Archive for December, 2009

iTunes ‘remove duplicates’ feature – is it any use?

December 26th, 2009 2 comments

iTunesIconOn the face of it, the iTunes ‘remove duplicates’ feature sounds like a great idea as you may well have the same track on an artist’s album, a greatest hits album and a ‘various’ compilation album and this is needlessly taking up space on your hard drive. Unfortunately, the feature is rather crude as using it means that two of your albums will now be missing tracks when you come to listen to them as an album (yes people still do that sometimes).

A much more intelligent functionality (Apple please consider implementing this) would be for iTunes to discard two of the files (thereby saving space) but re-link the remaining file to all occurrences of that track in your library. Without this, the feature is next to useless.

Facebook privacy changes mean less privacy

December 10th, 2009 No comments

Facebook ProfileFacebook have made some long awaited changes to privacy settings, but while some are welcomed, they have completely dropped the ball on what they term Publicly available information. The EFF has more details here.

Profile pic no longer private

Whereas previously you could limit the visibility of both your profile picture and your friend list to your friends, this is no longer the case and anyone can see them. There doesn’t seem to be a workaround for the profile picture cock-up, so I have changed my facebook profile pic to the image shown on the right. Feel free to borrow it.

Friends List

While you can’t differentiate between friends and non-friends, you can change your profile not to show your friends list. Obviously this also removes this list for your friends. See this picture already posted by Phil VdG.

#friends #privacy on #facebook > #workaround to recent FB #se... on Twitpic

Printer Driver and Office Software

December 6th, 2009 No comments

hp_100As many will know, Snow Leopard changed the way printer drivers work in Mac OS X and Hewlett Packard decided to class several printers as obsolete, even though those involved are anything but. No doubt they’d rather you spend unnecessary money on a replacement HP printer; a strategy that may backfire if the sentiments in several forums is anything to go by.

Owning a perfectly serviceable Deskjet 995C, I found myself in this situation, however Apple had provided a fall-back in the shape of Gutenprint drivers, or so I thought. While the Gutenprint drivers are adequate, although slow, for printing letters or line-art, they are completely useless for photographs. The prints are washed out and no amount of tinkering with driver settings will fix it.

One step forward, two steps back

I had almost resigned myself to buying another printer when I decided to try the HPIJS drivers. You need to ensure you download and install all three packages (HPIJS, Foomatic-RIP and Ghostscript). Success, I could once again print photographs, but suddenly all my Microsoft Office v.X applications (Word, Excel and Powerpoint) crashed on startup.

officeI removed the new printer drivers but Office still crashed.
I checked for any Office updates and found I wasn’t quite running the latest version. Unfortunately, trying to run the updater resulted in a hung installer.
I tried using Time Machine to revert to a pre-HPIJS version of the Office folder but Office still crashed.
Even removing Office and re-installing from the original Office CD resulted in applications crashing.

I started to look at my options:
Microsoft have finally seen sense and realised that home users shouldn’t have to pay the ridiculous £400 for Office and have a Home/Student edition for around £70 but the latest version appears from the reviews to be unstable bloatware, so I have gone down three roads: I have downloaded and installed the free OpenOffice and I have also downloaded the one-month trial version of Apple’s iWork (around £60) and the one-month trial of Microsoft Office 2008.

The advantage of OpenOffice (apart from being free) is that it opens and saves MS Office documents directly whereas iWork has to ‘Save As’ in Office format for compatibility and still wants to save in iWork format; you don’t seem to be able to tell it to default to MS Office format; iWork on the other hand seems more intuitive but will involve a learning curve.

I think a new printer may have been cheaper and less hassle.