You know I’ve been pretty scarce on the blogs for a while now. Part of it was lack of time/motivation to write after work, and part of it was being pretty active on Google+. I always got more reader engagement on my social networks — first Twitter, then Google+ — than I did on my blogs, as much as I tried to “pimp” my blog activity (which admittedly wasn’t a whole lot). So it probably comes as no surprise that I chose to spend more time on my social networks thanks to a higher “ROI”.
But even though this is the case, I’m rather annoyed at Posterous shutting down in April. I moved to Posterous (while still cross-posting back to Late to the Party) because they had a very easy way of handling embedded media. WordPress.com required some workarounds to embed things like YouTube and other videos, and limited ways of handling photos. Posterous automatically and intelligently embedded whatever media you threw at it, even file attachments for direct downloads. They also had nice themes, and the ability to post via e-mail, which was even bigger for me than the embedded media handling. Why I can’t e-mail posts to WordPress.com (I still don’t think you can, but feel free to correct me if I’m wrong) is beyond me. Sure, there are mobile blog apps now, but sometimes a simple e-mail is all I want to deal with. And finally, they had some pretty great cross-posting features. You could easily choose an e-mail alias to post to all configured services — like Flickr, other blogs, Twitter, Facebook — or pick a subset of those services if you liked. Such a useful service, but I guess I can’t get that mad about them shutting down considering it was free. :-/
Well, whatever. It was nice using Posterous, but now I’m wondering where to migrate now. It’s probably a bit of a moot question considering I’ll likely still just post most of my content on Google+ as I’ve been doing, and only blog once every now and then. I sometimes have grand ideas of setting up my own blog on some service like Squarespace, or perhaps just becoming more active on my old Tumblr site, or reinvigorating Late to the Party, but because it’s easiest for me to peruse my social networks and RSS feeds and share these links directly to G+ via my mobile devices, I don’t think I’ll ever really throw myself into regular blogging again… But never say never.
I thought about making G+ my blog, since it kind of is already, but I don’t know. Part of me thinks that I shouldn’t consolidate all of my content on one service because the same thing that happened with Posterous could happen again. But I know that I’m not motivated enough to run my own personal server and host everything on my own.
Again, probably a moot exercise, but if you guys have any suggestions for a good blogging service (preferably one that’s low-maintenance), I’m open to them. In the meantime, please follow me on Google+. If you’re partial to Twitter, my G+ posts get cross-posted over there.
Saying goodbye to my old iPod nano… It’s getting sent back to Apple this week for the recall. Poor little guy! Even though it’s unlikely I would really use it again, I’ll still miss having it in my gadget collection.
UPDATE: Wow, this result is awful. Evernote butchered the image of my handwritten post, and the attachment it added to the e-mail was regurgitated by Posterous in the worst way. I deleted the post from Posterous, but I will leave this up here as proof that e-mailing a note from Evernote to Posterous DOES NOT work as an alternative method for ink blog posting. Yuck.
9 20 09,7:55P Tyne Evermore is an Alternative INK Blobbing app, But it Seems Tracy. The last NOTE I wrote Got human out Somehow when limes to turn off trFrwelineh This is Attempt #2. "u try Emailing IT to Positrons…
|www.evernote.com | Remember everything | Sign up for free|
Editor’s note: Because of WordPress’s lame way of not easily embedding video, I had to add the link to the end of the article, even though Posterous correctly embedded the video on my Posterous blog. Get with the program, WordPress.
…but I still am. Earlier this evening I sent a reply to William Gibson (@greatdismal) about the Sony Rolly, since he had posted a link to a demo video of the Rolly. I sent him a link to a Rolly video I recorded at a Sony Style about a year ago. Told him I’d buy a Rolly if I had the spare cash. To my surprise, I saw that he retweeted the link to my video! William Gibson looked at my video (for however long) and retweeted a link to it! I really didn’t think that he would even see my tweet, so I was pretty psyched. I know it’s really silly to be proud of this, but I am. Here’s the video I linked him to: http://vimeo.com/1066182
The shot below is one of several pictures I took while walking around Woodfield Mall. I used Posterous’s new iPhone app, PicPosterous, to essentially “live blog” interesting things I saw at the mall. The app is pretty nice, and I like how Posterous presents pictures as albums if I choose to group them together. WordPress would do well to update the way people can embed media on WordPress.com blogs… Anyway, to see the rest of the Woodfield album, go here.
***Editor’s note*** I just realized that the picture from the N95, while it seemed to transfer over as full-res, got shrunken down when it was added to the iPhone’s camera roll. I thought CameraKit was working awfully quickly, compared to when I used native iPhone pictures… So while I get the benefit of the N95′s autofocus and macro focus, I don’t get the benefit of higher-res pictures once transferred to the iPhone (because the N95 has no cool photo editing apps, nor do I have a working data SIM for it for direct uploads)… SIGH. So much for kludging together better mobile phone pictures through the iPhone, N95, and jailbroken 3rd-party app iBluetooth.
Pic taken with a Nokia N95, then transferred to my iPhone via BT (shhh, it’s a secret!) for post-processing and uploading. Oh, what convoluted things I’ll do because I can’t get an iPhone 3GS right now…
In the process of installing Win7 RC in a virtual machine on my MacBook, thanks to an article Andy Ihnatko posted recently. Perhaps surprisingly, it’s my first time doing something like this. Let’s see how it goes, especially with only 2GB RAM and under 8GB free on my HD… I’m guessing that if anything goes wrong with the install, it’ll be because it ran out of room on the HD. I was too lazy to try to move more stuff off the HD to make sure there is enough install space. Living on the edge!
When I finally bought an Eye-Fi card, I thought it was going to be super cool, because I would be able to dump pictures from the camera to my laptop without needing to mess with card readers or USB cables. Unfortunately it didn’t work out as planned. Firstly, it didn’t handle file types other than JPEGs (I think with the firmware updates that have been released, Eye-Fi does handle RAW files, too, but don’t take my word for it). Secondly, you couldn’t choose which pictures to send to the computer, or when you could upload them. You basically were uploading whatever you shot after you put the Eye-Fi in the camera and started shooting. If you were out shooting with the Eye-Fi card away from an AP and/or your home WiFi and computer, you couldn’t go back and select the pictures you took after you got back home. Thirdly, you had to set up wireless APs beforehand; you couldn’t just scan for and use any old WiFi AP available (again this may or may not be addressed now by new firmware updates) on the fly. And the worst part was that you couldn’t turn off wireless scanning if you knew you wouldn’t be in range of an open AP or knew you didn’t want to use wireless uploading for some reason. I didn’t think about this when I went to this year’s Chicago auto show and realized that my LX3′s battery had died in about 15 or 20 minutes, even though I fully charged it the night before. Luckily I had another battery and a different SD card to use. At that point, I stopped using the Eye-Fi altogether.
Now, it wasn’t exactly that incident that soured me on the Eye-Fi, though it was a big contributor. Also, many of the limitations with the Eye-Fi result from the functionality being embedded in the card, not the camera. So of course I know there’s a limit to what the Eye-Fi can do, given its form factor and how it was originally designed to work. Some of the issues I mentioned have been addressed by firmware updates, and sometime in the near future I’ll revisit my Eye-Fi and see what I can and can’t do with it. I’d be happy to retract all of my gripes if I find out they’ve all been fixed!
Actually, the main issue for me is that I normally like to edit my pictures before posting them online. Mobile-wise, I really liked being able to take pictures with my Sony Ericsson P1i, then do some rudimentary editing with the built-in photo editing software. I did some photo editing on my Nokia N95, but being limited to using the joystick to do editing, and the limitations of the app itself meant that I didn’t really use it much. Processing photos was better on the P1i because of the touchscreen. Also, I could optionally pen annotations right onto the photo. I continued to do mobile photo editing with my iPhone. At first the editing apps that showed up in the App Store were pretty useless for me — face melting, adding silly frames and cutesy little stamps. But eventually the category exploded and soon there were a ton of different photo processing apps, from utilitarian to whimsical, that piqued my interest. I check that category from time to time for new apps to try. I think it’s pretty cool how people have come up with some genuinely creative photo apps for the iPhone.
I’ve posted before that I have a couple pet photo editing apps that I love to use on the iPhone — Photogene and Tiffen’s Photo fx. Photogene is more like a Photoshop-type editor, whereas Photo fx applies various filters to your picture. Cropping was recently added to Photo fx, so if all you need to do before applying some filters is to crop the picture, you can do it all within Photo fx. Anyway, the “problem” with this setup is that the iPhone’s camera is not as good as my favorite P&S — the LX3 — or my D90. The iPhone is fine for moblog snapshots, but if I want to upload pictures from my other cameras, I have to wait until I’m home, sift through the pictures on the card, copy over the ones I want to edit, edit them, add title, description, and tags, and then upload them. Or, do this on the go with my laptop and hope I can connect to a WiFi AP somewhere because I don’t yet have a MiFi or some other method to tether my laptop to a mobile broadband account.
Perhaps you already know where this is going: my ultimate wireless picture-taking and uploading setup would be to take pictures with my LX3, D90 or any other digital camera, then wirelessly transfer certain pictures to some mobile device that would allow me to edit the picture, add metadata, then upload it. Alternatively I could do the editing in-camera (both the LX3 and D90 seem to have some rather decent in-camera editing tools) and then just use the mobile device’s data connection to upload to Flickr or elsewhere. I envision a couple different scenarios to accomplish this:
1. A device like an Eye-Fi or some other dongle connected to the camera communicates with my iPhone and either lets me copy the picture over to edit on the iPhone, or I edit the picture beforehand in-camera. Then I use a photo uploader app on the iPhone to upload the picture to Flickr or wherever else via the iPhone’s 3G or WiFi connection. For the briefest of moments, I thought perhaps that was what Eye-Fi’s iPhone app was going to enable. How sorely disappointed I was when I found out it was basically an uploader like Flickit (my Flickr uploader of choice on the iPhone) for pictures taken with the iPhone. WHAT? *facepalm*
I understand that the Eye-Fi uploader could have been restricted by the iPhone’s SDK somehow, but it would’ve been awesome if Eye-Fi could’ve worked out a deal with Apple to implement the type of uploader I described. Can you imagine how many people would consider the iPhone if it could act as a mobile broadband gateway for any camera using an Eye-Fi card? What up, Eye-Fi? Apple?
2. A mobile device such as the mythical (but hopefully soon-to-be real?) Mac tablet would be even better than a smartphone in this situation because it could have more processing power and more screen real estate in case I want to do more “serious” editing for a particular shot. Then I could feasibly use Photoshop Elements or something else to do the editing and have the regular arsenal of tools at my disposal. The touchscreen on the tablet would be like a Wacom tablet, enabling easier manipulation of the editing software with your fingers.
Before anybody balks at me, I realize that it may be possible to do scenario number 2 with a camera, an Eye-Fi, a laptop or netbook (or UMPC if you go that way *smirk*), and a MiFi. I’m guessing that you would be able to set up the Eye-Fi to see and use the WiFi AP that the MiFi provides (if that’s what the MiFi does; I’m guessing). That’s all well and good, but as I’ve realized when I’ve carried my MacBook with me along with all my camera gear to the yearly visit to the Detroit auto show, carrying all this stuff is friggin’ heavy! A device smaller and lighter than my MacBook is preferred. As an aside, I actually tried to use my N810 in a very kludgy setup with an external hard drive and a card reader to be a photo bin and/or a mobile photo uploader. The setup never really worked, unfortunately, and it was too unwieldy with all of the cords and external devices to be useful in a mobile setting anyway.
I would probably feel differently if I had a netbook with enough horsepower to run a photo editing app like Photoshop Elements. That might be what I’m missing, along with the MiFi. But I still am holding out for a Mac tablet as my dream device to be my photo editor and upload gateway. It might not work as well as I planned if the Mac tablet ends up basically being a large-screened iPhone, running the embedded version of OS X. In that case, the photo editing apps might be limited to those already found on the iPhone. That’s okay for the most part, since I try not to do that much editing beyond cropping and a little bit of levels and shadow/highlight fixes. But I would love something like a slate tablet computer that can do full Photoshop Elements or Aperture, if we’re talking about the ideal scenario. I really liked editing photos in slate mode on my Tablet PC back in the day. But I am primarily an OS X user now, hence my wish for a Mac tablet. YMMV.
I picked on the Eye-Fi a bit in my post, but really this semi-gripe applies to any of the cameras out there that have built-in WiFi or use dongles for WiFi connectivity. Often these cameras are locked into specific online services as well, which make them even less useful for my personal workflow. They never end up simply being a camera that connect to a wireless AP on the fly and upload pictures to any site.
One last thing: an alternate or parallel scenario is for the iPhone or some other cameraphone to have a decent enough camera so that I don’t have to use a separate camera. However, given the technical restrictions on sensors and such, I don’t see any cameraphones in at least the next 2 or 3 years being as good as my LX3 or similar creative P&S with regards to low-light capability, fine detail, or depth of field, nor would they be as good as a DSLR. However, an iPhone with at least a 5 or 6 MP camera, autofocus, macro mode, and modest optical zoom would be a great moblogging device. I almost went with one of Sony Ericsson’s Cybershot models before I decided on the iPhone 3G because they are more like cameras with phones shoehorned into them. I really like SE’s cameraphones, and as I mentioned in a previous post, the Satio is a phone I’m keeping an eye on. But I’m so invested now in the iPhone and its apps (and iTunes) that it would take a pretty spectacular phone to pry me away from the iPhone family.
I am quite the iPhone enthusiast, but before I finally got the iPhone 3G, I was using a Sony Ericsson P1i. I loved that phone. It had a great camera, even though it was lower-res than my Nokia N95. The camera UI was quite user-friendly and a bit snappier than the N95′s. Once I figured out the hotkeys, it was easy to change settings on the fly without having to navigate an on-screen menu. The overall UIQ OS was a bit fussy, but there were many things I liked about it over S60 3rd-edition. I loved the unique keyboard on the device. I got really good at typing fast on it. I even really liked Opera Mobile and Opera Mini on the P1i. I almost upgraded to the K850i before I decided to go with the iPhone. IMO, Sony Ericsson does cameraphones just right. They basically shoehorned a Sony Cybershot camera into nice phones. And their Walkman line of phones use a great UI that’s very similar to the PSP/PS3 menus.
While I am eagerly anticipating the update to the iPhone 3G, and it’s highly likely that I will upgrade to it (if I can afford it), I am very, very intrigued by the Sony Ericsson Satio (though I’m not so enthused by the name):
I think I saw news about this phone when it was still called the Idou, but I hadn’t paid too close attention to it at the time. I’ve been bad about keeping up with tech news lately, and this, among other things, slipped by me. However, after I saw today’s news about the final name of Satio, I went looking up more info about it on Engadget Mobile and saw this video they did. Very cool idea behind the phone, merging the Cybershot and Walkman lines of phones together. I also love that it’s Sony’s great UI over Symbian S60. I haven’t been too impressed by Nokia’s half-assed implementation of touch S60, so I’m hoping that Sony did better.
Even though I think that the iPhone has a great combo of OS, UI, and App Store, I do miss using other phones sometimes. The Satio looks like a great gadgety phone with features that I would love. The Palm Pre looks great, but I really don’t want to switch to Sprint. I already switched from T-Mobile to AT&T when I got the 3G, and my contract hasn’t run out yet. Besides, I was on Sprint a long time ago (using a Nextel phone before it got popular and then annoying) and don’t want to go back. I know the Pre is going to be released on other carriers later, but it could be quite a long time before it’s available from AT&T, if ever. Anyway, the Satio just seems really interesting to me right now. I was disappointed when the P1i never got updated, and SE subsequently dumped UIQ. But the Satio seems like the natural successor to the line of smartphones that the P1i was a part of. I’m very eager to see how the Satio looks like in person. And I’m glad that even though there’s been some bad financial news with Sony Ericsson lately, they still seem like they’re working hard to release interesting phones, which is more than I can say for other phone manufacturers in the dumps.
“You hear that TV networks? That is the sound of inevitability. That is the sound of your mistake.” ***
Yesterday I posted a rant about how the TV networks were completely clueless when they made Hulu take their content off of Boxee. Well, it was inevitable; here is a workaround from Jake Marsh. He has an alpha plug-in for Boxee on Macs and an RSS feed to add to Boxee on Apple TVs called TV Library. It doesn’t just add Hulu, though. It also adds Veoh, YouTube, Google Video, Tudou, 56.com, Guba, MegaVideo, YouKu, and Tu.tv. Many of these I haven’t even heard of, so I am interested to see what shows they offer. The timing is great, and I look forward to seeing the finished product. In the mean time, the TV networks can *bleep bleep bleep*. Have fun filling in the blanks. **smirk**
***Gold star to anyone who knows what movie quote I altered for my post title.
In yet another display of “not getting it,” TV networks which provide content for Hulu strong-armed Hulu into dropping out of Boxee’s line up. Hey network execs, you guys are complete morons. >:-|
One of the main draws for me to use Boxee on my AppleTV is for piping shows on Hulu to my big screen with little effort. How is this a bad thing for the broadcast channels? I still see the ads on Hulu, so what’s the big deal? Because of Hulu’s stupid “wait period” for some shows, I still buy TV episodes on iTunes from time to time. I did that just recently for the latest episode of Damages. I also bought the latest episode of Battlestar Galactica on iTunes not because it was delayed in being released on Hulu, but because I like the HD quality of the iTunes download.
I’m actually more surprised that Boxee’s other more questionable features (awesome for TV-watchers, not so awesome for the networks) weren’t attacked. I shall not spell aforementioned features out, so as to help keep them alive and well…Google is your friend.
Anyway, I’m not going to dump Boxee, nor will I dump Hulu. I can still use Boxee for its other features, and if I have to, I can run Hulu on my Mac mini (though it’s long in the tooth and can’t run HD content…phooey). They’re both great products/services. It is shameful how the TV networks are penalizing Hulu and Boxee. The networks are just grasping at straws, trying to prevent the inevitable. More and more people are watching TV shows online and there’s nothing the networks can do about it. And it’s not like this is the beginning of the exodus. This has been happening for quite a long time, so they shouldn’t be surprised that people are taking to watching TV shows online. Hey, network execs push us further and we might just stop watching your shows altogether. You already had a close call with the writers’ strike, or did you already forget?
I was sifting through my many unread items in Google Reader when I had this random thought: it would be really cool if there were a “Read later” button in Google Reader that would automatically add the article in question to your Instapaper queue. I star a lot of items in Google Reader with the intent of reading the articles later. But of course it’s more likely than not that I star an article and never get back to it. If I could shuttle that article off to Instapaper, I could open the Instapaper app on my iPhone and have a lot of interesting content to browse through whenever I have a spare minute. Of course, I could just open the original article in another tab and then hit my “Read later” bookmarklet, but what can I say, I’m lazy…
Can someone please code up a Greasemonkey script or something to do this? That would be awesome (sort of…I use Chrome at work and Webkit nightly at home, so a Greasemonkey script might force me to go back to Firefox, but I would strongly consider it for a Google Reader -> Instapaper script).
Just a friendly reminder to go and backup your data today (or ASAP). Tonight I noticed that my main shared hard drive wasn’t being recognized by my Mac mini (it’s been repurposed as a media server of sorts). When I tried hooking it up to a different computer, I noticed that flipping the power switch to the drive enclosure did nothing. I didn’t hear the drive spin up at all. OMG. Luckily the hubby was able to find a SATA to USB 2.0 adapter thingy that we bought a long time ago, and when we hooked up the bare drive with the adapter, it came to life. It took a while for my MacBook to recognize the drive, but eventually it came up. PHEW! I’m currently in the middle of copying over my precious data to another external drive, just in case the bare drive dies.
I currently don’t have a good backup solution. I am looking into buying a Drobo, but the total expense for the Drobo and 4 large hard drives is pretty hefty right now. Perhaps tomorrow I’ll try to find a good deal on yet another large external drive to use as a stopgap measure while we prepare to buy the Drobo and fresh new hard drives. I hate all of this nonsense about setting up backup solutions; I don’t like thinking about it. Time Machine would be the easiest thing I could do, I suppose. That, or ponying up for some “cloud” storage solution(s). I’m going to have to look into various options soon.
Anyway, set aside some time this weekend to back up your most important data, whether it’s pictures, documents, or media (especially DRMed purchases). You’ll thank me later!
I keep forgetting to post about this idea I had for an iPhone feature. Well, here it is. Essentially I want any audio to be piped into the phone’s earpiece if the phone detects that you’re holding it up to your face. For example, if you’re listening to a podcast or some streaming music via the speaker (if you have headphones plugged in, this feature wouldn’t kick in) and you put the phone up to your face, the audio should stop playing out of the speaker and start playing in the earpiece. Once you take the phone away from your face, it could continue playing out the speaker. Or you could configure it to pause the audio when you take the phone away from your face (if possible) and ask you where you’d like the audio to output to. I don’t have fine details all worked out.
The main impetus for wanting this feature is that sometimes I listen to podcasts during my commute and want to continue listening while walking to my desk, but I don’t necessarily want to put on my earbuds. Another time, I went on a short walk around the campus at work but forgot my earbuds. The speaker was too weak for me to hear outside. At least if I had had the option to pipe the audio through the phone earpiece I could’ve listened to the podcast a little bit that way.
This feature could also be useful if you’re in a public place like a store and you want to listen to a track sample from the iTunes store, or listen to some music or podcasts while you’re walking around, but you want to remain aware of your surroundings. You could also use it when you’re faking being on a phone call to avoid talking to someone. At least then you’d be listening to something.
Of course you wouldn’t want to use this method of listening to audio for too long, since your arm would get tired. But for short stints I think it could be a useful feature. Preferably it would work beyond the iPod app, so that you could have this functionality with apps that stream music, or as I mentioned before, the iTunes store. Of course this functionality could be obviated by being able to stream audio to a Bluetooth headset, but I personally don’t use a BT headset so I’d still want this feature. The phone part of the iPhone is actually the least used feature for me. I mainly use it as an always-on Internet tablet, and/or my media player, so while I lust a little bit over some BT headsets or BT headphones, I really don’t need them, hence my idea to “repurpose” the phone earpiece.
So what do you think? Completely silly, or possibly a feature you’d use?
Today I again found myself wanting a to-do app that allows me to set alarms for certain tasks, specifically I wanted an iPhone app that does this. A very cursory Google search didn’t come up with anything useful, but admittedly my search was far from exhaustive. What bugs me is that most to-do apps do not have the functionality to set alarms. Why not?? Doesn’t this seem like a logical, intuitive feature for a to-do app to have? I don’t want to constantly be checking my to-do app to make sure I’m not forgetting anything; it’s the app’s job to remind me. Why else would i be typing up a list of to-dos in the firat place? I think I wanted some app like this even back when I had my Windows Mobile device. IIRC, the 3rd-party Palm PIM apps had this feature, but on later devices I found that I only needed a to-do app, not really a full-blown PIM app. What would be even cooler on GPS-enabled devices, is if the to-do app would wake up and pop up a reminder for tasks I have to do in certain locations, like remind me to buy some grocery item when I’m at the grocery store. But I am willing to forgo that “advanced” feature for the basic alarm feature.
So what’s up, People? Where is my to-do app with alarm function? If anyone has app recommendations, I’m all ears.
Since I haven’t been blogging recently, many of you probably have forgotten that purple is my favorite color. Well, today I bought a cool case for my aluminum unibody Macbook that makes it into a purple gadget of sorts. It’s a two-piece case from Speck called the SeeThru Satin hard-shell case. It’s quite easy to install, just pop the appropriate pieces on the notebook lid and the main body, and you’re good to go. There are a few inconspicuous tabs on each piece that latch on to the notebook to keep the covers in place. It’s easy to remove so that you can occasionally clean off the inside of the case, which they recommend doing to avoid debris from accumulating in between the cover and the notebook. But it’s not so easy to take off that the pieces aren’t secure. As stated by the product name, the case has a satin finish which helps the whole package feel a bit more grippy when on your lap, or when carrying, which is a nice feature. We’ll see how well the case holds up to smudging, bumps, and scratches in everyday use. So far I’m liking it, especially because it makes my Macbook look different from others (the glowing apple on the notebook lid can still shine through the case, and it looks pretty cool in purple).
Check out some pictures:
Ever since I upgraded to an iPhone 3G, my iPod touch has been sitting around getting dusty. But tonight I realized one way I can effectively repurpose it — make it into my kitchen computer/cookbook. In the past, when I’ve wanted to make a note of a recipe, likely found on allrecipes.com, I merely Google Bookmarked it so I could pull it up in any browser later. But since for whatever reason Google Bookmark still doesn’t have an iPhone-friendly site (or even a regular mobile site, AFAIK), pulling up recipes isn’t that easy, requiring multiple clicks and zooming in on the recipe text just so to make it readable.
Just today I realized that it would be better just to clip the recipe text and maybe a picture and send it to Evernote. Then I can open the note in the Evernote app on the iPod touch and it’ll be nicely formatted for the small screen. Sweet!
Anyway, I finally was able to upgrade my iPhone (3G) to 2.2 without losing my jailbreak functionality. PwnageTool to the rescue! And luckily, despite the warning that the new unibody Macbooks have some issues with DFU mode, the jailbreak went off without a hitch, and as far as I can tell, all major functionality from AppStore apps to making and receiving calls works as expected.
This is a screenshot of what my phone looks like now. I love being able to skin my home screens. This is the iGlassSol theme available from the Cydia installer. Yesterday a buddy of mine on Twitter asked what my favorite jailbreak apps are, and today I answered the question on Jaiku (in my “good morning” thread):
Since I know a lot of you will not click on the link above, I will reproduce the relevant text here:
Winterboard – skinning app. There are tons of themes out there! Currently I’m using iGlassSol as my theme, and Tokidoki Lockscreen. I’ll post screenshots on Flickr. (Editor’s note: I was using the Tokidoki lock screen before I realized I could add weather info to the lockscreen, so I’m using that now. Screenshot can be seen in my Flickr stream.)
CallMe – creates an icon for a contact on the home screen for one-touch dialing.
QuickGold – a Quicksilver-like app launcher. Pretty nice if you have a ton of apps installed.
PdaNet – tethering app. Not free anymore, but it said it would revert to a free version after the 14-day trial is up. Not sure what the limitations are.
OpenSSH – for easy SSH access to your iPhone’s file system. There are 3rd-party audio/video players that will play songs that you SFTP into a directory like /private/var/media or whatever.
Notifier – adds taskbar icons for stuff like unread mail, missed calls, SMSes, etc.
Backgrounder – app to allow 3rd-party apps run in the background. Recommended for AppStore apps, not jailbroken ones. If a jailbroken app can run in the background, it’d be coded up to do so (like a scrobbling app). It doesn’t always work that well, but I like having it around, in case I’m streaming music or listening to a sound generator app like aSleep or Easy Relax and want to check my e-mail or surf something up without disrupting the audio.
I also use Scrobble so that my listened-to tracks on my iPhone get sent off to last.fm, but the app is buggy in that it sends duplicate “scrobbles” to last.fm, requiring me to periodically prune my track list. I realized that there is another app called Scrobbled which, IIRC, is actually the scrobbling portion of the MobileScrobbler, the last.fm app that used to be available for jailbroken phones, but is now obsolete with the official last.fm app available in the AppStore. However, Scrobbled doesn’t seem to be working with 2.2 firmware, as I found out today, so I switched back to Scrobble.
So that’s what last night’s project was. It’s very cool to have 2.2 firmware functionality, but the podcast downloading feature is rather disappointing. The 10MB podcast size limit is ridiculous. Just about all of my podcasts are over 10MB (video and audio), so there aren’t many that I can just download on the fly via 3G or EDGE. I’ll have to play around with the new features in the 2.2 firmware to really figure out what can be done.
Just pulled the trigger on buying a netbook upgrade for the hubby — an Asus Eee PC 1000H. Why am I blogging this? Well, I’m pretty sure the hubby will not see this post if I don’t point it out to him. Also, I bought it through the Amazon web store he has set up, so the secrecy is pretty much a non-issue. He likes the Eee PC we bought from Kevin Tofel of JK On the Run fame, but the small screen has been bothering him lately, so I hope he likes this upgrade for his b-day.
Just got back from a nice vacation out in the Seattle area. Luckily this weekend is a holiday weekend, so I have some extra time to recover.
So what’s with my post title? Its meaning is twofold:
1. I used several cameras during my vacation with wonderful results. Had a Nikon D80, Nikon F100, Nikon 35Ti, Vivitar Ultra Wide & Slim, Yashica T4 Super, Ricoh GX100, and a Polaroid SLR 680 SE, and an iPhone 3G. I used them all and got a fair number of keepers from each camera. Hopefully I can process a bunch of pictures and post them this weekend.
Each camera has characteristics that worked well in different situations, so there weren’t really any redundancies. I would possibly pare down my camera gear very slightly during my next vacation, but not by much. Perhaps leave the Ricoh GX100 and Yashica T4 Super behind next time…
2. Upon my return from vacation, I came across a couple exciting new cameras, both with HD video capabilities: the Nikon D90 and the Sony DSC-T500.
At one end of the spectrum, the D90 is the first DSLR to shoot video, 720p HD video to boot! There are some limitations, as I understand it, like not having the ability to auto-focus while shooting the video. However, given the flexibility of being able to shoot video with any lens, and being able to set the depth of field through aperture settings, I think having this video capability on the D90 is a great advantage. Imagine shooting wide-angle, fisheye video, or macro video just by switching the lens…very cool!
At the other end of the spectrum, the Sony DSC-T500 looks like a sweet, sleek, pocketable camera with a huge touchscreen LCD that can also shoot 720p HD video. You can shoot stills (not sure if you can shoot at full, 10MP resolution, though) and use optical zoom while you are shooting HD video, both rare features on P&S cams. I am not sure if the D90 can do that. The T500 also has optical stabilization, which is a welcome feature in a small P&S. It’s not a new feature; it’s just preferable to the other method of stabilization via forcing a higher ISO, which has become somewhat prevalent on recent P&S cams to save on manufacturing price.
Yes, the T500′s image quality will be somewhat hampered by the small sensor typical of pocket P&S cameras, but this would be a companion camera to my other cameras, digital or film, so I’m not so worried about the T500′s small sensor. Besides, I’ve shot wonderful pictures with my plastic Vivitar “toy camera”, so it’s really just a matter of knowing a camera’s advantages and limitations and shooting with them in mind.
Both of these cameras have really caught my attention; I’m eager to see them in person soon and give them both a test drive!
So excited! Tonight we are going to see Wargames (the original 80′s movie, Ladies and Gents) on the big screen. I love this movie. It’s one of the movies that influenced my love of computers and technology, even though I was already leaning that way. We’d seen some commercials before a couple of the movies we saw recently about Fathom Events showing Wargames in theatres for one day, supposedly in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the movie. I think it’s more to pimp the straight-to-DVD release of the 2008 sequel to Wargames. I am really not that interested in the sequel at all; I can’t imagine that they could’ve done a good job with it. I am grateful that they’re re-showing Wargames on the big screen anyway. I never got to see it in the theatre. By the time I’d seen it, it was on HBO. Of course, with many movies that I saw on HBO, I watched it several times, whenever it was on.
Anyway, I don’t know how widespread this Wargames screening is, but I highly recommend going to Fathom Event’s site to see if it’s showing near you.
Sorry I’ve been so scarce for a while. I’ve been experiencing a summer slump of sorts, not really feeling in the mood to read much online, like my feeds in Google Reader, or keeping up with my buddies on Jaiku or FriendFeed. And before the summer slump, I was always on Jaiku and FriendFeed, essentially microblogging in a true sense. Frankly, I get way more interaction on Jaiku and FF about the RSS items, articles, and photos I post there than I do here. The almost instant feedback on Jaiku was fun and satisfying.
However, it seems now I am not in the mood to spend a whole lot of time on my social network sites, either. Part of that could be attributed to my wonderful Kindle that The Hubby got me for my birthday. I have enjoyed getting back into a reading mood with it! My relatively voracious reading of late reminds me of how much of a bookworm I used to be when I was younger, before Teh Internetz killed my attention span. **smirk** I also have been writing in my journal a lot more, partially because it’s a nice, inconspicuous way to kill time at work. And so I’ve been writing in my journal, even outlining things I’d like to blog about, but then never get around to actually writing the blog posts. Hence, not a lot of writing on the blog. I’ve been trying to supplement the lack of writing with pictures cross-posted from my Flickr stream, but that’s not really enough, is it, Dear Readers? So, I’m going to consciously make an effort to keep up with my RSS feeds again and post more, even if it’s just shorter, blurb-y posts that are more appropriate for Jaiku. All I ask in return is for a bit more commenting here so I can enjoy more interaction here as well. Deal? Okay.
Before I wrap this up, let me address the “…and a test” part of my blog title above. I am composing this post in the WordPress app for iPhone/iPod touch. I just downloaded it from the AppStore for free, and this is the first test.
Quick first impressions:
- UI is pretty good. When you set up your blog account, you can choose how many recent posts the app should display. I didn’t try it, but I assume this means you can edit currently published articles.
- It has an embedded browser so that you can preview your work. This worked pretty well when I previewed an older article.
- It has full access to your categories. It was pretty easy to scroll through the list (I have a lot of categories) with my finger, with the kinetic scrolling typical of OS X’s touch interface.
- It’s annoying that you cannot rotate the screen to landscape mode. Therefore, you can’t use the more comfortable landscape version of the on-screen keyboard. I don’t have as big of a problem with the iPod’s virtual keyboard as others do, but I still would’ve appreciated the “breathing room” accorded by the landscape keyboard.
I’ll see how well it works when you want to include pictures, or if there are any issues if you’re composing a post and you don’t have wireless access (you shouldn’t). But for now I’m going to wrap this up and upload the post. Later, Kids!
Hey, Kids! It’s been a while… Lots has happened, but I’ll get caught up with that later. Of importance for this post is that I got an Amazon Kindle from the hubby for my b-day last month, and I’m loving it! I’ll write up a more elaborate review later, but see this Jaiku thread if you want to see my first impressions of the Kindle. For right now though, this post is about the reading light I just bought today.
I went searching for Kindle accessories and remembered I wanted to get a good reading light to use for reading in bed. I saw a recommendation on Mobileread for a couple Mighty Bright lights, one full-spectrum light, and another called the XtraFlex 2. Since the XtraFlex 2 was at my local Borders, I picked one up.
I just resized this picture. I didn’t tweak the contrast or anything so that you can see how bright and even the lighting is. The button at the top turns on both LEDs. Pressing it again turns off one of the LEDs. Pressing it a third time turns off the light.
Nice and simple, uses 3 AAA batteries, and apparently has an AC adapter. See here for more details.
*No, I don’t work for Mighty Bright, nor do I get anything for recommending their lights. I just like the product I bought.