Monday, December 21, 2009

Look Back at the Buffalo Drives

If you've see my youtube videos you probably know that I have a drivestation combo 500 GB (Firewire and USB) as well as a drivestation 1 TB (USB) and I'd just like to use this post to comment on their performance.

For the combo it's been doing pretty well, though since it's a faster speed drive I find that it gets quite hot when you keep running it for prolonged periods of time. Thus it's a good thing to have the metal enclosure. As for the buffalo drivestation 1 TB it's also humming along nicely, hasn't died and I partitioned it as my new time machine backup partition. So far so good. I moved my time machine drive from the combo to the drivestation because the combo didn't have enough space so when I installed snow leopard it wiped out the drive. Hopefully now the drivestation will have ample space for time machine. So, in the end this is just a quick look back at the drivestation combo 500 GB and the drivesetation 1 TB drives.

Edit: On the combo drive (with firewire) I recently installed a bootable copy of 10.5.8 on it, and used that one instead of the USB drive because of faster transfer speeds. Forgot how many GBs I allocated but it was 15-20 GB. I put disk warrior and some other apps there for system maintenance of my main 10.6.2 OS partition on the internal drive. Worked pretty well I'd say.

Brother HL-2170W Unboxing

I just uploaded the unboxing video to youtube and I'm just going to quickly post down some first impressions of the printer after using it to print out a couple of pages. The print speed is quite fast, and the quality seems pretty good. I really don't like how stores like to rip you off on the USB cable (which I could not avoid unfortunately) as the machine doesn't come with it. I realized that in order to set up wireless you have to install a utility, and I went to the brother website to download it, though I'm not sure whether it's compatible with snow leopard. At any rate I probably won't share the printer. I realized that when you pressed the power button it does not turn the machine off (you need to use the manual on/off switch at the side) and when it's ide it makes a humming sound due to the fans. Due to the sound I usually turn it off. I have seen some reviews online talking about the power usage of the printer, but I personally haven't looked into this in detail. So, just first impressions of the printer, I will be doing an in-depth review of it soon on youtube. Merry Christmas and watch the unboxing :)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Snow Leopard Continued

Ok, so I've been on the 10.6.2 update for a while now (think they're even starting development on 10.6.3, hopefully a good release) and I think I have a good picture on some of the pros and cons of snow leopard as of now. First I'll start with the cons (hey we all want to feel good afterward, right?). Regarding the iTunes problem, I still experience it but it's not as bad as it was when I just installed 10.6.2. Not really sure why, but that issue seems to have subsided. Though another new issue that has been popping up was that once in a while when I go into snow leopard the whole system lags up and slows down. When I would go to spaces the system would lag even though according to the activity monitor I have a lot of free ram (500 MB or more), which perplexes me. The only remedy to that problem from what I've seen is to restart the computer, and then it runs smoothly again. I also installed iLife '09 and installed the latest updates, but the first few times I've been running it iMovie has been particularly slow, but that seems to have passed as well.

Also, one nasty bug that I have encountered continuously was with pdfs, and one problem I've really been annoyed about was the continuous crashing of skim, a pdf annotation tool. When I open pdfs from one specific class the app crashes, and I haven't found a way around it. However, it doesn't crash in preview. I went to the app's forums and asked about it, but the developres said it was an apple bug and that they reported it to apple. I surely hope that with 10.6.3 it is fixed, because preview isn't even close when it comes to annotation when compared to skim. Also, finder has its own problems. For one thing, you can't default your view options anymore. I set the icon size and spacing that I want, but when I press set as defaults it doesn't do anything. Nothing. When I go to another folder the spacing is different yet again, which I am not very happy about. Also, the sidebar for finder keeps shifting, depending on the longest name you have (for me it's one of my external drives that have the longest name) and it increases the width of the sidebar to match the name's length. I find that very annoying because it messes up my spacing when I'm using icon view. I hope there's a fix for this.

Now for the pros, even though snow leopard uses more RAM than leopard (from what I see in the activity monitor), it is pretty smooth. One feature that I really like about it is the incredible shutdown time. It's pretty much like going to sleep. It takes pretty much five seconds for the computer to shut down, which is amazing especially when you compare it to windows. The compatibility problems seem to have subsided as app developers have updated their software. One app I find that was pretty useful when I first wanted to see what apps I had that were incompatible with snow leopard was Snow Checker which goes through all the applications that you have and checks for compatibility. Pretty useful I would say.

In the end I would say that snow leopard is good. Not great, it has its bugs and stability issues but it's usable. I hope that as apple continues to update it so that snow leopard will get better and better. Signing off.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

More to come.

Hello, I haven't posted in a while as I've been busy. A couple of days ago I got the Office 2010 beta from microsoft, free of charge (By the way, if you want office other than open office use the beta, it's incredibly stable and fast, it expires in oct 2010, which gives you a pretty long time to try out the beta). Note that it does transfer your outlook files if you use outlook 2007 or a previous version of outlook, but as I don't use outlook, in fact I didn't have office installed in the first place, it was not a problem. I installed it in my VMware Fusion virtual machine and I'll be giving a review of it soon, hopefully by the end of december.

Also, I've gotten an invitation for google wave, I'm very excited about that too and I'm going to try it out and see what some of the pros and cons of the online app are, stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Microsoft Office: Mac 2008 Update 12.2.3

I just read a Macworld Article saying that office 2008 12.2.3 update was out so I downloaded and installed. After doing so I was amazed at how fast word, excel, and powerpoint 08 took to boot from a warm start. I'm going to restart my computer later and test cold start times. I'm VERY impressed at the boot up speed, if this trend continues hats off to you MacBU. I might try to count the bounces it takes for office to boot up from a cold start later on.

Edit: Cold boot test, Word: 7 bounces, Excel/Powerpoint: 2 bounces. Such a huge discrepancy between word and excel/powerpoint, I always wonder why, one example of difference is where on excel/powerpoint when you resize the window it only gives you the outline while on word it shows you the whole window resizing, which I personally find very odd. It appears that excel and powerpoint just load faster than word for some reason, hopefully the gap will be minimized in office: mac 2010. Just to note this is on my 2008 mbp with 2.4 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 2 GB of RAM running 10.6.2.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Snow Leopard Lagginess

Ok, so I recently installed snow leopard 10.6.2, the newest update, and I must say the update process was seamless (even though there was a part where it said it would take 1 GB of hard drive space to install this update, which got me kind of annoyed). It restarted the computer, I was just logging in etc. until I started up iTunes. And this is iTunes 9.0.2 we're talking about, the newest version of iTunes. I opened up the podcast section because I saw that there were a number of new podcasts and I double clicked on a video to play. To my dismay, my computer utterly clogged up and the whole system became laggy. Wohoo, go iTunes 9... Speaking of iTunes 9 I don't like the new GUI, and it does not look the part when compared to quicktime X, with the supposed "marble" interface, the GUI of 10.6 is getting more and more diverse, or shall we just say, random.

Edit: Now that I look at activity monitor again it might have more to do with quicktime, but I'm not sure what is causing the problem as of yet.

Edit 2: I went to the apple support forums and I looked through a couple of threads and it looks like some other people are also having the same problem as I have. Link for discussion board thread Now that I've used 10.6.2 for a bit longer, the mouse problem seems to be gone, but the iTunes problem remains. Other than that, no big changes, I hope 10.6.3 comes out soon.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Starting points.

Just now I thought about making a blog. For me it is vastly easier to express my opinions and ideas with words than in videos on youtube. My hope is to type out more app reviews and tech opinions here and enhance my views with youtube videos. For instantaneous thoughts about tech news or apps see me on twitter. We'll see how this goes...

Edit: Never knew you could embed a twitter feed into this blog, now you see it.