Let’s face it. My latest PC purchase was not a Mac but a Lenovo Horizon 2 27″ touch screen large table PC. I love the design of a 27″ large tablet enabled with a touch screen. It reminds me of my iPad.
If there was one thing that could of made me thing twice would be the omission of iCloud and iTunes. Without these two knockout punches I may of either left the Apple ecosystem fully or just used the Lenovo as an island.
iCloud and iTunes lets me still share my network resources with the new PC the same way I could with my Macs. Brilliant Apple!
So when I need a new smartphone I will only consider the iPhone because it will still work with what I have. Content – yes. devices – yes.
So Apple saved a customer from leaving and enhanced boring Windows with Apple’s goodness. It is good to be alive with how easy and awesome Apple is making our lives. I cannot wait for the 5.5″ iPhone 6!
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Lets say you have an external SuperDrive and you need to get it working under your Windows Bootcamp partition. These drivers may not of been loaded during the install of the Bootcamp drivers if the drive was not plugged in.
How to get it to work
- Plug the SuperDrive in (don’t insert a disc yet)
- Download the Bootcamp 2.1 Drivers from the Leopard disk or here
- If you have a Mac OS X Leopard disk the file is located here D:\Boot Camp\Drivers\Apple (or D:\Boot Camp\Drivers\Apple\x64)
- Run AppleODDInstaller.exe and accept all prompts.
- Restart Windows.
I tested this under Windows 8.1 in August 2014 on a Lenovo Horizon 2.
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What? Did the earth shatter and the end of life coming soon? Well no.
I did a comparison and found out that with how I use my MacBook Pro there is 1 application that I need to use that only runs on a Mac. Rapidweaver, my web creation tool. The rest of what I use I can get by with Windows versions or web versions of the apps. iCloud in Windows really helped me make this decision.
What I wanted
- Large screen – 15.4″ or larger – I am tired of my 13.3″ screen.
- Minimum of 8GB of RAM
- SSD hard drive (or expandable to one)
- Latest i5 or larger
- Dedicated Graphic Card – Nvidia or ATI
- Lower prices of the last years 15.4″ MBPs.
What the Lenovo Horizon 2 27″ Table PC brings to the table
- 27″ Screen
- 8GB of RAM
- Standard 5400 HD but can expanded to any SSD hard drive. I put in Crucial MX100 512GB SSD for an extra $200 – cheap and fast! The 1TB is now a backup image drive.
- 4th Generation i5 at 1.7 GHz – It can step up to 2.7GHz when it needs too with Turbo Boost.
- Nvidia 840A graphics with 2GB dedicated video memory.
- Priced lower than the current 15.4″ MBP with non-dedicated graphics.
What I don’t need
- Mac OS – I hate to say it but when I am in my apps the OS is becoming less and less important. Windows is “good enough” of an app launcher. I don’t really use a lot of Windows features. The Mac OS specific features I also have not really used. I use any OS like it is System 6.0.8 – It is there working and loading the applications while pulling files off of/ save to the drives and network shares.
- Retina display – I decided that the 1920×1080 resolution is what I want. I don’t need a smaller display with more dpi making everything smaller yet. Since I encode all of my videos and movies at 1920×1080, right now I don’t need more. I am not recording 4K video yet. Give me 5 more years.
Bonuses of the Lenovo Horizon 2 27″ Table PC
- Touch screen with 10 point touch – nice for family games
- Being able to put it in “table mode” to play family games. (lets hope more get made for the Aura interface or just any tablet in general)
- I can run other apps made for the Windows tablets on it - like Rival Knights. Yea, they don’t have a largest selection but I also don’t use that many apps. I use more apps on my iPhone and iPad than I do on my Mac and Windows PCs.
- HDMI in port
- Battery so it is portable. I can take it out on my patio and work or play with ease (only 16 pounds).
The One Mac Application
What is my solution for the one Mac application (Rapidweaver) that I need to use with no Windows or web replacement? Use my MacBook Pro laptop with an Display-port to HDMI adapter connected to my Lenovo Horizon 2 which will display the MBP screen nice and big. I can use the same wireless keyboard and mouse by moving the USB dongle from the Lenovo Horizon 2 to the MacBook Pro. Simple and easy.
What about the 27″ iMac?
I looked at the iMacs but they have a fixed stand like all of the other all-in-ones. The closest one has a 27″ non-touch screen. You get a desktop class powerful 3.2 GHz i5 CPU (turbo boost is 3.6). A dedicated Nvidia GeForce 755M with a paltry 1GB of video RAM. Price is $1799 but it is not portable. Being portable is important to me for my needs. So Even though the price was close, I still have to pass.
What am I leaving behind?
I have purchased some Mac only games that I won’t be running on my new Horizon 2 since that is running Windows. But with the HDMI in port on the Horizon 2 and the Mini-Display-port to HDMI adapter I can easily connect the MBP laptop that has the games on there. That MBP is far from death with those games, so I won’t have to repurchase them. I don’t see that I am leaving behind anything just adding on to it.
I found a way for a larger screen (much larger) for less money with the video resolution I wanted with dedicated graphics with 2GB of video RAM and a i5 CPU chip. I wish Apple had something similar but they want to lock up the only option for a mobile dedicated graphics card for the $2,500 MBP or I can get a desktop (non-mobile) 27″ iMac with no battery.
Sorry Apple, this round you lost a hardware purchase BUT there is a silver lining = iCloud!
With iCloud integration I am still in Apple’s wonderful world with music, movies, TV shows, books, and it all just works as well in Windows as it does on the Mac. This means I don’t have to try to convert or re-buy content. So Apple still wins with me continuing to buy content from the iTunes store. I bought this week alone 2 albums through iTunes! Huzzah!
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On my search for a new Personal Computer I wanted to see how I could tie in my Windows partitions into the benefits of iCloud.
Benefits of iCloud include:
- Syncing of Safari Bookmarks
- Apps save data automatically to the drive sharing spot
- Mail account sync
- Contacts sync
- Calendar sync
- Notes sync (using the Notes app)
- Reminders sync
- PhotoSteam (last 1,000 photos are available on all devices)
- iTunes (download or stream music, movies, tv shows, and iTunes Match)
- iBooks Store sync
What do I use of iCloud is the first question and what is important to me?
Using iCloud as a online file storage does not appeal to me, I use a different service for that. I have my own domain for email so email syncing that is not important for me. I won’t use the iCloud .me free email accounts, I just don’t have a use for them. For each email account on my domain I manually put them on the device I want to use them on. It is a pain but I can control what accounts are on what devices.
Since I use my iPad Mini anything like messaging (IM), reminders, mail, calendar, contacts, and iBooks; those don’t have to be on a replacement Windows laptop. If I do need to view these I can always use the Mac’s built-in apps (through a screen share) or icloud.com with a web browser.
It would be more of a convenience than a requirement. If I travel I have been taking my iPad/iPhone combo and leaving the MBP laptop at home. My last two trips I did that and it worked out great – Austin, TX and Ireland/Scotland/France.
I do use PhotoStream, Safari bookmark syncing, and iTunes for my media. Being able to sync these is important.
Where can I use iCloud?
Macintosh, iPad, iPhone of course. Plus Windows. What? Windows? I discovered this when I was searching for what iCloud all does to make sure I know what it will do for me. I had to try it out. Many friends of mine who use Windows always complain of iTunes support in Windows. Once I downloaded iTunes, Quicktime, and iCloud for Windows I quickly setup my accounts, synced and looked at the results.
In Short – iCloud/iTunes on Windows works great. This surprises me a little bit.
Long version -
iTunes for Windows works just like iTunes does on the Mac. Music, movies, tv shows, podcasts, iPhone/iPad syncing plus backups. iTunes on Windows also does photo syncing from my iPhone or iPad which is nice. It puts the content into the local file structure where I can move them to my media server.
iCloud let me do many things including mail/calendar/contacts/reminders sync into Outlook. I don’t need these things synced into Outlook as I think email through the Outlook email application is not secure so I checked this setting off. I did set up an account in Outlook with no email just to get the iCloud stuff installed and synced. This worked real well.
Going through iPhoto on the Mac ended up being more cumbersome just to sync photos from my Photostream. If I were to modify each photo before saving then using iPhoto would make sense. I rarely touch up my photos so just syncing them to a file system makes more sense for me. Plus it is faster.
Browser bookmark syncing into IE, Chrome, or Firefox works as good as bookmark syncing from Safari. I use this a lot and that Apple made this happen is stupendous. I know that if I went all to Chrome or Firefox I would have this, but the iCloud way I think is a better approach as I am not tied into just using just one browser.
iBooks can be synced from iTunes for Windows to my iPhone and iPad. I don’t read books on my MBP or Mac Pro, just on my iPad Mini so this works.
It makes sense for Apple to include Windows PCs with these enhancements. Not every house will be Mac only (no matter how hard I tried it was not successful – there was always a few Windows apps I needed to run).
iWorks on the web works pretty good. I had already standardized on MS Office way back for cross-platform so it just stuck. iWorks apps (Pages, Excel, and Keynote) works a lot different and I still struggle a little bit.
Conclusion on using iCloud in Windows
If you are like me and have bitten into the Apple media and cloud services, iCloud for Windows will enable your Windows boxes to work with everything you already have from Apple.
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I took a giant leap and needed to make sure that everything I wanted to do on my Macintosh I was able to do in Windows. I have been dual-booting Windows on my Macs for over 6 years starting with my Performa 640CD DOS Compatible. My career in IT has kept me in the forefront of both Macintosh and Windows networking for over 20 years so it is important that I keep up. Usually I had to buy 2 personal computers to do it, but in the past 6 years I only needed one Mac to do it all. Over the past few years I mainly used Windows at home for 1 game – Ultima Online.
In the past 6 years both my Mac Pro mid-2008 and my MacBook Pro 2009 has been running great with Macintosh and Windows partitions. I even used Parallels on the MBP as it’s 64-bit EFI has let me use Mavericks where the Mac Pro older 32-bit EFI could not. I had the option to boot natively into the Windows partition for full speed or use Parallels on the Mac with the same partition as a Virtual Machine. As my PCs get older and older each year, I am at a turning point for a new Mac.
My 2008 Mac Pro runs like a beast but is limited by the 32-bit EFI which meant the last Mac OS I can run is Lion. The hardware is super fast yet with the Xeon 8-core CPU at 3GHZ but has been left in the cold by Apple. I won’t buy another super performing Ma Pro hoping I can use it 6+ years down the road. Unfortunately, Apple thinks these fully capable Macs are not worth the continued development time.
My MacBook Pro 13.3″ with discrete Nvidia graphics 256MB is showing it’s age. A 8GB RAM boost and a 500GB hard drive upgrade really made this Mac last 5 years. My latest MMORPG game Shroud of the Avatar is going to be out in 6-8 months and it is really taxing the aged hardware on my MBP in the monthly alphas/betas. My MBP really took hold as my go to Mac for my MBA and MIS studies and gaming all from the living room. My life has shifted to a more living room centric existence so between my iPad Mini and my MacBook Pro this has been possible. I am tired of the smaller 13.3″ screen of my MBP. Using it on a TV tray while sitting in the living room has been beneficial as I can start and stop quickly with my interruptions of life.
Stay tuned for my next article as I progress to looking at what is available on both sides – Macintosh and Windows…
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Sometimes you have no choice but to run Windows just to play a game. I remember when Bootcamp first came out and helped me put my Windows XP 32-bit (this was before 64-bit Windows existed) disc and a few clicks later I had Windows as a separate partition just to play Ultima Online!
Fast forward and just try to use a Windows 7 or Windows 8 disc using the same process. You will get this:
Select CD-ROM Boot Type:
WTF? Pressing any key does nothing, nothing!
Microsoft changed something on the disc images you can now download from MSDN or from themselves. So you have to extract and re-create the ISO file and use that.
From Sergio McFly - http://sergiomcfly.blogspot.com/2008/04/select-cd-rom-boot-type-when-installing.html
0 – create 3 folders c:\server2008iso c:\server2008exe c:\server2008dvd
1 – download this .exe file and put into c:\server2008exe
2 – put .iso you downloaded from ms into c:\server2008iso and unzip it
3 – move .iso file out of c:\server2008iso
4 - open a dos prompt in c:\server2008exe and type:
oscdimg -n -m -bc:\server2008iso\boot\etfsboot.com c:\server2008iso c:\server2008dvd\server2008dvd.iso
With the new ISO you can burn the DVD disc using Disk Utility.
WAIT! When I am in the Windows installation screen it will not let me select my hard drive and gives me error 0X80300024 in the Advanced Disk screen.
The problem is you have more than 1 physical hard drive in the system. You will need to remove them before the Windows installation starts. Right after your Mac restarts from the BootCamp installation to boot from the Windows install DVD, turn your Mac off by holding down the power button and remove those extra hard drives leaving only the one you want to install Windows on.
For what is it worth, the Hyper-V guys have this same problem with the Windows install ISOs too!
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Yes, Microsoft is back at their usual anti-trust bull crap once again. I upgraded my Windows 8 to 8.1 for free and was presented with a “you must have a Microsoft account” controlling crap.
That is right! You have a choice during setup (after accepting the EULA) that you can use Express setup which forces you to use a Microsoft Account or to use the Customized Setup which again forces you to use a Microsoft Account. Neither approach will let you pass unless you use an existing Microsoft “we will spy on your 100%” account. I have one but I don’t think I need to have to use it just to install and use Windows crap OS.
One day I won’t have to run Windows for 1 game – Ultima Online. EA either improve UO and make a Mac OS client or just kill the servers.
Thankfully Richard Garriott is THE MAN and is coding the Ultima successor, Shroud of the Avatar, to work on Mac OS!
Take it from me. gaming on Windows is crap, always has been and always will be.
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Do you need to make your Pre-Alpha copy of Shroud of the Avatar like when you first installed it?
WarmCat figured it out over at the Shroud of the Avatar forum. WarmCat writes,
Since Mavericks, simply deleting the plist file was not enough, as all the plists are cached in memory.
The correct way to remove a plist contents is with the defaults terminal command, for example:
defaults delete “unity.Portalarium.Shroud of the Avatar”
This has successfully removed the settings, now when I run the game, it’s like new with default settings etc.
Well done sir!!
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WOW Samsung! Talk about a low blow just to make money. No shame for Samsung and it’s employees.
I have boycotted Samsung years ago and I urge you to do the same.
Read the email posted here from Apple Insider and read the Apple Insider article (Link below) to gain a new perspective on a global company called Samsung who will fight unfair just to take your money for their products.
Source: Apple Insider. Picture credits Apple Insider.
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Well, well, well, what do we have here? After fifteen months, I have finally returned with a new article on this site, skipping all of 2013 in the process.
If you’re wondering where I have been, I’ve been managing a business. After a great run in the classroom, in which my students saw astronomical growth in all areas, I shifted my focus to tutoring and currently run a tutoring, academic enrichment, and homeschool consulting business. In the future, I will be expanding into educational publications and hope to revolutionize learning as we know it in the process.
Of course, I was able to take time out of my schedule to celebrate the Mac’s 30th birthday. I made a tribute video, accessible at http://vimeo.com/85060449
I also figured this would be a great opportunity to get back into blogging about the Macintosh. Specifically, I am going to look at the “state of the Mac” (and, for that matter, computers in general) in 2014, thirty years after the Macintosh story began. I’ll be looking at different eras in the Mac’s history, specifically detailing where the peaks were.
Computer Lineup and Choice
It’s hard to tell what the best combination here was. The current product matrix is fairly easy to navigate. There are two laptop lines and three desktop models, all of which are geared toward different customers. Only a few minor variants exist within these five basic channels, such as a single MacBook Pro model without a retina display (it also retains legacy support for unadapted FireWire and optical discs) and Mac Mini models sold as servers. Each model comes in several trim lines, with processor speed and screen size among the variables, leading to an easy-yet-difficult matrix of products sold under the same name with entirely different feature sets.
Even simpler was the 1999 lineup, in which the biggest question for consumers had to do with the color of the machine they were purchasing. This was the no-gimmick 2×2 product grid Steve Jobs implemented when he returned to Apple, replacing a completely unorganized mess of Performas, Power Macs, Quadras, and Centrises.
Some can argue the early-and-mid 1991 lineup was the strongest, in which there were three tiers of desktop computers with two models each (Classic and LC at the low end, SE/30 and IIsi in the middle, IIci and IIfx at the top). Although the laptop selection was weak, it appears this 2×3 model for desktops may have given consumers the most choice; to this day, there are still a handful of people who want a new-age IIci or SE/30 to fill certain gaps the “Pro” models or higher-end “non-Pro” models can’t reach. Additionally, laptops were more of a niche product in 1991.
Although I do like where we’ve come here, I do feel there should be a lower-priced iMac and MacBook Air model to better appeal to schools and less wealthy consumers. There had indeed been an inexpensive iMac in the lineup from 2000-2003, but it ultimately was killed off when the CRT iMacs were discontinued. This was also present in the early 1990s, when the Classic could be ordered as a stripped-down model, selling at new lows for Mac pricing.
I’ve maintained my position in the past about the 1991 lineup being the best, and I truly believe Apple has regressed from this sensible matrix to fit all budget and computing needs. The current lineup should be 2×2 for desktops, with two entry-level desktop computers (low-end iMac and Mac Mini), two higher-end desktop computers (current iMac and Mac Pro). For laptops, there should be three distinct lines: a low-priced model (which may include a hard drive to save money), the current Air, and the current Pro.
It’s easy to extol the virtues of Mac OS X. The system is rock solid, doesn’t crash much, isn’t prone to viruses, and is fairly easy to use. Over thirteen years, it has continually improved and become more refined, going through ten major versions and gaining something innovative in most of them.
Finding fault in OS X is tough, but veterans of the platform will be quick to point out a few flaws. For one, the interface is starting to become tiresome. Everything in the system is gray, and frankly, the color is becoming a bit long in the tooth for many of us. In systems past, the title bars could at least be accented. Color choice for the system is also very limited, as is customization as a whole. There is no way to turn the menu bar text into the classic Chicago font, for example, nor can red be used in the interface. The label system works poorly, as it does not recolorize an icon to make it more distinct. While the Finder has become better at finding things, attempting to use single windows for most everything feels more like the old Windows Explorer rather than the Mac OS.
There’s also the question of graphical intensity. The original system fit comfortably into a 128K confine, leaving plenty of room for MacPaint or MacWrite. It also took up only a fraction of a 400K floppy diskette. Today’s system is huge and requires more power than a lab of 8MHz 68000 processors put together. Higher graphical demands account for some of this, and while the original system had a fair amount of eye candy for its day, it certainly wasn’t as bloated with bouncy icons, reflective docks, or transparent menu bars.
In turn, this has created a dependency on virtual memory, especially because applications have become every bit as memory-hungry. In the old days, virtual memory was frowned upon by some, and still is by those who wish to prolong the life of their mass storage devices. Sadly, there is no upfront way to disable virtual memory in OS X, and a Mac would need to be loaded with a huge amount of physical RAM just to perform basic tasks in the modern world.
The stability of OS X certainly makes up for many of its faults, but there are still features missing from OS X present in OS 9 and earlier versions. Options to disable and uninstall eye candy options need to exist, as do ways to customize the interface. Furthermore, allowing programs to once again be installed in the Apple menu would help to unclutter and simplify docks around the world.
One thing which absolutely cannot happen is a complete merge between iOS and OS X. Microsoft attempted this with Windows 8, an operating system liked by very few users. While it’s nice to see a notification center and similarly-named programs, the Launchpad zaps users of even more flexibility with their operating systems.
MacPaint and MacWrite were certainly revolutionary products when they were introduced in 1984. Apple also had plenty of smaller programs bundled with their computers known as desk accessories. Who could forget the maddening puzzle, the innovative scrapbook, or the easily accessible four function calculator?
HyperCard was the next bundled innovation. This little program introduced novices to programming and provided a framework for what would eventually become modern web design. Apple also began to produce software under the Claris label, from its integrated suite of programs (ClarisWorks) to its now-spun off database (FileMaker Pro, originally produced by a few other companies before Apple acquired it) to its oft-forgotten Microsoft challengers (Resolve, MacWrite Pro).
After rebranding ClarisWorks as AppleWorks (a name previously used for a popular Apple II productivity suite), Apple began offering it free with every computer. The advent of OS X coincided with the birth of TextEdit and a chess game as bundled applications. Desk accessories were ultimately reborn as included programs or, from Tiger onward, part of the dashboard. It’s a shame the more recent incarnations of the dashboard have placed a “rubber mat” on top of the screen, especially for those who need the calculator to work with a few numbers currently in another window.
Final Cut has long been a standard in the video world, so much that Apple actually responded to consumer outcry when the program was stripped of some features a few years ago. Throughout the 2000s, the iLife programs began to appear, beginning with iMovie and iTunes and gradually expanding to include iPhoto, iDVD, iWeb, and Garage Band. Geared toward novice and home users, these programs finally accomplished Apple’s goal of bringing accessible multimedia programs to the masses.
Next out of the chute was iWork, which initially consisted only of Pages and Keynote (Numbers came along later). While Keynote was immediately lauded, Pages has long been more an entry-level word processor when compared to Microsoft Word, its primary competitor. The same has historically been true for Numbers. Sadly, these programs lost some power features in their most recent updates. Still, they are inexpensive when compared to the competition and do what most consumer users require.
Apple needs to start producing more powerful programs. The Final Cut outrage was proof of that, as was the promise Apple had to make about reintroducing lost iWork features. For now, the market is ripe for Microsoft Office, one of the most overpriced suites in history, and its open source and online competitors.
The general consensus among gamers has long been bad news for the Macintosh. In general, it has been viewed as a platform for which few games have been produced, and if games are made, they are often released after their Windows counterparts.
The same has also been true for users of mainstream applications, even though successful programs such as Microsoft Excel, Aldus PageMaker, and Adobe Photoshop got their start on the Mac. Although Windows versions are usually released first, the Mac has received ports of the most popular programs.
The best age of gaming on the Macintosh was that of the late 1980s. Apple had introduced Through the Looking Glass when the Mac came out, showing developers what the little machine was capable of. Many titles were in black and white, as color monitors didn’t really catch on in the home Macintosh market until the LC was introduced in late 1990. Huge hits such as SimCity, Shufflepuck Cafe, The Fool’s Errand, Prince of Persia, and Dark Castle led to countless hours of lost productivity in that generation of owners. A commonplace Plus, SE, or Classic was be a suitable alternative for a Nintendo or Sega, especially since many shareware and freeware games were available at no cost or a nominal fee. StuntCopter and Cairo Shoot Out immediately come to mind, with the former now available as an iPhone app, complete with original sounds and graphics!
As Windows gained a commanding lead in the 1990s, Macs received fewer games. Some hits did begin their life on the Mac, such as Myst, but one of the more compelling reasons for younger people to buy a Wintel box at the turn of the century was the lack of games for a Macintosh.
Today, there are plenty of programs available for the Mac, but many of them fall subject to Sturgeon’s Law. 90% of what is on the App Store is inferior to what had been available, especially in one category.
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