Archive for the ‘General’ Category

First Impressions of iPhoto ’09

January 28, 2009

Got my hands on iLife ’09 yesterday as Apple shipped it out 1 week ahead of the estimated delivery date.  Yes, Apple has a way of doing that with items purchased before they officially go on sale.  Good thing, I guess.

My main interest in iLife ’09 is actually iPhoto and it’s new support for Faces and Places.

With my family version, I installed it first on my laptop (MacBook Intel) with around 1,000 photos.  First, it updated my iPhoto library in about 60 seconds.  Next, I was able to immediately checkout events and photos like before with no problems.

I went into places and immediately started to tag several events that I had with the Places I had bee over the past year or so.  I don’t have a GPS camera, so I had to manually find the places and attach to the photos.  I give the Places an A+ so far.  Very easy to use.

Next, I clicked on the Faces tab and noticed that it was going through my entire library and trying to detect faces.  It took quite awhile with the 1,000 photos.  I didn’t time it, but I believe it ran for about an hour.  Not too bad.

One it had detected all the faces across my library, I was able to define some names with the faces.  This is a very easy process.  Took me only seconds to go into a photo of a family shot and immediately identify all the people in the photo with relative ease.  Then, for each person, I had it recommend other pictures with that individual.  Wow, Wow, Wow!  This was so easy and I was amazed at how accurate.  I was able to immediately find 50+ photos with a 100% hit rate.  Now, after I start exhausting all those photos, the hit rate tails off rapidly, but that’s because I got nearly all of them.

Now, the not so great part about iPhoto ’09 and Faces.  With my iMac (iMac G5) everything installed correctly and quickly.  The initial library update worked great.  But the initial face detection is VERY SLOW.  I started the process about 16 hours ago, and it is still estimating another 12 hours.  Now, I am trying to detect faces across ~32,000  photos.  Good thing is that it does allow me to do other thing in iPhoto, like find places, but WOW it is SLOOOOOWWWWW!

I’ll soon take a closer look at iMovie and the other components, but first I need to get my iPhoto back from taking up all the CPU.

That’s it for now…

iPhone – 2.0 firmware a winner!

July 10, 2008

Late this afternoon, I upgraded my 8GB iPhone (1st Generation) to the 2.0 firmware and was pleased with how easy the entire upgrade process was. For those out there upgrading, it’s important to update your iTunes to the latest release (7.7) and do a sync from your iPhone before you get the updates and upgrade the phone.

Once you begin the upgrade, it takes about 10 minutes to load it on, verify the load and then install the new firmware. After that, it’ll allow you to restore your backup from iTunes. After which your phone will boot saying that it’s been activated. That’s all!

I didn’t mess with it much at that moment, thought I might need some time to focus on the new features. While out at dinner, couldn’t help it. Pulled the phone out of my pocket and started to play around. One cool things I found out right away is that I could go to the app store over Edge and pull down apps. I started with AOL and eBay. In about 2-3 minutes, I was IMing folks and logging into my eBay account.

Picture 11Then, the KILLER APP, or should I say Blackberry Killer:

Push Email, Calendar and Contacts

Took me less than 1 minute to add my Exchange account and it asked what it’d like to push. I selected only Email and Calendar at this time. Went to my laptop, emailed my work email a new mail. In less than 30 seconds, my iPhone beeped with a new email. How cool is that?

As Apple’s site proclaims, “The best phone for business, Ever“.

I’ll try to post additional blogs on other things I see, good and bad. Enjoy this new update, and for those getting the new iPhone here in the states tomorrow morning, have a blast!

Now, I’m off to figure out MobileMe.

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Vonage and VPN Access

July 2, 2008

I’ve got an issue with my current VoIP service (Vonage) and am looking for a replacement or fix.

I have been using Vonage for several years now, am happy with the service, but as of a few months ago, I have a need to VPN in to my corporate network using a standard MS VPN service. Problem is, that my Vonage router (RT31P2) doesn’t support VPN through the router. I just got off the phone with Vonage support to find out that this router doesn’t in fact support it nor do they have one that does.

First of all, that’s really hard for me to believe they don’t support it through this device. The only option I have is to go from my Cable Modem to another Router, then to my Vonage router. This works great, until I’m on a phone call and decide to download something while on call. Voice quality is terrible with dropped packets.

So, it looks like my days of being a Vonage customer is long gone. Any thoughts on this? Curious as as to what others would recommend for a VoIP service.

Thanks in advance!

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Kudos to Starbucks!

June 26, 2008

Ok, after my previous post on GameStop’s “Bait and Switch” practice, I owe kudos do folks who do a great job. After all, good service these days is really hard to find sometimes.

StarBucksThis has actually happened many times. I often (yes, too often) stop in at a Starbucks for a quick coffee, especially when I’m waiting for my daughters dance or gym classes. The other night, I stopped in (Custer/Parker Plano, TX location) with my laptop looking forward to catching up on email, ordered a simple Coffee of the Day. They were currently brewing a pot and due to the immediate unavailability, they provided me that cup “on the house”. Wow! Without asking, they just refused to accept payment, even though I was in no rush and was happy to wait the short 5 min that it actually took.

My hats off to Starbucks for giving me an A++ experience.

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