Archive for the 'Links To Good Info' Category

Real Life Twitter.

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

Links to Info IconAs I continue to try to find redeeming value in Twitter… this particular video sort of sums things up in terms of how it’s still feeling for me today… It was also reported today that 60% of those giving Twitter a try are dropping out within a months time… which is completely understandable…

Anyhow, with no further adieu… real life Twitter… can you say jumpin’ the shark?

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iPhone OS 3.0 Preview.

Thursday, March 19th, 2009

Town Crier IconOn March 17th, Apple unveiled details about iPhone OS 3.0 software and released the new iPhone Software Development Kit to developers. The presentation went down at the Apple Campus in Cupertino, CA. and was hosted by Greg Giles and Scott Forstall of Apple Computer. If you’d like to view the entire presentation, you can do so here in Quicktime format… be aware the entire preview is 90 minutes long… if you’re into the iPhone though, it’s cool to have running on your desktop while you’re doing other things.

Here’s a quick laundry list of the new features your iPhone will sport once the update hits.

Copy & Paste Text > This works across all applications… Double-tap over text and a ‘cut, copy or paste’ bubble appears… double-tap again and a ‘paste’ bubble will appear if you have anything on your clipboard. Expand selections with your thumbs… and if you inadvertantly paste something, shake the iPhone to undo it.

Copy & Paste Photos > You’ll be able to copy and paste pictures now as well. Select multiple photos by tapping the action button, copy some of them, and paste them in an email, ready to send.

Search Full Monty > Any Mac Spotlight fans out there? I don’t know how I ever existed before Spotlight… and much to my delight, it’s coming to iPhone with v.3.0 across all Apps that are native, in other words, created directly by Apple. This capability is included in the latest revision of the iPhone OS SDK as well, which means the makers of your favorite Apps now have what they need to make them Spotlight-ready… so stay tuned on those…

Also worth noting is that Mail, iCal and iTunes each have their own specific search interfaces… Mail does not yet support searching the content of your emails. What? Why not? But it does support searching on IMAP servers… which will really be handy for all you gMail users.

3G Tethering > This will allow you to connect your iPhone 3G to your laptop and use it as a modem… which is really a nice thing to be able to do if it ends up either free with your AT&T contract or extremely cheap… initially it might not work at all as it involves the carrier… but we’ll see.

Landscape Keyboard > Apple has added the larger landscape keyboard to more Apps including Mail, SMS Texting and Notes… a boon to all the sausage-fingers out there.

Multimedia Messaging (MMS) > I can’t see wanting this… it seems to miss the point of the medium… but you’ll now be able to attach images, sound and vCards to “text” messages… the jury is still out on video though.

Extended Calendar Support > You’ll now be able to subscribe to calendars on the web in both calDAV format which is used by Google and Yahoo as well as .ics format which is used by Apple’s iCal.

Improved “Stocks” Application > which now includes embedded links to related content on the web allowing you to witness your 401k tanking in much more vivid detail.

Stereo Bluetooth A2DP audio > You will now be able to pair your iPhone 3.0 with stereo Bluetooth A2DP devices like headphones or speakers.

Automatic Login with Safari. The new version of mobile Safari will remember login values for the sites you visit requiring them. Your iPhone will also now automatically login to wi-fi spots that you frequent, such as (outside) the local Starbucks, as well… And for the security-minded, your mobile Safari will also now warn against phishing or possibly malicious sites.

A New Native Voice Recording App > Although this feature is currently available via 3rd-party Apps… why not save yourself $6 if you haven’t already spent it (I did)… If you’re prone to forgetting all those brilliant thoughts you have throughout the day (I am), this little puppy becomes indispensable…

Beyond the scope of this post is all the improvements that have been made to the development kit given to developers as well as the features those improvements will enable… if you’re interested, follow the link I gave up top and watch the presentation by Apple…. cool stuff.

This update to iPhone OS 3.0 is going to be free to all current iPhone owners including 1st generation iPhones, although those original iPhones won’t benefit from any of the 3G enhancements. iPod Touch owners are going to be able to upgrade for $10 which has me scratching my head… why wouldn’t the upgrade be free for those folks as well? If anyone has the answer to the logic behind this… post to the comments.

Start salivating… it’s coming soon.

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Time Consuming Video Alternative.

Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

Links to Info IconThis post is about a very interesting experiment perpetrated by Cesar Kuriyama, a New York animator and lighting director. Mr. Kuriyama created a music video for the Philadelphia band Fat City Reprise without using a video camera… instead, he took over 45,000 photographs with a Nikon D200 DSLR Camera and stitched them together using Apple’s Final Cut Studio.

The talent in the video was directed to move in as close to slow motion as possible while director of photography Tommy Agriodimas shot JPEG bursts with the Nikon. They were able to capture 60 images per burst and in real-time, it came out to about 4 shots per second. The images were adjusted on the Final Cut timeline to more closely approximate the 24 frames per second present in traditional film.

Now I’m not saying you’ll like the song the video is done to, nor am I saying you’ll even particularly like the video itself… but when you watch the following closely, it’s hard not to appreciate the creativity, attention to detail, experimentalism and the utter commitment to making it happen that would have killed lesser mortals (Kuriyama worked on this every night for 14 months after working hours).

Make sure the volume on your computer isn’t blasting and then click Play to check it out…

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Google Chrome : Enter The Coliseum Humble Browser.

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008

On the Air IconCrazy happenings… the verified existence of Chrome, Google’s long rumored, never verified entry to the browser wars… has gone viral here over the past couple days… and I use the term “viral” loosely as Google is sitting on top of a gazillion computer servers… they could most likely launch your Aunt Sophie’s online collection of cat pictures global with any inclination… but Google’s vast, vast server farms are a big part of what makes their launch of a brand new browser intriguing… what might happen when the gatekeeper for the majority of internet search traffic also starts building the gates?

At first I’ll admit… I was put off by the fact that this new browser is being freed upon the world without Mac or Linux support… I was prepared to boycott, as I’ve done in the past, until such day came when all platforms were embraced…

…but then, as I’m sure happened to millions of others… I got sucked in by THE COMIC. As far as things go, an awesome brochure for Google’s new Chrome browser… but also a brilliant tutorial, in laymen’s terms, on what the key issues underlying everyone’s browsing experience are… it caused me to ponder that most internet users probably think in terms of bandwidth issues (connection speed) when their browsers slow down, or even completely crap out… but in reality, the issues are a lot more complex and widespread when you look under the hood. The team behind Chrome, especially after having read all 39 panels of the comic, seems to really have thought through things when mapping this one out… a bunch of radical new ideas at play here.

Of the 30,000 words I could spew out right now on why the ideas behind Chrome are so important… the best place to start in this initial post on the subject is probably why we indeed have room for this particular new combatant in the ongoing browser wars…

On a significant front, this can be boiled down to processes that happen on the Desktop (processed by the chip in your personal computer) vs. requests that are processed and returned to your desktop by THE CLOUD (which is a relatively new term referring to online computing/processing by remote servers). Google is betting that the browser is the new desktop, that it will become even more essential than your actual operating system… a lot of indications make this a pretty solid bet.

Existing browsers, even the highly vaunted (and still very cool) Firefox 3… were initiated in a time when browsing was simpler… jumping from html page to html page… many of them with pictures of course, some had sound and video (although it didn’t work that well)… but at the end of the day, pages didn’t do that much in terms of providing a service, they were more or less online brochures…

But we’ve now entered the age of searching, purchasing, online banking, Facebooking, twittering, chatting, video conferencing and file-sharing… all of which are online mechanisms that provide a service to internet users… Increasing exponentially is the use of online coding languages, primarily Javascript, to serve as the engines that power all of this internet activity… and with this also comes the exponential increase for things to go wrong… this is computer code that’s being executed… just like when you run your local copy of Excel or Photoshop… The best existing browsers can do to keep pace is to continually “add-on” to their code bases… but over time, the inevitable destination of this approach is “bloatware”… and my own opinion holds that FF3 is starting to show early signs of this… Further, a browser like Internet Explorer, even though the worlds most used browser, should barely have a seat at the table for this discussion… their ongoing glacial development cycle seems so mired in corporate malaise as to no longer even have relevance… yet their beat rolls on…

But Chrome looks to be positioned on blowing this whole thing up. Coming from the (enviable) standpoint of being able to create a new browser from scratch, unencumbered by much of the old baggage… they seem to have come up with some revolutionary ideas in terms of building a browser for today’s internet… and they’re keeping everything Open Source so that Firefox, Safari, Opera and any other future Open Source offerings can continue to mutually benefit from each others innovation. Evidently a giant internal issue for Google was to not look as though they were trying to upstage Mozilla and Firefox who they’ve had such a long-standing relationship with… Although it would be naive to discount the business side of things (Google’s trying to move everyone to the CLOUD, where they dominate…), there definitely seems to be an altruistic side to this in effectively moving the web forward.

I’ll stop there for now as this Chrome beta may come out tomorrow and spastically dart off into obscurity like a balloon escaping before properly tied off… But I doubt it… ’cause Google’s the new Microsoft… and they’re hell-bent on world domination…

…but perhaps we can all benefit this time around.

Give THE COMIC about a half hour of your time (if you haven’t already done so), it’s an awesome read, handsomely illustrated by Scott McCloud, for novice and expert alike… And for a bit more insight into the who, when, where, why & how… read this awesome overview in Wired by the always formidable Steven Levy.

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Apple’s Transition To MobileMe.

Tuesday, August 19th, 2008

Links to Info IconThis is a post for any of you that are either .MAC or MobileMe members since at least today (August 19th). Apparently the transition from the old .MAC to the new MobileMe wasn’t a smooth one for Apple. About 6 weeks ago they gave all active members 30 free days as restitution… now they’re handing out an additional 60 days as evidently the problems have persisted.

I just wanted to provide this link for any of you who may¬†have received the email from Apple announcing this retribution and want more info… or to those who may be¬†currently having problems with the service (I’ve somehow avoided any problems whatsoever… 90-days free with no pain… sho’nuff)…

For those of you who have a Mac (or a PC actually), haven’t yet tried MobileMe and are looking for the best deal on the planet at $99 per year… you’re able to start out with MobileMe on a 60-day free trial

  • I would particularly recommend this service to those with a computer (desktop or laptop) as well as an iPhone… both are kept in perfect sync with each other through the service (emails, contacts, calendars, etc.)…
  • Also recommended for those that are on the road a lot, the online interface is designed and functions with typical Apple elegance and is also continuously up-to-date with your other devices.
  • And finally, I recommend it to those that have gone out on their own (business-wise) and miss their old corporate Exchange/Blackberry account. To me it’s like having the corporate IT Department at your disposal without actually having to call a corporate IT Department and ask them for help (sorry to those I’ve offended).

The current growing pains Apple is experiencing notwithstanding… I’ve been a member since ’04 with .MAC and was always happy with the service… now with the synchronization excellence of the new MobileMe… it’s a downright steal at $99.

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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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