The New iPad

Oh yes! It has been a while since I last updated this blog. And today I’m testing out the WordPress app on my new iPad. Double hooray!

Truth be told, I’m one of the few (or maybe there is more than a few of us) that have been quite contented with the generation 1 iPad. In fact, I was so comfortable with it that I could not really justify upgrading to iPad 2 when it was released a year ago. However, as time went on (and I’m not sure if I’m alone at this) I realized that my iPad 1 was getting more and more sluggish. I suspect that it has to do with apps being designed or upgraded to with a higher processor in mind? Anyway, by the time the new iPad was released, I had decided that I would do the upgrade.

On hindsight, simply put, for iPad 1 users, this is a no-brainer. Especially if you are like me and use the iPad on a daily basis. Also, why put yourself through the torture? If you are a tech geek, you know that the new iPad is what everyone will be talking about for weeks or even months until at least September when all attention goes onto the new Apple device release. Can you even fathom an escape plan to avoid all the new iPad advertisement which are simply everywhere?

Bite the bullet…..order your new iPad today….

Case in point:

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And many more……

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Entering into the world of iMac

February 19, 2012 Leave a comment

8.35am on a Sunday morning. I’m up and fooling around with my new toy: iMac.

Having been a PC user all my life, I must admit that the Mac OS X interface took some getting used too. However, any concerns I had were easily addressed after an hour of flipping through “Mac OS for dummies” and surfing the web for specific information that I needed. Looking back, I must say that Mac OS user experience is truly intuitive and if I were a Mac User going on to Windows, it might not have been so easy for me.  #justsaying

This iMac came to me by chance as a 4th generation hand me down. If I’m not wrong, it is 4/5 years old (2007) and was resold as a refurbished unit. Since then it has changed hands at least 2 more times before the “last” owner finally released it to my custody. Reason: He wanted to buy a faster machine more suitable for coding….okay so I figured….what the heck! Its free, ain’t it? Let me take it over, fool around with the Mac OS and find out what the fuss is all about. I must say….LUCKY LUCKY ME!

The first thing I realized when I placed it on my table was….damn…doesn’t the iMac make my trusted PC look rather shoddy. Like an excited child during christmas, I plugged in the power cord and the iMac purred to life. I didn’t really know how to operate a Mac so I deftly clicked on any button I could find and quickly realised that the Mac was *gasps* indeed rather laggy. I was a tad bit disappointed but being a seasoned PC user, accustomed to Window’s legendary lagginess, I would say that I was not completely unfazed by the whole experience. Further checking of the specs proved my suspicion that the iMac was indeed running on, what I would consider, rather modest hardware, namely: 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 duo processor, 1GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM, 250GB drive.

Okay, Operation “save the iMac” starts. Here goes:

I plugged in the Mac OS X CD and proceeded to do a complete  reformat and reinstall of Snow Leopard. It took about 45 minutes and when I was done, the iMac blared to LIFE. No issues with drivers whatsoever…and the computer started running noticeably faster.

Next up, I did a little more research and then went out to buy a 2GB RAM (since this iMac tops at 3GB). The RAM cost me about SGD 45 dollars. Good price for a completely free iMac. Yup, I’m not complaining. 😀

After turning my iMac upside down, I finally managed to find the right place to insert the RAM. I am not the most careful person when it comes to hardware so I had my fingers crossed when I proceeded to switch the Mac back on. iMac proves itself to be idiot proof! The Mac correctly registered the new memory as 3GB. I gleefully started downloading more apps from the Mac App store.

Since then, I’ve went out to invest in the Magic touchpad. It cost me SGD 90 dollars but I’m so in love with it. Totally worth it. Upgrading from Snow Leopard to Lion would help me make better use of my trackpad and I considered the option for a while but Apple has just announced the upcoming release of Mac OS X Mountain Lion in summer and since it seems like I can upgrade directly from Snow Leopard to this new platform, I guess I better wait.

I am a MAC convert 😀

Categories: iMac, Uncategorized

Removing Dead Links from iTunes

January 23, 2012 3 comments

Having duplicates or deadlinks in my iTunes is akin to having a little thorn in the flesh. It definitely won’t kill you and you probably can live with it but it sure is helluva annoying!

I’ve tried a couple of times to sort through my massive collection of tunes which I’ve painstakingly amassed over the last 20 years but I always gave up in the end. #Epic Fail. Bottom line: Without the proper methods, one would need an impressive amount of patience which as you probably know, I clearly do not have.

A couple of days ago, however, during one of my moments of idle surfing, I happen to chance upon a post which talked about using smart playlist in itunes to help remove deadlinks. Smart playlist?? Really??? I was a little sceptical at first but since the instructions looked rather straightforward (and I didn’t have much to do that night), I decided to give it a shot. And what can I say: Bloody hell!!! It WORKED!

So I’m going to put the general instructions in this blog post but also post a link to the original post to show just how appreciative I am of the great suggestions.

Note: I used Option 1 for no other reason then I got a little confused by the numerous updates that the author appended towards the end of the post. Go ahead and use Option 2 though….It should work fine.

Here we go:

Option 1 (Using 2 Smart Play List and 1 Static Playlist):

1. Make a smart playlist called “All Files” with this rule: “Artist” is not “123456789″ (or any nonsense name that won’t be in your library).

2. Make a static playlist called “All Live Files”.

3. Make a smart playlist called “Missing Files” with these rules: Match all of the following rules, Playlist is “All Files”, Playlist is not “All Live Files”

4. Select all the files from “All Files” and drag them into “All Live Files”. The dead files marked (!) will not copy over.

5. “Missing Files” will contain all of your dead files. Select all and delete. Voila, a nice clean iTunes library.

I have these three playlists in their own folder. Whenever I gather more than a couple dead tracks for whatever reason, I delete all the tracks in “All Live Files” and repeat steps 4 and 5.

Option 2  (Using 1 Smart Play List and 1 Static Playlist)

1) Make a static playlist called “All Live Files” and copy your entire library into it.
2) Make a smart playlist called “Missing Files” with the rules set as ” ‘Playlist’ ‘is’ ‘Music’ ” and another rule set as ” ‘Playlist’ ‘is not’ ‘All Live Files’ ”
3) As stated in your blog, the broken songs will not transfer and “Missing Files” will contain all those broken songs.

How to Delete a file from a playlist:

Windows: SHIFT + DEL
Mac: OPTION + DEL

Note: At the time of this writing, I haven’t found an easy way to get rid of duplicates. The rather time consuming way is still to use the “Show Duplicates” options provided by iTunes and then manually selecting and deleting those duplicates. Will update if I get anything.

 

Link to original post:  Paul Mayne

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Numlock issue at startup and ways to fix it

November 1, 2009 Leave a comment

I tried using my Acer Aspire 4920 the other day and was flabbergasted when I could not seem to log in. Damn! Did I change and then forget my new password after having been away for almost a month????

After minutes of trying and getting more frustrated by the minute (not to mention microsoft xp doing that account freeze/security measure thing), I finally realized that my numlock was turned on!! Basically that meant that I was typing in numbers instead of alphabets for my password which was clearly not my intention!!

Fine! I grumbled as I unhappily held onto the Fn key + F11 (to disable the numlock) and gained access to my computer. Lo and behold, that measure was only temporary and then I realize that I had to do this almost every time I start my my computer.

Being an extremely lazy person, that would have totally bugged me (if I had to repeat that step every single time) so here is what I did to fix the problem once and for all.

Go to Run and type “regedit” to fire up the Registry Editor
In the Registry Editor, search for HKEY_USERS
Under “.Default” folder, enter “Control Panel” then “Keyboard”

You will see on the right panel, a StringValue:InitialKeyboardIndicators.

Set the value as “0”.

Explanation of numbers:
0= Truns Off, Num Lock, Caps Lock, Scroll Lock
1= Turns On Caps Lock,
2= Turns ON Num Lock,
3= Turns On Caps Lock, and Num Lock
4= Turns ON Scroll Lock
5= Turns on Caps Lock, and Scroll Lock
6= Turns On Num Lock, and Scroll Lock
7= Turns On Caps Lock, Num Lock, and Scroll Lock

Mine was miraculously set at 2 so no surprises there.

Though I haven’t quite exactly figured out what it was I did that created this Numlock on Boot issue but at least the problem is gone for now.

Oh well…..till the next time. :B

Note: I think there are other solutions online that say you can also fix this problem at the BIOS level. Personally, I haven’t tried it but I think that the idea is similar. Just look out for the option that turns NumLock on Boot to OFF instead of ON. That should fix the problem.

Categories: Experience

Windows 7? When is it a good time?

August 19, 2009 Leave a comment

I was reading an article today and it was talking about the “right timing” to upgrade to Windows 7 (a topic which I mentioned briefly in my earlier post).

The author/expert on this topic covered several points and I’ll share the “glaring” ones that I remember.

Firstly, do the right thing and that is – when you buy a new laptop/PC, during this period of time, and if it comes with Vista, make sure that you also get a coupon that allows you the option to upgrade free of charge to Windows 7 (so you know that option is available for you at a later date, should you choose to do so).

Secondly, Windows 7 is built on the Vista platform so be prepared for it to be as “resource intensive” as Vista and based on what I’ve been reading, the experts are now recommending a minimum of 2GB memory to run Windows 7 at an acceptable level.

Despite the doomsday predictions and the currently lukewarm (if not cold) response from corporations holding off ANY plans to upgrade to Windows 7, the security experts openly acknowledge that Vista has indeed addressed many security issues that had so infamously plague the Windows OSes before. So thumbs up to the folks at Windows. Give credit where its due. 🙂

If you are on Windows XP, do note that currently there is no known straightforward way to upgrade from Windows XP directly to Windows 7 (but probably some smart person out there will come up with something sooner or later). But for now, it can only be done one of two ways: 
1) A clean install (so back up your data if you still want to keep them) or
2) A 2-throng approach. First upgrade from XP to Vista and then do another upgrade from Vista to Windows 7. 

Regardless, its important to be able to do this at one’s own pace instead of being “forced” to upgrade (which could happen if you hold off doing anything until its “way too late in the game”). So for those willing or even excited about Windows 7 and want to start doing some homework in terms of assessing whether your current machine will be able to run Windows 7 adequately, you can choose to download a Compatibility Test from Windows or from an independent 3rd party.

As Randall C.Kennedy from InfoWorld so amply put it: “You simply cannot count on Microsoft to provide an honest assessment of Windows system requirements. And as the “Vista Ready” experience has shown us, Microsoft’s vendor partners are no better.”
Read Randall C. Kennedy’s article here.

So I decided to use the one from InfoWorld  to get my “neutral” opinion on it. 🙂 Well, ….actually I already know that my computer will be compatible but I just wanted to try out the tool from InfoWorld  🙂 )
 
So here is a log of it.

  1. Sign up for a Windows Sentinel Account at InfoWorld
  2. Download and install the Windows Sentinel (also known as DMS Clarity Tracker Agent 6.08) from InfoWorld OR you can find it here.
  3. Download and install the Adobe Air Reader 1.5.2  here. (15.1MB)
  4. Download and install the Desktop Widgets from InfoWorld which gives you 5 tools as follows.
    1. Your Overall Performance
    2. Your Process Performance
    3. Your Network Performance
    4. Your Performance Alerts
    5. Your Compatibility Alerts.

Note 1: You need to do Step 3 before Step 4 as you’ll need Adobe Air Reader to help you install the desktop widgets.
Note 2: You can repeat Step 2 for up to 3 windows-based PC because up to 3 systems can be monitored per user account.
Note 3: When you install the DMS Clarity Tracker Agent, you’ll be asked to configure it. Simply fill in the customer ID that you obtained from InfoWorld or exo.performance.network
indicated in screenshot below. (I just left the proxy stuff blank)

configure

After approximately one hour – and roughly once each hour after that – the Tracker Agent will upload the data it has collected to the repository site at which time it will become available to the widget. You’ll know that the data has arrived when you see the tracked system’s NetBIOS Machine Name appear in the drop-down list on the Settings pane (refresh the widget page to update this list).

results

P/s: I struggled getting the results for quite some time as the widget wasn’t loading up properly. After a while, I finally realized that I needed to input my email address into the red colour box indicated above before I could get the results. AHHHH!!! Finally. 🙂

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Getting Vista and XP to talk to each other…..Network and Sharing Center, Network Maps and LLTD

August 18, 2009 1 comment

Though I live in a small shoebox apartment, I am a very lazy person when it comes to walking from computer to computer to get access to a file/application. That’s why its important for me to get my XP and Vista machine to talk to each other. Over the last weekend, I got acquainted with Vista’s new program called Network and Sharing Center. Here’s a log of it: 

To fire up the Network and Sharing Center, proceed to the omnipotent Control Panel. Once you found it,  the screenshot below will show you what it looks like. If you click the option “View full map” on the right hand corner of the diagram, you will get into the network map which provides you with a bird’s eye view of your network and all the machines hooked up to it in a graphical manner. Hover your mouse over any machine and you will get crucial information such as IPv4, IPv6 or MAC addresses. Nifty! 


Sounds easy but if life is ever that straightforward we would all be billionaires by now!!???

When I first started using this program, I was dismayed to find that Vista DID NOT pick up my windows XP machines. It was however able to pick up my QNAP TNAS. Hmm…what’s up about that?!? After some research on the net, I found out that its a common problem and there are many articles online whichly clearly explain what needs to get done to be able to allow network map to work properly. The main reason for that, I would summarize is that network map uses a protocol called Link Layer Topology Discovery (LLTD) and Windows XP doesn’t come installed with it by default. 

So here is what you need to do to get Vista and XP to talk to each other:

1) Download the Link Layer Topology Discovery (LLTD) Responder for Windows XP.
Note: Depending on which service pack (or no service pack), your XP machine has installed, you will need to download different versions of the LLTD responder so beware!
You can get it if you are on Service Pack 2 here.
For Service Pack 3, you will have to download the hotfix here.
2) Ensure that LLTD Responder is installed correctly by doing the following: 
a) Start -> Control Panel -> Network Connections. Click Local Area Network Connection and then Properties. View the items and ensure that LLTD responder check box is ticked.
3) Configure the XP Firewall to allow LLTD (exceptions tab)

Note: By the way, if you haven’t put XP and Vista on the same domain, you should probably get that done. If you haven’t done anything to the domain setting, by default, Windows XP is on MSHOME and Windows Vista is on Workgroup. 🙂

At some point in time, you may have needed to restart your XP machine to make sure the installation for LLTD responder was set up correctly. When all that is done, hit <F5> on the vista machine to refresh the network map and you should see XP and Vista machines right where they should be.

I’ve included a screenshot of my network map showing up correctly. (For security reasons, I’m blanking out my Aspire MAC address. Ah…I’m so paranoid)

More on LLTD in the next few post.

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Vista – First impression and the Windows Side Panel

August 17, 2009 Leave a comment

My Aspire 5536G runs on Windows Vista Home Premium Edition. This is my first machine that runs Vista so I’m still trying to get used to it. The cool thing about the Aspire deal that I got is that I get an option to upgrade to Windows 7 for free any time within one year from date of purchase. Vista is quite a sad story isn’t it. For all its hype, its looking at a very short lifespan and all I keep hearing about it is how resource-intensive/power-hungry it is. Anyway, I decided that I was going to give it a chance and get to know it better. Besides, my friend is currently beta-testing Windows 7 on his computer and he told me that Windows 7 is still quite unstable with occasional “black screens of death”. (Not to mention all the drivers/applications that are not yet compatible with Windows 7). 

First things first, with a laptop specification like mine (and I’m comparing it to the older models that I used to have), I was expecting everything to happen within a snap of the fingers. What did they say about expectation? The higher the standards, the harder the fall. Alas, I was quite disappointed within the first hour of playing with Vista. Okay, fine, it wasn’t THAATTTT BAD BUT it wasn’t really quite what I expected either. 😦

I took to complaining about it to my colleague who told me that it probably had to do with all the “junk” applications that came pre-loaded from the manufacturer. He promptly demonstrated to me on how much faster his computer was running Vista and offered to help me do a clean install and some tuning. (He is that kind of sweet techie guy). Okay fine, it IS TRUE that ACER pre-loads lots of applications such as games and hehe, after trying them out, I decided that they were so fun that I was going to keep them around for a while longer. Speed through clean install will have to wait. 🙂 

With that said, I must say that I am still learning many new things on vista and I thought I would share my experience online. 

For starters, I like the Windows Sidebar. As you can see from screen shot below (and I’m using an old screenshot), the Windows Sidebar is on the right side. Windows provide quite a lot of gadgets (which is what they call these applications) and I have installed the Analog Clock, Calender, Weather as well as CPU meter gadget. I’ve found them all to be rather nifty/useful. Especially CPU meter. If you can recall, we used to have it in the Task Manager on XP/older machines but to access it, you would have to fire up the Task Manager. Troublesome! Now, its installed in a nice graphic on the desktop so anyone can easily view the utilization on CPU and Memory. This makes it so much easier when I monitor the system as I fire up applications. With the tool on the desktop, I can now quickly single-out the resource intensive applications on the fly.

To start up Windows Side Panel, head down to Control Panel and activate Windows Side Bar Properties. Its pretty straight forward to get it set up from there.
 

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