UserVue review

UserVue is an application from TechSmith. At work we’ve used it recently to do remote user interviews, where we’ve had people who use our services talk us through some emailed reports they received from us.

It allows us to view and record a user’s screen, and save it as a WMV or Morae file. Additionally, it can record a phone call you have with the user. And, you can have colleagues at other computers observe the session and they can take part in an observer chat and submit notes along the way.

There’s that saying, “Hunger is the best sauce,” and I think the user experience design community has been very hungry for a tool like this. So, at the moment, I’m quite happy with UserVue.

It was quite easy to use, and it worked well.

Now, to save others some frustration, let me tell you about how it didn’t work well.

When I first tried it, everything seemed to be going great. I conducted a 1 hour interview, and at the end it seemed to save the recording. Then, when I went to view the recording, I realized that the phone call was not included in the recording! The best part of that interview was, go figure, in what was said. I was distraught.

Why? UserVue only works on Windows. I was running Windows XP Pro in a virtual machine on my MacBook Pro laptop, using VMWare Fusion. Apparently, there is a problem with that configuration.

I tested UserVue on that same computer, but instead of in a virtual machine, I booted into Windows using BootCamp. UserVue worked fine that way, including recording the phone call.

OS 10.4.2 does not connect to Win 2000 server

As noted in the prior post, I had no problem connecting to a Windows 2000 Server shared volume with Active Directory authentication using Mac OS 10.2.8.

When I tried doing the exact same process on Mac OS 10.4.2, I got a -36 error. Basically, it doesn’t work.

So, there is some sort of conflict with how the OS connects, but it was able to connect when inside the firewall for the server.

I’m not sure what to make of it at this point.

Was able to connect with OS 10.2.8 to Win 2000 server using Active Directory authentication (Troubleshooting, continued)

I tried on my old standby Mac at home (an old G3 Blue and White running OS 10.2.8). I had to first connect to the MSU Virtual Private Network, but once I logged on to the VPN, I was able to Connect to Server and mount the volume I’ve been after.

Now, to see if I can do the same with OS 10.4.2.

Troubleshooting OS 10.4 connection to Windows share using Active Directory authentication

I’m trying to mount a shared volume on the Mac OS 10.4 laptop I use at MSU. The shared volume is on a Windows server and it uses Active Directory to authenticate user names and passwords in the domain.

I have all the right information (server address, share name, user name, password), and I have successfully mounted the network drive on a Windows XP system.

On the Mac, I go to Go->Connect to Server, and I type in the smb://server.address/sharename and click the Connect button. I am then prompted for a domain, user name, and a password. I enter all the information in the appropriate boxes, and proceed to get an error: Error Code -36.

I’d write in the text of the error message, but I think I’ve tried logging in too many times so my account seems frozen.

I tried connecting through a VPN. No luck. I tried using CFIS protocol instead of SMB. No luck.

I just tried the command line smbclient and made some progress, but I’m really out of my element here.

Coming soon? Dual-boot, Mac & Win

So all this talk about Apple moving its OS to x86 processors makes me think that at some point down the road, we’ll be able to buy a system from Apple (because they won’t officially permit the OS to run on just any computer – not that hacks aren’t already running) that has OS 10.5 or whatever on it, and then buy a version of MS Windows (Vista?) and install it as well.

Then when we fire up the machine, we can choose to load either Win or Mac OS. And, maybe the Mac OS will be able to just boot up Win natively. Hm.

Virtual PC will become extinct?

Securing the Mac 10.4 laptop

I talked with a guy from the MSU Computer Store this morning about getting Norton AntiVirus or Internet Security for the Mac laptop I’ve been using. His recommendation is to just get AntiVirus 10 for the Mac and change a few settings on the laptop.

Here are his recommendations:

  • Turn off Bluetooth, Discoverable, so that random Bluetooth enabled devices won’t see the laptop.
  • Turn on the systems’s Firewall in System Preferences
  • Install Norton AntiVirus and keep it updated

Just a note, I’ve been using Macs for years, and the last virus I had on a Mac was in 1995 and it was a Word Macro virus. Highly irritating, but it did very little damage.

That said, I’m sure the day will come when a virus will rip through the Mac world and play havoc with all of the unprotected Macs out there.

Eva’s mystique with the iBook

The girls have this uncanny ability to undermine Chey’s iBook.

A few months ago, Lila was “working” on Chey’s computer while I was reading a book. When she was done working, she had managed to move the Library directory from /Users/cheygranroth/ to /Users/cheygranroth/Documents. The tricky part was neither Chey nor I realized what had happened until later on, when Mail wouldn’t give her her messages and was acting like it was freshly installed. That, and her settings for the desktop seemed completely wrong.

Anyway, I’m typing this on her laptop in monochrome. Yes, that’s right. Eva managed to take all the color out of the display, with some arcane keyboard command combination. It’s like ^+option+command+* or something, but I haven’t been able to get the “toggle monochrome” to actually toggle.

That said, it’s kind of cool to work like this. Very retro, with a modern edge. OS X’s GUI doesn’t look all that bad in black and white. I tried to take a screen snap shot, we’ll see if it is really in monocrhome or if somehow the snapshot managed to hold color. I’ll post it at some point (Chey’s computer doesn’t have any decent image editing program that I can use to switch it out of PDF format).

Trackpad button fix on clamshell iBook

A couple months ago I installed new hard drive in Chey’s laptop, a tangerine iBook of the clamshell variety. In the process I managed (why does this sound like a confession to me?) to fracture the ribbon between the trackpad and the mainboard, disabling the trackpad button.

So, after trying to fix it and failing, I went to eBay and acquired a new palmrest/trackpad unit for the computer.

She got an airport card today, so I installed both the new trackpad and the card at the same time.

Well, it turns out that while the new trackpad button does work, I’ve managed to mess something up so that when you depress the button, it doesn’t pop back up. So, it stays in a clicked position. Exceedingly irritating.

Anyway, it turns out that in OS 10.3, which is what she has installed on her computer, there is a menu to control how to use the trackpad. You can enable clicking on the trackpad itself. So, I did that, and I think I might even like that a little better then the button option. Well, especially because it works and the button is sticky. Now I just wish there was a setting to turn the button off, because now occassionally the button depresses, and have to pop it back up by pressing on the bottom of the case.

Were we wealthy, I’d have a new iBook on her lap, pronto. Old computers are very frustrating as they slowly fall to pieces.

Why, Apple? Why?

So, it’s cool to be able to say that you have a former Vice President of the United States on your Board, but the news that Apple voted in Al Gore caused my stomach to turn, just a little anway. At least Apple is easier to spell than, ah, potato.

I am, by the way, a die hard Apple fan. I do nearly all of my web production work on one. I also use it to manage my business. The Windows computer I have I use for cross platform testing of web pages as well as for connecting to the occasional remote MS SQL database.

And, Chey is finishing her Masters thesis with the help of her Apple iBook.