Archive for the 'Do It Yourself' Category

Web 2 Point Oh : What’s the Price of Progress?

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

Do It YourselfI’m not asking you to throw away your email address… abandon your Twitter, your Facebook, your Linked In… jettison your digital cameras, mp3 players, bluetooth accessories, smart phones or… god forbid, your internet connection… I know I won’t be… but I am asking you to consider the following random thoughts that have been running through my brainosphere of late…

For those of you who have at least reached your 30th birthday… do you remember postal mail? Film cameras? Cassette walkmans? Pay phones? That’s right, in retrospect they were cumbersome, slow-moving pains in the butt… but how that translated to everyday life was that we were much less likely to have them with us everywhere we went so as to perpetually be able to document and share with the masses everything we were experiencing.

Good or bad? Probably a little of both… but what’s on my mind is what I’ve always thought of as recall memory. You know how a certain smell, or song or place will always remind you of a happy memory or experience long since passed? I don’t know about you… but I enjoy the hell out of that particular symptom of the human condition.

This phenomena happens to me all the time… and I attribute it to a life well lived… which is sort of the gist… I was lucky enough to be born in a time that permitted me to live my life as opposed to constantly feeling an obligation to archive, document and share it. How many of those recall memories would I now be without if instead of living those experiences… I was busy photographing them, tweeting them, posting them to my wall on Facebook or even worse yet… I was on the phone at the time…

Just some food for thought… at best I’m conflicted on the subject because all these technological marvels are very much a part of my everyday life here in 2009… but the artist within me… the essence that’s perpetually in search of a muse… would suggest a modicum of moderation… stay aware of what you may be missing at any given moment of your day… and sometimes, literally, stop and smell the roses.

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Transferring Photos from Your iPhone to Your Mac.

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

Do It YourselfFor those of you who have been running around taking pictures with an iPhone, accumulating them within your phone since the day you bought it… have mumbled to yourself on a few occasions that you had to figure out how to get them out of the phone and onto your desktop so you could do something with them… This is a quick post for you.

This method is intended for those with an iPhone, currently docked to a Macintosh, where the iPhone has pictures on it that you want to move from the phone to your computer.

Simply locate “Image Capture” within your Applications folder and double-click it. You’ll see this beautiful dialog box…

Image Capture Dialog Box

From there things should be self-explanatory… Download Some… Download All… Clicking Options… will take you to numerous other things you can do like having the application delete all the pictures from the iPhone once they’ve been downloaded.

The one thing I’ll advise is to make sure and set the Download To: setting to a location you’re aware of… if left to the default the photos will be sent to the “Photos” folder which I wonder how many people actually use.

For those interested in a more in-depth discussion including more screenshots… please check out the article by Dave Taylor that this post was based on.

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How To Stream WGN on Your iPhone for $6.

Thursday, December 11th, 2008

Do It YourselfOne major recurring theme on the show is how to stream WGN on various devices. While on the air last show we were trying to figure it out for the iPhone when we got emails from Gary K. and Ben H. suggesting a couple iPhone Apps that could do the job. I’ve checked some of these out and am happy to be able to recommend an App from Nullriver called Tuner Internet Radio. Clicking this link should bring you to this App’s page (assuming you have iTunes running on your computer). From there you’ll need to purchase the App (for $6) which will automatically download it. Once the download is complete, sync your iPhone in iTunes (which will transfer the App to the phone).

Tuner IconFrom here we need to configure the Tuner App to stream WGN… Unfortunately it’s not one of the stations offered among the presets… WGN isn’t found by using the search function either… instead I employed my keen investigative skills, akin to killing an ant with an anvil, which led me to the following info which should work for you…

  1. From the Main Menu on your iPhone, find the icon (of an old-fashioned radio) that says Tuner and tap it.
  2. From the Genres screen (should be the default), the Top 500 screen or the Search screen… click “Open” in the upper left.
  3. Into the Title field type WGN AM or whatever suits you for bookmarking purposes.
  4. Into the URL field type the following address : http://provisioning.streamtheworld.com/pls/WGNAM.pls (this has to be entered in exactly, down to the finest detail).
  5. Click “Done” and you should be on the air… If so, click the bookmark icon in the upper right to save it as a preset (you’ll never have to enter in that pesky URL again).

A little convoluted… but if listening to WGN on your iPhone is what you want to do… you probably won’t consider this that big of a deal… and for any of you that might want to know how I sleuthed out that URL, drop me a line and I’ll let you know… I decided it was too tedious to include here.

Happy streaming.

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Update Your iPhone : Version 2.2 Now Available

Friday, November 21st, 2008

Town Crier IconSo my last post was railing against the iPhone… it sort of depressed me to write it… but now with my morning email I was made happy again. One of the many cool things about the iPhone is that the software updates are free, easy to install and always come packed with a ton of new features and functionality. Software version 2.2 was made available this morning… I downloaded and installed, messed around with the new stuff a bit and here’s my report…

Google Street View > I haven’t made up my mind on whether this feature is too intrusive or not, but what could I possibly do to stop this train anyway? Taken in its pure form, this is pretty cool stuff. Tap your Contact icon, tap a contact where you have an address filled in, tap the address… the iPhone pops you over to Google Maps and drops a pin for the address. To the left on the info bubble that appears… tap the person icon with the orange background and it drops you down into street view. Not sure what purpose this might serve for anyone but your iPhone can now do it regardless.

The one problem I suppose is that the pins don’t always drop right where you need them to be. You can touch on the pins and drag them to a new location, but if you’ve dropped a pin by tapping on an address in your Contacts, the pin doesn’t allow you to move it (Why Apple?). Anyway, the workaround is to just drop a second pin and move that one to where you need it to be… Another slight criticism is that the pins are awkward to move… when you’ve covered the pin with your finger to move it, you can no longer see what you’re doing and it’s hard to drop it precisely… do this without Wi-Fi and you have to wait a while before finding out you need to move it again… a bit of a pain in the butt but worth it if you really need to see a picture of the street…

The coolest feature though (in my opinion) is the now enhanced directions feature… you can now get walking directions as well as transit info all the way down to what time the next bus or train is leaving… very useful, very cool. This functionality shows itself once you’ve asked the iPhone for directions from one point to another… and it’s good to know that it would take me about 16 hours and 8 minutes to walk the 48.9 miles to my Dad’s house… you never know.

And one last very useful enhancement… say you’re at a club or something, you want one of your friends to meet you but you’re not exactly sure where you are… simply use the iPhone to automatically locate yourself on the map, drop a pin and then email that location to your friend… what gets sent is a Google Maps URL that your friend just clicks on to locate you. Nice…

Podcasts > The iPhone now has the ability to download/stream Podcasts directly to the phone over a Wi-Fi connection or straight through your cellular network. Before this update you needed to download the Podcast first to your desktop (iTunes) and then tether the iPhone to your computer to transfer it over… pretty much useless if you were out and about in the world… but now, you can access all Podcasts directly through iTunes on the iPhone…

Try this… from the Home screen tap iTunes… tap the Search button in the row of icons at the bottom of the screen… type in WGN and wait for the search results… tap See All Podcasts. Scroll down to Steve & Johnnie and tap it… then have it… very, very cool. And if you get a call while you’re listening to a Podcast, the Podcast will fade down and pause while you answer your call… when you hang up it will fade back up and continue from where you left off.

These were the two new features I liked the best… but there’s a host of other updates, enhancements, etc… for a list of those visit the announcement page on Apple’s website.

Have fun.

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Testing the Waters at the New Apple App Store.

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008

Links to Info Icon

So not quite two weeks after Apple launched its new App Store, I finally found some time this week to kick the tires on it a bit… and now find myself stoked as to the possibilities.

For those unfamiliar with the App Store, it was launched as a marketplace for applications that run on iPhone and iPod Touch. Access to the App Store comes with the latest version of both iTunes (7.7) and the iPhone software (2.0)… and although there is definitely still ghosts in the machine (i.e. Apps that don’t work as described… I also had a couple crash my phone), they’re definitely worth the annoyance for the exponential increase to functionality the App Store brings to both the original iPhones (with updated software) as well as the new iPhone 3G.

Not having a whole lot of time to write currently… here’s just a couple of the highlights I’ve found so far… And remember, these will only work for you if you’ve updated either your original or 3G iPhone to version 2.0 of the software, and you’re running the latest version 7.7 of iTunes…

WordPress App

On July 22 Apple approved and released the WordPress application into the App Store. The WordPress app allows blog publishers to update their site(s) through a native iPhone application.

Although I wasn’t ambitious enough to write this particular post on my iPhone, I’ve tested it on a couple smaller posts to another site I’m involved with and so far so good… it’s actually an incredibly handy tool if you need to post from the road…

The initial version of this app supports the following;

  • Support for WordPress.com blogs as well as self-installed WordPress blogs (version 2.5.1 and higher)
  • Full support for tags and categories
  • Photo support for both camera pics and library photos
  • Support for multiple blogs
  • Auto-recovery feature recovers posts interrupted by phone calls

WordPress is a free download from the iTunes App Store… click here if you have iTunes 7.7 installed.

Remote App

If you’re using an iPhone/iPod Touch and you also use iTunes on your home computer as a jukebox, then Remote is a free iPhone app that you absolutely have to check out… I’ve tested it and it works perfectly…

From anywhere in your home over your wireless network, you can use the iPhone or iPod Touch as a remote control for the iTunes software running on your desktop computer. Play, pause, skip, shuffle. See your songs, playlists and album art as if you were right in front of the computer.

You’ll need to download the app, then with your phone selected in iTunes go to the “Application” tab and sync the app to your iPhone or iPod Touch. After that the iPhone/Touch will display a 4-digit code that you need to enter into the fields provided in iTunes to sync the devices… and BAM… it works… the process took me about 4 minutes.

Enjoy!

And a Quick Unrelated Link of Interest

For those of you that have already seen the Dark Knight once or preferably multiple times… this pretty cool article on the gadgetry from the movie ran in Wired (online) the other day. Don’t miss the image of the Dodge concept vehicle that the Bat cycle was based on… how cool was that?

And then in Alt Text, Lore Sjoberg adds a little more on the topic of grading Batman’s gear.

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Creating a Photo Slideshow with iDVD.

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

On the Air IconOn the air last week we were talking with Juan who was looking to create a photo slideshow that he could play back on his living room DVD player.

Initially I guessed it would be a combination of iPhoto and iMovie that would handle this task… but after a little research, it turned out that iDVD was the tool for the job.

I was all prepared to offer up the complete ‘how-to’ here on the blog… but why bother when the process is described so well right here on the Apple site.

I will say that I fired up iDVD and gave it a try and turned out a pretty slick looking 30 image slideshow in about a half hour.

Could it be any easier? All praise to the giant Apple. Happy editing…

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