I just placed an order for a laptop stand called the iLap. It has gotten stellar reviews everywhere I have looked, including one from Alex King.
Why am I getting this?
- While my Macbook by no means is burning hot, it does get very warm and sometimes toasty. Forget about putting it on your lap as well. The iLap is designed to really cool down laptops due to increased airflow and a design that acts like a heatsink.
- I have lately been having some minor ergonomic issues when using the computer. Little things like neck craps or sore wrists every once in awhile. Work has been great about getting me all fixed up on that end, but I think I need to do something here at home. Enter the iLap, which is supposedly designed specifically to help with ergonomic issues.
- It just plain looks cool.
Anyways, the 13 inch model of the iLap (which is designed specifically for the Macbook) isn’t released yet, but I was able to pre order it. Total price of $56 is well worth it in my opinion if it does what it claims. We will see in a month, when these are supposed to start shipping.
A little late on the first installment of the the Great Mac Browser Test. For a little over a week, the lone web browser I used was Safari, in an attempt to give it an honest try without switching to other browsers.
Here are a list of great benefits I discovered using Safari:
- The very simple interface put the focus on web browsing and getting things done, instead of tinkering.
- The font rendering is excellent. Some web pages just seem to jump out differently just because of the little differences in font rendering.
The things I did not like:
- Very little ability to customize. There are add-ons for Safari, but in my experience they tend to be rather clunky, bloated, and buggy.
- Many web sites I use don’t work or have elements of the pages that don’t work. A great example: the rich text editing buttons that you see on forums or even on WordPress to make a post…most do not work with Safari, but work fine in Firefox and Camino.
- Tab Browsing is too simple. No ability to force new windows to open in tabs for example, which makes it really hard to jump around different pages that are open the same time
- No easy way that I can see to add search engines to the search box
- It would be nice if you could customize Safari easily, like you can with Firefox’s extensions.
- No unified UI. Brushed Metal is so dated looking
Verdict: Safari has lots of potential if its annoying little quirks are worked out. If it actually worked with some of the web sites I must use, I may even switch to it. However, the big deal breaker is the lack of tabbed browsing options…Safari just does not let me be productive enough when I surf online.
Next Up: Camino
Recently I couldn’t get a printer connected to my Macbook to work on a Windows XP Home computer. The XP Home computer kept asking for a username and password every time the XP Home computer would reboot, without a way to save it for future use (thanks Microsoft).
I found a drop-dead solution that I wish I had known about earlier. Macs come with a piece of software called Bonjour that allows them to easily share printers/files, chat on IM programs, and so on. Well they also have a Windows version of that technology!
So on the Windows XP Home computer, I went to the download page for Bonjour 1.0.3 and downloaded the 14.2 MB file. A quick install and an icon appeared on the desktop for Bonjour. Double-clicking the icon allowed me to choose from a list of printers which ones I would like to install and in just a couple of steps the printer was all installed on the Windows computer.
I plan on installing Bonjour on my parents laptop and my brother Dan’s laptop so when I’m home, I can easily use their printers. Much easier then dealing directly with the awful printer sharing that Windows has.
A week ago the Windows machine decided that it was a good time for its hard drive to die. I lucked out and was able to get the data off of the drive before it passed the point of no return. Since then, I have worked hard on implementing a nightly backup strategy for both my Mac and the Windows machine.
Prior to a week ago, I did backups only when I remembered, which was once every few months if I was lucky. A horrible policy, especially for someone who makes a living in the IT business and have seen clients lose data in the past due to no backups. I was determined to get things done right this time.
The Mac side of things is pretty simple. I did some searches and came up with a program called SuperDuper! that made backing up as easy as it gets. I already had an external 120 GB hard drive, so the storage was taken care of. A few clicks and presto, I had a backup at 1:30 AM every day of the week of all of my user files. Couldn’t have been any easier. I just have to remember to keep the external hard drive on at all times.
I am still working on the Windows side of things to get that machine backed up. I need to experiment with SuperDuper! to make sure it can backup a Windows machine over the network. It looks like I can do it, but it might take some tweaking to get everything working right. That is my project for this week. The good news is that backup will be really quick…only Katie uses that computer and her data storage needs are slim outside of pictures and music. If I backup 3 GB of data I would be shocked.
I also plan on doing the following:
- Do at least a quarterly backup of all files onto DVD’s and store them offsite, securely.
- Find a way to make my 120 GB external hard drive be connected directly to the network. This would allow both computers (the Mac and PC) to access the drive independently, which would be useful if one of the computers is offsite. This also means if one computer fails on the backup due to software issues, the other computer will still backup (hopefully).
- Get UPS’ for the router/modem and each computer. That way everything is protected from lightning strikes and power surges. Would be nice if I could get at least on TV on them too.
I have decided to embark on a test of epic proportions.
For the next month, I am going to use exclusively one web browser per week on my Mac. At the end of each week, I will do a write-up on my experiences with the web browser I used, the pros/cons, and whether I would consider switching to that browser.
Why am I doing this? Quite simple. I am very unsatisfied with browsing the web on Macs and need to see if I can find something that matches my needs.
- Week 1 – Apple Safari 2.0.4
- Week 2 – Opera 9
- Week 3 – Mozilla Camino 1.0.2
- Week 4 – Mozilla Firefox 188.8.131.52
- The Verdict
The reason I am limiting this test to the four browsers above are the following.
- I want free web browsers. OmniWeb does not qualify.
- I want to set a reasonable date in the near future for this test to complete (so I picked a month
- I want to use web browsers that a normal Mac user could end up using and downloading.
The first installment of this test, with Apple Safari, will be posted by next Sunday.