is based on knowledge and ideas that provide the fuel for the local economy. The precept seems to account for the cities I truly enjoy, including Amsterdam and Paris.

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