BGM Conductor Update

Finally, I’m posting a BGM Conductor update that is compatible with Firefox In case you forgot, BGM Conductor is a Firefox extension that mutes background music when you want it to, and comes in handy if you’re like me and listen to your own music while browsing online. I’ve neglected this for awhile and thankfully in the meantime Limulus made the needed changes and posted a working version of the extension before I could.

In this update I’ve made it more separate from the orginial extension where this version was derived from so it won’t conflict with the orginial (just in case the orginial extension’s developer ever releases a new BGM Conductor version) and it will check for updates on my website as I find more annoying background music formats to block.

So, without further ado, download and install BGM Conductor (Firefox 1.5 Ready)

Google Earth for Mac, Mactels…

Google Earth: Burke Computer Solutions
Google Earth is now available for Macintosh! This is going to become something I will use all the time. If you have a Mac, go check it out…

So how about the new iMac and “MacBook”… I have no plans on spending my money on flocking to the new Macs for awhile, but they look nice… I wish I had one, especially because they can also run Windows… but I don’t really need it or have the money to. My mini works great for me anyway, and I’m running a dual-screen setup with Synergy (Mac on the left, XP on the right) I got cross-platform goodness already.

Macworld Keynote is Coming

Apple vs. Adobe
Macworld Expo really kicks off tomorrow… and the main event is Steve Jobs’ keynote at 11am local time (which is Central over here). Many have speculated what Jobs will announce during the event, including possible Intel-based Mac minis or Powerbooks (the former of which is more likely). Myself, I think an update to the ROKR phone is due, given the recent disappearance of the current phone from Motorola’s online store eariler today. Also set to be featured tomorrow is a public beta of Adobe’s Lightroom software, which is aimed to compete with Apple’s Aperture professional photography workflow software. Ars.Technica reported on the head-to-head matchup between the two titles, and, as the picture shows, possbily the two CEOs. Anyway, what’s cool about Lightroom is that it only requires a 1GHz G4 as opposed to a Dual 2GHz G5… so even I can get in on the photography editing action with my Mac mini. You can pick up the beta on Adobe’s website.

Regardless, it’s bound to be a cool event. So be sure to check out the live coverage tomorrow at 11am!

Apple Support Sucks

I’m sorry, but I am disgusted with Apple’s support of my computer. Now I like Apple, I have recommended them to others and have 3 in-use Apple computers in my house (among several idle ones). But I learned the hard way that they don’t really like supporting their in-warranty product for those who aren’t a stone’s throw away from an Apple Store.

Here’s my problem: I bought a Mac mini from the newly-opened St. Louis Galleria Apple Store in January. I’ve enjoyed it since then and it has been working well until recently: it now emits a very loud grinding noise whenever I attempt to use a CD. It honestly sounds like the little mini is about to explode. Even if I try such things like burning to a CD-R, the operation always hangs the computer about halfway and unplugging the mini is the only thing that can stop it.

Well, this problem occured within the 1 year warranty. So I’m covered, right? That’s what the Apple store rep told me when I bought it 11 months ago: simply call AppleCare and they will pay shipment both ways.

So I gave them a call today. I told them my problem and they informed me I no longer had phone support and attempted to charge me for it. After I explained that this was a problem covered under warranty because it was a hardware defect, they told me I must go to an Apple store and that I was “misinformed” by the St. Louis rep. Yeah, right. Like I can just drive to St. Louis anytime I want. “But that’s okay,” chimed the Apple rep, who informed me that there was a Apple rep at a CompUSA store that was just 85 miles away. Yeah, that’s so much closer than the 100 mile distance between me and St. Louis.

So I figured I might look into getting AppleCare to get the problem fixed and protect my computer in case something else goes wrong. Ed, the Apple rep, told me that was not an option for me either. They informed me that I lived 57 miles away from the nearest Apple technician and that was outside the strict 50 mile radius of coverage.

Thanks for nothing, Ed.

Besides, I can’t even afford to send my Apple off for repair even if it was free: I just accepted a web design project and I have to use Photoshop, among other things, to finish it. Still, I think Apple is behind competitors like Dell who would gladly hand me an RMA if my computer had a problem under warranty. That kind of service is almost expected… espicially from a quality company like Apple. It’s too bad Apple couldn’t live up to those expectations in this regard.

iPod video

This weekend I went to the St. Louis Galleria mall with my family. That was mostly boring… but I did get to head to the Apple store:

St. Louis Galleria Apple Store

Where was attracted to the new iPod with video… the screen looked huge compared to my mini I have now. My grandma eventually came in and asked if I wanted it for Christmas and decided to buy it there!

iPod video box

So now I have a new 30GB iPod! I took it out of the box to make sure it worked with my iCarPlay and played around with it awhile before surrenduring it until Christmas. I am really impressed with the iPod’s features and videos looks amazing on it: by using HandBrake I put a few DMB songs from their Central Park concert on it to see what the quality would be like and I’m impressed. It’s also a bit thinner (or at least looks thinner) than my iPod mini. I can now put all of my songs on my iPod… my old mini was running out of room on its 4GB disk. It’s pretty impressive. However, I am not too happy with how easy it scratches: I put it in my pocket and walked around for awhile, then took it out to see that under direct light there were several small scratches on the front. It sucks that it scratches so easily, but they can not been seen with the backlight on. Its still no good though. 🙁

I’d post some pictures of it in action but my digital camera’s battery is dead so I can’t get to the pictures. I’ll try to post some here later.

Front Row

I was given a copy of Front Row recently and decided to try it out on my Mac mini. It’s really nice and fast considering it is designed to run on the faster iMac G5. Music, Videos, and Picture functions all work great with the exception of the DVD player. Still, its pretty impressive to show off to friends and to use when I have people over.

However, I did have a problem come up. The strange issue with Front Row I experienced was after I use it once I subsequently get an error from communication problems with iTunes. When Front Row opens, I have to press Esc for a few seconds to show the media center and press D to exit to the desktop where Front Row hides itself. I noticed that if I quit Front Row manually after I use it and restart it again, Front Row has no problems with iTunes. So I wrote an AppleScript to do all the work for me which I have mapped to a media key on my keyboard.

tell application "System Events"
if (name of processes) contains "Front Row" then
if (name of every process whose frontmost is true) contains "Front Row" then
keystroke "d"
end if
tell application "Front Row" to quit
tell application "Front Row" to activate
key code 53 using command down
end if
end tell

If the script isn’t working for you, make sure you have “Enable support for assistive devices” checked in the Universal Access control panel in System Preferences. Enjoy!

Free Friday

Tomorrow I don’t have school (3-day weekend!) so I’ll spend the morning at work and spend the night watching local band Gimme 5 perform. If you’re in the Carbondale area, you should definitely check them out: they are going to be performing in Longbranch Café at 10pm on Friday in the back room. They always put on a awesome show. I’ll probably be helping out with sound and I’ll take some pictures.

Saturday is the annual Oblong Spooktacular Field Show & Parade competition for the CCHS Band and is our last performance. We’ll be staying overnight at Oblong, IL which should be fun… I’ll probably bring my Xbox and beat my friends at play Halo all night. (Sleeping is near impossible, so why not make the best of it?)