My Thoughts on Apple Watch

s1-42-alu-space-sport-black-gridA little after Christmas I started to see deals from Best Buy proclaiming $100 off the Apple Watch; in its earliest moments I’d written the watch off as too expensive for what I figured it would do for me.

Plus, I’d gotten to where I wasn’t wearing watches anymore, particularly since I spend so much time typing on a MacBook Air… with most watches end up taking off my watch for most of the day to keep from scratching the wrist rest.

But, given the discount, my obsessive-compulsive shopping sickness kicked in and a started watching the Best Buy site. Did I want all-black (er, “Space Gray”) or the white band with the silver face? I was determined to stick with the cheapest options—$249 for the basic watch with the aluminum case. (Stainless steel was attractive, but I shunned it.) I decided I’d go with the 38mm face because, I told myself, it’s not like the point is to show it off. I just want to see how it works for me.

When I finally pulled the trigger, I went for a refurbished space gray that dropped the price even further to around $225. I ordered it online and drove about 10 miles to Best Buy to collect it.

A comedy of errors ensued.

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Mac Tools I Love: GraphicConverter

Screen Shot 2015-04-21 at 4.24.28 PM

Recently I’ve come across a few Mac folks (creatives, designer types) who surprised me by not being aware of GraphicConverter, which is my go-to application for most anything, well, graphic-y.

I’m not much of a PhotoShop maven; if you’re knee deep in Adobe products, then GraphicConverter might not be super-relevant to you. But for the rest of us, GraphicConverter is a very convenient way to translate images between formats, change image sizes, add background colors—even create illustrations, Web ads and other items from scratch.

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My TiVo Roamio Experience with Comcast, Macs and iOS

courtesy TiVo
photo courtesy TiVo
  • Category: Hardware
  • URL: http://www.tivo.com/
  • Company: TiVo
  • Price: $199 TiVo Roamio + $19.99 month ($14.99 with 1-year commitment)

I keep thinking I’m a cord-cutter… and then comes football season.

Sometimes I feel like the Colin Firth/Jimmy Fallon’s character in Fever Pitch, because all throughout the winter and spring months I’m free to do anything I want on the weekends — work out, take long drives with Ms. D., visit the Farmer’s Market… and cut my cable back to those 13 super-basic channels (like no-tell motel cable) and then happily scrimp by with my Roku, Apple TV and some reasonably high-speed broadband. (I don’t know that I actually need both the Roku and Apple TV anymore, but I’ve maintained the habit of switching to the other when one “misbehaves.”)

But then here comes August — and the College Football headlines… and NFL preseason — and I tell myself I can handle it.

Nothing to worry about; I’m not even paying THAT much attention to the games. Look… I’m talking to people amicable during a pre-season Saints game.

And then, about a week before the season starts, I’m suddenly sitting on the phone and online chats for the better part of a day trying like hell to get the SEC Channel to turn on by 7:00 p.m. that evening.

By the next weekend, I’m installing a CableCard in a new (to me) TiVo Roamio so it could substitute for my cable box and spending another full Saturday afternoon calling hotline after hotline trying to get all my channels to show up on the damn thing…

And then on Sunday… I’m jumping up and down, poking my television, cussing like a drunk sailor and wonder WHAT IN THE $%&@ IS THAT REF THINKING?!…

But I digress. First things first… why did I go TiVo?

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Disk Map: The Answer to ‘Where Did All My File Storage Go?’

 

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When Ms. D’s laptop got a bath of water a few weeks ago in a coffee shop, I got the feeling an emergency Mac switcheroo was afoot; it turned out that the MacBook was lost to water damage and the drive salvageable; so while her 2009 aluminum MacBook’s brain got a temporary reprieve in a 2007 MacBook’s shell, it was clear that she would need a more permanent upgrade.

My typical M.O. is to upgrade me and then give her my machine, and she was all for it for a number of reasons:

  1. My 2010 13-inch MacBook Air was lighter than her MacBook, which she found compelling.
  2. The 2010 could run Mac OS 10.7.x, which is important, because she still needs to be able to use InDesign CS2, which craps out at Mac OS 10.8 and higher.
  3. My old 2010 has a 256GB SSD, and she was coming down from a 400GB internal hard disk, so if she was destined for an Air, she was going to need a decent-sized SSD to squeeze into.

My goal, as usual, was to get something… different. My MacBook Air has been a constant companion for well over a year with nary a complain, but I’ve been eager to try an 11-inch model for sheer portability on sales calls and presentations. Plus, the 2010 was starting to stagger a big under my inevitable load of open windows.

But moving to an 11-inch MacBook Air — and keeping within my budget — was going to mean a smaller SSD; the 11-inch does offer a 256GB, but only in the latest models, meaning more expensive. (I never buy new Macs — sorry Apple. Thanks to making the used ones so great!)

I had to move quickly in this emergency search but found a nice match on eBay within the budget — a 2012 model with 4GB RAM, a faster 128GB SSD, not to mention USB 3.0 and faster graphics than I was accustomed to.

Now… how to get her 350GB of files onto that 256GB — and my 200GB of files onto that 128GB SSD?

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Fluid: Turn Web Apps into Standalone Mac Apps

  • Category: Utility
  • URL: http://www.fluidapp.com/
  • Company: Celestial Teapot Software
  • Price: Free; $4.99 for premium version

If you’re like me, you use a lot of web applications — stuff like Gmail, iCloud, Soundcloud, Pandora, Basecamp etc. For running our newspaper company I’ve got business applications such as Ace of Sales, Magazine Manager, Google Analytics and Constant Contact that run in a browser window and that I’m using all the time.

And what’s the most annoying thing about running so many applications in browser windows? Finding the app’s window when you need it.

Enter Fluid for Mac. If you’ve never heard of Fluid, this might be your favorite blog post of all time.

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AirParrot: AirPlay for the Rest of Us

AirParrot Menu

I was chagrined to learn that my MacBook (late 2008 aluminum) was too old to make use of the AirPlay Mirroring feature in Mac OS X 10.8 and higher. I recent bought an Apple TV and, while I’ve been a devoted Roku user for a number of years, I hoped the Apple TV would enable me to further empower my life as a cord-cutter.

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Typinator: Typing From Memory

Typinator Screen Shot

If you’re like me, you spend hours a day in e-mail. A lot of the e-mail I’m sending for Jackson Free Press says something similar—what our current advertising promotions are, what our upcoming issues are, and some boilerplate for answering questions from potential advertisers and readers. To deal with all of that, I rely on Typinator from Ergonis Software.

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