Evernote – Remember Everything

Evernote is “a suite of software and services designed for notetaking and archiving.” The corporation is described as a “Creator of a multi platform note taking application for mobile devices. The site include product information, a company blog, and support services.”

I am a great note–taker: to-do notes, checklists, reminders, dashed-out thoughts and drafts for that Great American Novel. As I use different machines for different locations and tasks, finding where I put that note is not always that easy. Yes, I do file syncs, but not every day. I also use (and thoroughly recommend) the indispensable Dropbox for Cloud file syncs across multiple devices and locations.

But I’ve wanted to get away from that text file syndrome for a long time. Individual text file notes are under-the-hood equivalents of Post-It Notes on the refrigerator. Notepads and note organizers have long been a dime a dozen. I even wrote a crude one in C once. Apps come and go so fast I went back to huge folders of text files back in the 1990’s.

I hope Evernote sticks around. I found it by accident in the Apple App Store, while looking for something compatible with the Notes app that comes on the iPad. I found Evernote instead, which is much, much more robust. It’s available for Mac, PC and mobile devices: iPad, iPhone, Blackberry and DROID. I now have it on all my computers. Best of all, they all talk to one another via the Cloud. No more file syncs, no more lost notes. This isn’t a full review, but …

I’m already awarding it Summitlake’s Five Stars. Five stars

As I wrote a nephew,

[quote]This app is VERY cool. Free. Check it out!


I have it installed on iMac, Mac, PC, and iPad. Everything autosyncs on their private Cloud. You can also access your notes on a secure web page. No more file transfers. Notes, pictures, even audio I think. Creditable text editor. Reminders, lists, Great American Novel. Not recommended for bank and credit account numbers 🙂 Organize by multiple Notebooks.[/quote]

And I hope you’ll check it out too. Below is a screen shot of my app (Grabbed on the iMac) with my starter set of my own notes. A place for everything at last, and everything in its place. You can subcategorize your notes by Notebooks, and you can create as many of then as you want. You can access the same notes in the same format anywhere on any machine or platform, and you can also access your notes on the Web. You can export backups of your notebooks to the local hard drive.

Users are even assigned a free individual email address which will post directly to your free Evernote account. And so you will still find it on any one of your Evernote machine or device installations next time you open Evernote. Not bad for a free app.  This app (and the services behind it) are certainly worth a bona fide retail price.  I can’t even find where I might send a PayPal donation. I think the implementation of this idea is pure genius. Cheers!


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Graphic Converter for Mac

Graphic Converter for Mac –  5 Star Rating - Summitlake Consumer pagefive stars

Back in the dawn of digital photography in the 1990’s , we used to send film to Seattle Filmworks for processing. By return US mail we’d get back negatives, prints and a floppy disk of images in a proprietary compression file format called .SFW. With the included software, one could save those as JPG images. They were pretty crude digital images – to fit on a floppy disk, they had to be! With prints and negatives long misplaced, these images are often the only surviving photographic records of a decade of our lives.

Recently I discovered many of those old JPG images had become corrupted. Photoshop couldn’t open them. Photoshop couldn’t open the .SFW source files, either. This is like losing a piece of one’s family history. I began my web search for a solution. The old Seattle Filmworks software may still be available, but it hasn’t been supported since Windows 98.

To my utter surprise, I found that an application called Graphic Converter. Graphic Converter? That’s like locating an old friend you lose track of a decade ago. I used to use it on the Mac. I purchased it and installed it on my Mac Pro and recovered all my files.

Graphic Converter is an extraordinarily powerful and intuitive imaging software app. It does anything and everything one needs to work with images: edit, crop, color balance, file conversion, slide show, and much more. If I’d realized it was available and still being improved, I’d never have bought Adobe Photoshop Elements for Mac, which costs three times as much.

The new Graphic Converter is even more powerful and intuitively engineered than before. It was the ONE app I truly missed when I left Mac for Windows in 1997 (not returning to Mac until 2009). I was so happy with the new product I wrote Lemke Software to express my delight. App creator and software designer Thorsten Lemke wrote back from Germany asking if he could use my letter of thanks on his Customer Statements page. Of course he could – it’s the least I can do. Below is an excerpt from my letter of thanks for such a fine software product.

[quote]This is just a note of thanks for a great product. I used Graphic Converter from about 1995 to 1997 and it was the best Mac app I ever used… I didn’t have to use a manual or Help file to do it. Graphic Converter is as logically designed as ever! It is also the only product other than Photoshop I have ever trusted to edit my photo images, and your product performs a lot of functions Adobe doesn’t.”[/quote]

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Mac & Windows Notes

I continue to enjoy my Mac Pro (under Snow Leopard) and my PC (with newly installed Windows 7-64). Following are some collected notes & observations.

  • Music: for years I’ve been careful to select PC motherboards with the best onboard sound processors (DAC’s). I knew I would be interested in finding the results of A/B sound comparisons between Mac and PC playing the same iTunes tracks in synch.
  • iTunes: “PC music” is a hot topic in the high-end audio magazines these days. The thinking is that you have to get an external DAC to wring true “hi-fi” stereo sound out of your PC – and the pros are often as not using iTunes to create their own state of the art music servers – something I’ve been doing for years, using just the onboard digital-to-analog logic.
  • And the audio quality winner is: Continue reading

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Windows 7 Impressions

I won’t pretend there was any urgent reason to upgrade from XP to Win 7. My XP installation was getting slower and slower, and that was only just reinstalled in July. My new Mac Pro (64 bit Snow Leopard) greatly increased my dissatisfaction with the PC side: if I’m going to live with Windows, and I am, I needed to do something!

A new motherboard and chip was financially out of the question. I’m running an ASUS M2N-SLI Deluxe with AMD 64 6000+ CPU. It’s not that old. By the time you add all the other stuff you always find you need, a slight upgrade turns into a major investment. I decided to go full bore with 8GB RAM, Windows 7 Pro (64-bit), and a better graphics card that would support “Windows Aero”.
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Mac Pro – Impressions II

After a week and a day with my new Mac Pro, I’m more delighted than ever. Highlights:

  • More software added: BBEdit, Photoshop Elements 8 for Mac
  • In the mail: Dreamweaver CS4 for Mac (crossgrade)
  • Win-PC networking fixed (issue on PC side)
  • Installed HP P1505N networked printer for all machines
  • Upgraded memory to 7GB (+3[2GB] SIMMS + 1 existing 1GB) – removed two 1GB’s to fill 4 slots.
  • Added 1TB Hitachi SATA for backups and music

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Mac Pro – First Impressions

Mac iconI’m really impressed. Five Star ratingfive stars. Let me state up front that this Mac exceeds my wildest expectations. It’s everything I wanted, runs incredibly faster than any PC I’ve ever owned or built, and the software is everything you expect from Apple, if not more.

Having jumped ship from a Mac Clone to PC’s in 1997, I have a lot of investment in home-built PC’s, a huge software environment, and considerable PC “learning curve” acquired in the last 12 years.

But I’ve always wanted to install a test server right on my own box. I’ve been uploading drafts to test regions on my server for years and testing them there. Of course I do a lot of WordPress nowadays, a great, no-brainer web-based solution for blogs and entire websites. But, of course also , I still customize with Perl and HTML, I’m starting to use PhP, and I’m thinking about jumping into Ruby/RAILS.

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Jalbum - photo slideshow software

Jalbum - photo slideshow software

 This review is a no-brainer. Jalbum, the photo slideshow builder app, gets our 5-star rating for:

  • being very easy to use
  • producing stunning results
  • truly professional presentation and cool display
  • advanced features
  • freeware (donations accepted)
  • low bug rate from version to version

And more:
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Short and Unhappy Life of RegCure

After removing RegCure and reinstalling the drivers, my system works perfectly. If this doesn’t prove that RegCure was removing needed registry entries, I don’t know what does.

I had some problems on my machine in Phoenix. But I’ve always had them, at least since the XP service packs SP2 or SP3, it seems. Clicking a link in Outlook, or in some of my applications, would cause the link to hang and, ultimately, the app would crash.
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CoolerMaster Cosmos 1000


Cosmos 1000Well, I can say one thing right away about the CoolerMaster Cosmos 1000 case. It’s BIG – measuring 23-1/2 x 10 inches, including helicopter-style landing skids.

Another thing: it’s QUIET. CoolerMaster really soundproofed this design well. It’s even quieter than any laptop I ever owned. I can hardly hear it at all.
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CAT 5 Throughput With Cheap Bulk Cable

Category Five Hurricane: Winds greater than 155 mph (135 kt or 249 km/hr). Storm surge generally greater than 18 ft above normal. Complete roof failure on many residences and industrial buildings.

Category 5 Cable (UTP) (Unshielded Twisted Pair) : A multipair (usually 4 pair) high performance cable that consists of twisted pair conductors, used mainly for data transmission. Note: The twisting of the pairs gives the cable a certain amount of immunity from the infiltration of unwanted interference. category-5 UTP cabling systems are by far, the most common (compared to SCTP) in the United States. Basic cat 5 cable was designed for characteristics of up to 100 MHz. Category 5 cable is typically used for Ethernet networks running at 10 or 100 Mbps.
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