Davao Mac User

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This is why I dread reading news reports these days

It’s been more than 6 months since I last read a newspaper. My dad likes reading the Philippine Star. I’ve seen enough front page content that made me nauseated that I decided to stop reading the trash people from Manila publishes daily. The idiocy have permeated to some of the local dailies here that I have also sworn them off. But lately, I have been tasked to continuously update a blog for MTC Academy Davao. I’ve already ranted off an issue regarding that in my previous post. I needed another source of news of the series of tubes when I came upon Davao Today. Their April 13 story “Davao’s Falling Bridge” featured Gov. Generoso bridge as one of its posts supporting it collapsed. One of the picture‘s caption reads:

…one of the bridge’s posts gave way Thursday monring. The debris shown in the picture is a result of the damage. The bridge is one of the oldest in the city.

When you take a closer look at the picture, however, you can see a metal tube that is used in tearing down concrete structures lying in the gutter near the damage. From what I can gather, the damage and the debris were not caused by the structural failure of the bridge. Rather, it is caused by workmen who are tearing the bridge down for repair or replacement. It’s nice to know that I can also be nauseated by things online. There’s simply nowhere to run.

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Copyright issues in the series of tubes and blogosphere.

I’m maintaining two blogs and contributing to one other. One of the blogs I’m doing is a blog for MTC Academy Davao. The contents that I am posting are mostly news about the information and technology industry, especially regarding the medical transcriptioning, here in Davao. I am subscribed to Sunstar Davao’s RSS feed for updates. If I find a report that I’d like to post I will get snippets of that report and then put a link back to the article. I also use Google to search for other news that Sunstar Davao might have missed. One of my latest post talks about an effort of one of the mall makers in the Philippines in putting up another IT park here in Davao. I searched for other sources about the topic and one of the top hits yielded a blog from Davao. I wanted to get another perspective on the matter and checked the site out. When I read the first paragraph it seemed so familiar. I then realized that the article was taken from Sunstar Davao. This was a case of cut and paste.

I don’t know how most people feel about this but this is copyright infringement. I always make it a point that whenever I discuss an article or report I read off the internet, I only get snippets and attribute the story directly to the source. It is perhaps most people here don’t know or care about intellectual property so it’s almost a none issue. For me, it matters.

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Ack! My shift key’s popped off!

I’ve been noticing for the past few months that my three year-old (or is it four) Powerbook’s right shift key has not been right. Last Sunday while at a coffee shop, it just popped right off. I thought it was as easy as putting it right back in like on the Apple keyboard for my iMac. I was wrong. It’s more complicated than that. I tried as best as I could to put it right back in. It worked. Or so I thought.

This morning it again got loose and popped out. Any attempts to put it back in failed. I can see some plastic doohickeys on the underside have snapped off. I guess I have to admit to the fact that this key has no chance of ever going to be used again. Need to figure out a way to fix this.

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Twitter + Quicksilver = Quicktwitter

I’ve been using Twitter for almost a month now and I’m hooked. For those who don’t know what Twitter is, it’s another one of those web 2.0, social networking thing that’s on the series of tubes we call the interweb. It’s like SMS; you send out a small bit of message. Small bit is 140 characters. But instead of sending your message to just one person, your Tweet can be read by people who has subscribed to your Twitter account. You can have one or two friends or you can have up to several hundreds even a thousand subscribed to your account. Twitter’s tag line is “What are you doing?” But people have been posting more than what their activities are. Some are using Twitter as SMS on the net. They’ve made Twitter as an IM client. A lot of blog posts and articles have been written about Twitter. Here are just some of them:

Another feature of Twitter is that users can send and receive tweets thru IM or thru SMS, but some are finding out that SMS updates can become really expensive. I’ve set up Adium, my IM client, to be able to receive and send tweets through my Gtalk account. I have found an alternative which I will explain in the next paragraph.

Quicksilver is an application launcher for the Mac OS. The app however does so much more. It can be used to send out emails, launch websites and now, send Tweets. An apple script with instructions on how to install is available at Graham English’s website. He’s calling this project as iQuicktwitter, a mash up of Quicksilver + Twitter + iChat + Growl. You need to have Quicksilver installed on your Mac and for added features, Twitterific as well as Growl.

This hack is not for the queasy or novice. You need to do a little tweaking here and there. It’s little things like this, however, that makes the experience of being a Mac user so fun.

So, good luck and Tweet away!

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Mac OS 10.5 release delayed

A collective WTF?!? went throughout the Mac community when Apple announced that they were going to delay the release of Mac OS 10.5 codename Leopard from June to October of this year. From Apple’s Hot News site a statement read:

iPhone has already passed several of its required certification tests and is on schedule to ship in late June as planned… However, iPhone contains the most sophisticated software ever shipped on a mobile device, and finishing it on time has not come without a price — we had to borrow some key software engineering and QA resources from our Mac OS X team, and as a result we will not be able to release Leopard at our Worldwide Developers Conference in early June as planned… We now plan to show our developers a near final version of Leopard at the conference… and ship Leopard in October. We think it will be well worth the wait. Life often presents tradeoffs, and in this case we’re sure we’ve made the right ones.

Here are some thoughts I have on the matter:

  1. For the Windows zealots and Apple nay-sayers: please stop calling Leopard as “Vista Mac OS X.” There’s a difference between four months and four years. I am confident that the delay will result to a quality product unlike Windows Vista which after a few months after its release activation hacks can been seen floating in the interweb. It’s only recently the Microsoft has finally admitted up that Vista is not as crack-proof as they bragged it to be.
  2. Countdown has begun for the Enderle-Thurrott-Dvorak ridiculous write-ups for trolling and page view purposes. 4-3-2-1…
  3. The $500 iPhone better be worth it. Even though I am an Apple fan by definition, I am not thinking of buying the iPhone. The price tag is too much. I’ll just drool over it. That said, the iPhone better smash some records and wow the entire world on June to justify the delay of Leopard.
  4. The delay for me has some upsides. One, allows me to save up some more. Two, let’s me concentrate on Spro from May till October.
  5. There’s The Transformers, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer and Harry Potter to fill in the quiet between June and October.

Come October, I’ll definitely upgrade to Leopard and hopefully new iLife and iWork suites will also be released. Not sure if I’m getting either though.

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One-hundred-meeeeellion iPods sold.

Apple had announced today that it has already sold its one-hundred millionth iPod. In a press release, Jobs calls today as a “historic milestone” and thanks music lovers everywhere for making the iPod such a success. He also attributed the iPod as rekindling people’s love for music. The press release also mentioned that so far there has been 2.5 billion songs sold on iTunes as well as 50 million TV shows and 1.3 million movies. The first iPod was sold on November 2001 and in just five and a half years, Apple has hit the 100,000,000th mark.

Here’s to Apple and the continued success of the iPod. Can’t wait for 200,000,000.

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Your Mac isn’t invincible. Backup!

A Mac is an investment. Desktop and portable Macs cost a little more than the equivalent desktop PC clone or a laptop made in China or Taiwan (then again, what laptop isn’t made in China or Taiwan?). As Mac users, the added cost that we pay for our machines mean that we expect a quality product that runs right out of the box. In most cases our Macs run and does it job well. That does not mean things won’t go wrong though. Sitte happens, as they say, and you better be prepared for it.

Anybody who takes his or her data seriously should backup. Backing up is making a copy or copies of the data which you deem as very important. Financial records, documents, and photos are few examples. There are several options to backing up. Most computers sold these days have a CD writer. CD-R or CD-RWs are cheap but the disadvantage is they are limited to 650 to 700MB. You can opt to get a DVD writer and save to up to 4 GB worth of data. Dual-layer drives can save up to 8GB. You also have flash drives. Much faster but more prone to damage especially the cheap ones. For files that are not so large like documents or spreadsheets, you can get a Google Mail account and save your files online. I find this a convenient way to easily access some of my files. All I need is a computer and an internet connection. I don’t need to bother with CDs and flash drives. Of course, this is susceptible to power outages and internet interruptions like the one that happened last December.

The above methods are good if you have data with sizes from a few kilobytes to up to 8GB. But what if you want to save larger files sizes or more files? The best option would be for you to get an external hard drive. What you need is a hard drive enclosure with USB 2.0 or Firewire connection and a hard disk drive (HDD). You can choose between the 2.5 inch HDD used in laptops or the 3.5-inch HDD used in desktops. 3.5-inch are cheaper but the 2.5-inch is more portable. Hard drive enclosures are not so expensive these days. You can get one for less than 1,500 pesos. These are the ones with USB 2.0 connection. Those with Firewire can be more expensive. There’s a big debate on which one is faster: USB 2.0 or Firewire. I won’t go into that. I’ll just say that USB 2.0 works well enough for me.

You can get hard disk drives at various sizes: 100, 160, 250, or even up to 750 gigabytes. I really depends on your usage but in the meantime 160 or 250GB will be enough.

Backing up your computer’s data can be as easy as attaching the external hard drive and copying from the PC to the backup drive. That can be slow and tedious especially if you have a lot of files. The solution to that is to get a software that can do the job for you.

Before we go into that I’d like to mention that, generally, there are two ways to backup your data. Either you backup incrementally or make a copy of your entire hard drive.

Incremental backup means you make copies of files as you change them which in effect allows you to go back to previous versions of the files you were working on. Copying your entire HDD, also called cloning, will create an exact copy of your HDD. This exact copy can be used to restore your computer’s hard drive in case some happens to the HDD or the computer itself. Disadvantage to cloning is that it may require more space and you will only one copy of your files. You can’t go back to previous versions of your documents or the graphics you were editing.

Most software comes at a cost. This is to pay for the developers who worked on that product. But that is not to say there are free softwares or freeware that can do the job. It doesn’t have the fancy design and may lack certain features. More often than not though, the software has the basic functionalities that makes it worth your while.

Lifehacker.com features options in backing up your Mac with completely free backup software. You can choose between incremental backup or cloning your entire drive. I personally use Carbon Copy Cloner and my first attempt was successful. I have yet to back my drive again. Which reminds me, I have to do another backup tonight. I have 100GB of data on my iMac and I usually let Carbon Copy Cloner do its job while I’m asleep.

Some may find buying the external case and HDD pointless, an added expense. For me, the cost of getting a backup solution is worth it if it gives me peace of mind.

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Argh! Money sink from AOC. LCDs cheap.

I shouldn’t have opened the newspaper this morning. I haven’t read any of the local dailies for almost 9 months now since I found what contained therein as depressing. The only section that I do infrequently check is the business section. I just like to be kept abreast with how the business sector is doing. This morning an ad fromAOC caught my eye. I didn’t notice it at first but the 19-inch LCD monitor sure drew my attention. But what woke me up from my foggy state was the price. An AOC 19-inch LCD monitor just cost 10,499 pesos. Yikes! How prices have gone down. A 17-inch cost 8,999 and a 22-inch just 16,499. It was just last year that a 17-inch cost 15,000. Very tempting. Very, very tempting. I have until June 30 of this year to this whether to get a 19-inch or not. This will burn a hole in my wallet big time.

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Time wasters. Addicting Flash games

The Thinking Blog has listed of what it considers as 5 highly addictive games.

  • 3D Missile makes you control a missile as it flies along a tunnel. The view looks like you are sitting on top of the missile. Keeps me at the edge of my seat.
  • 3D Logic Cube link doesn’t work. Found an alternative link but I’m not sure this is the same one. You don’t need to click the squares one by one. Just click and drag. Makes playing easier.
  • In Disorientation, you have move around spiky obstacles while you walk towards the exit. Sounds easy? You have to do this as the room spins, the image distorts, blades fly across the room and your clones try to obliterate you out of existence.
  • You goal in Desktop Defense is to stop baddies from going from one side of the ‘room’ to the other. You have in your disposal an arsenal of weapons which you can put into the room to stop the baddies’ trek across.
  • Last but not the least, ZWOK is a Worms clone. In ZWOK, you only have balls as your weapon and you hurl the balls to the other end to try to hit your opponent. Not as fancy as Worms but a time waster nonetheless.

These are time wasters. Don’t try these at work. You’ve already been warned.

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Mac Basics: LCD color calibration

I have a couple of friends who have come over to the Mac side and they are still a little green when it comes to the Mac OS. I’m going to be posting some basic tips and tricks for my Mac using friends.

A friend of mine who is into graphics and who just recently switched to the Mac asked me how come the screen colors are different as compared to her old PC desktop. I told her that she needs to calibrate her Macbook screen. I pointed her to System Preferences and then to the Displays preference pane. Under the Color tab I told her she can calibrate the screen by following the instructions. Last time I saw her Macbook she already calibrated the screen and she was contented.

Coincidentally, about a day after I last saw her I stumbled upon a link to About This Particular Mac which has a section about Photoshop called Photoshop for the Curious. Here I saw a nice article that disusses on how to calibrate the LCD monitor properly. I hope she’ll find this article useful. I think I’m going to use this to calibrate my iMac.

That’s it for now. I’ll be back soon.

Update: Stupid me. I forgot to put the link. Must’ve half-asleep. No coffee yet on my brain that morning.

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PLEASE READ

On July 21, I moved my blog to its own server.

So www.davaomacuser.com no longer points to davaomacuser.wordpress.com.

I've already got a few new posts over there so please join me at www.davaomacuser.com.

See you there. Thanks!

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