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Past Episodes

Jump Start Your Car With a Portable Battery – by Honda Bob

Power-All charger showing jumper cables and other cablesI have to set up this next segment. I was doodling around on Think Geek (as one does) and I came across a very silly thing. It was a small portable charger that they claimed could jump start a car. The description read like it was real, but I knew it had to be fake. Think Geek is like that, they’ll sell you a can of air if you don’t keep an eye on them. I showed it to Steve and he agreed it had to be a joke. I thought it was funny enough that I sent the link to Honda Bob. If you haven’t listened to the show for years, Honda Bob is our mechanic, who has been maintaining our cars for 35 years. He’s a good friend now and a great geek. I advertised for him on the show for years, and he became rather iconic as people did their own ads for him – the culmination being when Knightwise from Belgium did an ad entirely in the voice of a Klingon War Commander!

Anyway, Honda Bob decided to order the Powerall Deluxe to see if it would actually work. Here’s his review: Read More

#481 RadioShack Bluetooth Cassette Adapter, Whole Disk Encryption & Sleep, Tips on Composition, Clarify 2, Ministry of Silly Walks, Doodle & Photographing at Dusk

Bart Busschots from the Let’s Talk podcasts guest-hosts this week’s show. Bart starts with a short tribute to a co-worker and friend who passed away unexpectedly last weekend, Liam Burbridge. Next we have a review of the RadioShack Bluetooth Cassette Adapter submitted by Steve Davidson, then Bart answers a Dumb Question about Whole Disk Encryption which Steve also sent in. After that Konrad Dwojak gives us some tips for composing interesting landscape photos, before Allison briefly interrupts with the good news that Clarify 2 has been released. Bart then returns with a review of the fun but utterly silly Monty Python’s Ministry of Silly Walks app for iOS & Android, before Allison makes another guest appearance to share her love of Doodle with us. Finally Bart is joined by Mark Pouley of Twin Lakes Images for a Chit Chat Across the Pond segment all about capturing the lovely light at dusk (or dawn).

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#480 Fixing WordPress Using phpMyAdmin, PiCAT Cat Painting Program, Normal Person Upgrades Office, Taming the Terminal Part 19

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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PiCAT iPad App to Unleash Your Cats Artistic Talent by MacLurker

logo for Catch and Paint for CatsMacLurker 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

Do a Doodle

Doodle screen showing how to enter times and set time-zone supportOne 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?
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I Made Fire! Or How I Fixed Pat’s WordPress Installation

404 error page as an exampleAs 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.
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#479 Tech Talk Rant, Top 5 Menubar Apps: iStat Menus, Jettison, TextExpander, Cloak, Bartender and Chuck La Tournous on Camping Tech Gear

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.

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Top 5 Menu Bar Apps

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.

Sound Icon

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.

Keyboard Viewer

Keyboard preference pane set to input sourcesThe 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.
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Pet Peeves About Tech Talk

the word Rage in scary fire letters5I 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.
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#478 LastPass vs 1Password, NEET Sleeve, Top 5 Mac Apps, Olivia Solon from WIRED

NosillaCast logoGo 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.

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