Dropping iCloud

I decided this week to drop iCloud, so I needed to find new solutions for syncing Contacts, Calendars, Tasks/Reminders, and Notes across my devices.

I’ve ended up with the following:


I moved my Contacts to my main Google account and I sync them with Outlook on my laptop via GO Contact Sync Mod, with my HTC phone via the built in Android People App, and with my iPhone and iPad via Exchange ActiveSync (instructions).


I moved my calendar to Google Calendar. I sync GCal with Outlook on my laptop via Google Calendar Sync, with my HTC phone via the built in Android Calendar App, with my iPhone and iPad via Exchange ActiveSync (instructions).


For my tasks I’ve moved to Wunderlist (link). It’s very simple (which means slightly limited), but free and available on Mac, Window, iOS, Android, and online. There’s no ability to create recurring tasks currently, but if I have a recurring task I make a recurring event on my calendar anyway.


I’m a Microsoft Office user and I love the flexibility of OneNote. I started using the mobile OneNote apps a while back and it has become my go-to notes app everywhere. OneNote ships with all Microsoft Office 2010 suites and there’s a free WebApp at SkyDrive.com. Android and iOS (iPhone, iPad) versions are available free. (Notes: 1). The first couple versions of OneNote for iOS were horrible, but the current one is quite usable. 2). The mobile apps are free unless you want to sync more than 500 notes).

Efficiency Tip: Use Alt+Tab

Here is a little tip that you may find to be useless (if you already use it or you are one who never lets go of your plastic rodent) or amazingly helpful:

In Windows you can use the key combination ALT+TAB to easily switch between running applications and open windows. If you tap the key combo you simply flip over to your previous app or window. If you hold down the ALT key (hold down ALT, tap TAB, and continue to hold down ALT) you get a window that gives you clickable previews of all your running apps. You can keep tapping the tab key to cycle through the apps or just click the one you want.



Dealing with Death (the Blue Screen Sort)

The other day at work I was attempting to install Win XP Pro on a refurbished system from Dell. I bought the system without an OS because we had licenses available under our Volume Licensing agreement with Micro$oft. I was extremely annoyed to find that the system (an Optiplex 755) kept blue screening very early in the setup process. I tried multiple discs, multiple disks, and swapped out the RAM, but no joy. I would get to the point where the install CD asks what you want to do and where you want to do it and {BANG} blue screen…

The problem? In the BIOS the Hard Drive Controller was configured as “ACHI”. After switching the controller mode to “Compatibility / IDE” everything was great. Simple problem, simple fix (once I knew what to do).

If you are getting the BSOD while installing Windows XP on a no OS system, double check the HD controller settings. It may make your day just a little bit better.

NOTE: If you are installing Vista or 7 you don’t want the SATA operation to be IDE/Compatibility/Legacy

Thanks to OceanMaster over at the kioskia.net forums for helping me out with this one.