Friday, April 23, 2010

More Mac Office 2011 News

More screenshots have appeared of office 2011 for mac and from the looks of it development seems to be progressing quite well. The gallery of screenshots for the next version of office for mac is found here

However, of all the screenshots the one that caught my attention was this one

It seems like MacBU has given us a choice of using the ribbon or the toolbar palette found in earlier versions (or you can use both if you wish to). I also hope that I can customize the toolbar on the top so if I don't like the ribbon or the palette I can go back to the toolbar. Personally, I don't think that the ribbon is a bad idea. It is far more useful than the current use of space that is the "elements gallery" (which is not useful at all especially in word). Ribbon offers a lot more functionality taking up that same amount of space. Plus, the ribbon can be minimized so if you don't like it you don't have to use it. Another thing I didn't like with the elements gallery was that in full screen mode in word for some odd reason the gallery is still there. Of all the things they chose to include in full screen mode it had to be the elements gallery which has no use there. I hope in office 2011 they can make the screen void with no editing tools present.

I'm pretty excited about the next version of office 2011 though I do wonder what version of docx/xlsx/pptx it includes, since in office 2010 for windows it does not use the iso approved formats, but rather sticks to the older format found in office 2007. Also outlook is finally here for mac, though since I don't use entourage/outlook on mac or windows I can't say much about it (I use mail and thunderbird). And macros is back too, I have high hopes for this new version of office. Though I feel bad seeing that in a way they "ripped us off" on office 2008.

On another note, I found this tip in the macrumors forum talking about speeding up boot times for word 08 and it seems to work. The thread is found here. Basically you go to word preferences and turn off or uncheck "WYSIWYG font and style menus" as well as "Show Project Gallery At Startup" and quit/relaunch word. For me only took three bounces to load up word, I will compare it again after a restart next time.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Free Paragon Software Giveaway!

As you can see Macworld reports that paragon is giving away their software HFS for windows 7.5 today, for free. And who doesn't like free? Only giving away 50,000 licenses get it while it's available. If you don't want to go to Macworld the link to their page is here, available in 32 and 64 bit flavors!

According to their website "HFS for Windows enables the use of Mac-formatted partitions in Windows operating systems. Utilizing Paragon’s own unique technology – the Universal File System Driver (UFSD), Paragon’s HFS for Windows is able to extend the boundaries of Microsoft Windows’ scalability and interoperability." If only I could get their NTFS software for mac (I don't want to use macfuse).

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

New Macbooks Minidisplay port carry audio

Wow, lots of mac news recently. Whether it's the available purchase of the iPad, the new iPhone OS 4.0, or the new macbook pro update there's a lot to talk about. But recently I saw an article on Ars Technica that said in addition to the spec bump on the new macbook pros the minidisplay port finally carries audio!

I for one was very happy to see this, as I was initially disappointed that the initial generation of minidisplayport from apple did not support audio and only carried video across. Well, news has it that apple is soon going to release a dp to hdmi cable, with audio support! This is also good news for mac mini users because they can hook up their mac to a HDTV! On a less related note I wish apple still bundled the VGA adapter (and apple remote) with every mac. It's pretty essential especially for mac users who need to present some sort of powerpoint or keynote on a projector.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Tell a Friend about this website!

I was browsing on the internet the other day and I stumbled onto this popup that told me to tell other people about the website. For reasons still unknown they listed live and hotmail, both of them, which intrigued me. I guess microsoft really does need some brand name managing...

Oh yeah, and lifehacker had this post about a website not unlike wordle (apparently even better) that could general "stunning custom word clouds" so being myself I wanted to test it out. And what's better site to test it than this site here? Also the save to png didn't work very well on the site, had to save as jpeg. Enjoy.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The (Happy) Ending

Why hello there, I am not typing on a computer in a computer lab but rather I'm back on my old macbook pro. I just came back from the apple store with a brand new logic board. Since I was on warranty the repair didn't cost anything at all. Though I looked into logic board repairs and they can be quite costly actually. In the end, however, such failures are rare I would assume (I would think that hard drives fail the most often) but it's all good thanks to applecare. I'm just going to spend a few minutes detailing the ending of my applecare experience regarding the logic board.

So today I received a call from the apple store saying that my computer was fixed and could be picked up. From a previous call they said that the turnaround time is 3-5 days, so seeing that it's the third day (a sunday too!) says a lot about the repair. I learned that the store opening hours are only noon to 6 pm, so I was really hoping that I would get it back before tomorrow (since my first exam is tomorrow).

So I go into the store and they take the computer out. Since it's a logic board repair the startup time was a bit longer than usual, and a few settings were changed but no big deal. However, the latch was a bit stuck at that time and the employee actually had to see a genius to see what was wrong with the latch. She came back and said that the screw might have been too tight on the back, causing the issue but they were undermanned today so she told me to book an appointment. Even though there was this minor albeit annoying setback I agreed to book another appointment at the genius bar to get if fixed later. Just talking a bit more about the latch, normally I would be able to push in the latch very easily and the lid would pop out but when I try it now it's in a stuck position and you have to push it in harder to get the lid popped out. I guess it's one of the reasons why they went with a latchless design with the new macbook pros.

It was a nervewracking three days as I called about the status of the computer and worried that I wouldn't have a computer to use in the exam period. Luckily it all worked out in the end. Though to be honest I was hoping for a GPU problem, especially since my model is known for its gpu problems (the nvidia 8600 gt), but alas it was a logic board issue. A GPU issue would have been even more easy to deal with, I would be given a new laptop! I hope that I can finally get the GPU to fail in the next year and then I can get a new (probably refurbished) computer to unbox! In the meantime I'm very happy to get my computer back, and I guess it's time to start studying again.

Oh right, a small issue to this was that for some reason my time machine backup thought this computer was another computer so it offered to "reuse" this backup, it worked out in the end. It just compared its backup to my computer's files and did a normal backup. It didn't redo the whole back (thankfully). Another thing I noted was that they actually cleaned the exterior of the computer. So the keyboard palmrest, the keyboard itself, and the display were all cleaned. Not only do they fix the internals, they clean the externals too.

Oh, just a small subplot to this story. On friday I was at the computer lab and I realized that they didn't have flash on the computers and I also realized how annoying IE 8 was. It took me a bit of time but I finally have Google chrome loaded onto my USB stick, and I even got flash working on it as well. However they seemed to have blocked youtube, I guess I'll still have flash games to play with.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Applecare History 2

My previous applecare history (the original) post is here. I would just like to take the opportunity to revise it today, as my early 2008 macbook pro suddenly experienced another issue recently.

It was two days ago at about midnight (So technically April 8). All I did was put the lid down to sleep the computer. The computer was functioning fine just then. The computer wasn't charging as there was a green light on the magsafe. When I came back I noticed that the sleep light wasn't blinking, which intruiged me. So I went in and I opened the lid, but nothing happened. Usually when the computer goes out of sleep it would run the DVD drive which would make sounds. Unfortunately, this time it did not. I tried to force shut down the computer but when I tried to restart the boot screen did not come out but rather the screen was completely black. I wanted to try to reset PRAM but I unfortunately forgot (I just remembered you had to hold P, R, and something else when you pressed the power button).

The next day I called applecare and booked an appointment for 2 pm at the apple store. They said they had to replace the logic board and that they didn't have the part available so they would have the part in at most five days. I that point I realized that I would be computerless for the first part of my exam period. I think I'm slowly starting to doubt the efficacy of the phrase "it just works" as well as their PR campaign saying that their computers are more reliable etc. etc. because for me I've been having problems with this computer, whether it's the batter, power adapter, or fans. Though I guess this is my first "big problem" with the computer as I saw in the sheet that this was a "level 2 hardware repair" when my previous repairs had been "level 1." As for the 5 day turnaround time I admit it is still far better than other manufacturers but when I approached them and asked for a loaner laptop they said they didn't have any available. Sighs, guess I'll have to be computerless for another four days (they say I will get the computer back on thursday on a worst case basis).

So to add to the list
April 11 2010 Logic Board Replaced

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Uninstalling Norton Antivirus Mac

Reading this article made me laugh just now. Uninstall Norton Antivirus on mac... Double whammy. Interestingly enough though a lot of universities seem to provide antivirus software for mac, even though the version might be a bit more dated than the windows version. NO thanks Norton.

Though actually I would say that norton is ok that it comes with an uninstaller. Something that's particularly hard to uninstall in my opinion is silverlight. I downloaded the latest beta once, to check out their facebook application but I realized I didn't like it so I wanted to roll back. To my dismay when I searched the website I realized that I have to manually delete the files from specific folders or else when I try rolling back, the install dialog would say that I have a never version available. Would be much nicer if microsoft had an uninstaller for silverlight, kind of like what flash has.