In the process of installing Win7 RC in a virtual machine on my MacBook, thanks to an article Andy Ihnatko posted recently. Perhaps surprisingly, it’s my first time doing something like this. Let’s see how it goes, especially with only 2GB RAM and under 8GB free on my HD… I’m guessing that if anything goes wrong with the install, it’ll be because it ran out of room on the HD. I was too lazy to try to move more stuff off the HD to make sure there is enough install space. Living on the edge!
That’s probably not the best blog post title, but perhaps it will grab your attention more.
I’ve come across a ton of interesting stuff that I’ve wanted to post about but haven’t because of various reasons. So I’m just going to dump it all here, stream-of-consciousness-like.
As I mentioned before, I found some online mind mapping applications that look promising:
1. bubbl.us: Very bubbly-looking, easy-to-use mind mapping site. You don’t even have to sign in to start. When you sign up for a free account, you get the capability to save and print your mind maps. It was nice (I used it for mind mapping the Sansa Connect review I did), but I didn’t like how it did not intelligently move the bubbles around so that they didn’t overlap each other. I spent just about as much time rearranging the bubbles as I did mapping out ideas.
2. MindMeister: This mind mapping site made the rounds on Twitter (as I noticed it, perhaps others on Twitter were talking about this before) when Steve Rubel was sending out his invites to the first 20 or so people to direct messaged him. Unfortunately I missed out, but when I was looking up online mind mapping sites last night I came across a review on Download Squad that said they were able to get an invite to the private beta right away after requesting one directly. That was also my experience, luckily. This site was a lot less flashy and bubbly than bubbl.us, but I liked the clean look. I also appreciated that it was more intelligent about moving around nodes as I entered text. I used this service to mind map out my review for the Yahoo Music Unlimited (not yet published) subscription service. Hopefully I can paste in the mind map without all the hassle of reformatting that I had to do for the Sansa Connect mind map dump.
MindMeister is free for a trial period, but after the trial is over, there’s a monthly subscription fee (sorry, can’t remember it right now). I think there are also limitations to the free account, like you can only create up to 5 mind maps, but don’t quote me on that.
* Incidentally, I have 20 invitations for MindMeister to give out, so let me know if you want one.
3. Mindomo: No private beta on this one. I signed up for an account but since I’d spent so much time on the other two, I ran out of time to check out this service. At first glance it looked like it had more formatting features, but the hotkeys to spawn child and/or sibling nodes didn’t seem as easy-to-use as the first two sites. More impressions later after I’ve played around with the site more.
All of these sites (AFAIK) offer collaboration features, so that you can share your mind maps and even edit mind maps simultaneously with other people. I don’t mind map enough for that feature to be useful to me right now. Mainly I was looking for a free or inexpensive way to do some quick mind maps on my iMac. There are a lot more stand-alone applications for both OS X and Windows that I might explore later.
Next topic: I bought a Wii a few weekends ago! My Twitter/Jaiku friends already knew this (come on, join up, people!). *smirk* The hubby and I went on a blitz shopping run on April 1st (a Sunday) because I’d read that some stores were going to get a new shipment of Nintendo Wii consoles that day. We didn’t get up as early as we were planning to, but luckily after checking a few stores in a couple different ‘burbs, we were able to get the next to the last “ticket” for a Wii at Toys ‘R Us in Downers Grove. So that’s why for a while I was kind of blog silent; I was spending much of my free time playing Wii Sports or WarioWare Smooth Moves. The Wii is an awesome console that is largely aimed at casual gamers like me. We have short attention spans, only want to play some games for short bursts rather than all-day frag fests or whatever, and may not enjoy having to learn a lot of complicated button combos or strategies just to play a game. The interactivity on the Wii with the motion-sensitive controllers is pretty awesome. I meant to buy Super Paper Mario tonight, but forgot while I was at Target this evening. Oh well, I’ll pick it up tomorrow.
Topic #3: Though I had read about it a while ago, I just got around to playing with Songbird a couple nights ago. Songbird is a Mozilla product that basically is a music-centric web browser. When you go to certain websites like mp3 blogs, it will create a “web playlist” of all of the downloadable/streamable tracks on that site, and you can play the tracks without having to download them to your machine first. It provides many ways to explore and find a lot of great music very quickly. It can act as a replacement for iTunes or other music management software, and through extensions can even sync with iPods or other USB devices. It’s also cross-platform, working on OS X, Windows, and Linux.
I am not entirely sure how it all works, and I’m sure I’m not giving the program justice with my lame description. So just go to their homepage and click on the “Watch the screencast” link. The voiceover is cheesy, but it really demonstrates the cool features of this media app. It’s still pretty beta, so keep that in mind. But don’t let it prevent you from trying out this cool app!
Topic #4: I just saw news today that the iRiver Clix 2 finally went on sale, so I went ahead and pulled the trigger on ordering it. I hope it arrives in the mail very soon! I’ve been following the Clix since the first generation device that was called the U10 (before the name change), so I’ve waited long enough.
Now I need to return or sell the Sansa Connect to offset the price. *sheepish grin* To be fair, the Clix 2 is cheaper than the Connect at $199, but has the same 4GB capacity (an 8GB version is supposed to come out in June, but I can’t wait). Yes, it’s lacking the WiFi and all of the associated goodness of the Connect, but I gain a bigger screen, video playback capability, Flash games (eh, just a nice little bonus that I probably won’t use much), possibly better podcast support, and the cool Clix interface. It also can switch between MTP and UMS, so if I wanted to, I could just use UMS and drag and drop files to it, never needing sync software again. But it also supports music subscription services, so I might try a Rhapsody subscription. The MoTR guys seem to like the service a lot, so I’ll give it a try. Stay tuned for a review of that device.
There are a few more interesting topics I have wanted to blog about, but I think I’ve overloaded this post already. Sorry, I had to get all caught up!
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Phew! Finally my M200 is starting to feel normal again. I went back to running XP Tablet Edition. Even though it was possible to run Vista RC1, it wasn’t a very pleasant experience. The lack of Toshiba driver support was annoying, and the machine’s HD was almost constantly chugging due to some unknown process (HD indexing, perhaps?). Overall my M200 was boggy and unresponsive under Vista RC1.
I loved the tablet-related changes, especially the movable floating TIP, and the new Start menu. But the other sacrifices I had to make were not worth the improved tablet features. So now I’m back on XP Tablet. While it’s not as pretty, XP works well on my M200, so that’s all that matters to be at the moment. Sometime later, when I’ve upgraded to a more capable machine, I’ll check out Vista again. But I’ve had enough of Vista beta testing for a while.
I know there’s a new beta download available now; hopefully I can get it downloaded and installed tonight, because ON2007 is running like molasses on my M200 + Vista RC1. Anyway, I wanted to ask a quick question:
For those of you who use the printer driver to print documents to OneNote 2007, do you know if there’s a way to configure it so that each page after the first one is a subpage in ON, instead of having it print out all pages onto one ON page? It’s annoying to switch between a document printed into ON and a page of my notes, and have to scroll back to the place I left off reading (it’s like the Gigabeat’s (or PSP’s) lack of bookmarking for audio files! GRRR.). At least with the ON2003 printer driver there was a way to do this “one-to-one” printing.
Any suggestions for workarounds? Any way to tell the ON developers that I want this feature back?
Well, I know it’s just a case of newbie-ism, because I’m not used to testing out beta versions of Vista and tweaking drivers, etc. to make the M200 work the way it did with Windows XP Tablet Edition (+ SP2). The behavior of my M200 is expected — the tablet buttons don’t work; automatic rotation doesn’t work; rotating the screen manually using the Windows Mobility Center in Vista is a crapshoot with this tweaked NVidia driver; and on, and on, and on… I wouldn’t mind playing around with it if I had another machine to use alternatively, but I installed it onto my only PC, so it has effectively killed my usage of OneNote at work (having spotty rotation into slate mode is SUPER annoying). And because of all this weird behavior, I haven’t reinstalled my usual cadre of programs — EverNote, Windows Live Writer, all my Firefox extensions, etc. I just installed the Office 2007 beta; tried installing iTunes 7, which works for the most part, but hung in the middle of updating my nano’s software to the latest version of firmware (luckily it didn’t toast the nano); and stopped there. This is also part of the reason why I haven’t been blogging the past few days (don’t really like blogging directly on WordPress.com now that Windows Live Writer works so well for me).I tried to reinstall the Amazon Unbox player, but it wouldn’t install on a machine that doesn’t have XP SP2. I tried to install some other programs that were balking at the version of .NET I had. All in all, not a happy experience for me, even though I was able to try out Aero glass and ooh and aah at how pretty Vista is. I even trained the HWR, and it does seem to recognize my “real” handwriting better (I normally write in all caps, as seen in my ink blog posts). Oh yeah, I was going to import all my backed up OneNote notebooks, but for whatever reason, my PC was having issues accessing the backed up files from my Gigabeat S. Blah…
I got to try streaming videos to my XBox 360 finally, and while it worked pretty well, I was disappointed at the lack of general codec support. I tried to play an XviD (I think) file, and while I installed the codec onto my M200 and could play the file in Windows Media Player 11, it wouldn’t play on the 360. While it was momentarily surprising, it didn’t take long for that to wear off. Of course Microsoft wouldn’t want to support a codec like XviD/DivX out of the box. I think there may have been some hack, but just like I didn’t want to deal with hacking drivers, I didn’t want to deal with hacking Windows Media Center Extender functionality.
So I think tonight or sometime soon I’m going to revert back to my Toshiba M200 XP image. I’ll have to remember to install SP2 and stuff, and pray that my wireless network connection works better this time around (it will probably help that I switched the router to WEP instead of WPA). At least I’ll have a fresh install that will fix my messed up audio driver problem that I blogged about a while ago, and get back to a lean install to build back up with select apps.
Before y’all start flaming, I’m not saying that Vista RC1 sucks. I am just not ready to deal with this pre-release version of Vista on hardware that is clearly on the low-end of Vista capability. I don’t want to mess around with drivers and lack of certain hardware functionality like automatic screen rotation, the hard-key mapping for changing screen brightness, and all that; not on the only PC I have to use for both work and personal tasks. So I guess at the moment I’m not cut out for customer preview beta testing. I want my computer to work with minimal fuss (beyond the basic fuss associated with running Windows in general…*smirk*). So back to my regular XP Tablet install… Bye bye, pretty Vista.
I don't mean to keep posting these "question" entries to drum up interaction with you guys, but I'm just curious… Are you going to try Vista Beta 2, now that it's open to the public? I'm eager to try it out because I've heard about a bunch of Tablet-PC-specific improvements that they've made, particularly with the Tablet Input Panel (TIP). I also like how Vista looks overall, and I'm just curious about it in general.My big problem is that currently I only have one machine that I can load up Vista onto — my Tablet. It happens to be my "production machine" for taking notes and stuff at work, as well as my primary machine for personal use. I don't have another machine that I could use for work, so if I run into any problems with getting Vista set up, the downtime would be annoying. It wouldn't prevent me from getting work done, but not being able to fire up OneNote to refer to my notes, or capture new info would be a major pain.
Despite all the warnings that the Vista beta is not for production machines, I still want to run it! Luckily I was able to download the ISO yesterday. Now I just have to back up my stuff and make note of any programs/drivers I will need to reinstall…gah. *rolling eyes* I'm going to Google tips on the least painful way to get Vista up and running, but if you guys have any suggestions to throw my way, please post.