Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Windows on Mac - Parallels - Boot Camp

In the past few months, I've worked on Mac Laptops that feature both OS X and Windows.The first project was connecting the Windows side of a Mac to a Server for access to corporate software. This Mac, using Parallels Desktop, was pretty easy to work with. Once toggled to the Windows personality, the networking and ports all worked just like they do on native Windows PC. Switching back and forth between OS's is just a keystroke away.My second project was a Mac with Boot Camp. This one required some extra work to get the proper Windows drivers for the network adapters, sound and graphics, however once installed correctly it worked just fine.One big advantage of Parallels versus Boot Camp is switching between OS's; Boot Camp - complete reboot - 3 to 4 minutes, Parallels - keystroke - 3 to4 seconds. Another big advantage of Parallels is the ability to share files between OS's. I strongly recommend Parallels versus Boot Camp (or other dual boot systems). In fact, the advantages are so many...

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Monday, February 18, 2008

Windows watch folder - automate tasks - PhotoShop - Droplet

Someone asked me how to automate a process that involved printing any image added to a given folder and then deleting it. This was something that we used when I was in the printing business and is quite common on Macs but this needed to be accomplished on a Windows PC.I found and downloaded folder watching software called Total Folder Monitor. This software allows you to specify actions based on specific changes to a defined folder. I set up a test folder and 2 actions; launch a PhotoShop 'Droplet' and delete the file any time a file was added. A PhotoShop Droplet is a small application that will launch PhotoShop if needed and then perform PhotoShop actions per your instructions. My Droplet's action was only to scale, print and close the active image.After some testing, I discovered that you can use a command line version of a droplet and wild card the target file; my example: C:\test.exe C:\test\*.jpgThe command line code is entered into Total Folder Monitor. So, anytime an image is...

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Friday, February 15, 2008

Photoshop - Straighten - Distortion - Liquify

The heading almost says it all but I'll elaborate. Working on a web site for a condo rental in Hawaii required that I optimize some images of the units’ rooms and amenities. The quality of the pics was good but there were problems with keystoning and distortion in most of them. Most Photoshop users are familiar with using 'Edit > Transform' with 'perspective', 'distort' and 'skew' to square up an image but fixing warped images is a less known skill. The best tool for this is called 'Liquify'. You can find it under 'Filter'. This is not a tutorial on how to use the tool but I will note that you can 'freeze' parts of the picture to keep them from being changed while you use the 'bloat' or 'pucker' tools to bend other parts of the image to achieve the desired effect. Setting your brush size large and your pressure light allows you to make subtle changes for the best result. Please let me know if this tip helps you.

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Monday, February 11, 2008

QuickBooks - Network Drive - Keep Connected

I've been trying to host a QuickBooks data file on a Mapped Network Drive. The drive is a Vantec NexStar connected via its Ethernet port to the Local Area Network. The problem has been that the Connection to the QuickBooks company file has been lost after about 10 minutes of inactivity. This meant closing the program and re-opening it to get back to work. I noticed that whenever this happened, the mapped drive was showing a type of Disconnected Network Drive while another NAS (Network Attached Storage) drive, a SimpleShare by SimpleTech always stays connected. There must be a firmware feature in the SimpleShare that keeps it alive but is missing in the NexStar. I'm pretty sure I could have solved the problem by moving the QB file to the SimpleShare drive but that drive is being used as a backup destination and I didn't want to re-arrange the file system and backup programs. I decided to liven up the NexStar by using the backup software, SyncBackSE, to synchronize a small inactive folder...

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Friday, February 1, 2008

Mac vs PC -- Democrat vs. Republican

This morning I read that Al Gore was buying some more Apple stock. Gore has been on the board of Apple since March 2003 so I guess it's good for him to buy stock in the company. With all the news about the primaries and the presidential politics also in the paper, I started to make some connections between people’s political leanings and their computer selections. Here's my resolution: not all Democrats use Macs but most Mac users are Democrats. Apple's market share is about 8% these days but there are some areas where you'll find mostly Macs and few if any PCs. Schools, movie studios, art and design studios, universities and Seattle are places you'll see a great share of Macs. Not coincidentally these are also areas that are pretty sure to vote for Democrats. Democrats like Macs for the sense of well being. Big Steve has put together a package of hardware and software that will take care of your needs and his solutions don't require you as an individual to make a lot of risky...

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