MacBook Firmware Fix

I was following pretty closely all the reports and speculation on the random shutdown problems with MacBooks especially since my daughter Jenna was experiencing the problem.

After all the speculation about what repairs would be necessary it was a relief that it could be fixed with a firmware update.

http://db.tidbits.com/article/8723

My daughter hasn’t experienced any problems since and she is sure glad she didn’t have to send the MacBook back as she can’t do without it.

I haven’t experienced the shutdown problems with my MacBook Pro so I have been taking my time upgrading the firmware until checking out user feedback on any potential issues. I haven’t had any bad experiences but I too have come to rely on my MacBook so much that any downtime or degradation would be hard to take.

Checking Gmail on the move

Checking Gmail on the move:
gmail

Google recently released a FANTASTIC Java app which allows you to easily check your Gmail from a mobile phone. It is very fast, simple and easy to use. To get it, just point your phone’s web browser to http://gmail.com/app . It will then ask permission to download and install a 100k applet.

Gmail has a lot of great features and enhancements through grease monkey or other plugins. The best feature however is it is accessible from multiple platforms including cell phones.

Mac Free text area selection

Tip for selecting non-contiguous text on Mac OSX.

Free text area selection

Area selectThere are certain occassions when you want to make a special non-linear selection in your text editor. You may for example want to select a column of all first characters in a long list. You can select each letter manually by pressing the Apple (Cmd) key, but this is tedious work.

To avoid such waste of time, you can press and hold the Alt (Option) key, click and drag your cursor to select text freely without the constrains of regular text selection. This works in most text editors, such as Textedit and TextWrangler. This feature makes certain programming tasks extremely easy if you use such a selection in combination with Find and Replace command.

Spotlight for Data Recovery

This is old news but I was amazed at a hidden or at least little advertised capability of Apple’s technology.

Did you know that Spotlight could be used for data recovery? It is something that just might save the day for you when all else fails.

My daughter who is starting to become quite the wizard with her Mac Book was able to recover some irreplaceable* photos, music and other files by using Spotlight Apparently you can do searches and get results that include files that were previously deleted. Take the results of the search and recover the files and your bacon is saved.

I was also amazed at the resiliency of OSX to survive some pretty severe file deletion. My daughter was looking to free up some drive space and not being versed on the lore of Unix thought there was no need to keep the library folder around. I’m guessing that OSX didn’t provide a warning that deleting this folder wasn’t a good idea. Some settings were lost but the OS kept running and with the help of Spotlight the crucial data was recovered.

Although we dodged a potential disaster, I consider ourselves lucky and it is overdue to provide a few lessons on how and how not to do pruning of files to free up drive space.

* Nagging about data backup hasn’t been effective so far. Now at least one archive to DVD has been done. Maybe time machine will make it cool and easy enough to do that it gets done on a regular basis.

Windows Virus Protection

Just heard from one of my IT support customers (aka Pa) that AVG will soon start charging $30/year for its entry level virus protection and no longer offer the free version.

For those wanting to remain with free antivirus, AntiVir becomes the new recommendation.

AVG is a good choice to reward for previously providing their free service for those wanting to keep using a product that has worked well for them.

For the money ($39/year license $27.30/year renewal) Nod32 may be the best anti-virus product available.

Unyte to see what is happening on that Windows machine

Unyte is an application viewing tool for Windows hosts that works with Skype v2.0.

It allows you to share your screen with someone you select who can be running Windows, Linux, or Mac browsers (IE, Firefox, Safari).

Sounds like it is worth checking out in order to help people with Windows or for Windows users to show their stuff.

It begs the question of how it compares to VNC. More to follow.

Adobe Announces Availability of Acrobat 8 Software to Rave Reviews from Customers

Adobe Announces Availability of Acrobat 8 Software to Rave Reviews from Customers:
Adobe Systems Incorporated (Nasdaq:ADBE) today announced the immediate availability of Adobe Acrobat 8 software amid an enthusiastic early reception from knowledge workers worldwide who for months have tested and provided feedback to help the company fine tune the product line.

I want to get my copy of Acrobat professional upgraded soon.