TechRN – Reviews & News

Mac, Linux, and the rest.

Windows Vista vs Mac 0SX vs Ubuntu 8.10

It seems like there are millions of Windows Vs Mac pages debating the topic, and now I have decided to write my own which I hope you will find helpful, though I have decided to add in Ubuntu’s latest release 8.10 to make things interesting.


Firstly, lets start with ever controversial Windows Vista. When I first saw Vista, I must admit, I thought wow, this is much neater. Sadly, that was only the interface, and not much else. One thing that Windows can rely on, is its business tools and the world-wide support, as other than that I cannot understand why so many people like it. Sure, gaming is better supported, but asides from that market, the high demand for Windows can surely not last, unless Windows 7 is a great improvement. The entering of my assurance many a time that installing software will not harm my computer, followed by the delay in the time from plugging in of a USB flash drive to availability of use, are two of my greatest dislikes of the operating system.However, my feeling is, overall that Windows should be used for only two things, gaming, and business…everything else, can be left to Mac/Linux.

____

Linux is a complicated chapter of modern day computers, with most people not knowing much about it, and some linking it with a Penguin. To help bring some clarity to the Linux world, Ubuntu has come along with its latest release, 8.10.

Now my history with Linux is not an amazing one, it is merely a few weeks old, though during that time I cannot say that it has been all that easy for a first timer wanting to fully install it on a machine. Now talking from scratch knowledge of any Linux software, I downloaded the Ubuntu 8.10-i386.iso from the Ubuntu site. This was all good and well, and once the download of 699MB finished, I burnt it to disk assuming that was the case. Be warned, you need software to burn a disk image to a disk, not just the disk image as a file. Once I corrected my ways, this now worked. I inserted the disk, and just as should happen, the screen displayed the option to install Ubuntu, or try it from disk.

Fair enough I thought. I clicked install and it begun doing its thing. Now baring in mind that most people do not wish to fully install Linux on all of their hardrive, the developers kindly give you the option of using a partition, or fully installing. I begun to think I’ll install Ubuntu on one of the hardrives, I had two in the machine and selected the smaller one. I was then told that this can’t be done for a reason I could make no sense of. Not too reluctantly however, I decided to let Ubuntu own my whole PC.

This installation was done rather effectively and I was beginning to get mightely pleased. Though now, of course, like most people, the first thing you need it an internet connection to be made. After looking a bit, I found a networking configuration option, selected DSL and put in my settings, and nothing happened. This is a huge frustration, especially compared to the ease at which Mac seems to almost figure out the connection for you.

Though admitingly, besides my few, lets say beginner mishaps, I am impressed. Ubuntu, with a few more user friendly improvements, could easily challenge Windows and Apple, and with its free pricetag, I am sure in the not to distant future it will begin to more and more.

____

Apple of late has only improved its position as a world force in the OS market, as this artical shows. Aggressive advertising campaigns seemed to have worked, as well as moving into new markets that seem only empressed at the new option. Apple has managed to find the balance of fun and productivity and put in a package that is easy to use.

Many of the complaints about the OS is firstly its price (though if one is to compare what you get, you’ll often find it is quite a fair offer), and secondly its compatibility (which is more of a false rumour than fact). I have been a Mac ‘fanboy’ for nearly a year, and am not regretting switching to it at all, as everything I need Windows for, can simply be done by installing Windows on my Apple using the wonderful tool that is BootCamp. Some more praise can head its way in the fact that everything works out the box, it comes with trail software, it is easy to learn about the OS, and the support is incredible.

To simplify matters:

Windows Vista Ubuntu 8.10 Mac OSX
Interface Large improvement on XP. 4 Gnome is attractive. Misses sleekness. 3 Amazing 5
Ease of use Many options. Too technical. 2 Command console is not average user friendly. 1 Simple and logical layout. 5
Gaming 99% supported. 5 Very few “good” games available for purchase. 1 Some games, but not a very wide choice. 2
Upgrading Many options of OS. 4 Easy online upgrade. 5 One package per upgrade. 5
Hardware Support Everything good, except USB’s take long to load. 5 Some drivers need downloading and installing. 2 Quick plug-and-play. Few downloads for plugins needed. 5
Software Support Almost everything is made for Windows. 5 Mostly open-source software like Mozilla, OO.org etc. 1 Main ones supported. 4
Business Great choice. 5 Many open-source alternatives. 4 Great choice. 5
Overall 30 16 31

Filed under: Industry News, Linux, Mac Related, , ,

The Biggest Problems With MacBooks

I am the proud owner of a MacBook White – 2.2Ghz Core 2 Duo, 2GB RAM, 120HDD

Although this laptop to me is next to perfect, there are a few things that could be improved:

  1. The start-up tone – I can’t tell you how many times I try to disguise the ear penetrating dong when I start my mac up in class. There are how ever two ways to resolve this, firstly you can hold down the mute key when you boot your mac, or you can download an external application that will let you control volume etc.
  2. Sharp edges – I personally don’t mind this, though some people with big hands or those who type in a particular way may find the sharp corners of the mac a discomfort.
  3. The back-space key is very close to the eject key – this mean you can often end up ejecting a disk while trying to remove a word.
  4. No delete – there is no delete key on the keyboard which means you have to use the shortcut of ‘FN’ + ‘Backspace’.
  5. The CD ROM makes a noise – possibly the loudest part of the MacBook is the ejection of a disk.
  6. Shut Down is a patient task – unlike most laptops you cannot close your laptop while it is shutting down as it will go to sleep instead.
  7. Screen brightness – personally find the screen to be a bit too dark at times.
  8. Speakers – they aren’t good quality.

Filed under: Mac Related, , ,

Ubuntu to Take on Mac

Written by Alastair Otter of MyBroadband:

Canonical, the corporate backer of Ubuntu Linux, is hiring a team of designers and developers to make desktop open source software easier and more appealing to use.

Canonical head and Ubuntu founder, Mark Shuttleworth, said in a blog post last week that the company plans to hire a team of designers and user interface experts to contribute to not only Ubuntu’s usability but also to other upstream open source applications.

Shuttleworth says that he plans to hire designers and interface experts that will “work on X, OpenGL, Gtk, Qt, GNOME and KDE, with a view to doing some of the heavy lifting required to turn those desktop experience ideas into reality”.

It was in July that Shuttleworth first raised the challenge of improving the appearance and usability of Linux. At OScon in Oregon, he said that Linux developers needed to improve the interface so that it could “blow right past Apple”.

And earlier this week, announcing Jaunty Jackalope, Shuttleworth said that Ubuntu 9.04 should be comparable to those of the traditional big OSV’s – Microsoft and Apple.

Filed under: Mac Related, , ,

Blog Moved/Joined

TechRN has been joined to another blog at grant49.wordpress.com

Filed under: Uncategorized

How to fix a broken dock

I tried everything to fix my dock which had missing Finder and Trash icons, no separator and no right-click function. I tried deleting the com.apple.dock.plist files, the killall Dock, the Candybar download…and still nothing worked. Well if this is your case, hopefully your worries will be over:

  1. Go to another mac and locate the following: Macintosh HD > System > Library > Core Services > Right click dock > Show Package Contents > Contents.
  2. Copy all the files and folders in the contents folder.
  3. Do step 1 again on you mac, and paste the contents contents over your files.
  4. Should be no need, but if no change, open Terminal and type killall Dock
  5. If problem still persists, find the following on another mac and replace it on yours : Macintosh HD > Library > Preferences > com.apple.dock.plist.
  6. Then type killall Dock in your terminal again.

If the problem still persists 1. Look for other solutions online or, 2. Wait for Snow Leopard :P

Hope that helps :)

Filed under: Mac Related,

Twitter for the classroom.

Very interesting idea that a history prof in a Texas uni has begun doing. Using Twitter as a means of further debate on topics in class between students.

I feel this type of thing could work universities. Skynews say it’s a dump idea, I feel for after class discussion it would be brilliant – and if you’ve come to class to tweet on other things, then you’re wasting your own time.

Video from Skynews.

Filed under: For Fun,

XBox: Use body for game control

2009-06-02 13:40

A demonstration is given of Project Natal at Microsoft’s XBox 360 media briefing in Los Angeles. (AFP)

Los Angeles – Microsoft revealed on Monday that it has been secretly developing technology that lets people play videogames using natural body movements instead of handheld controllers.

The US software giant behind Xbox 360 videogame consoles revealed a prototype of a project codenamed Natal, a system that combines cameras and voice and face recognition software to recognise people and their actions.

“The gamer in me went out of my mind when I got to be interactive with this,” famed film director Steven Spielberg during a Microsoft press conference on the eve of a major E3 videogame industry show in Los Angeles.

“I got a feeling I was in a historic moment. What Microsoft is doing isn’t re-inventing the wheel; this is about no wheel at all.”

Natal lets people play driving games by simply moving hands as if turning a car steering wheel. In-game characters in boxing, skateboard, soccer and other sports titles mimic the body movements of real-world players.

The system scans faces and voices to determine who is playing, a demonstration showed.

Xbox 360 consoles equipped with Natal will be able to respond to spoken commands for actions such as playing movies or connecting online with friends for video chats.

Landmark in computer entertainment

An expected completion date for Natal was not disclosed, but Microsoft on Monday released a software kit for videogame makers interested in designing titles to take advantage of Natal’s capabilities.

“What developers do with Natal will change the way we play videogames,” said British videogame icon Peter Molyneux, chief of Lionhead Studios.

“This is a landmark in computer entertainment. This is true technology that science fiction has not even written about and this works today.”

Natal will work on all Xbox 360 consoles, according to Don Mattrick, the head of Microsoft’s Xbox and games business.

“I could suddenly envision a new way to personalise game play…and even change the paradigm of storytelling,” said Spielberg, who got to dabble with Natal in the weeks leading up to the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). – AFP

- SAPA

Article taken from:

http://www.news24.com/Content/SciTech/News/1132/19e7f360a898418b8b9477587829b9ee/02-06-2009%2001-06/XBox_Use_body_for_game_control

Filed under: For Fun, Industry News

Free Applications List

Office Suite

http://www.openoffice.org/ (recommended)

http://www.abisource.com/

http://pack.google.com/

PDF

http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html

http://www.foxitsoftware.com/pdf/rd_intro.php

Anti-Virus

http://www.free-av.com/

http://www.pctools.com/free-antivirus/

http://www.clamwin.com/

http://antivirus.comodo.com/

http://www.bitdefender.com/PRODUCT-1…e-Edition.html

http://www.activevirusshield.com/ant…eav/index.adp?

http://www.avast.com/eng/avast_4_home.html

http://free.grisoft.com/

Defrag

http://www.kessels.com/JkDefrag/

http://www.majorgeeks.com/Power_Defr…GUI_d4647.html

http://freewaregeeks.com/UltimateDefrag_Free.html

Partition Managers

http://www.partition-tool.com/

http://www.ptdd.com/manual2.htm

http://findandmount.com/

http://www.cutepm.com/

CD Ripping

http://cdexos.sourceforge.net/

http://www.download.com/Free-CD-Ripp…-10212165.html

http://www.exactaudiocopy.de/

Audio Books

http://www.audiobooksforfree.com/home

http://librivox.org/

http://www.audiobooktreasury.com/free-audio-books.htm

Media

http://www.videolan.org/

Browsers

http://www.google.com/chrome

http://www.firefox.com

Operating Systems

http://www.ubuntu.com

Filed under: For Fun, Industry News, , ,

iPhone 3 Info Leaks Out

According to Chinese site WeiPhon, the new iPhone, which is expected to launch in June 2009, will have the following specifications:

New

600 MHz processor compared to 400MHz

256 MB of RAM compared to 126 MB

3.2 MPx camera compared to 2MPx

32 GB | 16 GB compared to 16 GB | 16 GB

7.2mbps compared to 3.6mbpsApple’s Worldwide Developers Conference is happening in early June, which is when many people expect the phone to be revealed.

Filed under: Mac Related,

Twitter Takes Off

So, we haven’t sent average joe’s into space just yet, but we have given them the opportunity to get closer to the action via Twitter. The hype has come about thank to Mike Massimino, who is part of the STS-125 space mission. This is his (Massimino’s) second space flight, and thought it was time to bring Twitter along. There are currently 227,949 users following him on his space mission.

Another astronaut, Mark Polansky is currently giving updates on Twitter about his training for the scheduled June launch, and has said to his over 6000 Twitter followers that they can post questions via YouTube and he will respond to them from Orbit. Polansky’s Twitter account is Astro_127.

What an amazing world we live in.

Filed under: For Fun, ,

Walfram Alpha, what is it about?

The search engine is based on a different type of coding from that of Google, and has taken the approach of not answering queries, but rather gathers data and visuals from a variety of data and displays it in an attractive ‘all-in-one’ type of page. This could well prove useful as according to CNET reporter Stephen Shankland it could “…unlock a lot of data that students, research assistants, lawyers, marketing managers, financial analysts, and scientists might not have readily available.”

It is indeed an interesting idea, though how much of an influence it will have is yet to be seen.

For more information:

Filed under: Google Related, Industry News, , ,

Top 10 Games of 2009 So Far

Now for something different, gaming…an article I found interesting from mygaming.co.za.

Top 10 games of 2009 so far

1. Street Fighter IV (Xbox 360 & PS3) 93%

2. Killzone 2 (PS3) 91%

3. Empire: Total War (PC) 90%

Plants Vs Zombies (PC) 90%

MLB: The Show (PS3) 90%

4. Peggle (Xbox 360) 89%

5. Braid (PC) 88%

6. Flower (PS3) 87%

7. Guitar Hero: Metallica (Xbox 360 & PS3) 86%

8. Resident Evil 5 (Xbox 360 & PS3) 85%

Dawn of War II (PC) 85%

9. Skate 2 (Xbox 360 & PS3) 84%

10. Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena (PC & Xbox & PS3) 82%
Halo Wars (Xbox 360) 82%

Filed under: For Fun, Industry News, ,

Ubuntu 9.04 – Jaunty – Availabe

For those wanting the latest version of the leading Linux OS, Ubuntu, they can follow this link to download a suitable version:

http://za.releases.ubuntu.com/jaunty/

Filed under: Industry News, Linux, , , , ,

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