Archive | apple RSS feed for this section
June 15, 2012

Rediscovering My IRiver


I've had an iRiver H340 for a few years. I think I picked mine up a few months before iRiver stopped making them. I used it on and off for a couple of years, but for the last year or more it's been gathering dust. I used to watch films when travelling so I didn't really listen to music, but between Netflix, iTunes and the cinema there's less and less that I want to watch on flights and I'm probably a lot happier listening to a bit of music.

So I decided to "dust off" the iRiver..

It turns out that if you leave an iRiver for too long the battery gets completely drained (no surprise). What was a surprise was that it got so drained that it simply would not charge over USB. And of course I'd misplaced the mains charger a long time ago. So I had to go off and buy a replacement on eBay.

Once the iRiver was charged up I was able to rediscover its contents - a mixed bunch of movie soundtracks and a quite random selection of other albums.

Of course it's been so long since I actively used the iRiver that I now face an interesting problem. Since I now uses Macs everywhere I'll have to rip any music I want to listen to on the iRiver all over again, as it doesn't support the iTunes / Mac format - it simply can't see it.

So now I have to find a sane tool for ripping audio onto the Mac ... now if I could rip to ogg format I'd be delighted!

Related Posts:

May 22, 2012

Which Software Is Essential On Your Laptop?


Over the last few years I've installed, reinstalled, wiped etc., quite a few desktop machines and laptops. (see an earlier post on this topic)

My latest machine (Macbook Air) arrived earlier today, so I've been setting it up in between answering emails, phone calls etc.,

Here's what I have on it so far:

  • Microsoft Office. We're a Microsoft partner and a LOT of documents I get sent are in Word, Excel or Powerpoint format.
  • Adium. For all your instant messaging needs :)
  • Evernote - very very handy for keeping track of notes, todo lists etc.,
  • Skype. I use this a lot for messaging and talking with colleagues. Also use it heavily for recording the podcast with Conn every week
  • Acrobat reader - PDFs .. need I say more
  • Adobe Flash player - used for a lot of sites and services
  • Microsoft Silverlight - for some odd reason MS Exchange Outlook Web Access works better with it
  • Spotify - I am totally addicted to this
  • Firefox (with several plugins) is still my favourite browser. I am using Safari a bit more often these days, but Firefox is still my default browser
  • Pixelmator - very handy for quick image editing

What am I missing?

Related Posts:

May 19, 2012

iTunes Weirdness


One of the reasons I love using Apple products is because they're incredibly simple and easy to use. I don't need to worry about what's going on under the hood - I just click and it works.

Of course the downside to Apple products is that when they don't work you're left scratching your head.

My latest issue is with albums bought via iTunes.

For some really odd reason the audio files download, but are not playable!

And to make it all the more "fun" iTunes doesn't throw any errors

Related Posts:

May 11, 2012

Replacing My Macs

Michele + laptop

Michele + laptop (Photo credit: blacknight)

For more than a month I've been working without a decent laptop or desktop at home. I've been using a rather old and slow iMac (a late 2006 model) which will only take 3 GB of RAM and has a rather annoying habit of swapping like mad and freezing several times per day. The laptop I've been using is the MacBook Pro equivalent. Instead of simply freezing it will randomly lose all network connectivity and refuse to reconnect until I reboot it.

Fun times!

Fortunately the insurance companies are both paying out, so I finally ordered replacement machines today.

As a laptop I opted for a MacBook Air. I used to have both an Air and a MacBook Pro, but I'm hoping that a relatively beefy Air will work for me:

1.8GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i7
256GB flash storage

Since it's a 13 inch I'll probably have to get a new sleeve for it, as the one it's replacing was the smaller 11 inch.

As a desktop for my home office I opted for a 27 inch iMac:

3.1GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i5
4GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x2GB
1TB Serial ATA Drive + 256GB Solid State Drive
AMD Radeon HD 6970M 1GB GDDR5
Apple Magic Mouse
Apple Wireless Keyboard (British) & User's Guide (English)
Accessory Kit

The "plan" is to upgrade the RAM via Crucial, as they're significantly cheaper than getting RAM from Apple direct. I might be able to use the original RAM in one of my other machines.. even if I can't I'm hoping to beef up the RAM to the maximum that it'll take (16 GB)

Related Posts:

April 16, 2012

Home Network Storage Problem Solved (Hopefully!)


Over the weekend I discovered what was eating up most of my hard drive space and a few people made some suggestions via the comments here and also on Facebook.

I didn't realise that a lot of network storage devices supported iTunes (and similar), so I hadn't done much research into my options.

Based on what people were saying I went off and found that Iomega had several devices that could probably do what I wanted. Some people have had issues with Iomega hardware, but I've never had any. In fact I have very fond memories of Iomega's customer service years ago when I had issues with a Zip drive (remember them?).

Iomega have a very broad range of storage solutions, but they've got some devices that are aimed at the "home network" and among them is the "Iomega® Home Media Network Hard Drive, Cloud Edition". Bit of a mouthful, but the feature list is damn impressive, with support for pretty much everything I could imagine - and more. It comes in three different capacities 1, 2 and 3 TB, so I naturally went for the biggest one.

Checking the pricing online I originally thought that buying direct from Iomega was going to be the cheapest option, as their direct pricing is significantly cheaper than most of their resellers. However, for some odd reason, Amazon UK worked out quite a bit cheaper - even when I opted for express delivery. Hopefully I'll be taking delivery of my new "toy" in the next day or so! (Amazon expect to deliver it tomorrow)

What's it got?

Pretty much everything you could think of and then some.

You can get a full list of the features here, but basically it'll do all the storage for all the Mac computers in the house (desktops and laptops) while also supporting media streaming, remote backups and a lot more.  It's got a builtin media server and also supports automatic uploading of photos to various social media sites including Facebook and Flickr. The web interface to control the entire thing looks pretty slick and I'm looking forward to exploring its features, though I know I'll only use a small fraction of them.

Related Posts:

April 15, 2012

I Might Have Too Much Music!

My disk usage on my home desktop

I listen to music on my desktop machines pretty much all the time. While I have bought a few tracks via iTunes I'm still buying physical CDs. Recently I've been using Spotify quite a bit, but I still like being able to listen to the music that I have in my own collection.

My desktop machine in the office has a pretty large hard drive, so this isn't an issue. Unfortunately my machine at home isn't as well endowed!

Here's what DaisyDisk tells me about my own usage:

My disk usage on my home desktop

My disk usage on my home desktop

Unfortunately that's pretty much the entire hard drive!

overall hard drive usage

overall hard drive usage

So would playing music from an external hard drive work?

I've got an external iomega drive that's got plenty of capacity, though it also holds backups from my other machine (the one that was stolen) and I'd rather not lose those backups since I haven't got anywhere to put them ..

Related Posts:

March 3, 2012

Upgrading From An Ancient Nokia To Android Without A Data Cable


My mother finally got a smartphone today. Unfortunately we couldn't find the data cable for her old Nokia (Nokia 2330c-2) and as it's quite an old model it doesn't use micro-USB.
So how could we get the contact numbers off her Nokia and onto her new Samsung Galaxy mini?

There seem to be plenty of ways of doing it if you have the data cable, but if you don't your options are very limited.

However after much gnashing of teeth and pulling out what little hair I've got left I came across Syncmate, which is a really handy bit of software. It's also free, which is a plus (not that I mind paying for software, but I wasn't even sure if it was going to work)

It allows you to easily sync the phone book of most model phones to your Mac and vice-versa. Fortunately it also allows you to set which contact group you want the imported ones to go to, so you don't end up with a load of weird contacts on your Mac - and my mother doesn't end up with all my weird contacts on her new phone.

Copying the data from the old Nokia to the Mac was relatively easy, as it does it all over bluetooth pretty seamlessly. Getting it from the Mac back on to the new Samsung Galaxy mini took a little bit more work, though that was mainly due to me not having read the instructions properly. Simply download and install Syncmate via the Android marketplace and turn on bluetooth syncing and then off you go!

Full details on the software here.

I was looking for a solution for a specific problem, but after playing with this tool even for a few minutes I realised that it could be useful for my own day to day usage (I live in fear of losing my address book!) and it has a number of interesting options such as syncing to Dropbox, Google and a few other things.


Related Posts:

December 18, 2011

Apple Christmas Ad

Short and quite amusing:

Related Posts:

December 18, 2011

Quick Fix – Starting Firefox In Safe Mode on OSX

Firefox is a wonderful piece of software, but sometimes it has issues.. Trying to debug the problem can be made a lot easier if you start the browser in "safe mode" ie. with addons and plugins disabled

On OSX you can do this by holding down the "option" key when starting Firefox (it's the key with "alt" on the top)

Mozilla Firefox Logo

Image via Wikipedia

Related Posts:

December 5, 2011

Apple’s 1984 Ridley Scott Advert

Steve Jobs

Image by Patrick Nouhailler via Flickr

I'm currently reading the Steve Jobs biography. I wanted the "dead tree" version, so I had to wait for it to arrive, so I'm probably a bit behind compared to other people.

I don't remember the launch of the Macintosh, but I do remember the Apple stand at an exhibition in Cork around the same time. I have vague recollections of a video they were playing about IBM vs Apple, so it must have been roughly around the same period, though I could be completely wrong!

The imagery in the Ridley Scott directed advert from 1984 is very strong, though any version of the video I've found is pretty grainy.

Here it is:

Related Posts: