Tag Archives: apple
December 30, 2014

Wifi Printing Brings A Bit Of Sanity

Samsung-M2070W-wifi-printer

Samsung-M2070W-wifi-printerFor several years I had a HP laserjet printer. It was functional. It printed stuff when I needed it, but, unfortunately, whatever drivers it needed did not "play nice" with my Mac and eventually I had to retire it. I mentioned my printer dilemma to a friend a couple of months ago and he suggested a couple of models of wifi enabled printers. I like wifi and bluetooth devices, since I hate having lots of cables, plus with wifi it means that you aren't restricted to a single machine. It's 2014 so the number of networked devices I have is constantly growing. Being tied to a single device with a cable isn't my idea of "fun"!

Technology has moved on, as have prices. Networked printers used to be expensive and not affordable for home / home office use. However nowadays you can get a wifi enabled printer for around €100.

In the end I settled on the Samsung M2070W.

It's a "multi-function" printer, so it can do more than just print as it also has scanner and copier function. I didn't want or need a colour printer, which is why I chose a mono model. Colour printers are usually more expensive to run, as the ink cartridges are quite expensive. I don't need to print in colour, so I couldn't see any point in getting anything other than a mono printer.

Setting it up was easy. Once you've removed the packaging and fitted the printer cartridge you simply plug it in and then run the setup software to get it connected to your wifi network. Once it's on the network you can then easily access it from any Mac (or PC).

But what really interested me was the functionality for mobile. Being able to send documents to print from either my iPhone or iPad was something I'd never been able to do previously. Samsung provide a special app for iPhone (and iPad) which not only lets you send documents to print, but also gives you a good bit of control over them.

I'll never need to print large volumes of pages at home, but being able to print off contracts, NDAs, boarding passes and a variety of other paperwork makes a lot of things significantly easier.

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August 20, 2013

Digital Music via iTunes vs. Physical CDs

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Agricantus_CD_kuntarimariWhile I'm a big fan of digital music services like Last.fm and Spotify I've always had a very "mixed" relationship with digital purchases of music.

I guess this stems from some bad experiences outside Apple's iTunes store. Having paid for an album I want to be able to "consume" it however I choose on whatever device I want.

Unfortunately if the company you bought music from goes belly up and you don't have "sane" backups of your music purchases you can be simply out of luck ..

This has happened to me a couple of times.

My other big "fear" was hard drive failure.

However with the advent of iCloud I don't really have to worry about this any longer. And Amazon (and others) are now offering similar services.

But I still like having a physical CD.

I like to physically handle the disc and to read the sleeve notes, which sometimes comes with added extras. (Remember the holograms on Enigma's first album?)

While I can download my iTunes purchases onto up to 5 devices that's only 5 devices. What if I want more? DRM is still around, even though it's not nearly as restrictive as it was a few years ago (thankfully!)

With a CD I can lend the music to a friend.

That's not so easy with iTunes purchases, unless you lend your iPod to them ..

However the real "thing" is one of price.

It cuts both ways.

Mainstream artists are readily available both via Amazon (et al) and via iTunes. You'd think that the iTunes version would be cheaper, as there's no packaging or shipping costs, but often it isn't, so I've still had an incentive to keep buying CDs.

But when it comes to artists that are a little less mainstream, such as Sicilian group Agricantus, iTunes wins hands down (assuming they have the artist in their catalogue).

Today I found out that Agricantus had released a new album, Kuntarimari, a few months ago.

So I went to a number of online stores to see about getting a copy. Unfortunately the price before shipping was around 20 Euro in most reputable places. However iTunes had it for under 9 Euro: Kuntarimari - Agricantus

Not only is that more than 50% cheaper than the physical CD, I also got practically instant gratification and was listening to the album within a few seconds of purchasing it.

I'm still going to buy physical CDs and I'll mix and match pure digital with physical, but I'm no longer as "wed" to a particular medium as I used to be. With Spotify I can access a lot of the music I like across multiple devices without ever having to purchase a specific CD. If I want to explore a particular artist I can do so without any "pain". With Last.fm I have lots of fun exploring "tags" and "stations" and again I can do so without actually buying. But if I do find an artist I really like I might go out and buy their album, though as mentioned above, which medium or format I use for the purchase is quite fluid.

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December 23, 2012

Which iPad Apps For My Mother?

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I've given my mother my old iPad (wifi model) as I got myself an iPad mini.

So far it's got Flipboard, Facebook and a couple of other apps on it, but I really don't know what else I should install for her.

What would you recommend?

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December 21, 2012

iCoffee

icoffee

Stolen from Facebook :)

icoffee

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October 2, 2012

Your Press Release Sucks

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Kelly Hardy

Kelly Hardy (Photo credit: blacknight)

For a number of reasons I get sent quite a few press releases. Most, but not all, of them are technology related.

Unfortunately a LOT of PR agencies assume that recipients of their press releases actually care. I suspect most don't.

Unless you're a really popular brand with a zealous following (think Apple) I suspect your press release is not going to be prioritised.

If you put all the actual content into an attachment you're making it way harder for the receiver to work out what you're contacting them about.

I'm not sure what makes a "good" press release or what makes a "bad" one, but I've had some really really bad ones over the past couple of months.

First off .. attachments ..

If you're sending a release it's going to be text. Why put it in an attachment? If it's in an attachment I'll have to open it separately .. if you put it in the body of the email I don't have to - I can read over it quickly.

Links - why on earth do people forget to include these? Why should I have to go hunting for them?

Price - if you're selling a product or service then pricing info can be pretty useful

Images - do NOT embed them in Word docs. Seriously. Also - don't go sending 10 megs of attachments to people. Just link to the damn things. If someone cares enough to download them and maybe use them you gain - plus you can actually track the downloads

Dates - if it's for an event it's kind of key to know when it is

Location - same as above

(Tip: If you can't write coherent press releases outsource it to someone who can. We use Kelly - she's awesome!)

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September 30, 2012

Alphabet For Geeks

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When I was a child I had a book called "A is for Apple" which went through the alphabet with each letter being associated with a thing. I think my sister inherited it.

The 2012 version of it might end up with something like this:

No idea where this came from originally, but someone shared it earlier this morning and it brought a smile to my face.

 

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July 25, 2012

OSX Mountain Lion Is Here!

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Cougar / Puma / Mountain Lion / Panther (Puma ...

Cougar / Puma / Mountain Lion / Panther (Puma concolor) closeup. Philadelphia Zoo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Earlier today Apple released OSX Mountain Lion.

So far I've installed it on my work desktop, but haven't had a chance to explore it yet - I left it trying to upgrade my mail .. which will probably take a while.. the downside to not having SSD drives

At home I'm still trying to download it, though I suspect my connection from UPC Ireland is taking a rather long and nasty route, which is why it's taking way longer than it did in the office.

I'm particularly interested in seeing what the new options for Air Play are like, as I'd love to be able to easily stream content to my Apple TV (my current setup is more than a little convoluted!)

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May 28, 2012

Which Noise Cancelling Headphones Are The Best?

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Listening to music or watching films or TV shows while on the road is a good way to pass away the time.

At the moment, however, I only have the standard white Apple ear buds. They're functional, but they're not exactly the best earphones on the market in terms of audio quality.

I've been looking into getting something better, but I'm really not sure which brand and model is best.

Bose have some very nice models and there's also a nice linkup for Flying Blue members.

There's also a few from Dr Dre that look pretty good.

So which ones would people recommend and why?

Ideally ones that have a proper carrying case ie. are airplane friendly, as that's what I'll be using them for most.

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May 19, 2012

iTunes Weirdness

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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

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May 11, 2012

Replacing My Macs

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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
4GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM
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)

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