Dec 14

SugarSync Mac OS Dock IconA few weeks ago, SugarSync released new versions of its Windows and Mac apps.  I was happy with the new software, the SugarSync 2.0 Beta; the update streamlined the utility and made it much easier to add and manage synced folders.  It also has a generally improved UI.  But on the Apple side there was one annoyance:

SugarSync, which is preferably always running (so that your files are continuously synced), had an always-present Dock icon in the Mac 2.0 Beta version.  This was annoying because you rarely need to change the settings of the program – what you really need is to have it quietly running in the background to keep things synced with the Cloud and other computers. 

The Dock icon wasn’t present in the 1.x versions of the application unless you were changing settings.

But in the latest version of the SugarSync 2.0 Beta – Build 1.99.9 – while the Dock icon is still turned on by default, there is a way to hide it if it annoys you.

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Oct 23

win8proIf you’re running Windows XP (with SP3), Windows Vista or Windows 7, you can upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for just $39 starting on October 26th.  The upgrade is downloaded and upgrades your existing hardware in a few steps.

Of course, if your PC is running Windows XP, an upgrade is probably not advisable.  I would recommend that XP users just buy a new Windows 8 computer; but if you’re running Vista – and especially Windows 7 – the upgrade should be just fine, particularly if your hardware was high-end at the time of purchase.

Update 10/26/12: The $39 upgrade is now live.  You will download an upgrade assistant that will scan your PC, alert you to any possible conflicts with existing hardware or software, and allow you to purchase the upgrade.  You can pay with either a credit card or PayPal.

Sep 16

Audacity Audio UtilityI had several old audio recordings made with a microcassette recorder that I wanted to transcode to digital files.  Problem was, the resulting digital files had a lot of background noise I wanted to get rid of before archiving. 

But I don’t know much about audio cleanup.  I did, however, find a very easy-to-follow tutorial that teaches how to use Audacity, a free audio utility, to get rid of unwanted noise in a digital file.  I’m sure there are far more powerful (and expensive) solutions, but I was shocked by how well the noise-removal process worked in Audacity. My files sound better than ever.

You can read the tutorial here.  Of course, you’ll also need a copy of Audacity, which will run on Windows or Mac OS X. 

Much appreciation to the authors of both the tutorial and the software.


Sep 07

5th Generation Kindle eReaderI was happy to see Amazon’s new Kindle Fire tablets at the company’s press event yesterday, as I’m sure they’ll inject much needed competition in the tablet space. But as an avid reader, what I was most looking forward to was news on the eInk Kindle updates, since intriguing details had been leaking for weeks.

I didn’t get the news I had hoped for, though.

Amazon announced two new Kindle eReaders yesterday, the Kindle Paperwite and a 5th Gen Kindle.  The Paperwhite model (which was the topic of all of those leaks, as it turns out) is the replacement for last year’s Kindle Touch, but with a new, crisper touchscreen display and front-lighting technology for reading in the dark or low-light conditions.  The new base-model Kindle with buttons, though, was the model I was most interested in.  Sadly, this new Kindle doesn’t offer the lighted screen, just a modest performance bump and new font choices.

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