Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-settings.php on line 512

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-settings.php on line 527

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-settings.php on line 534

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-settings.php on line 570

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Page::start_lvl() should be compatible with Walker::start_lvl(&$output) in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-includes/classes.php on line 1199

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Page::end_lvl() should be compatible with Walker::end_lvl(&$output) in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-includes/classes.php on line 1199

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Page::start_el() should be compatible with Walker::start_el(&$output) in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-includes/classes.php on line 1199

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Page::end_el() should be compatible with Walker::end_el(&$output) in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-includes/classes.php on line 1199

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_PageDropdown::start_el() should be compatible with Walker::start_el(&$output) in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-includes/classes.php on line 1244

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Category::start_lvl() should be compatible with Walker::start_lvl(&$output) in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-includes/classes.php on line 1391

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Category::end_lvl() should be compatible with Walker::end_lvl(&$output) in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-includes/classes.php on line 1391

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Category::start_el() should be compatible with Walker::start_el(&$output) in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-includes/classes.php on line 1391

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Category::end_el() should be compatible with Walker::end_el(&$output) in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-includes/classes.php on line 1391

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_CategoryDropdown::start_el() should be compatible with Walker::start_el(&$output) in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-includes/classes.php on line 1442

Strict Standards: Redefining already defined constructor for class wpdb in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-includes/wp-db.php on line 306

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-includes/cache.php on line 103

Strict Standards: Redefining already defined constructor for class WP_Object_Cache in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-includes/cache.php on line 431

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-includes/query.php on line 61

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-includes/theme.php on line 1109

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Comment::start_lvl() should be compatible with Walker::start_lvl(&$output) in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-includes/comment-template.php on line 1266

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Comment::end_lvl() should be compatible with Walker::end_lvl(&$output) in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-includes/comment-template.php on line 1266

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Comment::start_el() should be compatible with Walker::start_el(&$output) in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-includes/comment-template.php on line 1266

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Comment::end_el() should be compatible with Walker::end_el(&$output) in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-includes/comment-template.php on line 1266

Strict Standards: Redefining already defined constructor for class WP_Dependencies in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-includes/class.wp-dependencies.php on line 31

Strict Standards: Redefining already defined constructor for class WP_Http in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-includes/http.php on line 61

Strict Standards: Non-static method unfancy_quote::init() should not be called statically in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-content/plugins/sem-unfancy-quote/sem-unfancy-quote.php on line 55
<br /> <b>Strict Standards</b>: call_user_func_array() expects parameter 1 to be a valid callback, non-static method unfancy_quote::strip_quotes() should not be called statically in <b>/home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-includes/plugin.php</b> on line <b>166</b><br /> Martin Gordon's Blog / 2006 / May

Where's Bluetooth? MS's Wireless Desktop for Mac

Microsoft announced today their first keyboard/mouse combo designed especially for the Mac, the Wireless Laser Desktop for Mac. From what I've seen on the spec page, the combo uses an RF signal to communicate with the devices. Now that every Mac ships with built-in Bluetooth (and has had it optional for a long time), why not use Bluetooth? With the proprietary dongle you lose a USB port and you have at least one cable coming out of your machine. Bluetooth eliminates both of these problems (though a dongle/charger is useful for charging the mouse) but Microsoft went for the easiest way of getting into the Apple Stores instead of giving customers something really useful.

As someone who has been using a Logitech MX900 for the past two years, I'm surprised neither Logitech nor Microsoft have come out with a true replacement for it yet. My MX900 is pretty beat up from sitting at the bottom of my backpack on many trips and it recently lost a button due to some tinkering. What's out there to replace it? There are plenty of Bluetooth mice out there (most of them travel-sized, though), but none of them have a charger base! Until one comes along, I'll stick with my banged and bruised MX900 for the PowerBook and the nice but corded Mighty Mouse on the iMac.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Cog Audio Player (for SHN, FLAC and others)

The DMB summer tour starts tomorrow and so does 60GB of FLAC and SHN concert downloads over the summer. On Windows, there are WinAmp plugins for playing SHN and FLAC files, but on the Mac we've been stuck with the now-defunct MacAmp Lite. I've always had problems getting it to play one format or the other and now with an Intel Mac, it being a PowerPC-only binary makes it undesirable to use.

On a quest to solve this little problem, I stumbled across Cog, an open source player for Mac OS X which will play strange formats like Ogg Vorbis and Monkey Audio as well as the usual MP3/AAC/WAV/AIFF and of course, SHN and FLAC.

Best of all, Cog is available as a Universal Binary, meaning that it will run natively on Intel Macs. While playing FLAC and SHN, I've found that Cog uses up less than 10% CPU.

Cog is in constant development, as apparent from their news and recent updates sections, so expect lots of great improvement as time goes on.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , ,

What's Up?

Hey everyone, long time no post. I've been really busy this past week. During the day I'm at work as an equity systems intern at DuPont Capital Management and at night I was busy moving out of the West End and into the fraternity house, where I'll be for a week until our new lease starts on the 1st. And finally, I bought a 17" iMac Core Duo so I've been busy playing around with that as well. Suffice to say that those three haven't left me much time for posting.

Now that I'm done moving furniture and boxes and my iMac is set up for the most part (waiting on a gig of RAM), I'm back. I don't know if I'll be able to post as frequently as I did last summer because I don't think I'll have much time to surf around scouring for post ideas and news.

Work so far has been alright. I have to be there at 8, so I'm out of here by 7:30. I thought it was going to be terrible waking up so early, but once I adjusted my sleep schedule, it was alright. I prefer working 8-5 rather than 9-6 because I can stretch the morning out to 5 hours and then the afternoon slump doesn't have much time to kick in. I've been mostly programming Excel/VBA macros to format data and now I'm starting to work on another macro that will automatically create charts from data pulled from FactSet, a financial data/research application.

The iMac has been spectacular so far. I was choosing between the iMac and both MacBooks to replace/supplment my aging Aluminum 1.25GHz PowerBook. I decided on the iMac, at least for the time being, because I'm not too sure I'll need portability over the summer. Once school starts I'll re-evaluate and possibly sell the iMac and get a Merom MacBook Pro. The MacBook was out because of the lack of dedicated graphics and the premium of $500+ for the MacBook Pro with specs similar to the iMac (not to mention the heat and whine issues) disqualified the MacBook Pro as well. Even with just 512MB of RAM, everything seems to be faster than my PowerBook with 1.5GB RAM. The iSight and FrontRow are welcome additions and while I don't think I'll use them every day, having them there when I do need them is a plus.

I'm thinking that a 30GB BootCamp partition (for gaming) and an 8GB Parallels VM (for apps I might want to run but don't want to restart for) will be good as a Windows solution. As per my last post, I've downloaded Office 2007 as part of the public beta program. I haven't had much use for it yet (and running it inside Parallels with only 128MB RAM dedicated to it was painful) so I haven't had a chance to take it for an in-depth test drive. The little I have used of it, however, I've been really impressed with. As someone who has spent a lot of time using previous versions of Office, I've gotten pretty used to the old-style toolbar and don't have much trouble finding the right button to push to do what I want. After using the Ribbon, I don't know how I'll ever be able to go back. Microsoft definitely got it right with this. Live previews are excellent and the larger buttons are much easier to hit as well. Bravo, Microsoft.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Testing Office 2007

Hello. I am writing from Office 2007 Beta 2 inside Parallels Workstation.

EDIT: It didn't get the time right. It posted the time as 11/29/99 19:00 :(

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Tip: ABC.com Shows in Quasi-Full Screen

I only watched an hour of the Desperate Housewives last night and forgot to set it to download this morning. Instead of waiting hours for it to download tonight, I decided to take ABC.com's online streaming out for a spin. I tried it out right when it came out but the site was so bogged down that I couldn't get through 5 minutes of an episode. This time, things went without a hitch, except for the fact that the player window is a bit small.

The ABC.com stream only offers something like a 700 x 400 pixel window but I quickly fixed that by turning on OS X's universal access features zoom functions. Cmd + Option + 8 toggles the zoom on and off and Cmd + Option + = and Cmd + Option + - zooms in and out. Unless you like staring at your mouse cursor for 40 minutes, go into the zoom options and click "Only when the pointer reaches an edge".

I'm sure one could accomplish the same thing using Windows' magnification feature, but without a Windows machine present I can't provide detailed instructions.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,

MacBook Thoughts

I went out the week old Suburban Square Apple Store in Ardmore today and got a chance to play around with a MacBook. Here are my impressions:

I naturally gravitated toward the black models. The white one seems too iBook-y while the black ones look really slick. The black model didn't feel like a consumer notebook like the white ones did. That said, I don't really see myself paying the extra $150 for the black finish.

The screen is absolutely gorgeous. The glossiness and high DPI made it look better than the 17" iMac that was directly behind the MacBook I was playing with. The screen isn't as reflective as those I've have seen on PC notebooks, but that may just be the difference in lighting between the Apple Store and Best Buy et al. Even still, I found it difficult to "create" reflections by rotating the MacBook towards a light source. The viewing angle is pretty good and I didn't notice any color distortion from angled viewing like I do on my PowerBook. My only complaint is that it the 1280×800 resolution feels "squished" vertically.

The machines are fast. All of the 2GHz models I played with were loaded with 2GB of RAM and they were extremely snappy. They played 1080p trailers without stuttering and I was impressed that Exposé worked fine while the trailers were playing. The integrated graphics work fine for anything OS X throws at it except for games. I'm not sure that the GMA 950 is supported by Vista's Aero Glass interface, so that's definitely something to look into if you want all the UI niceties that Vista will offer.

The MacBook isn't in the same portability class as its 12" predecessors. These clock in at 5.2 lbs, .4 lbs lighter than the MacBook Pro. Taking into account the fact that they come in a smaller package, they are denser and actually felt heavier than the MacBook Pros. I noticed that the MacBooks are heavier hinge-side, so it felt lighter when holding hinge-side as opposed to latch-side with one hand.

This is a wonderful little machine and I would have picked one up had it discrete graphics. For those not wanting to play games on it, however, the MacBook is a worthy iBook replacement and competes well with other manufacturer's offerings. Anyone looking for serious power is no longer relegated to the desktop or to a larger notebook.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , ,

New Super Mario Bros. First Impressions

nsmb.jpg

I just picked up New Super Mario Bros. for the Nintendo DS and have been playing it for about an hour and a half now. It'sbeen the longest gaming session I've had since I played the World of Warcraft trial last November, so that should say something.

Difficulty

Notwithstanding, I'm already on the first castle of the second level in the game and have 29 lives (coins are way too abundant). I've also collected all the star coins in the first world (of which there are 3 per level; most on my first run through the level). I haven't had to try any of the boss battles more than once. Bowser Jr. is easy to kill with fire and one jump; the Bowser Sr. "battle" is the classic Mario Bros battle where you have to drop the bridge. The game is way too easy, at least up until now.

Music

The music is good, but I haven't put in enough time in the game to really have it stick in my mind. The Super Mario Sunshine music wasn't that catchy either. And maybe it's because I've put in way more time into Mario 64, but I know that music a lot better. The classic underground music is still present, but I wish they included more of the traditional Mushroom Kingdom music in the first world to get the nostalgia flowing.

Controls

The controls are standard Mario controls, but "run" has turned into "dash" which takes some getting used to. The main difference is that Mario doesn't speed up right away, you need to get some distance to pick up speed. Not much else to be said here.

Powerups

The new powerups are too gimmicky, in my opinion. The mega mushroom is a flashier invincibility star, and you get 1-ups after it runs out depending on how much damage is done. The mini mushroom is only useful to get into the smaller pipes, it doesn't have much other in-game utility. I haven't really figured out what the blue shell is useful for since a butt stomp can be used to open blocks on the ground where shells used to be needed. I find myself going back to the fire flower time and again since there's nothing better to use (where's my flying powerup?).

Conclusion

I can't say I'm too impressed with the game thus far. Maybe the level design will get more interesting and the game harder later on. If the rest of the game is like the first world and a half, I'll be sorely disappointed. I'll have more later as I continue playing.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,

Apple Announces MacBooks

Apple announced today the successor to the iBook and 12" PowerBook, the MacBook. The MacBook sports a 13.3" 1280×800 glossy screen powered by Intel GMA950 Integrated Graphics, either a Core Duo 1.83GHz or 2.0GHz processor and a 5,400rpm 60-120GB hard drive (up from the 4,200rpm drives of the iBook). For the first time in a while, Apple offers a choice of colors on the MacBook, with the 2GHz MacBook coming in both black and white. After upgrading the specs on the white version to match those on the black version, however, puts the black MacBook at $150 more. The MacBook also got a lot of the new MacBook Pro amenties as well, including the integrated iSight, FrontRow and Remote, and MagSafe. In addition, Apple has added Line-In and the ability to drive dual-displays, two features that were noticably absent from the iBook but present in the PowerBook.

I was waiting to see what the new MacBooks would bring before replacing my Aluminum PowerBook, and the killer feature keeping me from getting one of these over the MBP is the built-in graphics. If they had thrown in a Radeon X1300 or similar, I would be all over this, but I just can't bring myself to buy a machine without dedicated graphics. Judging by the similarity in specs between the MacBook and 15" MacBook Pro, it seems that screen size and graphics chip will be the distinguishing factor between the two lines, a real shame considering how much unmet demand (at least from me!) there is for a small but high-end notebook from Apple.

Apple also quietly bumped the MacBook Pro to 2GHz/2.16GHz and is giving the option of a glossy screen or the standard MBP screen. For those in the market for a MacBook Pro, I recommend picking up the refurb 2GHz model (unless you want the new glossy screen) over the bumped MBP. The refurb has 1GB RAM vs. 512MB, 256MB VRAM vs 128MB, and a 100GB hard drive vs. 80GB all for the same price.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Behind The Scenes of MySpace, Windows, and OS X

The first tidbit belongs to Joel Martinez of Community MX, who has posted Part 1 of his Deconstructing MySpace series on what goes on behind the scenes at MySpace (albeit from an outsider's perspective) and how to build your own social networking app. This first part focuses on setting up the database that will drive the application and future installments will focus on other details of implementation.

The second piece comes from Luke Wrobleski's notes on a SxSW 2006 panel entitled, "Behind the Scenes: Developing OS X and Longhorn". What struck me most about the two operating systems was that Windows development appears to be more democratic in the sense that multiple people decide what goes in and what doesn't. At Apple, it was Steve's way or the highway. I suppose that may have to do with Apple being a smaller company, but with every decision going through Steve, it would seem like OS X would turn out to be a lot smaller than Windows, but it feels on par with it (in the most general sense).

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

College Blogs Mini-Roundup

In the past few days, I've discovered several "real" blogs (i.e., not LiveJournal, angsty-type jobs) run by college kids. I think they each provide valuable content for their target niche and provide a younger perspective on their chosen topics. Here they are:

  • Student PR by Chris Clarke of Fanshawe College in London, Ontario, Canada
  • College v2 by Sean Blanda of Temple University in Philadelphia, PA.
  • College Startup by Ben Bleikamp of The Ohio State University in Columbus, OH.

I don't think I've ever come across so many college bloggers in such a short time, and I'm astounded by it. While I have by no means contacted these guys about starting or joining some kind of network, Sean of College v2 has already taken steps to starting such a network.

On a side note, I also need to stop breaking the cardinal rule of blogging and put up an About page before I actually finish college.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,