Even if you have money to burn…

I know I’m opening myself up to a flame war here but I’m going to come right out and say it; the Mac is just not worth the money, especially if you do most of your work in the cloud.

There was a time when the Mac was demonstrably better at some tasks than others and that’s why is used it as my primary platform for 15 years. Heck, I even worked for Apple for 3 years I believed in the product and company so much!

These days though, in my work as an internet consultant, I use Mac, Windows AND Ubuntu and I am fluent in all three. I see no perceptible value in using Mac over the other two; in fact, it’s more the other way around. I like my 64bit Windows 7 machine but as Windows 8 [which appears to be another Vista to me] grabs more desktop real estate, I’m spending more and more time honing my Linux skills. After all, the Ubuntu operating system offers many of the benefits of a Linux or UNIX based operating system that looks good, but it uses inexpensive Windows hardware – the best of all possible worlds! Especially if all you’re doing is using the internet…

Right now, I think the best combination of hardware and software for business blogging is a Windows 7 computer although that may change soon. No matter what, however, you won’t find me paying for a new Mac – I don’t need the industrial design when I’m just looking at a monitor they’re just not worth the cost especially when Firefox, Chrome and Safari run on all of the major computing platforms! Questions? Feedback?


Tux, as originally drawn by Larry Ewing
Image via Wikipedia

“Last week Lenovo lent me one of its X61 ThinkPad laptops so that I could give Ubuntu Linux a try. Having had a bad experience with Novell’s SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop a few years ago, I had sworn off desktop Linux and determined not to return.

A week into a new trial with Ubuntu Linux, however, it’s clear that desktop Linux has come a long way. I found it extremely easy to use, including when I had to install a program (Skype) that wasn’t included in the supported applications list. This is an operating system that my grandma could (and, in fact, did) use.

This isn’t to say that my week with Ubuntu Linux was uneventful. I had a few struggles, which I’ll detail below. These struggles, however, were almost entirely due to running Ubuntu on unsupported hardware, and not any fault of Ubuntu (or Linux) itself.” Click here to read the full article online…

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase
Tweet a lot?

Integrated pictures, keyboard shortcuts, a decent way to track conversations and a slick new look. That’s what some users of Twitter found recently, and they were really happy. Twitter isn’t sure how long it will take to push these features out to everybody, but if you primarily use Twitter from a client such as Tweetdeck or Gwibber you may have access and not know it. 

We at MakeUseOf don’t hide our love for Twitter. You can find the entire MakeUseOf staff on Twitter, and most of us are pretty active there.

Our articles about Twitter, though, largely revolve around ways to avoid going to the site altogether.

For example, I recently pointed out five Linux Twitter clients you’ve probably never heard of and Steve recommended you use Seesmic Desktop 2 as your Twitter client. The new Twitter might convince people like us to stop using a client and use Twitter directly. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of the new Twitter, as compared to desktop clients.

Personally, I’ve been stuck on HootSuite for over a year because it gives me powerful Twitter management tools and more; the ability to monitor other social media accounts and post across platforms. It’s nice that Twitter finally got their act together on their end user side, but imho they should spend more time getting their act together on the server side. btw, I like Seesmic Desktop 2 as well, but HootSuite, being a web app, is always ready for me on any platform. If you’re interested in mastering Twitter, give HootSuite a try…

Official Ubuntu circle with wordmark. Replace ...
Image via Wikipedia

“The VAR Guy was flipping though his Sunday morning paper when he spotted an article about Ubuntu Linux. He took a few more sips of coffee to perk up and make sure his eyes weren’t deceiving him. Sure enough, Ubuntu had made the leap into the mainstream media — earning coverage in Newsday, the eight largest newspaper in the nation. Has Ubuntu reached its tipping point with consumers?

Newsday’s Personal Technology column includes a question from a reader who intends to purchase a Dell Inspiron 1525 laptop with Ubuntu preloaded. Sweet. The VAR Guy already has a Dell Ubuntu desktop, and also is looking at an Ubuntu laptop.

Newsday’s columnist walks the readers through some potential issues related to Ubuntu (scan down toward the middle of this Newsday page). But overall, letters like this reinforce an undeniable truth: Ubuntu is quietly becoming a mainstream phenomena.” Click here to read more…

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The beautiful view from my deck in rural northeast Wisconsin is a great reminder of the power I have to publish and promote; from anywhere to the ends of the internet!

I’ve worked hard to develop a simple blogging workflow that can empower even the most basic computer user. I don’t care if you’re Mac, Windows, Linux, or even Smartphone or iPad — my practical, tactical approach to social media can help  you publish and promote your passion whatever it might be. But “Wah!”, you might say, “I don’t want to learn anything new!” Can you send an email? Can you save a bookmark? Then I can teach you how you can leverage social media to help establish your thought leadership position…

We’re now in an unparalleled time in history where everyone has the power to publish — the question is, will you take advantage of it? I post here every day, day after day, the best of the insight God has given me into leveraging these new media tools. If it makes sense to you, use it, great! If not you know the drill — comment, call or contact me and I’ll be happy to net it out for you!

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Image via CrunchBase

I write frequently about my disdain [hatred is too strong a word] for Microsoft and their evil licensing practices and my newfound love for Ubuntu. Over the weekend, the two final barriers to moving ‘full time’ to Ubuntu were removed. I wrote about one last night — VirtualBox allows you to run Windows seamlessly inside Ubuntu for the application or two you just can’t do without. The last remaining app I needed was a text expander like Texter for Windows or Text Expander for Mac that takes blocks of text and reduces them to keystroke combos. Lifehacker puts it this way…

“You write some blocks of text over and over. “My address is …” for example, or addresses you enter frequently into mapping web sites, or a list of email addresses. Text expansion tools instantly write those blocks for you when you write a trigger word, and are smart enough to auto-insert dates, text you’ve just copied, and then move the cursor to where you’ll be. On Windows computers, your Lifehacker editors use Texter, while the Mac writers run TextExpander (your sole Linux stalwart is tinkering with AutoKey at the moment). Save yourself a few words at a time, and soon you’ll have freed yourself from hours of mechanical typing.” Source: Top 10 Productivity Basics Explained – Productivity – Lifehacker

So today I found Autokey and while it’s a different paradigm than As-U-Type which has been my Windows favorite for many years, it shows great promise. Henceforth, I’ll be working on an experiment on my home computer to NEVER boot into my Windows partition. The transition is now as complete as it’s going to get for awhile. So long Windows — hello, Ubuntu!

btw, go to the source on the blockquoted article; the top 10 productivity basics post is priceless!

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ShareThis 101

The ShareThis User Experience from ShareThis on Vimeo

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I had a date with an old ‘flame’ this past week…

PowerBook G4
Image via Wikipedia

Not really — it just felt that way! David Sauter of Envano gave me a Powerbook G4 for a project we’re working on and it was the first time I had used a fast Mac running a current version of OS X. Ever…

I left the Mac back in 2002 — finally got that one job that insisted I move to Windows and left the platform. Prior to that, I had been a Mac user for 15 years — even worked 3 years for Apple — and I was a sold out Mac fanatic. Eventually, I had to leave my first computing love and I didn’t have a chance to look back until this week…

So how did it feel? Meh. That’s it, just meh! I wasn’t overcome by nostalgic feelings of love for my long lost platform and I didn’t get teary-eyed as I touched the keyboard again. Don’t get me wrong — Apple makes a nice notebook and OS X runs well. The big difference? Thanks to Apple’s success there are more hardware/software solutions available than when I worked at Apple during the dark ‘pre-Think Different’ days.

The one thing that make me really happy, though, was to see how well my current strategy of using tools that are cross platform Windows/Mac/Ubuntu is working. I’ve written recently about how for me, the hardware platform is becoming increasingly irrelevant — it’s all about how fast you can get into the ‘cloud’ and get your work done online! For me it’s all about Firefox and other free open source tools that are available for the price of a download. Here are some of the tools that I use and recommend:

You can grab the map and move it around or view it full screen. All of these tools work exceedingly well, run on Windows/Mac/Ubuntu, and are free. Free. And Ubuntu is a free operating system that runs Linux in a way that’s similar to Mac OS X.

The balance of power in the computing space is shifting and I’m glad that I made the move to the cloud and started using Ubuntu and free open source software. Contact me — I’ll be happy to talk with you about the impact this could have on you and your work…

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