Friday, February 29, 2008

Get your copy of WhatSize for 5.99$ - only today

Official Homepage: WhatSize

You can get a copy of WhatSize for 5.99$ today from Macupdate.
WhatSize is a truly useful little tool to see which files and folders use up your precious HD space. While it used to be freeware it is now shareware so if you have been using it and waiting now would be the time to get a license.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Updated Macbooks and Macbook Pros

Well, like many of the rumor sites had predicted the Macbook lineup got an upgrade today.
While there have been some rumors around, the main upgrades just involved minor hardware improvements. The MBP got a multi touch trackpad, however not the cool one like the MBA. More details on the Apple site.


SuperDuper! saves the day - Boot Camp trouble solved...

There have been reports that the Boot Camp Assistant has trouble partitioning your hard disk since the 10.5.2 update. In some cases the Assistant just freezes you Mac in some other cases it causes kernel panics. In my case the Mac froze and the BC Assistant just didn't create the partition that I wanted. Then I came across a thread in a Mac forum that someone successfully partitioned his drive after reinstalling Leopard - that gave me an idea, which was to try restoring my SuperDuper! backup for the first time ever. Doing that would get rid of any defragmentation also, I thought. So booting from the install DVD and launching disk utility, I mounted the bootable sparse image disk that SuperDuper! created and started restoring the image to my Macintosh HD (note: the free version can clone your whole disk). I was amazed how fast the restore process was and after about 45mins I booted up my "old" restored OS X. Amazingly, Boot Camp Assistant was now able to create the Boot Camp partition and I was able to install Windows on my Macbook - I guess the problem with Boot Camp in some cases is, that the Assistant fails to move some files on the Macintosh HD to create the partition. If you absolutely need Windows (yes for some specific programs people need Boot Camp) and have trouble installing it this might be an easy safe way to do so.


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Review: iSkin duo for iPod nano 3rd gen. - ultimate protection

Official homepage: iSkin

Deutscher Testbericht


As part II of the iPod related reviews, I decided to post a review on the iSkin duo for the iPod nano 3rd generation. After all you want good sound with your iPod (check out the V-moda Vibe review), but also good protection against scratches and minor shocks.

Package content

What do you get when you purchase the iSkin duo? Well, the package is very complete actually. Obviously you get the silicone case and the front side protector. A very versatile belt clip on is also included and for those iPod users among you that like to carry the iPod around the neck there is a lanyard that connects to the dock connector.


The design of the iSkin duo has changed quite a bit. I have owned the iSkin duo for the 1st gen. iPod nano, and back then you got two full body silicone cases that you applied to your iPod. With the new iSkin duo, the idea of double protection still remains but it has been slightly changed. First off, you use the full body silicone case, which by the way is transparent as you can see in the picture. The plastic belt clip-on is already attached to the transparent case, so if you do not want to use the clip-on I suggest removing it. If you remove it, there will be two holes in the back of the transparent case that you can "close" using a silicone piece that is included in the package to ensure perfect protection. After having put the iPod in the transparent case you can attach the front piece that is made of hard plastic. This front shield covers the whole front side of the iPod except the click wheel.


The protection that the iSkin duo provides is very good in my opinion. The silicone case seems to be very tough and the people at iSkin have come up with a very neat solution for those people who do not want to use the clip-on as mentioned above. One aspect that I really like about the transparent case is the fact that it even protects the dock connector port and the headphone port. This is very unique and I haven't seen this on any other silicone based case so far. The front shield covers the whole front (display included) so there won't be any way that you can scratch up your iPod while it is in the iSkin duo. The protection value of the iSkin duo is very good and in my opinion probably the best that you can get right now.

My personal thoughts

I personally like the iSkin duo (already liked it when I was using my first generation iPod nano). I really like the fact that it protects my iPod very well. Another aspect that is worth mentioning is the versatility of this case. You can clip it to your belt when you go out running, or hang it around your neck when you are strolling through the streets, or you can just put it in your pocket. At first, I was skeptical about the new design but it offers a huge plus point compared to the older version - it does not add as much bulk, even though you have double protection. The only negative aspect that I have to mention is the following: it is kind of a hassle to get the front shield on. I had to "massage" the silicone skin quite a bit until the front shield was attached perfectly. However, this is just minor since usually you do this just once:) iSkin offers the iSkin duo in many color variations so there should be a color for everybody. If you are on the lookout for complete protection with style and the possibility to carry around your iPod in different ways this is the case you should get.


Software for Switchers (as well as longtime Mac users) Part VII: X Lossless Decoder

Official homepage: X Lossless Decoder

If you are an iPod owner and value high quality audio then you surely use lossless formats. iTunes however can only use the Apple Lossless format and if you have other formats lying around like flac you need to decode the tracks. A very easy to use, fast tool for that is X Lossless Decoder by a japanese developer. It is freeware and can handle various lossless formats.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Firmware Update for Keyboard Macbook and Macbook Pro

Finally an update has been released that is supposed to fix the keyboard problems with all the Macbooks. The keyboard of the Macbooks are known to just ignore the first keystroke which has been a bug for a while now and wasn't fixed with the 10.5.2 update. However, there has been an update at last - so if you haven't downloaded the firmware update yet, now is a good time to press the Apple logo -> Software Update:)


Friday, February 15, 2008

Review: V-moda Vibe - Like having subwoofers in your ears!

Official homepage v-moda

Deutscher Testbericht


After having reviewed quite some products and applications for the Macbook and Mac in general I thought that it'd be time to review some iPod related accessories and products as well. Especially, after purchasing the 3rd gen iPod nano recently. It was kind of sad to say farewell to my 1st gen iPod nano, which by the way I still consider the best iPod so far, but the new iPod nano is quite exquisite as well. So in the next few weeks and months, more iPod related reviews will be published here on Days of our Macbooks. The first product to be reviewed are the in-ear headphones by V-moda: their top of the line Vibes.

Package Content

With the Vibes itself the package contains some other accessories. There is a cable management wrapper made of plastic rubber, a black leather pouch to put your Vibes when not in use and in total six pairs of earpieces/fittings. You get three different sizes of fittings being small, medium and large in two colors: transparent and black. I personally like the transparent fittings better than the black ones and for me the medium sized fittings provide the best noise reduction and the best comfort. Trying them all out is probably the best idea (even though the large fittings are indeed very large - I couldn't even fit them in my ears).

Design and Manufacturing

Regarding the design, I am not quite sure where to start. These are probably the sexiest headphones I have ever seen. The metal body with the black accents are just gorgeous. The cable also is worth a look. The black cable is coated with a transparent plastic that makes the cable very tough and also look good. There are many color variations for the Vibe so a visit at the official homepage of v-moda will definitely be worth it. I am sure that everyone can find a color that suits her/him. The Vibes are manufactured very well. The finish of the metal body is perfect, the earpieces fit perfectly on the speakers and in general there is nothing bad about them.

Earpieces and Comfort

I'd like to write some sentences concerning the comfort of the Vibes - this being my first pair of in-ears. They are very comfortable once you find the fitting that suits you best. In my case the medium sized ones fit perfectly and they are very comfortable. The fittings are made of very soft foam and you quickly forget that you have the earphones in your ear canal. I noticed that different sizes of fittings change the sound of the earphones slightly. Personally, I feel that the medium sized fittings play back the bass better than the small ones. Maybe it's just my imagination but I think to hear a difference - my recommendation is to test out all fittings carefully before making up your mind. Regarding the noise reduction I must say that the Vibes neutralize external noise quite well.

Sound Quality

Now, when buying headphones the most important aspect is the sound quality and the way music is being played back. First off, the overall sound quality is superb. I have never owned a pair of in-ear headphones (just regular earbuds), so when I first put them in and played back some music I was very surprised how good the iPod can sound with high quality earphones. After the first excitement settled down a bit I started testing the Vibes systematically. I loaded various genres on my iPod and just started playing them back - classic, hip hop, rnb, pop (mostly J-pop), rock, punk and jazz. The Vibe's strength is bass and the lower mid-level. That being said, hip hop, rnb, and pop with bass sounded amazing. When listening to bass heavy songs it really is like having subwoofers in your ears or being in a club. Before testing the Vibes I always had the EQ setting on my iPod to "bass booster". However, with the Vibes I switched to the EQ setting "flat" because the bass and lower mid range is played back so well that I didn't feel like I needed an extra boost. As I mentioned above the strength of the Vibes are the lower frequencies but they play the higher mid levels and the higher range very well also. However, when listening to not so bass heavy music I felt that the lower range was overemphasized. I felt this way especially when listening to classical music. So after playing around with different EQ settings I came to the conclusion that the setting "treble booster" makes the Vibes sound more neutral. I use this setting for some punk songs also. My final verdict regarding the sound quality is: excellent with amazing bass. All ranges are played back very well and with the appropriate EQ setting (given the limited settings of the iPod a rather fast search) you can make almost every genre sound really good.

Final thoughts

Given the style factor of the Vibes and the amazing bass, I think these in-ears are especially for people who listen to contemporary music (like hip hop, rnb, club music, pop, etc.) and for those who want their earphones to be fashion items also. If you are someone who wants a neutral sound I am not so sure if the Vibes are the ones you want to get. These earphones are very high quality and if you want to have club sound on the go you really should get them. The price tag of 101$ is quite high but I feel that the quality of these in-ears justify the price. For iPhone owners there is a special version of the Vibes called Vibe duo which features a mic and control button.

Frequency Response: 12 Hz – 22 kHz
Speaker Driver: V-MASQUE dynamic technology, 9mm neodymium rare-earth magnet
Cable length: 32” plug to y-connector, 13.5” even-length earphone cables
Cable diameter: 2.2mm optimal for sport
Plug: 24k gold-plated, straight 3.5mm (1/8”) stereo plug
Weight: 12 grams (0.42 ounces)
Impedance: 16 ohms
Sensitivity: 92 dB (at 1kHz 1mW)
Rated Input Power: 2mW


Testbericht: MacPack Rucksack von MacCase

Official homepage MacCase
English review of MacPack


Nachdem ich den Testbericht des MacCase Sleeves hier veröffentlicht habe, kommt nun der Erfahrungsbericht bezüglich des Rucksacks von MacCase. Man kann auf der MacCase Homepage den Rucksack und das Sleeve in einem Kombo Paket erwerben, was vor allem für Switcher interessant sein dürfte.

Material und Verarbeitung

Das Material aus dem der Rucksack gefertigt ist, ist hochwertig - genau wie das Sleeve. Das MacPack ist aus strapazierfähigem Nylon gefertigt. Nachdem ich den Rucksack über einige Monate benutzt habe (und von Zeit zu Zeit auch richtigen Härtetests unterworfen habe) kann ich sagen, dass das MacPack einiges aushält. Bezüglich der Verarbeitung muss ich gestehen, dass ich etw. enttäuscht war, nachdem ich das Sleeve gesehen hatte. Um Klarheit zu schaffen - die Verarbeitung ist nicht schlecht...aber auch nicht hervorragend, wie es beim Sleeve der Fall war. Als Beispiel wären die Stickerei des Logo zu erwähnen. Sie war nicht ganz so sorgfältig wie beim Sleeve.


Das Design des Rucksacks hat mir sehr gut gefallen. Es ist nicht auffällig und sehr einfach gehalten. Das MacPack hat zwei Fächer: das hintere Fach ist zum Verstauen der Books gedacht (MBP, MB). Es ist sogar gross genug um noch paar andere Sachen zu verstauen. Interessant sind die Klettverschlüsse im hinteren Fach um das Sleeve von MacCase zu befestigen. Das vordere Fach ist für all die Kleinigkeiten gedacht, die ein moderner Road Warrior so mit sich trägt. Man findet 9 kleine Fächer in denen man Maus, iPod, Digicam, etc. leicht verstauen kann. Es ist auch ein Pass-Trough zu finden, durch den man die Kopfhörer nach aussen führen kann. An den Seiten kann man zwei Flaschenhalter finden, die gross genug sind um 0,5 l Flaschen zu halten. Zu erwähnen wäre noch der Griff an der oberen Seite...dieser ist aus einem sehr weichen schwamm-ähnlichen Material und fühlt sich gut an. Die neonfarbige Innenseite ist wohl Geschmackssache aber ich fand sie eigentlich garnicht mal so übel.


Nun zum Tragekomfort des Rucksacks einige Sätze. Vom Tragekomfort bin ich begeistert. Dieser Rucksack ist einer der komfortabelsten, der mir in die Hände gekommen ist. Der Grund sind wohl die abgewinkelten Tragegurte. Sie mögen merkwürdig aussehen, aber erhöhen den Tragekomfort erheblich. Ein weiterer Grund für den guten Tragekomfort sind wohl die Polsterungen der Gurte und der Rückseite des Rucksacks. Sie sind aus atmungsaktivem Schaum und fühlen sich sehr angenehm an.


Dies ist der erste Rucksack, den ich hier für Days of our Macbooks getestet habe und ich muss sagen ich war sehr zufrieden. Auf einer 10 Punkte Skala würde ich eine 8,5 geben. Einen Punktabzug gibt es wegen der an einigen Stellen nicht ganz so hervorragenden Verarbeitung. Es sei hier nochmals angemerkt, dass es sich wirklich nicht um grosse Sachen handelt aber es trübt doch den Gesamteindruck. Einen weiteren halben Punkt Abzug gibt es wegen des etw. übertriebenen Einsatzes von Klettverschlüssen.
Als Gesamtfazit lässt sich festhalten, dass dieser Rucksack im Kombopaket für Switcher sehr geeignet ist, denn wo bekommt man sonst ein Sleeve und einen Rucksack für knapp 70$? Bei dem jetzigen Dollar Kurs ist das ein sehr gutes Angebot.


Thursday, February 14, 2008

How to fix disk utility rights after 10.5.2 update

Now since the long awaited 10.5.2 update has been released I thought I'd share a little tip on how to fix the rights that disk utility just refuses to repair. In my case I have installed the update via Software Update and this morning when I repaired my rights there have been three entries about some unexpected values in the folder /Applications/Utilities, /Library, and /Applications (I think). Even repairing the rights from the Install DVD didn't help but there is one way how to fix all this. Download the Combo Update from Apple's site (around 350MB); after that restart your Mac into safe mode by pressing the "shift" key while booting and install the combo update in safe mode. After that all the little errors in disk utility should be gone. I don't know if this is old news but I personally didn't know about this and maybe there are still some people out there that didn't know about this little tip.


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Testbericht: MacCase Sleeve für das Macbook 13,3"

Official homepage MacCase

English Review


Nachdem schon einige Testberichte von Taschen/Sleeves für das Macbook hier gepostet wurden (u.a. Raedan, fabrixcases, Tucano Second Skin) möchte ich ein weiteres Sleeve vorstellen. Ich denke, dass dies vor allem Switchern nützen wird sich zu entscheiden, welche Tasche am besten für sie geeignet ist.


Die verwendeten Materialen des MacCase Sleeves sind hochwertig. Die Aussenseite ist aus einem robusten Kunststoff und scheint einiges einstecken zu können. Das Material ist mit dem zu vergleichen, welches bei vielen Rucksäcken zum Einsatz kommt. Die Innenseite ist aus einem sehr weichen Stoff gefertigt und ist wirklich sehr geeignet um ein Sleeve für das doch etw. kratzeranfällige Macbook zu produzieren. Materialtechnisch kann man nur Höchstwertungen vergeben.


Die Verarbeitung des Sleeves ist hervorragend. Die Nähte sind sorgfältig, nichts fusselt und die Stickerei (Logo) sieht sehr hochwertig aus. Auch hier kann ich keine Nachteile entdecken.


Dieses Sleeve ist primär dafür da um Kratzer zu verhindern. Die Polsterung ist sehr dünn und man sollte nicht allzu viel Shock Protection erwarten. Auf den Bilder ist gut zu sehen, dass das Sleeve sehr dünn gehalten ist. Im Cutout Bereich für das Apple Logo ist nur eine transparente Folie, die das Macbook schützt.


Das Design des MacCase Sleeves ist etw. anders. Wie man sieht, gibt es einen Cutout der nur durch eine transparente Folie geschützt ist. So wird das Apple Logo des Macbooks Teil vom Design der Tasche. Ich persönlich bin wohl nicht Fanboy genug, dass ich dies als einen Plus-Punkt betrachte aber andere mögen dies als einen Vorteil bewerten. Was allerdings sehr interessant ist, ist ein zweites Cutout welches durch ein Netz geschützt ist (auf der Rückseite). Dieses Cutout soll das Macbook kühlen während es im Sleeve ist. Da das Macbook doch relativ schnell heiss wird finde ich dies wirklich eine gute Idee. Ein weiterer Punkt, den ich persönlich toll finde, ist, dass man das Macbook vertikal in die Tasche verstaut. Dies vor allem praktisch, wenn man vor hat dieses Sleeve in Kombination mit einem Rucksack zu verwenden, da man das Macbook einfach aus dem Sleeve ziehen kann.

Meine persönlichen Eindrücke

Was ich an diesem Sleeve sehr mag sind folgende Punkte:
es ist sehr dünn, da es nur minimal gepolstert ist.
die verwendeten Materialen sind sehr gut und die Verarbeitung ist auch vorbildlich.
Allerdings mag ich den Cutout Bereich für das Apple Logo nicht sonderlich. Dies ist jedoch nur mein persönlicher Geschmack und andere mögen dies sogar als toll empfinden. Der Fit des Sleeve ist perfekt und die Tasche sitzt wie angegossen. Ich finde dieses Sleeve im Ganzen sehr gut und kann sie weiterempfehlen. Allerdings sollte man im Hinterkopf behalten, dass sie keinen Schutz vor Stössen bietet.


Tuesday, February 5, 2008

SuperDuper! 2.5 is out - finally Leo compatible

The very popular backup solution SuperDuper! is finally Leopard compatible and out in version 2.5. From the number of people that have been following the watch blog I dare say that quite a lot of Mac users have been waiting for this. You can download the new version here:

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