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Another Reason I enjoy working on a MAC

I have started using the application Things for Task Management. It has been AWESOME at helping me stay on top of projects at work and the tasks associated with them as well as managing those ad-hoc requests that we all get through out the day.

I am not only using Things for work but also at home. In other words I am using Things for pretty much everything!

One of the challenges I have is that I want to synch both my iPhone and iPod touch with Things. As far as I can tell Things only lets you synch one device.

I use a MacPro at work and a MacBook at home, both with Things installed. At home I synch with my iPod Touch, at work I synch my iPhone. But I want them both to have the same information so I needed a way to synch Things on my MacPro and MacBook.

The MAC has an AWESOME application called Automator. Automator allows you to create workflows to Automate tasks. Using Automator I created a workflow that creates an archive of my Things folder on my MacPro at work and then saves the Archive to my iDisk. Using iCal I scheduled the automator application to run daily at the end of the business day. At home I pretty much created the same script that Archives the Things folder on my MacBook and sends that to my iDisk at the start of the day. This, I think, will help keep my Things library synchronized between my two machines. If this works as well as I think it will then I am going to create another automator application to copy Things from my iDisk to each machine on a schedule this way I don’t have to do that manually.

Not to mention, this also creates a backup of Things. An added bonus!

After setting this up I began thinking of what it would of took to do this on a PC. Yes it is possible and not difficult to do. However these Automator scripts I created on the MAC took less then a minute to put together. On a PC I don’t think the same could be said. That’s why this is just another reason why I enjoy working on a MAC.

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Backstage at the Grammy Awards, Macs Run the Show

Backstage at the Grammy Awards, Macs Run the Show: “

From Macworld
To present the annual music industry honors to the attendees at Los Angeles’ Staples Center and to home viewers on CBS, show organizers use more than 450 microphones, 155 tons of lighting, 13,000 amps of power, 19 video screens, 94 speaker cabinets—and an endless amount of Macs.

You may have assumed that Macs played a large role in putting on what has become the largest audio production on television. But until you sit in on a rehearsal for the telecast, as audio engineers are hard at work mixing the 35 songs that will be performed during Sunday’s ceremony, and see how extensively Macs are involved in the process, it’s hard to fathom just how central the Mac has become to the Grammys.

During Thursday’s rehearsal, it was easy to lose count of the number of Macs in the production truck. But there are 14 Macs on board, according to Joel Singer, audio engineer in charge for XM Production/Effanel. That includes MacBook Pros, Mac Pros, G5s, and a G4 capturing video from the stage.

‘Windows frightens me to death,’ said Singer. ‘I know it, and I know it well—that’s why we chose the Mac instead of Vista or XP.’

Click here to read more ‘Backstage at the Grammy Awards, Macs Run the Show’

(Via Your Mac Life – The Internet’s #1 Mac Broadcast!.)

How to squeeze the best out of FREE NetNewsWire

Since I just started using NetNewsWire, quite a few others probably have as well, figured I would pass this along.

How to squeeze the best out of FREE NetNewsWire: “

NetNewsWire

A day before Newsgator made their RSS Suite totally FREE, Amit did a review of Newsgator’s FeedDemon (Windows RSS Feed Reader), which got me thinking about NetNewsWire. Let me give you a brief about my RSS Feed Reader usage before suggesting ‘How to squeeze the best out of FREE NetNewsWire’.

I have been using RSS Feed Readers in a way or the other ever since the hay days of the blogging revolution in the early 2000s. While on Windows, I graduated to a full fledged RSS Reader with Nick Bradbury’s FeedDemon ever since its very early days. Bradbury Software, Nick’s company that made FeedDemon was acquired by NewsGator Technologies in May 2005 (I think Nick works with Newsgator at present). My FeedDemon license was alive in all those acquisitions, upgrades and I was a happy user of FeedDemon all along.

The Apple Mac and NetNewsWire

During summer, 2006 I got converted and amongst all other important Mac softwares – RSS Feed Reader was also one of my primary App. I did an install-test study of many RSS Feed Readers before taking the final decision. NetNewsWire was my ultimate choice after testing it for almost 3 weeks. It was however not free then but was worth every penny. (Note: I installed and used most the RSS Readers for almost a month to study them.)

With the short story above, I’m pretty sure you must have a vague idea that I’m like one of you – a regular Internet guy – who reads lots of RSS Feeds every day. Thus, I’m pretty confident that I can tell you ‘How to squeeze the best out of FREE NetNewsWire.

Tweak, Tweak, Tweak

Tweaking of apps to give you the best result, best output and best usage is a gradual process. Never stop tweaking, never stop experimenting with permutations and combinations of various options and preferences. Here, let me summarize various settings which have worked good for me so far. I urge you to try them, enhance them and change them to suit you best. So, let’s start tweaking – Open up the Preferences.

Internet is still best with small things

However fast your internet connection bandwidth may be, on the Internet it is alway a good idea to have things in their small version (if available) – smaller image size, smaller css files, smaller and quicker downloads. The same applies to anything that interact with the Internet constantly – NetNewsWire is not an exception. Change the Preferences in NetNewsWire to let it do things quicker, with lesser resource and to give you the quickest response possible.

Preferences > General > Reading

NetNewsWire - Preferences - General - Reading

  • You do not need to read changes to an article, unless you were following the topic and if you were following it then you would have flag it or clipped it. However, highlighting it is good just in case you have free time to laze around and happen to read old feeds again.
  • Show only 10 Items per page for the fast view while in Combined View mode.
  • You don’t really need to check for software updates. You’ll definitely come to know of updates if there is one sooner than later and you don’t need to be the first top users at all. Not just for NetNewsWire, I apply this rule to all Apps. See, squeeze out every ounce of delay from an App.

Preferences > General > Archiving

NetNewsWire - Preferences - General - Archiving

  • Honestly, I never needed to archive feeds. What is Google for? Search there and if you don’t remember the keywords – it definitely is not that important. Nonetheless, you might just do a monthly HTML archive for keep-sake if you are really inclined to.
  • 7 days is enough to keep feeds in NetNewsWire. I suggest changing this to about 30 days for those who are average to moderate users.

Preferences > Browsing >Behavior

NetNewsWire - Preferences - General - Archiving

  • It is quicker to stay at a single location to do multiple actions. So, browsing inside NetNewsWire is a faster way (Open Links in > NetNewsWire) and of course, you can jump out if an article needs more attention or you’ll spend more time analyzing it.
  • Oh! yes, do ‘Open Links in Background’ and avoid the wasteful time due to distraction from opened tabs.
  • Finally, you’d want to return to the news item when the tab is closed.

The News Items and Web Pages are best left as it is, nothing much going on there.

You can skip the other 3 setting preferences too – Colors, Fonts, Posting. They’ve nothing to do with speed or optimization. However, you might like to see which font suits you best and which size is best for your layout (screen size ).

Preferences > Downloading > Feeds

NetNewsWire - Preferences - Downloading - Feeds

Yes, the ‘minimum 30 minutes feed refresh’ limitation of NetNewsWire can be a disappointment for some people. However, with my experience I can guarantee that anything frequent than that will drastically reduce your work-productivity. A strong suggestion would be to increase the feed refresh time if you wish to get more work done and less distraction with an ‘info-overload’.

  • An hourly refreshment of your subscription should do ‘more than enough justice’ to be on top of the news happening around your topic. Personally, I’ve increased it from my frenzy 30 minutes updates to a nominal ‘2 hours’ update frequency.
  • Reduce the concurrent downloads to just about ‘5′. Of course, I’m on a 2.33 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Macbook Pro with just 2GB of RAM. Higher end Macs can increase that to about ‘10′.

Well, you don’t really need to download enclosures. But again if you’re an avid podcast listener (I’m not one), you can let it automatically add podcasts to iTunes.

Preferences > Downloading > Feeds

NetNewsWire - Preferences - Downloading - Feeds

  • You DO NOT need to sync (most of the times) if you use a single computer or a laptop. If you want to sync between your office and home, think again – Do you really want to disturb your family life. Sync only if you really need to.

Tips & Tricks

NetNewsWire UI

I don’t really like ‘Sort by Last Update’ more because I like things the way I set them. So, if ‘Sort by Last Update’, the way last feeds are on top, so be it and stick to it. In order to set few priority feeds (Sorted by Name), I setup folder names starting with Numbers (in my case)

  1. Smart Folders
  2. Hot Feeds
  3. My Feeds
  4. Statistics
  5. Tags

etc.

This way, the feeds that I frequent most will always be on the top and I can read just that when I don’t want to scroll down. The Smart Lists allows me to look for my favorite keywords and other criteria-based results from my feeds even if I don’t really go and read all individual feeds. Clippings and Flags allow me to bookmark feeds which I can get back later.

The ‘Post to Del.icio.us’ is another awesome tool to make the best of NetNewsWire. However, take not that if you post directly from the feeds, the feed url will be bookmarked (for instance the feedburner url). So, let the feed open up in a new tab and post it from the tab to bookmarked the actual Web URL.

Did I forgot to tell you to take advantage of the Wide-Screen Layout option if you are on a Wide-Screen computer. It has the best viewing experience.

Keyboard Shortcuts Download

NetNewsWire Keyboard Shortcuts

I’ve done a printable Keyboard Shortcuts for NetNewsWire to help you further enhance your RSS Reading habits. Download, Print and Pin it up for about a week or so and you’ll get used to the keys.

  • Printable PDF
  • iWork’s Numbers
  • MS Office Excel (this is the exported version from Numbers)

What about Google Reader users? Google Reader is awesome!

I did flirted with Google Reader and at its current version, I won’t hesitate to say that it is one hell of an awesome Web Application. I’ll be coming up with an article on my experience with Google Reader. I’ll also do a comparison matrix of NetNewsWire and Google Reader that will help you choose which one to use.

elsewhere

Note: I had over 1,000+ feeds but was able to reduce it to 765 at the time of writing this article.

digg_url = ‘http://digg.com/apple/How_to_squeeze_the_best_out_of_FREE_NetNewsWire_Ode_to_Apple’;

(Via Ode to Apple.)

Parallels or Boot Camp

I am debating if I want to use Parallels or Boot Camp to run Windows XP on my Mac. The reason I am looking to run Windows is that I do the majority if not all of my programming using Visual Studio and at times I would like to be able to write code using my laptop.

I downloaded the 15 day trial of Parallels yesterday and have XP running already, it was pretty easy, of course I didn’t think about doing this until yesterday and I don’t have my Visual Studio install media with me.

The install went pretty smooth. The reason I am leaning towards Parallels is that I don’t like the idea of having to pick what OS I want to boot into. I rather just boot up in Mac OS and the open up the XP virtual machine when I need it. I use my MacBook for all of my personal email, posting to this blog, surfing the web, taken notes on projects I am working on..etc..you get the point.

I am not in the office tomorrow as I am attending another show at the Javits center and may not be in the office Tuesday either, depends how well the show is on Monday. So it’s looking like I have to wait until Wednesday to install Visual Studio.

Anyone running Visual Studio on Mac using Parallels?

Garmin Blog: Chet’s Corner: It’s Finally About Time for Macworld!

This could be interesting. We use a Windows based software, Delorme, when we are towing the trailer. It has a USB receiver that hooks up to the laptop and we stick the receiver in the window. So far it has worked really good for us.

Though I wish I could use my MacBook with it, without having to install Windows.

Garmin Blog: Chet’s Corner: It’s Finally About Time for Macworld!: ”

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Do You Read Any Good MAC Magazines???

I recently posted this on a message board, ok like 2 min ago, and figured I would blog it as well.

I was working at a non techie show at the Javtis center in NY (wasn’t the boat show either)

Anyway I needed SOMETHING to do to pass the time. I took out my MacBook to do some surfing, email, check the Giants game..etc..but they charge for the wireless access at the Javits center so I slowly put my MacBook back in the bag.

I took a peak at the newsstand for a Mac magazine. The only one they had was MAC Life. I haven’t finished it yet but not quite sure if I like this magazine.

Anyway else read it, have thoughts on it?