Archive for the ‘Software’ Category

Thunderbold and MiniDisplay Mac Compatibility 101

July 21, 2011


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I have a MacBook Air 2010 model with the mini display port.  At the office we recently ordered an iMac with the thunderbolt port.  On occasion, I want to use my MacBook Air at the office so I was exploring the option of using the iMac 27 as an external monitor via the thunderbolt port.

The latest macs, both the 2009-2010 models using mini display ports as well as the 2011 using the thunderbolt ports support a feature referred to as “Target Display Mode”.  In essence, when properly cabled with either of the two cables, hitting Command/F2 will enable it.

The main question is, what are all the possible combinations?  Meaning, here I am with a mini display port MacBook Air and an thunderbolt iMac 27″, do they communicate?  Turns out no, a mini display port cannot target a thunderbolt machine (or monitor) as a target display.   So a little frustrated, I went to them Apple store to sort things out and the Apple employee was super friendly on testing all the combinations with a new thunderbolt MacBook Air and cables I had just bought.  Here are the results:

(more…)

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Transporting and Sharing Files Reinvented

June 1, 2011

Wouldn’t it be great if you could edited a document at work and seamlessly can continue editing it on your laptop while waiting for your flight home and finally finish proofing it on your home desktop computer without copying it or transferring it from one computer to the next?  And once completed, regardless of size, deliver it with the same ease as an email?  If so, the next few minutes will be worth your time

Sharing has been around since the dawn of time. As we evolve in this digital world, how does one share documents with ever increasing efficiency? In the old times, one would make a xerox copy and deliver by mail while today one may simply email them a copy they already have on their computer.

Notice the there are two important concepts here, (a) making a copy (xerox or copying a file) and (b) transporting the copy (mail or email). The focus of this post is on the later and how transporting has been completely reinvented and why one needs to break from the past and leverage the changes time brings to be effective in every day work.

Briefly looking at history you can easily see how disadvantaged one would be if they hadn’t adopted and changed from the means of the previous era.

PRE-COMPUTER ERA courier, postal mail, FedEx, UPS, briefcase **
COMPUTER ERA courier, postal mail, FedEx, UPS, floppy disk or cd media **
EARLY INTERNET ERA FTP, POP EMAIL (minimal attachments), USB flash drive **
MODERN INTERNET ERA FTP, IMAP EMAIL (attachments), larger USB flash & portable drives **

** how people transport large files for themselves typically to/from work

In the past, one would have to carry a briefcase, a floppy or cd, or more modern times a USB drive.  We’ll the next era is here  and one of the first successful incarnations of this era’s transportation concept is a company called DropBox.

DropBox is quite simply a folder on your computer which is automatically and seamlessly available on all of your computers — including your mobile devices.  Unlike having the files reside in the cloud like google docs requiring connectivity to the internet for accessing them, they reside locally on your machine and are transparently replicated to your other machines in realtime as modifications are made.

Oh yea, forgot to mention, when you are finished editing the document and are ready to share it with someone, simply right click the file to get the public URL to the file and send this link to whomever you would like share the file — the era of attachments which are too large to email is also over.

The product and concept speaks for itself, to see a tour of drop box and download it, use this link:  Drop Box Download

iOS 4.2 and iPad with Camera coming soon…

September 1, 2010

During Apple recent press conference showcasing all their new hardware and software toys, Jobs introduced a new feature called High Dynamic Range photos (HDR) where the iPhone combines an under exposed picture with an over exposed picture making a strikingly beautiful combined picture.

Well, as part of his presentation he also previewed iOS 4.2 to be released in November. As he introduced it, he mentioned all the various features coming to the iPad ..including multitasking, folders, new printing feature, etc. and HDR photos. How can HDR photos exist if the iPad doesn’t have a camera?…Well that’s the new guessing game…

I say we have a 7″ iPad coming to town in November. If it were the same size iPad, this may alienate some existing iPad customers, but if they introduce a newer model with slightly new hardware features, they are set for the holiday season smash!

Windows 7 GodMode

January 7, 2010

This is a nifty little feature I just came across and verified with my Windows 7 installation. With Microsoft’s recent updates, they are hiding more and more of the nitty gritty details making you either search for them or in futile simply switch back to classic view from within control panel. To the rescue is recently discovered GodMode setting and works with any Windows 7 version.

Simply create a folder anywhere on your harddrive and rename it to the following guid:
GodMode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}

Once, you do this, you’ll see the folder’s icon changes to a icon similar to the control panel and once you double click you have quick access to a plethora of Windows customization options.

Domain Name Metastasis

October 30, 2009

I haven’t blogged in a while, but today is another inflection point along the expansion of the internet as we know it and it was certainly worth blogging about.

As many know, ICANN, short for Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, is in charge of managing top level domain names and corresponding root servers.  In short, all domain names, while individually managed by the respective ISP’s through delegation, are ultimately registered and referenced by one of ICANN’s root servers.

Today, Oct 30, 2009, ICANN voted for allowing non-latin characters.  This simply means domains, which now must have characters from A to Z and numbers from 0-9 and some basic symbols, can now have characters from any foreign language.  So pizza.com in theory can be πίτσα.com in greek, or 薄饼.com in chinese.

While this move is great for the world at large from a freedom perspective, allowing countries to interact and express themselves with native URL’s, one must question what impact will this have with regards to information availability.  Today, if it were not for translators, languages present a natural barrier to communication and information flow.  Internet names would logically have the same barrier as a latin based keyboard would have an extremely difficult time typing in Chinese or Greek based url — let alone the natural barrier itself.

How many languages are there in the world?  How many times would company now have to seek out and preregister in other languages to keep the trademark safe?  I see this as simply a metastasis of domain names in the making.

Is this really a good move?

Digital Readers – another music CD replay?

August 5, 2009

Continuing with the inertia of all things digital movement, we are now approaching the official transition of electronic books into the mainstream.  Yes, we have had ebooks and ebook readers, but there were always obstructions preventing them from reaching critical mass.

Digital rights & copyright surely have their fair share objections, however technology has also been an inhibitor.  Take for example low resolution screens.  The human eye, when compared to traditional measurements of resolution, can process the equivalent of “324 megapixels” (1) camera.  So transitioning from reading magazines, with a relatively high print resolution, to a low resolution screen would be a painful experience for long periods of reading.

On the flip side, the benefits of digital reading are profound.  The ability to select a word and obtain it’s definition on the spot without much effort or interruption is a dream to any highschool student — at least that was my biggest complaint back then.  How about searching for a specific section of a novel to extract an excerpt? How about simply accessibility — who would want to lug  around 4 or 5 books.

Now with technology all caught up — extremely high resolution screens, awesome processing power with advanced CPU’s, and great battery technology and the connectivity of the cloud thrown in to boot — the time has come!

Let me break away for a sec to compare this to CD’s.  When compared to music CD’s there was a time where we would pack our CD boxs on our weekend trip — not all, but your favorite set for sure.  Today, you surely carry hundreds of albums on your iPhone (yes, I’m biased) as a second thought.  Well, books are on their merry way too — and with a vengence IMHO.

Music took a while too take a foothold to digitization primarily becuase the world was simply adjusting to the digitization shock.  I recall first hearing about MP3 around the middle of my BS degree around 1995 to 1996 time period — yet the first mover risk syndrome still took a heavyweight like Apple an additional 5 years to release the first iPod.

Now, roughly 14 years after mere MP3 awareness, we have a proliferation of digital music to the point where by the music titans are forced to rethink the concept of the album and the CD album insert, etc. from a digital perspective and make it a reality by collaborating with the new digital music titan — Apple and iTunes (2).

So, I feel we are just at the beginning of a similar digital turning point with books.   Amazon, naturally and without much turbulence, took the first step with their Kindle in late 2007 early 2008.  Their reader suffered from what I would call the newcomer syndrome.  Amazon is not known for building hardware nor software, yet here they are with a device on center stage.  With sufficient top down support (Bezos practically reserved Kindle as his next child’s name) adoption is certain.  The level of endorsement has parallels with Bill and his digital ink / tablet initiatives.

In short, what struck a chord to write this blog is Sony’s entry into the market.  Sony’s is known for building hardware — particular for consumers with their walkman of the 80’s and other eletronic devices having a sliver of software with them as their modern handycams.  Sony just yesterday announced a economically priced eReader for just $199.  Price attracts and with a brand like Sony, surely it will sell and will be a prominent second footing (3).

My bets however are with my good old trusted expert in hardware/software combos with a keen focus on consumer — yes, Apple.  Apple has been on the rummor mill now for years with a tablet — even having a patent exposed for a tablet with touch screen.  My guess is they have no choice but to introduce a tablet or some type of reading / entertainment device leveraging their touch experience with the iPhone.  Perhaps even by the holiday season if rumors have their way this season unlike previous failed attempts to resurect it.  As a shareholder, I would almost be disappointed if they don’t given the feaverish rush in this arena.

(1) http://www.clarkvision.com/imagedetail/eye-resolution.html

(2) http://tech.yahoo.com/blogs/patterson/55013/report-apple-music-labels-hope-to-revive-the-record-album/

(3) http://www.dailytech.com/Sony+Announces+199+Pocket+Reader/article15887c.htm

Web-Based Microsoft Office To Come – Confirmed

July 13, 2009

One must ask, should I go or not?  If I don’t then the others will get all the show and will take the lime light as the innovators.  If I do, then I am implicitly validating their business model by merely presenting an alternative.

For quite some time, Microsoft has resisted the open source movement with Linux calling it a “cancer” as Balmer once said to openly adopting it in others. Evidently they switched their tactic numerous times, even internally creating rift between those who agree and disagree with the model.

Similarly with web based applications, or cloud computing as commonly referred to, Microsoft has had it’s fair share of decisions to make.  Google innovated quite some time ago with the opening of their online Gmail.  The splashing surprise was the 1GB of storage they were offering all users — leap and bounds beyond Hotmail and others which averged a mere 10mb.

Slowly but surely, additional apps followed branded under the Google Docs — an excel equivalent, a word equivalent, etc.  Under this type of pressure, after months and perhaps years of discounting the threat and trying alternatives — ultimately caved in on July 13, 2009 and decided to officially offer a free web-based office suite.  Interestingly enough, it was only a few days after Google removed the “Beta” tag off theirs.

http://money.cnn.com/news/newsfeeds/articles/djf500/200907131014DOWJONESDJONLINE000386_FORTUNE5.htm

Google now brining the cloud into Outlook?

June 9, 2009

Google claims it sometimes hits a snag when pushing Google Apps products like Gmail to enterprises, meeting major resistance from users comfortable with the look and feel of Microsoft Outlook. So on Tuesday, the Mountain View, Calif.-based search giant unveiled Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook, a plug-in for Outlook 2003 and 2007 that presents users with the familiar Outlook user interface but runs e-mail through Google’s cloud rather than Microsoft Exchange.

http://www.crn.com/software/217800408

Event registration in C# 2.0

September 26, 2008

The C# 2.0 (and newer) compiler is smart enough to determine the type of delegate with which a particular event is implemented. This “delegate inference” capability enables you to omit the declaration of the requisite delegate in the code that registers an event handling method with an event.

Consider the following 1.x code that registers an event handling method with an event. This code explicitly instantiates the event handler (delegate) in order to register the associated method with the event.

thePublisher.EventName += new MyEventHandlerDelegate(EventHandlingMethodName);

The following 2.0+ code uses delegate inference to register the same method with the event. Notice the following code appears to register the event handling method directly with the event.

thePublisher.EventName += EventHandlingMethodName;

When you assign the method name directly to the event like that, the C# compiler ensures that the method signature matches the signature of the event handler upon which the event is based. The C# compiler then inserts the requisite delegate registration code (i.e., ... += new MyEventHandlerDelegate(EventHandlingMethodName);) in the output assembly.

This simplified syntax is made possible by the C# compiler, and not by any change to the fundamental ways that events are implemented in the .NET Framework. To be clear, it is not the case that events in C# 2.0 (and newer) can directly reference methods. What the compiler is doing for us is supplying the [still] requisite delegate syntax in the output assembly — as if we had explicitly instantiated the delegate.

Clipped from: http://www.codeproject.com/KB/cs/event_fundamentals.aspx

Google Releases New Browser – Chrome

September 2, 2008

Google today has officially thrown it’s knock-out swing at Microsoft with the release of the official Google Chrome browser.  This is not a knock out punch, but a definitely a knockout swign destined to be a punch over the next few months.

For an entire overview of Google Chrome and it’s advance features view this mini overview in the form of a comic:

http://www.google.com/googlebooks/chrome/

To download now:

http://www.google.com/chrome

One thing to note, Google Chrome has following user agent which indicates it’s based on the well known webkit open source browser commonly used by Apple Safari browser.

Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 6.0; en-US) AppleWebKit/525.13 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/0.2.149.27 Safari/525.13