Leopard early impressions from Allison and Bart, Allison was on the MacRoundtable at macroundtable.com, listeners report back on their homework assignment, new assignment is to put up a comment on iTunes for the NosillaCast, jAlbum scare (believe them when they say “permanently delete”). Reef Ball Foundation article in the Wall Street Journal, Jing from Techsmith for screen capture at jingproject.com/, Sapiens for an intriguing way to launch applications from donelleschi.com. My amazingly good experience with Microsoft when I lost my XP license key, and I finally put up my Excel pivot table tutorial.
Listen to the Podcast Once (42 min 42 sec)
[tags]Leopard, shareware, freeware, Macintosh[/tags]
Today is Sunday, October 28th, 2007 and this is show #118.
Well, I stood in line to buy Leopard at 6pm in California with my good buddy Ron…but I’m not going to tell you about that, you have to wait for it! wait for it…wait for it…later in the show…
I had some fun last week – I was on the Mac Roundtable again – this time with Tim Verpoorten from the MacReviewCast podcast, Steve Stanger: The Mac Attack and Don McAllister: ScreenCasts Online. It’s a nice format they’ve got going – but you’ll notice that even though Tim TRIES to get me to take turns, I keep butting in and asking questions! check it out at macroundtable.com
Two people came through on the homework assignment from last week – Len Charnoff took his 2 dogs walking and introduced them both to the NosillaCast! On a more serious note, Max told his uncle about podcasting – his uncle is into Geneology, but as of yet his uncle hasn’t gotten into it yet, but at least Max planted the seed! Susan attended the shesgeeky.org session on open source in the enterprise, and mentioned NC and my case study of alternatives to MS Office. She said there should be a link to podfeet.com on their wiki eventually. Thanks Susan!
So this week’s homework assignment is for every one of you to put a comment up on iTunes for the NosillaCast. I heard recently that having a lot of comments, even if they’re not all good, can raise your rankings and you become more visible in iTunes! Let’s get the NosillaCast up there so it can be seen on the front page – wouldn’t that be cool? Getting on that front page becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy – once you’re in the “most popular” page, people can see you so you get clicked more often, thus increasing your popularity! Now each of you can only write one comment, so I need EVERYONE to write a comment, not just some of you! Listener James, even if you only write, “I can barely stand this podcast, don’t even bother” that would really help. I’d sure appreciate it if you can take just a few minutes to do this for me. Thanks in advance for the support.
So you know I’m all about jAlbum, been using them for years to make cool web-based photo galleries, and in just the last few months I’ve been raving about the software, right? I came across something this week that scared the daylights out of me, and I wanted to give you a HUGE warning about jAlbum. I had a folder of pictures of my son’s cross country mates all receiving Academic Letters. not only are these kids fast, they’re smart too. All of the photos but two were of cross country kids, but the other 2 were friends not in cross country. I wanted to make a web album to post on the cross country website, so I needed to remove those two photos before I made the gallery. I could have just manually moved them out, made the gallery, and then moved them back in, but I thought it would be easier if I just deleted them from the gallery view in jAlbum.
This was a VERY bad idea. When you select a photo in the gallery view, and hit delete, a warning comes up that says “are you sure you want to permanently delete the file from disk?” while this is VERY clear in what it’s saying, it didn’t even occur to me that they meant to PERMANENTLY DELETE IT FROM MY DISK! Why on earth would it do that??? I can see that I might be misunderstanding that delete meant to put the original photo in the trash, but not that they would take my original photo and delete it forever from my disk! I still can’t believe they have a “feature” like this in their software! i wrote to them a couple of days ago asking why they would do that, but I didn’t hear back from them. So, the bottom line is, be vewy vewy careful with jAlbum, and take them absolutely seriously in their warning, because they mean what they say, even what they say is MEAN!
Wall Street Journal
Let’s talk now about reef balls. Now get your mind out of the gutter, this is serious! We have a bunch of problems that are causing destruction to the reefs around the world where fish and coral used to thrive. Global warming, hurricanes, excessive tourism, all these things are destroying an important part of our eco system. I learned this week in the Wall Street Journal that a guy named Todd Barber figured out how to make Reef Balls out of concrete that would turn into real coral reefs over time. You’d think this wasn’t so hard, but it turns out a lot of technology goes into figuring out the shape and makeup of the reef balls and different materials will succeed in different environments.
This guy quit his lucrative job to start the nonprofit Reef Ball Foundation, and so far they’ve cultivated about 4000 reefs in 55 countries! One of the things I love about the Wall Street Journal is that while I’m reading all the great high tech stories, I get tricked into learning really interesting things outside of my normal field of view. If you’d like to get the Wall Street Journal delivered to your home, or even subscribe to the online version, PLEASE click on the link on podfeet.com so I get the credit for it! I’m not enthusiastic because they’re an advertiser, I’m enthusiastic because I love the content I get out of the Wall Street Journal
Niraj turned me onto a cool screen capture program that might just give Skitch a run for the money! It’s called Jing, and it’s from Techsmith, the guys who wrote the fabulous Windows video screen capture program called Camtasia. Jing is cross platform for Windows and Mac (universal so PPC and Intel). Jing is yet another program to have launched when you login (my Mac takes about two and a half hours to come up now with all my login items!) but it has a cool way of waiting for you. It’s like the edge of the sun hovering in the upper right corner of your screen, and when you go over it, a bunch of arms sort of shoot out of it, for Capture, History and preferences. I tried to get a screen capture of the sun with the little arms sticking out – but I couldn’t get a screen capture with Snipshot, Skitch OR even Jing itself! The arms kept nicking back in like antennas on a snail every time I tried to take a picture of them!
anyway, Jing lets you not only do screen shots, but also make little videos, and to very easily share them with someone. After you take a screen shot, you can click Share, and it uploads it to the Screencasts website and puts the url in your clipboard so you can paste it into an email, a chat session, or even into your blog like I did in the show notes!
You can mess around with the images in Jing before you share them – draw boxes, put text on them or put arrows. I like the interface very much, almost as good as Skitch. I’m a sucker for the drop shadow (as you’ll notice all images on podfeet.com have now courtesy of Skitch. I like the ease of changing font sizes better on Jing, and both of them have the same ease of sharing with a web link. Jing wins for being able to do video, and wins BIG time for being cross platform.
I think you’ll really like Jing, and I’m delighted to see Tech Smith developing for the Mac, maybe we’ll see a version of Camtasia Studio for the Mac sometime soon! check out jing at jingproject.com/.
Along with about 98% of the Mac community, I’m in love with Quicksilver as an application launcher. I know QS does way more than launch apps, but I don’t actually use it for much beyond that, but I’m still in love with it! so when someone comes up with a new application launcher, they have to be compared to Quicksilver. This week’s attempt to overthrow the king is called Sapiens from donelleschi.com.
Sapiens is a completely different interface from anything I’ve ever seen before. You launch Sapiens by moving your cursor in a circular motion on screen, which brings up a gorgeous circle with a whole bunch of application icons sprinkled about the circle. Sapiens is trying to figure out what application you want next, and it puts the application of the one it finds most likely in the center. If you hit a carriage return, that’s the app that launches. If it’s not the app you wanted, but it IS one of the other applications around the circle, you can simply click on the one you want and it will launch.
But what if Sapiens didn’t even get close in it’s deduction skills? All you have to do is type the first couple of characters of the app name you want, and any matching icons will come up in the circle. It’s fun to launch apps with Sapiens.
The website suggests that you give Sapiens three days to learn your habits so that it will begin to predict your next move. I gave Sapiens a week, and while it did predict my next application launch on occasion, it was probably only right about 1 out of 10 times. Probably 9 out of 10 times the application was on screen but just not the top pick, so it was easy to choose the one I wanted.
the beauty of Sapiens wasn’t outweighed by the fact that it takes longer to swing my cursor in a circle than just hitting a keystroke like control-space to launch Quicksilver, and it’s all about the speed to launch for me. If speed isn’t your primary objective, and you want a really cool looking interface, give Sapiens a try. Sapiens will set you back $19.95US as a special introductory price.
Well, I’m officially Windows free in my house again. You may remember that years ago I decided to see what all the fun was about building a computer. I bought a case and motherboard and a hard drive and memory and a wireless card and a graphics card and a DVD drive and even a stoopid floppy drive and put it all together with my son Kyle. The idea was to build him a gaming PC for him. To my great chagrin, he loved it, and after a few months I noticed his poor ibook was just getting dusty! this was horrible! then i got a great idea. I thought, what if it’s the nice big screen and the keyboard and mouse that he really likes? I put in a KVM switch to test my theory. That’s the little device that lets you share a Keyboard, monitor and mouse along with speakers for sound between two or more computers.
To my great joy, the KVM switch stayed on the iBook all day every day after that until he finally said, “hey mom, can you get this PC out of here? It’s just in the way!” What sweeter words could I hear? I toyed with the idea of putting Linux on it, but it would be the 7th computer in the house and that seemed a bit excessive! My friend Amy said she’d buy it, so I dusted it off to run all the necessary Windows updates before sending it to her – but the darn thing wouldn’t boot up!
ARGH! I pulled out the drive, and there was a RATTLE! And what’s the first thing you do when you hear something rattle? You rattle it AGAIN, don’t you? Yes, if that disk wasn’t trashed beforehand, I was going to make sure it was wrecked! A friend of mine took it apart for me and we found a screw rattling around in the case (nice job Seagate) and put it back together, but even after reformatting it was dead. Fine. now I had to scrounge up a new disk, but luckily my friend Ryan gave me one of his spares. Put that bad boy in, and went to install Windows…and guess what? I couldn’t find my license key!!! DOUBLE ARGH!
Kyle and I scoured his room looking for it (I bribed him with an offer of $20 if he helped me find it) but after about 4 hours of on and off looking over two weeks we gave up. And I did the unthinkable. I called Microsoft. You’re not going to believe this, after a 7 minute conversation, never even having been on hold, Sanjai generated a new license key for me! Can you believe that? he asked me to read the little X-number on the inside rim of the shiny side of the original install disk and then he was able to generate me a key! He even volunteered to stay on the phone and until I got far enough through the installation process to make SURE it worked. I was amazed, and i have to give Microsoft a lot of credit for helping me out with this. While I was on the phone, i couldn’t resist asking Sanjai what he thought of Vista, to which he quickly told me that they’re not using it yet! Wow.
So anyway, back to my sales story, I finally installed XP Service Pack 1, then did 41 updates followed by the Service Pack 2 update, followed by 58 more updates, and in only FOUR reboots (I thought it would be worse) I got the machine fully up to date. I of course loaded Firefox on it, made it the default browser, and made her home page podfeet.com. Then i loaded Open Office for her, and renamed the icons to Excel, Word and Powerpoint (with Open Office in parentheses after the fake names).
She came to pick it up, and I toted it out into her shiny Honda. I exclaimed – “oh, you ARE my people – you have a Honda!” To which she replied, “don’t you remember? You already GAVE me Honda Bob’s phone number! And, my father just waxed it for me!” Gee, am I getting too predictable? You know I love Honda Bob’s Mobile Service – since he drives to my house to fix and maintain my cars, what’s not to love? And now you know that I don’t just sing his praises on this show because he’s an advertiser, it’s because I really believe in his service and I really want all my friends to have the benefits of fabulous car care combined with an incredible tailored service AND his bad jokes! If you’d like Honda Bob to come to your house in the LA or Orange County areas, give him a call at (562)531-2321 or send him an email at email@example.com. You can also check out his informative website at hdabob.com. Remember, it would be like asking ME to work on Windows to ask him to work on anything but Hondas or Acuras. HDA Bob’s Mobile Service is not affiliated with Honda, Acura or Honda Worldwide.
“Bart & I both loaded up leopard on Friday night, but the little rat fink had the 8 hour head start on me because he’s in Ireland. I’m going to play our two reviews back to back WITHOUT listening to his first.
which will either be really interesting because we say completely different things about it or really repetitive because we have identical opinions and reactions! and of course I’m going to play MY review first so if it’s the latter, it will make it sound like he repeated what I said!
Ron and I went down to the Apple store at 6pm on Friday night, only to be greeted with a line of about 150 people! Yes, we were out there with the neck beards! Luckily everyone near me was cool though! We had a pretty fun time in line, I took the opportunity to hand out a bunch of my cards, figured I had a ripe audience all around me! One of the nice guys I talked to was a young man, maybe around 15 years old who was in line to buy his very first Mac. He had saved up his own money and was getting a 24 inch iMac! man, that’s a lot of lawns mowed. He’ll come back in the story later.
They let people into the store in groups of about 25, and when they let us in, every single sales person in the store burst out in applause, whistling and telling us how happy they were that we were there! It was really amazing. I’d be curious to know if this was an Apple assignment or whether our Apple store is just really fun and creative. In any case, it was swell. They also gave us free t-shirts which was fun!
===From here on out I did an ad-lib recording of my experience (I was INSPIRED!) so the notes will mostly be bullets from here on out:
* Box has a cool hologram
* Installer: I had every intention of doing an archive and install, but this installer doesn’t work at all like the other ones. In the older OS’s, you’d start the installer, and then somewhere along the line there’s a button that says “custom install” and you go down that branch to do something other than wipe your entire disk (or at least that’s the way I remember it!)
In this one, there’s a very obvious Installer icon. Double click that, enter your admin password, and reboot. Upon booting, you pick a language, let it check this disk or skip. and then…there’s no more choices! I thought for SURE I’d hosed my entire disk but it turned out it did an install in place! My preferences, my Mail, all my apps (that I’ve tested so far) – everything is perfectly working!
It turns out that way back at the beginning BEFORE you double click the installer, there’s a folder that says “alternate installs” or something like that. I suspect the other options are buried in there. I’m not saying anyone should fly without a net the way I do (I did this on my production work and podcast machine!) But like every other OSX install I’ve done, it’s worked flawlessly.
* Coverflow – NICE! Quicklook launches with spacebar (told to me by the kid in line). very cool effect.
* Network drives show up automatically – and if they’re Windows drives – the icon is a PC with the Blue Screen of Death!
* Stack actually came in handy when I clicked on the dock icon for Windows apps. launch directly in 2 clicks, instead of Parallels, then choose os, then choose play, then open app.
* Leopard is FAST! I thought so, Ron thinks so, Bart thinks so!
* Crazy listener James let me take control of his screen through iChat. audio came on automatically. very fast, much better than VNC. Tried it with Bart “across the pond” – not as fast, but still worked reasonably well.
================INSERT BART’S REVIEW OF LEOPARD================br />
I think that was a really fun way to share our experiences with Leopard – you got two reviews for the price of one! I think it’s pretty interesting that we both came out so positively on Leopard, we’ll see if after a week of hard use we’re so bullish on it next weekend!
Excel pivot table tutorial
And to close out the show, I wanted to tell you I FINALLY finished one of MY homework assignments – by popular demand I created a short tutorial on how to make a pivot table. I put it in a link in the sidebar. For now it’s just the pivot table, but I’d like to do more Excel tips over time, just got to get around to writing them up! Margaret already gave it a whirl and then applied her newfound learning on a real spreadsheet of hers. The main thing about pivot tables is to play around with them and then you’ll start to get the pattern of how they work. let me know what you think – and if you have more Excel tips you’d like to learn, let me know what confuses you and I’ll try to break through the confusion.
I think that’ll wrap things up for this Leopard weekend, please keep all the great feedback coming in to firstname.lastname@example.org and if you get inspired, make an audio recording for me to play on the show by sending it to email@example.com. Thanks for listening and stay subscribed.