Are you influenced by the gadgets tech writers use?

I read an article recently by Steve Wildstrom about the influence that tech writers have over people based simply on the gadgets that the writer chooses to use.  Steve’s article was addressing Apple products, in particular MacBooks and MacBook’s Pro. Steve’s point was that people in the tech industry (he calls them “tech elites”) overwhelmingly choose to use Apple products and he believes that this has an influence on people that read the post written by these writers.

I know that what tech elites use made a difference in my case.  Three years ago I had never used in Apple Computer product and I was a little bit hesitant to even consider Apple products because of the cost and because of what I consider to be out of the mainstream type products (I recall thinking the Apple section at CompUSA was a waste of space). However, over a period of time I notice that nearly everyone that I listen to in a podcast, followed on twitter or read articles from was using an Apple computer product.  Individuals like Mickey Papillon from The Cell Phone Junkie, Kevin Tofel from JK on the Run and Matt Miller from ZD were using Macs and it intrigued me.

Slowly, I came to the conclusion that it must not be an accident and there must actually be some benefits to using Apple Computer products.  Eventually, I tried one Mac and since then I am using almost all Apple products.  I am not still using Apple products because of “tech elites” but that was my introduction.

How about you, are you influenced by what gadgets tech “elites” are using?


Posted by Shawn Roberts in Blogposts

Dual Monitor Magic

After seeing everyone in my office using dual monitors and never having tried it, I gave in today and added a second monitor to my Apple 21.5″ iMac. I had a 24″ ViewSonic monitor to use and in a few minutes I was up and running. Below is a short video showing the set up.

Do you use dual monitors? What do you think of it?

Posted by Shawn Roberts in Blogposts

Applications that rock the iPad

I asked this question couple of nights ago on Twitter ”

I received a range of interesting answers which are reproduced below as screenshots from Twitter.  What app or apps do you think show off what the iPad can do?


Eric Urbach The Daily

Dan Gordon Tacori

Infinity Blade Flip Board Apple Remote

Chris Poteet Flip Board Reeder 1 password

Donny Benfield ABC News

Jim Calloway iAnnotate

Jordan Patterson Infinity Blade Garage Band


Max Razzini Real Racing

Nichole Moisant Martha Stewart

Posted by Shawn Roberts in Blogposts

Some guidance on switching to the Mac

I posted about my thoughts on switching from the PC to Mac about a month ago.  I made the switch 11 months ago and it has gone well for me.

Recently, PCWorld posted an article that provides some some valuable information on buying a Mac. if you make the decision to do it.  You can find the article here.

Posted by Shawn Roberts in Blogposts

The insight you need for choosing between a PC and a Mac

In January 2010 I made the switch in my law practice to Apple computers (the “Mac).  Currently, I use a 21.5” iMac and a 15” MacBook Pro.  Prior to that, we were using Macs at home.  For all of my work and personal life I have use PCs running Windows – Windows 95, 98, XP, Vista and 7. I hope to provide some insights that are useful to you in your decision between purchasing another PC or switching to a Mac (my assumption is if you are “switching” it will be to a Mac).

1. Purchase Price

Money isn’t everything, but operating within the budget is important.  If your budget for the initial purchase is $1,000.00 or less, you are in the PC Market.  If you can go up to $1,300.00 to $1,700.00 you can purchase a MacBook Pro or iMac.  Consider this article by Harry McCracken, former editor of PC World, comparing Macs to PCs for the non-geek.

2. Switching Costs

In addition to the initial purchase price of the machine you choose, there will be other costs, particularly if you are switching from a PC to a Mac.

The primary costs of switching to the Mac is buying new software, if most of the software you use comes from a box or runs on your computer.  For instance, the Microsoft Office products (Outlook, Word, Excel) are available on the Mac, but you need a Mac-Specific version.  Also, the Adobe products you use (such as Photoshop) are available on the Mac but again you will need to purchase new software.  You also may want to use or buy a program that allows you to run Windows on your Mac, like the free Boot Camp or Parralells.  These applications allow you to install and run a copy of Windows (that you have already) on your Mac.

If you stay with a PC, you should not have to buy any new software.

3.  Fitting it into your work life

If you are going to use the new machine in your work, consider whether a Mac is going to fit.  Windows still runs most of business today and this does not appear to be changing.  If the critical software programs you use are Windows-only, you will need to either run Windows on your Mac or stick with a PC.

For me, it was our billing and calendaring programs that were Windows-only.  However, I decided that neither of these programs was worth expending effort on and I switched to programs that either run on the Mac or run in a Web browser.

4. Maintenance costs

The purchase price of the new machine is not the end of the costs.  PCs will generally require more maintenance than Macs.  PCs require anti-virus software and more susceptible to being infected with viruses.

If your PC breaks, you will have a lot of choices of places to have it fixed.  If your Mac breaks and you have an Apple store close, you can it there.  There is a better chance people will know will be able to help with a PC than a Mac.  

Some people argue that the overall costs of owning a Mac is less than a PC because of the total cost of maintenance.  Whether this is true or note, you will pay more initially to buy a Mac.

5.  Ability to Upgrade

If you spend to $600.00-$800.00 on a decently specked-out PC, you made be able to afford an upgrade sooner than if you spend $1400-$1700.00 Mac (either a MacBook Pro or iMac).

6.  What are you using your computer for?

This is an underrated but critical element.  If your primary uses of the computer are for activities that are done in a Web Browser (like Facebook, Twitter, Gmail), it probably does not matter whether you have a Mac or a PC.  Just find a decent browser; there are several good choices on each platform (Firefox, Chrome or Safari if you are on the Mac [avoid the PC version of Safari as if it were the plague]).

On the other hand, if you spend substantial time in programs that run on your computer such as Photoshop, desktop email like Outlook or

7.  Photos and Videos

If you work with a lot of photos and videos, a Mac may better suit because you get iPhoto and iMovie with every new Mac.  These are easy to use programs that provide a decent level of functionality.  Although PCs have improved in this area with the software that is free, the offerings are not up to the same standard as the Mac.  I am not certain I agree that iPhoto and iMovie are reasons in themselves to get a Mac, but they are definitely a plus if you purchase one.

8.  The Learning Curve

While you may end up loving your Mac in a way that is not imaginable with your PC, there will be a learning curve.  You will have to learn a different system.  Your learning curve period will depend on your skill and the amount of time you put in.  But in every instance there will be a learning curve.  With a PC, even if you are upgrading to Windows 7, there should not be an appreciable learning curve.

A couple of other things to consider if you are switching to Mac:

Check out the refurbished Mac deals that Apple offers on its’ website.  You can save around $300.00 and get a machine that is under warranty and usually indistinguishable from a new one.  My most recent MacBook Pro purchase was a refurbished model and it has been flawless.

  • I purposely left out the new MacBook Air announced today by Apple.  I recommend letting it come out and be reviewed for at least a month before considering it.  While the industrial design is gorgeous, you can get more computer for less money by buying a MacBook Pro
Posted by Shawn Roberts in Blogposts

A detente in the tech cold war

Apple and Google started out as strong allies when the iPhone launched in June 2007.  cold_war_again_201155Gradually, the relationship broke down through a series of events which culminated with rejection of Apple’s rejection of Google’s Voice Application from the App Store.  Today, there is a sign that the companies may be finding a way to work together.

The Unofficial Apple Weblog reports (via Business Insider) that Google and Apple have entered into another multi-year licensing agreement covering Google search on the iOS:

Business Insider is reporting that Apple and Google have extended the deal that brought Google search to the iOS. In a recent interview with Charlie Rose, Google CEO Eric Schmidt mentioned that his company’s arrangement with Apple has been “recently extended.”

You can check out the full article here.  Is this an indication of better relations, that the relationship was never as bad as thought, or neither?  Let me know what you think.

Posted by Shawn Roberts in Blogposts

GV Connect -Google Voice for the iPhone is back.

It was about a year ago that Apple made a splash by rejecting Google’s native Google Voice app for the iPhone and then removing existing Google Voice applications from the App Store.  Apparently, Apple has changed course and is allowing Google Voice apps into the App Store.  One of the first is GV Connect.  Check out my brief overview below.

Posted by Shawn Roberts in Blogposts

Apple’s AirPort Extreme Base Station: Rock Solid Product or Overpriced Marketing Hype?

This week’s TechTipTuesday arose out of problems with my home wireless network.  We primarily connect to the Internet via WiFi at our house, with several Macs and a couple of smartphone devices.  For several months, the performance of WiFi at my house has been inconsistent and seemingly less than it should be (or at least what I think it should be).  I am paying for a decent speed connection (20mb down/5mb up) but I feel as if I am not getting my money’s worth.  I have heard good things about Apple’s AirPort Extreme Base Station.

Screen shot 2010-08-09 at 10.17.19 PM

My previous routers have toe $40-50 Linksys variety.  However, when I saw the price of the AirPort Extreme ($179.00 on Apple’s website) I realized that I should do some research.  Being a frequent social media participant and looking for a relatively easy solution, I turned to Twitter, where I asked the question:

Thoughts on whether Apple’s AirPort Extreme Router is worth the cost over a $50 linksys router??

Below are the answers I received to my Twitter inquiry:

Twitter answers to question about Apple's Airport Extreme

Screen shot 2010-08-09 at 9.21.39 PM

What are your thoughts on the AirPort Extreme vs. a lowered-priced router?

Posted by Shawn Roberts in Blogposts

Adding Missing Album Artwork in iTunes

This weeks’ TechTipTuesday takes on a minor, but pesky and annoying problem: that album or podcast artwork that is missing from your iTunes library. By artwork, I mean the pictures that are face of your albums or podcasts. With no artwork, you end up with something like this:

Picture of podcast missing album artwork

I have two sources to combat this issues: one is from my fellow The Love of Tech podcaster Jordan Patterson who provides this helpful video:

and the other, that will work with iTunes on Windows:

How To Add Album Artwork To iTunes Music / iPod Songs (Without Signing Up To iTunes) FOR FREE!

Posted by Shawn Roberts in Blogposts

A week dominated by a phone

I was mulling ideas for this week’s FreeStyleFriday post and realized that the topic has to be iPhone since this week for me has been dominated by the phone which was released yesterday.  My son and I waited 6 hours in line to secure one yesterday and were able to take home the prize.  Below is a test of audio out of the iPhone 4 and a combination of video and audio.

On the road – don’t look down! from Shawn J. Roberts on Vimeo.

Posted by Shawn Roberts in Blogposts