Category Archives: Tech

Adventures in MacOS Upgrades

I’m a holdout when it comes to updating my software. Months after others have adopted changes I keep on plugging away like nothing happened. Recently, I decided that I would take the plunge and upgrade my MacBook Pro to Mavericks. Since I was still running Snow Leopard (don’t ask) and it was free I figured why not.

Downloaded and installed Mavericks overnight and when I got home from work I was ready to play. I was surprised to see how much slower my computer was but that was my fault since Mavericks runs better with more memory and I need to add a few gigs. Fine. A few days later I noticed the first of my major issues. My iPhone wasn’t recognized when I plugged it into the USB. Nothing I did worked but thankfully the 10.9.1 update fixed it.

It was a few more days before I discovered what currently has me pissed off. Lack of ExpressCard support. I did some digging across support forums and I saw tons of my fellow Mac users in an uproar and knew I wasn’t the only one. There were discussions about what went wrong, possible fixes, contacting third party device providers. My hopes were raised when I saw excitement that the 10.9.2 update fixed the problem. Except, that it only fixed it for mid-2010 17″ MBPs. I have a late-2008 15″ system and I’ve only come across two other users with the problem. I’ve submitted feedback but I don’t think there are a lot of people with my machine let alone using an ExpressCard memory card adapter.

I really wish that I could go back to Snow Leopard but that would require a full hard drive wipe. That’s a risk that I’m not willing to take. At this rate, this will be my MBP’s last OS update and I’ll have to look into a new system if I want the latest and greatest.

Magazine Subscriptions. Are You Going Digital?

I’m one of a dying breed. I’m a subscriber of print magazines. They’re cheaper per issue than at the store and I don’t have to hope that the latest issue is in stock. I’m also the type of person that likes the feel of paper in her hands. A challenge is presenting itself with the rise of electronic tablets (iPad, Galaxy, Kindle Fire, Nook, etc.). People like me, who like to carry reading material with them, are enticed by only having to carry the device and not numerous pieces of literature with them. No more magazines stacking up in the house. No more waiting for the mail carrier to deliver that precious issue. It’s right there instantly as soon as the company releases it. Whenever I get a tablet-how have I gone this long without one?-I will be moving to digital subscriptions.

Which side are you on? Are you a traditionalist that will want the real thing? Or, have you been itching to move to digital format?

9 Memorable Tech Moments of 2011

As we get ready to close out 2011 I wanted to do a recap of memorable moments from the last year. These are by no means the top 9 events. Just 9 moments that stick out to me.

  1. The passing of Steve Jobs. With his final resignation from Apple in August we all knew it was coming. That did nothing to lessen the shock though when every news outlet reported that Steve Jobs, the face behind Apple, was gone.
  2. AT&T buys out T-Mobile. Or maybe not. It was interesting to see the change in T-Mobile commercials upon the announcement of the possible buyout. They were rivals with T-Mobile constantly promoting the disadvantages of being an AT&T commercial. And then all of a sudden they stopped. Wouldn’t want to upset the parent company, huh? This deal had the potential to make AT&T the #1 player in the wireless game and brought upon fears of a monopoly. In the end that fear caused the FCC and Department of Justice to oppose it.
  3. iPhone 4S is released. With rumors swirling about an iPhone 5 being released this summer, Apple released an upgrade to the iPhone 4. Sure you could buy a white iPhone now and have access to the wonder that is Siri. But in the end it’s just an upgrade.
  4. Kindle Fire is released. Amazon hit the small tablet market with the release of the Kindle Fire just in time for the winter holidays. Amazon hasn’t released exact figures but estimates say that roughly 2 million may have been sold so far. It’s more than an e-reader and not quite an iPad but for many consumers this middle ground is exactly what they are looking for.
  5. Netflix splits services and increases rates. This summer Netflix decreed that their pricing structure was changing and the streaming and DVD by mail services (newly named Qwikster) would be separate. Qwikster was quickly cancelled and the service returned under the Netflix name. The pricing changes remained.
  6. GoDaddy loses customers over SOPA. As the list of supporters for the Stop Online Privacy Act was released it was noticed that one of of the major players in domain name registration, GoDaddy, was among them. A large backlash resulted. An internet petition was created and signed by many that claimed they would transfer all of their domains from GoDaddy by Dec 29th. On Dec 24th GoDaddy released a statement saying that they had removed their support from the current legislation but many are still transferring due to this and past GoDaddy actions.
  7. Playstation Network is hacked. As a PSN account holder this one affected my household a lot. The hacker group Anonymous broke into the PSN and accessed user accounts. PSN was shut down but users were told that it was a network glitch that was being worked on. A PR nightmare ensued because users weren’t told the real deal until weeks later.
  8. Blackberry outage. What started as a problem in Europe, Africa and Asia soon swept over to North America. For three days the Blackberry system was rendered useless. No emails, internet or messaging. As a result, I think it’s safe to say that many BB owners started making plans to move to Android or iPhone.
  9. Google+. Google launched a new social networking platform, and rival to Facebook, with field testing in June and beta testing in September. Google+ has been an interesting experiment. It’s easier to use and navigate than Facebook. The downside it that users are so entrenched in Facebook that only time will tell if Google+ can really be a “Facebook killer.”

So, what are your memorable tech moments of 2011?

Sticking my toe into the water

So, I’ve decided that I’m going to give Twitter a shot (@ravenmccandies). I ran across two articles yesterday ( A Minimalist’s Guide to Using Twitter Simply, Productively, and Funly, Six Ways You Should Be Using Twitter (that Don’t Involve Breakfast)) that got me thinking. This could be a good way to network with my peers and announce new project features. My initial schedule will probably be an average of once or twice a week. OOOOO this means that I get to design a Twitter background!!!! I didn’t even think about that. Ok, I’m elated right now. LOL

I’m a Mac

I know, long time, no post. This summer I bought a new notebook and finally got  the Mac that I’ve been waiting for. I’ve been looking to make a purchase since I gave away my Powerbook 1400cs around 2002. Since I switched platforms (I had a  Dell notebook running Windows XP) I’ve had to rethink what programs I use. Now my default workhorses Dreamweaver and Photoshop seem bloated. I’m really interested in programs that are designed for Macs. I downloaded the trial version of Pixelmator and so far it’s been a good substitute for Photoshop. There are some features of Photoshop that I miss but Pixelmator is in its infancy and has lots of room to grow. For Dreamweaver alternatives I plan on evaluating Coda and Espresso.

To Tweet or not to Tweet?

Like others before me I’m at a crossroads when it comes to joining another social networking site. The site in question is Twitter. A lot of my friends and connections have joined Twitter and I’d be lying if I said that it didn’t intrigue me. When I don’t have time to make full blog posts I could just type a few words there and update everyone about what’s going on. A downside I see though is a potential for a decrease in productivity. Posting a tweet, looking for responses, following other people. It could all be a recipe for disaster. Now, it’s not like I’m not involved in other networking sites. I’m on Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace (very rarely nowadays), MeetUp, many message boards and email groups. But I haven’t figured out yet how Twitter can fit into my life seamlessly without causing hiccups. Would joining lead me on the way to being too “plugged in”? For the moment, I’ve decided against signing up unless I’m at a conference and want to send periodic updates. Time will only tell though if my decision is written in stone or sand.

Fireworks vs Photoshop

After seeing a discussion over at Digital Web Magazine I started thinking about which program I prefer and why. Pretty much since the beginning I’ve been a Photoshop advocate. I was an Adobe girl through and through and it was years before I had even heard of Macromedia (my first introduction was through Dreamweaver). When I found out about Fireworks I thought I’d try it out and see what it was like. I tried out Fireworks MX and my first impression was not good. The user interface was so different from Photoshop and it was difficult for me to find things. The simplest task seemed to take forever. I gave FW a few more tries and then gave up thinking that I would shun the product for eternity. A year and a half ago I started working at a location that had Adobe CS2 on all of the computers. Of course I ran to Photoshop but my coworker was a Fireworks advocate and I decided to try it out again. My opinion didn’t change and at times I wanted to erase the program off of my computer. All of that changed when I went to Adobe’s website and watched some videos about Fireworks CS3 and saw that the interface was more like Adobe products. I did some reading and I began to understand why some web designers worked primarily in Fireworks. For website mock-ups there were features that Fireworks did much better than Photoshop. I could see where I could cut time in my designs by using some of the symbols in the common library. Add to that the fact that Fireworks can now handle Photoshop files and I’m sold. Photoshop will still be my primary go to when it comes to doing photo manipulation and graphic design work but Fireworks has now won a place in my heart for web design work.

CMS

Currently evaluating some open-source CMS for future client projects. On the list are Drupal, Mambo and maybe TextPattern. There was an initial concern that TextPattern wouldn’t be able to handle upcoming projects but an inspiration site has changed that thought. With the right plug-ins, this could really work.