Allison’s published in iProng Magazine at iprongmagazine.com, Jimi Lee from Radio Chatanooga at indieradiochattanooga.com explains one reason Google Docs are good, Phishing scam using Hallmark eCards, new anime podcast by my friend Donald called Otaku no Podcast at otakunopodcast.com. A review of Together from reinventedsoftware.com along with an interview of the developer, Steve Harris. Listener Tim gives us his view of Bento from Apple and Filemaker along with answers to some of Ron’s questions from last week. In Chit Chat Across the Pond with Bart Busschots we clarify the Quicktime vulnerability, talk about how the the MPAA site has a takedown notice, and Bart’s new laser printer and a new headset.
Listen to the Podcast Once (46 min 14 sec)
[tags]Macintosh, Google Dekstop, Vulnerability, security, GTD, iPhone, phishing, database, MPAA[/tags]
Today is Sunday, December 9th, 2007 and this is show #125.
Before we get the show started, I wanted to tell you how excited I am because I actually had an article published in the very first iProngMagazine! It hit the virtual shelves this week – it’s a downloadable PDF and it’s available at iprongmagazine.com. My article is titled “Ten Applications I Want on my iPhone Right Now”, and it starts on page 40 of the magazine. I’m really proud of this, I sure hope you’ll head over there and take a look at it!
Why Google Docs are good
Jimi Lee from Radio Chatanooga at indieradiochattanooga.com wrote in to explain one reason why Google Docs are good, counteracting my rant from last week about why they were bad! Here’s what he says, “Since I only have word installed and no real need for excel or powerpoint, other than the occasional file someone may send me, I uninstalled the whole office suite except or word. SO when I do get the occasional file, I open it with google docs and save room on my harddrive! I agree, for real work, it’s probably not ideal, but I don’t think that’s the market it’s aimed at so far. I could be wrong, I am after all just a musician.” Musician or not, he makes a good point I hadn’t thought about.
He went on to say, “Can I just say that I love your show? So far it’s one of the few mac podcasts that I listen to. Just about everybody else regurgitates the same news over and over again. Yours is a refreshing change. You don’t need me to tell you to keep up the good work, but I will!” Well this is where he’s wrong – I DO need to be told! It’s letters like his that keep me going when it gets hard to find the time, or when I’m discouraged, or just feeling lazy! It props me up and makes me feel WONDERFUL! I’ve sent letters of praise to some of the biggest people around and you’d be surprised how delighted they are to hear it! I’m glad you like the show Jimi Lee and I’ll work hard this week for sure! Someone else has to boost me up for next week I guess.
You’ve probably heard of phishing scams before, but just in case I wanted to do a quick reminder and tip on how to not fall prey to these scams. A phishing scam usually comes in the form of an email that tricks you into clicking on a link. The email is traditionally designed to look like a legitimate email from your bank, or an insurance company, and usually has some sort of alarming message, like “your account is about to be closed” and when they get you to the site, which again will look like the legitimate site, they trick you into giving up personal information such as account number, social security numbers, or whatever.
I got one this week that took a different tact. Have you gotten eCards from people before? These are electronic cards which your friends can send you, say through Hallmark. I got one of them this week, came from firstname.lastname@example.org. Said I recieved this card and could view it by clicking on the link. It had the nice Hallmark logo and everything. If you click on the logo, it actually takes you to hallmark.com. They also had links to shop online, view hallmark magazine, send your own ecards, and even visit Gold Crown – and ALL of these were legitimate Hallmark weblinks. I always assume these things are scams, so instead of actually clicking on any of these links, I hovered over each one (that’s how I knew they were legitimate.) However, the link to actually VIEW my eCard was a windows executable file on a VERY non-Hallmark site! Imagine the havoc this probably could have wreaked on my system if I’d clicked it on a Windows box! I put a screen shot of the email supposedly from Hallmark so you can see how genuine this looked. so remember, don’t click on web links in emails unless you hover over them first and they are exactly what you’re expecting!
Honda Bob is my mechanic. why on earth would I advertise for my mechanic? Because I believe in him. If you’ve been listening to the NosillaCast for any length of time, you know I don’t ever endorse a product I don’t believe in. I’ve listened to shows or read Mac magazines where they rave about everything – if they have a rating system, they never give anything below 3 stars out of 5. I figure though that if I don’t tell you when something is stupid or some software isn’t worth the money, then why would you believe me when I said something is great? I have about 4 things I endorse constantly to anyone who will listen to me. Macintoshes, my realtor Nancy brown, Hondas, and Honda Bob. That’s pretty much the top 4 in my book. If you don’t drive a Honda or an Acura, I feel kinda bad for you because you probably have to spend all kinds of time getting repairs, waiting in nasty rooms with the great unwashed reading 1986 copies of Field and Stream Magazine and watching Oprah on TV. Not me, I call Honda Bob to do maintenance on my four Hondas and Acuras and he comes to MY house while I sit in my house reading Field and Stream Magazine and watching Oprah. Oh, not really, I actually hang around outside with him listening to his silly jokes, talking tech with him, discussing iPod adventures, and watching Steve get in his way. he good naturedly lets us bother him while he works away and prevents repairs from being needed. If you’d like this tender loving care for your Honda or Acura cars, and you live in the LA or Orange County areas, give him a call at (562)531-2321 or email him at email@example.com. HDA Bob’s Mobile Service is not affiliated with Honda, Acura or Honda Worldwide.
Otaku no Podcast
My buddy Donald is launching a new podcast I wanted to tell you about. His show is called “Otaku no Podcast” and caters to fans of Japanese animation (known as “anime”) and Japanese comic books (known as “manga”), delivering the latest news, reviews, and commentary from the Anime and Manga industries. Check it out and/or subscribe at: otakunopodcast.com
Tim Verpoorten of the macreviewcast asked me to do a review of the newly released software called Together. At the same time he was asking me to do that, I had decided to ask the developer Steve Harris for an interview. I’m going to give you first the review I did for Tim’s show, and then I’ll follow that with the interview with Steve. Here we go:
You’ve heard me mention a couple hundred times how much I love the software I use to create the podcast, called Feeder, right? It’s from reinventedsoftware.com and it was created by Steve Harris. One of the reasons I love the software is the incredible response speed from Steve whenever I get stuck, or heaven forfend, I find a bug. Way before I ever even did a podcast though, I found a little program called Keep it Together, or KIT, which I use to…well…keep my stuff together! It’s a great program for orgAnizing little notes to yourself, putting in images, sounds, movies and bookmarks. I have a special category called “remember” which lets me keep track of those things I just can seem to remember, like “which one is bridged mode and which one is shared networking? or what’s that command to restart the Cisco VPN software in the command line?
Well I thought KIT was great, but for some reason Steve Harris decided it needed a major upgrade, so he came out with version 2.0 and renamed it Together. I decided to review Together, and also on the NosillaCast to do an interview with Steve himself. this will be fun too because I feel like I’ve known him for years and yet we’ve never even spoken before. But first, let’s dig into that review before he sways me with his charms into saying nice things.
Together is a whopping 9MB program (in other words very small) which opens with three panes. The left vertical pane is for your Library, Groups, and Trash. Library has in it the pre-defined categories of bookmarks, movies, sounds, images, documents and notes, along with the entire Library (a la iPhoto) and a recent import category. You can also crete groups of your own, and those show up under the library. This is where my group called “remember” lives. I guess I should mention that Together asks to import your KIT library right up front, and offers to either make a duplicate copy under Together, or to delete the old one under KIT. I chose to duplicate so I could test it out before I was sure I wanted to switch.
There appears to be a change in terminology going on – what used to be folders in KIT imported into Together as Groups. You can still make folders, and then drag items into folders, but I didn’t figure out what the distinction was between folders and groups. I tried dragging groups into folders, but that didn’t work, and folders couldn’t drag into groups either. i could drag individual items into folders OR groups, so what’s the difference? both seem equally useful, because an item can exist in more than one group or folder, so in my example, I want to remember which networking terminology is which so I put it under Remember, but I might also have a group/folder that’s called Networking, so it can live in there too so i can find it wherever i put it. I’ll have to ask Steve to clarify for me what the difference is when I interview him!
Smart Groups are awesome – functioning like smart folders in OSX, where you can set up a criteria for stuff to automatically live inside that group. I was really excited by an enhancement to this feature in Together. I really wanted to be able to create smart groups by something in the content – let’s say any item that had the word “network” inside it. KIT didn’t let you do it by content, so I had to go through and put in the comments for every one I wanted to track that way, which was actually harder than just manually dragging it into a folder. [DON’T READ: following shows KIT smart groups vs. the more extensive Together Smart Groups:
The Right two panes are sort of like looking at Mail.app – in fact the whole thing is reminiscent of Mail. the top half of the right pane shows all the items in the group you’ve selected, and the bottom half shows the detail of the item you’ve selected. Enhancements I can see right off the bat include tabs, so if you have one note open and you start a 2nd one, you get them both up in tabs. it used to just put away the first one when you did that. You can also encrypt item by item which is fantastic, because I have to admit I’ve thrown a few passwords in here knowing full well it was a dangerous place to keep them. now I can keep them where it’s convenient for me AND keep them safe.
It looks like he’s implemented spotlight search (or something much like it) into Together – when you do a search on a term, you get little buttons that let you select where you want to search (all groups or the group you happen to be in) and where to search for the term – in the name, label, tags, comments or contents. I like that a lot!
Together implements a feature called the Shelf, which is a tab hanging out ont he right side of your screen to which you can drag items you want Together to organize for you. The big change in Together is that when you drag to the Shelf, you can plop your item right into the group you want.
I think Together is pretty cool, and I’m certainly going to stick with the upgrade, if nothing else but for the ability to do smart groups more, well, smartly! Together is $39 US, or $14.95 for an upgrade from KIT. Next up – the interview with Steve Harris, developer of KIT, Together, and Feeder.
=================INSERT STEVE INTERVIEW==========
Steve Harris Interview
Steve from reinventedsoftware.com and I discuss his recently released software Together, along with future plans for Feeder.
2 links we promised would be in the shownotes:
Ubercaster bundle with Feeder: reinventedsoftware.com/feeder – look on the right hand side for the bundle. Feeder + Ubercaster – $95 (saves about $15)
MacSanta from macsantadeals.com offering 20% off selected shareware each day, and 10% off if you missed it the day it was featured.
===========END STEVE INTERVIEW=============
Bento by Tim McCoy
Last week Ron did a review for us on Bento and I promised you a second opinion by Tim. He did his own recording which is quite a challenge so I really appreciate the effort he went to with this. Let’s listen in to his review:
I really Like Bento. Like you. Allison, I have very little database experience.
I was a little put off early on because it seemed there were so many choices,
and I had no idea what to do. I was overwhelmed – and when I went back to look
for examples to illustrate this – I realized I had only seen about half of the
choices (missed the pesky scroll bars!) Besides the built in iCal and Address Book
collections – very nice to look at by the way – they provide 24 templates for such
things as Time Billing, Home Inventory, Digital Media, Vehicle Maintenance, and
These templates are seemingly infinitely customizable, it is a simple thing to
take the template, add new fields, change any names, and add images or text.
Much like Numbers, the format of the form displays are drag and droppable to new
locations. Just click on the “tools” Icon to begin customizing existing forms,
select and move items in the form view. One, two, or three columns – add/change
themes – add/change labels. All the formatting, customizing, and printing you’ve
seen in iLife tools seem to be similar in Bento [ What does Bento mean again? ]
There seems to be quite a bit of documentation and user guides available. There are several tutorials available on-line too at filemaker.com. You’d be proud of me though Al, I didn’t use any of them. Just fooling with the GUI revealed most everything I need to make a DVD library collection. I started this collection before writing this – only to just discover those numerous other (like Digital Media!) templates. No harm, I could export and enter into the REAL media template, but mine is pretty, and I made it myself.
There is plenty of “eye candy” in Bento like all the latest MAC apps. Want to change the theme of your form? Just click on the theme you want and a “bubble” bursts out of the middle of the current form and magically switches to the new background – pretty.
Ron just informed us that the price will be $49.95; I will likely buy it. It is
a great complement to the iWork tools – it’s the ‘missing database’. It seems
pretty easy to customize lists and export them, but I see nothing about any
kind of query language though; it would be nice to be able to script special
lists and reports from this info – outside of the Bento GUI.
Finally, Allison – having the benefit of reading and hearing Ron’s review – I add
an additional bit of unique Bento info. Using Apples builtin Perl (of course)
scripting application I took a few minutes to write and a few seconds to create
a .csv file of a half million records – just to see what Bento could do.
I wasn’t too surprised that it took Bento 14 minutes (or so) to import the half
million records – I thought, ‘that’s not too bad.” But then I tried to do something
with it! I clicked in the search field and, once activated, I had to wait
another 16 minutes for what I assumed was some kind of indexing! When that
was done, I started typing a large search number. (two of my db fields are just
counters 0-499999 and the reverse) – and as is common these days – Bento
tried to start the search as soon as I started typing – (i.e.; “12”, search on “12” ;
add “3” search on “123”; add “4” search on ‘1234″, etc.) You can see that this
was tedious, but it only took from 15 to 30 seconds to complete each of the
searches. I have nothing to compare this to except it doesn’t seem too bad for
500,000 records. They do need a preference setting for this though.
Scrolling through the table of data was just as quick as my DVD database and
going through the form views was just as quick – it seems that the searches were
slow – but I hope that I will never require anything nearly as large as my test case.
All in all I think Bento did very well on a test case larger than most users will ever see.
BTW, Apple has released two versions of the Bento preview since Ron’s, and my,
initial reviews. The above info is based on this 220.127.116.11 version. There are new
features in this version that I have yet to explore.
Well Allison, that is my brief, preliminary look at Bento; I include a couple of
pictures for your viewing pleasure. Thanks for your continued efforts, Tim.
thanks Tim – this was great! i like the way you folded in what we learned from Ron, and also answered one of his questions about how well it would perform with a HUGE database. And I’m very proud of you for making your template all on your own! thanks again.
Chit Chat Across the Pond
And now, it’s time for Chit Chat Across the Pond with Bart Busschots from bartbusschots.ie
* Clarification on the Quicktime vulnerability (yes it can affect you if you’re on a Mac)
* the MPAA site has a takedown notice
* Bart gets a new printer and a new headset
Looks like that’s going to wind up this LONG show for the week, hope the dogs liked their extra long walk Len! Keep up all the great feedback PLEASE by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for listening, and stay subscribed.