Back to Regular Posting

Ok, it has been far too long since I’ve had time to post on the site.  I really hope to change that now.  So many things have happened since I fell off the wagon (stopped having time to post).  Mac OS X 10.5 has actually shipped and there have been a series of patches that have really refined it and eliminated bugs.

One of the other major topics that I have posted about in the past, and received a great deal of email asking for further information on the subject relates to keeping several computer synced.  The need to keep a portable computer up to date with the latest data from the other computers in other locations has been key.  We have some new software to examine there as well.

Then we have VPN solutions.  Several posts centered around Hamachi as a great point-to-point VPN solution.  Since its release for the Mac, Hamachi hasn’t really gone anywhere.  This is very unfortunate.  There is a command line version of the software and it works.  But its not what the average Mac user is looking for.  We want a GUI (graphical user interface).  In an upcoming post we’ll take a look at what’s happened in the world of Hamachi and other VPN solutions.

In any case, I’ve been away for far too long.  Now I should be settling back into the fold and should have more time to start posting about some of the more popular topics.


Why I Think Change Is Good

The following information has no real value.  I just found it to be an interesting way to save money.  Since I just finally learned the results of my effort, I thought I would share.

At the end of each day, I take the spare change in my pocket and toss it in a jug.  Nothing odd there.  I know a lot of people that do the same thing.  But when I emptied it (actually I made Carrie empty it) this week, I (she) found a dated note in the bottom that had the date the most recent iteration of the experiment started.

That’s when I recalled why I put the note there in the first place.
Keep Reading!

Microsoft’s Mac Envy

Does Microsoft really have Mac envy?  Informationweek.com had an interesting post dealing evidence that surfaced in a recent anti-trust case against Microsoft.  The documents disclosed included correspondence between Microsoft evangelists, Microsoft executives and Vista project manager Jim Allchin.  According to the Informationweek article, the documents were written following some Windows evangelists return from the Apple World Wide Developers Conference back in June of 2004.

Among the more interesting points in the documents were observations concerning Mac OS X 10.4’s new file search capabilities, video chat, and desktop widgets.  The documents detailed Microsoft’s understanding that they needed to raise the bar on past efforts before making their beta demonstration in September of 2005 at the Professional Developers Conference.  It became obvious that the Windows Vista (then known as Longhorn) beta that that planned to display to the public would be very quickly compared to Mac OS X and if efforts weren’t doubled, Microsoft would be left with nothing but bad press.

The story doesn’t explain how this information is relevant to the anti-trust case, but it’s sure to be a feather in the cap of Mac evangelists around the world.  Mac users have long alleged that Microsoft developers have liberated some of their most innovative technologies from the Apple campus.  Court cases have found truth in these rumors in the past and it seems that tangible evidence has once again surfaced.

Its no wonder that, given this information, Apple engineers have been ultra-secretive about the features of the upcoming revision to Mac OS X.  Version 10.5 is said to include some truly revolutionary innovations.  Apple has even stated its desire to keep these new technologies under wraps to prevent competitors from “firing up their photocopiers.”

Checkout the Informationweek story here.  Its an interesting read.  Be sure to send the link to every one of your Windows using buddies too!


How to Delete Autofill Options in Firefox

Mozilla recently released Firefox 2.0.  While the esthetics of the changes were minimal, the browser has clearly come a long way.  With 2.0, the interface icons are more refined and the tabs look a little more polished.  Perhaps the most impressive and long overdue feature to be added is spellchecking.  But for all of its refinements, sometimes Firefox still manages to leave me frustrated.  In this case, the browsers autofill feature can be problematic.

Firefox’s autofill feature can make filling out web based forms a breeze.  It can also drive one quite insane.  Since filling out forms can sometimes be tedious, Firefox routinely caches recently used values specific to any given form field.  This can be a real time saver for people who need to login to password protected areas of different web sites.

But what happens when mistype your username a single time?  Suddenly you visit your login screen and Firefox no longer autofills in your login information.  Clicking in the field reveals a list of possible user names where there had once only been your own.  Now you must select either the correct login name from the list of options, or your typographical error.  Why should you be forced to look at your typo every time you login?  Isn’t there a way to deleted the incorrect value?

Search Firefox all you like… you simply won’t find a place to clean up the values stored in the autofill for forms.  But if you know the trick, its actually very easy to remove the unneeded autofill options from any given field.

When clicking on the offending field (or sometimes double clicking), a list of autofill options will appear.  Simply use the keyboards arrow keys to travel down the list until the erroneous value is highlighted.  Then, just hold down the Shift key and strike the Delete key.  That value will no longer appear in the form field as an autofill option.

This a simple and powerful feature that is simply not well documented.  Autofill options are great time savers, but they can also be the source of great frustration.  This simple tip can prevent annoyance while restoring productivity.


Apple Sells Virus to Windows Users?

In a disappointing turn of events, it seems that a number of iPods that rolled off of Apple’s assembly line were infected with a virus known as RavMonE.exe.  As the name implies, it one effects Windows based PCs.  This incident is a major black-eye for Apple and only stands to worry a good portion of the iPods customer base.  Like them or not, Windows users shouldn’t have to worry about their latest gadget infecting their computer when it ships from the factory.  That being said, Windows users have a lot of things to worry about that should simply be non-issues.

Mac users will likely find humor in the incident.  After all, they are immune to the infection.  But one day, the shoe may be on the other foot.  Simply put, we expect more from Apple.

According to this post on Apple’s site, less than 1% “of the Video iPods available for purchase after September 12, 2006, left our contract manufacturer carrying the Windows RavMonE.exe virus.”  It would be amusing to provide a real world statistic on that.  Are we talking 10 iPods, 100, or 10,000?  Apple intentionally made the information vague, but no doubt someone will start publishing best guess equations that may or may not be on the mark.

Reportedly the mishap is the result of an infection traced back to a system running on Apple’s production line.  But history shows us that Apple isn’t the first company to accidentally ship a virus with their product.  Some years ago, Microsoft actually managed to ship a virus on the install CD of a version of MS Office.  I wish I could find a story detailing the particulars, but it was big news in its day.  Some believed it to be the mother ships ultimate irony.


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