Claying of the ’98 Honda Accord, favorite podcasts, Mac ReviewCast promo for 1 year anniversary, Easter egg hunt for teenagers, 4 new countries, why you should buy from costco.com whenever possible, I Pinch, misunderstanding Apple Mice, update on Parallels Workstation, praise for onmac.net, how to make your thumb drive launch iPhoto, using Powerbook as a heat sink, G5s face off against Core Duos in Final Cut benchmark, more free & inexpensive CAD programs, how to export and import mailboxes in Apple’s Mail, Matlab and X11 installation, and why there’s room for both Podcast Maker and Feeder.
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For ONCE it rained on Friday instead of Monday so I actually got to have a clean car for most of the week. It was a happy week because of that. Yesterday I washed my daughter’s car, then clayed it, then waxed it. And of course a good detail job isn’t complete without tire-blacking the tires. If you haven’t heard of claying, it’s very cool. They sell a bar of soft clay and a spray bottle with a kind of spray wax in it. you spray the wax on the car and then rub it around with the clay, and the clay picks up all those little dots of road tar and gunk from the Los Angeles air. it makes the surface really smooth when you’re done, without it just waxing in LA doesn’t even feel like you did anything! Of course i throw down a layer of carnuba wax on top of that to protect it. I’ve put a picture in the shownotes proudly showing me showing off how good this 8 year old Honda looks when I’m done! You can see my iPod Nano with the lanyard headphones too!
I had some podcasts to catch up on anyway, and I get VERY productive when I’m listening to them. I have a definite pattern to which podcasts I listen to when, and so I thought I’d outline it for you here.
- Leo’s KFI podcast is for driving in the car, so I burn those to CDs along with the TWITs whenever they do one. I am usually a month behind but for some reason I’m stuck in January still on those. i love listening to Leo, so I don’t want to jump ahead and skip any just to be up to date. It’s kind of dorky listening though, for example he’s still talking about how nothing happened at CES and speculating on what will happen at MacWorld Expo in January. A little bit fun to listen to speculation when you KNOW how wrong they are!
Adam Christianson’s the MacCast is for jogging on Saturday mornings – it’s a great way to get my weekly Mac fix, and the time flies by when I’m listening to him. It was a big bummer today when I discovered that his ‘cast got truncated – it was only 1:13 long! I’ll have to delete the feed and re-add it to get it right I suppose. Luckily that’s a low impact operation so no worries.
Tim Verpoorten’s Mac ReviewCast is perfect for carwashing, followed by Steve Stanger’s Mac Attack podcast for tire blacking and maybe a little wax here and there.
If I’m still feeling industrious, I’ll crank up Steve Stanger’s The Mac Attack podcast.
By the time I’ve had a shower on Saturday morning I’ve run 4 miles, washed my car, cleaned up and learned a TON about new Mac utilities. I love it because I’m learning while I’m enjoying myself AND being productive. I use my iPod Nano on my lanyard headphones so i can just tuck the Nano into my shirt and it doesn’t get wet with all the car washing and stuff. I’m curious – how do you listen to podcasts? at the computer or on CDs or on an mp3 player? and what do you do while you listen? I’m really curious how other people enjoy this medium – drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and give me your perspective.
Speaking of great podcasts, I mentioned Tim Verpoorten’s Mac ReviewCast a moment ago, and I have a promo from Tim that I’d like to play for you. Tim is coming up on his one year anniversary, and instead of expecting us to buy HIM birthday presents, he’s going to give out prizes to us! He’s got a great lineup of prizes, so take a listen and learn how to get involved in his show.
INSERT PROMO HERE
So my kids are getting pretty big now, but we had a great time with an Easter egg hunt. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with this odd tradition, this is where parents hide either hard boiled eggs that have been died different colors, or more commonly plastic eggs filled with candy. Since my son and his friends are in high school, they told us to make the hunt really hard. Well, my daughter and I did a great job of this. We sent them upstairs, and we told them that the eggs would be anywhere in the front yard, back yard, or downstairs. We put hardly any outside because they’re way too easy to see – bright purple against grass and trees is pretty obvious. Inside was a different story – we put them inside the sugar bowl in the china cabinet, in the garlic container, inside a zipped up bag that was inside a cabinet, even one inside the mantel clock. But the real fun was when we realized that the GARAGE was technically downstairs. this was a treasure trove of great places to hide eggs. Imagine the bike hanging from the ceiling with a small bike bag on the back, great place for an egg. 35 pairs of old soccer and baseball cleats on top of the fridge – ONE of which had an egg. One of my favorites was the one we put in my beach chair – it has one of those pockets for a drink when you’re sitting down. At least FOUR of the kids touched the chair, moved the chair, even squeezed the little pocket and didn’t notice the egg. By far the funniest one was when one of the girls noticed an egg way under the couch. she squealed with delight that she’d found one, but then as she tried to reach under to get to it she got mobbed by the other kids trying to beat her to it. This went on for a good couple of minutes – until she pulled it out and it wasn’t an egg at all, it was a rubber ball! My daughter and I laughed our heads off at that one!
Okay, it’s probably time I got down to the business of the show, isn’t it?
New Country Update
Didn’t have any new countries for a while but we got 4 new ones this week! Welcome to our new listeners from Albania, Cambodia, Oman and Papua New Guinea. And of course welcome back to our long term listeners. If you’re new to the show, make sure you check out the shownotes over at podfeet.com. I put in all the links for everything I talk about here so you don’t have to drive your car into a ditch trying to write them down.
So remember my long diatribe about Samsung? Go back to show #14 if you missed it. oh, and show # 15, and 18….31,32, 33, and 34… So anyway, I never would have known that Samsung has the worst customer service of any company on earth, if I’d just bought the monitor through Costco.com. I’m telling you, I’m a convert. I’ve always loved Costco – for those of you without one, it’s one of those big warehouse stores. One of the things I’ve noticed is that the way they rotate products in and out – it’s easier to buy something you MIGHT want and return it than it is to come back later to get it when you’re sure you want it for sure and find out they don’t have it any more. Of course there’s the great deals too.
Anyway, this week I really figured out how great Costco really is. I bought my daughter a Canon Powershot camera a while ago, and out of the blue it starts showing the letters “E18” on the display and won’t open the lens. I love how my daughter is a closet geek – she would totally deny it, but she jumped right on the internet and figured out that error E18 meant that the lens was sticking and wouldn’t open. This happened on a Saturday, so I tried checking out Canon’s website, and get this – CanonUsa was actually DOWN! bummer. so then I looked around on the Costco site for their return policy or a customer service phone number. I found the number so I called them up and a wonderful guy told me that all we had to do was drive over to any retail Costco and they’d either give us our money back or give us a comparable camera! I didn’t believe him of course, this camera was 5 months old! Well, my daughter took it to Costco with the included CDs and the receipt – and…drum roll here…they gave her the money back!
They didn’t have the comparable camera in stock, but you can be sure I went right back to Costco.com and picked out the next model that was out (only cost me an extra $20 to get the newer model) and had it shipped to her. I will really try to direct as much purchasing as I can to Costco when I’m shopping online in the future, I am astounded by this level of service. You simply can’t get better than this!
Have you seen the commercials for the Honda Element – the ones that show the car talking to a crab or a platypus? My husband for some reason thinks these are hysterical, specifically the one with the crab. the crab keeps trying to pinch the Element, but the Element doesn’t think it’s such a good idea. If you haven’t seen them, check them out at automobiles.honda.com/element, might make you giggle. anyway, the reason I brought this up is because of a sign we saw when we were driving. there’s a picture of the Element talking to the crab, and in the corner it said, “If you want to listen to this commercial, go to AM1680 on your radio right now!” Ok, this sounded weird, but we did it, and sure enough, they’re actually broadcasting (evidently from somewhere near this sign) on 1680 the crab and then the platypus, and then the crab again. Over and over and over for weeks now. Isn’t that the weirdest marketing idea you’ve ever heard of? I wonder how many people have actually tuned it in just to see what they’re doing. I bet we’re the only ones!
Misunderstanding about Apple Mice
I’ve talked to a lot of Windows users lately who are considering Macs, but they say that they don’t see how we live without a 2 button scroll mouse. I need to set the record straight here – I don’t know ANY Mac people who actually USE the one button mouse Apple ships with their computers! Even now that they ship them with the Mighty Mouse, which sort of gives you the 2 button functionality in a really uncomfortable way, no one uses these. All of us buy nice or even cheap PC mice to work with our Macs and then we have all the nice contextual menu items like you guys have. Even on a laptop, we use control-click to get the right mouse click functionality. The Mighty Mouse is really more of a novelty mouse – Patrick Norton in a review of it right after it came out called it “a future collector’s item”. I think he was right on the money! Anyway, if not having a 2 button mouse is any kind of deterrent for you, set that problem aside. Heck, I use a MICROSOFT mouse! it was the coolest wireless mouse out there with a nice feel to it – I love it!
Time for an update on my use of Parallels to run Guest Operating Systems like Windows and Linux on my Mac. These guys at Parallels came out with 2 new updates in the one week since last I casted, they’re now on Beta 3. They’re developing this so quickly and I’m learning so much and it’s already so good, that I haven’t even done the Boot Camp thing yet! I can’t think what functionality it’s going to give me that I don’t already have in Parallels, but with more inconvenience! I’m now running XP along with CentOS which is a Linux distribution. Here’s what I’ve learned in using Parallels since I spoke to you last:
- pick a big number for the disk space you allocate – since it doesn’t use all the space until it needs it, there’s no downside to starting big. Start small and you’re in big trouble when you run out because you have to reinstall everything! I know this from experience, I started with the default 4GB Virtual Machine, and after loading up a few apps, some virus protection and a few browsers, I was down to 160MB of disk left! Started all over and gave it 12GB this time.
Updates are improving it quite a bit: I think it self figures out which network card you’re using – I set it up for hardwired, but it went to wireless on it’s own when I was disconnected.
No longer have to figure out which one is en0 and en1 like my elaborate explanation last week – now it says wired and wireless next to en0 and en1, so that’s a nice little update.
doesn’t crash when you put the ‘book to sleep when it’s running windows, but it still crashes if I have CentOS up, or if it’s even READY to boot into CentOS.
Sound is sort of working now. Some sounds play just fine, some are jerky at the beginning and then smooth out, and some stay jerky. They’re working on this.
What doesn’t work so far:
- File transfer between OSX and the Guest OS. The Windows Virtual Machine (or Linux, etc.) doesn’t see the normal OSX drives, and the OSX side can’t see into the Guest OS. you also can’t use a thumb drive to move files between the two. The wiki at Parallels.com says that USB support is coming in the next rev, which at the rate they’re changing things on this will be any minute now. I suppose you could burn a CD on one side and read it from the other – both sides can see that drive, but that would be a big waste of media. the guest OS can’t read a multi-session CD, so you couldn’t even use a CD-RW. The final way I tried to move files was to map the drive of one as a network drive to the other. this doesn’t work either. Even though both OSs can mount network drives of other machines, and they have separate IP addresses, they somehow can’t see each other. it’s almost like when you tell it to look for the other IP it starts to go out on the network but then turns around and comes right back in without going outside the machine. I wrote on the wish list section of the wiki that I’d like to see something like the Shared Folders option they have on VMware for the PC. the one thing you could do is mount a server as a network drive to both OSs and drag and drop files to the server or even leave the files up there for both to access.
Control-alt-delete – One annoyance is that there’s no way to do Control-alt-delete on a Mac keyboard. even though the Macs have a key that SAYS delete on it, it’s actually backspace and doesn’t send the correct delete signal to Windows. Parallels includes a pull down menu where you can send the command though. I also understand there’s a way to do a key mapping to make it happen too – I haven’t tried it yet though.
So remember the onmac.net guys who put out the reward for anyone who could run Windows on the Intel-based Macs? those are the guys that gave us the hacked Windows that was so much fun. Even though these guys got kind of overridden by Apple’s Boot Camp and Parallels’ virtual machine, they’ve not faded into the night. I like the way the onmac guys are adapting to the rapid changes, instead they’ve adapted to be a valuable central point for all the cool activities that are going on. When you go to their website, they act as a portal to not only their hack, now referred to as onmac.net XOM, but also Apple’s Bootcamp and Parallels Workstation. They also have a section on Apple’s Hardware Information for Intel Macs. they’ve taken the game up a notch by showing you how to triple boot via BootCamp – Windows, OSX and Linux. these guys know how to have fun! ok, in my geeky world, this is about as good as it gets.
I’m serious about how fun this is – I’ve been deliriously happy for the last few weeks – this is a geek’s heaven era. All of the old rules are gone, people are coming together to share, I know I’m waxing poetic here but I really think the OS could become irrelevant – we won’t be tied to anything. Run Windows to play your games or at work for Microsoft Access – great! Run OSX to do your multimedia like iMovie and iDVD, run Linux as a server for the freedom, we can literally have it all! The OS wars are over – everybody won! you probably think I’m a lunatic, but I really think the playing field has shifted and it’s going to just become more fun.
Make your thumb drive launch iPhoto
Listener Michael (remember the fabulous illustrator I told you about last week at mahjr.com) sent in an interesting tip. He said “We all know that when a camera’s Compactflash or SmartMedia card is inserted into a Mac, iPhoto (or Aperture) would start up to accept imports. If you want a flashdrive to do this you would have to create a folder on the top level named, in all caps, DCIM. Then inside that create another folder entitled, 100PVITT, again in all caps. Afterwards, dismount the flashdrive, insert it again and then iPhoto will startup and recognize it for photo imports.”
I tested this myself and it didn’t launch iPhoto, but it’s probably because I’ve disabled autolaunch. I know I did that ages ago because I actually use iViewMedia Pro to manage my photos. It didn’t launch iVMP either though, so I probably botched something up along the line. However, when I launched iPhoto and iVMP they both recognized that a camera was attached and offered to import. There was one funny part though. iPhoto said NoName was attached, which is the clever name I left on my thumb drive but when I launched iVMP it said the thumb drive was called Ca90. I have no idea what that means – my online translators didn’t find Ca, so I’m just going to assume it means thumb!
Interesting tip Michael – not quite sure how I’d use it but very interesting to play around with to try and figure out how these things work.
Using Powerbook as a heat sink
My MacBook Pro continues to heat up to a ridiculous temperature – I can hit 52 degrees C (126 F) which is REALLY REALLY uncomfortable on the lap. I will be sending it back soon, or maybe make Apple give me a new machine since i’ve already lost one week with it because of the CD burner issue. We’ll do a test of my negotiation skills there. I have one solution when I’m working in my lap, I put a closed Powerbook on my lap and then put the MBP on top of that! Using the Powerbook as a heat sink dropped the MBP a couple of degrees, but the Powerbook is sure getting hot! I just loaded a new firmware update that some people claim fixed the problem. I’m dubious though, because they all said it “seemed” cooler. I’m more of an empirical person, I like facts and data. Since I’m running Temperature Monitor to measure the disk temp, I will know for sure whether it’s fixed or not. by the way, Temperature Monitor is a freeware application from bresink.de. I’ll keep you posted, but the temp is already 43C and rising even as I write this.
iMac core duo and MacBook Pro beat G5 in Final Cut
Research department Niraj has been busy this week – today’s story is about a speed test the folks over at final-cut-pro.de performed comparing four Mac models – the Intel iMac, the MacBook Pro, the dual core G5, and an iMac G5. They used the universal binaries of FCP 5.1 for the tests. The G5 tower was a dual 2GHz, the iMac G5 was a 2.1GHz single core, the Intel iMac was a 2GHz core duo, and the MacBook Pro was a 2GHz core duo as well. all four machines had 1.5GB of RAM, and their appropriate graphics cards all with 128MB of video RAM. Here’s the amazing thing – the two Intel core duo machines outperformed the two G5s by 3 or 4 to 1! The slowest was the iMac G5 at 232 seconds, the fastest was the iMac Core Duo at 53 seconds. This suggests that even a Mac Mini with a dual core chip in it could be a viable Final Cut Pro machine. simply amazing.
If you can’t get to the speed tests at final-cut-pro.de (I couldn’t ever get into it), check out hardmac.com, they have a summary about halfway down their blog with some graphs.
more CAD programs
Last week Listener Lynn asked about CAD programs for the Mac that would help the user to create floor plans for remodeling and basic drawing libraries. Tim Verpoorten suggested a couple of different applications that Lynn is studying, and now my buddy Ron as found a couple more. I definitely need to find the time to play with these myself, but in the mean time here’s Ron’s suggestions:
- QCAD from ribbonsoft.com is an application for computer aided drafting in two dimensions. With QCad you can create technical drawings such as plans for buildings, interiors or mechanical parts. QCad works under Linux, Unix Systems, Mac OS X and Windows. The source code of the QCad community edition is released under the GPL (Open Source). You have to love that! The marketing on their web site pushes their intuitive interface. I need to download this one for sure. It doesn’t look like it has the libraries of home elements that Lynn was looking for but I’m always looking for a good drawing probram for scaled drawings.
The other application Ron ran across is a shareware program called CADintosh 5.3.2 from lemkesoft.de. I like the name, that’s for sure, let’s investigate what it can do. CADintosh is a 2D-CAD program for technical and architectural drawings. the shareware version has simple layer filter (easy to use) and an internal symbols (number of symbols only limited by memory). the registered version has a additionaly extended layer filter (named filter sets, palette with name of filter) and external symbol libraries. At this point you’re thinking that Lemke Software sounds familiar, right? They’re the guys who wrote Graphic Converter, one of the most widely used shareware programs of all time. I couldn’t resist wandering around the Lemke site, and I found out that Graphic Converter is now a Universal Binary (meaning that it runs under Intel and PowerPC.)
Exporting and Importing in Mail
My associate Chad had an interesting problem – he exported a mailbox from Apple’s Mail program a while ago with 66 messages in it. He’s decided to pull it back into Mail, but Apple’s import tool doesn’t recognize it. It turns out Apple stopped using mboxes because they couldn’t have them be indexable by spotlight because they weren’t separate files, so they now use emlx format. This means you can’t just pull them back in any more. this seems counterintuitive, and maybe there’s a new way to do it, but Apple is keeping it hidden if it IS out there. The good news is there’s a freeware utility called “emlx to mbox converter” from cosmicsoft.net that will put them back into mbox format for you. I tested this converter tool, and it definitely made my individual mail messages into one mbox file. The funny thing is that Mail STILL wouldn’t recognize it if I told it I was importing from Mail, I had to choose “other” as the mail client from which I was importing. This is a bit of an obscure problem, but I wanted to write it up so at least I would know where to find it later if I ever needed it! CosmicSoft has an interesting product they sell called starQuiz that allows you to easily create computerized quizzes and starPlanIt for creating lesson plans.
Matlab & X11 install
So my daughter is in her second year of college calculus and she was going to have to go to a separate lab to
use the PCs with Matlab on them to complete her homework. She was awesome about selling her old schoolbooks and buying used ones for this quarter (TOTALLY of her own volition, no prompting on our part even though we were the beneficiaries). Because of all that savings I decided to buy her her own copy of Matlab. The student pricing on this software is definitely a good marketing tool – they sell Matlab and Simulink for only $100 in the student version. Matlab for a commercial application is thousands of dollars by itself! Think about what happens now – kids come out of college and go into the work force and immediately demand Matlab to do their jobs! Anyway, we went to load it and it turns out it runs under X11. I’ll be darned if I can really explain what X11 is – I have to use nonsense words like “environment” and I hate it when people do that, so all I’ll say is some stuff has to have X11 to run, and Matlab is one of those applications.
It doesn’t come on the standard install, so I had to go to our Tiger disks to install it. Here’s why I got mad – in order to install X11, I had to do an archive and install of her OS! Now why the heck did I have to do that? the checkbox next to the standard system install stuff was greyed out so I couldn’t uncheck it. What a drag. That meant reinstalling printer drivers, and running software update for nearly an hour to get her back to 10.4.6. Oh well, she’s up and running now and was able to get her entire lab done, AND she got to teach mom a little bit about how to run Matlab. I’m going to install Matlab on CentOS under Parallels later next week so now I have a clue how to start playing in it at least!
Podcast Maker and Feeder
Last week on the ‘cast I read a letter from Jonathan of the Mac Tips Daily podcast where he talked about another podcast creation tool called Podcast Maker. I told you how great I think Feeder is and that I’d feel disloyal to Steve Harris of Reinvented Software if I didn’t use Feeder. Well, Steve listened to the show and he had a very interesting comeback to my comments. I think it will come across best if I use Steve’s own words here, so let me just read you the letter. I had written to him asking about how to edit the GUID field by hand, so that’s what’s he’s talking about at the beginning.
- “While you’re on the line (?!) I notice you mentioned Podcast Maker on the
latest show. First of all, you probably couldn’t make the above change in
Podcast Maker because it’s not set up that way, but I need to say something
about Podcast Maker here: It’s brilliant!
Unlike Feeder, it’s completely dedicated to podcast creation and has some
neat tricks. So, there are some things you can do in Podcast Maker that you
can’t do in Feeder and vice versa. Podcast Maker might give you a little
less control over things than Feeder, but as a result it is easier to use.
If you start off by using Podcast Maker, you won’t go far wrong. Feeder
accommodates the more awkward people who have things setup just so and want
to keep it that way. I should also say that I met the Potion Factory developers at the Podcast
Expo and they have become friends. Andy Kim and Jin Kim (who are based in
LA) are exceptionally talented developers and ones to watch in the future!
We are aware that we both have our niches, and I think it’s working well for
both of us.
I’m a strong believer that lighting someone else’s flame doesn’t diminish
your own, so there you have it. But keep using Feeder or I shall burn your house down!!!”
I’m impressed by Steve’s attitude, and I’ll probably check out postionfactory.com’s Podcast Maker. and re-up my fire Insurance while I’m at it.
It’s time to wrap up this show – as always your email comments and questions are very welcome, shoot them on over to me at email@example.com. Thanks for listening, and stay subscribed!