Author Archives: Steve

The New Mac Pro Desktop Will Kick Butt

mac-pro-newAs nearly the entire computing universe has migrated to smaller, more mobile machines, there are still many people who absolutely need a desktop to work.

This incredible new cylinder will soon be the Mac Pro, and will be a major upgrade over the existing product line in every way imaginable.

The innovative case for the new Mac Pro is glossy black and a marvel in engineering. The cylinder comes off completely to offer access to the internal hardware, and when the case is sealed the top lip of the cylinder acts as the handle.

The cooling system is an innovative, cylindrical noiseless fan with a blade architecture similar to a jet engine that sucks air from the bottom of the unit up through the top.  The fan design itself is very impressive and required countless engineering hours to perfect.

This new Mac Pro design lights up when you move it, revealing tracks of light around the I/O ports on the back of the machine to make it easier to connect and disconnect anything you need.

Built around a “thermal core”, the new Mac Pro is significantly more compact than the current Apple’s workstation, but is significantly more powerful.

With a new, fast Xeon processor, 1866MHz DDR3 ECC RAM, and solid-state PCIe storage, the new tower is capable of at least twice the raw computing power as the previous model. The Pro also sports dual AMD FirePro graphics cards and Thunderbolt 2 ports to support up to three 4K displays simultaneously.

Thee launch date is slated to be late fall of 2013, and I expect the price to be high, as in “very high”, although it’s good to see Apple refreshing their desktop line and paying attention to power users again.

Oh, and one more thing….its designed, fabricated and built 100% within the United States.

Of course, I’ll want one!

Are Some People Really This Stupid?

GumpEvery time I think I’ve heard it all, something else stops me in my tracks and whacks the side of my head so ferociously, that I nearly pass out and have to question the level of intelligence and self-awareness of what seems to be a large percentage of the population.  Such as the following:

Excitement for Twitter’s coming IPO is running pretty high, to the extent that many investors on Friday mistook the nearly worthless stock of dead and forgotten electronics retailer Tweeter for the famous “tweeting” site, sending shares up more than 1,000 percent.

Tweeter Home Entertainment Group, a consumer electronics company that went bankrupt in 2007, enjoyed its most active day of trading in more than six years even though it has nothing to do with the social media site, Twitter.

The stock, which trades over the counter as basically worthless garbage, closed Thursday at a price of less than a penny a share, yet Friday hit a high of 15 cents a share before paring gains to trade at 5 cents, a 669 percent rise. More than 11.7 million shares had traded by about 12:00 noon.

The volume was the most active trading day for the company since May 10, 2007, when 13.05 million shares were traded and the company reported quarterly results and said it may choose to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

To say the stock is lightly traded in normal times is an understatement, sometimes going several days without even trading 1,000 shares over the course of a full session.

However, in the last two weeks Tweeter’s (Not Twitter’s) share price and volume ticked higher following Twitter’s announcement on September 12 that it had confidentially filed for an initial public offering.  People were obviously convinced this worthless, penny-stock was in fact “Twitter”.  Needless to say, quite remarkable.

Tweeter filed for bankruptcy in June of 2007 and its assets were acquired by an asset management firm.

Twitter filed its IPO documents to begin trading as a public company on Thursday, October 3, 2013.

Amazon vs. Best Buy, Small Item Purchase


I was in need of a few small, lower priced items and decided to search and purchase through Amazon then follow up with a comparison though a visit to my local Best Buy in Holmdel, NJ.

In the past, when I needed a few items such as those listed below, I would just immediately check Best Buy or Radio Shack and pay whatever the price was and be satisfied to have my hands on it today.

But this time however, I decided to test the waters of low cost item shopping via Amazon, then compare the difference in what similar items would have cost locally.


Dual USB wall charger outlet
6′ HDMI cable
3′ Male to Male USB cable
10′ iPod cable (old style)

Total cost at Amazon $27 with no shipping as all items qualified for my Prime account.

Total cost at Best Buy for similar items $71.

Take note that none of which at Best Buy were brand names or premium quality items.  Just generic brands equal in quality to the items from Amazon.

Obviously, the price disparity on higher-end goods such as televisions, computers, cameras, etc., isn’t quite as dramatic and in many instances just about identical.  Although with Amazon’s free shipping, its definitely worth looking there first for lower cost goods if the item isn’t needed today.

Adobe’s Creative Cloud = Ripoff For Most

adobecreativecloudAdobe’s new rental based software delivery system, (Creative Cloud) is okay for me personally, since I always need the most recent copy of Photoshop and Illustrator and require access to them on both Windows and Mac. I also use several of their other apps as well although not as often.

For the average user however, such as YOU, Adobe is certainly raping your bank account to fatten theirs.

So big deal, all their programs are available to you on both platforms for $50 per month. They make this “benefit” sound like its the second coming of some sort of messiah.

But the fact is, most only require Photoshop and Illustrator, and upgrading those two products every 4 years for about $375 is usually sufficient.  Note that Adobe doesn’t offer an Illustrator – Photoshop only package as they do with Lightroom – Photoshop, as if they did, their Creative Cloud full package sales would decline expeditiously.

Winner – Adobe.  And for those with snarky ideas on using an alternative, could you tell me exactly what that alternative happens to be?  And please don’t respond with some garbage like Gimp or inefficient and buggy Corel products.  Are you kidding me?  There are no real alternatives.  And Adobe knows it, which sucks.

The only mild threat to Photoshop took place many years ago with a product named Macromedia xRes which was consumed by Adobe, killed and re-coded into Fireworks.

So, hold onto those CS5 DVD’s for as long as you can or CS6 DVD’s for those lucky enough to have gotten their hands on them, as the days of budgeting your Adobe dollars are long gone.

Steve Jobs Childhood Home – Historical Landmark

The legacy of our modern day Edison, Steve Jobs continues as California considers declaring the childhood home of the former Apple CEO an historical landmark.

The Los Altos Historical Commission discussed designating the house at 2066 Crist Drive in Los Altos an “historical landmark” at a meeting held on Monday. Steve Jobs spent part of his childhood and teenage years at the single-story California ranch-style home.

In a 26 page report, the commission described the property’s key role in the development of the first Apple computers.  Citing Walter Isaacson’s popular biography of Jobs and a card catalog at Stanford University, the report noted that the first 50 Apple 1 computers were assembled at the property for Paul Terrell’s Byte Shop in nearby Mountain View.

The report also explained that some of the first Apple investors came to the property for a demonstration of the Apple 2 computer.

Jobs moved to the property with his parents in 1968 and attended the local middle school in seventh grade, according to the report. He went on to attend nearby Homestead High School, where he met fellow Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.

The Historical Commission anticipates making a decision on the site’s status at its meeting by December

The house was also used as a location in the movie Jobs, the recent Steve Jobs biography.  Jobs, who stepped down as Apple CEO in August 2011, was 56 years old when he lost his long battle with pancreatic cancer in October of that year.


Tired Of That Old Slow Computer?

Hard-Disk1So, you’re lucky enough to own a computer that’s getting a little old and running like crap?  Join the club, we all have one or more of these that for one reason or another we continue to use.

I’m sure its been checked multiple times for viruses and malware and its all squeaky clean.  Probably even looked into disk fragmentation and other disk related issues and everything is A-OK!  But still, this system continues to run like a pig with three legs.

So, exactly what should be done to bring some life back to your old friend and maybe save you a few bucks and avoid having to replace this system with something new?

Simple, buy a new, bigger internal hard disk and clone your current disk to it!  Its a fast, easy and cheap way to bring a ton of life back to an aging system.

Why does this help?  Quite simply, even though your original disk checks out okay, its seek and write times are slowing down and whatever utility that was employed to check fragmentation and other issues, well, don’t believe it.

That old disk is littered with bad data and broken files beyond belief which is sending the read/write heads into a break dance and believe-it-or-not, writing all data in a single contiguous stream to a new drive actually assists in repairing some of these issues.

After years of use, there’s no repairing the worn drive and once the dreaded, unexplained and excessive disk activity begins which brings your old system to a crawl, the device is on its last legs and will most likely fail at the worst possible time.

What to do is pick up a 1 TB Seagate internal hard drive for about $65 and download the free Seagate DiskWizard software from their site.  Make sure to follow the insructions carefully.  This software makes it easy and painless to clone your internal drive to the new device so there’s no need to reinstall the operating system, applications, etc.  (Laptops require an external USB cloning kit to attach the new drive to during the cloning process)

I’ve done this with several systems, both about 5 years old and although it didn’t magically convert them to like-new reponsiveness, I would estimate that overall speed was increased by 50% along with the system booting and ready for use at least 5x faster.


Get Your Free Software Here!

free-softwareI was looking through a notes folder in Outlook today and came across this list of free or very cheap software downloads.  Not illegal or cracked software, just free, or least most of them.

I didn’t look at each link and I’m not sure where this list was taken from, although the few I looked at appear very interesting.  Just passing it along!

Anti-Virus, Anti-Spy stuff –  ClamWin Free Antivirus is used by more than 600,000 users worldwide on a daily basis. It comes with an easy installer and opensource code. You may download and use it absolutely free of charge. – CCcleaner is the number-one tool for cleaning your Windows PC. It protects your privacy online and makes your computer faster and more secure. Easy to use and a small, fast download. – Malwarebytes gets rid of spybots and other nasty stuff off the internet.  Free trial only.

Security – Allows you to encrypt your data and hard drives so they can’t be hacked into (even by the government) (Again not for the faint-hearted.) – setups up a proxy server on your machine that filters out advertisements, junk and malware from the internet going to your browser. – GnuPG allows to encrypt and sign your data and communication. “signs” emails with electronic encryption. Can also be used to encrypt emails so they cannot be read.  You need a plugin to use this with Outlook. Other email clients are available which can do this natively.

Email Clients: – Mozilla Foundation. Thunderbird (same people that make the Firefox web-browser) – Claws Mail the wide variety of plug-ins for this email client makes it very flexible and secure.

Web Browsers – Firefox. – Chrome from google.  –  Opera Web Browser.

System Utilities – Free unzipper program that does: zip, rar, arc, and a few hundred other compression types. – Lets you install “virtual machines” on your windows machine. For example if you wanted to install FreeDOS to run old DOS games from the 80′s – Opensource DOS operating system for old DOS programs to run on.

Office – Free Office software, includes Word processor, spreadsheet, presentation, etc. – Desktop publishing software. – The ULTIMATE in desktop publishing software. – CD/DVD Burning software – FTP Software for downloading and uploading things to FTP sites. – Like Viso it is used for drawing diagrams. – PDFToolkit, lets you merge, cut, split, rotate, encrypt/decrypt repair PDF files.

Personal Productivity – Mindmapping software – CD RIpper. Converts CD’s to MP3 files. – Typing tutor, learn how to type fast. – Websight design tool with templates.

Graphics & Audio – Video & DVD Player – GIMP Graphics design program like photoshop – Sound editor. – 3D model making program (to make the next “Toy Story” movie) I used this to make my book trailer. – CAD (Computer Aided Design Software. Lets you design buildings and cars and such.

Financial  jGnash personal finance manager software. – Small business acounting package.. like Sage

Internet Television – If you have a TV card link. You can setup a server to watch TV on demand and across the internet. (Not for the faint-hearted)

Fun – Flight simulator – Free Chess server – Winboard Chess software – First person shooter game. Kill the aliens – FreeCiv is an opensource version of the old “Civilization” game from Sid Meyers – Old dos games that you can download. – Old dos games that you can download. -Old dos games that you can download. – Screensavers – Vega Strike is an Open Source 3D Action-Space-Sim that lets you trade, fight, and explore in a vast universe.


My Favorite Old Macintosh Computer

old-macintosh-computerTucked into a corner of my office is my favorite computer. I have many new, ultra-fast systems although I continue to use this one for many projects.

Its an old Macintosh with a G4 Processor running OS X 10.2.8.

I like it since its runs several of my favorite old programs such as FreeHand 10 and MX, TypeStyler along with having an enormous selection of old fonts set up exactly as I like them using an antiquated version of Extensis Suitcase.

Yes, its no longer viable for developing software or processor intensive tasks such color separating a 100 MB file with automated techniques, BUT it can be utilized for just about everything else and for some reason, just “feels right” when I sit in front of it. Yes, quite strange yet true.

Although not entirely scientific, although there is fact behind this is I believe it continues to be surprisingly responsive since I never….ever wrote files to the internal hard drive and always used external firewire devices. The only data written to the internal drive were the applications. Due to never running into fragmentation issues, after many years it requires about 40 seconds to start-up and all applications run great with no disk thrashing or strange behavior.

Oh, one more thing…. anti-virus software was never installed since day one and this old computer was never victimized by viruses, malware, etc. Not too shabby!

Today its far too old to use modern browsers although works just fine on my network with about 8 other systems, 4 printers, 2 network drives and a Mac server.

Is It SPAM or not SPAM?

Is This Spam Or Not Spam

Is This Spam Or Not Spam

Regarding Spam…When someone with a legitimate product to offer sends an email to a list of say 200 businesses they’ve researched as potential customers, why is this immediately unacceptable and considered Spam?  There’s no difference with this and sending a postcard or letter to the physical address of those same people.

I think we need to redefine the rules of what Spam consists of as it seems every form of product or service email today constitutes Spam, with the exception of the habitual advertising received from big, national companies. The major ISP’s have no problem with those and their emails ALWAYS manage to find your In Box well after you’ve unsubscribed.

Is The Apple Rotting?

Is Apple Computer RottingThe problem with Apple and its remarkable decline in stock price is attributable to several factors.  The first being that Apple is no longer the only company making high-quality smart phones and tablets.  Other firms have caught up and Samsung has surpassed Apple in the smart phone market in units, features, models, screen size and arguably technology.

Another major problem with Apple is their limited scope of products, here again primarily their smart phone business which continually relies upon a “one-for-all” model approach that has stopped working a long time ago.

Apple completely missed the boat and underestimated the importance of offering a larger screen phone, much like the Samsung Galaxy models that have taken an enormous bite out of Apple.  Another big mistake was not offering a lower cost model with a plastic case available to developing countries who could not afford their standard (and only) high-cost model.  In these developing countries, Samsung owns the market and even if Apple were to release a lower cost phone now, it might be too late.

Another issue is that Apple has lost some of its “cool factor” with the 15 – 25 year old demographic where many of which are switching to Android based products.  In fact, if it wasn’t for iTunes and its death grip on the music industry, their iPod business, which is losing ground every day to smart phones could be in serious trouble.

But probably the biggest problem lurking in the trenches is arch enemy Google who has developed into a highly diversified technology firm and continues to expand their reach and scope.  No longer just a search giant, Google is invading just about every facet of Apple’s business – phones, tablets, music, computers, gadgets, mobile OS, desktop OS, tablet OS, etc.  And with Googles dominance in Search along with Android as the top mobile platform, its getting easy to sway new customers away from Apple.

If I had to bet on a winner going forward, I probably wouldn’t bet too heavily on Apple with its tightly integrated infrastructure and high-priced gadgets.

Only time will tell.