Road to Mac V: Feeling happy


See also Part I, Part II, Part III and Part IV
August 13th

I have discovered wonderful thing today. I was experimenting with my PocketPC (Toshiba e830) and switched on Bluetooth. Mac discovered the device OK – all I had to do was to follow the wizard Setup Bluetooth device, under Bluetooth menulet (the strange B icon upper right). I have entered the code Mac suggested on PPC and they new about each other. What was really cool was that I found out how to access files on that device … but let’s step back a moment.

This was not my first attempt to use Bluetooth. On Thursday, when I had the Macbbok at work, and during lunchbreak, we have tried out to pair my RAZR phone with the Mac. It paired OK, but I was not able to see anything. What I was expecting was that the RAZR would somehow automagically show up in Finder or in Network – but it did not. Neither did the Toshiba, by the way.

What I did today differently was that I tried Browse Device from the Bluetooth menu. And there it was – I saw the subtree of the PocketPC, everything under ‘My Documents’. I managed to transfer files both ways like a charm.

Now I realized – maybe I can do the same with RAZR. And indeed I could. Selecting Browse actually starts the application ‘Bluetooth File Exchange’. The only trick with RAZR is to know where to look. It has 4 folders from the root:

• MMC(Removable)
• audio
• picture
• video

but the audio, picture and video are empty. You have to go into MMC, and there are another folders iTunes and mobile and the right place where to look for the images is in /MMC(Removable)/mobile/picture. I have created folder ‘Photo from Phone’ in documents, copied them there and imported with iPhoto. The added benefit is that the USB connection with my Fujitsu was always very very slow and unreliable – likely because of the RAZR issues. Using Bluetooth I can now copy images much faster, even if BT is not generally a speed devil 😉

Cool, isn’t it ?

Now I have another motivation why to clean up the mess on my pocket PC ‘My Documents’ – it seems to be useful extension of my Mac for off-line data entry …

I got setting up other communication channels than Bluetooth as well. After configuring Mail and sending few test emails, I installed Thunderbird + downloaded emails from GMail. Using Adium we had first chat on MSN with Gabo. Audium is very nice and unlike MSN Messenger, you can access several IM networks at the same time, like MSN, Yahoo, AIM, Jabber – to name just a few. Unfortunately, the voice support for MSN is not available incurrent version.

I also installed Skype . Works wonderfully, using just the build in microphone and speakers. Virtually no problems with echo. What is even better is to install Skype Beta with Video preview. That works perfectly with built-in inSight camera and you can have video conference with sound without any cables or peripherals sticking out, just with the Macbook, out of the box hardware.

I have finished reading Switching to Mac on Safari. It was worthwhile investment of time and energy. After overcoming basic teething problems, I must say I feel very comfortable in Mac environment. I really like the keyboard and instantaneous connectivity after waking up from sleep. The network connection is considerably more stable than on PC notebooks. I work a lot in Starbucks during evening and weekends. The battery life is very good – I can get from 3.5 to 4.5 hours (with WiFi off, depending on CPU load and brightness of the screen).

It is about time to start work on blogging. I have tested few offline blog client: Journler, ecto and Qumana. Journler seem to be nice journal program, perfectly suited for keeping private journal and daily log, with some blogging capabilities. Ecto is on the other hand primarily blog editor. What I still lack is better understanding and experience with blog platforms. For the beginning, I want to go with free hosting on some of the popular sites. I plan to to start evaluation with Blogger , then test out WordPress and eventually Livejournal .

After I do this, I will post these “back-blogs“, until now kept in pieces within various off-line tools: started with Journler, and continued with Writeroom and ecto. I really like Writeroom, but it does not let me insert links into text (unlike ecto). Interesting alternative to ecto is using Writely – new online editor owned by Google. It is now open for public registration and allows collaboration: you can ask extends access to any of your documents to selected people and collaborate. This seems to be the best option for processing the text initially drafted in Writeroom – for adding links, you need on-line connectivity anyway.