NosillaCast 12/11/2005 Show #21

Podsafe for Peace Christmas Carol, iScroll2, Front Row Hack, Google Earth for Mac, Solar Deathray, More VNC Stuff, “Map of” in Apple Address Book, If it’s too hard, you’re doing it wrong (on the Mac).

Listen to the Podcast – Time: 18 min 15 seconds

Hi, this is Allison Sheridan of the NosillaCast podcast hosted at podfeet.com. Today is Sunday December 11th, 2005, and this is show number 21. going to start the cast with something unusual today. The Podsafe Music Network had created a podsafe Christmas carol called “If Every Day Were Christmas”. The song is a collaboration between 32 singers from 9 countries — a group collectively known as Podsafe for Peace — all brought together by the populist phenomenon of podcasting and the desire to pool their talents for a worthy cause. And few causes make more sense at Christmastime than UNICEF, which aids children in need around the world. The song was produced by Slau and co-written by Orlando Pagan. I’d like to play it for you right now.

If you liked it, and want to benefit a worthy cause, head over to the Podsafe for Peace home page and buy it for a dollar!
Podsafe for Peace

CORRRECTION – it was listener Neil who left this comment – I said Dan on the show. My apologies to Neil!
Listener Neil left a great comment on the podfeet website last week. He said that he was listening to the show last week and then got to the part about Pandora, and was reading along in the shownotes at the same time, so he went over to Pandora to check it out, but since it was music he had to pause NosillaCast, and didn’t go back! he suggested good stuff like that should be at the end! Uh oh, looks like I disobeyed his advice already by playing Podsafe for Peace! Oh well, as long as you’re enjoying yourselves, it’s all good!

iScroll2
The new Mac laptops (after June of 2005) allow the user to use 2 fingers to scroll windows using the trackpad. This sounds kinda funky but it’s actually a pretty cool feature. Unfortunately all 3 of our laptops were bought before this feature became available. Luckily there’s a cool utility called iScroll2 written by RazzFazz that allows two fingered scrolling in earlier model iBooks and Powerbooks. I’ve been using iScroll2 for about a week now and I think it’s pretty useful. for some reason it seems tedious now to drag my cursor all the way over the the scroll bar, and hold down the click button and drag with my other finger. I find that the vertical scroll works really well most of the time, but the horizontal scroll is kind of hit and miss. It also has circular scrolling, but I’m too lazy to go read up on it and find out what the heck that’s for! I should really get around to testing out all the features, but once it started working for vertical scrolling I moved on! There’s a link in the shownotes to RazzFazz’ iScroll2 web page in the shownotes, so go check it out for yourself!


Front Row
Speaking of hacks to your systems, my research department Niraj found another fun one. The newest iMacs are being billed as media center devices, and it’s primarily because of a new piece of software called Front Row. This application brings all four media applications together into one snazzy interface – music, photos, movies, and DVDs. There’s a good set of instructions on Andrew Escobar’s website if you’re interested. This one is not for the faint of heart, it involved downloading 3 different things, one of which is a package installer called Pacifist – not even sure why this was required but I sure couldn’t open the Front Row package without it! and of course realize this could render your Mac unstable. Overall the graphics are really cool on Front Row – it shows the reflection of the icons on a virtual table top (like what it does in 3 way iChatAV conversations), and it makes neato noises when you switch between the apps. the iMacs come with a remote control that allows the user to switch between the 4 apps, but of course I have to use the arrow keys. I noticed that when I selected some music, then switched over to the photo section, the music continued to play. That could make a slideshow more interesting, but I couldn’t ever get it to stop! I had to force quit to get it to stop. Overall it’s an interesting hack if you just want to see what all the fuss is about, but not really all that usesful to me.

By the way, it occurred to me that every review I was doing was enthusiastic, and maybe you’d think I love everything, but I’ve only been telling you guys about things I like! The review of the Front Row hack shows that I don’t love everything I try.

Google Earth for Mac
I’m sure all you PC folks out there have enjoyed playing with Google Earth, while the poor Mac second class citizens have had to drool over your shoulders with envy. I’ve actually tried to pretend it’s not that cool, and act blas about it, but it really bugged me we couldn’t have it. just this weekend my research department Niraj alerted me to the fact that it was finally released! Huzzah! He transferred the file to me and it works great. a bit of a resource hog, but now i too can zoom in on my childhood home and bore my friends with details of how my driveway was made! Here’s the weird part, evidently this file that Niraj found was not supposed to be released, and it was pulled from the virtual shelves of the internet. In any case, it will soon be released to the masses I suspect because this beta runs really well. Stay tuned for the “real” release.

Solar Deathray
It’s time for our Weird and Wacky Website of the Week – hey, that’s wwww! My son loves a site called solardeathray.com. I don’t mean to disparage the male gender here, but I’m betting that men came up with this idea. These guys took a bunch of small square mirrors and glued them to a piece of plywood, all at angles so they focused the reflection of the sun to a single small point. And then they burn stuff with it. It’s a great site filled with photos and stories of what they burned, why they chose those items, and how enjoyable the actual burning was. they sneak some nice science into the site showing diagrams on how the optics work and suggesting other science-related sites, but they never take the focus off (pun intended) of the true objective – burning stuff. Just glancing at the gallery I see a honey bear, a pirate ship, a baby dall, Darth Vader, a Nintendo 64 cartridge and Jiffy Pop popcorn. One of the funniest ones was the Xbox-box, you’ll have to read that one to get the full enjoyment. If you become a big fan of solardeathray.com, you can even buy a t-shirt from them!

More VNC stuff
A couple of weeks ago I did a VNC tutorial for the Mac and the PC, and recently I found out that OSX Tiger actually has VNC server capability built into the operating system! macminicolo.net gives a great tutorial complete with nice screenshots showing how to set it up. It’s actually part of the sharing preference pane and really easy to turn on. Remember that in order to access this Mac with VNC the driving PC or Mac will still need the client software.

Map Of in Address Book
Here’s a quick little tip of a neat feature in Apple’s Address Book – if you right click on an address in your Address Book, the popup menu includes an option “Map of”. if you select this it takes you to that address in Mapquest. Brian Toth wrote a plugin for the Address book that gives an additional option to map it in Google Maps.
Pretty slick feature.

One thing I’ve figured out on the Mac is if something is too hard, that means you’re doing it wrong. I’ve always done my Christmas Card labels through an elaborate process, starting with my addresses in the Palm Desktop software. I export to a comma delimited file, pull it into Excel, give it column headings, then move it from there to Word. Then I set up a Word merge file while selecting Avery Labels. Overall this ends up with about 4 or 5 total files created. Been doing it this way for years. In the last year I converted from the Palm Desktop to the Apple Address Book. I opened Address Book and searched in vain for an export command – but the only one I could find exported to a vCard format which was unreadable by Word. Searched Apple’s support pages and found the oddest thing. Address Book will PRINT straight to Avery Labels! No export necessary, no Excel to Word conversion, no Mail Merge document crud, just print the darn things! as my kids would say, wOOt wOOt!

another great example of if it’s too hard you’re doing it wrong was when my husband and I wanted to stick a second hard drive in his G4 years ago. We opened her up, and found the tray it had to go in, but the screws that go in from the sides into the drive were buried way back in, and nearly unreachable by a screw driver. We tried a really short one, and it couldn’t reach, and we were considering going to get a flexible driver, when my husband said, “wait, this is a Mac. we must be doing something wrong.” We sat back and just gazed at it thinking what would make it easier. he reached in and folded the ribbon cable back, and there’s a single screw, facing straight up, completely accessible. Simply removing that one screw pulls the whole mechanism out giving easy access to the drive screws. Remember this lesson if you’re ever finding things just a little too hard on a Mac.

Vote on Podcast Alley
Last week I asked folks if they could vote on Podcast Alley for NosillaCast, and a couple of people did – and my rank went from 5900 to 792 with just those few votes! Must be a lot of people like me who had never asked for any votes at all. I promise not to bug you guys about this all the time, maybe the first of the month is a good time to do it since the stats are monthly, so I won’t mention it again this month. However, now that I’ve already brought it up, if you wouldn’t mind pushing the “vote on podcast alley” link at podfeet.com that would be cool.
Looks like that’s going to wrap it up for the NosillaCast this week, as always feedback is welcome at allison@podfeet.com. Hope all your holiday shopping is going well, stay safe, and thanks for listening.

3 thoughts on “NosillaCast 12/11/2005 Show #21

  1. Neil - December 11, 2005

    You got my name wrong…

    …Neil (aka Dan)

  2. Nosilla - December 11, 2005

    sheesh, what a dope I am! sorry about that!

  3. Neil - December 12, 2005

    Hey no problem. 🙂

    I’m just glad I got my point across… You explained it perfectly in the podcast..

    Am I a groupie? 🙂

    Keep up the good work!

    …Neil

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