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Archive for June 30th, 2009

MacBook Pro Unibody – Broken Hinges

June 30th, 2009 3 comments
MacBook Pro 15" w/ Cracked Hinges

MacBook Pro Unibody 15" w/ Cracked Hinges

What happens when you open the screen beyond its max angle on a Unibody? The hinges snap just like the one in the pic above. Ouch!

The glass and LED screen survived in-tact on this one.

The upper section will be replaced and this book will be as good as new.

[ MBP 15″ Unibody Upper Section Replacement ]

Firefox 3.5 for the Mac

June 30th, 2009 No comments

Firefox LogoFirefox 3.5 for the Mac is now available for download.

This version comes with lots of new and improved features including better private browsing and an enhanced location bar (aka Awesome Bar.)

Speed is advertised as twice as fast as Firefox 3 and after a few hours of using the new version, it’s noticeably faster.

I still use Safari 4 as my primary and Firefox as my secondary browser but this new version is got me thinking about a switch.

[ Download Firefox 3.5 ] [ Features List ]

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AppleTV 320GB Upgrade

June 30th, 2009 No comments
AppleTV getting a new 320GB hard drive.

AppleTV getting a new 320GB hard drive.
PATA hard drive interface is highlighted.

Introduced in Jan. 2007, the AppleTV is still going strong over 2 1/2 years later. While the hardware hasn’t seen any changes yet, the software has slowly but surely been getting better and better.

I’ve had mine since March 2007 and use it every day. Each software update has really improved the platform and the new Remote app interface is awesome. The QWERTY keyboard control makes searching so much easier.

Every time Apple releases a new AppleTV update, we see an increase in the number of AppleTVs in for hard drive upgrades. The 320GB is by far the most popular.

Outside of 1080p and a SATA interface (so we can put 500GB drives in) there’s not much hardware-wise I want to see in a new AppleTV. Most of what I want (more movies, better Hulu integration, and more audio options) can all be accomplished with new software.

Here’s hoping we don’t have to wait too long.

[ AppleTV Upgrades ]

PDF Your Office

June 30th, 2009 No comments

Fujitsu SnapScan S510M - My Savior

Filing, storing and searching paper records is time consuming and incredibly inefficient. Utilizing a PDF scanner, some patience and a few tricks, I was able to make my document storage completely digital.

I started out with a Xerox DocuMate 152, which I ran connected to an old Dell laptop (no Mac software.) It came with its own Windows desktop application to scan your pages, sort them, and rearrange as you needed. I connected the laptop to our file server and started scanning PDF’s. The quality and the single page scan speed was great. The speed of saving multi-page documents to the server was not so great. Scanning a 40 page shipping statement took about 5 minutes.

I was on the lookout for a good Mac based solution ever since I bought the Xerox. Dealing with Windows on a daily basis for the one task of scanning was a little frustrating, and it was one more machine to deal with. I saw a PDF scanner on the market made by Fujitsu called the ScanSnap.

Mac native? Yes!

I picked up the ScanSnap S510M and tried it out. It did everything the Xerox did, except it worked on the Mac. I didn’t have to deal with a separate desktop application anymore, the Fujitsu scanned straight to a PDF file. It has some good presets for different quality settings, whether or not you want color, and OCR (Optical Character Recognition). OCR is great if you want the content of your scans to be searchable on your Mac, but it does increase the file size considerably.

What used to take 10 minutes to find an old invoice now takes 2 seconds. Everybody in the office has access to them via our local server. Using a VPN solution I have access to all these files from anywhere I have my laptop and an internet connection.

Here’s a few recommendations based on my experience:

1. Come up with a naming & organizational scheme ahead of time and document it. It will save you and your employees hours of headache.

2. Invest in an application like Hazel or create an Automator script to auto-sort your docs once you’ve scanned them. It took me 2 years to figure this one out. An hour spent configuring one of these solutions can save tens if not hundreds of hours vs. sorting everything manually.

3. Buy a great shredder. I spent about $200 on a mid-range model from Staples. We call him the Shred-bot, and he’s been with MyService for about 3 years. He’s had one trip to the doctor (Staples warranty repair) after a fever (overheating from working too hard), but other than that he’s been a wonderful addition to the team.

4. Invest in a local backup system (hard drive, CD/DVD) and/or an offsite solution (BackJack, Mozy). Don’t shred your scans until you’re sure you’ve backed up everything.

[ Fujitsu SnapScan ] [ Hazel ] [ BackJack ] [ Mozy ]

Lonely Planet City Guides

June 30th, 2009 No comments

IMG_0619Lonely Planet guidebooks are a great travel resource.

At first designed for backpackers, these books offer local insight and “hidden” gems. As Lonely Planet has grown in popularity, their audience has broadened to include casual travelers as well.

The website has always been pretty cutting edge, so it was no surprise when they starting releasing iPhone apps. The iPhone is a great travel device (world phone, GPS, wifi, camera, etc.)

I installed the San Francisco City Guide app to check it out. The guide includes the entire City Guide “Book” in digital format as well as maps, a search function and a “nearby” tab that brings up points of interest in your current vicinity.

Just having the book in digital format is awesome and saves a lot of space and weight (alone worth the price of admission). The nearby feature and maps work as you’d expect and should make for some easy bar hopping.

Some more social features like media uploads or a way for users to provide on the spot reviews would be welcome but I’m sure stuff like this is on the way.

These apps sell for $15.99 each ($0.99 for San Francisco) and are currently available for about 20 cities. While a little on the spendy side, they’re about the same price as the physical books. If you like Lonely Planet and were considering buying a city guide, this is definitely the way to go.

[ Lonely Planet on iTunes ] [ Lonely Planet ]