The MacHeist 3 challenge is proving to be good fun with some tricky puzzles and free software, and the promise of big savings when the final bundle in unveiled. Anyone looking for a software bundle now should take a look at the MacBundleBox, a package of (currently) 13 apps for the usual $49.99. There’s a mix of utilities and creative apps on offer and 5% of the proceeds go to charity, so while it may not be anything revolutionary it’s certaily good value.
Google has released a version of its Picasa photo editing/management for the Macintosh. Currently a Beta, Version 3 of the software is missing some features of the Windows and Linux versions but adds the ability to import from iPhoto. Most importantly, and unlike iPhoto, Picasa doesn’t store another copy of each photo you edit and works happily with an existing directory tree. This should help to keep the size of photo collections to a minimum, and also work better with other apps. I’ve been trying Adobe’s Lightroom V2 recently which also can work from an existing directory tree. Picasa runs very fast on my Hackintosh so will probably become the app of choice for quickly previewing and searching for Photo’s, while Lightroom will be used for editing.
The big push doesn’t start until Monday, but the third release of the OpenOffice.org office suite is now available from mirror servers. I grabbed the Mac version (with native Aqua interface) from the UK mirror server a short time ago but there is a long list of worldwide mirror servers at the distribution.openoffice.org site.
I had a quick play with the suite this morning and so far I’m impressed. The Writer component managed to import my CV (resume) with no problems. It’s a Word document with lots of fancy tables so the software coped well to keep all the elements where they should be. The interface looks a little dated with white toolbars, but for a free office suite the Mac version of OOo 3.0 looks like a highly usable bargain. Also available for Linux, Solaris and Windows, read on for a screenshot gallery. Read more…
…..but not for me. As blogged yesterday, MobileMe is now off my computers, and I’m back to syncing my iTouch through iTunes. Calendars are once again as they should be, even if the calendar colours don’t match (a small price to pay for actually having them on your mobile device). I’m currently testing an alternative for keeping contacts and calendars in sync, so more to follow if it works out.
Removing MobileMe wasn’t difficult, the first step was to sign out in System Preferences on the Macs and delete the account from the iTouch. Getting the correct calendars back on the iTouch was slightly more involved. All the calendars were deleted from iCal, and this was synced to the iTouch. Then the backup was restored to iCal and the data was synced again.
Getting the Macbook back in sync was simply a case of restoring the iCal data that the hackintosh had backed up. It looks like the calendar issues I suffered are a bit more widespread than I realised. TUAW have an article detailing how to back up Address Book and iCal data, and at Macfixit there’s some suggestions that may help with the synchronisation issues.
Since this is a commercial product (and I pity anyone who payed up rather than trying the 60 day trial) is this level of problems acceptable? Maybe Apple should do the right thing for it’s users, refund their money and put the MobileMe service back into Beta where it belongs.
There’s been a growing trend recently to question the behaviour of antivirus software vendors, who’s scaremongering tactics say you must buy their latest product or meet a certain silicon doom. The corporate antivirus market is a far calmer and sensible place, where the product must protect the machine and disrupt the user as little as possible. Contrast this with the domestic market where products have to add new features every year to persuade you to upgrade, and remind you those features are helping. Read more…