Tag Archives: games

Moving to Mac

So, after all these years, you’ve decided to leave the familiar Windows PC behind and switch to the Mac.  Whether it be corporate migration, fear and annoyance with Windows 8/ditching Windows XP (at last), or just the need for a change, the process isn’t as drastic as it used to be. Let’s break it down: After you get the new Mac, you have three basic steps to make it feel like home.

Step 1: Move Your Stuff

You can physically schlep your files from the PC to Mac in a number of ways, including copying folders and files to an external hard drive for a SneakerNet transfer, or moving them over a network. But Apple, wanting to make PC refugees as happy as possible, has its own free Windows Migration Assistant program (shown below) and detailed instructions for using it on its site. The Assistant moves basic stuff like contacts, calendar info, mail accounts, browser bookmarks and more — but not Windows programs. (These won’t run on OS X anyway unless you get fancy, as we’ll discuss in a bit.)

WMA

You can also use the Migration Assistant to move files and folders. Common file formats, like JPG photo files, text files and unprotected MP3 audio files work well on both platforms. The Assistant can even put your pictures into the free iPhoto program that comes with the Mac, but if you prefer other photo-editing and organizer programs like Google’s Picasa or Adobe Photoshop Elements, there are OS X  versions to download or buy.

Likewise, if you need Microsoft Office, you can either buy the Mac version, use Office 365 or get one of the various other programs out there that can open and edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint files. Apple’s iWork productivity suite is now free with every new Mac and can handle a lot of Office chores.

Apple’s iTunes program can’t plan Windows Audio Media files, but iTunes can convert unrestricted WMA files to iTunes-friendly formats. If you were using iTunes for Windows, you can transfer all your ripped and purchased iTunes content between computers.

Many apps and services are cross-platform — Dropbox, Amazon Cloud Drive and Amazon’s Kindle Reader, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive and so on. You can download new versions from the sites themselves. The Mac App Store may also have useful software.

The bummer for most people is that PC games will not work on the Mac and the Mac has never quite caught up with Windows in that area. (Some say Macs are getting better for games, though, and Steam might help ease the pain of PC-game withdrawal.)

Step 2: Get to Know Mac OS X

Let’s face it, over the years, both Windows and OS X have gotten similar: Taskbar/Dock, Programs/Applications folder, Recycle Bin/Trash Can — navigating the desktop is not that hard to do anymore between the two systems. Mac keyboard shortcuts may differ, as well as the placement of desktop icons, but these are often minor things to relearn.

pchabits

Apple’s site has tons of basic info about getting used to Mac OS X and even an “On Windows, I used to…” page.  Many people around the Web have posted their personal tales of switching from PC to Mac. Resources abound online, so read up.

Step 3: Fine-Tuning, Workarounds and … Windows on a Mac?

Once you get your stuff moved over and become somewhat used to navigating the Mac interface, you’ll probably find some things you need to tweak. You may also find you need some programs that just aren’t available for the Mac.

As for the tweaking, the Mac OS comes with a ton of printer drivers already installed, but you may need to snag more obscure ones or utility software from the manufacturer’s site. Many new Macs don’t include disc drives or Ethernet jacks anymore, so if you need these, external add-ons are available. Of course, you’ll want to get a backup drive for your system, but you get free backup software with Mac OS X called Time Machine.

If there are some Windows programs you still need to use, you have options. Programs like Citrix will let you tap into some Windows servers and systems virtually from your Mac. Apple’s free Boot Camp software (below) basically lets you partition your Mac’s drive and carve out space to install a copy of Windows side-by-side on the same machine. Virtualization software like the $80 Parallels Desktop can also run Windows on your Mac, but without all that partitioning business. Note that you do have to buy the copy of Windows, however. (Microsoft software sold separately. Void where prohibited. Your mileage may vary.)

bootcamp

After years of Windows, it may take a few weeks to get used to OS X — especially if you’ve never used a Mac, but go on in and get comfortable. To help you relax, check out these OS X Easter Eggs left by kindly Apple software engineers. You can play a round of Tetris, see the legendary Mrs. Field’s cookie recipe — and if you miss it from Windows — watch the ASCII version of Star Wars over a Telnet connection in the Mac’s Terminal window. Feels like home already now, doesn’t it? And if it doesn’t…well, Windows 9 is due out next year!

PTJ 80: We Heart Latvia

If you’ve listened to the show for any length of time you’ll know that the software development company BROS is directly responsible for Pop Tech Jam making its way through the Intertubes and into our preferred listening devices.  Founder and lead bro Christian Serron joins Pedro to discuss the burgeoning tech sector in Uruguay and to finally reveal why he helped unleash J.D. and El Kaiser on the podcast world… again.  If the Polar Vortex is keeping you indoors (or if you just enjoy playing classic video games) J.D. tells us where we can find some venerable titles for our mobile devices. In the news South Korea still has the need for speed when it comes to connection speed; Android continues to dominate in Europe; Blackberry rolls out a new version of their Blackberry 10 OS; Google buys artificial intelligence research company Deep Mind; and Facebook turns 10.

Any Port in a Storm

January 2014 brought several winter blasts to the Midwest, South and Northeast — and a lot more indoor time for many people. But winter’s not over yet and if you’re running out of new games to play while you’re stuck inside during the next blizzard, consider taking a stroll through your app store for some old favorites in new formats.

mystFor example, remember Myst, the ground-breaking interactive adventure puzzle game with the lovely graphics that first appeared on the Mac in 1993 and went on to conquer just about every other platform in the years to come? There is now an official version of Myst for the iPhone and it costs a mere $5. You can also get the game’s sequel, Riven, for $4 in the App Store. And while there’s no official version of Myst for Android, developers for that platform have created similar puzzle games for the touchscreen. And fans of Myst, be sure to check out The Room, a tactile 3D puzzler from Fireproof Games for iOS, Kindle Fire and Android that costs just a few bucks. (A sequel, The Room 2, is also out for iOS now and headed to Android soon.)

Want a little something from the FPS Department? Going old school, you can find Castle Wolfenstein and Doom for iOS as well as the various Android versions and ports of the game, like AnDoom and DoomGLES. More recently, there’s also Call of Duty: Strike Team for iOS and Android.

Seeking adventure? There’s Baldur’s Gate for iPad as well as Balder’s Gate II or Final Fantasy V for Android and iOS. Ravensword: Shadowlands (which has been described as an equivalent to The Elder Scrolls) awaits on Android and iOS.

Now, if you have fond memories of a particular game but don’t see a version of it in your app store, check out the Games Finder site, which offers reviews and information on games that are sort of like other games. The Games Like Directory page can point you to an alphabetical list of games like RuneScape, Age of Empires, Harvest Moon, Diablo, World of Warcraft and more. Some games may be for mobile devices and some may be for the computer, console or a web browser, but it’s a great place to start your quest. (And for fans of Gears of War, Shadowgun for Android and iOS, has often been mentioned as a viable substitute.)

And remember, if you want to go way back, you can find many iconic arcade games available as mobile apps now, like Midway Arcade for iOS, NAMCO Arcade for iOS and Atari’s Greatest Hits for Android. If you’re browser bound, don’t forget the Console Living Room section of the Internet Archive (which also virtually houses the Classic PC Games collection), where you can really rock your Atari 2600 memories with dozens of old cartridge classics running in emulation. There’s nothing like warm memories of 8-bit glory to make you forget about Mother Nature pitching a hissy outside.

Episode 35 News: Who Watches the Watch Men?

watchIs Apple working on a wearable computer? The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and several blogs reported rumors this week that the company is developing a curved glass smart watch and possibly a smart TV. Skeptics, (including the former Fake Steve Jobs blogger, Dan Lyons) suggest the sudden flood of rumors might be an attempt to boost that sagging stock price. Will this latest round of smartwatch attempts (including the Pebble Kickstarter project) gain traction this time around?

Here in New York City this week, Inkling showed off its new Habitat software for making digital books, as well as a tool called the Inkling Content Delivery Platform for searching through books. Inkling’s new software and services makes e-book collaboration quick and relatively easy and could challenge Amazon and Apple in the e-textbook space.

Some children are quick studies as it is — a spokesman for the AVG antivirus company told the BBC that it’s found kids are writing their own malicious software to hack accounts on gaining sites and social networks to do things like steal virtual currency. But learning code and mastering technology is part of a well-rounded education these days and a study at the University of California-Irvine has shown that medical students in an innovative, iPad-based educational program scored an average of 23-percent higher on their national exams than students using traditional study materials.

On the mobile front, Apple released a new update designed to fix 3G issues and other problems on the iPhone 4S. Android 4.2.2. is also now available for phones and tablets that can run it. Google’s update fixes Bluetooth audio-streaming issues. The BlackBerry Z10 and new system software are getting good early buzz in Europe and Canada, but Home Depot has said that it’s dropping the platform.

Microsoft is keeping busy and is said to be working on interactive TV content for the Xbox Live platform. There also seems to be something of a demand for the new 128-gigabyte Microsoft Surface Pro, the thousand-dollar tablet that can actually run Windows programs. While Windows 8 has taken its knocks, primarily from non-touchscreen laptop users, the system still has one big fan — former chairman Bill Gates who called the system a “huge advance.” Gates made the remarks in an Ask Me Anything interview over on the Reddit site.

And finally, American Express is rolling out a new program that lets cardholders link up their plastic with their Twitter accounts and buy things with tweets. To use it, an American Express cardholder needs to register their cards to sync with their Twitter accounts on a page on the Amex Web site. A $25 Amex Gift Card can also be had for the low, low discount price of $15 by tweeting #BuyAmexGiftCard25 with a synced account. The deals and products for purchase-by-tweet are still limited, but as The Consumerist dubbed it, Twitter is turning Hashtags into Cashtags. This sort of thing could be a dangerous thing for impulse buyers who are constantly on Twitter, especially if the technology somehow finds its way into a wearable computer…like a smartwatch.