@2degreesmobile just moved to prepay plus and carryover minute combo - how do you find out how many talk minutes you have left?
After a 2 year hiatus from writing a review of Mac software (due to being under a "non-compete" with the sale of my Mac and iPhone websites) I was keen to get stuck in to try CleanMyMac 2.0 from MacPaw. I'm generally not a fan of commercial applications designed to check the state of my Mac and I am certainly not a fan of some companies that saturate the web with advertising trying to get us to buy these types of applications. But MacPaw isn't the guilty party in this instance and the software looked impressive when I first spotted the announcement.
There are in fact many free alternatives out there to products like this, but they come in varied forms of user-friendliness and functionality. At the same time, many of these applications launch scripts or commands that you could take time to learn and execute yourself...but with CMM2 and in particular it's promise to clean up iPhoto libraries and look for large unused files, I bought a license before even trialling it. That decision was partly due to the half-price launch sale (the software usually sells for $40 USD), but also due to the great exchange rate at the time. I was also intrigued to see that the application had an "Uninstaller" feature (to help you remove other applications cleanly) and the intriguingly named "Extensions Manager", which I was keen to look at and see if it had any similarities to what we used to have within Mac OS 9 and earlier.
Please note this is not a review and is not intended as a guide in any way shape or form...it's just some random notes on things I discovered whilst getting ready to install Mountain Lion and on starting to use it.
1. You should look at this page on How to Make a Bootable OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion USB Install Drive or look at this application (Lion Disk Maker) before you install Mountain Lion. I prefer to have a DVD of each OS to keep and so first tried Lion Disk Maker but it failed to function (note, it was a release candidate version of the app and appears to have had one update since I tried) so I ended up taking the more hands-on approach to burn a DVD. You'll need a dual layer (8Gb) DVD and be warned that the DVD is very slow to boot up once you create it...so you might want to consider the USB stick approach instead.
2. Screen Casts Online has created a superb free to view tutorial about Installing OS X Mountain Lion that I urge you to watch before hand
3. As always, Ars Technica has an incredibly detailed review of Mountain Lion. Interestingly, the author has also posted details on other ways you can view the review and support him and the site. The ePub version is a massive 117 pages long and worth every cent!
4. Roaring Apps have also updated their superb Application Compatibility Chart
5. If you really want to keep up-to-date with all your software, I recommend the superb AppFresh for checking if there are updates available to software. It seems to catch more updates than CNET's TechTracker, although both sometimes show inaccurate updates. AppFresh has just turned commercial it would seem and is for sale at $9.99 USD at the moment....I think that's a bit much, but the exchange rate makes it great at the moment.
In 2009 I got the opportunity to spend a week at Adobe HQ as part of a Summer Institute for Adobe Education Leaders from around the world. It was a real honour to have been appointed the first Adobe Higher Education Leader in New Zealand and to be invited to their Summer Institute in San Jose. It was a fantastic week and a great opportunity to meet a lot of exceptionally talented people...both within Adobe and from the Adobe Education Leaders community. We were exceptionally well looked after and got to learn a lot about forthcoming releases from Adobe, as well as it being an opportunity for Adobe to listen to us about suggestions for future projects and how to support the education sector worldwide.
I did however come away with two frustrations - Firstly, I felt that Adobe didn't really appreciate the significance of the Moodle open source Learning Management System in the education sector, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region1. With the greatest respect to Adobe, I would say that I still don't think they have fully understood its importance within the e-Learning community. Secondly, at the end of a presentation and discussion about the next version of Adobe Connect, we moved on to a discussion about Adobe Captivate...and in particular, how many in the room felt that there was a need for a simplified version of Adobe Captivate...an "Adobe Captivate Lite" if you will, or as I outline here, a suggested Adobe Captivate Elements.
The reason I say this is that I believe that there is still the need for such an application and my reasoning stays much the same as it was in 2009. I shared some of that reasoning with the two Adobe staff immediately after the discussion had taken place at Adobe HQ and it goes along the lines of this....Adobe Captivate was (and is) a very powerful application that has tremendous use in the eLearning community. But it is an application that I don't often recommend depending upon the needs of the people that I am talking to. In many case, I recommend alternatives, despite Captivate being an absolutely superb product2.
Saturday October 1
I realised yesterday that it is almost two months since I started using the Orcon Genius. The fact that I have written little about it below in that time, and that I haven't really noticed I've been living with the system, speaks volumes I think. I've been with Orcon for some time, but I don't know if it is the fact I have a new router more or less set up for me by Orcon, or whether that I simply have a new hardware item in the house (although my previous router was great), but I have been very impressed.
That said, there are still some quirks that I have experienced and I think Orcon need to do more for their customers at the time that they first come on board with the Genius. I said early on that in the first email I got confirming my order, there was no detail as to what I had actually signed up for. I commented at the time that I really hated call waiting, and now I suspect I didn't sign up for it...but finding whether that is true or not has been more of a challenge than it should have been. There should have simply been a "Here's what you've ordered" email delivered immediately, followed up by a "Here's how to use each of these things" at the time I went live. Getting a response from Orcon by posting criticism on Twitter isn't a way I like to work (but it gets the response needed) and not how Orcon should be working. Their Help Desk needs to become more responsive!
The only other criticism is a minor one, and that's living with VOIP. I've said previously that I've worked in a couple of organisations with VOIP phones and in those organisations you can really tell the difference in quality between someone calling you on a VOIP phone and someone making a traditional call. I've not experienced any drop in quality with Orcon...in fact I've had some of the clearest phone conversations I have had in a long time. But with all VOIP systems there is that potential for that millisecond of delay between people (especially when you interrupt what the other person is saying) and I do notice that occasionally. I certainly did notice it when a friend called from the UK on another VOIP system. But it's not enough to be frustrating, and it's not enough to make me want to stop using the Genius. I'm saving money and I'm sold on it.
I see they are putting the price up in the next couple of days, so I suspect that if you're interested in the Genius, this weekend is probably a good time to sign up!
What follows is a couple of things I noted down over the past two months...