New Toy

The old PC has become a little cumbersome for my image editing needs and I had pretty much come to the conclusion that a new computer was in order.

My current Windows box is a AMD Athlon 64 I purchased in February of 2006. Even when it was new it as not all that great a computer. It was on the low end both in price and performance. I had bought it to replace a AMD K6 400Mhz computer with a 40 gig hard drive I had bought in 1999 so it was an improvement and so far has served me pretty well.

I began shopping for a replacement and found myself looking to Apple as a possible option for my impending upgrade. I weighed the pros and cons and determined that it could only benefit me in both my IT career and my digital photography. Sure there would be a bit of a learning curve, but I know a lot of Mac users who are more than willing to assist me in my transition.

After some hemming and hawing I settled on a refurbished 2.8 GHz 24″ iMac from apple.com. The savings were pretty significant when compared to a brand new unit and the specs were more than suitable for my needs. I ordered it online on Friday and it was delivered to my office on Tuesday the following week.

I gotta say, this thing is pretty slick. Out of the box and on to the network in just about 5 minutes. I set it up at the office and poked around a little before I took it home. I then spent most of the evening working out the kinks of getting a program called Synergy loaded on the Mac and the PC so that I could control both computers with a single mouse and keyboard WITHOUTH the need for a KVM switch. It’s a nifty and elegant little program that, when installed, lets you move the mouse seamlessly from one desktop to another and back again. The keyboard works on whichever computer the mouse cursor is on. It’s like a dual display but with two computer instead of one.

Of course this sent me all over the place as I first tried to install the command line server utility on the Mac before I discovered SynergyKM which is a GUI wrapper around the synergy command line tool and makes the setup and configuration much, much easier.

My efforts led me to explore the network preferences and other “control panel” like items of the Mac as well as got me to a command line pretty quick as I struggled to get it installed and working properly.

In the end, I was triumphant and now I have the PC and the MAC working side by side on my desk.

Next step will be to get the 24″ PC monitor connected as a secondary monitor on the Mac. My 24″ Westinghouse has HDMI and VGA connectors. It is connected to the PC using the VGA so I plan to connect to the Mac using the HDMI and then be able to switch the monitor easily from PC primary to Mac secondary.

I have the mini-DVI to DVI to HDMI connectors and just need a HDMI cable which I am expecting to have in hand today.

Please feel free to comment with any suggestions as to applications or Web sites you think I might benefit from as I explore this new system! Keep in mind that anti-spam features in place on this blog may make posting a web link difficult. Just suggest the name of the site and I will find it.

Technology Expert?

I was asked if I was available for an interview for ABC 13 for a segment on social networking. In the piece that aired on the 4:00 pm news I briefly explained the basics of Facebook and Twitter.

This aired on ABC
http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/video?id=6814053

These are the extended interviews that did not make the air but are on the ABC 13 Web site:

http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/video?id=6814048
http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/video?id=6814050

Tool User

Magnetism to the rescue!

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Magnetism to the rescue!

When you have your roof replaced, it generates a lot of waste as a byproduct. For the most part, the crew did a good job of loading it all into trucks and hauling it away. Several truckloads of debris by my reckoning.

Unexpected, but not surprising, some nails ended up in the pool. Now that it’s getting a little cold here, wading in and fishing them out was unpleasant thought. Waiting till summer was also not an option. I tried using the cleaning net attached to the telescoping pole, but could not quite scoop them up.

Then it dawned on me. I’ve had in my possession a chunk of ferromagnetic rock since my teenage years. I found it near some railroad tracks when I was a teenager and I’ve just hung on to it. By placing it into the cleaning net I was able to collect all of the loose nails at the bottom of my pool without much effort and, most importantly, without getting wet.

Shiny Euros

Shiny Euros

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Shiny Euros

We have received our travelin’ Euros for the upcoming trip. I love the colour of European money. The holograms are so pretty. It’s like play money in that it doesn’t look real, but it also evokes the passion I associate with travel. Having Euros in hand makes the whole thing more “real”, if that makes any sense.

Of course, being the shutterbug I am, I wanted to photograph the bills as a matter of course so I played with different configurations and ended up with the above shot.

When I had finished procressing the RAW file and went to open it in Photoshop CS3, the strangest thing happened. This message popped up saying “”This Application Does Not Support the Printing of Banknote Images”:

In doing some research, this seems to be the same for the new American bills that were recently issued.

What stikes me is that this is not a scan of the Euro notes. It’s a photograph and it doesn’t even include a complete, unobscured bill in the photo. Yet Photoshop recognized the content of the image and produced that warning and, presumably, will not print it in the unaltered form.

It only let me save the oringinal file as PNG and I have not tried to print it.

Technology is cool!

Touch The Android

When it comes to mobile computing I’m not a Mac or a PC. I’m an Android! That’s right, I am now the proud owner of what has come to be called the Google Phone.

Officially, it’s the G1 from T-Mobile. The phone itself is made by HTC and runs the an open source operating system created by Google called Android.

Much like the infamous iPhone, the G1 utilized the G3 network for fast Internet access, has a nifty touch screen and accesses an online application database to add programs and functionality to the phone.

Unlike the iPhone, it’s not slaved to the problematic AT&T network which seems to plagued with dropped calls and continues to make the iPhone less of a phone and more a clearing house for a pocket full of silliness.

It’s not an iPhone killer, but it comes pretty close. I got one because the monthly service is cheaper and more reliable than the iPhone, it’s open source so there’s a lot more potential for applications and it has a full QWERTY keyboard that’s accessible with a simple flick of your thumb…

The G1 has GPS and it’s fully integrated into Google Maps and it’s all tied to your Gmail account. When you first turn on the phone, you are presented with the Android logo and instructed to “Touch The Android” to get started and it configures your e-mail and downloads your contacts.

I really like the device and find it a joy to use!

Social Networking Experiment

Cynthia and I are going to Valencia, Spain next year for Las Fallas. As an experiment I am reaching out via Twitter and other social networking sites to see if I can make contact with technically and socially like-minded individuals in Valencia with the idea that I can glean more information about our destination from a person or persons who actually live there, and possibly have one or more contacts when we arrive.

Right now I am using the search feature of Twitter to see who lists Valencia as their home.

Right off the bat I have encountered some stumbling blocks.

1. Must weed through erroneous search results for Valencia, Venezuela and Valencia, California
2. Natives of Valencia, Spain tend to twitter in Spanish or Valencian (Catalan).
3. Erroneous results due to the recent Formula One Grand Prix held in Valencia

I have reached out to a few I have encountered that list Valencia, Spain as their home and that have twittered in English. One in particular appears to work in the IT field so I am hopeful.

Next up I am going to search around on Flickr which I actually think might be more promising. Socially networking photogs tend to be a friendly bunch as evidenced by the recent Assignment Houston gathering at the Houston Museum of Natural Science

I’m not sure how this will turn out but it should be interesting.

Día del orgullo friki

It’s Nerd Pride Day.
Shouldn’t there be a parade or something? I want a parade….

Basic rights and responsibilities of nerds

Rights:
1. The right to be even nerdier.
2. The right to not leave your house.
3. The right to not have a significant other and be a virgin.
4. The right to not like soccer or any other sport.
5. The right to associate with other nerds.
6. The right to have few friends (or none at all).
7. The right to have all the nerdy friends that you want.
8. The right to not be “in-style.”
9. The right to be overweight and have poor eyesight.
10. The right to show off your nerdiness.
11. The right to take over the world.

Responsibilities:
1. Be a nerd, no matter what.
2. Try and be nerdier than anyone else.
3. If there is a discussion about something nerdy, you must give your opinion.
4. Save any and all nerdy things you have.
5. Do everything you can to show off your nerdy stuff as though it were a “museum of nerdiness.”
6. Don’t be a generalized nerd. You must specialize in something.
7. Attend every nerdy movie on opening night and buy every nerdy book before anyone else.
8. Wait in line on every opening night. If you can go in costume or at least with a related t-shirt, all the better.
9. Don’t waste your time on anything not related to nerddom.
10. Try to take over the world!