Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Core 2 Duo Chip Ships in MacBook Pro

The Apple MacBook Pro was upgraded today with the latest Intel Core 2 Duo processor and FireWire 800, among other new features. This major MacBook Pro hardware upgrade is shipping today. Processor upgrades for the MacBook line are expected to follow suit but exact future availability is speculative.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Back-to-School Laptops Spur Galloping Apple Sales

Apple laptops led the sales charge along with the expected strong iPod showing during this most recent financial quarter. Sales of 1.61 computers and other products created record profits for the company, notwithstanding a looming stock options backdating scandal.

Monday, October 16, 2006

In Search of the Elusive Paperless Office

Yeah, right.
Really. The paperless office is almost here.

Step One:
Instruct as many paper-senders such as banks, credit card companies, and other billers to deliver your bills electronically. Arrange to receive bills and invoices via e-mail.

Step Two:
For those inescapable mounds of paper flotsam filling the file cabinets of your small business, purchase a ScanSnap by Fujitsu. Scan incoming documents and periodically scan recent existing files filling up your filing cabinet.

Scanned documents using the ScanSnap are then filed in your virtual filing cabinet—The Mac.

Step Three:
Fax machine, be gone! No more multipurpose, all-in-one, tries-to-do-it-all devices, either. You can now toss out the fax machine with peace of mind.

For faxing documents, use your Mac instead of faxing a printed file. Your Mac is a virtual fax machine. Mac OS X has built-in fax capabilities. With a ScanSnap, scan any existing printed document you wish to fax, then fax it using the Mac. If you receive enough faxes on your Mac to interrupt your workflow, dedicate another Mac in your office for this duty.

Cut down on paper storage. Cut down on clutter. Cut down fewer trees.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Most Valuable Organizational Tool in the World

The most valuable computational hardware in the world is: Your Brain.
The most valuable organizational software in the world is: Your Thinking.

All the computer technology and software in the world couldn't organize a three-float parade.

Organization begins inside, flowing outward into the rest of the universe. If you're searching for just the right software tool, start with searching your own productive patterns.

How do you do what you do? What are the elements of data gathering, decision-making, and implementation in your non-computer world? If you had only a pencil and paper what would you do?

Computer organizational software can be useful but simply organizing your Mac files may be more effective and transformational. Start with clearing all the files from your desktop as metaphor for clearing your mind. Have a place to put them away at the end of each day. Track what's been done and what will follow in each inexorable, logical step tomorrow. Make room for calculated chaos in a "Stuff" folder providing necessary anarchy. Clean it out each week.

Not doing is equally as important as doing. Embrace not-doing as your creative companion. Fight against internal entropy and life freezes up like a clonic state of mental tug-of-war. Stress. Self-negativity.

Navajo rugs are woven with great skill and care, yet each one contains a hidden flaw purposely introduced by the weaver.

Offer a place in every room, and in every busy day, for the indolent internal trickster. The rectilinear survives in tacit cooperation with the amorphous. Experience the balance of action/purpose and inaction/disorder. Dismiss nothing. Make witness. Mind judo.

Microsoft Releases Security Updates for Office

Microsoft released security update 11.3.0 for Office 2004, and a separate file for Office X.

Eudora to Melt into Thunderbird

Eudora, the venerable Mac e-mail client, has announced that it will cease operations as a commercial e-mail concern next year. The e-mail client will be integrated with the existing open source e-mail product from Mozilla known as Thunderbird.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Latest and Greatest Software Releases

QuickBooks Pro 2007 for the Mac initial release sporting improved Windows sharing and tracking.

Midnight InBox, a to-do list and more.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Computer Recycling: Myths and Movements

In response to Zippity Doh Dah dumpster destinations for computers, I will report on the state of computer recycling in a later blog entry. Suffice it to say that, yes, I do support recycling computer hardware, but the current state of the art leaves very much to be desired. It's mostly a fiction. Few parts of computers are recyclable. Taking a computer to a recycling center doesn't prevent the bulk of it from ending up in a landfill. Most computer recycling today is more "feel good" than "do good."

Loaded with toxic materials and hard-to-recycle plastics; all this modernity has it's symmetric sinister shadow.

The problem didn't begin with computers. Radios, televisions, fax machines, cell phones, answering machines...ad infinitum. The problem with computer recycling is exacerbated by the mind-boggling rate of obsolescence and the enormous volume, orders of magnitude above other sources. One particularly egregious abuse, and attendant denial, has been the exporting of computer junk to Asia and Africa. Rather unceremoniously dumped into open pits, workers, water supplies, and the air, are abused with toxins.

More on this later, but for now I'll leave you with these poignant images:

Laborer heating aqua regia (nitric and hydrochloric acids) a mixture that dissolves gold. Without respiratory protection workers inhale acid fumes, chlorine, and sulfur dioxide gas as they swirl computer chips removed from circuit boards in acid to collect tiny amounts of gold. The sludge from the process is dumped directly into a river. Guiyu, China. © Basel Action Network 2006.

Children standing in front of smoldering electronic waste dump near the Alaba market in Lagos, Nigeria. Burned electronic waste produced carcinogenic and highly toxic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, dioxins, and heavy metal emissions. © Basel Action Network 2006.

BAN investigator Clement Lam taking a soil sample along a river where circuit boards were treated with acid and burned openly. Dumping of massive amounts of imported computer waste occurs along the riverways. Guiyu, China. © Basel Action Network 2006.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Zippity Doo Dah

I'm an Antiques Roadshow addict.

Never has holding on to something, secreting it away into a dark corner of a closet, ever been so compelling, and how often have I wanted to swerve for a yard sale in search of hidden treasure for twenty-five dollars.

For twenty-five dollars, I believe it was, a fortunate one purchased a small, rather undistinguished-looking Federal period piece of furniture that later sold at auction for something on the order of $400,000. The Antiques Roadshow contains all the attractive ingredients of suspense, frequent dismay, and occasional astonishing discovery keeping me on the proverbial edge of my distinctly non-antique seat.

The world of technology resides in a different universe.

How often have I received an inquiry asking what to do with an external Zip drive and a stack of disks, or a SCSI scanner. My suggestion is to toss them all right into the dumpster. I'm as shocked as anyone by the rapid growth of technology. We're living in a universe where I can't seem to throw stuff away fast enough. I've got a flash drive slightly larger than a stick of gum that holds more data, more reliably, than ten Zip disks and costs perhaps a tenth of what I paid for the Zips.

There is a lesson here. Utility vanishes at an alarming, almost visible rate, evaporating before your very eyes. Both the concept of later use and later value are illusory. No, we can't use it later, and unless you're willing to hold on to a piece of current computer hardware for a hundred years, it's value plummets at a precipitous rate.

The nearest analogy might be a car, with the exception that computer hardware depreciates at a far faster rate and a Ford Model A can still be a functional transportation device and a charmingly valuable collectible. Old computers don't take this course (with very few exceptions; I can think of one or two but I'm not telling because I'm still looking for that gem amidst the flotsam of yard sales. Surely, you will allow that some secrets must prevail). Most old computer hardware takes on the aura of post-modern junk. Like a closed Ford plant in Flint, Michigan, that Power Mac 8500 begins to resemble a mini-tower of trampled dreams and urban blight.

Storing anything related to computer technology doesn't save something for someone else to use later—it may not function at all six months from now, and the money I spent buying it gets sucked into a cosmic digital black hole. Any computer three years old is rapidly entering the realm of computer entropy.

Use it now, or sell it now, or give it away now.

Now if I could only make room in my garage for just one more Mac. Surely I could use it for parts. Someday. Plenty of old Mac hardware heading my way.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Wi-Fi Widget

AirTrafficControl is a handy free widget for those using Apple laptops on the go.

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