Posts Tagged ‘computer’




My grandma needed help opening up Zip files so I was about to recommend Stuffit Expander.

Then I realized how much that is a bad piece of advice.

She would need to fill out a web form, respond to an e-mail, give her e-mail again and then download the file. After that she would get spam e-mails from them until the end of time.

Instead I recommended The Unarchiver. A simple download and I hope an easy solution to opening Zip files (and potentially others down the road).

Never again will I download Stuffit Expander based on the unending e-mails they are sending me.


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There are a lot of windows out there.

There are a lot of windows out there.

With my new fancy x86 process I went and installed Windows on my MacBook Pro. I was unsure of how I wanted to go about doing this and in the end found a good method.

First my needs: I wanted a system that could run Windows programs alongside OS X and I wanted to be able to boot into the system to play games (Fallout 3). I thought that I would have to make two installs, one through Boot Camp and the other through Parallels. To my fortune I found that Parallels can run a Boot Camp partition as a virtual machine while still allowing a person to boot into it when the need arises. I was set.

The only concern with this is that it sees it as new hardware every time the boot method changes, luckily there is a workaround through Parallels to avoid this.

I created a 32GB FAT32 partition through the Boot Camp assistant for my Windows XP install. The only tricky bit is that when the XP installer asks if you want to format the partition you must say yes. The install failed my first time through.

Booting into the fresh Windows install I used the OS X install DVD to get the drivers and some boot camp software. Those helped as my resolution jumped quite a bit and the trackpad started to work better (though not perfectly). First thing I did was run windows update and install AVG Free Edition. With those completed and running smoothly I switched back to OS X.

Now the moment of truth, I started up Parallels. It instantly recognized the Boot Camp partition and started to convert it to one parallels could use. After what seemed like an hour it was ready and I started the virtual machine up. I installed Parallels Tools just to make things easier. I then booted into Windows to check if it still worked, it did! So back to OS X and the virtual machine, I installed a line of basic (free) software every computer needs:

  • AVG Free Edition – Anti-Virus, fairly non-intrusive and runs well
  • VLC – Video player
  • iTunes – Music player and internet radio
  • Firefox – A web browser to use instead of Internet Explorer
  • Lavasoft Adaware – For removing ad-ware when things start slowing down
  • Flash – To play all of those addictive flash games
  • 7zip – Unarchive .rar, .zip and all of the various archive formats out there
  • ImgBurn – For burning CD’s and DVD’s
  • Dropbox – A good way to keep files synched between computers and OS’s.

With those installed happily I moved on to customizing the Windows install to get away from the blue theme with rolling grassy hills in the background. For this I relied entirely on the Lifehacker article on customization.

I should also mention that my Parallels Virtual Machine settings are:

  • Half the System RAW (2GB)
  • One processor (at 2.8 GHz)
  • Half the dedicated video RAM (256 MB)
  • Assigned to Space 4 (I use a 2 x 2 grid for Spaces)

In the end when I am in OS X this is what my Windows space looks like:

My Parallels window of Windows.

My Parallels window of Windows.

Overall I am very happy with how Windows is running on my new computer. Planescape: Torment runs well in Parallels and Fallout 3 runs superbly in Boot Camp. Eventually I will try some other games and other programs. Until then I will enjoy a smoothly running system.

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An HDR of the Goleta Dock from beneath.

An HDR of the Goleta Dock from beneath.

I found this site that gives a package of geektool scripts, one of them is a better uptime command then what I had before:

Old: uptime | awk ‘{print “UPTIME : ” $3 ” “$4″ ” $5 “”}’

New: uptime | awk ‘{print “Uptime : ” $3 ” ” $4 ” ” $5 }’ | sed -e ‘s/.$//g’

I run them with a refresh of 240.

On this site there is also some dark grey sidebar images to use as a platform for various commands. It shows several possible configurations of the command set. I like this sites current IP command but I don’t move networks often enough to warrant its use.

For some of the scripts to work they need to be edited for local ZIP code and for one your GMail password.

I just need to find a Geektool script that shows current network activity.

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A nice bucket of used paintbrushes.

A nice bucket of used paintbrushes.

Over the break I have found myself becoming addicted to NetHack.

I don’t know why but the game appeals to the fantasy RPG player in me combined with the subtlety of action that can feel lacking in modern games. Not to mention its brevity is a relief in comparison to other games.

My best run so far into the Dungeons of Doom has been to level five, where I believe I was killed by a shopkeeper.

The game has a lot to explore, especially if you do not read the manual or any of the instructions. It was not until the fifteenth game that I learned how to sell items. There is also an underlying though not overwhelming sense of humor.

The first time I played it I was a chaotic tourist, though I found that my favorite character has to be a wizard at the moment.

It is hard, unforgiving (no returning to past saves) and fun.

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