Tag Archives: windows

Pokki – Appstore for Windows

pokkiOne of the things I’ve grown to prefer on the Macbook over my normal Windows experience is the Appstore; the process of keeping Windows up to date by manual means is unspeakably tedious, as anyone who’s had to click ‘yes’ to a dozen updates and manually hunt down another dozen will tell you.

It was with some delight that I saw that a new app was bringing a comparable (although FAR more limited) version of the experience to Windows. The apps appear in your start bar and pop up and down as you use them.

Unfortunately, despite the slick look of the app, the usability isn’t quite there. Keyboard shortcuts don’t work in Gmail, the mouse scrollwheel does random things like minimise the application instead of scrolling, the Facebook app often ends up non-responsive and… well, there are only 8 apps. However the principle is sound and I’m hoping that MS catch up to this when it rolls Windows 8 off the conveyor belt next year. Either that, or people get Pokki working properly… for now, it’s no Sparrow for Windows…

Does the name remind anyone else of Garfield’s stuffed toy friend?

Macifying Windows

Mac sous Windows Seven : Soirée présentation Windows Seven{sigh}. Despite promising myself never to go over too far to the dark side, there are some aspects of OSX I’m loving and missing very much on the Windows machines I use. Some things I definitely am not happy about (the lack of a proper blogging client, for one), but here’s a few things I’ve twisted Windows into doing (or tried to) to mimic the capabilities of my Macbook. There was a recent Lifehacker post that inspired this one…

  1. Switcher / Expose clone. Much more practical than ALT-TAB, simple, small third party app.
  2. Two finger scrolling. The simple app doesn’t work on 64bit Windows 7 but I’m trying to mess around with this Synaptics touchpad hack – apparently despite the fact that most new PC touchpads are capable of multitouch gestures they are frequently locked out of using them!

Things I’d like to bring over….

  1. App store. I have to go through a manual FIlehippo trawl to keep my PC software up to date.
  2. Pinch to zoom etc., (which, infuriatingly, doesn’t work with Microsoft Mac applications)
  3. Sparrow!!! One of the most popular search terms on this blog is “Sparrow for Windows” so I know I’m not the only one. C’mon you guys!
  4. The instant sleep / wake and long battery life of OSX, and near instant boot time on the SSD

Things I’m not a fan of:

  1. Network settings on OSX. Feels too fiddly, locked down.
  2. New shortcuts. I’m starting to muddle Windows and Mac shortcuts, forgetting which is which
  3. Lack of decent, affordable blogging clients
  4. Resizing windows from any side. We had to wait through 7 iterations of OSX for that?

If you could create the bastard love child of Windows and OSX, what would you put in it?

How to connect to a Windows shared drive on a Mac over VPN

I had some real trouble with this one, and needed to get my IT support company on the case. But we worked it out, and here’s the knowledge.

  1. In network settings, set up your VPN in all location profiles that you might use it (e.g. mobile broadband AND automatic)
  2. Change the ‘service order’ so the VPN is at the top
  3. Change ‘advanced settings’ to ‘send all traffic over VPN’
  4. Repeat steps 2) and 3) in all relevant location profiles
  5. When you’re online. connect to your VPN
  6. In finder, click ‘go’ and then ‘connect to server’
  7. Type smb://<servername.domain> or smb://<server ip>
  8. And choose which drives you want to map, entering your (Windows Active Directory) network credentials to let you through!

And that’s it. Hope it helps!

Helpful Mac gestures and shortcuts for Windows users

I’m still getting used to the MacBook, so discovering things daily. The below are my current most helpful shortcuts and gestures. What do you use? Tell me, Macfans!

Option instead of alt, COMMAND instead of CTRL. COMMAND-OPTION-ARROW (or COMMAND-OPTION-SHIFT-ARROW). Keep messing that one up.

Command tab – switch apps, etc. Command generally replaces CTRL. Command-` will switch between tabs in an application.

Enter to rename files (F2 in Windows)

FN-DELETE – forward delete (delete key in Windows)

COMMAND-SPACEBAR – Spotlight search (keep thinking it should be left-swish – probably will be in Lion)

Loads of cool stuff with Expose, the applicaton switching, erm, application – COMMAND-F3 shows desktop, for example, Expose shows all open windows wby pressing F3 (same as three finger gesture)

Cool touchpad stuff:

Two finger touch gesture – scrolling.

Four fingers swoosh down gesture – view all open apps (or swoosh up to show desktop)

Three fingers sideways swoosh – back/forward

Pinch to zoom

Rotate to… rotate

A week with a MacBook Air

Ok, those of you who read my recent post on the matter (and Tom’s more detailed review) will know that, at long last, I succumbed to Mac envy. And when my parents were at a loss as to what to get me as a gift on my recent visit to Malaysia, and I spotted the Air cost 30% less than it does in the UK, I made the suggestion… and yes, I know that even as a grown man I continue to be spoiled by my parents…

So far, there’s a lot to love and a few things I’m still getting used to. I haven’t used a Mac in any substantive way since I had a late model Powerbook G3 gifted to me by a prospective employer back in 2000, so its taking a bit of getting used to…


  1. Multi-touch touchpad. Makes a laptop useful without an external mouse. Pinch and zoom, two finger scrolling, three finger, view desktop, back/forward, application switching… all amazingly natural and a big step towards where I think human/computer interaction is trending.
  2. Boot time (short), hibernation/resume time (instantaneous), performance (good), battery life (impressive)
  3. Design (fantastic), weight (negigible), screen (crisp)
  4. AppStore (needs more integration with other apps, but otherwise…) SPARROW for email is AMAZING, as I’ve also blogged before
  5. Application integration into OSX is less intrusive (thanks to growl and the more icon-driven menu bar) and therefore it feels less clunky than even the very good Windows 7
  6. Most of the apps I use regularly have been ported or have superior versions on the Mac including Skype, Evernote, Tweetdeck, iTunes (obv), Chrome, VLC and Teamviewer. And obv MS Office, although I intend to avoid that one…
  7. I like the launcher… much more intuitive than the Start Menu although a bit fiddly to configure with Stacks in the way that I’d like…
  8. Keyboard! The data card is coming out of the iPad and a USB data card is going to be stuck into the iPad to allow blogging and writing on commutes etc.

Dislike/getting used to…

  1. Learning the subtly different way of doing things (command/alt+shift+arrow for word select instead of CTRL-shift – why?)
  2. No CLI that I can find (how do I run a ping and do that random hackery I’m used to?) Terminal App in utilities folder! Thanks Jimjam!
  3. Finding new shortcuts – I love F2 for rename (enter to rename – too simple! Thanks Jimbo) and CTRL-K to add a hyperlink and trying to figure out how to do these things (amongst others) in OSX.
  4. Search doesn’t feel as well-integrated as it is in iPhone/iPad/Windows7. Need a left swish into Finder. Oh, there it is. Top right. D’oh.
  5. Touchpad gestures a bit temperamental
  6. I can’t find a decent blogging client – Qumana is OK but Marsedit is too expensive and Microsoft haven’t ported Live Writer to Mac.
  7. Flash seems less reliable than on Windows – presumably thanks to the ongoing spat between Apple and Adobe
  8. Software updating is fiddly outside the Mac store and System Update
  9. It shipped with two Apple stickers for me to proclaim my smugness to the world. They’re going in the bin…
  10. As GeowGeow observed, no sim card slot. Therefore, imperfect…

I’ll add to this list as more occurs. Any more tips on things I should do differently on a Mac, please let me know as I’m a long way from mastering this bad boy.

I’m not a complete convert – this is a mixed platform house and we continue to use PCs as well as Macs all over the place. It is telling how central the Internet is to our existence that Amanda used the Macbook for Facebook / eMail and didn’t really notice any significant difference to her normal Windows machines… the era of the OS is dead, the web is the new OS… long live GoogBook ad Facegle!

Ask Armand

In the 4 weeks since I wrote the post ‘How to fix the cannot connect to Itunes store problem‘ post it has risen to the first page of Google* for the error code that comes up when Itunes has its little hiccup and I’ve had quite a few comments (loads, by this website’s standards) of people that have found it helpful.

So… I’m happy to make it a recurring feature. If people need help on how to beat Windows into submission and make it do the things you want it to, ask me, and I’ll oblige if I can. It’s not just Jack Schofield that is a font of knowledge of these things (I imagine even Jack has to look the odd thing up on the Web), so I’ll help out if I can, and if you get me interesting requests. I’ll imagine I get fewer emails than Jack on this, so if I get interesting questions from around the office they might provide secondary food for thought…

So what are you waiting for? Ask Armand. I’ll do one post a week minimum, assuming I get enough questions…

* I’m amongst other things, a digital PR consultant, so I know that the relative recency of this post helps with its height in the organic rankings. But I’ve seen the traffic and comments come in and seem to have helped a few people with this, so am buying that it’ll stay high for a while — especially as Apple still hasn’t posted the workaround on its own site.