Showing posts with label vista. Show all posts
Showing posts with label vista. Show all posts

Friday, 11 July 2008

Apple Store + O2 + IE = FAIL!

It can't have escaped anyone's attention that today ushers in the new Apple iPhone 3G!

To insulate myself from indulging in an act of rampant consumerism (thereby reinforcing the status quo). I've kept clear of Apple Store Princesshay and the O2 Shop, Exeter! Not that there was any real cause for concern...

In a deliciously ironic twist (as noted by Twitter peeps @marceatsworld and @babblestorm), Apple Stores were unable to process activations due to O2's online shop only 'playing nice' with IE and, well, surprisingly the Apple Stores only use Macs and Safari! D'oh! How old school is that? We're living in a so-called platform-agnostic age people! Allegedly... Ask the developers behind Google Lively if you don't believe me (requires Windows XP or Vista)!

If you did succumb to the charms of a new iPhone, please post a comment and fuel the envy! I'm cutting this post short as MobileMe continues to FailMe!

Updated with added coolness!
Yesterday, in a most shocking development, my 'coolness' was cast into doubt! As a Mac-owning blogger that's unthinkable!

Danny Franks linked to this blog in his post Why I Refuse to Blog! Little did Danny know that my legion of peeps would alert me to this disturbance in the force!

I've always been a good sport and there's no such thing as bad publicity in my book! Therefore in the spirit of goodwill and Danny's subsequent genial e-mail. I'd like to sincerely wish Danny every success with his blogging (or not as the case may be)! I'll be keeping tabs. However, rest assured that blasters will be set to stun!

Special thanks to Google for ranking Generation Star Wars so highly in "Star Wars blog" searches!

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Vanquishing Vista

Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard is released to retail on Friday October 26th and is offering 6% off the pre-order price for both client versions:

Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard (Single-user license)
Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard Family Pack (5-user license)

*Introduces over 300 new and enhanced features to OS X, including a new desktop and updated finder enabling easy browsing and sharing between multiple Macs
*Take advantage of the latest developments in processor hardware with full native 64-bit support, multi-core optimization, and new Core animation
*Preview files without opening an application using Quick Look
*Easily and automatically back up and restore lost files or a complete Mac with Time Machine
*Create groups of applications and instantly switch between them with Spaces

Will Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard be worth the wait? Of course it will! And pre-orders are more than double that of Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger! Various online forums are positing that the increase is related to the advent of Boot Camp and native Microsoft Windows OS support! Certainly PC-based games, such as the stunning Half-Life 2: The Orange Box, can now be played with a copy of Windows Vista Home Premium installed! And, in fairness, I've experienced no problems with running Windows Vista on my Intel-based Mac!

I'll post my Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard review in short order!

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Sexy! Yes Yes Yes

The new iPods are delicious! iPod touch is especially captivating and Apple has delivered a compelling refresh to its ubiquitous all-conquering brand - nano, shuffle and all-new classic.

I'd certainly have liked to see a more capacious HDD available for the iPod touch, but good things come to those who wait! For the time being iPod classic is the more compelling portable solution; boasting up to 160GB of storage! I'll be using this for data backup on both Mac OS X and Windows Vista Home Premium!

Don't forget to download iTunes 7.4! Sexy! No No No, by Girls Aloud, sounds even edgier especially Cheryl Tweedy's intro.

Goodbye to Microsoft Zune and NBC/Universal!

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Jedi Master of My Domain

We all know that new iMacs are on their way today. Therefore this post will be self-indulgent and focus on the very blog that you are reading!

Blogger introduced custom domain name support in January 2007! This blog has been online for over 3 years and, somewhat belatedly, I've finally registered a domain name:

Redirection from is automatic (what's called a 301 permanent redirect). But apologies, in advance, for any technical issues in the short-to-mid term. I've not experienced any issues using the following browsers Opera, Safari, Firefox or IE 7 (in Windows Vista Home Premium).

Subscribers to my RSS feed - powered by FeedBurner - do not have to make any changes to their subscription! Matt Shobe, at FeedBurner, confirmed that my decision to change the source feed from


was correct. RSS goodness is uninterrupted.

I'm feverishly working on ways to minimise the impact of a domain name change on my search engine rankings - old Google PageRank was 4 (on the cusp of 5), new PageRank is 0. However, I'd encourage anyone setting up their site, who intends to blog frequently and in the longer term, to register a domain name as soon as possible! Maybe even prior to your blog going live or increased marketing activities.

Lastly, remember to create a new sitemap for your new domain and remove the existing one as Google may remove your site(s) from its search engine - duplicate content is a no, no!

Monday, 6 August 2007

The One

Looks like there's a bug (or three) with the latest Windows Live OneCare 2.0 Beta! OneCare Tune-up appears to run correctly, but upon completion reports innumerable errors! For example an unknown error prevented Disk Fragmentation (perhaps due to Boot Camp disk partitioning). However, when I log back in, it reports that the PC status is good. Initially I assumed that my Windows Vista Home Premium installation was at fault!

For those of you who are unfamiliar with this story. My OEM (original equipment manufacturer) copy of Windows Vista Home Premium is installed, via Boot Camp, on Intel-based Mac hardware and presumably is not officially supported (if someone at Microsoft would like to clarify the company's position regarding Intel-based Mac hardware, I'd be happy to post). It is worth pointing out that product activation was successful. Therefore, if you're wondering whether or not to opt for the considerably cheaper OEM edition, I'd suggest that you go ahead, your bank manager will thank you.

I decided to post a query on The Windows Experience Blog. Brandon has kindly confirmed that this issue is affecting some (if not all) PCs too. I'll await the next automated update.

Overall Windows Live OneCare neatly integrates automated anti-virus and malware protection, updates, PC performance and backup services within a single easy-to-use front-end. Think .Mac, albeit splintered, during its infancy.

I doubt if I'll be using Windows Vista Home Premium enough to justify purchasing an annual subscription once the free trial ends. Should .Mac integrate Google goodies sans subscription (as early as tomorrow's new Mac announcements and evinced by current iDisk outages), Microsoft maybe forced to review its subscription-based strategy. This would be a win-win for both Mac and Windows users.

Monday, 23 July 2007

Windows Live Writer

Switched back to Windows Vista! Why? I'm keen to give Windows Live Writer Beta 2 a test drive and there's currently no Mac OS X client (get your skates on Mac Business Unit (Mac BU)).

Microsoft has built a powerful desktop application blogging tool, which largely precludes the need to directly login to your blog account. Windows Live Writer can publish to Windows Live Spaces, Sharepoint, WordPress, Blogger, LiveJournal, TypePad, Moveable Type, Community Server, and many other weblog services.

Windows Live Writer is by no means unique. There's an abundance of third party applications and widgets available for both Windows and Mac platforms. Yet, Windows Live Writer goes someway to consolidate rich publishing in one easy-to-use application. Setup is a breeze. However, I'd like to see more formatting options - such as justify - made available from the GUI. Of course you can switch to HTML and, manually, insert code yourself.

You can post directly from within Windows Live Writer or save drafts locally and/or online. A very useful trick it has up its sleeve; updated drafts, saved locally, will overwrite the online draft if you saved at both locations. Therefore you don't need to worry about reconciling different versions or accidentally double posting (a bane of bloggers everywhere)!

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Mac Users vote now!

Looks like Yahoo! hasn't completely forgotten about us Mac Users! The Yahoo! Messenger Blog is currently running a Poll for Mac users.

If you want Yahoo! Messenger sooner rather than later, and avoid further tardiness, be sure to drop by and vote for a Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger release only. Even the beleaguered beta knocks, pre-Leopard, spots off of the current Windows version. That being said, I'll be keeping tabs on the upcoming Windows Vista update, which promises "3D" eye candy.

Friday, 22 June 2007

Windows Experience

After installing Mac OS X 10.4.10 Combo Update (Intel), repairing permissions both before and after applying the iterative update. I rebooted into Windows Vista!

Last night I noticed the Windows Update icon had appeared on the taskbar! I double-clicked to see what updates were available, and it was an update for the Windows Live Messenger 8.5 beta.

The update was designed specifically to test Windows Live Messenger updates pushed through the Microsoft Update engine - which you can use within Windows Vista's Windows Update client off the Start Menu. Microsoft is putting great efforts to 'push' updates through Windows Update and Microsoft Update that add to the Windows user experience.

The update to Windows Live Messenger 8.5 offers no new functionality, or updates to the application itself, as it was designed simply to test the functionality of rolling out an update through Microsoft Update. I'd certainly love to see this functionality incorporated into Apple Software Update (part of Boot Camp), thereby eliminating the need to burn a CD replete with the latest drivers!

Time to download the Lost Planet: Extreme Condition (DX10 demo) and test Windows Explorer.

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Das Boot

Have other Mac Users noticed any system sluggishness when booting back into Mac OS X 10.4 via Boot Camp? It takes repeated restarts to improve system responsiveness! This will doubtlessly be addressed in the final retail release (as part of Mac OS X 10.5).

Personally speaking, I prefer Boot Camp, to any existing third-party virtualization tools such as Parallels Desktop, despite lacking the option to run Windows Vista concurrently with Mac OS X! If SWsoft would like me to appraise Parallels Desktop, and post a review, please contact me.

Monday, 18 June 2007

Games for Windows

Having now settled into Windows Vista (using Boot Camp 1.3) sans WOW, I'm forewarned of Aero's influence on Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard's translucent menubar (Apple's worst menubar decision since Mac OS X Public Beta)!

However, for the time being, I'm much more interested in Microsoft's Games for Windows marketing strategy and Windows Vista native support for Xbox 360 controller for Windows!

I've pre-ordered Lost Planet: Extreme Condition (PC) along with an Xbox 360 Crossfire - Wireless Gaming Receiver for Windows and Xbox 360 wireless controller.

Reviews to follow.

Friday, 1 June 2007

The Ultimate View

I've been testing Windows Vista Ultimate OEM/OEI DSP edition, installed on an Intel-based Mac! Installation was a breeze, thanks to Boot Camp 1.2 and built-in Apple Software Update (available directly from the Start menu).

Overall I'm quite impressed with Windows Vista Ultimate's performance, which is, ironically, more responsive than Mac OS X 10.4, despite a lack of compatible drivers. Microsoft should be lauded for making improvements, especially with Windows Media Center, despite their controversial and confusing product (and pricing) strategy.

Windows Aero (Authentic, Energetic, Reflective and Open) GUI applies an extra layer of lip gloss and renders certain text better than Aqua (Mac OS X) and vice versa. For the first time since the release of Windows 95 (although it's not a paradigm shift from Windows XP), Microsoft has completely revised its user interface guidelines, covering aesthetics, common controls such as buttons and radio buttons, task dialogs, wizards, common dialogs, control panels, icons, fonts, user notifications, and the "tone" of text used.

Avid video gamers, starved of Mac ports, are truly spoilt for choice. Roll on Halo 2.

One caveat I should mention, install Windows Vista Ultimate 32-bit (x86) and not 64-bit (x64)! Support for the former is more robust in the short-to-mid term.

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Band of Colours

Last week I received a speculative e-mail (via the contact form) from SoundSpectrum's Rick Eberle. He wondered if I'd be interested in reviewing their G-Force and SoftSkies plug-ins and sharing my thoughts with you?

I was terribly intrigued by this company, one that I'd never heard or read about before, and gamely visited SoundSpectrum's site! The feted plug-ins will be the subject of a future post. In the meantime, here's a basic FAQ prepared on behalf of the company.

SoundSpectrum - the #1 music and audio visualization software company on the market.

SoundSpectrum for Consumer "Personal" Use:

G-Force is currently installed on over 100 million computers worldwide and our fan base continues to grow by millions every year. We supply the core visuals for Apple's iTunes and visuals for Windows Media Center and the upcoming Windows Vista OS, and our products are recommended by WindowsMedia, Yahoo Musicmatch, RealPlayer, Winamp, and most other popular media players for your computer. We have also been recommended by various media outlets, including CNet, Wired, USNews, and many online blogs and publications.

SoftSkies is a music visualizer and screen saver that produces photo-realistic cloudscapes, rich with color and motion. SoftSkies features mood-enhancing color designs, patent-pending cloud animation, dynamic imagery, and detailed visual controls. SoftSkies is ideal for relaxation, music appreciation, and creating ambiance for any environment. SoftSkies runs as a software plug-in to your favorite media player, as a screen saver display, or as a standalone application. Users can customize SoftSkies to design their own skyscapes with varying weather conditions and colors palettes. SoftSkies includes an assortment of color combinations designed in collaboration with Colorcalm, Inc. to add atmosphere and complement décor. SoftSkies also displays scenic photos as “living images” with animated cloudscapes that create a mesmerizing on-screen experience.

Consumers can download free trial demo versions and they can purchase the full versions (i.e. Gold or Platinum) from our web site ( as well. Consumer "personal use" versions downloaded from our web site are licensed strictly for personal use at home. *Public display and commercial use are strictly prohibited without special license from SoundSpectrum.

Here are a few reviews on us you might find interesting

On G-Force:

On SoftSkies:

SoundSpectrum for Commercial Use and Public Display:

G-Force and SoftSkies are also used in performances, nightclubs, theme parks, music festivals and retail environments throughout the world. Artists such as David Gilmour of Pink Floyd, Journey, Aerosmith, Seal, Herbie Hancock, Raq, Fischerspooner and Michael W. Smith have used G-Force in their concerts and as part of their album releases. G-Force has also appeared in places as diverse as The Arizona Symphony, Germany’s Hamburg Planetarium, New York, New York Hotel in Las Vegas, at the G-Force Rollercoaster at Drayton Manor Park in Staffordshire and on video walls at TopShop stores in downtown London, England.

How does G-Force/SoftSkies work as an enhancement to a band/DJ's live performance?
As the band/DJ plays, mesmerizing visuals that dance and react with the music are projected / displayed behind and around them. You can add your own pictures, logos, text or even video of the band/DJ to play along in the background meshed with the visuals too. The venue would need a video screen (LCD, LED, plasma, CRT, etc.) or a video projector with silk/ projector screen (or white wall) that is positioned behind the performer. This would be connected to a mini mac, or pc laptop to run the software. We are happy to furnish commercial licensing terms for performers or venues, upon request.

How does G-Force/SoftSkies work as an enhancement to a band/DJ's album releases?
We are currently creating videos, videotones, wallpapers, online video singles and other DVD, dual disc & enhanced CD content meshing our G-Force and SoftSkies visuals with pictures, existing live and stock video and music from DJ’s, musicians and artists in many genres and on many labels.

These videos can be made as full screen HD, video iPod and/or cell phone compatible and can be sold and distributed separately online. Or they can be bundled and packaged to offer extra incentive for consumers to buy the actual CD package from retail instead of downloading specific songs from the web.

We have demo videos available at:

*G-Force and SoftSkies must be specifically licensed for commercial use or any public display.

Read an article about our work using G-Force with Journey in concert:
Journey tours with SoundSpectrum

Important Commercial License and Reseller information:

The most important reason to get the Commercial license is that it's illegal to use G-Force or SoftSkies for any public display or commercial purposes without a commercial license. The Gold and Platinum versions (found at are licensed strictly for personal use, which is clearly stated in our start up screen, licenses, EULA, and on our web site.

With respect to features, the Pro (commercial) version of the software includes:

1. The ability to upload graphic images and photos directly into the visuals as "overlays" (i.e. in true-color in either “opaque” or “transparent” modes) which can be sequenced to display at regular intervals. This is in addition to our “Sprite” feature which enables users to add images and video, and our “text overlay” feature which allows them to scroll text on the screen with the sponsor and event information of your choice, easily manipulated and customized for each event they hold. They can also "turn off" the G-Force logo, as well.

2. A networking feature that enables clients to network two computers together so they can use the toolbar on the first computer to control the G-Force visual output on the other computer. This is useful if someone wants to control the visual output in real-time while the music is playing, to change graphics, colors, reactivity, etc., etc.

3. Pro users can also create "scripts" to invoke specific visual combinations, as well as text, photos, images, etc. (i.e. this is especially effective using the "overlay" capabilities) or we regularly create some scripts to specs for clients at an additional charge.

4. We can set up custom “hot keys” which can be used to seamlessly change from specifically built “theme sets” based on color, shape, background using just a qwerty computer keyboard. Save an unlimited number of “pages” containing “scripts” which can easily interact with your existing lighting/VJ configurations for a truly amazing enhancement to the room ambiance. Additionally, customers can create multiple instances of G-Force and SoftSkies; for instance this would give them the ability to run G-Force or SoftSkies in a “Blue” theme on one screen, in a “Green” theme on another etc. Due to the development time involved, this is only available for an additional charge.

5. Separately, we provide Pro clients with CD copies of the G-Force and SoftSkies personal use software which they can sell on-site to patrons who like the graphics, and we can offer them a commission on each piece sold.

*We also ask for some kind of acknowledgment which can be in the form of our logo appearing for a few seconds every 20 min or so within the display, or some kind of oral announcement or written acknowledgement (i.e. G-Force visuals provided by SoundSpectrum - ). It's important to us that people can identify what they are seeing, although we're very flexible as to the form of the attribution.

*There are also some projects in the works we may be able to use with an installation including interactive floorplates controlled by a kiosk, color kinetics integration, DMX lighting control and creating custom DVD’s for VJ and DJ use.

We're glad to provide customers with a one-time use commercial license for any event at nominal cost or we can set them up with a multi use license for a specific number of shows. (We also offer commercial licenses on a monthly or a yearly subscription basis) The per-performance cost varies with venue size and frequency of use.