Quickbitz – CleanApp, Netgear DGN2000 + Airport Extreme, Camera Tip

CleanApp

CleanApp

A while back I did a little review of an uninstaller called CleanApp by Synium Software. One of its main strengths was that it goes into a lot more depth than other uninstallers because it can track what files a particular application is using. However, I spotted that this could also be a drawback in the wrong hands as it was all to easy to blast a file that was needed by other apps. Synium have now fixed this and have made a great app even better. CleanApp can now detect if a file is used by other apps and if so will ‘uncheck’ it on the list of files to delete and tag it with a little icon to show that it’s needed elsewhere. They’re definitely on to a winner with that feature.

So on to routers and my ageing D-Link G624M ‘MIMO’ wireless router was beginning to struggle. Seems every time it had to handle large numbers of connections, as one might experience with BitTorrent, the router would simply disconnect after a few minutes, and recycling the power was the only way to get it back online. I was loathed to replace it though, because it worked fine with my Mac Mini, XBox 360 and work laptop. However it started to disconnect more frequently and so I eventually plumped for a new Netgear DGN2000 Draft-N job. I have to say my fears about switching were unfounded and the Netgear works brilliantly with everything. What’s more, I also have an Airport Extreme (Dual Band) daisy-chained off the Netgear (seeing as the Airport has no way of connecting directly to my ADSL line). Once I discovered the correct setting on the Netgear, the Airport Extreme worked perfectly with it. On the Netgear you should go to the LAN Setup page and set RIP Direction to ‘Both’ and set RIP Version to ‘Rip-1’… job done.

Netgear DGN2000

Netgear DGN2000

Oh and another thing – I bought a Razer eXtremeMat mouse mat a little while back, but after only a short while I decided I didn’t like it. Now this mouse mat has two different surfaces (one for speed and one for accuracy) and is made of aluminium. However, I found that placing it under my D-Link G624M wireless router, it actually IMPROVED the signal!? (That’s as measured by Air Radar on a MacBook in the lounge, and also by the XBox 360). However, the complete opposite is true for the Netgear router. When sitting on the aluminium mouse mat the signal strength was 67%, but removing the mat boosted the signal to 78%. How weird is that?

And finally… I wrote a tip a while back about how to prevent iPhoto loading every time you plug your iPhone into your Mac, while still being able to load iPhoto for your camera. Well now there’s an even better solution. It a little freeware utility called Cameras by Flexibits. It installs as a Pref Pane and lets you easily control what happens when you plug in any device that has photos on it, and that includes card readers. I strongly recommend you check it out – I’ve ditched my little Automator Action in favour of cameras and haven’t looked back since. If you want a good review of exactly what Cameras does, then check out the MacWorld review.

XBox 360 and Mac – in harmony.

I have an XBox 360 I was given a couple of years ago on my birthday. Well strictly speaking that’s not true – my first XBox 360 suffered the dreaded ‘red ring of death’ so this is a replacement. Anyway, the main thing is that as a gamer I’m hopeless, so the XBox’s main duty is as a media extender. Previously I used Windows Media Player so I could listen to my mp3’s on the stereo in the lounge via the XBox and that was pretty much it. Now that I’m using the Mac more and more, the inevitable question was “Can I hook the XBox up with the Mac”?

Absolutely you can, and my choice was Connect360 from Nullriver. Now if you’ve ever set up sharing using Windows Media Player on the PC, you’re about to find out that yet again it’s easier on the Mac. No running around typing codes from the XBox into the PC because getting Connect360 working is simplicity itself. Connect360 installs as a ‘prefpane’ meaning that you access it’s controls via System Preferences undert the ‘Other’ section.

On opening it you’re greeted with a Status page from where you can stop and start the sharing service, and see what’s being shared. Clicking the settings button will provide you with five tabs where you can change setting for general stuff, iTunes, Movies and iPhoto as well as restricting access to certain IP addresses or ranges. All nicely laid out and all very intuitive. Of course for music and photos it does require that you actually use iTunes and iPhoto, but that’s a given for so may Mac users these days. For movies you just place your movie files in your Documents/Movies folder and Connect360 shares them.

The type of movie files supported is actually down to the XBox Team and what codecs are built-in or available for the XBox (you can find a list here). I’m no expert on video codecs but I had some TV shows in .avi format and they played perfectly. Access from the XBox is also really easy, just chose the type of media you want to play, press the ‘X’ button to change the media source, then choose your Mac from the list.

Another really nice feature is the ability to redirect Internet radio to your XBox via Connect360. I listen to a variety of Internet radio stations including the Buzzoutroom, DI.FM and Soma Radio. I have all three in iTunes grouped together under a playlist called Chill Radio. All I do on the XBox is choose to play music then browse to my playlists where I can see Chill Radio. I open the playlist, pick the station I want to listen to and there I am – falling asleep on the sofa to the soothing sounds of the web.

I hadn’t even got round to showing off photos on the XBox, before I’d decided to divvy up the $20 registration fee (the only limitation around the un-registered version is the number of songs you can load up).

Back on the subject of music and iTunes, I still haven’t found the ideal replacement(s) for managing and playing music on the Mac, but for now iTunes gets the job done so it’s no real problem having it there to support stuff like Connect360. Obviously the same caveats apply when tagging your music to play on the XBox, which reminds me – I’m about due to have another look at Jaikoz as there’s a newer version out (released July 14th 2008). No rest for the wicked!