A Tip for New Mac Users

May 27, 2007

A nice tip for new Mac users is to not touch any crucial files that is needed by an application. Why? Here are a few examples:

1) Microsoft Folder in Documents. Whilst people like to organise folders themselves, a few folders, such as this one, should not be touched. This is because Microsoft Office needs to locate the files here in order to work and moving it will cause problems for the application.

2) Sometimes you’ll find files that appear from nowhere with strange extensions. Don’t just delete these because they look suspicious, google them as sometimes, little important files like to unhide themselves.

3) I would say this is the most important rule as a lot of people make this mistake and a lot of the time it can be very costly. Do not ever, under any circumstance, organise the iPhoto library from within Finder. (The Mac equivalent of Windows Explorer) Always adjust your files from within iPhoto unless they’re referenced in their original location. Editing the file names etc. can mess up the way iPhoto works and may lead to you having to start from scratch. If you need to access a photo export it from iPhoto or you can locate it from the iPhoto library and COPY it. Just leave the original file.

The 3rd mistake is a very common one made so I hope that this post will help clarify that unless it’s something you created yourself and know what programs rely on it, DON’T TOUCH IT!

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On second thoughts

May 9, 2007

Wow, I really jump around. After a week an a bit without looking at this blog, I’ve found out that it’s been indexed much better by google than my other blog. This is a big surprise seeing as how I haven’t really been using it.

So I’m back on considering using this as my primary blog. I’ll put the pro’s and con’s.

Pro’s
– Better index
– Nicer layout
– More professional name

Con’s
– Can’t use Google Analytics (which I love because I can check it on dashboard)
– Can’t add extra code without paying extra
– Better suited to people who own their own domain.
– Digg buttons don’t work properly.

So there I have it. Pro’s and Con’s of using this blog. But I still can’t decide. I would love to use this, but the inability to use Google Analytics and Digg properly is keeping me from doing it.

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Over to Blogger

May 4, 2007

For those who have read this blog, I’ve been finding out if I should use WordPress or Blogger. For now, because of a few reasons, I think I’ll stick with Blogger. Not to say I won’t keep this blog, but just because blogging on two blogs takes up a bit of time.

Don’t get me wrong, WordPress is awesome, but I think it’d be better for me if I actually had my own domain.

So from now on, until I post back here, my default blog will be

http://mattlew.blogspot.com


Keyboard Launchers Article

April 22, 2007

The wonderful thing about the Mac operating system is that developers are constantly updating ways to help improve the way it works. One popular method of improving the Mac operating system is through programs called launchers, that help launch applications and do various things in shorter ways than normal.

These launchers are either centered around the keyboard or the mouse. In this article I’ll be focusing on two of the main keyboard programs. These are Quicksilver and Launchbar. Both extremely similar in function there has been a lot of argument over which is better. (Just Google it and you’ll see) Both open up through a keyboard hot-key (default ctrl – space) where a series of key strokes can be pressed. Once these have been put into the program, a number of items will appear (usually an application) upon which the user can hit enter and have that application open. But almost any file can be altered using this method such as documents, contacts or bookmarks.

Sounds simple and it is. If all you want to do is open applications, then you could pretty much use either program with ease and enjoy it. Although I should probably point out that LaunchBar is shareware and Quicksilver Freeware, making Quicksilver the preferred option if you’re on a budget. Where the two programs start to separate and fight it out is in the smaller details.

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LaunchBar

I’ll admit straight away that I haven’t use LaunchBar much. I’m a die hard Quicksilver fan. I’ve used it ever since I got my Macbook and have used it ever since. I only used LaunchBar when I decided I’d give something else a try, so I got the LaunchBar trial. When I started playing around with it, I didn’t really like it. It “seemed” to be slower, and I’ll emphasise seemed. It took up too much space on the desktop and the commands seemed to be easier to execute in Quicksilver. Pretty much everything that can be done in LaunchBar can be done in Quicksilver, and in most cases better.



Quicksilver

Quicksilver has a large variety of different plug-ins for different programs and you can designate what to do with files just with you keyboard and a few commands. Want to move a file to a different folder? Easy. Just press ctrl – space, type in a few characters of the file, press tab and type move to, then choose your folder. Pretty simple and that’s where the power of Quicksilver lies. I believe LaunchBar can also do this, but it’s just the different things that Quicksilver can do with different programs (ala plug-ins) that makes it stand out. Plus it’s free, so there’s really no reason not to give it a try.
LaunchBar is available from obdev from http://www.obdev.at/products/launchbar/index.html and Quicksilver from BlackTree http://quicksilver.blacktree.com/

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Crossover Review

April 15, 2007

Cxlogo Mac

Last week I posted about running Windows on the Mac OS X. The problem with both methods (Parallels and Boot Camp) is that they both require a Windows Licence, which is usually quite expensive. Enter Crossover.

Crossover is a program that allows users to run Windows programs on Mac WITHOUT having Windows running at the same time, meaning no Windows licence required. What Crossover does, is emulate the Windows environment, which makes the program think it’s running on Windows. For more information check out the official site.

The main advantage of Crossover is that it runs directly with Mac OS X, which means it’s not as resource hungry as Parallels and as inconvenient as Boot Camp.

The main disadvantage is that it doesn’t really support a lot of programs, and those that do work are usually slightly buggy.

Shot Mac Cxsetup Thumb

Crossover boasts about being able to run Steam and more so, Counter-Strike. I’ve tested it myself and while it does run, there are a few minor problems.
1) It takes a very long time to actually get started. In the time it took to launch Steam, I was half contemplating if I should even bother playing the game anymore.
2) The bugs. When I ran the game, the mouse wouldn’t click where it was, instead it would click a few cm above. This meant that I would need to click below what I wanted to click in order to select it. Getting into the game was ok, except once I was in, my HUD missing a few things. More specifically, health and ammo. For some reason, these weren’t being shown, and if you play CS even a little but, you’ll know that you want to know how much ammo you have left or how long you have before you die.

At the moment, I wouldn’t really recommend Crossover too much, as it has a few problems doing what I wanted it to do. But for those of you who are ambitious and don’t want to purchase a Windows licence, you might want to look into Crossover. http://www.codeweavers.com/products/

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Importing From Blogger

April 13, 2007

As updated below it seems to be ok. Except I’m not sure if categories is meant to be tags or vice versa. Which means when I update using Ecto, I don’t know if I should file the posts under Categories or Tags or Both!

More things to think about I guess, and that’s why this blog is still under development.

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Testing MarsEdit

April 13, 2007

I’ve used MarsEdit more than Ecto since Ecto didn’t work too well with my Blogger, but now that I’m using WordPress, I think I’ll stick with Ecto.

Don’t get me wrong, MarsEdit is an amazing program, but I’m not proficient enough with html to be able to make the most of it. What’s great is the preview feature which lets me preview the html I’m typing in real time, which is really handy when I want to put images or links into my posts.

But MarsEdit is more for the Pro’s, so for now, Ecto it is.