Crossover from codeweavers.com, JAlbum from jalbum.net, hdabob.com to see a transmission replacement in my driveway, Feeder from reinventedsoftware.com. Google Part 10 with Google Transit at www.google.com/transit, Google Talk at google.com/talk, Google Music Trends at google.com/trends/music, Google Trends at google.com/trends, Google Trends Chinese , Google Related Links at google.com/relatedlinks. Petition for Accessible Money at money4all.info sent to me by Darrel Shandrow of the blindaccessjournal, iPhoto Buddy from iphotobuddy.com, AdiumX goes 1.0 at adiumx.com, and the end of the NosillaCast Forums.
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I’m recording an entire day early this week because tomorrow is Super Bowl Sunday and we have big plans to eat as much as possible, watch some really good commercials, and maybe see a football thrown around at some point. it will be fun to watch it in High Def, and through the tivo, so we’ll be able to pause, rewind, and maybe skip some of the game to see the commercials that way! I hope our guests aren’t too fanatical about football to allow that…
Gyaz Mail Part III
Two weeks ago I reviewed Gyazmal from gyazsquare.com/gyazmail and one of the things I said would keep me with Apple Mail instead is the way Apple Mail lets you use the little pulldown in the bottom right to resize images, so if you’re sending a hi res photo to grandma on dialup, you can just pull down to “small” and now Grandma is happy! I did the review for Tim Verpoorten’s MacReviewCast over at macreviewcast.com, and he got this email back from one of his listeners:
Tim, this comment comes in regards to Allison Sheridan’s review of GyazMail. Reformatting the size of pictures is part of iPhoto not Mail. You just need to set iPhoto up for the mail client you use. I had it working with Entourage prior to making Mail my default e-mail. I am certain it will work with GyazMail. Also you cannot make a POP account a IMAP account. Thanks, Oz.
I checked in iPhoto to see if I could change the mail app to Gyazmail but it wasn’t an option. There’s an option in the general preferences of iPhoto where you can change how photos are emailed, but it only had Mail and Entourage. I don’t think this would have really solved the problem anyway – I think this pref just changes how photos get emailed if you click on Email in iPhoto – and that wasn’t the question. What I was trying to do was just be in email (whichever app) and drag in a photo and change the size. I really do think this is a built in feature of Apple Mail.
Last week I promised that I’d talk about the release of the software CrossOver. This is a crazy application that runs on OSX, but lets you run Windows applications there, WITHOUT Windows. Parallels and Fusion Beta from VMware both require you to buy and install windows, but not so with Crossover from codeweavers.com. CrossOver is $60, so it’s outside of the shareware threshold, but it’s such an interesting product, I wanted to dig into it.
They have a 60 day trial so you really get a chance to find out if it’s going to work for you. CrossOver doesn’t support every application, in fact the list is a bit limited, but they say that it works well now for the supported applications. I participated in the beta program, and while it was promising, it was pretty darn unstable and difficult to find patterns to why it would stop working. I was assured by Jeremy of Codeweavers that it was worth another look, so here we are.
I launched CrossOver and saw that I could install from a CD or use the CrossOver Software installer. the first thing they show is a list of the software applications they support. It would be boring for me to read all 32 of them, but how about a sampling? They have Photoshop, Half-life (glad they worked on something important!), Lotus Notes, a whole slew of Microsoft Office products (but not Access which would have been nice) but they did include Project and Visio, as well as Quicken.
I ran the installer for Internet Explorer, and it told me I had to find the application myself. I checked online and I found it at Microsoft’s site – unfortunately only SP1 not SP2, evidently you can’t have SP2 without Windows. Oh wait, I remember some sort of lawsuit about the inseparability of IE with Windows…
My IE 6 installation went along quite easily, and after installation it ran VERY well. one of my previous complaints was that the graphics were hinky – it would sort of blink the whole image a bit, enough to give you a seizure or something. I was also disappointed because it simply stopped launching eventually. So far this new version of CrossOver appears to be very stable and no blinking! it looks just as old and ugly as the SP1 version ever was.
You can also choose o install unsupported software, but I think that’s where I ran into trouble last time. So, I decided to try that again! I downloaded the Firefox installation for XP, and started through the installation.
throughout CrossOver you’ll notice they talk about bottles a lot. i think it stems from the connection to the technology behind all of this which is called Wine, which is a recursive acronym that means Wine is Not an Emulator. Anyway, this bottle thing confuses me, because bottles are made to correspond to different operating systems. I’m not sure why I would want to install FF into ’98 vs. XP though.
I pointed the app at the FF installer file and up popped a very windowzy looking Firefox installation screen. Suddenly it disappeared after I hit Next, and CrossOver said the installer has exited, and may or may not have successfully installed.
I tried it in a windows ’98 bottle too and got the same failure. Oh well, they said it was unsupported, what am I whining about?
Overall it works better than it did before, but I played with it throughout this week and I found that IE locked up pretty often. Here’s the good news – I wrote to the developers and they wrote back right away! they actually assigned two different people to my questions, each taking on the part they’re most familiar with. I had discovered an oddity in the display of a window (the words were getting cut off) and they started working on it right away. I have a lot of confidence i these guys – they’re attacking a really hard problem and they’re getting there – so keep an eye on this product!!
Several times I have talked about a terrific free application for creating web albums of photos on the Mac, called JAlbum. Luckily even though it was a Power PC application written in Java, it still worked on the Intel-based Macs as well. I was delighted to discover today that the brilliant developers have come out with a version 7 which boasts a ton of new features and enhancements AND it’s a Universal Binary – that is, it’s been rewritten to work really fast on the Intel Macs. this is great news!
They have completely redesigned the user interface with the intention of making it easier to use, and to be more extendable. They co-developed JAlbum on Mac and Windows to ensure that both platforms enjoy the enhancements together. They simplified several features so you don’t have to look at all the options all the time, but you can still get to the details when you want them.
JAlbum has always let you see a preview of the skin you’ve chosen for a web album before you wait for all the pictures to render and the html to be written. Now in version 7, it’s done even better. Instead of pulling down on each skin option and then waiting for a little graphic to update, if you just drag your mouse over the different choices, it instantaneously shows you what it will look like.
As if this weren’t enough fun, they’ve built into JAlbum the ability to ftp your albums up to your web server directly. Built in ftp is an awesome idea! If you don’t already have a web server for your pictures, they’ll even walk you through getting an account on a public web hosting service (free or pay alternatives). They did this in a “build it and they will come” method – there aren’t any web host providers in there, rather an invitation for them to sign up with the program. This is a great idea – i can’t wait to see how quickly this fills up with hosts!
I tested the creation of a web album, and while it was different it was still pretty intuitive, and much more graphical. you can drag in photos from multiple directories – in the old one you had to move the files into one folder before you started. You can even drag the pictures around to change the order which is really cool. Oh, and they made the icon even cooler! Now it’s a weird little frog guy.
JAlbum was a great application before, and now it’s even more fun, so head on over to jalbum.net and get version 7!
And Now, a word from our sponsor! The last time HDA Bob came over, he did an ENTIRE transmission replacement in the driveway! I know I’m crazy about taking pictures, and I can prove it because I took a whole series of photos while Bob was doing the transmission replacement. I had to, it was SO COOL that he could actually drop the transmission out and pull up another one, all in my driveway without any power tools, and the best part is my driveway was PRISTINE afterwards! I know, it was a little disappointing that I didn’t get to use my Power Washer afterwards, but I was able to live with it.
This is yet another reason to visit hdabob.com – he put up a web gallery of pictures I took – it’s pretty cool! bob is VERY patient with my husband and I, we ask him tons of questions, bother him with a camera all while he’s working, and he continues with good humor the whole time. Go check out the pictures they’re pretty interesting!
This is a week for reruns, I guess, but yet again I have to sing the praises of the developer of Feeder, Steve Harris. Feeder from reinventedsoftware.com is the application I use for publishing my podcast, as well as where I create my shownotes. I love using Feeder for this because with a keystroke I can insert web links and insert images. that seems like a small thing, but every alternative I have tried makes this simple function way too hard! One of my habits as I’m writing throughout the week is to leave big gaps in the text if I haven’t finished a section. I just throw in a bunch of blank lines and I know to go back and finish. Steve makes updates to Feeder pretty frequently, and every time there’s something cooler about it. Except the last time. Steve put in an enhancement which drove me crazy! In the old version, to force a carriage return in the way the text would display on the web, you had to hit command-carriage return to insert the break symbol. Well, Steve “enhanced” the code so a simple carriage return would do the trick. Unfortunately, a by product of adding HTML Paragrahps and line breaks was that it erases my multiple carriage returns!
I thought I could get used to the change, adapt you know? but I realized that one of the other things I used blank lines for was to bring the text up farther from the bottom of the screen. without the blank lines, I find my neck getting cramped as I look down too far! so why am I singing the praises of Steve Harris from reinvented software? well, because even though I’m just one little podcaster, when i wrote to him he explained what had changed, explained why he had changed it – and then today came out with a new version that actually has a preference so you can shut that feature off! How awesome is that? he made a button just for me! Ok, so maybe someone else wanted it, but I can be delusional and assume it’s just for me, right? Thanks Steve!
Google Part 10
Ok, we’ve got a real problem in our Google product travels – I think they’re inventing things faster than I can review them! Either that or they’re moving them around and just changing the order just to confuse me. I have trouble remembering what I’ve done week to week, so I peruse the show notes to make sure (most of the time) that I don’t repeat myself. I went back into Google Labs (I thought i had finished that area, and found a whole bunch more products I’d never even seen before!
well, I better get at it if I’m going to keep up with them, right? Google Transit is definitely a beta product at www.google.com/transit, it’s a tool that helps you plan trips around a city using public transit. the reason i say it’s beta is that it’s only set up for 9 cities in the US so far. 2 in California, 1 in Florida, Hawaii and Minnesota, 2 in Oregon, 1 in Pennsylvania and Washington. I don’t know much about public transportation (in LA a car is a MUST), but I clicked on the Orange County choice for California. Luckily they have some example searches, so I didn’t have to figure out two addresses to try and map out! I clicked on one of the examples, and it drew a line between two locations just like normal Google directions with a green arrow at the start, and a red square for the end location. where it gets different is in the directions.
Google Translit lets you choose the time you want to arrive at your destination, and they show you 3 different times you can leave. It shows you how long it’s going to take, depending on what time you leave. this is especially important in the LA area, where a 10 minute sprint turns into a 40 minute slog if you go at the wrong time! Each of the leave times is a link, and if you click on a different time link, you get a different route, I assuming dependent on which bus is coming soonest.
next it shows you where to start, what parts you have to walk (and how long the walks will take), outlines what kind of transportation you’re going to take (in this example it was Orange County Transportation Authority), tells you the names of the stops with times so you don’t miss your stop. There was even a link to the OC Transportation authority so you could check with them to help get more information. This looks like it could be a valuable tool when it covers most cities, but for now it’s more of a curiosity, and a view into the future.
I’m not sure we need yet another Instant Messenger client, but Google came up with Google Talk anyway.
Google Talk runs on Windows, but it is accessible on OSX and Linux through other clients, like Adium, iChat, Jabber and Gaim. If you start at google.com/talk you can sign up using your gmail or google account username and password. You do have to enable your Google account if you want to use Google Talk. I switched over to Windows and installed Google Talk, and logged in using my Gmail account. I must have played in this before, because Listener Leo was already in my buddy list. Gee, my memory is bad!
Leo wasn’t online, so I decided to add Listener Ryan – which you do by sending an invite, which the other person has to accept. I sent the invite to Ryan, and he connected using the Jabber client. I discovered in looking around at Google Talk that i has a call button, which I assume is a Voice Over IP thing, like using audio chat on iChat or MSN Messenger. I tried it with Ryan, but it gave me an error message that said I couldn’t talk to him because he wasn’t using Google Talk. Bummer.
Then I noticed a button that says “send voicemail” so i clicked it and recorded a voicemail to Ryan. then i had to figure out where I’d sent it – it went as an attachment to his gmail email! THAT’S kinda cool. That means i have a great easy way now for Windows listeners to the podcast to send me voice recordings – just get on Google Talk, and send a voicemail to firstname.lastname@example.org. I probably won’t be logged into Google Talk too often since it doesn’t run on the mac, but this could be a fun way for you to make recordings if you don’t have a fancy setup. give it a try, and be sure to tell me if you do send it that way!
Oh, before I forget, one thing that may be good, and may be bad, is that when i logged into Google Talk, I got a popup on the bottom right of my taskbar that started showing me all of my emails in Gmail. I guess if you read them on the web, this would be cool, because if you see one come in that’s interesting you can click on it right there and jump into mail. I don’t read my Gmail on the web, I have mine routed to Apple Mail so it wouldn’t be real useful for me. If you right click on the notifier, you can even choose to disable notifications so that’s cool. Google Talk has some nifty features, would be cooler of course if it worked on the Mac too, but the one thing you really need in a chat client is to have all of your friends using it! If your friends aren’t there, then there’s no one to talk to and that’s just sad. It will be interesting to see what happens over time – will people migrate to Google Talk away from MSN and AIM? an awful lot of people use gmail now, so it could happen!
Google Music Trends
Next in the Labs lineup is Google Music Trends, at google.com/trends/music. the idea here is that you can see a snapshot of the music that’s popular among Google Talk listeners. Evidently if you’re using Google Talk and you opt in to use Music Trends, whenever you’re listening to music on your computer you will be essentially voting for that song. You can be listening to iTunes, Winamp, Windows Media Player or Yahoo Music Engine. This whole thing seems a little goofy to me, but if you want to check it out, go to google.com/trends/music to see what people (people who use GoogleTalk that is) are listening to.
Speaking of Trends, there’s also just plain old Google Trends at google.com/trends. I explained this back on episode #43, but since that was way back in May of last year, I thought I’d do a quick runthrough of it to keep the continuity of the Google products study. the question Google Trends answers is how popular a particular search term was as a function of time. You can even put in multiple terms separated by commas so you can see comparatively how popular the two terms were over time.
I’ve had success with Google Trends before, but I found a real flaw in it when i tested it now. I did a search on iPhone – figuring I’d see a trend upwards towards macWorld, with a huge spike on the actual announcement day. instead, I saw this huge spike in 2005! I forgot all about the Motorola iPhone – that one that they crippled to only hold 100 songs. The real flaw though was that the graph doesn’t include 2007 at all – stops at 2006. humph.
I tried to think of some terms that would provide an interesting graph – something that maybe everyone could relate to, but all i could think of were either tragic or politically charged events. I finally thought of something that happened before 2007, is not political, and had a tech bent to it. Remember in 2005 when Paris Hilton got her sidekick cell phone hacked? I typed Paris Hilton into Google Trends, and sure enough, there’s a big spike in 2005! for spikes with an attached story, they put a little letter next to the spike – so the letter A was next to that spike, and the corresponding story listed on the right was her apologizing about letting all of her friend’s cell phone numbers escape.
Another thing Trends does is give you a graph of the cities, regions or languages that had the most searches for that term. For some reason, Guatemala was fascinated with Paris during those years, closely followed by South Africa and Ecuador. the top three languages in which the search for Paris was made were Indonesian, Macedonian and Turkish! Isn’t that interesting? no idea what it means, just curious!
I wanted to test the comparative feature, so I typed in Apple, Microsoft and got a blue line for Apple, red for Microsoft. It was interesting to me that Microsoft was searched on close to twice as often, even though Apple is only 5% of the market (when we round up a lot). The big spikes on Microsoft though were unfavorable stories – the top three were when the EU/MS talks failed, when the EU hit MS with $613M in fines and in March of 2006 when MS delayed the release of Vista!
There’s also a Google Trends Chinese which I thought about testing, but since it was in Chinese, I wasn’t sure I could really provide value there! I put the link to Google Trends Chinese in the shownotes in case you want to check it out!
Google Related Links
This next google tool appears to solve the problem of people who are bored when they’re at your website and you want them to wander away to something more interesting. It’s called Google Related Links at at google.com/relatedlinks, and it’s a bit of code you as a webmaster can put on your site with links to useful information, including related videos, news, searches and pages. I wasn’t sure how interesting this would be, but I went ahead and created one for podfeet.com – it’s in the sidebar on the right. It probably has to scan for a while to get really interesting, but right off the bat it started showing related searches like widgets apple, run windows on mac and bittorrent Mac!
All I had to do to create it was to agree to the terms of service, choose a color scheme, and choose a size. The size changes how many types of links you can have – in the sidebar it is only big enough to have two – so I had to choose between searches, web pages, News and videos. I chose searches and web pages because they seemed to be the most likely to be what we’d like to see for a NosillaCast reference. I don’t know if I’ll keep it or not, let me know what you think of it – if you think it’s a useful addition to the site. It’s mildly interesting to me…
Petition for Accessible Money
If you’re lucky enough to have good vision, you probably have not ever thought about how difficult it is to distinguish between different bills if you were visually impaired or blind. It turns out this is a pretty big problem for those folks, and a surprisingly easy problem to fix. Of 180 countries in the world that have paper currency, the US is the only one that prints all bills the same size and color regardless of denomination. IN November of 2006, a judge ordered the US Treasury to make paper money accessible to the blind, citing the government’s violation of Section 504 of the rehabilitation act that guarantees equal access in government programs. Sounds good so far, but the Treasury Secretary has filed an appeal saying that it’s too expensive, and it would be an undue hardship on the vending machine industry!
Darrel Shandrow of the blindaccessjournal sent me an audio file that describes a petition you can sign if you think that we should proceed with the changes proposed to the treasury. I didn’t want to just go on blind faith (pun intended) that this was a good idea, so I did some reading, and I think the request is reasonable. The proposal is not to have a separate cycle of changes to the bills, but to make the changes at the same time as other changes are going through. they haven’t defined HOW the bills should be changed, so research into the least expensive way to do the change is very possible. As far as the vending machine industry, I’m afraid I care a bit more about the user than them, but the proposal is NOT to change the single dollar bill, which is what most vending machines recognize anyway. In any case, you should make your own decision on whether this bill has merit, so I’ll let you listen to the petition description – if you agree, I encourage you to go to money4all.info and sign the petition. let’s have a listen:
< -------------------INSERT PETITION AUDIO HERE------------------->
Thanks for letting us know about this Darrel, keep me posted on progress!
Listener Ryan described a common problem many people have – in using iPhoto on the Mac if you’re crazy about taking pictures (like he is with 10,000 photos), iPhoto can get a bit sluggish, even in the latest version ’06. You may also wish you could have iPhoto libraries that exist in various locations – like on an external or network drive. iPhoto doesn’t let you separate your photos into different libraries, but iPhoto Buddy from iphotobuddy.com does! I decided to download and install this free program and give it a whirl. the author is emphatic that it is free, but just as emphatic that if you really like it and use it to donate to him what you think it’s worth. Sounds fair to me, and he gives you PLENTY of opportunities to do the donation!
iPhoto Buddy works by creating separate libraries in locations of your choice. It integrates in with iPhoto very well, so it really feels like a front end to it. When you first launch iPhoto Buddy, it comes up with a screen to tell you how to start. First you go to the finder and create an empty folder. this is where your new library will live. It HAS to be empty, and even though i read this for some reason I tried to drag in a folder of pictures. It politely explained to me that I should pay attention, and repeated the instructions even more clearly, but still politely. ok, fine, I’ll do as I’m told. I created an empty folder called Test, and dragged it into iPhoto Buddy, so it came up with a window a third time explaining yet again that I was supposed to click the add button from within iPhoto Buddy to select that empty folder.
While it’s not exactly as intuitive as I would have liked it (as always, intuitive is defined as the way I think it should work, the developer did a great job of documenting and explaining it – a normal human would have followed the simple instructions and been on their way! Once you have a new library created, you hit the button that launches iPhoto, and drag in your folders of pictures. Now when you go back to iPhoto Buddy, nothing has changed. Huh? I hunted around a bit and finally noticed a back arrow button – turns out that’s a refresh library button. now the libraries you see in the top of the list show up in an info list below. You can see your different albums within the library, an info window on how many items and albums you have in that library, how big it is, and any smart albums, folders, books or slideshows you’ve built.
to make it easier to distinguish your libraries, you can add an icon to the name instead of just a generic looking folder. You can choose an icon or you can let iPhoto Buddy randomly choose a picture from the album itself. I went the random method, didn’t like what it picked but found i could just keep clicking random till it picked one that I liked. very cool. You can change the size of these icons too – I can see how if you end up with a bunch of libraries the list would be easier to manage with smaller icons.
For each library, you can view the name, folder, drive or path. Name is the option I’ve been talking about already. if you don’t like the name of the Library based on the folder name you started with, you can rename it, but the folder name stays the same. If you click on Folder it shows the folder name in case you’ve changed the Library name. Drive is the next view, so in there you can see if you put the Library on an external or network drive. finally you can turn on the entire path name to where this library is located. This is an EXCELLENT feature, because instead of your iPhoto library being in a predictable place – /Users/yourname/Pictures, you are now able to fling them any old place, and if your memory is anything like mine you’ll have no idea where you stashed them! iPhoto Buddy takes care of all of this for you. This can be especially important if you’re looking for it to run a backup. You can even lock your iPhoto Buddy Libraries if you like.
iPhoto Buddy is a very cool little application and really seems to solve some real life problems. check it out at iphotobuddy.com. Thanks Ryan, that was a great one!
Many of you probably have heard of this next one before, but I’m going to talk a bit about AdiumX which is a free instant messaging application for Mac OS X that can connect to AIM, MSN, Jabber, Yahoo, and more. The reason I’m highlighting it today is that it came out in version 1.0 on Friday. It’s a very well known application that many people have used for years (including me) so it’s kind of funny to realize that it’s just now out of Beta! if you have friends in Canada that use MSN, US friends who use AIM, and early adopters that use Google Talk, you’d have to open three clients at the same time to be sure you could hear from them all. If you use Adium you can have all three open in one window at one time.
What’s new about Adium is a couple of things – they gave it a visual facelift – for example the signature duck is more 3-D showing individual feathers. That’s important, right? But seriously, they have some beautiful themes, and they now see the icons for people. I used to just see some sort of generic symbol and now the pretty faces and penguins and stuff are showing up. In iChat, you can’t see the cool animated icons from people’s AIM accounts and the away message is truncated, but in Adium if you hover over their name it pops up with the animation and gives the full away message. I really like that.
One thing I’ve always liked about Adium is that you can have OSX speak the messages to you. This might annoy some or even most people, but I like it because I have a habit of ignoring my computer sometimes and messages go unnoticed, but if I have it speaking to me it’s not possible to miss! this feature works in 1.0, but it appears to be unstable – seems to come and go and I have to quit to get it back.
One of the biggest enhancements in my book is that now I can transfer files back and forth to users of other protocols – it used to be if someone was on Jabber and I was on AIM, I couldn’t send a file through Adium, but I tested it with Bart and it worked. That’s a big deal for me. if you like the familiar sounds of iChat, you can even change Adium to sound just like it. i changed to the iChat sounds, and now I feel like i’m running iChat with a new skin – completely transparent to me, so I get all the enhancements but it feels like home. The only thing I lose is I can’t do audio or video chats from here, but I don’t do that too often anyway.
If you like to customize, Adium is for you. you can choose from several different visual styles, and a bunch of different audio choices. They have sets of audio options preset – like what kind of noise plays when you receive a message vs. someone logs in, but you can edit every single one of them.
As if that weren’t enough tailoring, you can go over to adiumxtras.com and download new dock icons, emoticonts, contact list styles, message styles, sound sets, status icons, service icons, plugins, applescripts and whatever doesn’t fit that is in the miscellaneous section! When you download one of these xtras, you have a choice to simply download, or go straight to installation. It’s amazing – if you go straight to install, it installs it live in the session of Adium and you don’t even have to restart the program – the options just show up in the preferences! Overall it’s a great product and I definitely recommend it – check it out at adiumx.com!
I hope you enjoyed this week’s episode of the NosillaCast, be sure to keep up all the great emails – shoot me a note at email@example.com, or if you figure out how to get Google Talk working for sending voicemails, send it to me a firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for listening, and stay subscribed!