Saturday, November 11, 2006

The Diamond Project

The Diamond Project. You say, huh *LOL?* I can’t recall if I’ve mentioned it here before or not, but I’m a computer utility (application) program junkie :). I was on the PC / Windows side of the fence and it has logically carried over to the Apple Mac / OS X side. I think my largest single weakness is Text Editors, meaning whenever a new one comes out, or a favorite is updated, I simply have to check it out :)!

Since my platform of choice is currently Apple / Mac and OS X. The programs I’ll be discussing today are for that platform. You may ask why I don’t just pick one and let that be that? Well, for the men, why do you have more than one screwdriver in your tool box? For women, why do you have more than one frying pan in the kitchen? Depending on just what it is you’re doing on the computer, the same tool may or may not be the best one for the job. If it weren’t for the variety of likes, tastes and what not, multiple programs that essentially do the same thing wouldn’t exist - at least in my mind?

So it is with text editor programs. Some of the ones I like for various reasons are:

Smultron by Peter Borg (Free)
SubEthaEdit by The Coding Monkeys (used to be free for non-commercial use - now $35 after a 30 day trial)
TextWrangler by Bare Bones Software (Free)
The Diamond Project by Geoffrey Alexander (currently pre-version 1 beta)
WriteRoom by Hog Bay Software (version 1.0 Free; version 2.0 not yet priced)

Since most are “Free,” and the selection of which works best for you is a personal one, all that’s required of you is the time it takes to download the programs and give them a try :).

One of the reasons I like the “Diamond Editor” (The Diamond Project) is, I was made aware of the existence of the project in the very early stages of development. So, I felt like I had a rare opportunity to make a good writing environment (or text editor) even better by providing feedback to the Author, Designer, and Programmer as to what worked and what didn’t. Pre-version 1.0 is an ideal time to get involved, but getting involved anytime is always a good way to show support for your favorite application program, and provide feedback to the programmer’s so they can continually update and make a good program even better, or Great even :)! By the way, this entry was composed using the Diamond Editor.

~ The significance of man is that he is insignificant and is aware of it. - Carl Becker ~

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Why I switched

Txun asked in the Mac360 forum, "What made you switch?" Meaning from PC and Windows to Apple (Mac) and OS X. I replied there, and thought I would share that response here.

My original intention wasn’t to switch. Having spent years in computer manufacturing (mini-computers) and hardware technical support (including PC’s). In my leisure time I enjoyed experimenting, or playing, with different platforms, application programs (software) and utilities. Over the years I’ve spent time with the likes of BeOS, DOS (PC/DR/MS), OS/2, Windows and various iterations of UNIX / Linux. During those years, I was never all that impressed with laptop computers, but in 2005, I had an occasion to actually use one for a time, and decided due to the mobility (wireless Internet connectivity) they provided, I might benefit by actually having one? The wife finally gave the approval for me to get one. Well, my desktop at the time, and I still have it, was a 2.4 GHz Windows XP Pro tower, so I thought I’d like to have a different platform for my laptop. I started thinking possibly Linux - then I thought I’d give Apple a look see, with no expectations what so ever. When I discovered OS X was based on UNIX, that did it! Then it was just a matter of choosing which “notebook” to get. I finally settled on the 14-inch iBook G4. I took to it immediately, but thought the novelty would wear off after a while - it didn’t. I was so impressed with how much easier it was to get things done on the iBook, and how it never failed to ‘simply work.’ I discovered after a short time that I was no longer using my Windows desktop PC at all, but spending all my computing time on my iBook! After about 6 months of this, I started asking the wife for a Mac desktop to replace my PC. She said, you haven’t had the laptop (notebook) a year yet? Well, on September 4th this year (2006), I’d had my iBook a year - on September 6th, the day Apple announced the new Intel iMac line - I ordered my 24-inch Intel Core 2 Duo!

So, in my case, the “switch” wasn’t really planned, it just happened. What became of my Windows PC? The grandkids use it to play Internet games when they visit. My conversion is now complete, but I will continue to resist bashing Microsoft, PC’s and Windows as they were good to me for years, even providing my livelihood for a number of those years. Today though, my allegiance is to Apple, Mac and OS X!

That was my reply, though slightly edited for use here :). I've had "Maggie" a month now, and am still as thrilled as the day I brought her home. I finally backed her up for the first time this weekend and am in the process of importing some of my music CD's into my iTunes library. I have no idea why I hadn't done either of these things sooner? Speaking of which, I should post this entry and get motivated with the weekend "to-do" list.

~ My greatest challenge has been to change the mindset of people. Mindsets play strange tricks on us. We see things the way our minds have instructed our eyes to see. --Muhammad Yunus ~

Saturday, September 23, 2006

"Maggie" is here!

My new 24-inch Intel Core 2 Duo iMac arrived on Friday, September 15th. I missed the Federal Express delivery van by 8 minutes! So, after work that evening, I went to FedEx to retrieve "Maggie," which is the name I settled on for my newest Mac and member of the Family :). "She" is Beautiful, fast and super quiet. Much larger in person than I had imagined or expected :)! I feel bad for Genie, my iBook G4 notebook, as since the arrival of Maggie, I've pretty much neglected her :(.

I've been spending an obscene amount of time with Maggie, installing applications, setting preferences and configurations for this, that and the other thing :). So far, she has met and, in most cases, exceeded my expectations! I've been reading a number of computer related message boards, or forums, where a few people have experienced negative issues with their new Macs. Thankfully, I haven't had any negative issues and have my fingers crossed this remains the case :). Here are a few of the computer (mostly Apple / Mac) related forums (or message boards) I frequent:

Jam Computers

Jam Computers is a bit different, as it is intended for "all" computer users; Linux, Mac and Windows.

I shall return to share my experiences with "Maggie," my second Mac and first Intel based iMac, as time moves forward and I gain experiences to share :).

~ Saving one animal won't change the world, but the world will change for that one animal. ~

Saturday, September 09, 2006

My "Big Mac" (24-inch iMac)

I know it's been a while since I last posted, it's due to a frustrating lack of time and energy. I have something exciting to share though. Apple introduced an upgrade of their entire line of iMac computers this past Wednesday, September 6, 2006. So I ordered mine the same day! "Big Mac," which is what I've tentatively decided to name her, has an expected delivery date by September 22nd with the following configuration:

* 2.16GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
* 2GB 667 DDR2 SDRAM - 2x1GB (upgraded from 1GB)
* 250GB Serial ATA Drive
* NVIDIA GeForce 7600 GT 256MB SDRAM (upgraded from 128MB)
* SuperDrive 8X (DVD+R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
* iWork '06 preinstalled (upgrade)
* Apple Keyboard & Mighty Mouse + Mac OS X (US English)
* AppleCare Protection Plan for iMac - Auto-enroll (upgrade)
* 24-inch widescreen LCD
* AirPort Extreme
* Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR

Isn't she sweet?!? She was way more costly than I had hoped, but I'm thinking I will be thrilled with "her" for some time to come - and financially speaking, this is not an option :)! A couple of reasons I went with the 24-inch, as opposed to the lesser expensive models, is the NVIDIA GeForce 7600 GT video controller is "only" offered on the 24-inch, she also comes with a Firewire 400 and 800 port as well as 24 watt digitally amplified speakers! There's also a lot to be said for bragging rights on getting the biggest and best :)!

I will definitely be back to share my experiences with "Big Mac," when she arrives of course. If you'd like to read up on the new iMac line, you can do so here: Apple iMac

"For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others." Nelson Mandela

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Opera, SeaMonkey and ShapeShifter

I had the opportunity to “try” a couple, OK 3, programs this weekend. Each had “interesting” features and options but none made the “keeper” grade for “my” system, but your mileage may vary :). In no particular order they were:

Opera - Internet browser and more
Opera 9.01

SeaMonkey Internet browser and more

Shapeshifter - Use Themes to beautify your Mac
read about it

I believe both Opera and Mozilla’s SeaMonkey Internet Suites have versions for Windows, and possibly Linux, as well :).

~ Saving one animal won't change the world, but the world will change for that one animal. ~

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Smultron Icons

Another of my favorite text editors, Smultron, inherited some new icons (with version 2?) recently - though I still use and like Smultron, very much, I must admit I wasn’t all that pleased with the icon change. Well, out of the blue, Forrest Walter comes to the rescue :)! He’s provided a way to revert back to Smultron’s icons of the past, which I thank him for, and as an extra benefit, it’s “Free” :)! If you use and like Smultron but, like me, would prefer a bit more low key type icon set, here you go:

Smultron Icons

Forrest included the installation instructions on his site as well as a few screen shots to see what you’re getting. I’ve included the instructions here for convenience:

To install:

* Quit Smultron, if it's running
* Right-click on your Smultron 2.0.1 (or higher) icon
* Choose "Show Package Contents"
* Open the "Contents" folder
* Open the "Resources" folder
* Drag the files from the disk image into the "Resources" folder...
* check "Apply to all" and click "Replace"
* If you don't like them, the originals are in the "Originals" folder

Note to self - Shoot a “Thank You” email off to Forrest :)!

~ Permanently chaining animals (dogs) is cruel and unusual punishment. ~

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Full Screen (text) Writing Environment

I had mentioned a couple of alternatives for those that might like to try WriteRoom©, but are running the MS Windows Operating System. I had the opportunity to try “JDarkRoom”, and “Dark Room” on my Windows XP Pro desktop PC recently. Sadly, for whatever reason, I wasn’t able to get JDarkRoom to work, there appeared to be a lot of source files in the download but the actual Jdarkroom.jar file itself appeared to be missing? I was able to get “Dark Room” to function, after downloading and installing MS .Net framework of course. It had the look and feel of WriteRoom in general, but I honestly didn’t feel as comfortable with it as I do with WriteRoom, but then I really didn’t spend a lot of time with it. Still, if you’re using Windows, and in my opinion, Dark Room is your best bet for a full screen, distraction free, writing environment.

~ Saving one animal won't change the world, but the world will change for that one animal. ~