A Few Technical Notes

A few notes on personal technology, for all three of you out there who care about this stuff:

1. Though I’ve been a vocal proponent of Bloglines (the Web-based RSS feed reader) in the past, I switched to Google Reader a few months back. In short: Google Reader is to Bloglines as Gmail is to Yahoo Mail/Hotmail/AOL.

2. I really like the FireFox add-on called Download Statusbar.

3. CheckBook is an excellent personal finance management application. (Sorry, PC users — it’s Mac-only.) It’s not as robust as applications like Quicken, but that’s okay with me.

4. I’ve mentioned On the Job before, but let me just say it again: It’s an incredibly useful time tracking/invoicing application. (Again, this one’s only available to Mac geeks.)

5. I recently purchased an external hard drive so that I can start doing full-system backups in case my computer’s internal drive fails. (I’ve always done backups of my most critical files, but I want a full-system backup in case the unthinkable happens.)

Unfortunately, I didn’t know that SuperDuper, the (similarly Mac-only) backup program that folks in the know really like, only works with Firewire. My external hard drive only connects via USB. Nevertheless, I found Deja Vu, which seems pretty good so far.

6. Mac For Beginners offers a number of helpful, plain-English tutorials for folks who’re just getting used to OSX.

7. And finally, here’s an amusing rant for those of you who are sick of my Mac fixation. Charlie Brooker in The Guardian: “I hate Macs”:

I hate Macs. I have always hated Macs. I hate people who use Macs. I even hate people who don’t use Macs but sometimes wish they did. Macs are glorified Fisher-Price activity centres for adults; computers for scaredy cats too nervous to learn how proper computers work; computers for people who earnestly believe in feng shui.

PCs are the ramshackle computers of the people. You can build your own from scratch, then customise it into oblivion. Sometimes you have to slap it to make it work properly, just like the Tardis (Doctor Who, incidentally, would definitely use a PC). PCs have charm; Macs ooze pretension. When I sit down to use a Mac, the first thing I think is, “I hate Macs”, and then I think, “Why has this rubbish aspirational ornament only got one mouse button?” Losing that second mouse button feels like losing a limb. If the ads were really honest, Webb would be standing there with one arm, struggling to open a packet of peanuts while Mitchell effortlessly tore his apart with both hands. But then, if the ads were really honest, Webb would be dressed in unbelievably po-faced avant-garde clothing with a gigantic glowing apple on his back. And instead of conducting a proper conversation, he would be repeatedly congratulating himself for looking so cool, and banging on about how he was going to use his new laptop to write a novel, without ever getting round to doing it, like a mediocre idiot.

If there’s one indictment of Macs that resounds with me, it’s that Dr. Who would certainly be a WinTel man…

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