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?

Happy Ada Lovelace Day

Ada Lovelace Day aims to raise the profile of women in science, technology, engineering and maths by encouraging people around the world to talk about the women whose work they admire. This international day of celebration helps people learn about the achievements of women in STEM, inspiring others and creating new role models for young and old alike.

Source: http://findingada.com/about-finding-ada/

Happy Ada Lovelace Day. A day where we celebrate women in STEM. I’m a techie, that much is obvious, but I didn’t start off in the computer world. I was actually a science and math geek who majored in Chemistry in college. The “hard sciences” have always been my thing and for a while I actually wanted a PhD in Chemistry. So, in doing my part for ALD, I want to profile Dr. Marie Maynard Daly.

In 1947, Dr. Marie Maynard Daly was the first Black woman to receive a Ph.D. in Chemistry. Her initial studies involved research into the heart and the effects of cholesterol and hypertension. She received her Bachelors degree as a Magna Cum Laude graduate from Queens College in Flushing, NY. Dr. Daly achieved her Masters degree after 1 year of study and ultimately her Ph.D. after 3. Her later studies were in proteins and she went on to teach at Howard University, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine where she retired in 1986.

Along with her research work she was a proponent of increasing minority enrollment in medical school and graduate science programs. She established a scholarship fund at Queens College in her father’s name in 1988. Dr. Daly passed away in 2003.

Source: http://www.chemheritage.org/discover/chemistry-in-history/themes/biomolecules/proteins-and-sugars/daly.aspx

Are Radio Station Websites Too Cluttered?

Have you ever gone to your favorite radio station’s website looking for simple information and left immediately because it was too cluttered? Was it difficult to find what you were looking for?

MIX 107.3

I’ve noticed that many radio stations throw a lot of competing elements on the front pages of their sites. Flashing ads and multiple sections with large type. Everything is important so nothing is.

95.5 WPGC

I understand that there are several goals that have to be met. Generating ad revenue. Providing information that a cross-section of visitors want to read. And what tends to be the largest goal, appeasing higher ups who want front and center placement.

94.7 Fresh FM

There just has to be a better way to do it. One that allows them to reach advertising goals but still has a user-centered focus.

So, what do you think? Are radio station websites too cluttered? Or are they reaching their intended audience?

Past Web Designs

To know where you’re going you have to know where you’ve been. Yeah, that’s a pretty mangled version of the actual quote but I wanted to use the time to capture some previous web designs. They used to exist on a separate page of the site before I took that down.

All of the screenshots are clickable and will load a larger image in a new window.


1. Alicia Crank For City Council: Alicia was running for office in Mountain View, California and needed a website to update potential voters. The site is no longer live.


2. Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. – Beta Zeta Chapter: A local chapter of Zeta Phi Beta located in Washington, DC. I currently maintain this site.


3. Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. – Electrifying Eastern Region: A previous design for the organizing body of the Eastern Region states (NC, VA, DC, WV) of Zeta Phi Beta. The site is no longer live.

Recovery

Well, I just spent the last two hours reposting old posts that were lost. About a month after my “Hacked” post my whole site was shut down. Some injection attack. I didn’t have a back-up and I KNOW that that’s one of the worst mistakes. Luckily Google had my blog posts cached. *sigh* Don’t want to go through that again.

Hacked?

About two months ago I started receiving some weird emails in an account tied to this website. I thought it was just a fluke because I get spam all the time. As the days went on my inbox was flooded. Basically someone either hacked into my account or they spoofed my email address and started sending out spam so I had tons of auto responses in my inbox. The account was only used in connection to the form on my contact page. I’m starting to think that it had to do with the security breach a few months ago. I thought I had avoided any drama but it looks like it took a little while to get to me. I shut down the account immediately and set up another one for the contact form. So far so good but I’ll keeping an eye on this account.