July 18, 2013


I used to have my work and personal emails all forwarded to the same email client (MS Outlook), but since getting a smartphone, I have realized that it is nice to keep them separate -- so I have set out to do just that, both on my phone and on the multiple PC's that I use.

The quickest, easiest solution I could come up with was to find a simple, free email client that I could have my personal emails sent to, and I would keep outlook for business email (as well as contacts and calendar). A quick search pulled up Mozilla Thunderbird, so I decided to give it a try.

Setting up Thunderbird was a snap, and it was able to correctly execute configuration of my personal email server settings on the first try -- without any manual assistance from yours truly. Outlook has never been able to do that. It doesn't do everything quite like Outlook, but for personal use, it is more than adequate.

Considering the price, I won't complain too much about what Thunderbird lacks compared to Outlook...

January 12, 2013


In recent years, I have found myself transporting our 15" Gateway laptop around more and more. It's obviously not as bulky as a 17", but it is still just a tad larger than what I would like -- plus the battery won't stay charged for more than about 5 minutes, so it's portability really is questionable. As it became more and more evident that Windows 8 was going to take over all new PC's, I decided it was time get myself something smaller, so I purchased an HP EliteBook 8460p running Windows 7 Pro. There are still a few EliteBooks out there on the internet running Win7, but most have transitioned to Win8 by now.

I opted for a 160 GB SSD (solid state drive) because I am really impatient and I wanted it to be extra speedy (start-up happens in a snap!). 160 GB is small by SATA hard drive standards, but we have a 1.5 TB SATA hard drive on our HP desktop, along with a fully functional secure network, so I didn't really feel the need to put a bulky SATA drive on my new laptop. I thought of getting an "UltraBook Folio", but they didn't come with any kind of optical drive, and the one I was eyeing only had a 128 GB SSD -- all for more money than the EliteBook.

So now I can officially say... I switch to Mac, and then I came back. I'll stick with PC's from now on... unless the only option is Windows 8. But for now, I'm happy with my Windows 7 Professional.

October 5, 2011

RIP Steve Jobs: 1955-2011


This is for you, Steve Jobs. Thank you for bringing innovative new products to market so that I could have a love / hate relationship with them. You will be missed.

March 13, 2009

Koi Pond

There are a ton of different apps (short for 'applications') that can be downloaded to the iPod Touch or iPhone. Some are useful, some help pass the time, and some are just kind of fun. Noah & Emily especially like the app called Koi Pond:


I will never, ever, put in a real water feature on my property, but I thought it might be kind of fun to have one on my iPod. :-) With Koi Pond, the screen is filled with what you see in the image above, with full, realistic animation -- the fish even respond when you 'dip' your finger in the water. If you shake the iPod, it 'feeds' the fish -- little pellets appear in the bottom of the pond, and the fish eat them as they go by.

There are also sounds that can be added -- rain & thunder, birds, rushing water, frogs, and crickets. The other night when I was having trouble getting to sleep (because I have a cold and can't use my CPAP), I turned on the rain to help put lull me off into la-la-land.

If the kids see me on the couch with my iPod, I can pretty much count on them climbing on my lap and asking to play 'the fish game' -- it's not a bad way to spend time with my little rug-rats. :-)

February 10, 2009

New iToy

OK, I take back [almost] everything I said in the iRotten Apples entry... my mini is still pretty pathetic right now, but Apple does do some neat stuff.


I got an iPod Touch 2G on Friday, and this iThing is cooler than the other side of the pillow! (That's a screen-shot of mine right there). It's both useful and fun -- and now I don't need to lug my laptop back and forth to work every day. It's kind of like a fun PDA. :-)

January 28, 2009

iRotten Apples

Once upon a time, not so long ago, I was all gung-ho about switching from a PC to a Mac. Well, the honeymoon is over... after 4 years of using the Mac Mini, I once again feel that Mac is the BOSE of the computer world -- a lot of marketing and slick features, but you really don't get much for the price.

The Mini was great at first, but I soon found that it had its own glitches, just like any other computer. I had numerous episodes of programs crashing -- Safari, Mail, Word, Excel, etc. -- but never had the whole system crash on me. I will give Mac kudos for that -- zero operating system crashes in 4 years of use is impressive.

My main gripe about the Mini is that Apple did not provide the RAM necessary to run its own bulky operating system. I initially felt that 512MB of RAM was adequate (256MB was stock) for my needs, but soon found simple functions taking longer and longer to perform. As it is now, opening a basic Excel spreadsheet takes close to 30 seconds. The browsers are slow, Mail is painfully slow (and glitchy), and iPhoto is beyond slow. Why Apple didn't make at least 1GB RAM standard is unfathomable.

The final straw came Christmas of 2007, when I got Steph an iPod Nano. I had seen all the Mac vs. PC commercials, and firmly believed that I would be able to hook the iPod up to my Mini and experience some sort of Mac bliss. WRONG! The operating system that came with my Mini (named after some large cat) was not compatible with the iPod -- I would need to spend $150+, and risk the possibility of an even more bogged-down computer. What's the deal Apple? It ends up JD has a family pack of the newer 'big cat' OS, but I wasn't sure I wanted to risk making the Mini slower than it already was.

I took the iPod to work, since I run iTunes on the PC in my office, with slim hopes that I could make it work. I hooked the iPod up to my PC, and everything worked seamlessly, just like the Mac vs. PC commercials suggested would happen with a Mac. I don't care what excuses the Mac die-hards give for this incompatibility, it is inexcusable in my book -- enough so that I am pretty much done purchasing Apple computer products.

This past July, I decided to get a new laptop so that I could run the Box Factory's quote program from home -- since emailed quote requests are becoming the norm. After a few weeks of searching around, I found a 15.4" Gateway with an Intel 2 GHz Core 2 Duo processor, 160 GB HD, and 3 GB of RAM. I was leery of using Vista at first, but once I configured everything the way I wanted it, have found it to be a very stable operating system -- and I love the speed that comes from an Intel processor, and from all that memory.

This brings up another point... I used to think my internet at work was faster than my internet at home, because the work PC opened webpages so much faster than the Mini... then I did an online speed test. My connection at home was 7 times faster than my connection at work. Needless to say, the laptop on my home connection (even wireless) makes the Mini seem like it's running dial-up.

The only hitch with the laptop was that Garnet Red was the only color available, but for $599, I wasn't going to complain about the color. It ends up matching the color of my pickup, and Steph and the kids think it's cool. Incidentally, at the time I purchased this laptop, a comparable Mac product would have been $2499. No thank you... I'll stick with PC's from now on.

Edit: OK, now that I've vented my frustrations, here are some more level-headed thoughts...

After some discussion on the MacMentor forum, I have decided that I unfairly dismissed Apple's computer products, and that it was the less-than-robust performance of the mini that I was disappointed with, and not the operating system. I have since decided to max out the RAM and upgrade to Leopard, with the hopes of improving my performance, or at least making it so I can use my iPod with the mini.

I tried my best to go cold turkey with Mac products, but the fact is I really like the way OS X runs (when I'm not getting beach balls), and I really like the appearance, design, and simplicity of Mac products. But I like a lot about PC based systems, too (including Vista), so I will do my best to operate in both worlds -- utilizing the best that each system has to offer, rather than focusing on the negatives.

Incidentally, I used a friend's iPod Touch for a little while yesterday... I want one. :-)

July 26, 2008

New Toy, and Fun in the Garage

Here's what Noah and I are doing this afternoon...


I got this new laptop, kind of for work, kind of for play; and JD just stopped by today with a wireless router for us to use. So Noah and I (and Murphy) came out in the garage to do a little cleaning, and a little playing.

Noah loves being a helper, so I let him help with sweeping and organizing things -- the control freak in me sometimes has trouble letting the latter happen, though -- but I'm trying. Murphy loves being out here with us, so I put a long lead on him and he spends most of the time sitting in 'the grandma chair', enjoying the different perspective of the front of the house (new things to sniff, ya'know).

It's great being out here -- I can clean, organize, use my workbench, all while listening to my iTunes collection, surfing the web, and most importantly, hang out with my little buddy. :-)

Those are the fun times happening at our place on this Saturday afternoon, anyways...

November 30, 2005

Get iTunes for your PC

Anyone who has spent time using both Mac and PC computers can tell you about the superiority of MacIntosh machines and applications. Now iTunes, one of the best Mac applications, is available for your Windows 2000/XP machine: Free iTunes Download (QuickTime 7 media player included, too)

Dump your Windows Media Player... iTunes is so much better.