Office 2008 for Mac – A Ture Microsoft Software

March 1, 2009

I am a Mac user. This is not new. I got a habit to write about the software I am using from time to time, and to complain about software as well.

I already had written in the past about Office 2008. Using it extensively on the Mac for the past several weeks, and I am getting tired of it everytime I need to use it. The bugs Word, Powerpoint and Entourage have are making this software unbarable.

My frustration grows as I tried using Keynote and Pages ’09. The problem being is incompatability. Yes, forget about compatability, it is simply a lie. Open a powerpoint presentation, it would open, but most times the design you had would not be there any more. The same holds true when creating a Keynote presentation and exporting it to Powerpoint format.

Open Office is not an option as well, as I see what it produces on Linux.

So, what is the solution for all of this?

Steve, get well!

January 15, 2009

The announcement that Steve Jobs is to take a sick leave from Apple for six months was not a surprise to those monitoring Steve’s health in the past several months. Jobs is one of those unique technology icons we all love, performing a tremendous job at Apple, but more importantly shaping our entire computer world for years now.

I would like to wish Steve that he would get well soon.

Windows 7 First Impressions: Better, Faster

January 9, 2009

It is a long time since I was impressed of something coming out of Redmond. I was very curious about Windows 7, and wanted to give it a try to understand whether Microsoft had learned the lesson from Vista.

Fortunate enough I am an MSDN subscriber and had an early availability download before the rest of the world get’s it today.

My first impression is that Microsoft certainly did learn. Installed as a VM under Mac OS X, using parallels, the setup was like a breeze. The whole installation process had taken less then 25 minutes. The other immediate impression I got is that Windows 7 is certainly faster then Vista and without using a designated tool it does look faster then XP as well.

Nearly at the end of the install I was prompted to select the automatic updates policy I would like to use.

I had to install parallels tools in order to get networking working. Other then that, there were no issues.

When logged on, I was prompted by the action center letting me know I was not running an anti-virus. The pop up suggested to find a program online taking me to a Microsoft web page introducing solutions which are compatible with Windows 7.

parallels-picture-271

Symantec, Kaspersky labs, and AVG already have beta software for Windows 7. This would make a great marketing and sales tools for them, if their products work decently.

I will be playing with it for some more. Until now, my impression is positive.

Apple Macworld ’09 Keynote

January 8, 2009

I had a chance to watch the recorded Apple Macworld ’09 keynote this morning.

Apple sold 9.7 million Macs last year. Twice the number of its rivals. This is an amazing number.

3 new things were introduced: iLife ’09, iWork ’09, and Macbook Pro “17.

I am not sure what impact would those have on Apple sales since none of the announced is that of a major differentiator. There are certainly interesting additionas to the software line Apple offers (iPhoto ’09 seems promising as well as the new version of Garage Band). Personally, I still doubt the power of iWork against Office for the Mac.

As for the Macbook Pro “17 I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand the work Apple did with regards to the battery (1000 recharges, 8 hours of work time) seems remarkable. But it comes with a price tag – no easy access to the hard disk and other parts. the design of the notebook itself is amazing, and the Apple design team deserves kodus for that.

I am still awaiting some more meaningful announcments from Apple (new Mac mini’s, iPhone nano, etc.).

Information Security – The Second Lebanon War vs. The Gaza Operation

January 8, 2009

During August 2006 Israel mounted an operation against the Hezbollah in Lebanon. In Israel this is refered to as the second Lebanon war. During that time the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) had allowed freedom of information in a form and shape that was not allowed until then. Reporters were standing at the boarder between Israel and Lebanon reporting about any army movement they observed. The various Israeli news channels were showing, in details, the different advancement moves the army had made to the detail. Any incident was reported in nearly real-time including casualties and the unit names that were hit. Reports about missile hits on Israeli civilian targets were also reported, and in some cases those reports allowed the Hezbollah to align their fire. The different Internet forums were buzzing with information and rumors.

The army had learned its lesson.

During the current Gaza operation the Israeli army went from one extream to the other. The entire area that the army had assembled its forces before the attack had been closed to civilians and to the media. Soldiers had to give away their mobile phones before entering into battle. The media is completely shut off from the battle field as reporters are not allowed in. The Internet forums are monitored, and the army censorship is tight.

With regards to the safty of the soldiers then there is no doubt this is the right course of action to take. For the civilians (and for the media) this had created a situation where not a lot is known, and bits and pieces are uncovered as the battle goes on.

The UK Home Office Adopts a Hack Free Policy for the Police

January 5, 2009

The UK Sunday Times Online reports that the “The Home Office has quietly adopted a new plan to allow police across Britain routinely to hack into people’s personal computers without a warrant.”. Seems like the Home Office has adopted this policy after an EU council of ministers in Brussels has approved this policy to be used across the EU. This allows police ‘remote searching’ on computers…

In my opinion the issue here is that warrents are not needed for this activity. This removes the balances the justice system has (through the courts which grant those warrents) over the police and opens a room for misuse.

Experience with yellowsn0w 0.9.5 – Working

January 5, 2009

I have been running yellowsn0w 0.9.5 for the past day and a half now. Except for an annoyance of having to pop the SIM out and in when you shutdown the iPhone, everything is working as it should.

The interesting thing is that the iPhone works really fast now. I am not sure why but who cares :)

yellowsn0w is still beta software, but now, a working beta software.

Stay away from yellowsn0w

January 2, 2009

Well, after playing around with it for several hours I gave up on yellowsn0w. For those of you who did not experienced  the new unlock tool for the iPhone 3G I would strongly recommend staying away from it until someone figures out why there are so many unsuccessful unlocks.

After unlocking I ended up with an unstable iPhone 3G unable of making or receiving calls, unable to use the Internet, etc. Lucky me, restored to a clean install of 2.2, inserted my Turbo SIM and at least I am having a working 2G iPhone (no, 3G does not work still with firmware 2.2 and Turbo SIM).

The Dev-Team is making an effort resolving this. Currently they have released version 0.9.3.

Update I: The Dev-Team had released version 0.9.4. With this release I was able to unlock the iPhone and make and receive calls. I still don’t have 3G enabled, or the Internet working…

Update II: Everything is working perfectly fine now.

Update III: It is unstable and cannot be trusted. There is still a long way to go with this.

Countdown for yellowsn0w

December 31, 2008

A few hours now separates us from 2009. One of the most anticipated events to happen right at the start of the new year (for those who care) is the release of yellowsn0w, the unlock for Apple’s iPhone 3G. This is if you haven’t upgraded to the new baseband that comes with version 2.2 (there might be a surprise there according to the latest rumors). The unlock will be available via Cydia at midnight tonight and it seems that the crowds are already mounting in anticipation.

I have already written in the past about Apple’s treatment with regards to those who wish to purchase and unlock an iPhone. And I have also written about why do I think Apple would not make the iPhone SIM-free. I still think that Apple’s approach is wrong, and the efforts that are being made by Apple preventing this from happening proves not to last for long.

My logic behind this, is that if someone wishes to purchase an iPhone, and there is a provider in his country that sales it, the chances are lower that this person would be looking into the trouble of getting an iPhone and unlocking it. Those unfortunate that do not have the option to purchase the iPhone in their countries, are ,in my opinion, those who will be looking into getting one and unlocking it.

The iPhone is a status symbol in many countries, especially if there is no carrier saling it. This makes it  ‘cooler’ having one, when most cannot have it.

Update: Seems like the unlock is compatible with version 2.2 and the 02.28.00 baseband.

Mac software: Some might still not be there…yet.

December 22, 2008

I know that what I am writing here would result in hate replies saying I am just a PC user envy of those cool Mac users and this is why I am writing the stuff I am writing.

So let’s start with a disclosure: I am a Mac user from the initial release of Mac OS X. My first Mac was a G3 notebook. I still remember how costly it was buying that machine (I still own it). From there I have moved to a G4 notebook (Mac Book Pro) , later to the first Intel generation of MPB’s (Yuck), to my latest 2.6Mhz 4mb of memory MBP.

Like every other Mac user back in those days I had suffered from a number of issues, like hardware (my first generation Intel-based MBP was replaced 4 times), to the limited number of software that back then was available for the Mac.

So, why am I writing about “Mac software: Some might still not be there…yet.”?

Two incidents in the past months are the reason. The first relates to Office 2008. Let’s put the incompatibility issues with Office 2007 aside for a second, and the irritating bugs and talk about the email client: Entourage. Unfortunately this is no equivalent to Outlook 2007. What is my problem with it? One nice morning office declared the database is corrupt. Using the DB tools provided I tried rescuing it. Going through nearly the entire database the tool just hang and crash… Bye-Bye to a month of emails (luckily I had backup).

The second incident was with PGP Desktop for Mac. Using PGP for years now (for the PC and for the Mac) I was tempted to get the latest version for Mac (10.5.x compatible). The result? After several months of work, it got my encrypted drive corrupt.

Still, if you are looking at it, two distinguished software for the Mac simply cannot leave to its expectation.

Before you all jump saying this happens for the PC as well, then I would say – show me an alternative that I can use on the Mac. Email client == none (please do not mention mail.app because it is simply useless when you have a lot of email).

The fact is that I will be still using my MBP and Mac OS X as my main machine and work tool, but my disappointment is big. Currently this is the better option then using a PC. But if Apple would wish people to treat its hardware, OS, and software as a solution they can be using for the enterprise it needs at least to make sure that it encourages developers to develop alternatives to what is out there software wise for the Mac OS X platform.  Looking at the economy, and the fact anyone has an iPod, notebooks makes a huge slice of sales for Apple. Before it is not late, they should develop/encourage/solicit more viable options for it.


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