May 27 2014

Why are you getting a Mac?

OK I have to post this because this pertains to the Business school.

An incident happened last week where I overheard someone getting a new Macbook Pro and she does not know how to use a Mac.  When asked if she would like Windows on it, she replied “Of course!”

WHY ARE YOU GETTING A MAC IF YOU DON’T KNOW HOW TO USE A MAC?!?!  Yes granted it is a nice piece of expensive hardware that can run Windows and everyone has one, but that should not be the reason to get it.  In my opinion, you should get a Mac because you like using Mac OS X more than you like using Windows.

I got one for several reasons.  The first reason I ever got a Mac is that I was tasked to be the person to support Macs so I had to have one if the department wanted me to support it.  Now I’m not in charge of supporting Macs, but I still use it because I actually like using Mac OS X better than Windows. It has better built-in tools to do networking troubleshooting than Windows.  Right now, I do Windows desktop support and I still use a Mac because I know how to have both Mac OS X AND Windows install on my Macbook.

Which brings me to the second thing I want to gripe about.  If the software you need to mainly use is only available for Windows, why would you get a Mac?  Granted for me, I have video games that is available for PC only so I have one computer dedicated for gaming and then I have my Mac for everyday use.  But even with the games that I play, there is a Mac version available, but I still prefer playing on my PC because I can upgrade the parts on the PC more than I can on a Mac.

I can go on and on about this, but I think I should stop.  So if you are thinking about getting a Mac, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don’t get one because everyone else is getting it.  Try one out for a week or two to see if you like it.  Smith IT has loaners you can borrow to make sure you don’t put $1800/$2600 down the drain.  (Prices are the high-end BASE model of MacBook Pros that people tend to want because it has the fastest processor that people think they need to run Office)

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Jul 12 2013

Freeing up space on iPhone

Warning!

The following is not supported by the R.H. Smith School of Business, Office of Smith IT, nor Division of Information Technology.  Use at your own risk!

Ever since my little girl was born, I’ve been struggling with space on my iPhone.  It’s because I take so many videos and pictures of her and I don’t delete them off my iPhone!  I refuse to take them off my phone because I want to show them off to people.  I do back them up onto iPhoto now and then, but I don’t remove them from my phone after it is backed up.  Granted I can just remove the pictures and have iTunes sync albums from iPhoto back onto the iPhone, but I don’t.

Anyways, the first time I got a warning about my storage space on the iPhone, the first thing I did was remove all the music and videos off my iPhone since I never listen to music nor watch non-YouTube videos on my iPhone.  I used to listen music and watch the videos when I was traveling to California to visit relatives, but since I don’t travel much anymore and JetBlue has free DirectTV, there’s no need for the media on my iPhone.  That freed up alot of space.

Now the next part may be shocking and I’m pretty sure it will pertain to almost everyone since almost everyone has a Facebook account and is on it.

Before PhoneClean

If you go to Settings > General > Usage, you can see the top applications that takes up space on your iPhone.  One thing I asked myself – why is Facebook taking up 112 MB?  If you click on Facebook, you can see that the App itself is only 39.4 MB but it somehow has 73.4 MB of “Documents & Data”.  Why would Facebook have Documents & Data if everything is stored in “the cloud” and not on the phone?  The answer is cache.

Facebook Usage

What Facebook does is it caches all the pictures you see in your Facebook feed onto your phone so that the next time you go thru your feed that has a picture you’ve already seen, it can load it faster by reading it from that cache instead of trying to download it from the internet again.  Many apps that has pictures/images/photos do that and the problem is that the cache will get bigger and bigger and most apps don’t have a way for you to get rid of the cache unless you uninstall the app.  Sometimes it is annoying because I don’t want to uninstall and reinstall an app over and over because of this.

Well, I found a solution that will help me get rid of all the unnecessary cache – it’s a software called PhoneClean.  Taken from their site:

PhoneClean is uniquely designed to reclaim more free space on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and make all iOS devices running faster. Working on both PC and Mac, this free-yet-magic tool will safely remove all kinds of useless files on iOS system in order to clean up and speed up your iDevices.

I gave it a try and it seems simple enough.  The application is pretty straight-forward.  Connect your iPhone to the computer and click Next so it can scan to see what files aren’t needed.  It will give you an estimate of how much space it can free up.  In the picture below, PhoneClean goes thru your phone find any unnecessary temp, cache, and off-line files that is not needed.

PhoneClean in Action

When it is done cleaning, it will tell you how much space you got back.  Disconnect your phone from the computer and you are ready to go.

PhoneClean Done

You can see how Facebook is no longer the top app that is taking up space because it should be only using 39.4 MB (according to image above) so it is not even on the list in the image below.  I went from 264 MB free to 772 MB free.  It wasn’t just Facebook that had cache files, but I had other apps that did as well.  The amount freed will vary from user to user based on how they use their iPhone.

After PhoneClean

In closing, I think PhoneClean is very useful, but please remember:

Warning!

The following is not supported by the R.H. Smith School of Business, Office of Smith IT, nor Division of Information Technology.  Use at your own risk!

 

 

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Jul 12 2013

My opinion about photos from iPhones/iPads

I haven’t posted in a while but I had a good reason – I’ve been too busy with my new little girl.  That’s right.  I’m finally a mom.  While I was home with my newborn, I took alot of photos of my daughter, but mostly with my iPhone. I told myself that I need to take pictures of my daughter with my DSLR, but it was hard because I didn’t like carrying that camera along with the baby around the house.  The iPhone was much more convenient because it was nice and small, plus I used my iPhone to track her feedings and diaper changes.

The problem with taking photos with the iPhone (or even iPad) is that you don’t get the same quality of photo that you would from a camera, especially when the lighting is dim.  There are times where you might be able to get the same quality from both cameras.

Alexis - Bear Suit (Nikon D3100)

Alexis – Bear Suit (Nikon D3100)

Alexis - Bear Suit (iPhone)

Alexis – Bear Suit (iPhone)

Now if you try to take a picture of a active moving kid, then you can see a big difference in quality.  The DSLR will be a much better choice for taking those pics.  Unfortunately, I don’t have a comparison picture of a moving kid because it’s so hard to take a same picture of a moving kid with 2 different cameras.

If you do decide to take photos of your little one with your iPhone, make sure you take several because you’ll never know if it turns out perfect or blurry.

 

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Dec 12 2012

Windows 7 using Temporary Profile

This has been bugging me for a while now.  Whenever I log into one of my Citrix server using my AD admin account, I would get a temporary desktop (that won’t save my settings) and a popup message saying I’m using a temporary profile.  According to the site below, it there is an issue with the profile or registry settings.  So I decided to follow the instructions to fix the registry and it works!  Now I need to see if it will fix one of the images that we deploy because that image is also doing the same thing with anyone logging into the computer.

http://www.sysprobs.com/fix-temporary-profile-windows-7

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Aug 30 2012

Damn Printer Group Policies

The way I set the default printers in the labs is to use Group Policy.  Whenever a user logs into AD, it reads what Group Policy has to say about what printer that person gets, then applies the default printer based on location.  No need to change the image to set that.

On XP it was great because it just worked, but somehow in Windows 7 it is different.  It didn’t want to behave.  When you log in, it wants to set the default printer to what is first listed.  But if you log out and log back in, it will set the correct printer as the default.  Not much good for users have to log in twice to get the the correct printers.

After HOURS of trying multiple settings, I finally found this post that says I just need to change 1 settings in the printer policy.  WOW.  Is that all I really had to do?  Somehow that was not needed in XP, but you need it in Windows 7.  Why can’t Microsoft just make it the same throughout each build of their OS?

Just 1 check will fix it.

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Jul 31 2012

Placemark Project

So I was going through my emails and I told my husband that I kept all these UMD Alert emails in my inbox just for the hell of it.  He thought it would be a nice project if I plot all these alerts on a map so I got Michael to help me install the Placemark plugin onto WordPress.  Now I just need to figure out how to use it.

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Sep 20 2011

So Many Things, So Little Time

A lot has happened since my last post that I didn’t have time to post, especially when school started.  Where do I begin?

  1. New Citrix Deployed – We introduced our new Citrix to the community.  So far we got good feedback from faculty and returning students about the new Citrix since they are the only people that can compare the old one vs the new one.  It is on much new hardware and it is integrated to Active Directory.  Being on Active Directory was the biggest thing for us as we can easily give any UMD students access to our Citrix without going to OIT to add them.
  2. Car finally arrived!  Picked it up at the dealer August 26th, a day before Hurricane Irene stopped by.  Luckily, Hurricane Irene didn’t do much damage in our area.  But I’m just glad I don’t have to drive my husband’s car anymore.
  3. Baltimore Grand Prix – This was a great opportunity for me to have more practice taking pics with my Nikon D3100.  It was a great learning experience as I was playing with the shutter speed.  I’ll post some pics when I get a chance.
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Jul 25 2011

Copy and Paste from Mac to Windows

I created a list of computers I wanted to join to Active Directory on my Macbook, but I couldn’t add them on my Macbook so I made a remote desktop connection onto a Windows Server 2008 R2 server to add them.  There is a VBscript what will take a list of computers from a file and add them into AD.  The script is extremely helpful when you need to add 100+ computers.  I created this text file using Notepad and pasted the list I made on my Macbook (with Textedit), but when I pasted the list, all the computers came up in 1 single line.  I had to manually enter a newline after each computer and resave it.  But something else was wrong because when I ran the script, it only added 1 computer instead of the 25 I have listed.

After chatting with my husband, he informed me how Mac carriage return might be a little different than Windows’.  But how can it be when I use Notepad which is all plaintext?  Well I decided to open that file using Wordpad and BAM!… extra newlines were there.  I deleted the extra newlines and the script worked perfectly.

What I learned today was that sometimes using Wordpad over Notepad isn’t so bad after all.

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Jul 05 2011

Online Photo Editor

Ever want to quickly resize your photos or do some touchups, but don’t have a copy of Photoshop?  Well I’ve found 2 pretty good online photo editors – Aviary (http://www.aviary.com/) and Pixlr (http://pixlr.com/).  Kevin Green told me about Aviary and started using that since MSPaint is not an option on my MacBook.  I recently came upon Pixlr when I was browsing through the Chrome Web Store.  One cool feature I really like about Pixlr is the “Retro Vintage Effects”.  Here is an example:

 

General Lee Scooter

Before

General Lee Scooter - Pixlr Edit

After

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Jun 27 2011

New Gallery Feature

I decided to play with this Gallery feature that was just added.  It took me a while to figure out how to do the Albums vs Gallery, but I think I managed.  I think I need to make a cool watermark for my photos.  Check out some of the photos I took while I was on vacation in my Gallery.

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