Time For A Change…Macs in the White House


That’s right Apple lovers. Your dream has come true. The new ‘most powerful man’ in the world is using a Mac to ‘change’ things. According to Telegraph, President Obama is a Mac-User and his wife Michelle tells People that he never goes anywhere without it. President Obama uses his Mac most for iChatting with his wife and kids while he’s busy on the campaign trail and getting use to the new job. Obama’s smart choice, as well as his staff’s, could change the face of computer usage in politics and bring the White House and Congress into the 21st century. Before long, Senators might be iChatting with their constituents while on the floor of the Senate. Who knows? Perhaps this is the ‘connection’ to the people that politicians are looking for.

Obama’s Mac-savvy team also landed in a pile of computer crap and system snags when they moved into the White House last week. They were appalled at all of the Microsoft software left over from the Bush administration and didn’t know which programs needed to be updated or just ‘thrown out’. “It is kind of like going from an Xbox to an Atari,” Obama spokesman Bill Burton told the Washington Post. Staffers will have their hands full in the next few months bringing everything up to ‘Apple’ speed.

President Obama has promised to ‘be the change’ we need in America with help from the American people. Well, the people have spoken and the wave of the future is the Mac. Maybe we can push for legislation to ‘re-wire’ Washington D.C. Now if Steve Jobs can only get Obama to switch to an iPhone then we’d know that change really has come to America.


Why I Still Love My Mac

Its been 2.5 years since I purchased my first Macbook and I am still a big fan of Apple. A lot has happened in the last 2.5 years of our lives. We lived abroad in China, moved around to a few different jobs and apartments and now I am back in school, so the use of our Macbook has seen different purposes throughout that time. From a connection to a world thousands of miles away, to a work tool, now to being used for school and work together.

Here’s a list of some of the things I still love about my Macbook:

-Media capacity and interaction-
The ability and ease with which the MacBook allows you to work with pictures, videos and even music has been outstanding. Never have our pictures been so organized and the videos we have been able to create from our time overseas will be memories that we will never lose. Being able to create slideshows and videos with iPhoto and iMovie/iDVD has been very important to us.

This program has allowed me to do a better job of coordinating my life. With color-coded entries, reminders and quick and easy input, I have been able to balance school, work and personal schedules all on one calendar.

All of the quick and easy to use widgets on my dashboard have made for efficient use of my time on the MacBook. Instead of searching through programs and folders on other computers, I have fast access to the most basic functions I might need on my Mac.

The Built-in-camera has been great to use for video creation and for use with Skype while we were overseas. Being able to chat and see family and friends faces (and even do a job interview) because  the built-in-iSight gave many opportunities to see familiar faces and it is also great for my wife’s favorite part about our MacBook, Photo Booth.

That’s a list, albeit simple, of some of my favorite and basic programs and functions of my MacBook. Its been a great computer for us and there are many other features which we love. It has given us the opportunity to be connected to a technology world that is ever-changing and ever-growing.

What are some of your favorite Mac features? Leave a comment below.


Introducting, The i……….

Ever wonder who gets paid to come up with the new product names for Apple each time Steve Jobs and the Apple team come up with a new and innovative invention? I wondered recently about this with a friend and we were quite perplexed that with all of the innovation and new technology that Apple creates, that the best that whoever gets paid thousands to come up with their product names, the best they can come up with is the, iPhone or the iMac. I suppose that maybe its the simplest phrases that are the catchiest. And in our individualistic consumer society, anything that has ‘i’ or ‘me’ in the title will probably catch attention. But now I wonder if they feel restricted by the naming of new products and if they are tired of putting an ‘i’ in front of everything they create.

At any rate, its a compliment to say that the marketing techniques of Apple have created a niche in the tech-world that may be unparalleled up to this point. The guy who came up with the idea to but one simple vowel in front of every product they make could be called, ‘simply brilliant’.

Here’s another ‘i’ product that didn’t make the cut from a MadTV sketch:


Online Learning Tools For Students

As schools continue during this winter and many colleges begin new terms, and our culture and education moves more and more onto computers, resources and programs that can assist in educational growth and development are becoming more and more important.

There are many resources and programs out there available for students and parents looking to give students the necessary aids to further their education.

MakeUseOf has a great list of resources and programs that are available for study and educational advancement. Some of the highlights that caught my eye were the SpeedCrunch that assists in Mathematical equation and processing. Holding my degree in English Literature, Zotero, a firefox extension, can be a helpful tool in research and composing papers and literary comparisons.

But one of the most exciting educational programs I’ve found in my research was CrossCountry USA, a program that enables the kids in your classroom or home to, “‘drive’ an 18-wheel truck around the country picking up and delivering a variety of commodities. As they travel between any of 203 cities, they’ll learn valuable skills including problem solving, map reading and decision making. On-screen maps and a compass allow students to learn directions and plan the most efficient route.”

These educational programs give your student or child the chance to interact, learn and grow in an ever-changing educational world.


A Great Democracy and Peaceful Transition

It is fascinating how every four to eight years, our nation is able to transfer power in such a peaceful way. Sure the campaign season was intense and interesting. But as I am watching the inauguration I am amazed at our country and the way in which its leadership peacefully transfers power. The word that kept coming to my mind this morning was the word ‘hope’. Hope that our economy will improve, hope that the innovations and intentions of our leaders and businesses will prove enough to continue to spur on this great nation.

Hope has the potential to engender great advancement and a willingness to look beyond current situations, comfortable or dire, and to not be satisfied with complacency or status quo but to move forward, to grow and to change, in order that this world might be a better place.

Technology and invention is a reflection of the creative talent of those that would dare to hope and believe that the impossible can be accomplished. President Obama said in his Inaugural address that we must not forget, “what free men and women can acheive when imagination is joined with purpose”.  My hope is that President Obama will create and give the opportunity to move beyond our current situation, to create new industry and advancement and to spur on a nation capable of greatness. May God bless President Obama and may God bless America.


Twittering with your Mac

One of my online graduate courses is requiring that I maintain and post to Twitter a minimum of three times a week. I’m assuming that most of you have heard of Twitter before but in case you haven’t, its another popular social network interface that allows you to post what you are ‘doing’ at a certain point in the day in 140 spaces or less, much like a Facebook ‘status’ would do. This new interface gives you a chance to ‘follow’ friends and others and gives bloggers like me another chance to promote blog postings.

Macworld sums it up nicely: “Twitter refers to itself as a micro-blogging service, where users can type 140 characters or less and have it instantly appear in the Twittosphere for the world—or, more important, for the people who “follow” you on Twitter—to read. Think of it as text messaging to a group of people all at once. But how can this be useful or productive to the average creative Mac user?”

Twitter can provide interfaces for you to connect with other Mac users, find web sites and additional info on Mac sites or design information. There are even stand alone applications like Twitterrific and others that allow you to follow ‘tweet’ and ‘follow’ on your Mac desktop.

If you’re a blogger or someone interested in joining the blogging community, twitter can be an excellent way to promote and drive traffic to your site as well as build a community of bloggers around you.

What do you think of Twitter and its effect on the blogging community? Leave a comment.


Variable iTunes Pricing A Good Or Bad Thing?

According to recent news released at the MacWorld Expo, iTunes will begin pricing their songs differently due to the DRM-Free system that is now being implemented. MacWorld says that, “iTunes Plus is Apple’s DRM-free encoding for the iTunes Store; music is encoded using the Advanced Audio Codec format (AAC) at 256Kbps. Beginning today, 8 million of the iTunes Store’s 10 million songs will be offered without DRM; the entire catalog is expected to go DRM-free by the end of the first calendar quarter of 2009.”

The DRM-Free music is upgraded to a higher quality, but costs $.30 cents an upgrade. Is it worth it? Is the quality of music and video really that much better or is it a ploy to make more money from Apple and Steve Jobs?

We’re curious what you think. Have you upgraded to iTunes Plus? Do you notice a difference? Granted the pricing will be better and more varied for future purchases. Apparently there will be three pricing tiers: 99 cents, 69 cents, and $1.29. And we’ve been assured that more songs are going to be offered at 69 cents than at $1.29. But is it worth it to upgrade current songs at $.30 a song?

What do you think of iTunes Plus? Leave a comment below.


Fuel Cells The Wave Of The Future?

Thanks go out to MacTipper for his help with my battery issue.

In my research on Mac Batteries and other battery issues in the past few days. I came across some articles, and saw something on CNN as well, about fuel cells, their technology and development.

Information found at the NFCRC stated that, “fuel cells are considered a prime candidate for ‘green’ energy production: clean, quiet, and efficient. Despite their relatively new arrival on the popular scene, fuel cells have already found their way into early commercial testing in stationary (building) applications and prototype testing in mobile and portable applications.”

And I am wondering if while these fuel cells are being harnessed for things like cars and buildings, even some portable electronics, how long will it be until Jobs and others over at Apple are able to harness this energy and place them in the MacBooks, iPods and other products.

The difference between fuel cells and batteries is that batteries only store energy, while fuel cells actively produce electricity continuously as long as fuel and air are available. This gives the potential for longer amounts of battery use and more efficient energy.

Rumors at ComputerWorld hint that Apple might instead try using Silver-Zinc battery technology, a more tested component used by NASA and Aircraft Industries for years.

It is apparent that the efficiency of batteries, environmental issues and research are lending credibility to the fact that Apple could very well be making some shifts in its battery components within the next year.

What do you think Apple will do? Let us know in the comments below.


Mac Battery Issue

Calling all Mac Experts. I’m running into issues with my Macbook of about two years in that the battery is not charging when I have it plugged in and all I have is an X over my battery status in the upper right hand corner of my screen.

My initial guess is that something is wrong with the battery in my Mac and that, because I let the energy run out this past weekend, that maybe the battery itself is dead.

I’m curious if anyone knows some troubleshooting options that I might go through and if Apple replaces batteries if they are dead?

Any help would be appreciated in our comments section.


Apple Launches iWork ’09

According to an article at MacWorld, Apple is improving business options for its program, iWork ’09. The program gives more flexibility and power to the business presenter, as well as adding options to each of the iWork components, Keynote, Pages and Numbers.

Keynote: Magic Move and Keynote Remote gives you better presentation options and lets you control your slides from your mobile device for a cost of $1.

Pages: Adds more viewing options, including a full page view and adds support for scientists and math formulas.

Numbers: gives you the option of creating ‘categories’ for your spreadsheets. According to MacWorld “Numbers also features new chart options, including mixed chart types, multi-axis charts, charts with trendlines, and error bars.”

Apple is continuing to improve and make more popular its iWork programs, giving businesses more opportunities to use Macs to run their business through. Steve Jobs says, “With iWork ’09, Apple continues to demonstrate that innovation is possible in office productivity software, and that creating impressive presentations, documents and spreadsheets doesn’t need to be complicated.”

What are some options that aren’t found in iWork ’09 that you wish were there? Let us know in the comments section.