It took eight airports, six airplanes, two rental cars and 48 hours to get home from Hawaii but we finally got home this week. It’s no wonder that Delta’s Comair commuter airline is rated near the bottom of the pack. We flew from Hilo to Honolulu, spent the 8-hour layover with Hapy and Jessica who where on the way to Maui and then flew to Atlanta where things began to get positively weird. The plane from Atlanta to Cincinnati was delayed because they didn’t have a flight attendant so we missed the plane to Burlington so they sent us to Cleveland but the pilot for that plane got sick so we missed the plane to Burlington again. This time we had to spend the night in Cleveland and flew the next day to Dulles Airport but the flight attendant for the plane to Burlington was late and by the time we got to Burlington, the plane tried to land but ended up getting diverted to Albany where they were going to put us on a bus. Grace and I rented a car for the last part of the journey and were relieved that our luggage actually made it to Burlington before we did!
Hammer and Fantail were waiting for us at the office. Ed had been watching our dogs and house although I think Spy was doing the watching of the dogs. Needless to say the pups were happy to see us and have not left our side since. I got to meet Joyce’s new friend, Maggy and she reminds me of Imelda and Honey Bear, an orange pom that is as cute as can be!
The highlight of my vacation was scuba diving at night with the Manta Rays! It was an incredible experience that kept reminding me of Close Encounters of the Third Kind. We signed up for the 2 dive charter. We took our first dive late in the afternoon and saw garden eels and a bunch of other marine life but nothing can compare with the night dive that came a couple hours later. We suited up and went down with our divemaster and our dive lights and sat on the bottom with about 20 other divers, each with their lights shining upward. The dive companies had put a large light on the bottom shining towards the surface to help illuminate the plankton that the Mantas feed upon. Just as we sat down a huge Manta Ray (who we later learned was named “Lefty” was swooping through the lights with a grace that was amazing. Lefty basically did a ballet for us, diving, turning and coming within inches of my head. There was a woman taking video of the event and when she had Grace and I turn around the Manta Ray was attracted to her lights and came directly over our heads. I’ve posted the video on my web site. At one point, a Moray Eel crawled up my leg, too – she got that on tape, too!
I came home to a warehouse bulging with goods. We have the best selection of Macs and iPods that we have had in some time. There are great values in new, factory refurbished and discontinued new iPods including quite a few iPod minis and Apple Certified Reconditioned (refurbished) iMacs, PowerMac G5s and PowerBooks. We just recorded our latest Dog Food for Thought Pawcast and during the show Dawn asked me why anyone would want a G5 now since the Intel Macs are out. There are many reasons, not the least of which is the money you can save by buying Macs at the “trailing edge of technology”. One of the most important reasons is productivity, especially if you are using Adobe products such as Photoshop where the universal versions of those applications are several months off.
The big news this week is Boot Camp. Most of us suspected that once Apple made the move to Intel processors, that dual booting capability would not be far behind. First there was the contest for the first public demonstration of dual boot which was won just before I went to Hawaii. Not less than 30-days later, Apple released the public beta version of Boot Camp- Apple’s solution to allow you to run Windows XP on your Intel Mac. This will be part of the next major release of OS X which is scheduled for late this year and is code-named Leopard. Now that Apple is officially sanctioning this dual booting capability many analysts are seeing what we have seen for some time in the huge advantage this will give Apple. Macs are now the only computers in the world that will not only run the most secure and powerful operating system in the world – OS X but it will also have the capability of being “downgraded” by rebooting into perhaps the fastest Windows compatible computer in the world. The implications are staggering and Apple’s stock price has reflected this as it began a steep climb this week.
There have been so many times when talking to customers that we have run up against the fear of moving from Windows to Mac or that one or two applications that just must have Windows to operate that have prevented a customer from moving to Mac. With Boot Camp and the Intel Macs that barrier is gone. Think about those school boards that have been forced to move away from the Mac for Windows machines – now the Mac is even more compelling because you can have both in one machine and only from Apple! IT managers may welcome Macs now as they can have the security of Mac OS X while maintaining complete Windows compatibility. This is a milestone for Apple!
A day after that announcement Parallels announced their own public beta of Parallels Workstation 2.1 for Mac OS X, the first virtualization software that gives Apple users the ability to simultaneously run Windows, Linux or any other operating system and their applications alongside Mac OS X on an Intel-powered Apple computer. While sacrificing some performance (a 10-20% downgrade) virtualization allows you to run Windows and Windows applications in a separate window within Mac OSX without rebooting your computer. This public beta is available at:
I think it is only a matter of time before you will be able to run both operating systems simultaneously on your Mac, using a feature like fast user switching to quickly move between systems.
I had my new MacBook Pro waiting for me when I got back to the office and with Apple’s migration tool and a FireWire cable I was able to make the switch from my PowerBook in the time it takes to copy 100 gigs of data. I’m still in the mind set that there is a 1/2 day minimum penalty for moving to a new computer but that is clearly not the case with the handy tools from Apple. I have kept my PowerBook sitting on my desk just in case but the MacBook Pro has all my files, all my settings and everything working and the transition was as smooth and easy as can be. I love the MagSafe power connector but I had to get a couple extra AC adapters to replace the ones that were in all the places that I use my Mac. Of course, since Grace still is using a PowerBook we know have a pair of AC adapters in each location.
Did you see all the press about being able to run Windows on an Intel Mac with a product provided by Apple? This product is called Boot Camp and everyone from the WSJ to the NYTimes to the Small Dog Blog is talking about it.
I’ll be loading up Boot Camp on my new MacBook Pro as soon as our copies of Windows show up. I don’t have any real need for Windows but I figure I have to load it up so that I can demonstrate the dual boot capability to potential customers. I’ll probably load up Parallels virutalization software, too. It is very ironic that Small Dog Electronics is now selling Windows software. We’ve tried to branch out to the Windows market a few times, none with much success – our heart was just not in it – however, with this new Mac capability we will be providing bundles including Windows for those that need it.
This is not the first Apple foray into Windows-compatibility. Apple had a few versions of their DOS compatibility NuBus card out there for the Mac II and third-party companies such as Orange Micro also had cards. They never seemed to work very well but all reports about Boot Camp indicate that not only does it work flawlessly but Boot Camp turns your Mac into a part-time very powerful Windows PC.
A few warnings are important at this point. Even though you are running Windows on your Macintosh computer, when you boot up as a Windows computer you are running a Windows computer and you do NOT have the inherent protection of Mac OS X against viruses, trojan horses, adware, spyware and all of the other problems with Windows. You will need to keep up to date with security updates and patches as well as invest in virus protection and firewall software for Windows. (Google has created the “Google Pack” which includes some Google software as well as virus and adware protection software for Windows XP that is easy to install and is free.: http://pack.google.com/pack_installer_required.html)
The other thing to keep in mind as you load up the public beta of Boot Camp is that it is a beta and as such is time-limited. That is, the beta version will expire probably around the time of the release of Mac OS X – Leopard later in the year. You will then want to upgrade to that version of Mac OS X in order to continue to use Boot Camp.
You can download Boot Camp at:
Here’s how it works:
First, BACK UP YOUR HARD DRIVE – do this please or you may regret it!
Second, you need to make sure your Intel-based Mac has the latest version of Mac OS X and the latest firmware update. These provide technologies that make Boot Camp possible.
Apple released new firmware for all Intel Macs that you can download:
For Intel Mac mini – http://www.apple.com/support/downloads/ macminiearly2006firmwareupdate10.html
The Boot Camp burns a CD with the drivers Windows needs to recognize Mac-specific hardware. It is very important to do this before starting the Windows installation.
The software also helps you set aside hard drive space by creating a partition for the Windows installation, without moving any of your Mac files around. Just drag the intuitive slider to choose the size that’s right for you. Boot Camp also helps you remove the Windows partition, should you so desire. IMPORTANT: Any hard drive space that you use for Boot Camp and Windows will not be available for storage of Mac files!
Next, insert your Windows installation disc (which you must buy separately), restart and follow the Windows installation process. The only tricky part is selecting the C: drive manually. Be sure to get this right, or you could erase your Mac files accidentally. That is worth repeating in all caps: BE SURE TO SELECT THE C:DRIVE MANUALLY FOR INSTALLATION- DO THIS WRONG AND YOU COULD ERASE YOUR MAC!
After the installation process is complete and your Mac has booted Windows, you’ll need the Macintosh Drivers CD you burned previously. When you insert the CD, it will automatically install the drivers. Follow the instructions in the Installation & Setup Guide for helpful hints.
After running Boot Camp Beta and installing Windows XP and the Macintosh Drivers CD, you can switch between Windows XP and Mac OS X by holding Option (Alt) key when you start up. You can also use the Startup Disk control panel in Windows or Mac OS X Startup Disk preferences to set the default operating system to use each time the computer starts up.
Boot Camp installs Windows drivers for graphics, networking, audi, AirPort wireless, BlueTooth, Apple Eject key and brightness control for built-in screens. Even after installing the Macintosh Drivers CD, the Apple Remote Control (IR), Apple Wireless (Bluetooth) keyboard or mouse, Apple USB Modem, MacBook Pro’s sudden motion sensor, MacBook Pro’s ambient light sensor, and built-in iSight camera will not function correctly when running Windows.
Your iTunes music store purchases view your Windows partition as a separate computer so you will have to authorize a second time if you wish to play your purchased music while operating Windows on your Mac.
Your battery life on your MacBook Pro may be less while running Windows than with Mac OS X because Mac OS X includes power management optimizations that are not available in Windows XP.
Keep in mind that Apple does not sell nor support Windows software. You are not likely to get much in the way of support from Apple if you call up with a question about running Windows on your Mac mini! There is some reason to believe that Microsoft will decide to support Windows on the Intel Macs but they have not officially said that they would. For now you are pretty much on your own as a pioneer.
You need a full version of Microsoft Windows XP with Service Pack 2 in order to run Windows on the Mac. Upgrades will not work.
I’ll report next week about my experiences installing Boot Camp on a tiny partition on my new MacBook Pro!
Firefox Plug-ins, Themes and Extensions Dawn @ Smalldog.com
I have been an avid user of Firefox for the last few months when I wanted to start working with sites that use AJAX that I was having trouble with when using Safari. I started by first installing Firefox and only using it for when I visited these one or two site. Then I found that I could personalize the look and behavior of Firefox. From that point on, I was hooked.
To start using these cool features of Firefox, you’ll need to first download the Firefox application from Mozilla. (While there you may want to check out Thunderbird, their email application.)
Once you have the application installed, visit the add-ons page for plug-ins, extensions and themes.
I started by wanting to change my theme. Themes are skins and some are simple color changes while others change everything including the buttons. There’s looks for brushed metal, walnut inlay and lots of variations in between. I chose Scribblies Kids which gives my browser a very cartoon look. Cat lovers may want to check out the Red Cats theme (there isn’t one with dogs, I’m afraid).
To install a theme (or plug-in/extension) just click the install now button. You’ll be asked to allow it to install. Click the new theme to select it, then click the Use Theme button. Once installed and selected, you’ll need to restart Firefox to see the new theme in use. Installing plug-ins and extensions works the same way – download to install it, click the install, restart Firefox.
The two extensions that I use regularly are the Google Toolbar and Viamatic Foxpose. Follow the instructions for installing themes to install any of these extensions.
Reveal Reveal allows you to see thumbnails of pages in your session history and quickly find the page you want. Reveal also includes a magnifying glass to help you see everything.
Viamatic Foxpose Click on the icon in the status bar to view all the browser windows with a single click. Think of it as Expose for Firefox! I use this all the time!
Scrapbook ScrapBook is a Firefox extension, which helps you to save Web pages and easily manage collections.
Google Toolbar I originally installed the Google Toolbar so that I could have access to the Google PageRank to see how other sites compare with Smalldog.com but what I really like about it is that I have it set up to open searches in a new tab so I can search without leaving the page that I’m on or without using a keyboard command to open a new tab. Visit Google’s site for this particular extension:
Sage Sage is a lightweight RSS and Atom feed aggregator extension for Mozilla Firefox. It’s got a lot of what you need and not much of what you don’t.
Gmail Space This extension allows you to use your Gmail Space (2 GB) for file storage. It acts as a remote machine. You can transfer files between your hard drive and gmail.
I came across an interesting piece of software called iWeb Enhancer. It is a stand-alone application that adds some functionality to iWeb. By functionality, this means being able to add a guest map, Google AdSense ads, Flickr images and YouTube video and more. Basically it’s a trick to adding more complex HTML from within iWeb. You can get a sense by visiting the web site of the developer. The software costs $12.95 but you can use it for free 10 times.
TurboTax Bad Data Error
Holly and I found came across an error reported by LOTS of Mac Users in the TurboTax Support forum. Users are having problems opening a tax file once it was created. We came across the problem when Holly wasn’t able to open her nearly completed tax document and got the error message “Bad Data File – invalid number in data file.”
I did some searching and found that readers had found a workaround. The problem may stem from a password being added to protect the file. Unfortunately, the workaround requires a Windows PC.
Here is a link to the thread mentioning the problem:
And a detailed description of the workaround:
1. Install TurboTax to a Windows computer. Your desktop software contains both the Macintosh and Windows product. If you had a state product installed on your Mac, you’ll also need to install the state product on Windows computer.
2. Copy your Macintosh tax file to the Windows PC. If you don’t know where your file is on your computer, visit our Find Your Tax Return Files page first. Once you’ve found your file, copy it to a CD or other removable storage media. Then copy the file onto the Windows PC or e-mail it in an attachement to yourself.
3. Open your tax return file in TurboTax for Windows.
4. Remove the Password. From the File menu, select Password. Then remove the contents in the Password and Re-enter password fields, and then click OK. When asked if you want to remove password protection, click Yes.
5. Save the file. If you receive the error, “Unable to read data, exit program and try again” you will need to install your state product on the Windows computer as well.
6. Copy the file back to your Mac onto a CD or e-mail it in an attachment.
7. You should now be able to open the file on your Mac computer.
Office Etiquette for Canines By Holly Buttura (Holly @ smalldog.com)
Anyone who knows me knows I have a large passion for canines. It often comes as a surprise that I own large dogs, (Rhodesian Ridgebacks) particularly because I’m not that big myself. I don’t know why I’ve always been drawn to big dogs, but I have; maybe because my family always had German Shepherd Dogs when I was growing up. I find it ironic now that I work for a company called SMALL Dog. Go figure!
That being said, people do bring their dogs to work here. Most of them are smaller dogs under 30lbs, but we do have a few larger dogs — a couple Labs (Libby and Zoe) and a “mischievous” Husky named Spy. Hammerhead’s no slouch at 70lbs but he’s barely knee-high. I guess I always think of large dogs that stand at least 24-inches at the withers, the highest point of a dog’s shoulders. Over the course of the last month, I’ve been bringing my oldest dog Simba to the office, particularly because it makes it easier to show my condo with an empty place! As Simba’s gotten older, (she’ll be 10 this year), it seems she isn’t interested much in staying home by herself anymore. She tends to bark and howl, which is not a typical Ridgeback trait. I had to buy a Citronella No-Bark collar a year ago. I was quite hesitant at first to use it, simply because I felt bad for her, but she learned pretty quickly that non-essential barking (ie: no good reason) wasn’t, well, any fun. Bringing your dog to work can be fun, but to make it a success requires some effort on your behalf AND your dog’s.
1) Make sure your dog is reasonably well-trained. Your dog doesn’t need to love everybody and every dog but he or she should have some basic social skills. If you’re dog has a tendency to start dog fights, it’s not worth your professional reputation to bring your dog in. If you’re not sure where your dog’s skills stand, why not enroll your dog in a basic obedience course? A well-trained dog makes for a dog you can take everywhere!
2) Take your dog out for frequent walks and potty breaks. There’s no quicker way to get on your co-workers bad side than if your dog deposits something smelly inside the building, likewise may sure where they go outside is out of sight and out of the way. A great big ‘mound’ outside the building entrance isn’t the welcome sign your customers are expecting. And if your dog itself is a little pungent, you might consider giving them a bath before bringing them in, for your co-workers sake!
3) Make sure fresh water is always available, that doesn’t include the toilet bowl. Sitting down on a slobbery wet toilet seat, well that’s just plain nasty.
4) Be aware of where your dog is and what they’re doing It might be okay if your dog walks around visiting but if they’re rooting through the trash, stealing food or marking people’s belongings, that’s another thing.
5) Have a realistic expectation for your dog. You know your pet best and their ability to handle strangers and new situations. Finding out at the office your dog isn’t a fan of children is something you probably want to avoid.
While bringing dogs to the office can make employees happy, and happy employees are more productive, the bottom line is the office a place of business. If your dog’s presence interferes with business it’s time to make other arrangements for your dog. Nowadays doggie daycares are quite popular and if there’s isn’t one close by, look for a petsitter or walker. A tired dog is a good dog!
Here are the specials for this week, valid through April 13th or while on hand supplies last. Be sure to use the wag URL to get this special pricing.
Apple Certified Reconditioned 15″ PowerBook 1.67 GHz, PLUS 1 GB extra RAM, plus three-year AppleCare plan – $1919!
To order: http://www.smalldog.com/wag16527/mymac
iMac 17in G5/1.9GHz 512/160/Superdrive/AP/BT with Extra 1GB RAM, PhotoShop Elements, and one year subscription to .Mac – $1329 (Note: You can save an additional $30 with a mail-in rebate on this bundle!)
To order: http://www.smalldog.com/wag16583/mymac
LaCie 160gb 7200RPM FireWire P3 Porsche – $114
To order: http://www.smalldog.com/wag16584/mymac
iPod 20gb (color display) with FREE Windshield mount for use in your auto – $249
To order: http://www.smalldog.com/wag50055/mymac
Free shipping on any iPod mini! Just enter coupon code: Kibbles82 when placing an on line order! Here is our current inventory of iPod minis:
iPod mini 4gb Green . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . r 55 149.00 iPod mini 4gb Silver (2005) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . r 645 159.00 iPod mini 4gb Pink . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . r 90 149.00
Apple iPod 20gb Clickwheel (3rd G) with CARTune FM Transmitter & Auto charger and Gripper iPod holder with vent mount – $199
To order: http://www.smalldog.com/wag50056/mymac
Wow! The rebates on the Xerox Phaser 8500 Solid Ink printer is $300. This means that you can get a solid ink printer for $569! Add duplexing and the printer is $759. This is an amazing value. We use a solid ink printer in the Small Dog office for proofs and we love it because of the smaller amount of waste that is produced, low cost per page, and how quick the printer can print multiple copies.
Xerox Phaser 8500N 24PPM USB Ethernet Solid Ink – $869 Xerox Phaser 8500DN 24PPM USB Ethernet Solid Ink – $1059
To order a Phaser 8500: http://www.smalldog.com/list/wag125/ mymac/?list=35412,35413
The extra day in traveling really put a crimp in my schedule. With Hapy, Artie and Rob Amon on vacation we are all working hard to keep up with business. I went down to the State House in Montpelier yesterday to testify at a couple of senate hearings on health care reform. I am always amazed by the accessibility of our government here in Vermont. I was able to park right in front of the statehouse, put a couple quarters in the meter and walk up the steps to the capitol. As I was walking to the cafeteria the Governor was passing by in the hall and he recognized me by name and said hello. The committee rooms are tiny and everything was very cordial as legislators and interested parties worked together to discuss and tackle the difficult issues facing our state.
Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility (http://www.vbsr.org) holds their spring conference and awards dinner on Monday and Tuesday and I will be leading a few workshops there. One is called the CEO forum and is limited to CEOs of companies where we will have an open discussion on leadership and management. The other is about public policy in the workplace, balancing fairness with community involvement. I like the fact that we are doing our spring conference in early April this year!
The forecast looks promising for good weather this weekend. I have been plotting the course down my dirt (mud) road to see if it is possible to ride the motorcycles down the road yet and I think if it dries up just a bit I should be able to get a bike down the hill!
Have a great weekend!
Your Kibbles & Bytes team,
Don, Dawn, Holly