Friday, January 29, 2010

unteching the tech for nontechies

I am a windows guy who makes his living designing, building and maintaining a professional global network infrastructure. At home I was having some issues with getting my wife Julie online. I made the switch on my home systems to OSX about 4 years ago in an attempt to get my wife online. As a tech guy OSX and the Mac in general is pretty much an appliance. It is pretty turn key in so far as it relates to editing home movies, managing pictures and music. Let me be clear that it is not anymore resilient or less buggy than a PC. The main difference is that Apple keeps it as a black box and does not let you mess with its operation to any real degree. The biggest thrill I have gotten in using the mac stuff at home is that the OS interface was so opposite that of windows, so it was fun doing something different and new much like using my left hand to brush my teeth when I am right handed. Apart from my entertainment switching yielded the results I was looking for as my wife is now online. There are still issues that I have to solve as we have small children and they drag icons around and eliminate things from the dock. As I was adding back the icon for macmail last night it really hit me that as much as the mac is an appliance for techies it is still not simple enough for everybody. The real appliance is the iPhone and iTouch. My wife and my father both use them as their computers almost exclusively. Although my wife ventured online with the mac, once she had her iPhone she became plugged in like a corporate user. My father downloads apps like a maniac and is constantly emailing. Watching the the two of them over the last year really blew me away how right Apple has gotten it. The two most untechie people I know are constantly connected now and would not give up there units without a fight. I am really looking forward to the iPad. It all clicked with me this morning and I understand how huge this will be. In all seriousness, a device that takes OS out of the way and allows seemless interaction with just the apps they need or want is genius. Dock it with a keyboard if you need to type long rambles, but keep it light and portable for 95% of the use it will get. I could see an Imac version of this being pretty cool. Apple has unteched the tech for nontechies.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Portable meets professional

So you say you want the picture quality of a DSLR and the portability of a point and shoot. Well look no further, meet the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1. The GF1 is built on the micro four thirds standard. The micro four thirds standard is an extension of the four thirds standard pioneered by Leica, Panasonic and Olympus. In a nutshell, you get the benefit of a larger sensor than a point and shoot and the shutter and speed of a DSLR without its bulk. The LCD display is a live view off of the sensor, by giving this view they can eliminate the size of having to fit a prism to look through. If you feel you need to have the perspective of a viewfinder you can add on. Lenses can be swapped off and on like a SLR, but it still fits in your shirt pocket. With a shutter and larger sensor comes better low light performance and the ability to stop action quicker. You can get a picture of baby Sarah jumping without the blur. The all purpose setup now is the 40mm Panasonic pancake lense with GF1 body. The colored bodies are $250 more than the standard black, but they sure look snazzy. The GF1 also shoots High Definition video. I hope to get my hands on one soon for an indepth review.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Apple iPad

Yeah baby! It is here. $500! Available in 60 days.


I was thinking about addiction this morning while reading all the last minute Apple speculation and remembered it was time to look at my Quitter app. After years of trying to quit I finally decided it was time. I still have the pack that I was smoking on my shelf at work just in case of an email server meltdown or comet strike. I will not lie, it was very difficult to put down, but the hard parts only lasted 3 or 4 months which is not too bad for a 25 year habit. I am certain that had I not quit, I would not be able to handle the 6 miles a day I am logging on the elliptical machine. On the day I quit I loaded an iPhone app called quitter on my iPod touch. Based on 30 cigs a day at $5.50 a pack here are the results of stopping.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Viruses and Spyware Oh My!

Oy Vey! I don't know about you guys, but I am getting whalloped by end users installing spyware on their systems. The windows look very real and are very misleading so it is easy to see why they are clicking to install it. I have found that you need to login and start task manager immediatley and stop any process called (can be many things)sysguard.exe. Unless you do this, you will not be able to execute anything. You will also find that your browsers connection settings have been changed to use a proxy server so you cannot get to sites to update protection. The good news is that if you stop it and run Microsoft Defender or Forefront it is able to be removed. Here is a pic of what you will see.

New Bikes

To help in the getting fit quest, Julie and I got new bikes. I bought us each a Trek Soho. Very nice bicycles. Gates Carbon belt drive and 8 Speed internal hub. These things are bullet proof and fun to ride. We are working towards using them in place of our cars for local trips as much as possible.

Monday, January 25, 2010

My first CD cover

My buddy Jody put together a CD of his solo work away from Fountains of Wayne. He needed a CD cover and asked if I would do it. I shot this in the village with my Nikon D200 and Nikkor 85mm 1. A big thanks to my pal Leah Kozak who helped out, she has a great eye. Jody's direction was to capture the feel of an old Dylan album cover. The CD was released in Japan a year ago and is now coming to the states shortly. The CD is awesome. What do you think? Click here for Jody's Website

Hello World!

Hello all. I decided it was time to start writing. At almost 40 I have finally quit smoking and am working towards getting fit. I will share my story leading to here and going forward.