Recording from the Admiral’s Club while stuck at the airport. In Dumb Question Corner we get answers to the nagging question of whether it matters to have your headphones in the right ears. Rundown of my favorite photo sharing options, including jAlbum, Picasa Web Albums, Facebook, and not using Flickr or MobileMe. Willie tells us 238 other ways to delete podcasts in iTunes, and Michelle tells us about a great new Adobe Air application called Social Addict from twistermc.com. Jane and Rose tee off with Chit Chat Across the Nullarbor, and in Chit Chat Across the Pond Bart and I discuss how MobileMe is running in clear text and letting your information float freely about the interweb.
Today is Sunday August 24th, 2008, and this is show number 166. I just got back from a 3 day visit to my friends Harvey & Melissa out in a little town called Ashland, Virginia. Getting there was a nightmare – I literally could have flow to Europe from LA in less time! I was SUPPOSED to fly from LAX to Dallas and then on to Richmond, Virginia, and I TOLD Steve when I realized I’d booked through Dallas something would go wrong. No offense to our Dallas listeners, but I have NEVER gone through Dallas and had it turn out a good thing! So as soon as I arrive at the airport at 7 am (got up at 5) they announce that my flight is simply cancelled. oh great. They booked me on the next flight 5 hours later through Saint Louis, Missouri. Gee, that’s great. Of course when I tried to leave from Missouri we got caught in a rainstorm and couldn’t take off for an hour. so, instead of
arriving at the civilized time of 6 pm for Harvey and Melissa to pick me up, I rolled in around 11pm.
I did make good use of my time though when I was stuck in the airports. My darling husband Steve (have I mentioned that he’s a saint lately?) bought me membership to the Admiral’s Club at American Airlines for my birthday. That meant that I spent those first five hours at LAX sitting in a cushy leather chair with free wifi and even a place to plug in my laptop! So I got this great idea to try and record Chit Chat Across the Pond with Bart from one of the lovely sound proof-ish booths for making phone calls. I tested the broadband connection before I left the cushy seats, and it was a very respectable 1.5mbits up AND down. this should be great! Until I walked over to the phone booth areas, where there was just about zero signal! Argh. We did end up pulling it off, but I was in an open area where there were kids hollering, so I hope you can bear up with it! At the beginning Skype was being grumpy on my end, so Bart’s voice is a tad garbled but as is often the case with Skype, it healed itself after a while and improved a bunch.
That left me with about 15 minutes left. When I was first stranded, I wrote to Twitter and suggested that Twitterville entertain me. Amongst many entertaining responses, Tim Verpoorten of the MacReviewCast suggested that I make a recording for his show (I’ve been sadly neglecting my assumed responsibilities over there lately!) So I went over to the sound proofish booths again, since I didn’t need internet access to record directly to my computer, and I fired off a very rapid four minute recording. Here’s where it gets sad – as I finished up the recording, I noticed that the big round record button on Wiretap Studio was still staring me in the face! Oh SHOOT – this means that I had NOT recorded a four minute review, I’d recorded nothing! Crud. Ok, so I packed up my stuff, and headed over to the gate where I had an uneventful flight to Saint Louis.
I dashed off to the Admiral’s club there, chowed down a quick lunch. then i opened my laptop up again with the intention of trying again to record the show. Now here’s where it gets even SADDER – I look at WireTap Studio and I see 4:31 on the screen – oh no! that means I actually DID record the review for Tim, BUT, since I didn’t think I did it, I closed my laptop without ever hitting the stop button in WireTap Studio, which means I never properly closed the file, and now it’s crashing! The good news is that I just fired the Zoom back up, and this time recorded a much more leisurely 5:35 min review for him and it came out great.
I’m not sure why I got confused and thought the record button should disappear on WireTap Studio, I guess because it does in some other apps. Oh well, I’m still learning!
I finally did get to Melissa’s house and had a grand time. She and Harvey look at me though as if I’m some kind of strange futuristic animal, because of the technology I carry and upon which I depend. Melissa is one of those folks who believes that the Bible had a typo in it when it says the meek shall inherit the earth – she says it should have said the geeks shall inherit the earth! I like that thought better than those folks who try to put me down for being a geek. They’re proud of me and think I can do ANYTHING on their computers – even their windows machine!
They have DirectTV for broadband, and I use that term VERY loosely. It was running under a megabit down and 200kbits up! That was gruesome for me, but not as bad as the cell phone service – there simply ISN’T any! well, I did manage to survive.
Dumb Question Corner
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Headphones left or right?
Last week I asked the dumb question of whether it actually mattered whether you had headphones in with L in your left ear and R in the right. I always thought it DID matter, and only after I saw a couple of people with them switched did I think to ask the question. In particular, I sat next to a sound engineer on a recent flight, and HE had them switched – since it was an iPhone i could tell because the little microphone inline on the headphone wire was on the left instead of the right. If figured if a sound engineer could wear them backwards, then it surely didn’t matter! Well, my seatmate Martin happened to listen to the show last week and he gave me an answer, along with a lot of other folks! Here’s what Martin had to say on this important issue:
Martin on the headphone issue:
I wish I had a great answer for you regarding the reversed headphones, I actually never turned my iphone on during flight, just put the headphones on to help sleep. Sleep Deprivation (18 hr shoot day for E! show “Keeping Up With The Kardashians” ) explains the reversed phones. Left and Right does matter for headphones since various music/songs play different sounds in each ear/or headphone for true stereo recordings. If you play some Beatles songs via your ipod with stereo headphones (make sure they are stereo not mono) you will hear different sounds/instruments in each ear… by the way impressive, mic/mixer setup…
Martin wasn’t the only one with an opinion – Jeremy says, “Most earbuds are designed for specific left and right ear use. They tend to be mirror images of each other so the sound is better channelled into the ear canal. Apart from that it wouldn’t matter which way round you have them unless: 1 for classical music, the orchestra layout has the first violins on the left etc so it would not sound right the other way round, and 2 for films etc, the stereo should logically place the sounds where the image appears on the screen.”
and Joel wrote in on the blog, “You ask about the headphones on the iPhone- I can’t see it making a difference if you are on a call, but if you are watching a movie on the iPhone’s screen and someone speaks from off screen on the right, and the right earbud is in your left ear, you hear it on the left and everyone on screen looks to the right side of the screen, you will experience a moment (or more) of cognitive incongruity. I would think that might drive me mad by the end of the movie! Kids, just put it in the right ear! ::grin::”
And finally Crazy Listener James had some comments on the subject: “since you hate music, I’m sure you don’t care if you hear footsteps run from left to right instead of right to left in Pink Floyd’s “On The Run”. it’s how the artist want’s it to appear, For example when drums are mixed, you want the tom toms to go from right to left, highest to lowest. this way you get the sense that you are standing in front of them. so in the case of music it’s more of an artistic decision. and if you want to hear what the artist intended, then you will put the right earbud in your right ear and the left one in your left
Peter Boodts weighed in too – pointing out both the classical music confusion on location of the different instruments and if you’re watching and listening to a movie.
Well I guess it DOES matter! I always just did it because it seemed like a rule, and you know what a rule follower I am!
Let’s interrupt this episode of Dumb Question Corner with a word from our sponsors, the lovely folks over at ScreenSteps. This week I’m working on an episode of Podcasting on Podcasting where I want to explain all of the intricacies of recording a Skype conversation with WireTap Studio. It has been so delightful to work on this with ScreenSteps at my fingertips to do all of the heavy lifting. I started by explaining where to go get Skype. ScreenSteps took a nice screenshot of how to download and install Skype, but it also allowed me in the text to create a link to the skype.com website. This is a small thing, but since ScreenSteps creates beautiful html it’s just a natural that you’d want to be able to have links as you explain how to do things.
A few weeks back I told you how in the later versions of ScreenSteps you can not only upload to a static website, but you can also upload directly into a post on your blog. This is a fantastic enhancement for those of us that like to teach how to do things and using a blog is the most natural tool. A post on a blog are the normal time sequenced entries you read on a blog. There’s also a thing called a page, which is a more static reference page that you usually get to by clicking links in the sidebar. I use pages as a place to put tutorials, since tutorials are frequently not time sensitive but rather can stand for a long time. I contacted the developers Trevor and Greg DeVore and asked them how hard it would be to edit their code to let you also export to a post instead of a page. Two hours later they sent me a beta update that included that capability! I know, perhaps I have some extra pull here that everyone wouldn’t necessarily receive, but the great news is that after I asked for it, they simply included it in their latest update 2.1 of ScreenSteps for everyone!
If you’ve been holding off on trying ScreenSteps for some reason, I really encourage you to download the free trial and put it through its paces. If you like to help people on their computers, and you’re on Windows or Mac, a tear will come to your eye when you realize how much this tool will speed things up and give you professional results. Don’t forget to click the link in the sidebar at podfeet.com and enter the coupon code NOSILLA to get 25% off too!
Ed on Photo Galleries
Ed wrote in with a great question:
Just listened to your great show discussing Drop Box as a replacement for iDisk with Bart. I’m a pretty new listener so I may be behind the curve on this, but as I look for a replacement for MobileMe gallery…which I use mostly because of its drop dead easy integration with iPhoto…I’d be interested in options like Flickr. I think I heard Bart mentioned that he uses Flickr on one show a few weeks ago. This, of course, might open up a wider discussion about photo editing and sharing services. Anyway, if you think other listeners would be interested in this it might make a good extension of the whole “what can I do to replace MobileMe” topic.
Ps. You can tell from these questions I’m pretty new to this stuff…may be too basic for your audience.
I don’t think this is too basic at all Ed – and it’s worrying about this that made me come up with the idea of Dumb Question Corner. So many times we think that our question is too simple for anyone else to wonder about, but I guarantee you someone else has the same question!
Now Bart doesn’t use the MobileMe gallery, for reasons he can explain, so he wasn’t looking for a replacement for it, but it does raise an interesting question.
Galleries aren’t Flickr’s strength in my opinion, but then you’ve heard me complain about flickr before! Flickr’s galleries are very basic – and they call them sets. They’re not very snazzy, and I really dislike how you flick through the photos – they have a single photo on one side of the window, with two teeny SQUARE images on the right, with back/forward arrows (and I always get confused which way is forward!) Because the images are square, it’s occasionally difficult to tell which picture is which. You have to buy a pro account for $20/year to even be allowed to make more than 3 of what they call sets, which are really like albums. Except I think a single photo can exist in more than one set, so in that way they’re not like albums!
I’ve also used Picasa Web Albums, and I like them better than Flickr. You only get 1GB of storage for free at Picasa, and $20/yr gets you 10 GB. Flickr is infinite once you buy the pro account. If you don’t size your photos down before you ship them up to Picasa, you’ll burn through that 1GB in short order.
And finally I’ll give you some opinions on the MobileMe galleries. You used to have to use iPhoto to create galleries online with .mac, but now you can also use Aperture, which I’ve bought but haven’t learned how to use yet anyway! Since I don’t use iPhoto in general, it’s not the best solution for me to use MobileMe. I was GOING to say in this section that Apple’s galleries are gorgeous, but I went out to see what had happened to the galleries I made before the switchover from .mac. I was sad to see that they got rid of the really cool flash galleries! They used to have some simply gorgeous formats and they appear to be gone! I pushed every button I could find, and I still couldn’t find them, if they’re there but hidden, somebody let me know!
I’m very fond of the way photos work in Facebook. Once you’ve put up your photos, the user simply clicks on the image to advance from photo to photo, and it’s very very fast to flick between photos. The main cool bit though is the ability to tag people in photos, so if I tag you Ed in a photo, you’ll get a message in Facebook (and an email) telling you that someone tagged you in a photo and giving you a link right to it. then people can comment on photos, and again you’ll get a message if someone commented on a photo of you, or a photo you’ve taken and even a message if someone comments on a photo you commented on!
Think about this setup – your best friend goes on vacation and takes 327 photos and then invites you to come over to his house to see his photos. You know how it works, he controls either the turning of the pages in a real photo album, or he controls the laptop or remote while he flicks through the photos and tells you a ten minute story on each one. now imagine that he has put these photos up on Facebook – you can flick through them at your own speed, enjoying them 100x more, and make comments on the few that you find interesting, make comments and he is really happy! it’s a fantastic way to enjoy photos in my opinion. Btw, you can even share photo albums with people who aren’t on FB, just like I did last week with my New Media Expo shots.
If none of these excite you, my very favorite web gallery software is called JAlbum, and they allow you to load your photos up to their site. JAlbum is java-based software that creates SPECTACULAR galleries, and you can download new new skins every day and I don’t think you’d actually ever run out, because people are creating new ones all the time. I did a full review of JAlbum 7 back on show #81, but they’re up to version 8 now! if you want to look at an album I posted on their site to see how pretty they can be, I put a link in the shownotes. The JAlbum software is free, and runs on Linux, OSX and Windows. I searched everywhere for how big the limits are for hosting your galleries on their site but I couldn’t find it. the only thing I did find was a message saying there’s a 2MBit limit on bandwidth speed for the free accounts, and 100MBit for premium accounts. I’m sure it’s in there somewhere on pricing for upgrades, but I sure couldn’t find it!
I’ll have to think about what other ones I’ve tried – I know if you get your own website (which is actually pretty inexpensive, but geeky) there’s a TON of free software for making web galleries. I’ve played with a few of them, and that’s actually how Bart manages his photo galleries online. Perhaps other listeners would like to weigh in on this topic – maybe they’ve found something as pretty and intuitive as MobileMe?
Delete Podcasts in iTunes
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Ok Willie, I take umbrage at your opening comment – I did not make a MISTAKE about how to delete episodes from your iPod! Perhaps I didn’t describe the 28 different ways to delete them, but I did tell the listener how to delete them! And i’d like to suggest that YOU made a mistake! You said setting iTunes to keep all unplayed episodes would delete every episode that you HAVEN’T heard. I think you meant to say it would delete those you HAD heard! In any case, I challenge the logic of deleting unplayed episodes. An episode is considered played shortly after it is started. Let’s say you’ve got an hour long Mac Break Weekly, and you listen to half of it, next time you sync it would get deleted! it would work fine for Mac OS Ken or Mac Minute since they’re really short, but I also favor the longer ones.
I also think that the reason deleted episodes don’t show up on your iPod have nothing to do with DRM – it’s the way the whole system is designed. You control what’s on your iPod by changing things up in iTunes, so of course if you delete it in iTunes it’s erased from your iPod.
Castaway sounds interesting – I REALLY like the idea of archiving to a folder – like with Corey Barker’s Photoshop Elements Killer Tips podcast, I want to keep those for future reference to rewatch when I want to use one of the tips, but they don’t need to hang out in my iTunes.
You certainly do know a lot more than I do about managing podcasts in iTunes – I think I’ll forward people to you from now on when they ask me iTunes or iPod questions!
I figured this was the quickest way to let my 3 fav mac podcasts know about this new mac app you may not have heard of yet called Social Addict. So lets see if I have this right. 1st the problem, I am signed up for way too many social networks and dont have the time to log into each one of them.
The solution: Social Addict from twistermc.com This 1 little free Mac App combines 11 Social Sites in 1 Adobe Air App. It almost seems like a mini browser window and each network is under its own tab. Within SocialAddict you’ll find:
- * BrightKite
* FriendFeed To Go
* and Twitter
It works great! It remembers you’re sign in information so you just flip to the different service and update your status or view what’s been going on since you signed in last. The only thing I think its missing is growl support. I’m not even signed up for all of these, so I guess I should get on that.
Well thanks Michelle – in spite of you starting a 3 way podcaster smack down as we fought over who would get to use your review, this is great! I installed it on my Mac and my PC at work, and I can’t believe how lean and efficient it is. As you mentioned it runs on Adobe Air, the installation of which is very easy too. When I first launched Social Addict, I clicked on the Facebook icon and it INSTANTLY was in Facebook! I think it must have pulled my credentials from Firefox because I didn’t have to log in. when I clicked on Twitter, it did ask for my login, but then it came up SOOOO fast! It’s pretty simple, nothing to help you do replies or direct messages, so you have to type in peoples’ names all by yourself. This really does make me want to sign up for more things too! Thanks for sending it along, what a great bit of software.
What kind of car do you drive? Any chance you drive a Honda or an Acura? I know a lot of our listeners live in Los Angeles and Orange Counties, so this isn’t as weird of a question as it sounds. Poor Australian, Irish, German, and Japanese listeners though – along with those sprinkled about the US, because that means even if you DO drive a Honda or an Acura, you can’t call Honda Bob. You can’t sit in your easy chair watching a ball game while he does a major service on your car. You can’t schedule your appointment with him when it’s convenient for you, instead you have to take your car into some creepy mechanics shop at THEIR convenience. Those of you living in the LA area must take advantage of Honda Bob’s service since you CAN. Imagine the peace of mind of going to an HONEST mechanic! I know, you’re thinking, “isn’t that an oxymoron? there’s no such thing as an honest mechanic.” Well, it’s true. I’ve got 30 years of testimony working with Honda Bob, and I’m not the only customer with these same experiences! So sit back and relax, call Honda Bob at (562)531-2321 or if you’re a geek like I suspect, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org for all your repair AND service needs. HDA Bob’s Mobile Service is not affiliated with Honda, Acura or Honda Worldwide.
Chit Chat Across the Pond
In this week’s episode Bart and I discuss the fact that Apple’s MobileMe is running in clear text, not using secure tools which means your address book is in the clear for stealing. nice Apple. Bart refers to a TidBits article that he enjoyed on the subject after someone else poo-poohed the severity of the situation: db.tidbits.com/article/9745
I’m afraid that’s going to wind things up for this week, please keep up all the fantastic dumb questions, ANSWERS to dumb questions, suggestions, corrections and of course the adoring fan mail by sending it off to email@example.com! If you give Twitter a try, follow me at twitter.com/podfeet. and join us around 4 or 5 pm GMT-8 at http://ustream.tv/nosillacast to hear the live show and help me fix mistakes as we go! Thanks for listening, and stay subscribed.