Category Archives: Apple

Format Factory Media Converter is a terrific tool for converting file formats

I’ve had a need at various times to convert files from AVI to MPEG, WMV to MPG, MPG to MOV, and today, WMV to MPEG4.  Format Factory’s Media Converter does this FOR FREE!

Today I needed to convert a WMV file to MPEG4 for iPhone.  Besides all the formats listed above, it lets you convert from “All to Mobile Device.”  I picked the iPhone as the device and the file converted perfectly.

I’ve been using Media Converter for years and I love it.

http://www.formatoz.com

At Apple, “refurbished” is “rebuilt” and paying more money is a value.

I’ve had a couple run ins with Apple over the last couple weeks when trying to help people.  In both cases Apples Orwellian language games came out.

The first situation was a dead iPhone.  I went to an Apple store with my friend for a dead device.  It’s a few months old and just shut down.  It refused to power on.  The Apple employee said Apple was going to replace the device for free.  I asked if the new device was brand new or a “refurb.”  The Apple guy said that they don’t have “refurbs.”  It is either “new” or “rebuilt.”  What a load of BS!  My friend was happy to have a working phone, so that’s a nice conclusion.

The other incident revolves around the new OS X version “Lion.”  A friend of mine needed at least “Snow Leopard” so she could connect her iPad to her machine.  This came up on the day “Lion” came out.  I decided to check out if it was possible to upgrade directly to “Lion” from “Leopard.”  It turns out Apple doesn’t allow this.  Apple forces users to do double upgrades.  That means you have to spend double money.  I discussed this with the Apple guy in the previous story.  He said it’s better than it used to be because in the past it cost over $100 to do the same thing.  Somehow this didn’t comfort me.

One other thing of note is that “Lion” is a diskless install.  It must be downloaded from the Apple App Store.  This cuts out local Apple resellers like Tekserve.  I know Apple is doing incredibly well right now, but it must be impacting longtime Apple support services like Tekserve.  I hope they’re OK because they really do terrific work.

Another day, another problem with a third party free application (iTunes)

I feel like I’m spending too much time tending to the Flash player, iTunes, and AIM’s of the world.  My company allows some of this stuff because there’s a legitimate business need.  Managing these apps have become an unnecessary time drain.

Flash player stops working on its own.  AIM threatened users with loss of service for weeks unless they upgrade.  Apple has done both of those in the past with iTunes.  Now they seem to be going for a more passive aggressive route.  They throw up an error when users try to access the iTunes store that has nothing to do with the store and with upgrading.  The only (easy and obvious) way to access the store is upgrading to the latest version.

Your request cannot be completed. The item you've requested is not currently available in the US store.

The error is “Your request cannot be completed.  The item you’ve requested is not currently available in the US store.”  This line of BS translates to “Upgrade or Else.”  So if you find this post after hours of trying to figure out why you can’t access the iTunes store, the answer is that you must upgrade iTunes.

Adobe Download Manager is a WASTE OF TIME!

Dealing with Adobe’s freebee products has always been a pain.  This goes back to the Macromedia days.  It periodically and unpredictably stops working because it needs to update.  This process has always been annoying, but manageable when I could just download the installer.

Now Adobe forces you to install a “Download Manager.”  The installation of the “Download Manager” is slow on its own, but the installation of the software I ACTUALLY WANT (ughhhh) is even slower.  It takes several minutes to install PDF Reader and Flash instead of seconds without the Download Manager.

Adobe is wasting peoples time with this Download Manager scheme.  I am a lot more sympathetic to Steve Jobs view of Flash than I used to be.

InfoWorld: The MacBook Air is the Starbucks laptop

I just read the InfoWorld review of the Macbook Air.  It’s a good review if you’re considering a MacBook Air.  Here’s the bottom line.  The MacBook Air is a great laptop for showing off at Starbucks and basic computing.  Otherwise, buy something more substantial.  Here’s the two quotes that should tell you if you should consider buying a MacBook Air.

“It’s unfair to classify the MacBook Air as a laptop. It’s not, unless you’re Mini Me. It’s an ultraportable, along the lines of the Sony Vaio TZ, though it has a larger screen than the Vaio. It’s also faster and cheaper.”

“I figured the best place to work with the Air would be a coffee shop, which is essentially its native environment.”

 Want one?  Apple Store

Advice to Apple Store shoppers: Don’t take pictures of yourself.

I went shopping yesterday at the Roosevelt Field Mall on Long Island.  I stopped at the Apple Store to check prices and do a couple minutes worth of surfing.  I noticed a shared drive on the desktop, so I decided to look around.  One of the funny things I found was pictures people had taken themselves (probably using iChat).  The first picture I saw was by far the funniest.  Enjoy:

photo_3.jpg

If you’re looking for a Blackberry alternative, look here:

Tom Yager of InfoWorld did an exhaustive review of the Blackberry 8300 and 8800, as well as several alternatives.  This is a great resource for anyone considering an alternative to Blackberry.

Bill Gates and Steve Jobs interviewed together at All Things Digital

This is a spectacular video of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs being interviewed together at the All Things Digital conference a couple weeks ago.  They talk about themselves, their history, technology, and the future.  I was extremely impressed with how engaging, down to earth, and obviously brilliant Bill Gates was.

 Make sure you watch all videos in order.  They are posted backwards on the site.  Start here: http://video.allthingsd.com/?bcpid=910498365&bctid=958475626

Safari 3 Beta for Windows was released today, and I’m wondering why I should care.

Apple released Safari 3 Beta for Windows today and the link got over 8000 Diggs.  I just can’t understand why.  Who cares if there is another browser for Windows?  Is it just BS Apple fanboy hype?  Is it Windows users that are excited to have another alternative?  Windows only users have no idea what Safari is.  I can’t imagine that they’d be so excited about it. 

I’m also wondering what this means for Apple, Windows, potential future browser wars. 

Apple must have learned that there is more money to be made where 90%+ of internet users reside rather than with their 5%.  I find it interesting that Apple created Safari for Windows.  It’s the first time that I remember (please correct me if I’m wrong) Apple creating an app for Windows that wasn’t either coupled with hardware (iPod) or required for compatability purposes (Quicktime).  Apple seams to be spreading out from their little closed world of Macs, iPods, etc.

And does Windows need another browser?  Maybe.  IE has been badly neglected by Microsoft.  IE7 is working fine for the sheeple, corporate environments, and MS fans.  Other than that, it’s lacking in innovation.  Firefox has been developed relentlesy and it has paid off (33.7% browser share in May).  Apple is a much bigger name than Firefox and they might be able to steal some browser share (currently at 1.5%).

So is this the first shot in the new browser war?  That’s up to Microsoft.  Do they want to develop IE anymore?  It doesn’t seem that way.  Is IE still important to Microsoft’s success?  I don’t think so unless Firefox and Safari intentionally don’t work with MS technologies.

“A Greener Apple” by Steve Jobs

Apple was recently criticized by Greenpeace for lack of openness and a poor environmental record in general.  Apple’s Steve Jobs just announced a change in policy that makes Apple more open and responsive to the environmental demands of it’s customers.

These days we must protect the environment as much as possible.  Nice job Apple.  I wish you the best with this new policy.