I’ve continue to keep one foot in the MS Windows world and the other in the Apple OS X world for several years. At home I primarily use Macs though I also had a Windows server and I still use a VM to run some Windows-only software. At work I was using OS X as my primary system though I recently switched to a Windows 7 system (note that I still use Macs for other purposes). Even when I used a Mac at work as my primary system I still used several Windows VMs.
Since moving to a Windows system as my main work computer I’ve found a few small ways to continuing using some of the features of OS X that I really like. One of those features is the ability to scroll content in a window that doesn’t have focus.
For those of you not familiar with this capability, it allows one to move a mouse cursor over a window that doesn’t have focus but does have content that can be scrolled. Instead of clicking to give the window focus in OS X I could simply scroll the content using the mouse wheel (or the multi-touch features of a Magic Mouse or trackpad). It may not seem like a big deal but it actually saves a little bit of time and effort over the course of a day when working across multiple monitors. I quickly realized that lacking this feature subtly disrupted my efficiency.
Fortunately, I was able to find a free utility that adds this feature to Windows. It’s named KatMouse and is managed by Eduard Hiti. I encourage anyone that finds this tool useful to donate to the author.
I recently switched from an iPhone 4 to an iPhone 5 and as a result I now have access to Siri. I’ve seen others attempt to use Siri and until I upgraded my phone I didn’t have much of an interest in using it. However, after a week I realized that it is very useful in one situation: driving.
In order to use Siri while driving I would have had to touch the phone. Not only is it distracting and potentially dangerous, it’s also illegal in the state that I live in. Unfortunately, I do receive phone calls and text messages while driving so I decided to look into purchasing a hands-free kit to use with the phone.
The FitBit Zip has been working well for tracking daily steps but I decided to get us a FitBit Aria scale so we could also track weight changes easily. I think the price is a bit high (about $130) considering what it does but overall it’s alright.
I haven’t started an exercise program yet but I figured it might help to pickup a pedometer so I can get an idea of how active I am on a daily basis. I figured this kind of device would give me a good idea of how much I walk throughout the course of a day. Then, I could use that information to increase my daily activity.
I haven’t increased my daily activity but I have developed a general idea of what it is. The device I’m using is a FitBit Zip. It easily clips to the inside of my pants pocket, keeps track of my steps, and can be synched to a computer (using the included USB receiver) or directly to my iPhone 5 via Bluetooth 4.0. I actually purchased two in a pack from Best Buy and gave one to my wife.
The Short Version: The Philips VOIP0801B/37 Skype Phone is not fully compatible with Skype and Mountain Lion. The microphone and speaker work fine but the keypad does not.
I’ve had a Skype account for some time though I’ve never used it very often. In general, it serves as little more than a backup calling system. I’ve been thinking about using the service more often at home so I decided to try to find an inexpensive device that would serve as a dedicated Skype phone.
Earlier this week I received a Philips VOIP 080 Skype VOIP Travel Phone (VOIP0801B/37) that I purchased from Amazon for about $30. Unfortunately, I should have read several of the reviews more closely when trying to determine whether or not this would actually work with my Mac (10.8 Mountain Lion).
It partially works. The Mac recognizes the device connected via USB and the Skype software can be configured to use the microphone and speaker. However, the keypad appears to be useless. Dialing, etc has to be done from the Mac.
Before I purchased this I was well aware that Macs were not officially supported but I had the impression it would actually work. Perhaps I’ll stumble upon some trick to get the keypad working with the Mac but for now I’m stuck with a device that doesn’t work as I had hoped because I didn’t research it adequately.
Updated 07/06/2014: In the end I was never able to use it as I had intended. It’s now in our collection of yard sale items.