#267 Blind FaceTime, Google Custom Search, Netflix, Knightwise Makes an Announcement

First Blind FaceTime with Darrel Shandrow of the Blind Access Journal, iPhone 4 Antenna and Bumper Fail. Podfeet.com FINALLY gets good search from Google Custom Search at google.com/cse. In Dumb Question Corner, Hai Vu does a reverse Dumb Question and reminds us of how lucky we are, and Bruce Barr asks about setting up iPhone sounds (make your own ringtones in Garageband by following this link in the shownotes to the Apple Support Document. Steve and I rush into 1998 as we embrace Netflix and I walk through the merits of Netflix through Tivo vs. PS3. Breaking news: Knightwise makes a confession! In Chit Chat Across the Pond we talk about the advances Flickr has (finally) made in their interface.

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Today is Sunday July 4th, 2010 and this is show number 267. I hope those of you in the Staves are having a lovely holiday weekend. I’m having a great time, actually recording this a day EARLY this weekend, not sure what day I’ll push the show out so I went with that 4th of July opening. We’re having a lot of fun in the live chat already, thanks to everyone who switched their schedules so we didn’t miss the fireworks! If you haven’t visited the live chat, you really should check it out by going to podfeet.com/live at around 4:30pm on Sunday nights, Pacific time that is. We have such a great time in there, all of the NosillaCastaways are so friendly and inviting, ask any of the news guys, they’ll tell ya! Well let’s kick into the show before they get bored!

First Blind FaceTime

On Monday night, Darrel Shandrow of the Blind Access Journal and I may have done the very first blind FaceTime! Darrel is completely blind and yet we were able to have a really cool conversation via FaceTime. Darrel and I have gotten to hang out together in real life a few times but it’s ages, so it was really fun to get to see him. That was cool, but then we started in some interesting discovery when he flipped the camera around. Realize that for this to work for Darrel, Apple had to build Voiceover so that it even a visual tool like FaceTime actually works for the blind.

Darrel showed me around his office, and showed me how he keeps his laptop actually down inside a cabinet, with a KVM switch to a keyboard on the desk. He enjoyed my amazement as I realized that it doesn’t matter a hoot where the display is for him. He had to show me that he has a Mac now – not just an iPhone, and that the nano-borg probes had fully infected him with the Apple bug (he was 100% Windows when we first met!) Then we got a cool idea, what if FaceTime could be used as an assistive device? He asked me if I could see his computer display and I explained that the monitor was off. He was surprised – how would he know? So I told him that the third key from the left is the brightness up button. he asked if that was f3, and I explained that the far left is escape, that it’s actually f2.

Then we spent time with him moving the camera around, experimenting with distance and orientation. I think it would take a fair amount of practice to get good at this and maybe reading a monitor would never be easy but I can see many other uses for FaceTime for the blind. Imagine Darrel’s late for his wedding to marry Karen, but he can’t find his cufflinks? he calls me on FaceTime and starts scanning the room with the camera, and in 20 seconds I notice them on the bed where it might have taken hours for him to find them. Maybe he’s plugged in a bunch of electronics and something isn’t just right – he pops open FaceTime and I can tell by the colors of the connectors that he’s got the left and right connectors swapped. How about if he’s opening a carton of milk and he wants to know the expiration date? Ok, so maybe I wouldn’t answer his call for that one, but you get my point, right?

This was so cool, I really enjoyed the discovery with Darrel – down to when I figured out that he had a dog when I saw a red chew toy on the floor! I even got to meet Karen’s new guide dog, but Karen herself was too shy to come on screen! Thanks Darrel for experimenting with me!

iPhone 4 Antenna Fail (and bumper fail)

So there’s been a ton of talk on the internets about the iPhone 4 antenna failure. Just in case you’ve been in a sensory depravation container for the past couple of weeks, here’s the issue. The brainiacs at Apple decided to put the three antennas (3G, wifi and bluetooth on the outside of the phone. There’s a very small air gap between each one as they’re laid end to end around the circumference. More info has come out on this in the last week and everyone is running their own experiments.

I had tried to run an experiment but since I haven’t had an AT&T signal in my house in the last two years, I couldn’t check there, and at work we have repeaters everywhere so the signal is so good I CAN’T compromise it, it was kind of hard on me. I did a different kind of experiment. Apple has been claiming that while any phone gripped tightly will see a signal degradation, their antennas are so sensitive that it’s still better than other phones. Steve might have even said the antennas were magical, I’m not sure on that though.

I thought I’d test THAT claim. When I leave my plant site at work, there’s a corner where I always lose the signal on my Blackberry and my 3GS, both on AT&T. It’s so dramatic that I think I could draw a giant chalk circle precisely where I lose the signal. I checked with some other folks and they verified that it happens to them right there too, and in fact our IT guy has been working with AT&T to get it fixed! So I tried talking on my iPhone 4 through that same intersection, and guess what? It did NOT drop the call! Seriously. it was a bit cruddy sounding but it definitely maintained the connection. I turned around and tested it in the opposite direction where I know I can’t even send a tweet at the stop light, and sure enough it didn’t drop the call that way either.

I sit and eat my lunch in an area at the gym where there is zero 3G signal, can’t tweet or email from there on the 3GS or the iPad, but I tried it on my iPhone 4 and as long as I wasn’t touching the phone, i could actually receive email and tweets. So I hate to admit it, Apple may actually be right about the antennas being better.

But what about those bumpers Apple sells? Do they really help? I found a place at work where we didn’t have repeaters, and I was able to hold the unprotected iPhone 4 with my finger bridging the gap between two antennas. I watched as the bars went from 5 to 4 to 3 to 2 to 1 to Edge. Now you might see this as proof of the issue, but I used to work in this particular area, and I had a dreadful time talking on the phone anywhere around there on my 3GS. I used to have to sit on my credenza because it was up against the window, and even lean closer to the window just to have a gosh darned phone call. I wish I’d tested actually making a call in there, that would have been interesting!

Oh wait, I was supposed to be talking about the bumper case from Apple. Last week I told you I was buying it off of my buddy Danny and we did execute that maneuver. I LOVE the way the iPhone feels in the hand when the bumper case is on, it doesn’t have those harsh edges, I feel like I am much less likely to let the phone slip out of my hand, and it does keep it off the surface it’s on so it feels like it’s less likely to get scratched on the back glass. I did notice that I can hold it any which way and those pesky bars don’t start a droppin’ either.

The morning before I got the bumper case from Danny, I started thinking about something Bart said when I was complaining about my never ending sync problems with Mobile Me. Bart said he avoids the whole syncing issue by simply connecting his iPhone every day to his computer. He gets his podcasts synced, along with his calendars and contacts. This is going to sound really dumb but it never occurred to me to use my iPhone as an iPod! I use an iPod Nano for podcasts normally, connecting it to my car and carrying it around at the gym and jogging with it. Why had it never occurred to me to use the iPhone at least for the car? I keep my podcasts pretty well segregated, there are those that go in the car, different ones for working out, yet a third category of shows for activities like car washing and waxing and of course only the most special shows are appropriate for cleaning grout.

So here it is the morning before I bought the bumper case from Danny and I synced my iPhone up with my podcasts, hopped in the car and hooked up the iPhone and happily played my little shows. What a revelation! this could be the answer to so many problems. I trotted into work and bought the bumpers from Danny. I was delighted with my solution, I had the nice feeling case that was easy on the hands and solved any real or imagined antenna problems, and I had my iPhone as a podcast player for my car. how cool is that?

Until I got back into my car at lunchtime and went to plug my iPhone into my car, plugging in the dock connector…but it didn’t fit! if you look in the end of the bumper case where the dock connector goes, there’s a little shelf that keeps the dock connector from going in all the way! I couldn’t believe it. I showed it to Steve when I got home and he pulled out his trusty dremel tool and bored out the little shelf for me.

The good news is a couple of my dock connectors now fit, but sadly the one that’s hard wired to my stereo in about 3 hours of labor by Honda Bob is way way way too big to ever fit in there, which is the one that HAS to work if I’m going to use the iPhone as an iPod in my car. I also bought a car charger from Kensington that works with the iPad (I know, I bought it when I bought the iPad with no idea how killer the battery life would be on the iPad). That one doesn’t fit through the new and improved BIGGER hole in the iPhone bumper case.

So…now I have to choose between the bumpers and using the iPhone as an iPod.

Good Search on Podfeet.com

I know you’ve heard this before, but THIS TIME I mean it. I think I finally have good search on Podfeet.com. It’s not for lack of trying, I’ve tried a bunch of plugins to get a good search tool for you but they’re basically all garbage. For the last five years, if you type in two words, like say iPhone 4, it will find you all places that I’ve said either iPhone, or 4. If you put it in quotes like you can use in Google to mean this pair of words only, MY search would tell you it can’t be found. I don’t know about you guys but the way I search podfeet.com is by going to Google, and typing in my search followed by site:podfeet.com. This is a little tip – whenever you want to search a website you can use google in this way to point right to the site in question site:. But it’s always bugged me that we can’t use the search on my site.

options for Google Custom Search EngineOn Friday I started whining about this to Bart and he suggested I use a tool Google has that you can embed on your site. I told him I’d tried it three times before, without success, but he encouraged me to go through it again and maybe we’d have success. When we first dove in, I ended up at a tool that you had to pay for – a minimum of $100 a year for 1000 pages to be searched. Well I love you guys and all, but not that much just for a search window! We poked around and found the right place – the tool is called Google Custom Search at google.com/cse.

At Google Custom Search there’s a big button that says “Create a Custom Search Engine”. When I got there, I found the three search engines I’d created before in my futile attempts to solve this unlikely mystery. I didn’t have much hope since I’d been down this road. They kind of hide from you how to get the code actually. When you first go in you get to name your custom search engine, add a description, choose your language and then the good part, tell it what site to search. Interesting, you could add multiple sites to search at once, that might be an interesting tool to create for yourself, nothing like what I’m trying to do here though! Agree to the five pages of Terms of Service that I never read, and you’re onto Step 2.

Next up you get to start styling your search engine. There’s a few stock designs with different colors and stuff, or you can customize any of them. You can see instantly the effects of your changes which is cool too. The problem I had was all of the customization options were to change colors, you couldn’t change the size of anything and most of the search buttons were HUGE. I ended up choosing an option that has a distinct Windows ’98 style search button, but it fits in my site nicely enough, not this huge oversized button. I suppose I could change the column width on the right but that would take away from the content width, which seems sort of against the point.

The bottom line is that I’m pleased that you can search now, get good results, AND it keeps you on my site by showing the search results right there in the sidebar.

Now that I’ve brought all this up – I’d like to ask you what you think of the website. When I look at a site like Barts, I feel calm and peaceful. There’s just a few colors, it’s clean and simple and elegant. When I look at my site, I see a lot of noise. I love my logo so no poking at that, but what about the rest of it? I’m nervous asking you because what if you say that the Paypal button isn’t in the color scheme? It sure isn’t but it does help pay the bills if you guys push it once in a while. You know I’m not in this for the money, so maybe I could get rid of it, or make a separate page called “help the NosillaCast”. But then you’d want me to get rid of the Amazon link too, and that one’s free money that costs you nothing and DEFINITELY helps pay the bills. This is a puzzler, isn’t it?

I really like acknowledging the NosillaCastaways with the Twitter feed for them in the right sidebar, they’re such a huge part of what makes me excited every week to do the show. But that’s a lot of noise too. I dunno, maybe I’m just noisy myself and that’s why it looks like that? If someone out there has a keen sense of style and wants to consult with me (understanding that I get to veto any ideas), that would be awesome. it’s clear that beautiful design isn’t my forte. Maybe there’s some kind of offset color I could be using to mute the noise? Maybe I should just ask Ryan Sakamoto of ryansakamoto.com who designed my logo? If anyone has an idea let me know.

Dumb Question Corner

==========insert music===========

This week is a bit of an inverse Dumb Question. But before I get into that, British Physics Student Mark Fawcett explains why Dumb Question Corner is so much fun to listen to. “Dumb questions are almost invariably a delight either because they impart a simple trick or idea which will be useful, or because one finds oneself already a possessor of the secret knowledge, thus making one get that wonderful warm feeling.” Isn’t that just perfect?

So here’s the inverse Dumb Question Corner. A few weeks ago Hai Vu wrote in asking me a question about how to move images from his iPad to his Mac. It was a pretty short answer so I didn’t actually post it in the show. We discussed how you can open ImageCapture and simply drag images out of the iPad, or tell Image Capture to have iPhoto or Aperture open when you connect the iPad and the images will just scoot onto the Mac. Anyway, last week Hai sent in the inverse Dumb Question:

    Hi Allison, To repay your kindness of answering my recent dumb question. I would like to share with you and our listeners a tip I discovered with iPad and Safari. Let’s start with a problem: when reading sites, I often encounter tiny text and would like to zoom in so that the text column expands to fill the width of the screen. That often means a pinch out gesture followed by dragging to correctly position the column. There is a better way. A double tap at the middle of a column will expand the text column and reposition it. Another double tap will return the text to the original size. I hope you and the listeners find this tip useful. – Hai Vu

Nice tip Hai! here’s one to go with it – if you want to scroll down one page, double tap on the bottom of the screen and it will automatically scroll a page for you. this is especially handy when you have the screen zoomed up like you described below, dragging your finger isn’t easy – it has a tendency to wiggle side to side.

Hai also left a comment on the blog that I’d like to read to you.

    iPhone: $199, case: $29.95, seeing photo of Allison when the day over: priceless! Kidding aside, at least here in America, you *choose* to get in line and get the object of your desire. I remember when I was 10-12 in Vietnam, I had to stand in line for 1-3 hours a couple of times per week to buy rice, soap, flour, and other essentials. Many times, I have to walk home empty handed because the government-controlled stores ran out of rice. On my lucky days, I got to haul home the good. Imagine a 35-kilogram 11-year-old hauling on his back a 50 kilogram bag of rice (about 110 pounds) and walked half a kilometer (about 550 yard) home. You are so lucky, Allison. Keep us posted with your iPhone 4. I am planning to get one for my wife.

That really helps to ground me, Hai. I should be grateful I’m lucky enough to live in a country where the worst problem I have is to have wasted a vacation day to stand in line and get a cell phone of the future that lets me edit video in my hand and talk to people on the other side of the world. I’m glad you wrote in Hai, really made me think.

Dumb Question 2

Bruce Barr has called in with a recording explaining, among other things, his Dumb Question.
=====insert Bruce Barr===========
I love your presentation of your question here Bruce, and so excited for you with your new phone. I told my mom how much time it took me to get mine and I think she’s decided that the cheese has slipped of the cracker for me, she’s sending in the guys with the white coats! So anyway, to your question on how to set the ring tones. It’s a really easy process – click on Settings on the iPhone, and then on Sounds. Once you’re in Sounds you can change the Ringtone and the New Text Message sound. The two options have different choices in there but the choices are pretty limited.

The good news is that if you’re on a Mac you can actually use GarageBand to make ringtones for yourself. I put a link in the shownotes to the Apple Support Document that shows you exactly how to do it. I haven’t actually played with it believe it or not, but I really should try it some time! You can change the ring tone by who’s calling, by opening their contact name in Address Book and selecting Ringtone from there. You can also choose photos for people in your phone and when they call, their smiling face (or a picture of a squid if you’ve so chosen) will come up whenever they call. I love this feature, really makes me smile when I see my kids or Steve’s face come up on screen! Unfortunately you can’t change the text message by person though…

Thanks again for the great question Bruce, be sure to connect up again if you have any more questions on the great iPhone 4 adventure!

Netflix

Steve and I have been testing out a crazy new technology. For decades we’ve driven over to Blockbuster every Friday and rented a DVD. I remember when there were mostly VHS tapes and we had to keep pushing them to carry these newfangled DVDs. Lately we’ve been pushing them to carry more Blu-Ray but it doesn’t seem to be working. We’re pretty picky about high quality audio and video…wait, I’m lying, Steve is really picky about high quality. I watch soap operas for cryin’ out loud, how picky can I be?

One of the reasons we’ve continued at Blockbuster is because of Junior. Junior does double duty – he works at Starbucks and Blockbuster depending on the time of day. Junior is the original cranky pants. He’s gruff and snotty and bossy and we adore him. He tells us what to rent. Sometimes I try to pick out my own movies, and if he’s there, and he doesn’t approve of what I’ve chosen, he will simply throw my choice into the bin and tell me to guess again. If he’s not even working that day his co-workers will tell me whether Junior will approve of a movie I’ve chosen. Most people would look at this as a bad thing but I love it.

But then Kyle wanted to try Netflix, mostly for the streaming, and so, we leaped into 1998. Steve and I were more interested in the DVD rental, but one at a time was enough, and of course I immediately upped our plan the extra $3 so I could get Bluray DVDs. We put a movie in our queue, got a movie in the mail just like they said, we watched it and sent it back. Wow, easy peasy! But then they didn’t send us another one. I guess you have to put more movies in the queue for them to show up. We did get the queue loaded up now so hopefully that will work out for the future.

But what about the streaming? Everyone says it rocks, Lindsay, Kyle, my friend Tim – everyone swears by it. So we gave it a try. The instant gratification is way super fun, and the collection of movies seems immense. But what I don’t get is how everyone can stand when the movie freezes up and says “retrieving”? It happened repeatedly while we were watching Cool Hand Luke. Now we’ve got a pretty good broadband connection at at average of 10mbps download speeds, but the Tivo we’re using to play Netflix is on a wireless G dongle. With a theoretical limit of 54mbps, I would think we’re getting at least 5 though, right? So why would we have to be retrieving all the time? I asked Lindsay about it and she said it seems to happen some nights and not others, and they just don’t watch the movie if it does that!

Steve is fairly picky about his video quality, and he’s been noting a fair amount of artifacts during rapid pans on scene, which bugs him. I can put up with a fair amount of sludginess of the image if the darn thing doesn’t freeze while it downloads more data!

Like I said, this was all with the Tivo, so next we tested streaming via the PS3. For some reason, both the PS3 and the Wii require a specialized DVD to be inserted when you want to play a movie. You order it from Netflix, and they tell you when you receive it that you don’t have to ever return it. Put it in the PS3, and the TV will show a code on screen. On your computer you log into Netflix and somehow it shows you a window where you type in that code. Steve and I were speculating that perhaps it’s some kind of copy protection deal – whenever something annoying gets in your way of doing what you want, it’s probably copy protection.

I tested trying to use Netflix a second time on the PS3 and you definitely have to plug in the DVD every time – Netflix isn’t even an option without it. I was glad to see that you didn’t have to re-enter the code every time though. For people like us, having a laptop open when you’re in front of the TV is pretty normal, but what about “normal” people? Can you imagine sitting down to watch a movie and you have to run upstairs to your PC with a post-it note where you’d written down the code, and maybe even having to boot up your PC? That would be a non-starter, wouldn’t it?

I loaded up Cool Hand Luke again on the PS3 this time in Netflix, and at least for the time I was watching it, I never once saw it pause with that annoying “retrieving” thing going on. Steve was speculating that the PS3 is a lot faster processor (evidently it’s a cell processor?) than the Tivo, so perhaps that’s why the performance was better. It’s a bit of a hassle to have to stick that DVD in the PS3 but if it keeps the movie from pausing I think it’s a good tradeoff. My comparison wasn’t exactly a scientific study, but at least in the short term it seemed to solve th pausing problem. I’ll keep you posted on our foray into 1998 technology.

Knightwise Confessional

Hopefully you remember when the delightful Knightwise gracesd the NosillaCastaways ears with his debate with me of the virtues of the Sony eReader vs. the iPad on show #254. We had a delightful time where I explained all of the ways he was wrong. On his latest episode KC0038 of the Knightcast (over at knightwise.com) he talks about his newest acquisition, an Android tablet from Irobot called the Apad. To avoid confusion, let me point out that this is a Chinese company, not the fine folks at irobot.com who bring us products like the Roomba robot vacuum cleaner.

In this episode of the Knightcast, Knightwise describes the virtues and foibles of the device. He dusted off his iPod touch which he hasn’t really used as much more than an iPod over the years, and he compares the interface and experience of the two devices. It’s a great listen and I highly encourage you to subscribe to the Knightcast, I haven’t ever been bored when listening to Knightwise’s, well, unusual style.

Now why am I bringing this up right now? Because Knightwise has sent in an exclusive scoop JUST for NosillaCast listeners as a follow on to KC0038. Let’s hear this breaking news:

========insert Knightwise=========

It’s possible that I am actually perfectly happy right now. I’m just grinning from ear to ear after hearing this. Knightwise, with all his high falutin’ holier than thou attitude about Steve Jobs and the Reality Distortion field…has been sucked in by that very distortion field. Let me recap what we heard:

  • The iPad is NOT magical
  • Knightwise wanted an iPad
  • He couldn’t get the 32GB wifi only model quickly and he HAD TO HAVE IT RIGHT AWAY so he bought the 64GB 3G model for 200 Euro more
  • But the iPad is not magical. Right.

Erm, if it’s not magical, why was Knightwise so compelled, beyond his own sense of ethics, to buy the device, and buy a better version of the device just so he could have it now? I’m still smiling!

I will try to help him find free alternatives for the iPad that will help him in his quest to not lay down more gold at the alter of Steve Jobs. I did suggest though that he start a spreadsheet on how much he DOES spend at the iTunes store, it sure does add up quickly!

I loved his story on how ScreenSteps got him fired, if you too would like to get fired so you can move on to your next adventure, go over to ScreenSteps.com and download the free 30 day trial of ScreenSteps Desktop. When you can resist no longer, be sure to use my coupon code NOSILLA for 25% off the purchase price.

Now I must make a confession. On Friday Steve and I went to the beach for the first time in ages, and as you’ll hear in Chit Chat Across the Pond, it was positively freezing. But I tried to read a book on my iPad and it was an abysmal failure. Now a big part of it was trying to read in very bright but diffuse sunlight, but I also have to say that my aging eyes were an issue. I wear contact lenses AND reading glasses (yes, the worst of both worlds) but it was too bright not to wear my sunglasses. My right eye has an astigmatism so my right contact lens is actually weighted so if I lay on my side it rotates so I can’t see a darn thing. So here I am in bright diffuse sunlight, wearing either sunglasses without reading glasses, or reading glasses and I’m blinded by the light, lying on my side with a rotated 90 degrees astigmatism lens trying to read an LCD display in that very bright light…So I put on the Mac Bites podcast and gave up on the whole thing! So much for beach reading for me these days…

Honda Bob

Knightwise mentioned with sadness that he doesn’t own a Honda or an Acura and the reason he’s so sad about that is that he can’t fall victim to the magical Honda Bob. Honda Bob’s skills as a mechanic are known galaxy-wide, his geekiness is revered amongst our Poindexter community, and his bad jokes are legendary. If you’re in the right part of the galaxy (the Los Angeles or Orange County areas) and you DO drive a Honda or an Acura, give Honda Bob a call at (562)531-2321 or send him an email at hdabob@aol.com. HDA Bob’s Mobile Service is not affiliated with Honda, Acura or Honda Worldwide.

Chit Chat Across the Pond

Security Light

Allison’s Bit:

so I’m on an email list for a mac user group.
this guy who’s email name comes up as “Larry” on Mail.app sends an email
the subject is “verison”
The body of the message had a pdf attachment with no explanation
It had Larry’s signature

so tell me, Bart, would you click on that PDF file?

PEOPLE DID! I couldn’t believe it – I of course deleted instantly. When I called them on it, several of the folks who I though were the smarter folks on the list started saying goofy things like they’re on Macs, they use Preview, etc.

good grief.

The great news is that I was able to pen a very informed letter tonight and include links to articles by Adobe explaining their problem, the article from Softpedia explaining the vulnerabilities in Preview, telling them that the problems are in the spec…

I sounded brilliant as I channeled you!

The actual news (very quiet week):

Rotated Photo in EXIF

Can you explain how a photo taken on my iPhone shows up rightside up in some sites and upside down in others?

http://twitpic.com/21v21l

on Mobile Safari it’s right-side up, on “real” Safari it’s upside down. Allister suggests that there’s a rotation in the EXIF data causing this but why would some browsers and apps see it right-side up?

Main Topic – Flickr got a make over!

Overview of major changes:

  • New interface increases the default size of photos from 500 to 640px
  • Massive changes in the side-bar next to the image which displays the metadata
  • uses AJAX extensively to save a lot of page reloads
  • Whole interface looks a lot less cluttered

The Good:

  • If a photo is geotagged a small map is shown in the side bar – hover to zoom in a bit, click to bring up a traditional yahoo maps interface in a pop-over layer
  • much easier to zoom images – just click on them to go to a light-table view
  • nice new interface for adding a photo to groups makes it WAY quicker to add the image to multiple groups or sets
  • Faster easier way to flip to the next photo with newer/older, can click repeatedly in the same location.
  • Zoom feature for “light box” view of photos – good, but slow, like CoolIris plugin better.
  • I like the panda bear.

The Bad:

  • The new JS & AJAX heavy version of the site is a lot harder on your system. Not an issue on modern hardware, but my G5 iMac really struggles when I try to open too many Flickr tabs (say more than 3 or 4)
  • harder to get to the better “organiser” view to geotag your images – used to be a direct link from the the popup for geotagging – now have to go to organise -> maps from the menu and find the image in there.
  • You can add a photo to the map directly on the photo page…except it didn’t work.
  • No EXIF data exposed in the massive metadata side bar, and the link to get to the EXIF data is gone from the side bar. Can still find metadata but it’s hidden under the ‘Actions’ menu

The Controversial:

  • To make the interface feel less cluttered avatar images have been shrunk – some people feel they are now too small
  • A lot of metadata is truncated so you have to expand it to see it all – the expansion is instant and not even an AJAX call, so it’s very quick
  • You now see 5 thumbnails to show where you are in a set/photostream, the one you are on plus two in each direction – this gives a much better sense of where you are in a set/stream, but again, the thumbnails are smaller and some people think they’re too small.
  • The old interface used to sometimes show thumbnails in multiple sets at once, making it less clear what set you are actually in, but showing off more of your work. The new interface only ever shows one set/stream expanded. I find this a lot clearer and a lot less confusing, but some users fear it will lose them page views.

Close

Well that’s it for this holiday weekend, thanks to the NosillaCastaways for joining me tonite, as always you made it more fun for me than doing it alone, AND you always keep me honest! If you’d like to submit a dumb question to be answered on the show, or if you’d like to tell us how the podcast has changed your life, shoot me an email at allison@podfeet.com. And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/podfeet. Thanks for listening, and stay subscribed.

12 thoughts on “#267 Blind FaceTime, Google Custom Search, Netflix, Knightwise Makes an Announcement

  1. Jeff Miller - July 6, 2010

    Congrats Knightwise. It was the iPod that first sucked me into Apple’s orbit and then into Macs and of course now the iPad. I was pretty much of the freeware/opensource mindset myself. Though because of the quality of Mac software have bought more Mac shareware in a couple of years then in all my years as a DOS/Windows user. Though maybe it was because generally Windows software is generally so ugly that while being functional I was not willing to pay for it and would just find a freeware equivalent.

    On the iPad there is a good amount of free apps that are quite good. But I couldn’t imagine going just free apps on the iPad. Reeder, Instapaper, Goodreader, etc are all good programs and worth supporting the developer.

  2. Jeff Miller - July 6, 2010

    As for your Netflicks problems I would lean towards blaming the processor on the TIVO. I stream content from Netflicks pretty much everyday with very few hiccups regardless of the day or the time of day. Only time I have experienced the problems you mentioned is when I ran Netflicks on hotel wi-fi.

  3. podfeet - July 7, 2010

    Thanks Jeff. My daughter says her Netflix does pause, but she’s on a Tivo too so that might just be it.

    I always wondered how the shareware is on Windows, I assumed I was being an Apple community bigot, that there was surely just as much beautiful, usable shareware on Windows too. Maybe not though. Wonder why?

  4. George in Tulsa - July 10, 2010

    Our LG Blu Ray player is wireless N. The Apple TV right beside it does great on wireless N, but that is running 5ghz not 2.4. The LG runs only 2.4. The first time I streamed Netflix to it I had to set the Apple Extreme down to 2.4, and the result was not only bad video, but freezes, etc. (have the fastest cable net)

    So I connected ethernet direct from router.

    Again, ad video & freezes.

    I was just going to give up on streaming, but my daughter knew the answer. Somehow the Netflix server keeps in memory the worst connection you make. She had me “reboot” the Blu Ray player with the Ethernet connected, and the result has been excellent thereafter. Excellent, but not artifact free.

    If I weren’t on this iPad which won’t let me easily leave this page to do a search, I’d provide a link to instructions. Betcha you can figure it out!

    Multitasking! Soon!

  5. George in Tulsa - July 11, 2010

    More on Netflix Streaming Speed #1

    To force a speed test, if you have a good connection, log out. Disconnect your device from the net. Log back in to Netflix. Use settings to do a speed test.

    If Netflix has previously decided you have a bad connection, this should reset its record.

  6. George in Tulsa - July 11, 2010

    More on Netflix Streaming Speed #2

    If you are watching Netflix on a computer, this Blog Post says you can match your preferred video quality to what your internet stream can handle:

    Okay, an update on manual bitrate selection. I found it, thanks to the forum over at MacRumors.

    After clicking in the movie window, click the following:
    Mac: Cntl + Shift + Option + S

    PC: Cntl + Shift + Alt + S
    A window will pop up that allows for manual selection.

    http://forums.audioholics.com/forums/showthread.php?t=49035

  7. George in Tulsa - July 11, 2010

    More on Netflix Streaming Speed #3

    Several levels of video quality

    Instant watching titles are available in multiple levels of video quality. Netflix automatically determines the level you receive by analyzing your current Internet speed. You can’t select the video quality level yourself, and the level will change from time to time depending on actual network conditions.

    — The statement above from Netflix contradicts my post in #2, directly above. But try #2, anyway. We’re geeks, right?

  8. George in Tulsa - July 11, 2010

    More on Netflix Streaming Speed #4

    The obvious, especially concerning wireless streaming to a device streaming movies:

    How the speed of your Internet connection can change

    The speed of your Internet connection can change frequently based on network conditions in your residence and your Internet Service Provider’s system.

    If you are having problems with the speed of your connection, try the following.

    • Check to see if others in your household are accessing the Internet while you are trying to watch a movie. Downloading music, streaming media, and online game playing can substantially reduce the amount of Internet connectivity available for watching instantly.

    • If your computer is using a wireless network connection, make sure you are close enough to your wireless LAN access point to ensure strong reception. In addition, keep in mind that use of cordless phones and microwave ovens can cause interference with wireless networks.

  9. Donald Burr - July 18, 2010

    Re Aperture always creating new Flickr sets – You’re doing it wrong. 😛

    Slightly longer explanation can be found at this screencast I made JUST FOR YOU!! (because you’re special!) 🙂

  10. Donald Burr - July 18, 2010

    Ok I uploaded a better version of this, with added callouts to make things easier to see. Unfortunately ScreenFlow doesn’t let you replace a video you already uploaded, so I had to upload a new version. It’s at:

  11. Joel Motylinski - August 10, 2010

    I just listened to show #267. (I know I am behind in my podcasts) When viewing an image in Flickr, if the camera name is visible you can double click on it to bring up the EXIF data. Unfortunately the camera name does not show up as a link so you really don’t know that it is a link. This is quicker than going to the Actions pull down menu. If you want people to see your EXIF data you need to set your preferences to allow people to see the EXIF data.

  12. Matthias Krells - September 18, 2010

    Gefällt mir wirklich gut, ich komme wieder! Matthias

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