Archive for the ‘Opinions and Rants’ Category

A couple weeks ago Apple sent me a nice letter and a little box. They had sent me a free Magic Trackpad as a gift for nondisclosure information and I was thankful for the small gift. The Magic Trackpad measures 5×5 roughly, slightly larger than the trackpad on your Macbook Pro, and functions exactly the same. Is it innovation? Not really. Is it cool? Kinda. Do you need one to replace your Magic Mouse? Not in my opinion.

I’ve been using it for a couple weeks now, actually, it’s been connected for a couple weeks sitting right next to my magic mouse (which I use with my 27″ iMac). I used it for a day, and then was pretty much over it. It’s really about personal preference, and after about 10 minutes of whipping around on the web and iMac, the tips of my fingers whether its on my Macbook Pro, or on this new trackpad, I kinda get this irritating feeling on the tip of my fingers.

If you’ve always wanted a over sized touch responsive trackpad for your computer, then “Oh My Gawwwd”, this is for you. Rotating pics in preview is nice, and flipping through the always over sensitive Finder in Coverflow view is nifty, but the novelty wears off pretty fast. The build quality as always with Apple Wait…what about that iphone 4 antenna gate problem? is top notch, it’s solid and sexy. For power users, I’d say give this a pass, even at their price of $69. Or don’t take my word for it, but I’m sure you’ll think the same thing in a week.

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Recently a friend of mine asked me for a slick case for his new ipad. I had told him that I saw a nice looking case online from Engadget or maybe it was TUAW called the DoDocase. A quick Google search later, brought him to the dodocase.com website where he scoped out and ordered the dodocase. Now at the time, the case was $49.00 and has since increased to $59.00, just a little side note there. It is a hand made case, and well, I typically think that when something is hand made, that it insinuates quality. This however, wasn’t the case deal with the dodocase.

First off it’s light. Like feather light. It wasn’t what either of us expected. It has the same feel and weight as those shitty school books in college that you overpay for…hell it even smells the same. The bamboo was thin, and looked brittle, and his even came with a hole. The elastic strap that holds it shut reminded me of two things, one… fat chick pants, and two… the strings on your socks that come apart right before you throw them away.

Putting the ipad in the case isn’t difficult as you see in the video, it just pushes right in. However it isn’t *tight*, it’s just sitting in there. As you can see in the video it easily falls out. Some of you might argue by saying, “well yah but who the hell is going to turn it upside down?”. Two words broke back hero… “shit happens“. That cheesy elastic strap may pop off, and voila, ipad on the ground. You may accidentally drop the case, cmon that’s a reasonable scenario, and the ipad will come falling out and probably roll like a $600 meatball, with your tears for sauce. Or maybe your on the subway, and the little shakes and vibration cause it to slip off your lap (the faux leather is slippery on pants), you get the point.

Added to the poor case design, it takes 4-6 weeks to actually get it. You could easily go out and buy a better more protective case for cheaper. Like this one. NOTE: It’s better to buy the apple case in an apple store and avoid the 3-4 weeks online shipping wait.

After we messed around with it after the video, I took some heavy duty neoprene sticky tape (from the old LN2 and phase change overclocking days) and cut tiny little pieces and adhered them to the same 4 corners where the existing neoprene stickers are, and when we popped the ipad in, it fit MUCH more snugly and took quite a firm shake to get it to pop out. The downside to this is though, is that ALL neoprene deteriorates pretty quickly. My friend is dropping it off at a local upholsterer and having it wrapped in real leather, and adding a clasp/buckle to the cover. As for holding it inside, that’s still to be determined.

Cheers People,

Exempt

I recently picked up a G-Drive (1tb) (by Hitachi) from the Apple store (prices online will not vary much, so no need to shop around for it). More than anything it was an impulse buy for some much needed extra storage space on my video editing machine. I had a new project coming up and wanted to be prepared for all the new data I would be importing and this little thing seemed sexy enough to sit on the desk during the long hours of night while working.

Now I could sit here and tell you the regular bullshit about what it comes with (obviously the cables needed to power it, plug it in, and use it). The unit amazingly also has all the necessary ports to connect it to the cables and hence, connect it to your computer.

The G-Drive is not Mac only compatible, though out of the box it is formatted under Mac OS HSF+ Journaled and it is “out of the box” ready to use for Time Machine. *Quick note… If your using Time Machine, your an idiot. You obviously would be using it to “back up data” for safety and data integrity, however hard drives crash and can also be stolen. Search my blog for benefits of Cloud storage vs HDD backing up, it’s more affordable and much safer.

Back to the review. So I start using the G-Drive day one (connected with the Firewire 800 to my 27″ iMac) and right off the bat the first thing I notice is the amazing read and write speeds while importing and exporting large video files in and out of Final Cut Pro. I mean this little sucker flies through file transfers. Note to any novice computer user, whenever you are using external devices for importing and exporting, or even as scratch disks, you will want to disable “sleep” mode on your PC or Mac, this will greatly improve performance since the drive will not have to slow down/speed up every time it sleeps and wakes.

Acoustically, the drive could be a slight quieter, and I read that the 2tb version is even louder. I’m not saying its clickety clackety loud, but for someone as anal as me, I would store it inside a component cabinet if your going to be recording sensitive audio. Aesthetically as I said earlier it is damn sexy, sporting a very “Apple-ish” style.

Overall I was so pleased with it I decided to order the 2tb Raid “G-Safe” pictured below, since I quickly filled up my 1tb on the video project.

Price wise, it is not the cheapest external hard drive. If your cheap, then look elsewhere. However if you want quality, performance, and something sexy, this my friends, is a definite winner.

Details from the manufacturer below:

Professional External Hard Drive

G-DRIVE high-speed interface external storage systems offer the ultimate in flexibility by providing 3Gbit eSATA, FireWire 800 (FireWire 400 via included cable) and USB 2.0 ports.
G-DRIVE is the perfect high-performance solution for storage intensive applications including audio/video editing, digital photography, MP3 libraries and high-speed data backup. The system features a fan-less cooling system and the latest technology 7200 RPM SATA II hard drives with up to 2TB in storage capacity with up to 32 MB of cache.

G-DRIVE supports professional music production tools including Pro Tools, Logic Studio, Cubase, Nuendo, Digital Performer, and many more.

Easy to Setup – Time Machine ready!

G-DRIVE is formatted at the factory HFS+ with Journaling and is Time Machine ready right out of the box! A simple initialization is all it takes to prepare G-DRIVE for use with Windows® systems!

If you watch TV and actually see the commercials, you might have seen commercials for Hughesnet Satellite internet pop up every now and then. The main target is for people that live in rural areas, or fiber deadzones. Within the last few years, amazingly even in the middle of Los Angeles, San Diego, and Orange County, I have had several clients be in a fiber deadzone, where the only option for high speed internet (aside from a 30 day wait for a T1) is either Microwave wireless (Skyriver, OSWI etc), or Satellite internet.

Recently a client of mine went forward with Hughesnet, against my employees strong recommendation to not. The commercial does a real slick play on words, dancing around the mysterious FAP (Fair Access Policy). Of course it is a commercial, and it’s meant to sell consumers, but such a huge company should not falsely advertise and lure clients into long contracts with early termination penalties.

The real reason HughesNet really sucks the fat chubby is because of their FAP (Fair Access Policy in case you failed to remember). It’s hard to even find any information on the HughesNet website, obviously hidden for devious reasons. Here’s the skinny.

Your heavily restricted on your upload and download (DAILY) limit, once your pass this limit, which my client did within 30 minutes, your speed is reduced to dial up speeds. Yes I typed that correctly fucking dial up folks, that’s just pathetic. “But Mr.David, my grandma doesn’t download games and software, she just checks emails and goes shopping online“. Yes yes I understand however keep in mind that if you sent grams a link to a 5 min Youtube video, and she watches it, that equates as “downloading”, a 5 min youtube video in standard (.flv) format is about 4-9 megabytes. The video banners that automatically pop up all over the web, are also considered “downloading”. Hell a .PNG signature card in an email is considered an “upload” and “download”. We live in a world that caters and is shoving broadband widgets every corner of the web you turn (and it’s not always a bad thing), and yet HughesNet does not adhere to this world. Below is an excerpt of their FAP:

To ensure fair Internet access for all HughesNet™ subscribers, HUGHES® maintains a Fair Access Policy (FAP). This policy establishes an equitable balance in Internet access for HughesNet subscribers. Hughes assigns a download threshold to each service plan that limits the amount of data that may be downloaded during a typical day. A small percentage of subscribers who exceed this limit will experience a temporary reduction of speed.
Explanation:
The Fair Access Policy is straightforward. Based on an analysis of customer usage data, Hughes has established a download threshold for each of the HughesNet service plans that is well above the typical usage rates. Subscribers who exceed that threshold will experience reduced download speeds for approximately 24 hours.
During this recovery period, the HughesNet service may still be used, but speeds will be slower. Web browsing, for example, will be significantly slower than subscribers’ normal browsing experience. Subscribers will return to normal download speeds after the recovery period as long as they minimize their bandwidth-intensive activities. If they continue these activities during this recovery period, reduced download speeds may continue beyond 24 hours.
newfap.jpg
Ok so you might be one of the few idiots (no really if you agree with the FAP you are an idiot), your argument might be “But Mr.David, I don’t even watch Youtube videos, and nobody emails my sorry ass, I just browse porn my AOL favorites and read the news“.  I would reply first, your an major idiot for using AOL still, secondly if your using any version of Microsoft Windows, and yes even a Mac OS, there are these handy things called UPDATES, along with 90% of software updates that come frequently. A single update could easily set you over your limit. If you are using a Linux distro, well hell you actually might be in luck here….nope, your not, I just wanted to get you excited then burst your bubble.  VPN? nope, scratch that idea. Webex conference? Forget about it.
I can understand that if you live in a log cabin in the mountains, HughesNet might be your only choice, and when your options are THAT limited, the sure HughesNet will serve it’s purpose and connect you to the outside world….but only in very limited moderation.
Are you a HughesNet user? Have you been a previous customer of HughesNet service? Let us know what you think in the comment section beeelooow.

I picked one up today from the Apple store, figured I’d give it a spin. It had been looking at me everytime I walked into the Apple store, so I figured what the hell. I asked the Apple sales peeple (yes I spelled people “peeple”, because there just so cute with there non-knowledge, but there Apple peeple so you love them anyways) if anyone had ever actually used one ‘hands on‘. I was met by a few peeple who took interest and told me that they had both tried it a “while back” but these new pen/pads should be the “real deal”.

I set it up, which of course was simple as prom night, and then I took the much to long tutorial that treats you like a retarded monkey (complete with the “good job, you’ve successfully clicked on an icon“) . I immediately opened up Photoshop CS4 and created a new canvas with 2,000 dpi, and a 3k x 3k workspace. I picked up the pen and started to doodle. It was precise, I give it that. Much better than the old Wacom pens I tried about 7 years ago, a world of a difference. However I had more problems with it than I expected.

While it did work fine with my screen space/size (27” flickering iMac) , I should have bought the large Bamboo, not the Medium…so head’s up to any future purchasers. Selecting certain icons on the far left and far right were kind of a pain in the ass.

The pen tool is responsive, however the tip is made of plastic (at least I think it’s plastic) and ever so slightly and minuscule-ly sticks. Not anything drastic, but just ever so slightly enough to mess up intricate details when drawing or sketching. It should be made of metal, that would for sure make it completely fluid with no sticking, and the trackpad, which is also a plastic material, should be glass like the iPhone. This imperfection was enough to totally bomb my Picasso drawing of Tiger Woods caught in the moment of heat.

A major annoyance and one I can’t figure out why it was added, was that you don’t have to touch the pen to the pad in order to move the cursor, it works from a half inch away. This is ok when you want to move the cursor around the desktop but it also moves the pointer an inch before hitting the pad and then moving an inch back to start drawing once you actually place the tip on the pad.

I doodled for a good hour in Photoshop CS4 before I became extremely bored and irritated that I couldn’t fluidly move about without tapping a palette button by accident, and couldn’t draw straight lines or sketch well. At times my hand would accidentally touch the (touch responsive) touch pad, moving the pointer or popping a menu up, which drove me completely nuts. I’m sure there is a feature in the settings to turn this off (pen only mode I figure) but whatever.

So next I attempted to mess around with the multi-touch pad feature. Zoom in & out, rotate pictures, browse back and forth through web pages with the flick of one or two fingers, scroll up and down web pages. Then I realized something. My Magic Mouse does all of this (minus the rotating the pictures, which on my Macbook pro it can). It also was not very responsive to my touch (but the ladies tell me that I definitely “have the touch”). Rotating the pictures in preview kinda worked 70% of the time. Same with the two finger zoom in & out, it kinda worked. Nothing as close to the iPhones touch responsiveness.

For a $108 bucks, it’s a great price for what it can do, and if your just using it to sign signatures, or doodle for high school, sure it works just fine. It is a quality constructed device, and it looks damn sexy, but for a professional artist, or a hardcore enthusiast, I’d suggest trying a higher end model, not in the Wacom Bamboo product line (this is a more standard consumer line), but in the professional series instead. The large Bamboo uses the same touch and pen device, just the touch pad area is increased, so expect the same results.

For everyone else, buy a Magic Mouse, and if you already have one, your good to go. I’m taking this back tomorrow.

Like many users these days, if your reading this, you most likely have a Mac & Windows Network. A lot of not-so-saavy computer users, actually have a Mac and a PC, but may not have ever created a home network (although this also applies to workplace networks). Using the server message block command (SMB) you can easily connect to the IP of any PC on the network. Its simple, when your on your Mac, select GO > CONNECT TO SERVER and type in: smb://192.168.1.xxx (xxx is replaced obviously by the last digits of the IP of the PC you want to connect to). You will log on with your typical credentials and voila your sharing. This is regardless of any PC OS, and current up to Snow Leopard on the Mac OS.

This blurb isn’t covering the “how to” of the networking, but rather some issues that I have come across, that I haven’t heard anyone mention.

I do a LOT of file transfers from Mac to PC, soley because I download torrents on my Mac and send them over to my media center. One thing I have noticed is that the PC has a hard time waking the hard drives if they fell asleep, both in the Media Center PC, and the 5tb NAS attached. This will give you a error message along the lines of “the connection at 192.168.1.xxx is not available or cannot be located check blah blah blah” on your mac. Restarting the PC, and initiating the login procedure over again, typically fixes this problem.

Another random error, is that I can typically transfer any amount of files regardless of size to the Media Center, as long as I do the files, ONE by ONE. If I were to select all 115gb of files and transfer them at once, the PC after about 10 minutes, disappears off the network and isnt discoverable until I restart it or change the IP on it (I have a static IP network). This is a major pain in the ass, and its been this way, all the way back to my G4 Mac.

I’ve found the best way to avoid the networking problems, so far, has been to (as said above) set static IP’s for each computer on the entire network. PC & Mac. I have 7 computers (and one NAS) on the network. So my IP’s look like 192.168.1.100 – 192.168.1.107 , the NAS located at 192.168.1.111 and printer set to 192.168.2.155 (it’s default). This avoids conflicts on the network and makes it a little less of a headache (also avoids duplicate IPs).

Using a external HDD is what’s usually suggested by newbies. There is one big problem there, PC & Mac do not share an identical file system. (Modern) PC’s use NTFS file system, while Macs don’t, Mac’s can read the old Fat32, which all flavors of Windows can read, but file transfers are limited to 4gb which pretty much eliminates any movie torrents, and if your still downloading 700mb movies, well you must have a shitty tv, or a slow internet connection.

Turn off HDD sleep, and turn off hibernation mode on your PC’s, Mac’s either don’t register the PC always, or the PC’s have a hard time waking up out of hibernation, one or the other, it is a 50/50 chance. I notice this greatly on my NAS more than the Media Center alone

As we move forward with Mac edging more of a dominance in the market, eventually we will see a better migration of the file systems and more friendly networking, for now, it’s still a wee bit sloppy for the non techies, and not 100% reliable.

When all else fails with Mac and PC networking, restart all the computers and try again, I know it blows, but it works…

A few years back I made the complete transition to Macs for my daily work and computing tasks. During this transition I assumed I had to switch to a new bittorrent  client since I was using bitcomet at the time. Naturally I just googled bittorent for Mac, and naturally what popped up as the best solution was Transmission. I used Transmission for my bittorent needs for about 3 weeks before I started to notice a huge problem, torrents were taking about 1 week on average to download, large files around 50gb would take about 3 months, predicting from how much had already downloaded. Settings were the same, ports were open, internet was working just fine, seeds were through the roof. I never took the time to try to look at all the infinite amount of issues that could be wrong, I  manually added trackers, which as everyone should know, you can only add one or two more trackers in Transmission, which is pathetic (I usually add…oh about 130), which allows my 50mb down 20mb up package to really blaze.

So I decided to start using utorrent for the first time. This turned out to be a great choice, it’s small (size is tiny like 603kb) , and its lightweight, meaning it doesn’t clog up my memory like Azureus did or Bitcomet, it runs just fine in the background and its super simple to use it has no adds or annoying popups. I swapped over my existing torrents, one being about 30gb in size, from Transmission to utorrent, and that 30gb torrent that was only 3% complete after 3 WEEKS with Transmission, it was completely downloaded about 4 hours later with utorrent, no additional trackers added!

So if your looking for a lightweight yet robust bittorent app for you MAC (or PC too), I definitely recommend utorrent.