Sunday, August 31, 2008


I have been tried to use iChat since I got my iMac. The problem is that I did not like to create .Mac trial account (I have to provide credit card information) or to create an AIM account since I have hotmail, yahoo mail and google mails. I have got enough emails. I don't think I need another email. Then I tried to use iChat without these account. I have never to get it working.

Then I choose other chat programs such as Adium for chat, and Skype for audio and vedio chatting. All these work fine.

I have watched iChat demo vedios and they are so impressive. Finally I give up on my ground on not new emails. I created AIM account today. Then iChat starts to working. I can share my screens with another user on Mac within my home network. For Windows users, I could start video chat! That's cool. I'll have to test to chat with a real user outside country to see if it is better than Skype or not.

It is so sad that I have to use AIM or .Mac accounts to make iChat working. I don't have too many people I know who use AIM account. I could ask some of them to install AIM chat application and to create an AIM account. That's really inconvenient because I could not add other yahoo or hotmail friends directly.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Mac Menus

Mac OS menus are always on the top. Depending on what application you use or is active, the menu changed dynamically. For example, by default, it is Finder's menu. If you open the Firefox application, then the Firefox's menu is on the top. I like this way to arrange the application's menu, and it saves some space in your application window. In Windows OS, the application's menu is always inside and on top of the application window. I think that the Max OS menu layout is better than Windows. You have to understand the way Mac OS displays menu.

Sometimes you may close your application window but your application may still running. It is just the application window which is closed. I was confused at the first since I use Witch which is a system tool to switch between applications by pressing some hot-keys (I use Alt-arrow down keys). To close the application with no windows, you can switch to the application and then press Command+Q.

I like the Mac's menu layout specially when I use Firefox with Vimperator addin. Vimperator automatically disables Firefox's menu. However, since Mac's menu is always on the top instead within the Firefox window, so the menu is always visible. In Windows, if I want to display the menu, I had to type :set go+=m each time(I could set menu visible permanently, but that takes some space in the window). In the Mac, I can access Firefox's menu on the top. Vimperator just cannot make the menu invisible.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Remote Desktop Connection to Windows

Still Windows is my favorite OS computer even I like Mac so much. There are some thing I still have to use Windows to my work.

Recently I moved all my Windows computer to one room, where there is one Ethernet cable. In order to make them accessible to Internet, I added one router to the Ethernet cable, then three Windows PCs are connected to the router. There is no problem to connection to Internet from any one of PCs. However, my previous Remote Desktop connection from Mac to Windows does not work any more. I just cannot connect to PCs behind a router. This is the same case I cannot connect directly from outside my home to my home PC or Mac. I guess I could do that if I open some ports on the router or configure my computer IP on the router as opened one. However, that's too complicated. If I could do it once, I don't think I can remember to do it again in case some thing is wrong again.

Finally, I found a solution. Instead of using a router, I use a switch box to make three PCs in the same LAN network as Mac. As a result, I can make remote connection again to the PC from my Mac. That's very simple. The switch box has 5 ports so I have two more available in one room. By using a switch box, it makes my local networking connection much easy and expendable. I also realize that there is no firewall feature in a switch box. That's OK in my local network since I don't need firewall to block sub-areas.

Screen Sharing and File Sharing

The next time is that I need talk to my iMac from MacBook Pro. I watched some demo video about screen sharing and Mac's AIrPort wireless feature.

Now it is time to really put my hands on. By default, the Sharing feature is off. I was not able to see another Mac computer first. I googled web to get some information. It is not so hard to do it. First you have to turn on Sharing feature from System Preperrence before doing any remote connection.

Then the sharing feature is available. There are many ways to do sharing. By using Ethernet cable, you can see another shared Mac right away from Finder. That's very secured sharing.

Now I am sitting at the backyard with only power cord, no Ethernet connection. I am using AirPort wireless connection to connect to my iMac. I am in a different account, iMac is actively in Admin. Then I can do Sharing Screening to my iMac. From there I can browse web and do my blog. That's really cool!

The only thing is that my MacBook Pro's screen resolution is not good enough in sharing screen mode, not as same as my local screen. By using AirPort wireless connection, I can remote access to my iMac in my house anywhere. By the way, I just discovered that if I turn the Scaling off from Screen Sharing's View menu, my screen is much nice, almost as same as my local screen. The only thing is that not all the items in one screen, and I have to scroll up and down to see other parts of my iMac's 24" screen. That's fine while I am doing my blog(since this is the only thing I am interested in and I am working on).

There are more about remote connection, such as sharing files, remote log in and remote control, etc. It is so convenient and easy to do in Mac. All these features are available just in OS. 

I have got a new MacBook Pro 15

I just got a new MacBook Pro 15" computer. It is a very nice one. The first thing I have to do is to do the installation on this one. I turned on the power and connected it with Ethernet cable. Then I have several options to install OS. One is from timeshare machine, one is from Disk and the one I was used is to use Ethernet connection since I have a iMac 24 computer already.

The installation takes a while to transferring files to my MacBook Pro. I think there are about 80GB. At the beginning it said about 11 hours! However, it went down very quickly. I think it took about 3-4 hours to complete the installation. I selected two accounts to transfer.

The nice thing about the installation is that I have the identical account settings and initial files installed in my MacBook Pro! I do remember Windows have to this kind of ability to do OS installation. You could us third party image program to do it, however, I doubt about installing OS on home computer. I remembered that I had to spend hours to install a blank Windows. Then I have to install my programs one by one and do a lots configuration work, days of work. It is so smooth in Mac'w world!

The next topic is about remoting connection or share screen features of Mac computer.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

iTune Lyrics and NeoOffice

I have some my favorite songs in my iTune's library. For those songs, I can find their lyrics from web. Then I tried to copy those lyrics to songs so that I can view them in my Visualizer Cover Version. This is a very nice add-in for iTune.

The only problem is that when I copy lyrics and paste them to a song, there always a empty line between lyric lines. I could remove them one by one. However, in my Windows Word, I can paste them there and replace empty lines by special characters ^p^p with one ^p.

The NeoOffice, which is free for Mac, has different replacement. In Find and Replace dialog window, check the Regular Expression options, then replace $^ with empty line. This will remove all the empty lines. I copy the lyrics back to iTune. Job is done! Actually, the Regular Expressions is more standard way, which is widely used in software programming. You can easily find out more about the Regular Expressions. It is very powerful.

By the way, to access to iTune song's infomration, press Command+I. You also paste graphics to the song. While I enjoy my songs, I can see my song's lyrics and graphics as background. In iPod or iTouch, they are also displayed. I like it very much!