Category Archives: Technology

Sometimes You Just Have to Give a Thing a Chance

Case in point: last November I wrote a rather disappointed review of Windows 8 (no Start button and no way to automatically boot into desktop mode). Well, a couple of months ago I came across a free program that puts the Start button back on the Windows 8 taskbar AND forces the computer to boot directly to desktop mode–you’re forced to look at the Metro layout for a mere two or three seconds before the desktop loads automatically. I tried this in combination with Windows 8–and Windows 8 is suddenly wonderful. Actually, it’s a lot like Windows 7. So if you find you’re forced to put Windows 8 on a computer, don’t despair. Just visit http://windows8startbutton.com/ and download the free program. Please note that it also provides some other free programs like a media player and an internet browser, but those programs are easy to uninstall if you don’t want them.

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Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.

Yours truly has discovered how to create her own WordPress templates. The web will never be the same again.

Okay, you have some time before you have to cower in horror at my approach. I’ve only just started working on this, and it will probably take some time before any templates I design are ready to be launched, but still…the hour of your doom is approaching. *laughs evilly*

In the meantime, why not enjoy a random Les Miserables video? This one is a sing-off between Michael Ball (10th anniversary Marius) and Nick Jonas (25th anniversary Marius).

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I find the last note that Michael Ball lets loose to be pretty darn epic.

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Filed under Random Things of Randomness, Technology

I Have Returned! With Tales of Technological Intrigue!

Wow, I haven’t posted here in a very long time. I feel badly about that. But I am back now, and one of the tales I shall share with you today involves my brief experiments with Linux Ubuntu. For those of you who don’t know, Linux is an operating system platform that is primarily based on open-source software, unlike Windows or Mac machines that run expensive operating systems. Ubuntu is simply a variation on Linux.

The good news: open-source software means Ubuntu and other Linux operating systems are free. Yes, free.

The bad news: a program you use every day on your Windows computer probably won’t work in Linux, and the substitutes are not always of as high a caliber. This was one of my frustrations when I experimented with Linux Ubuntu by installing it as a dual-boot operating system on my computer a few weeks ago. Yes, the substitutes often work very well, but usually they just don’t have the same useful features as their Windows (or Mac) counterparts.

Something else that frustrated me was how difficult basic maintenance tasks were. Most of them had to be run from the command terminal–not that I am complaining about that part; my very first computer was pretty much solely command-line interface, but it was at least easy to find out which commands did what. With Ubuntu, I had to dig through support forum posts to find answers to what should have been easy questions. What’s laughable about this is that a lot of people brag about how user-friendly Ubuntu is! Personally I think the techie people rave about Ubuntu so they can feel smug and superior to Windows and Mac users.

I have removed Ubuntu now and am back to just plain ol’ Windows 7. And I must say that Windows 7 is the best operating system that fits my needs.

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Filed under Reviews, Technology

A Review of My New MP3 Player, the Sansa Fuze+

I’ve been wanting to write this article for a few weeks but have kept forgetting to do so. Well, I’m remembering now. I wanted to give my impressions on using the SanDisk Sansa Fuze+, a portable media player, since it has received so many negative reviews out there in Internetland–rather unfairly, in my opinion.

I purchased the Fuze+ after several weeks of research spurred by the slow death of my old MP3 player, the Sansa Clip. It was a dogged little media player, but it only had 1 GB of memory, and it was almost out. Now I had been considering buying a new one since it was almost out of memory but hadn’t done much about it. That all changed the morning I turned it on and discovered it had deleted a couple of songs without being instructed to do so.

So I conducted research–boy, did I conduct research! I did so much research my brain almost turned to mush. The Fuze+ was one of the first possible replacements I found, and I was attracted to it because it had the same manufacturer as my Clip, and I knew SanDisk made quality MP3 players (really, I’d dropped the Clip numerous times only to have it still play afterwards. It was practically unkillable). However, I noticed that the Fuze+ had received a lot of negative reviews, so I was hesitant about purchasing it. After scads and scads of research, though, I finally decided to give it a try–and I love it. The sound quality is even better than on my Clip; battery life is nice and long, and the screen is incredibly crisp and detailed. I thought videos would be too small and blurry to see properly, but the display is amazing. Also, navigation is not as complicated as a lot of reviewers would have you believe. It’s actually pretty straightforward. It has the extra bonus of being able to play all sorts of audio files, even audiobooks, and the media converter, which you can download from the SanDisk site, makes video and picture conversions extremely easy. And did I mention it’s got a built-in FM radio?

So, to summarize, I firmly believe my Sansa Fuze+ is every bit as good as any of Apple’s iPod products, and it comes at a fraction of what Apple charges for its media players. If you’re ever in the market for a new media player, I definitely recommend you give a serious look at SanDisk’s products.

The Sansa Fuze+

The Sansa Fuze+ (courtesy of the Best Buy website)

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Filed under Reviews, Technology

Followup: A Brief Windows 8 Review

I managed to preview Windows 8 some time back, and my verdict is…no. Heck no.

Although the layout is great for smartphones and tablets, it looks terrible on a regular computer. Microsoft should have figured out a way to have it render differently on desktops/laptops or at least include an option to automatically boot into the desktop mode rather than going through the Metro layout.

Also…whose bright idea was it to get rid of the Start button!?

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Filed under National Blog Post Writing Month November 2012, Reviews, Technology

The Shiny New-Newness of Dreamweaver 6

Forgive me if this post sounds a little nerdy–well, a lot nerdy–but I couldn’t help myself. After recently upgrading my Adobe Creative Suite from 5.5 to 6, I was amazed with the new Dreamweaver features. So far it seems much easier to use than 5.5…or maybe I’ve finally gotten used to using Dreamweaver instead of Notepad++ to write web pages. Regardless, the feature that has me most excited is (drum roll please) fluid grid layouts. They’re this neat little feature that makes it possible to control how your page looks on a regular computer, a tablet, or a smartphone. Before this, you usually had to do some very unpleasant hand-coding to get your pages to render properly in all three devices (something at which I was never very good), or sometimes you had to build different sites for each device! Now, however, you just have to build one site, and the fluid grid layout will automatically adjust the page to fit the device! No more hair pulling! Yay!

…Wow, I just wrote a blog post about web design software. And I was scarily excited about it. That is kind of sad.

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Filed under Reviews, Technology

What I Want to be When I Grow Up

No matter how old we are, we all wonder that. What do we want to do with our lives? Well, I think I have made my main decision. As a Catholic, I believe that our purpose in life is to know, love, and serve God in this world and be happy with Him forever in the next (paraphrased from Baltimore Catechism), and that has always been my primary goal. However, I see where in accomplishing this I could fill a much-needed gap–to become the patron saint of web designers and computer programmers.

You see, web designers and computer programmers do not have many specially-designated saints to help with making the tech world go ’round. Oh, we have the likes of St. Isidore as the Patron Saint of the Internet itself and Blessed Titus Brandsma looking out for us bloggers (both of whom I’ve written about). And we’ve also got St. Thomas Aquinas as the Patron Saint of Scholars (one of them, anyway). But, to the best of my knowledge, we do not have a web designer or computer programmer actually canonized. This is a void that must be filled; who better than another coder–aside from God, Who knows all things–to understand the frustration over padding and alignment or maniacally running hands through hair, desperate to find just where the heck that bug in the program is (I’ve done this multiple times, especially when I took a computer programming class in college. I considered it a miracle that I had any hair left at the end of that semester).

So fear not, fellow coders! I’m doing my best to get to Heaven in part so I can help you. You might have a while to wait, though. Just sit tight and ask St. Isidore for help.

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