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The Daily Whim

The Daily Whim

Fri. Apr 22, 2011

We Know Where Your Are, Because You Tell Us Contantly

It was recently discovered that iPhones and iPads track your location (or perhaps, the locations of cell towers & wifi points near you, to split hairs), and store it in a file that is backed up to your computer upon syncing. This generated much tut-tutting and fretting about the potential danger of that (i.e., none, unless someone takes possession of your phone and/or computer, and then you likely have other problems).

... » Full Article, 200 words »

Mon. Sep 01, 2008

My 50th Anniversary iPhone

I know you’re thinking, “how can a phone that is barely a year old have a 50th anniversary edition?” Please re-read the title closely. It is my 50th anniversary on this planet (or, it will be in a few weeks), so I bought myself an iPhone. I think I was about the 6 millionth person to buy an iPhone 3G, so it’s not exactly like I have “breaking news” for you. But I thought I’d offer up my impressions just the same, pro and con, as well as the applications I’m using so far.

» Read the Full Article (1775 words) »

Wed. Dec 19, 2007

Random MacBook Observations

I got a new black MacBook last week. However, this will not be one of those photo tours of the first unboxing and ritual bowing before the new Apple product. Heck, I’ve owned it five days and have yet to take one photo of it.

I am not one of those MacPeople.

You know, the ones who believe Apple can do no wrong … until they slightly change the appearance of the Dock or Menubar in Leopard, and then, well, you’d think The End Is Near.

... » Full Article, 1032 words »

Wed. Apr 25, 2007

My Essential Software, 2007

It’s been a month shy of three years since I wrote “My Essential Software.” Much has changed since then, both in my life and in the world of software. And the process of setting up a new computer seems a perfect time to update the list of software that matters most to me. In fact, let’s go through this in the actual order that I loaded them on the new computer, as that’s the true definition of what’s “essential.”

» Read the Full Article (3222 words) »

Mon. Apr 16, 2007

Not Your Daddy's Dell, No Vista In View

At the very end of a long rant I’ll link below, Walter Mossberg says “The first day of owning an expensive new gadget should be a pleasure, not a hassle.” Indeed, Reid said with a satisfied smile. While I’ve had my new baby (see How Reid Buys a New PC) for over a week now, first I was out of town several days, and then otherwise too busy using it productively to blog. Yes, I said that. Blogging does not equal productive.

That’s also why I haven’t yet written my promised update to the three year old “My Essential Software,” since loading a new computer is a textbook run through of what’s essential, i.e., what gets loaded first. As opposed to what still isn’t loaded (“Printer drivers? Who needs’ em, we live in a paperless society now! With flying cars!”).

But my article about how to buy a Dell without Vista is already garnering hits from people searching that for just that phrase. That and my experience buying this PC sort of ties in to a recent article about what often comes loaded on them, as well as the reported slowness of Vista boot times. And my comparison has been fairly strikingly different.

» Read the Full Article (1236 words) »

Wed. Apr 04, 2007

How Reid Buys a New PC

The title above was chosen carefully. This is not an attempt to tell you how or where you should buy your next PC. And to squelch the “Get a Mac” cliche before it happens, um, I already have (and a MacBook will be my next computer purchase). This is not an invitation to rekindle any hardware or software related Holy Wars. This is just to offer up where and how I configure and buy a PC, in hopes someone might find three or four words of it useful.

» Read the Full Article (1309 words) »

Wed. Sep 13, 2006

Just Another Jerker

For a couple of years now, I’ve had my eye out for a new computer desk, and my eye has found no purchase. And, apparently, for quite some time, The Jerker Desk from IKEA has been quite popular. However, until a month or so ago, it was new to me.

But not anymore. After barely surviving “the IKEA Experience,” now, We Are One.

» Read the Full Article (1409 words) »

Thu. Jan 19, 2006

A Decade Ago

A decade ago today, Jan. 19, 1996, I opened the box that contained my first computer.

It was a Micron PC with a 100mhz Pentium 1 processor. It standardly came with eight megabytes of RAM, but I’d spent an extra $320 to upgrade it to 16MB (in those days, 256MB of RAM would cost you ten grand at $40 per MB). The contents of the 850MB hard drive could today be fit into the RAM of my current computer, with room left over to run the OS.

... » Full Article, 463 words »

Mon. Aug 08, 2005

The First Mini Week

I’ve had my Mac Mini for a bit over a week now, and have so far used it for the things I initially thought I would. Of course, I got my first PC nearly a decade ago expecting to use it to surf the Net and play Doom. But it quickly became a tool for much more than that. I’m sure this will also be true with the Mac.

... » Full Article, 981 words »

Mon. Aug 01, 2005

Mac Mini Makes Multi-Monitor Madness

It started nearly a decade ago, with one 15 inch monitor. When I turned it on, Windows 95 appeared (In hindsight, it was probably best served small). Soon it became Windows 98, and a dual monitor setup (a new 17 inch next to the old 15 inch), to better accommodate apps like Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Fireworks, etc. that have lots of palettes that eat up screen space. The palettes all went onto the second monitor, and my productivity went up.

Eventually, it became a 19 inch monitor with a 17 inch by its right side running Windows XP, and the old 15 inch moved to the left, hooked up to an AVermedia TV Box 9. Though it appeared slightly insane, and I called it “Multi-Monitor Madness� at the time … well, it’s gotten worse. Not just because I replaced the decade old 15 inch CRT with a 17 inch LCD. But because last week, I got a Mac Mini.

And the result is so wicked cool. Three monitors, two operating systems, and one mouse to rule them all.

» Read the Full Article (1899 words) »

Tue. Apr 12, 2005

Minor Geek Satisfaction

I’m sitting here smiling at a taskbar full of open programs. Two windows of Firefox (26 tabs, total), one of IE6, one Windows Explorer window, two Dreamweaver windows, NoteTab Pro, Time Tracker (yes, the meter’s runnin’), plus Fireworks, and Photoshop. Oh, yeah, and iTunes is crankin’ “Slither” by Velvet Revolver.

... » Full Article, 79 words »

Sun. Apr 03, 2005

A Tale of Two 'Puters

I’m such a prophet. At least, on this very local and low level scale. Because last week the above came true, when a Big Brown Elf delivered a surprisingly small box containing said unit. Susan is so pleased with it that I haven’t yet been allowed to install Photoshop and Dreamweaver on it, as it’s been … occupied. But that’s OK, I’ve got a new ‘puter of my own.

... » Full Article, 999 words »

Thu. Dec 02, 2004

A Dell Success Story

So many times I’ve read complaints about various computer companies, the quality of their product, or their tech support. Of course, we are more likely to be vocal when we feel we’ve been wronged. But since I’ve read quite a few “horror stories” about Dell tech support, I thought it would be good to show the other side.

... » Full Article, 472 words »

Mon. Aug 18, 2003

Patch and Pray

Patch and Pray – Given the recent debacle of the LovSan Worm attacking Windows XP systems that hadn’t been updated in the previous 6 weeks, this article seems most pertinent: “Patching no longer works. Partly, it’s a volume problem. There are simply too many vulnerabilities requiring too many combinations of patches coming too fast. Picture Lucy and Ethel in the chocolate factory – just take out the humor.”

... » Full Article, 411 words »

Thu. Aug 14, 2003

Worms in the System

Worms in the System – You’ve probably heard about the worm, maybe even been hit by it (here’s some good directions for removal). Here at Bunker PD we’re protected by a dumb router that bounced the smart worm away, but that doesn’t mean I was unaffected by it. And that’s why I can state this particular part of this story is at least partially false.

... » Full Article, 530 words »

Wed. Mar 26, 2003

Did You Swap My OS?

Did You Swap My OS? – Something’s wrong with my computer. It appears to still be running some variant of Windows … yet I have not had a program crash or reboot in almost 11 days.

Maybe I’ve got a virus.

... » Full Article, 38 words »

Sat. Oct 26, 2002

Logitech Digital Pen

Logitech Digital Pen – This a way cool. I’ve had many discussions with people about Palm Pilots versus paper ”day planners,” and a lot of people simply require that ability to quickly ”jot,” on a post-it note, in a margin, etc, whether it’s a phone number or directions. The things that aren’t really conducive to a Palm Pilot for most people (those not fluent in Graffitti, Palm’s handwriting).

... » Full Article, 153 words »

Sun. Oct 06, 2002

Ode to the Tilde

Ode to the Tilde"In fact, Jukka has written a lengthy treatise on why the tilde should not be used in URLs, a treatise which, I feel obliged to point out, contains a tilde in its URL."

"Clearly, the tilde is underappreciated."

... » Full Article, 46 words »

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