How I Became a Mac OS user

Years ago, I got tired of Windows for numerous reasons which I don’t have the time to elaborate in this post. Eventually, I switched to Linux. It was new, exciting, and the opportunity to learn something entirely different was fascinating to me. When Ubuntu Dapper Drake came along, I went all in. That was my desktop of choice for a very long time.

After each Ubuntu release, I worked hard to get everything working from the flash player, media, and just about every tool that I needed, just to get the desktop to function the way I wanted to. After several years of Ubuntu updates and fixing the desktop, I got tired of it. It was an exercise I really didn’t want to do every six months.

I switched to the Mac OS because it it’s based on BSD, a Unix variant, which is familiar to me. In some ways, I can get still get down and dirty using the Terminal if I wanted to. The Mac OS for the most part, is a very stable environment. And everything worked at get-go. I’ve been a Mac OS user ever since.

Goodbye to Lotus 1-2-3

I can’t believe Lotus 1-2-3 has been around for 30 years. Support has ended September 30. I learned how to use spreadsheets using Lotus 1-2-3. Using floppy drives, too. Good times. Think of all the formulas and macros you’ve created. Clearly, Lotus 1-2-3’s time has come and gone. It’s a remarkable success story. This has to be one of the most successful software ever written. In the first year, Lotus expected to sell about $1 million. It sold $54 million.

Windows 10

Microsoft is distancing itself from Windows 8 as much as possible, that they even skipped a version just to provide some cushion. Everyone was anticipating that the new version will be called Windows 9, but Microsoft just announced it will be releasing Windows 10 instead. Why no love for the number 9? Does this mean the Start menu is getting another makeover? By the way, it’s scheduled to release next spring.

Vending Machines with WiFi

BT Global Services and Coke are partnering to provide WiFi access on vending machines in rural parts of South Africa. Locals will be able to check their emails while being refreshed by Coke. Novel idea. Does it mean that “water cooler” talk will be replaced by “vending machine” talk? Probably not. I see a potential business here for others to provide an internet vending machine for tourists stuck in remote tourist spots.

Yahoo Mail is Down

Yahoo Mail is down. Again. It doesn’t happen often, but it does go down every once in a while. My experience with Yahoo Mail hasn’t been good. The mail interface is quite problematic. I often had to refresh the Yahoo Mail page every time it becomes unresponsive. I think it’s time to think about using another email service. Either start using a free service like GMail or perhaps running your own personal server. I’m leaning more towards running my own email server.

Online Purchases Will Only Increase

Online purchases are going to increase tremendously in the next few years as access to the web becomes ubiquitous via smartphones, tablets and traditional desktop systems. Recent demographic studies show that online purchases is not for Generation Xers only. It’s also popular among middle-age groups, the 35 to 45 and 45 to 55 year old groups.

When we think of e-commerce, we often associate it with the largest online retailers like Amazon, eBay and Alibaba. These are companies that primarily sell online goods and services over the internet and via the browser. The online shops are often called e-shop, e-store, web-shop, web-store, online store, online storefront, or virtual store.

While Amazon tend to sell everything, others online stores such as Home Depot, Best Buy, Frys, Bed Bath and Beyond are much more specialized. Home Depot sells things you normally find in a hardware store. Frys and Best Buy sells electronics. Meanwhile, Bed Bath and Beyond sells only household items.

If that wasn’t specialized enough, you’ll find just about anything you want online. If you want kites, there’s Into The Wind. If you want costumes, there’s Pure Costumes. If you want jewelry, Fusion Beads has quite a variety of beads online.

The shopping workflow typically starts with consumers browsing the virtual storefront. They see a product that they want, and they add it to their online shopping cart. The shopping carts are usually powered by some shopping cart software installed in the storefront. Once the consumer is done shopping, the checkout process can then begin. Products are sometimes shipped for free, or for a nominal or standard fixed fee.

Online shoppers usually pay via credit card or a Paypal account. Others stores also accept more traditional types of payment methods such as checks, money orders, cash on delivery or COD, debit cards, even Bitcoins.

One of the advantages of shopping online is convenience. It’s perfect for buying products that you’re already familiar with, and you’re comfortable with, ordering it online with actually seeing it or trying it out. Another advantage is online reviews. You can read about a product and how it’s rated by others who’ve purchased it. Another advantage is price. Sometimes online prices are cheaper, plus most of the times there are no sales taxes to deal with.

There are disadvantages as well. Make sure you’re shopping with a reputable store. Make sure the online stores are practicing safe and secure policies.

Online purchases are only going to accelerate in the future, as better methods and ways to shop online will become a reality.

32GB Flash Drive

I picked up one of these at Frys Electronics the other week. It’s USB 2.0 32GB Flash drive for just $25. What a bargain! It’s not quite as fast as USB 3.0 drive, but it’s fast enough for what I’ll be doing, just copying media files from one computer to another. It’s small and compact. I’ve attached mine to my key ring holder. I forget it’s even there sometimes.

Frys link

Purge Bloated Phone Apps

My two year commitment on phone is coming up in November. I’m about due for a phone upgrade. Six months ago, my phone started slowing down to a crawl. Not only that, I started exceeding my 300Mb limit. The extra fees was enough motivation for me to start uninstalling apps that were taking up CPU time and using large amounts of data. After purging the phone from the bloated apps, the phone went back to its old self. Lessons learned. Pay attention as to which app takes up CPU and data usage. Chances are, some of these apps can be accessed from your mobile browser.

Be careful when using Usermod

When adding an existing user to a group, be careful of using ‘usermod.’ If done incorrectly, you can remove a user from its existing groups. In my case, I used ‘usermod’ to add myself to the www-data group. Since I did it wrong, I lost ‘sudo’ access on the next reboot. I ended up booting up from a rescue CD and restoring /etc/groups. Thankfully, Ubuntu keeps a backup copy called /etc/groups-.

Wrong way:

sudo usermod -G www-data username

Correct way:

sudo usermod -a -G www-data username