Monthly Archives: March 2012

App of the Week: WineBottler

The Mac has really grown as a development platform, and some type of apps are more abundant on the Mac platform than on Windows (Twitter and text expansion apps are the first that come to mind). But there some apps that just aren’t built for Mac yet. In my very first programming class, we used a program called Visual Logic that helped teach the basic concepts of code in a flow chart creation style. However, this program only could run on Windows, but I really didn’t want to have to run VirtualBox or BootCamp for one program. About that same time, I found WINE Bottler.

WINE is a program well know in the Linux community, and a little of the Mac community, for allowing you to run some Windows apps within a Unix environment. Simply put, you can run some Windows apps on your Mac or Linux computer. But WINE can be difficult to set up without experience or a tutorial, and it doesn’t make an app native. WINE Bottler takes the Windows app in question, and converts it with WINE to make a native Mac app (albeit with a few quirks, more on that later). I plan on making a video on how to use WINE Bottler, so stay tuned for that.

After downloading the app, select “Create Custom Prefix” in the sidebar, and then select the Windows app you want to convert. Then you can select “Copy Only” if you’re copying the actual executable file. Likewise, you can choose to include the necessary WINE libraries so that WINE doesn’t need to be run before the app. This makes the program easier to run and more like a native Mac application.

Screenshot of WINE Bottler custom prefix creation

WINE Bottler takes several minutes to write the app, and then brings you the newly built Mac app. WINE Bottler has a list of apps that arecommonly installed by users that you can also pick from.

The app is still in beta, and there are some kinks in the system. For example, many keyboard shortcuts require you to use the Mac’s control key rather than the command key. Also some more complex apps may not be as easily assembled, such as Microsoft Office. The rule of thumb is that the less spread out and the less subfiles an app has to create, the easier the app is to convert and the less bugs the new app will have. So Visual Logic only had a few bugs, but something like Microsoft Office could have more problems. I did notice that Visual Logic would occasionally has some visual glitches in the right-click menu as well. As a whole though, WINE Bottler did its job, and does it well. It’s not an easy app to use necessarily, but possibly a more convenient way for running one or two Windows apps.

WINE Bottler is a free app available from http://winebottler.kronenberg.org/. It works on OS 10.4 and higher. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions about this or any other topic, leave a comment below or email me at easyosx@live.com You can also check me out on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube by hitting the buttons on the top of your screen. You can also check out my Google Plus Page. Thanks!

App of the Week: SyncMate

With the advent of smartphones and tablets, calendar and contact syncing has become more important than ever. You can use iCloud on Apple to sync these things, as well as bookmarks, mail, and more just by plugging it up to Mac. But what about if you want to sync these things up to a non-iOS device? You can use a service like Google, but many people may not want to send all their stuff to the cloud, may fear Google’s new privacy policy, or just want to stick to using their desktop apps. Or maybe these devices don’t have an alternative. Is there a middle ground? How about SyncMate?

SyncMate is a tool that allows you to sync a lot of stuff from your Mac to a variety of other devices. You can sync your Android phone or tablet, Windows Mobile phone, BlackBerry, PSP, as well as flash drive, another Mac, or Windows computer. You can also sync your information to web services as well, such as Dropbox, your Google Account, and SyncMate’s own 50 Meg online storage service. Personally I think 50 Megs is small these days compared to other services, and they could really bump this up.

SyncMate is fairly simple. Install it on your main computer, and set up what information you want the app to sync. Then select the devices or accounts you want to use as well, and provide any needed login information. In the preferences, you can select what file types for video, music, etc. that you want to sync, how often to remind you to sync, and even what IP

Screenshot of Eltima's SyncMate

ports you want the app to use. Then all you have to do is hit the big “Sync” button to begin the syncing process. If you’re syncing to a mobile device like Windows Mobile, Android, or iOS, you’ll need to download the SyncMate mobile app. Otherwise you’ll have to plug in the device to sync the information.

There are two versions of SyncMate. The free version syncs your basic personal information, like contacts and calendars, and you manually have to sync your devices. Then there is the expert version, which allows you to sync to more devices, like the PSP, but allows you to sync your devices automatically, sync Firefox and Safari Bookmarks, sync Mail and notes from Entourage, Outlook, & Apple Mail, and encrypt your data, among other things. You can read more about the differences here: http://mac.eltima.com/sync-mac.html?tab=3

While I think the ree version could really use some more features, they’re all added in the expert mode. I do find the reminder pop ups very annoying, especially if I haven’t been using the app for a while. You can download the app at http://mac.eltima.com/sync-mac.html. There is the limited free version, or you can upgrade to the paid version for $40.00, which gives you licensing or two computers. The download of the apps are free otherwise. It is available for Mac’s running OS 10.5 or higher, as well as Windows XP and higher, and a variety of mobile systems. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions about this or any other topic, leave a comment below or email me at easyosx@live.com You can also check me out on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube by hitting the buttons on the top of your screen. You can also check out my Google Plus Page. Thanks!

The Summary of the iPad 3

The iPad 3 has just been announced, and some major changes have been announced.

  • iPhoto for iPad: Apple brought GarageBand and iMovie to the iPad, and now iPhoto joins them.  The entire iLife suite has come to the iPad, and the app looks beautiful.

    iPhoto for iPad

    It allows for more advanced color correct, editing, multitouch edits, and more.  You can buy it for $4.99

  • Camera: The camera has been updated dramatically.  The rear camera is now 5 Megapixels, has improved white balance, automatic face detection, and can shoot 1080p video.  This is not as good as the iPhone 4s, but the same level as the iPhone 4.
  • Retina Display: The iPad 3 has a major update to the display, boating over 3 million pixels on the screen, which Apple says is the highest on any mobile device.  From initial looks, it looks like a fantastic update, and great for playing high quality games or those new 1080p videos you might be shooting.
  • A5X: The new chip is the A5X, which is a dual core CPU, but a quad-core GPU, meaning that your graphics functionality is going to be vastly improved, which goes great with your iLife suite and new cameras, but for high quality gaming, such as N.O.V.A., Infinity Blade, and more.  This could also bring more high intensity games to the iPad, such as what you see on consoles.
  • 4G LTE: AT&T and Verizon will be getting their own 4G LTE enable iPads, starting at $629.  No word on Sprint, though I’ll update the article when I find out.  Tim Cook, the current CEO of Apple has formerly made comments about the compromises adding 4G would add to the devices, but it seems those statements are in the past.  This likely means that the next iPhone will also have 4G.  The battery life has only taken down by an hour is 4G is enabled, otherwise it remains at about 10 hours.
  • Dictation:  A lot of people were hoping for Siri on the new iPad, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.  The iPad 3 comes will the ability to use speech to text, just tap the microphone button on a keyboard to start.  However, you can’t use the voice dictation like Siri on the iPad to schedule meetings, reminders, etc.  This is something I think will come out in the future, but I’m anxious to get it.

You can preorder the iPad at http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/shop_ipad/family/ipad, and read more at https://www.apple.com/ipad/.  The price scheme hasn’t change, 16-Gig WiFi-only starts at $499, and $829 for a 64 Gig 4G iPad.  If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions about this or any other topic, leave a comment below or email me at easyosx@live.com  You can also check me out on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube by hitting the buttons on the top of your screen.  You can also check out my Google Plus Page at https://plus.google.com/107817518299218190319.  Thanks!

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