Posted by: wpd | July 4, 2007

Parallels may lose battle to VMware’s Fusion

VMWare Fusion Apple

My friend Jason upgraded his Parallels to the new version 3.
Here’s what he wrote:

“I upgraded to Parallels 3 over the weekend (because I got the upgrade free)
and am thoroughly disappointed. The only improvement it made is that you
need less video memory in your VM’s. Apart fromtaht it froms slow & requires
more resources thanb version 2.5.

The worst part is they changed the virtual HD format so I can’t roll back to 2.5.
Thought you’d be interested to know that…”

He’s running on a nice Macbook Pro and XP had been running decent.

VMWare’s Fusion beta 4 was just released. Running: it has a smaller memory footprint, XP is snappier, has some neat features (including a “Coherence” mode called Unity), AND you can convert for Parallels VM to a VMWare image.

Here are some instructions to create a new VMWare image from Parallels: vmware community forum thread

There are still some issues with the beta so I’m not totally sold. Like no multi-monitor support. But I’m sure they’ll fix it.

Posted by: wpd | January 24, 2007

Phone calls from computers…Vonage…forward thinking

I was pondering today about the iPhone when a thought occured to me, “What is the next evolution for making a phone call.” Well as Apple pointed out it’s as simple as clicking on a link.

My prediction is that a VOIP provider, like Vonage, will be allow people to use their computer as a phone. You may be thinking that it’s already happening–Skype, VOIP discount and others. But that’s not what I mean.

What if I could tie my computer to my Vonage service so that it acted as another phone on my account. Then I could make phone calls just by clicking on a link or clicking my friends picture in my contacts–at the OS level. Intuitively. Just a thought.

Posted by: wpd | July 7, 2006

Image Editing Solution in Pages 2

One thing that doesn’t come with OS X as a standard is a paint program or an image editing program that allows copy/paste or layers. But I found a way around this. I really don’t want to download X11 then download GIMP.My Project: I have some Transformer videos on my TIVO that I’ve copied onto my Mac and now I’m ready to make a DVD. iDVD has a great template that I want to use but I need some pics. I found two pics that were perfect.

Pic1transformersPic2transformers

The challenge was to take these two pictures and make one. Soooo, I began to think…Pages 2 and a screen capture will do the trick!Pages 2 (actually, so does Keynote) offers some really nice image manipulation controls. So in Pages, I created a blank page and then dropped in my two pics. Then I created a square with transparent edges and then masked the Pic1 to the square (10x’s easier than Photoshop). To mask select the shape then, hold down shift, select the Pic1, then go up to Format and select mask.Next I re-sized the Pic1 and moved it on top of Pic2. So far so good.Now for some Apple magic–the screen capture! This isn’t any ‘ol print screen like XP , this is professional precision. I press Apple-Shift-4 and I get a cross-hair cursor. I click and drag (making a square) and instantly makes a PNG on the Desktop. DONE!

Transformers Small

Now I have my finished pic for my Transformers DVD. Thanks Apple.BTW: I was using an expired trial version of Pages 2 ;-)Blogged with Flock

Posted by: wpd | June 28, 2006

Working with Office 2007 Beta 2

Over the past month I’ve been working with Office 2007 Beta 2. Here is a review of my experience. I’ve been using Office 2003 Pro everyday for 3 years, infact every version of Office professional since Office 97.

Biggest Changes (WOW! factor): video from MS

  • The ribbon. It’s ugly but clever. In some ways I actually like the ribbon. I didn’t like searching through the menus for stuff. Outlook doesn’t have a ribbon.
  • Live font, color, effects preview. This is nice! However, MS still hasn’t figured out that you need transparent windows in case your work is covered by your menu. Live preview is used in all of the Office suite.
  • You can have multiple Word Files open and tile the windows on screen with a click of a button.
  • Some things work better. Outlook doesn’t freeze, Word doesn’t crash.
  • Outlook works better with MS Exchange 2003.
  • Word: When you highlight a section to change it’s style you get a nice menu that “fades” into existence. Unfortunately, it covers your text you’ve just highlighted.

The Ugly:

  • The ribbon: you can’t customize it.
  • new file format. Older versions of ALL of the office products cannot open these files.
  • You have to relearn every program except Outlook.
  • I’m not sure how the new file format will work with other software. (like Open Office) I know how MS loves to work with others.

Conclusion:

Actually, I didn’t mind using it. The real test was when i went back to Office 2003. I can say that I did prefer the 2007 Beta 2. I think they’re onto somethings within the Office Suite that other packages might end up incorporating. Yes, what I’m saying is that MS just might have something that is worth copying.

Posted by: wpd | June 27, 2006

MySpace Hack! No Longer works!

The code below worked for a over 2 weeks.  Now it is history.  I’m leaving this up so if someone else gets creative they can use it.

****************************************
This hack allows you to track who visits your MySpace site. The only catch is that they have to be logged in for this to work. A message is sent from their MySpace account to you without them knowing. Here’s the goods!

Log into your account and click on “edit profile”. In the “I’d like to meet” box paste this code:

<embed allowScriptAccess=”never” src=”http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.addToReader&friendID=xxxxxx&#8221; width=0 height=0 autostart=true></embed>

See the xxxxxxx? You’ll need to get your MySpace number and put it there.

To get your number do this:

  • click on your profile and hold your mouse over your picture (or the word Pics, or the word Videos).
  • Look at the link and you’ll see “friendID=xxxxxxxx”. That number is your number.
  • Copy and past it in the above code and your done.
  • Click the “Save All Changes” button

That’s it!

Posted by: wpd | June 26, 2006

A month with Windows Vista Beta 2

For the last 7 years I’ve been inside the walls of Microsoft. I’ve build my entire network and applications to leverage Microsoft technologies. At some points I’ve contemplated the idea of possibly working for them. However, those days are gone.

This is as much as a review as it is my experience with losing confidence in the largest software company in the world. Enter Windows Vista. Probably the single biggest disappointment to date from Redmond.

Cool factor:

  • live search – by far the only feature I use ALL THE TIME. I’d never leave XP if it had it. I mean that I’d have to reason to upgrade my OS for my computer @ work. ;-)
  • The fonts look better.
  • The screen and icons are proportioned correctly not matter what resolution your monitor is set to.

That’s it now for the rants:

  • The sidebar has gadgets
    • It doesn’t auto hide — you have to double click a link on the task bar to make it appear and hide
    • You can’t put anything else on the sidebar. No links or short cuts or notes … nothing!
  • Seems like I had to do a lot more mouse clicking than I did in XP.
  • Cannot read or print PDF’s by default.
  • Cannot play DVD movies by default. This just boggles my mind!
  • Aero-glass doesn’t really change your user experience. There’s no function for their form. For instance, in OS X the eye candy really does meet a function. Think of Vista as XP with a face lift. Ok, I’ll admit that the slow-mo minimizing in OS X is probably not really functional. It’s what you would expect from a well integrated system. :-)
  • Maybe it because OS X can make your terminal experience fun or even cool. Which is a funny thing, because, Windows users are trying to forget the DOS prompt and OS X users are learning it’s power!
  • When the system is idle the hard drive goes crazy.
  • Windows Photo is a joke compared to iPhoto.
  • Windows DVD maker- I had some graphic card issues with it and I couldn’t get it to run. Funny how my 700Mhz PPC Mac can make a DVD no problem but my 3Ghz Pent 4 can’t.
  • Windows Movie Maker – Same issues with my graphics card. I’ll report on this later.

Conclusion:

The only reason that I’d use Vista is for the live search. It saves me a ton of time. Oh, and the fact that a new OS won’t have all those stinking updates <yet>. MS is still 5 or so years behind the OS curve.

Blogged with Flock

Posted by: wpd | June 25, 2006

What's special about Ruby on Rails? IBM knows!

An introduction to Ruby on Rails for DB2 developers – Much like the "Agile Web Development With Rails" book they explain in plain english the idea behind this simple concept. I sure wish that Microsoft would/cound understand this. Also, IBM included a very nice tutorial that I think is worthy for beginners.

Ruby on Rails is what "Battlestar Gallactica(2005)" is to "Star Trek (TNG)". It's about the telling the story not getting caught up in the techo babble. Techno is good to a degree but let's enjoy it along the way.

Blogged with Flock

Posted by: wpd | June 19, 2006

A Month on a Mac

Well, I thought I'd give Apple a month to change me. I've exclusively used an Intel Mac for all of my Web programming, Desktop Publishing, Video needs. And here is what I found:

1. OS X Tiger has some really nice built in tools: PDF viewer called Preview (which also does other things), a REALLY handy exact screen capture, very nice integrated iLife and iWork software. Spotlight is great.

2. Downsides: XP is faster. no native GUI FTP support (you could use the terminal), no way to open MS Access Databases. NO support for my ProTools card yet. No dual monitors.

Conclusion: It's easier than XP! I thought XP was easy but I never knew until I forced myself to only use OS X. BTW: I've been using Vista and there's only a few things that "nice" but I'm not sure are necessary. I'll review that in a few weeks.

I'm Changed!

UPDATE:
> Mac Mini's don't have dual monitor support. iMac and Mac Books do!
> FTP GUI support is included – Read Jim's comment
> So really that's makes the Mac darn near perfect!

Posted by: wpd | June 12, 2006

Tech and music – A new song a week

Jonathan Coulton has been writing a song a week since Sept. 2005. Quite an amazing feet of stamina and while some songs are less to be desired Code Monkey is hit!

Posted by: wpd | June 6, 2006

Crazy Rails

I’ve met my breaking point. I’ve caught rather stuck with MS products. I either choose .NET 1.1 or 2.0, SQL 2000 or 2005. But I’m tired of reading blog after blog and book after book of peoples interpretation of the .NET framework–and they all have their own conclusions. C# for apps or VB for Web or J# or mix it all up. It’s a sickening maze.

I’ve coded tens of thousands of lines of ASP 3.0 code over the last few years and now I’m ready to try something completely different–Ruby on Rails. So far the ideas and documentation are very encouraging. It’s supported by major companies, it’s cross platform, it’s designed to let you get back to solving problems not compile errors. Now that’s what I’m talking about!

I want the smell of french fries coming from my computer’s exhaust. I’m going to open source country. Cleaner air and wide open spaces. RoR here I come!!!!

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