Category Archives: Applications

One Reason why I’m Not Such a Big Fan of iTunes

image Ok, now I’m sure that some people aren’t going to be real happy about me saying this. But I have suffered in silence for long enough, and I think it’s time I get this off my chest.

iTunes is a bloated, sluggish, buggy, and ugly piece of programming. First off, Paul Thurrott gave the best description of iTunes that I’ve heard to date. It’s a spread sheet with music in it.

I have to apologize to all of the people who love Apple’s award winning design skills, but iTunes is ugly. I was surprised to download Safari recently, and realize that it looks exactly like iTunes. Does it look like this on MAC OS? What’s up with that?

The picture above illustrates why I was inspired to write this post. Why in the world does iTunes need 60 % of my CPU? I’m playing a itty bitty video, 320 x 240, about 6 minutes long.

I’m not running a Pentium II 450 Mghz, I have a 4Ghz P4. It shouldn’t need that much CPU time even if I was encoding the video.

I didn’t mention yet that iTunes is using about 100M of memory. Do you think that’s reasonable?

imageThe picture to the left is just one example of the scrambled display that I get from time to time. I don’t mind that so much as I do the fact that iTunes is so terribly slow, especially over remote desktop.

Even when logged in locally, it is still painfully slow to resize windows.

Redeeming Qualities

OK, there are two reasons why I use iTunes. One, it is the only application that works with my iPod. I love my iPod, which has an excellent design.

If Apple wants to use their near monopoly over the MP3 player industry to push a sub standard music player and their own music store, I guess I can’t do anything about it.

The second reason is that iTunes supports podcasts. I wish Media player did this as well. I’ve heard that the Zune supports them now, but I haven’t verified that, and I don’t own a Zune anyway.

For now I’m stuck with the sluggish, bloated iTunes, and I don’t have much choice about it. I’ve heard that there are some Open Source alternatives out there. I should check them out. I’m not concerned with losing my music, since I haven’t bought one single song from the iTunes store.

Feel free to chime in if you have any experience with another iPod friendly app.

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Find out What is Using up Your Hard Drive Space With WinDirStat

Have you ever looked at your hard disk free space, and wondered where it all went? I mean, when I bought that 250G drive, I thought I would never need more space.

WindirStat is a easy way to graphically see where all of that free space went to. I use it all the time, even on my networks, to see what is using up all of my drive space.

Of course, it doesn’t run instantly, after all, WinDirStat has to crawl through every directory on your hard drive. While directories are being updated, you are entertained with little packmen running back and forth next to the directories it is updating.

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The visual representation of the files is neat, but I really look for the top half of the screen, pictured below.

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Directories are listed with the largest on top, and you can continue to drill down into the subdirectories to find out what they are made up of.

This really is a great utility, and you can’t beat the price, which is free.

You can download WinDirStat from the Downloads page, also check out the WinDirStat Web Site.

If you like this type of Tech post, you should check out Two Guys Tech. A friend and I are working on it, and we even have a terrific podcast.

We’re always glad to answer questions, help people out, and help relate what we’ve learned. Get a new perspective on the tech topics and news that you’re interested in, come visit Two Guys Tech.com.

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Bring your Favorite Applications with You – Portable Apps

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I’m sure that you have been at a friends house, or tried to show a co-worker something, and they don’t have an application that you need. Or maybe you want to show them how much better your favorite application is at doing something, but of course, they don’t have it installed.

Portable Apps is a suite of applications that can be installed on removable media, such as a flash drive or removable hard drive, and then can be run from the same removable media, but on many machines. All of the program’s settings, files, data and executables are all stored on that drive.

One example that comes to mind is this: At work, your company uses SharePoint team services, Microsoft’s free Portal application. Since some of SharePoint’s features are not supported by FireFox, the IT department has forced Internet Explorer as the default browser. Being a little bit of a rebel, you prefer to surf the net in FireFox.

With portable apps, you can just install FireFox Portable on your flash drive, and then anytime you want to surf the web with it, you can just pop in the flash drive, and run FireFox.

As an added bonus, your cookies, favorites, etc are all right there. Bring the same flash drive home and, you guessed it, all those settings are still there.

You can download the Portable Apps Suite, or just download and install individual applications. Uninstalling individual applications is as easy as deleting the folder that they are installed in, so I would suggest downloading the suite, and then customizing what you have installed.

I have to thank Art for pointing Portable Apps out to me in the first place. Now I’m addicted.

Tomorrow I’m going to post about one of my favorites.

If you like this type of Tech posts, you should check out Two Guys Tech. A friend and I are working on it, and we even have a terrific podcast.

We’re always glad to answer questions, help people out, and help relate what we’ve learned. Get a new perspective on the tech topics and news that you’re interested in, come visit Two Guys Tech.com.

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