First I’m going to tell you how I made fire, or how I fixed Pat’s WordPress installation (instructions at instructions over at wordpress.org. Then Dorothy tells us about PiCAT, an iPad app to let your cat paint from the App Store. Next up I talk to Linda Decker, aka NYLinda, aka “normal person” on the phone about her experience upgrading Microsoft Office. In Chit Chat Across the Pond we have an extended version of Security Light with Bart along with a bite-sized episode of Taming the Terminal Part 19 of n.
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MacLurker here with a review of the PiCATso Paint App for iPad. Normally we start with the problem to be solved. However, I’m not so sure there really is a problem here; this may be a solution in search of a problem
The PiCATso app is a painting app that will bring out the artistic side of your cat. You start by selecting a few parameters: colors to use, canvas color, painting style. Read More
One of the great challenges in life is arranging a group of people to show up to an event all at the same time. It might be a work meeting, a party, or dinner out with friends, but you dread being the one to say, “ok, who can come if we do it on Wednesday?” and have to dredge through 12 e-mails to figure out if it works (and of course Wednesday NEVER works for Bob because of his chiropractor appointment). At work I hated trying to set up meetings and events like this.
What if you could have a system where you could offer a bunch of days and times, and it even allowed people to respond with yes, no, or “if you make me I could rearrange my schedule for that time”, and what if it was free? Maybe you see what’s coming because you’re just so darn alert, but I have the solution for you. It’s called Doodle, over at doodle.com. I think it was Don McAllister who brought Doodle to my attention when he got us to use it to schedule the Mac Roundtable sessions. Remember when we used to do those regularly?
As I’ve mentioned a few hundred times, I use blogging software called WordPress to create podfeet.com. I’m definitely not an expert but after 9 years of using it I can pretty much muddle my way through. The good news is that both Bart and my buddy Niraj are experts in WordPress and the underlying technologies, so when things get too dicey, they’ll usually hold my hand.
Technology is something that we all pass along to people who know less than we do. I always say that no matter how much you know, there’s someone who knows more, and no matter how little you know, there’s someone who knows less. The only thing I worry about is that each time the information is replicated it gets a little messed up, like too many photo copies! Doesn’t stop me from passing it along though.
Rant about the way people talk about tech, my top 5 Menubar apps: iStat Menus from bjango.com, Jettison in the Mac App Store, TextExpander from smilesoftware.com, Cloak from getcloak.com and Bartender from macbartender.com to keep all these menubar apps cleaned up. In Chit Chat Across the Pond, we’re joined by Chuck La Tournous, contributing editor of The Mac Observer and publisher of Trailcamper.com.
It’s time for the 4th and probably final installment of my top 5 favorite apps, this time I’m going to go through my menu bar apps. This one might not follow my previous rules, a few of my top 5 might be pretty mainstream. Before going through them though, I wanted to give you two menu bar tips that you may not already know about.
You all can see your sound volume in the menu, right? It looks like a little speaker with waves coming out of it. If you click on it, you’ll see a slider to change the output volume. But there are hidden features in this menu bar icon that are only revealed if you hold down the option key before you click. Once you hold down the option key you can very quickly see all of the input and output options for your audio. You can quickly flip from your internal to external microphone, or change the output from say your Macbook to the speakers in your display. I use this CONSTANTLY. I can’t tell you how many times a week my audio is coming out of the wrong place or I’m on the wrong microphone. I’ve learned to just look at it every time before I start doing a Skype or FaceTime call. The option key also reveals your Airplay options so if you want to fling your audio up to an Airplay device like your receiver, you can do that right from there. It’s also a quick way to jump into the Sound preference pane because there’s a link to it at the bottom of the list of input and output devices. If I have any advice to a new Mac user, or even a seasoned one, it’s hold the option key down and click on things on your Mac. There are all kinds of hidden gems buried about the Mac OS that only show up with that tricky little option key.
The second menu bar trick is something I talked about way back on show #66 in 2006. They’ve moved it since then so I don’t think it will count as repetition! The problem to be solved first is you’re typing away and realize that you’re going to type the name René, and you know the person REALLY likes it when people use the accent on the e. Well how the heck do you make that little accent? It turns out it’s pretty easy, hold down the option key and hit the letter e, let go of option and hit e again. Well that was easy but how are you supposed to remember that? And what about the umlaut over a u? or maybe you want an upside down question mark because you’re typing something in Spanish? Or what about a greek letter sigma? You can’t keep all these in your head.
I have a couple of pet peeves about the way people talk about the tech industry. When I say tech, I mean computers, cell phones, Internet stuff and pretty much anything that gets near a microprocessor. Let me give a couple of examples of my pet peeves and I’ll wrap it together at the end.
There’s a lot of effort being expended on how to effectively bring technology into the schools. There are so many well-intentioned programs that have failed where grants are acquired, computers or tablets purchased, the devices given to the teachers … and then nothing extraordinary happens. Smart people have worked really hard to come up with ways to introduce technology but often the dream isn’t realized. Many people blame the teachers, saying that the students know more than them about the technology and that the only solution is for the teachers to age out.
Go see Particle Fever at particlefever.com. I walk you through the path to try and transfer my data from LastPass to 1Password, and how the 1Password support failed and then excelled. Mark Pouley gives us a review of the NEET Sleeve to protect your Lightning cables. We’re back on the Top 5 List, this week with my Top 5 Mac Apps including Adium from adium.im, the built in Mac app Image Capture to get room on your iPhone, Drop Shadow from delsolsoftware.com, and a surprise twist when I don’t pick Skitch from Evernote, and the top 5 is wrapped up with Audio Hijack Pro from rogueamoeba.com. in Chit Chat Across the Pond we’re joined to Olivia_Solon, Deputy Editor of Wired.co.uk to talk about STEM education in the UK.
A few months ago Steve and I heard about a documentary playing at a local small theater. We’re not big documentary people, but this one sounded special. It’s called Particle Fever, and it’s the story of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, located on the border of Switzerland and France, and the quest for the Higgs Boson. I know we’re dorky nerd balls to want to go to something like this, but this movie is AMAZING. It explains how the U.S. was going to build a super collider first but were too short-sighted to realize that pursuing science changes everything and just wanted to understand what their return on investment was, and how the Europeans decided to do it instead. It talks about the cultures of people who came together to make it happen. It has the rivalry of experimental physicists vs. theoretical physicists. It even talks about music and art in a way that made me understand why people pursue those things. It’s a fantastic story about a prediction made by a man in the 1960s that was finally proven true in his lifetime. I’m getting chills just remembering how cool this movie is.
I’m not just teasing you though. The fantastic news is that Particle Fever is now available in iTunes, and I think on July 15th you’ll actually be able to buy it. I pre-ordered it when we saw the movie and I got a download with zero DRM on it so I can actually watch it on all of my devices! Please do yourself a favor, gather the kids around and go watch Particle Fever, at particlefever.com.
It’s time to take a break from all the photography talk and get back to my Top 5 lists as requested by Tammy. When last we left our hero, I had given you my top 5 iPad and top 5 iPhone apps. Now it’s time for my Top 5 Mac Apps. Again my criteria will be not necessarily the ones I use the most (e.g., Mail) and hopefully to avoid the super niche applications like Feeder from reinventedsoftware.com (the most awesome application ever that I use to create the podcast feed), but to provide more mainstream and perhaps unusual applications. As I looked at my applications on OSX, I realized I still had too many favorites. How about if I skip over applications I mention all the time, like the awesome AppDelete from reggieashworth.com and the first application I load on every Mac, TextExpander from smilesoftware.com. I’ll eliminate tools I have talked about recently too, like the VPN software Cloak from getcloak.com. I have to say, eliminating applications from the list felt like I was abandoning puppies. I have so many great applications but I did say I would bring it down to 5. I also said I would separate out my 5 favorite menubar apps so that I didn’t have to drown so many puppies. Ok, enough excuses, here’s my top 5 Mac Applications.