Windows 8, the Start Menu and Parallels

I find  the W8 interface inconvenient. Like many, I long for the start menu.

(Wow! “longing” for _anything_ Windows !  What have I come to?  )
OK… it’s probably temporary, until I adjust, but at least the start menu was a one-stop-shop for launching software and getting some actual work done.
Someone figured out that lots of people were going to miss the old start menu, and came up with a $5 solution.
I bought it, and it seems to work just fine in Parallels.
Here it is:

ear phone – bud – headphone – cans … tip

In case you’re the proud owner of a new iPod or iPhone, or have just bought a new set of “cans” (headphones) regardless of type (over the ear, in ear, buds, buckets… whatever) you might not know that you should break them in.

That is, plug them in and let them run for about 4 days, playing a variety of music (iPod shuffle mode is great for this) in order to loosen them up.

This is more important for some earpieces than others, but is generally true of most higher-end devices.

Anyone who has broken in a pair of Grado’s will know exactly what I’m saying: the difference is pretty obvious, as the sound goes from harsh to lush.

If you’re using the buds daily, it’s still pretty easy, of course: just plug them in and let the music play all night. You’ll be done in a week, and if my experience is any indicator, you’ll certainly notice the difference in the quality of the sound.



Digital audio out of an iPod/iPad

(This only works on 30-pin devices, and will not work with the new Lightning adapters.)


I thought some readers might be interested in how I got digital audio out of my iPad.

The Apple 30-pin to USB (female) adapter, sold as part of the “photo kit” I think, was a wonderful bit of hardware that would allow all kinds of things Apple didn’t intend (ie keyboards and so on.)

I have some Grado headphones, and a little NuForce uDAC that can power them.

To get this to all work together, I’ve plugged the 30-pin adapter into the iPad and a USB A Male to USB B Male cable into a >powered< hub. (Note that the iPad becomes the “computer” to the hub’s one and only B input.)

Then another similar cable goes from the one of the hub’s A sockets into the uDAC’s B socket.

The iPad complains about the setup, but it works just fine, and I’ve enjoyed many hours of quality listening with this odd configuration.



Solution to the Lodsys problem?

I sent this proposal off to Tim Cook a few minutes ago:

  1. Hi Tim

    If I correctly understand the Lodsys in-app purchase issue, how’s this for a simple solution:

    Lodsys says Apple can’t transfer its license to developers. Fine. Don’t.

    Apple should create an application (Apple Purchase Application or APA) that does the buying for developers. That is, developer would not contact store for purchases, but instead simply pass off some identifying data to the APA. The APA contacts the store, and feeds the data back to the developer’s app on the iOS device. That way, the developer is not “violating” the Lodsys patent, and Apple is simply using its own license, which Lodsys does not contest.

    Besides providing an immediate solution, in the short and long run, this simplification is likely to help both Apple and the developers by providing a more simple dev interface, and providing Apple more control over how it’s servers are accessed.

    Tracy Valleau