Update on Blackberry Storm & RIM interview. IN Dumb Question Corner Shaun asks about moving application-related folders, and Pat asks about how to stop Safari from suggesting the wrong sites for her banking. David tells us about his disappointments in iPhoto ’09, and Justin sends me a ScreenSteps tutorial to teach me how to use Tweetdeck from tweetdeck.com. Review of DVR Remote to control your Tivo from iPHone stutsmansoft.com and watch the video at youtube.com/nosillacast. George from Tulsa reviews File Mangler from manytricks.com/namemangler, download his tutorial too. Nosillacast in the US to Ireland to Belgium to the Phillippines to a Nosillacast listener. OLPC ubuntu instructions at olpcnews.com/forum, Knightwise from Belgium at knightwise.com and Jerome from the Philippines at twitter.com/JeromeGotangco. Rose gives it up for Honda Bob in Strine. In Chit Chat Across the Pond Al explains how she crashed Spotlight, Bart sells a photo, and then we talk about Bart’s first impressions of Aperture.
Listen to the Podcast Once (1 hr 11 min)
Today is Sunday February 1st, 2009, and this is show number 189. Superbowl Sunday!
Update on the Storm
As you may remember, I added my scathing review of the Blackberry Storm to the festering pile of disgruntled reviews a few weeks back. I had the opportunity to be interviewed by the folks at Research in Motion as a result of that review, with Verizon on the phone as well but curiously silent. The interview started out with an interesting comment by RIM, they stated that their objective of the call was to get me to change my review! I laughed and asked them if some little part of the conversation couldn’t be dedicated to them actually learning from me? They were really good guys actually and we had a good give and take throughout the call. They urged me to categorize my complaints into two categories, real issues and personal preference. I thought they made a really good point – one of my complaints was that holding down the volume button when you were listening to media actually skipped tracks instead of just going quickly up or down in volume, so that was an example of personal
I did learn some interesting things during the conversation. Remember how I mentioned that the camera came on by itself? They said that was a definite bug that they’ve isolated – had to do with if you escaped out of the camera mode instead of quitting, and that they have a fix for it. Excellent news. I had slammed them for not having Mac support for tethering too. They have an application that works on the Mac for most models, but doesn’t have a version for the Storm on the Mac. I was bummed because USB tethering with the Storm to a PC was a delight – easy to set up and very fast. On the call they gave me great news – while you can’t tether over USB to the Mac, you CAN tether over bluetooth using the exact same network preference setup you use to run their EVDO cards! Since I already had an EVDO card set up, I tried that on the Storm and it worked perfectly! So I take it all back, they ARE Mac friendly and the bluetooth method is even better in my book than USB, except I suppose that it drains your battery a bit faster.
One big surprise came when they were defending the device as being great, and they told me that returns were under 10%. That AMAZED me. But what amazed me even more was when they said that Verizon considers anything less than 25% to be acceptable! Can you IMAGINE thinking 25% returns is acceptable? If you set the bar that low, doesn’t that mean you have to spread that 25% loss over all your other customers? I’m still flabbergasted when i think about it.
Back on the good news front, they recognized that it’s pretty hard to hit the right letter in typing (wait, isn’t typing the BEST thing about a BB?) and they said they’re adjusting the “offsets”. by offset they meant that they make certain assumptions about where your fingers will land depending on if it’s the right or left side of the keyboard. If it’s on the left they assume you’ll be shifted a bit to the left of the key, and vice versa. they said they have a firmware update coming out that will adjust it because it’s not quite right yet. I asked them if that would be out in the next couple of weeks, and they actually sort of laughed – they said, “no, it has to go through Verizon’s process! they wouldn’t even make an estimate!.
Overall I told them I wasn’t changing my assessment of the device, but I do believe the Storm will get better over time. They’ll have to make those improvements in typing pretty significant if they’re ever going to make progress with the device, but I think they will. For now, I’m trading mine in for a Blackberry Bold. Stay tuned for my review!
Dumb Question Corner
Shaun on moving app-related folders
Shaun’s going to get us started here with his dumb question:
- This is really a question worthy of dumb question corner. I know I’ve sent over some out of the norm stuff the last few times so here goes….
In your episode on 1/18/09 there was mention of cleaning your mac and I love to organized but just can’t seem to throw down the bucks to pay for a program Im not sure about. Anyway, I caught the organize bug tonight when I fired up my time machine and secondary hard drive. I use one just for time machine, one for a clone and one for dumping work stuff. Okay, that’s three but to get to my point. I was looking in my Documents folder and really trying to wrangle up things into larger groups so not to have clutter. I opened my “Roxio converted” folder and it had nothing, I also saw my “Microsoft User Data” folder. I opened that to see “Entourage, Normal and Office 2004 Identities” I drilled down to see they’re all entourage related which I don’t use. SInce getting iWork ’08 and upgrading to iWork ’09 I think I use Office maybe once every three months and have considered dumping it altogether.
Anyway, back to the point. I’ve been meaning to ask a dumb question that’s simple enough. I think this is it. I want to delete those folders and even move my Quickbooks folder somewhere else too. Does the OS just put these things here by default and if the apps need to access those can it find them once I move them?
his one is a bit tricky I think. As far as the Entourage identities, I’m sure you can throw that stuff away if you don’t use Entourage. They should have no effect on your occasional Office uses. I’m with you on dropping Office, except for Excel, I might keep that! Numbers just doesn’t work the way I think!
Some apps nowadays really want their files in a particular place I think – like Feeder puts my feeds in a folder inside the Library of all things. I wouldn’t dare move that one. Quickbooks might be the same way. I think with Quickbooks you could do a quick experiment. make a change in QB, and save. then look at the modified date on the folder in question to verify you’re looking at the right one. quit QB. then move it to your preferred location, and then launch QB, and make another modification (assuming it launched without borking on you because it couldn’t find the files!) and again check the modified date to make sure it found the right folder. if it does than you’re probably ok. Worst case scenario you just move it back and you learn something. let me know if that works?
Pat on clearing Safari auto-complete
Remember last week when I said there weren’t any dumb questions? Well I forgot all about Pat’s question. I’m going to summarize it because we tried a bunch of solutions and we didn’t find an answer so we’re putting it to you guys to find a solution. Here’s the basic premise. In Safari when Pat types in a few letters for the url, several url’s show up. She wants to get rid of them (acknowledging that it’s normally a feature). She dumped history and bookmarks, everything she doesn’t want. then she cleaned her cache and the url’s she didn’t want were gone, along with her bank site which is the one she’s trying to get to. But when she went to the bank site and saved it as a bookmark to the login screen. when she went back to access it the other bank’s site popped up in first place again. She then tried to bookmark the bank site AFTER the login screen, and again she had other sites showing up as offerings before her link. as she said, “It seems that Safari thinks it knows where I want to go and what I want to do better than I do.” I tried to bow out of this one because it was too hard, but she’s desperate and asked that I query you guys for help. any ideas for Pat?
David about iPhoto ’09
David sent in a review of iPhoto ’09 that I think you’ll find surprising.
==========INSERT DAVID IPHOTO ’09=================
Wow David, that sure isn’t what we expected to hear about iPhoto after all the hype! I don’t use iPhoto myself but I know people were really hoping that Faces feature would work perfectly. the good news is that these algorithms will only get better with time. I actually saw this feature demo’d during DEMOFall ’08. The company was iLovePhotos and I’m 99% positive that’s the company Apple bought, or at least they bought the technology to do this. one thing they said at the show was that figuring out who someone was in profile was very difficult, they need both eyes at this time. On the geotagging front I can’t believe that you can’t move the pins around in Places when they’re inaccurately laid down. I wonder if you could change the latitude and longitude manually? But then again that’s like using the command line, when you paid for a beautiful GUI. At least allowing you to move the pins around would compensate for their inaccuracy – sounds like a real missed opportunities. It will be interesting to see what updates Apple comes up with over time to improve the facial recognition, and I sure hope they improve the geotagging. Thanks for sending in such a well thought out review David, and thank you for your kind words as well.
As you’ve no doubt figured out, I really enjoy Twitter. I enjoy hearing what’s happening in the intertoobs through Twitter, following my geekier friends and getting answers to my tech questions. When the Maccraic guys Justin and David came here to visit from Ireland, Justin told me how he really likes Tweetdeck from tweetdeck.com. I had tried Tweetdeck but it took up way too much room on the desktop because you’ve got all these columns of people and tweets. Justin explained how you can modify the options to be more desktop friendly, but as soon as he left of course I forgot to go test it. then he tweeted me about it. then he tweeted me again. Finally he figured out how to get me to try it. He sent me a ScreenSteps tutorial! (link to Justin’s tutorial) Yup – how better than to show someone who’s hesitant how easy something is than to send them a beautifully formatted step by step instruction sheet complete with lovely annotated screen snapshots? He was able to point at the relevant icons on the screen so I could tell just what I had to do in order to tailor Tweetdeck so it was MUCH more manageable.
Not only was the tutorial wonderful for me, it was trivial for Justin to create because ScreenSteps makes it so easy. All he had to do was click the little camera icon, drag across the area on the tool, then click to make annotations, type in some text to guide me even further and then click Export to PDF. ScreenSteps even opens the folder you saved to when you’re done so you can open it or drag it into an email like Justin did for me. If you’d like to be able to make the most complex and elaborate manuals complete with automatically generated tables of contents or the simplest short tutorials for boneheads like me, check out ScreenSteps from screensteps.com, and be sure to use the coupon code NOSILLA to get 25% off. If you apply the discount to the Pro price of $60, it’s only $5 more than the Standard price for normal people! Imagine, $45 for all that happiness!
I need to throw in a quick iPhone/iPod Touch application here. My buddy Ron turned me onto an app that has filled me with joy. It may not be as wild and sexy as the Ocarina, and it won’t help you make millions of dollars but it WILL solve a real problem. It’s called DVR Remote from stutsmansoft.com. Now having a good remote for your Tivo may not be your biggest problem but bear with me till you hear the best part about this app. So DVR Remote works with the Series 3, HD or HD XL Tivo models, that are on a wireless network (they can be wired themselves but you do need the wireless for the iPhone/Touch). So you launch the app, you enable Network Remote control on your Tivo (and they tell you where to find that on the Tivo). Then you’ll see all your Tivos listed on the iPhone screen (if you have more than one, that is). DVR Remote then looks very similar (but not so similar as to get sued) to your Tivo remote. All of the buttons are in the same locations with the same functionality.
Right from your iPhone or iPod Touch you can check out your Now Playing list, read the info about the episodes you already have recorded, and look at your Favorites list. At this point DVR Remote is just kind of handy, say if you can’t find your real Tivo remote, right? Ok, here comes the really great part.
You know how incredibly annoying it is to enter text on a Tivo like when you’re searching for a show you want to record? You’ve got that grid of letters, and you have to go over 2, down 3, hit enter, back up 2, right 3, hit enter. On and on and on and it takes FOREVER, right? Well there’s one button on DVR Remote that isn’t on the real Tivo remote, and that’s a keyboard button! yes, hit this once and you’ve got the iPhone touch screen keyboard right there to enter the text! now that would be cool, but they added a level of delight to this that you have to hear and see to appreciate. DVR Remote doesn’t send the signal to the Tivo as you enter each character, it waits until you’re completely done and then sends them all in rapid fire to the Tivo. The BEST part is the Tivo displays on screen all that up, over, left, down nonsense complete with all the silly Tivo sounds! It’s HYSTERICAL! Steve and I love this so much that we just keep searching for TV shows we have no intention of actually recording, just to hear it do this! We try to find the longest ones possible so we get more entertainment!
We made a quick little video to put in the shownotes so you can see how this works, but for now, here’s an audio clip of how fast this thing goes! Right before this soundclip I’ve gone through all the menus to look for find new programs. We’ll pick it up from there:
==========ENTER AUDIO ONLY==================
DVR Remote is a whopping $3, but it’s worth it for the entertainment value, if not the incredible increase in your productivity! Go check it out at stutsmansoft.com.
George on File Mangler
“George from Tulsa here. If you’re like me, you’ve imported a lot of pictures with cryptic file names assigned by your camera. Wouldn’t it be nice to easily rename groups of files and give them names that make sense? Like to put “MacWorld 2009” on all your MacWorld Expo pictures? It is easy with “Name Mangler.App” donation-ware downloadable at manytricks.com/namemangler. Not Name Manager. Not Name “Away in the Manger.”Name Mangler. Bulk renames any “data” files on your Mac, not just pictures. Check PodFeet.Com for a a link to Name Mangler and screen grabs I sent Allison showing the program in use. Hard to describe, easy to show.”
Well George made a detailed tutorial that you’ll really want to check out. He didn’t use ScreenSteps though, so I converted it pretty painlessly so that the screen grabs would be of manageable size and then I output it as a pdf for downloading for you. I put a link to it in the shownotes (George’s Name Mangler Tutorial in PDF).
How Many OS’s does Allison Need?
I’ve been on a positive FRENZY in the last two weeks loading up operating systems. I don’t know what’s gotten into me but it’s like an illness! You remember last week I told you that I put Windows 7 on the HP Mini-note, right? And then I loaded the open source VirtualBox from Sun Microsystems on my Mac, and threw Windows 7 on that! Nothing went wrong (except for my continuing network issues which my buddy Ron verified happened to him too when he did it on his Macbook) so then I threw Ubuntu on VirtualBox too. Well still nothing went wrong, so it was time to go back to my adventures trying to put Ubuntu on the OLPC! Remember the story? When last we’d left our hero, she had started with the Intrepid Ubuntu instructions for the OLPC at olpcnews.com/forum. Daunted nearly immediately and not understanding even the basics of the process, that didn’t stop me! Or course I turned to Bart in Ireland to weed through the lingo and get me rolling.
I got along fairly badly needing quite a bit of handholding (I got hung up on little things like the fact that there’s no sudo on my OLPC, only su). Bart helped me through to the end, where when it was supposed to boot from the SD card, it said “sdhci card didn’t power up after 1 second”. what the hey? Bart suggested I post to those forums, which I did, but I found a slew of people talking about the problem and supposing it had to do with partioning and no one with an answer.
I festered on it for a while, and then one day one of my newer interweb buddies KnightWise from knightwise.com from Belgium came on chat and asked me how things were going, I think he’d seen my tweets of angst. Knightwise is a hardcore linux guy, so I jumped at the chance to pick his brains. Unfortunately he was baffled as well, and he suggested I post on the “regular” Ubuntu forums. I told him I was scared, that the real linux people use this foreign language altogether – I think I understand more Klingon than I do their forums! He dug around and found a guy who had posted a successful Ubuntu install on his OLPC. I told him I was STILL scared! So then he suggested I use two terms to convince them to be gentle with me, “noob” and “girl”.
I have to admit that I did just as he suggested. I was DESPERATE i tell you! Yes, I called myself a girl, AND a noob. Ok Noob I was pretty comfortbable with but using girl just so they’d go easy on me? I cheapened myself, but I DID get an answer! Jerome G from the Philippines was the guy who’d been successful, and he knew the solution. Would you believe that for some reason SanDisk cards won’t power up in less than one second? He had tried a couple and then went for an off brand and it worked! Off I went to the store, bought a PNY 2GB card, and I ran through the same installer steps and in about an hour I was up and running Ubuntu on my OLPC.
Now Allison getting Ubuntu running isn’t the really interesting part of the story to me. What blows my mind is the very end of the story. I’m in the US in California. I work with Bart in Ireland. Then from there I work with Knightwise in Belgium, who helps me find Jerome in the Phillippines. And guess what Jerome wrote back to me when i thanked him? he wrote “I didn’t notice until I saw your signature, I’m actually subscribed to your podcast since last year. I’m also a mac user at work so it has been very helpful Thanks for what you’ve been doing!” Isn’t that wild? US to Ireland to Belgium to the Phillippines and I find a Nosillacast listener! you know what? I love the internet.
Well Rose, that was, um, different. I love that Honda Bob is an international super star now! Rose was nice enough to include a translator for us for the terms she used, which she said are called “Strine”. I put them in the shownotes so you can learn a foreign language! Steve called it a Rosetta Stone, get it?
- Slowbart – Hobart,
deadset / ridgy didge – true,
sheila – woman,
drongo / mug – idiot,
bonza – good,
Dodgy Brothers – not quite legal,
bludger – lazy,
bogan – un-translatable red neck maybe,
bloody – for emphasis but also known as the great australian adjective,
bloods worth bottling – a good person,
an alternative for that is – worth his weight in cocky chaff. The stuff left in the bottom
of the cockatoos cage,
cobber – mate – friend,
tinnie – can of beer,
shed – garage,
captain cook – look,
cactus – dead,
right as rain – ﬁxed,
chuck – throw,
mongrel – bad person,
coo-ee – call,
cop youse later – goodbye works better in the singular – cop u later – copulator but
I’m sure you worked that out already,
It was fun typing out this list – spell check is going nuts,
and Bartilicous is my name for Bart
Chit Chat Across the Pond
Spotlight vs. Quicksilver
Allison got Spotlight to crash! boot up and ask spotlight to do something before everything is loaded
Did that because I thought one advantage would be that I wouldn’t have to wait for Quicksilver to load!
Bart sells his first photo!
It wasn’t for a lot of money, but it was still nice. A local company wanted to use it on their website and contacted me via Flickr to ask for permission. I told them I wouldn’t give it to them but that I’d happily give them a perpetual license to use it for a reasonable price. I expected them to loose interest, but they didn’t!