Network a Mac with Windows

25 09 2007

Recently I decided I would connect my external hard-drive to a PC in my house so that I could access my music over the network as opposed to connecting it to my Macbook everytime I wanted to access music or movies. Lucky for me it’s incredibly easy to share files over the network between Windows and OS X:

  1. Enable Windows Sharing on the Mac Apple > System Preferences > Sharing > Check Windows Sharing
  2. Share a folder or a drive in Windows by right clicking > Properties > Sharing > Check Share Folder
  3. On the Mac, open up Finder and click on Go > Connect to Server…
  4. Enter smb://<your windows pc hostname>
  5. Now you can connect to any shared folder on your Windows machine, but how do we make sure it stays mounted? Simply go to Apple > System Preferences > Accounts > Logon Items > Add the shared volume

That was painless. For all tech readers this isn’t because Mac’s rule, its because of the Samba protocol which enables you to network different operating systems. Samba is now a part of Apple, but lets not forget its open-source roots.





Make Ringtones For Free on The iPhone

16 09 2007

I recently picked up an iPhone. It’s sexy. However, I’m definitely not going to pay money to create a ringtone out of a song that I already own – sorry Apple, RIAA, AT&T, your mom thats not going to cut it. Lucky for me I discovered a free solution to get ringtones straight to your iPhone, just follow these steps:

  1. Install MakeiPhoneRingtones2.app
  2. Change your iTunes Import Settings to encode AAC
  3. Import the MP3 you have already sliced up as a ringtone, into iTunes
  4. Right click that MP3 in iTunes and select Convert to AAC
  5. Rename the extension to m4r and add to your iTunes Library
  6. Drag the AAC file into MakeiPhoneRingtone2.app

DONE. Your ringtones will now appear under the iTunes Ringtones section which will automatically sync with your iPhone the next time you connect it. How’s that for stickin’ it to the man?

UPDATE: This works only with the 1.1.2 iPhone update





iEatBrainz – Automatically Tag Your MP3 Library By Sound

1 08 2007

Sure there are plenty of MP3 tagging programs out there. Most of them even check Amazon or Google and fix your tags for you. What sets iEatBrainz apart from the rest is that it actually submits your track to the EatBrainz music database and verifies you have the right song. It does acoustic sound matching so if you have an mp3 cryptically titled 01.mp3, iEatBrainz will figure out its really Black by Pearl Jam and rename it accordingly. Another high quality app by Jay Tuley the author of CD To which I reviewed in my last post.





Set Your Terminal To Your Current Finder Window

31 07 2007

Ever since I’ve been exposed to the terminal I can’t go back. I found a handy open source app called >CD to…(weird name) which sits in your Finder toolbar. This means you can be browsing some folder directories deep, and when you click on the >CD To… icon it will open up your shell and point you to the directory you are in. Very useful for those Mac users who want to get their hands a little dirty.





Corripio – Complete Your Music Collection in iTunes

30 07 2007

I am somewhat of a perfectionist/completionist. I need to have album art, formatted tags, and lyrics for my music collection. Unfortunately you need an iTunes Store Account to automatically grab album art in iTunes which is not right. Corripio is an open-source app for your Mac that does all of this for you with a click of a button. You can go through your entire library and actually EMBED album art, and lyrics into the MP3 itself so if you ever decide to ditch iTunes for another media player you don’t lose all of that hard work. Now when I’m using CoverFlow, I am flipping through actual album covers, not just blank squares ;).





Handbrake – Open Source DVD Ripping

29 07 2007

Its been a while since I’ve updated my blog. I’ve been busy with work and playing with the new Mac, but fear not, in the process I’ve discovered a great DVD ripping app called Handbrake. It can rip any DVD you throw at it regardless of protection/encryption or not. You want to preserve the chapters, original quality or export it to your iPod? It can do that too. If you’ve got a dual-core machine expect to rip a full DVD in 10 minutes or less =). As always its open-source and cross platform so you can run it on Windows, OS X or Linux.





Wake Up and Smell The Concrete – You’re Using Open-Source

11 07 2007

I would like to point out that no matter which operating system you may be using, we all have reaped the benefits of open-source. Believe it or not, there is a little bit of free software goodness in all of us:

Windows Users

  • I’d say browsing the internet is a must these days. Did you know that the TCP/IP stack in Windows is based off of the original code that was licensed by BSD?
  • Firefox is clearly gaining new ground on Internet Explorer’s turf. The Mozilla Foundation is all about the open-source baby.

Mac users

  • The entire OS X operating system is based off of the Darwin kernel which, surprise surprise, is a UNIX variant.
  • KHTML is the engine that renders web-pages in Safari. Yup, another gift given to you by the free software foundation.
  • Have you ever printed out a report on your Mac? You just used CUPS which is the Common UNIX Printing Service.
  • Apple has plans to ditch Microsoft and go completely with Open Office in the near future. It just feels better to be using open standards no?

Linux Users

  • Do you even have to ask? The entire operating system and included applications are all open-source.

The Web

  • Whenever you visit a website like Digg the content is automatically updated and generated for your viewing pleasure. Chances are its running on the LAMP stack – Linux + Apache + MySQL + PHP, check check check and check for open-source.
  • Google is my best friend. They also run Linux clusters so you get your search results in under a second.
  • Developers pay attention, Java is the most popular enterprise platform, and Sun just opened up its source for our hacking pleasure.
  • Whenever you blog on WordPress, or Drupal just know it was built using open source tools, and licensed under the GNU.
  • When I want information I go to Wikipedia. Wikipedia runs off of the open-source software MediaWiki which is also under the GNU.

Electrical Devices

  • Intel based computer’s have open source drivers. This means compatibility for everyone.
  • Set-top boxes like TiVo are using open source software to get you goodness on the big screen. MPlayer anyone?

As you can see open-source is all around us. The points I have mentioned are nowhere near the extent and true caliber of what open source delivers to us on a daily basis. Please enlighten me with your thoughts.





Apple Fanboyism

11 06 2007

fanboyis a term used to describe an individual who is utterly devoted to a single fannish subject, or to a single point of view within that subject, often to the point where it is considered an obsession. Fanboys remain loyal to their particular obsession, disregarding any factors that differ from their point of view. Fanboys are also typically aggressive and hateful towards the opposing brand or competition of their obsession regardless of its merits or achievements.

It seems I may have caused a stir amongst certain members of the Apple community in my last post 5 Reasons Why I’m Disgruntled With The Apple Store Reps. Based on the uncensored comments left on my blog I have made a few conclusions:

1. Fanboys prove my “Holier than thou” stance

Quotes such as “You were never in the market for a Mac computer, [sic] Windows dork”, “stay the hell out of apple stores” or “please, stay out of the Apple Store, we don’t need you” re-iterate the fact that certain Apple fanboys feel I am not worthy of a Mac. So my question is, what makes a customer a worthy of Apple’s hardware, or a welcome guest inside of an Apple store for that matter?

2. Fanboys are incompetent

Certain fanboy’s feel as if Apple computers are not PC’s. A commenter wrote, “Go buy a pee cee.” If by “pee cee” you mean PC (personal computer) commonly associated with the x86 architecture you failed to realize the minute Apple started putting Intel chips inside of their machines they became a PC retailer.

3. Fanboys assume non-Apple users are out to attack you

Calm down, I didn’t enter the Apple store to prove I was technically brilliant, “feed my ego”, or debate with the sales representatives. I simply wanted to know about Macbook’s, and the update to the Macbook Pro refresh. If I want to know about running Windows, OS X, and Linux, you should not feel hostile towards the fact that sometimes OS X doesn’t “just work.” A certain commenter noted, “Just say you’re a Windows guy” (mind you I am a Linux kind of guy) – when you are in the corporate world you have no choice but to live with Windows, why not embrace the fact technology is at a point where we can run multiple operating systems? We have the freedom of choice. Please, leave your hostility with your non-fat latte at the coffee shop.

4. Fanboys have fallen to Apple marketing, thus making them incompetent

“Gee, there weren’t any hardware engineers available at the Apple Store, imagine that.” Gee, does it really take a hardware engineer to get some specifications of a processor? Incompetence. Any non-Apple retailer will post the kind of processor you are purchasing. Last time I checked, hardware engineers worked on improving battery life and implementing new features, for example the Santa Rosa platform. Fanboy’s seem to think the questions I asked were too specific. I’d like to get the most bang for my buck. Features such as improved video, better battery life, wireless-N networking, and faster computing mean something to me. Are you telling me that these are “questions that no one else in the world gives a shit about ?” Fanboy’s believe that you do not need to know about these details, except that it is “brand spanking new.” When you go beyond “checking your e-mail” and uploading photos at a coffee shop, this simple marketing strategy will not cut it for those expecting premium service from a premium brand.

5. Not all Apple users are fanboys

I received one intelligent comment from an Apple user and he provided me with good resources to help me find my answer. No hostility, no evangelism, just the pure truth. This is how the community should behave, and is one of the reasons why the open-source world is so powerful – they embrace new-comers with open arms.

For those Apple users who are modest and have not succumbed to fanboyism, I salute you.





5 Reasons Why I’m Disgruntled With The Apple Store Reps

9 06 2007

I am in the market for a new notebook. As any technology aficionado I like to do my research so I can get the most bang for my buck. I visited the Apple store this weekend, with an open-mind but came out an irritated customer:

1. Holier than thou mentality

I have specific needs. I need to run Windows, OS X, and Linux. The Apple reps repeatedly tell me that I don’t need any OS aside from OS X. Then they start to get into a pitch about how Apple’s operating system is the greatest software known to mankind. I just wanted to know if I could run all three on the same machine – I didn’t want to be evangalized.

2. Incompetence

As an Intel employee, I have the insider scoop about processor technology. I wanted to know which family of Core 2 Duo processors are in the Macbook, and they simply told me it was the Intel Core 2 Duo. The reps seem to only know what they are told from their God Steve Jobs. I even visited the Apple site and nowhere does it tell me the exact processor I will be receiving in my new hardware. After being passed around to multiple sales reps, someone at the Genius Bar told me exactly what I needed to know, however it was on a need to know basis. I came to the realization that Apple treats their customers as idiots.

3. More Incompetence

I asked about the new Santa Rosa platform that were in the Macbook Pro refresh. I wanted to know about Intel Turbo Memory which is 1GB of solid state flash, speeding up data retrieval that is in the cache. The reps didn’t know what I was talking about, and told me that if it is there that would be “cool.” Instead they tried to console me by saying that the refresh is “brand spanking new.” Wow, thats really going to get me to buy your product.

4. Incompetence^3

Back to my needs of running multiple operating systems, the reps realized that OS X wasn’t going to just cut it for me. I asked them if I could do a dual or triple boot with Boot Camp, Apple’s beta software allowing you to run multiple OS’s natively on seperate partitions. They told me it was beta software, and I should run Parallels which runs the OS’s in a virtual environment instead. Due to RAM restrictions, I don’t want to do that, and would like to do a dual-boot as I do on my laptop right now. The rep’s seem to think a “virtual environment” is not emulation. I thought these guys who work behind the Genius Bar were geniuses?

5. Fail to realize that the customer is always right

I have a specific budget I want to stay within. I want the Macbook, but no matter what, the rep’s are always trying to sell up to the higher model. This is fine the first time around, but to continously sell up to a consumer who does not want to is flat-out bad sales.

Apple has great design, hardware and innovative software (by innovative I mean, taking open-source software and branding it as their own) , but the Apple representatives are misinformed elitists. Maybe it was just this one bad experience, but in the sales and marketing world, everything is based on your first impression.

UPDATE:

I have a response to the comments left on my blog.

https://sheehantu.wordpress.com/2007/06/11/apple-fanboyism/