New MacBook Pro battery, Tucson Tweeup. In Dumb Question Corner David from Oregon asks how to get QuickLook to work with AppleWorks documents (I fail him miserably). QA Director Steve calls me on an egregious error, but Wayde Gutman picks it up when he tells us about librivox.org for free audiobooks. I’m giving a speech on podcasting at the Orange Apple Computer Club which you can find at oacc.org – come out and see me! Bruce Baker is back with his heroic tale of potential disaster and realized success due to Air Sharing from Avatron.com. Donald Burr of Otaku no Podcast tells us about how WorkLog from cyclus.ch helps him calculate his billable hours. Knightwise from knightwise.com explains the end of his search for the best iPod dock ever even if it can’t make Earl Grey Tea, Hot. In Chit Chat Across the Pond Bart and I talk about the advent of some Tier One tablets from HP and Samsung and discuss whether they’ll give the iPad a run for it’s money.
Today is Sunday September 26th, 2010 and this is show number 279. I’ve been having so much fun this week playing with my new MacBook Pro battery! I know, it DOES sound fun, doesn’t it? A couple weeks back I tweeted out asking why my battery would go from around 28% to 0 in the blink of an eye, dying with no warning, no “gee you might wanna plug in soon” or anything like that. Several people, I think starting with Kirschen, suggested that one of the battery cells had gone bad. I wanted to get independent confirmation, so I pinged the Mac Geek Gab boys, and Dave Hamilton said she was very likely to be right. When queried on how many cycles the battery had gone through (available under the System Profiler), I answered that it was 305. A collective Twitter shudder went through the crowd, as they sadly explained that Applecare lasts through 300 cycles.
Undaunted (and encouraged by the mob) I went ahead and called anyway. The first guy was lovely and then sent me to the “battery expert” who upon learning that it was at 305 cycles told me I was out of luck. I gently explained it had been going on for weeks, so it was probably under 300 when it started happening. He said no dice. I explained that I had about 28 devices under paid Applecare, didn’t that count for anything? He started getting snottier by this point, and in his most disdainful voice said, “what do you want me to do? give you a free replacement battery?” To which I responded sweetly, “yes, thank you.” It was really odd, but he immediately processed the return (while retaining his ‘tude). In one day I had a new battery and I sent the other one back. I took a class a long time ago where I learned the technique of simply keeping the person on the phone until they give in. No yelling, no complaining, just keep chipping away at them until you’d swear they paid for the replacement/repair/comedy tickets/whatever out of their own pockets just to get rid of you. it works remarkably well.
Oh wait, the POINT of the story is that this new battery simply rocks! I know the new MacBooks and Pros have crazy good batteries, but even on a good day with the wind at my back when the battery was new I could barely make it through a two hour movie without it dying! With this new battery I played at Starbucks on Friday for an hour and 50 minutes and it still had 28% left. That’s with full screen brightness, and wifi on. I’m so happy I did my persistence trick on that guy!
If you haven’t been to a tweetup yet I think you’re missing something. Yesterday Steve and I joined a Tweetup in Tucson, but we did it via Skype! Not as good as being there for sure, but we got to see Melissa Davis, TheMacMommy again, meet her son Keagan for the first time, and got to meet Karell for the first time! There was a really funny moment when they turned the camera to her and I said, “so who’s this?” and she said, “it’s ME!” I had to laugh since I’d neither heard her voice nor seen her face before, ESPECIALLY since she had cut her dreadlocks off and wasn’t wearing a pirate costume like in her Twitter Avatar! Next up we got to meet one of our newer internet friends, Wayde Gutman, aka gutmach on Twitter. You’ll hear a review from him later in the show. And finally DavidBMoore who has been a long time Nosillacastaway participating in the live show chat. I took a couple of screenshots of our Skype windows so you could see their smiling faces!
Melissa put her laptop on Keagan’s stroller, so she could rotate Steve and I around while we chatted with the people at the tweetup. My only regret with this is that I’ve been feeling under the weather and I couldn’t keep my energy up as long as I would have liked! But in the brief time we WERE on, we got to meet old friends for the first time. So next time you hear of a Tweetup in your area, go!
======insert Dumb Question Corner music
Dumb Question Corner – Quicklook for AppleWorks
This week I had a lovely out of control process running on my Mac that took my last precious 10GB of disk space away from me, leaving me with zero. This happened in the course of just a few minutes! At the time that it happened I hadn’t discovered the cause, so I was frantically searching for things to delete. I opened my email and sorted by size to see what I could dump, when lo and behold I came across a voice recording from Dave from Oregon from NOVEMBER of last year that I never answered! How rude am I? It was his first message ever to me and I ignored him. I felt like such a heel, and wrote back with my tail between my legs and begged for mercy. He was just as nice as the first time he wrote and forgave me. Let’s hear his dumb question, which sadly has NOT been answered after 10 months!
=======insert David from Oregon==========
running AppleWorks (can open these documents in Pages) but wants to view AW docs in Quicklook.
Well after all this time, I think the best thing I can suggest is to convert all of the text documents to Pages, but not one by one. I found several places that suggested selecting all of the documents at once (hopefully they’re not spread all over kingdom come) and then right-clicking on one, selecting Open With and then saving them out as Pages documents. I put a link in the shownotes to a discussion forum at macworld.com where a guy goes into more detail on how to do it as easily as possible. After a few front end steps it was a matter of hitting Enter 50 times. I wish I had a better answer for you, let me know if this poor substitute of an answer is of any use at all to you!
QA Director Steve re: Michelle
I received another email that I wanted to ignore but simply could not. It’s from that ever-loving nitpicker, Quality Control Director Steve. Let me read it to you now:
Allison – I heard rumors that ConnorP was attempting to usurp my position AS Quality Control Director, so in order to secure my authority, let me point out an egregious error on your part. In Nosillacast episode 278 you stated that Michelle (aka Cntrysigns) from ThePortableGamer.com had never been on your show before. That just didn’t sound right. I was sure she had sent in a review for your show. But I was wrong, Michelle hasn’t been on the Nosillacast once before – she has appeared at least 3 times before (Shows 186, 234 & 269)! Please note that prior to last week’s, Michelle appeared on the Nosillacast as recently as July of this year. She may actually have sent in more reviews but I got tired of searching when I realized how far off the mark you were – point made. Disapprovingly, Quality Control Director Steve
sigh. As much as it pains me to admit it, you’re entirely right. How could I have forgotten her review of Hazel in July? Sheesh. I’ll try to do better Steve, I really will.
This coming Saturday I’m going to be speaking at the Orange Apple Computer Club which you can find at oacc.org at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa. The subject is around how to create a podcast, but the club has already had an introductory lesson so I’m going to take it up a notch and talk about how to create the live show. Of course I procrastinated till the weekend before getting my notes together, because that’s how I roll. The good news is that I don’t have to do hardly ANY work to create some Keynotes slides because when i went on vacation I created a ScreenSteps tutorial for Katie Floyd so she could do the live show for me. (Have I remembered to thank her lately for that? No? THANK YOU KATIE!!!) Anyway, that’s one of the great strengths of ScreenSteps. It’s not just that you can create a great tutorial with screenshots, annotations and text explanations, it’s that you get to REUSE these tutorials. Bruce Baker asked if I had any material on how I do the live show too. So instead of explaining it three times, I only had to do it once. If you find yourself answering the same questions on computer-based stuff over and over again, you really should check out the free trial of ScreenSteps Desktop over at ScreenSteps.com. it’s only $40 for the standard version or $80 for the pro version, but if you throw my coupon code on (NOSILLA) then you get to knock 25% off the purchase price. Do it!!!
Our next review is by Wayde Gutman, aka @gutmach on Twitter who I mentioned we got to meet at the Tucson Tweetup yesterday. He thought about doing an audio review for us but told me he has a learned speech pattern (he’s partially deaf) so he felt it might be a bit hard for us to understand the recording. I don’t normally like to read other people’s reviews (it sounds funny for me to say “I think” or “I felt” when I really meant “they felt”) but for Wayde I think we’ll make an exception! He has a review of a service that allows you to get audiobooks for free called Librivox.
- The web address for the Librivox audio collection is at http://librivox.org. Every Librivox recordings begins the same way, “this is a Librivox recording, all Librivox recordings are in the public domain.” Librivox.org gets their texts from Project Gutenberg, and all the readers are volunteers. Librivox.org was founded in 2005.
I have a file folder on my hard drive that I used to store all my Librivox audiobooks (mp3 format ), such as “History of the Christian Church, the first 600 years”, Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense”, and my most recently completed, “The Three Musketeers”. There is a playlist that I have within iTunes that fetches the audiobooks from the folder.
With “The Three Musketeers”, there were about five different readers reading the chapters, 69 chapters in all, in the audiobook. Some of the readers acted out the roles of the characters in the audiobook, which made listening most enjoyable. As I am partially deaf, I had to do some tweaking, within ‘Get Info’, Equalizer Preset was set to Spoken Word, and the Media Kind setting was set to Audiobook.
I highly recommend that fellow Nosillacastaways take a look at Librivox.org and check out the recordings, or even volunteer to become a reader. I wished that Bridget Regan (Mother Confessor Kahlan, Legend of the Seeker series) would become a reader, she has a audiobook kind of voice. There you have it, my review. Sincerely, Wayde Gutman Tucson, AZ
Hey thanks Wayde, that was great – I am going to make sure Knightwise hears about this – he LOVES free stuff!
Hi Allison this is Bruce Baker of BecomingMature.org with an heroic tale of disaster averted at Dulles International Airport.
Let’s suppose you’ve known for months that a particular paper must at all costs be in the hands of a certain person at a time when you might be indisposed…say…oh I don’t know…in an airplane. And let’s suppose that this document is to be included on a CD to be passed out to attendees of an important conference where you are scheduled to present. Let’s also imagine, for the sake of argument, that you did what you swore you wouldn’t do and pushed back your editing of said paper to the last minute. As impossible as it is to conceive (insert heavy eye-rolling here), this is the predicament in which I found myself this morning.
I stayed up very late last night and finished most of my edits. I got up early and completed the rest of the edits just before I needed to check out of the hotel. Still I was breathing a sigh of relief. I mean, as they say in Jamaica, “no problem, mon.” All I had left to do was email the document. Easy. I’m home free.
Imagine my consternation when I arrived at the gate and discovered the the wifi access that is available in the rest of the facility was no where to be found. Evidently Ethiopian Airlines does just enough business to be stuck in the bowls of the terminal maze that is Washington Dulles Airport. But I digress.
What was I to do? My iPhone had 3G access to AT&T’s much maligned network (which has always worked great for me, BTW). But the file was on my laptop. How was I to get the file from my laptop to my iPhone?
I suppose if I had enabled tethering, there would have been no problem. But frankly I’ve had absolutely no need for tethering (of the monthly fee) up until this point. So what to do?
There are several excellent solutions for this problem, such as Mobile Me, Dropbox, Evernote, just to name a few. But all of these fine products require wifi to sync “to the cloud.” Listen, cloud computing isn’t all it’s cracked up to be when stuck at a gate with no connectivity and a deadline barreling down at you like an overloaded semi.
I tried printing the document to a PDF and then importing the PDF as a book into iTunes and syncing it with my iPhone. This got the file on my phone, but I couldn’t figure out a way to get it out of the book reader to mail.
Then I remembered an app that I had installed long ago but seldom used. It’s called Air Sharing by Avatron Software. While I have the pro version for $6.99, they also have a regular version for $2.99. But for my needs the pro version was necessary.
Air Sharing performs a host of wondrous tasks, but the one that I eagerly searched for was the ability to mount my iPhone as a server on my laptop. Of course, this requires a wifi network! But wait, since I don’t need a server located in the cloud (funny, I’m staring out the window of the plane, gracefully winging its way above the clouds and I don’t see any data!) I could make my own network!
Mac OSX allows a user to make a private network of their own! With the call to “begin boarding” booming over the public address, I went to the system preferences and created the network. Next, I connected the iPhone to the network I just created. Air Sharing provides a static IP address to be used for mounting the drive. Using the “connect to server” menu option in OSX, I quickly had my iPhone all dress-up as a hard drive on my desktop. A quick copy and it was done.
Ah, but wait. The only program that would access the file was Air Sharing! Seems that they feel that, since they created the hard drive, everything on it belongs to their program.
Beads of perspiration dotted my furrowed brow as I prayed that the fine folks at Avatron.com included a mail document feature into their software. I actually let out a quite loud and completely involuntary “yesssss” (which turned more than a few startled heads) when the comforting “whoosh” of sent mail was heard.
Unlike the other passengers who endured with heavy sighs the long line to gain admittance to the aircraft, I was quite content as I shuffled toward the cattle chute and Rome. Now if I can just find the time to finish that presentation……
how totally awesome! I just read (will listen again later) what a clever solution. After hearing this when you sent it I rushed right out and bought Air Sharing Pro right away just to have in the old toolbelt! Now I have to figure out what all of the other wondrous things are it can do.
Worklog from Donald Burr
Hey Donald, as always a great review. I love well you stay to the problem to be solved program! I might just use something like this. I use a really old program called MacFreelance. It’s good and it gets the job done but it’s not mobile and the interface really confuses me!
Knighwise on his new iPod Dock (the Ford Focus)
Only you Knightwise can find a way to work a Ford Focus into a NosillaCast gadget review. I must admit I’m jealous of all the gadgets you got in that thing, I didn’t even get a stinkin’ iPod dock in my Acura TL! If the listeners would like to hear more of KW’s nonsense, check out his podcast, the Knightcast, over at knightwise.com.
I’m afraid I may never own a Ford Focus iPod dock, because if I did, I’d have to give up Honda Bob, and that just ain’t gonna happen. If I didn’t drive a Honda or an Acura, Bob wouldn’t drive to my house, do the maintenance (and VERY infrequent repairs) while I sat inside and played on my computer. Ok, I don’t actually sit inside most of the time, usually Bob and I compare iPhone apps, iPad apps, discuss cabling of our devices, play with computer applications and somehow in there he manages to work on our cars too. If you’d like to have a true geek come to your house, and if you live in the LA or Orange County areas, give Honda Bob a call at (562)531-2321 or send him an email at email@example.com. HDA Bob’s Mobile Service is not affiliated with Honda, Acura or Honda Worldwide.
===> Before we go to Chit Chat Across the Pond, I want to explain that both Bart and I are a bit under the weather, and I don’t know if it was the medication, the sickness, or some sort of generalized brain fart on our collective parts, but a bit of this is an almost word for word duplicate to some of the things we said last week! It was supposed to be a followup to last week, but I know at least I said a few things exactly as I said them the week before! So put your pencils down Connor and Steve, I already apologized.
Chit Chat Across the Pond
- As expected last week – Adobe have released and updated version of Flash to fix a critical security update:adobe.com/support/security/bulletins/apsb10-22.html
- Apple releases security update 2010-006 – a tiny update that addresses a single flaw in AFP –support.apple.com/kb/HT4361
Main Topic – A glimpse into the near-future of the Tablet
Allison & Bart watched demo videos of both the Galaxy tab and the up-coming HP slate. The Galaxy tab video was officially released by Samsung, the HP video was not official, it’s concievable, but unlikely, to be a fake.
The probable HP Slate – how NOT to make a tablet
- Looks like a pure hack – the Apple Mod Book looks better thought out!
- Runs regular Windows 7 – so the controls are designed to be clicked by a small un-obtrusive mouse, not by a big fat opaque finger!
- Because it’s regular Win7, the software KB has no idea when it should or shouldn’t be there, so it’s brought up and hidden with a hardware button (there’s also a hardware ctrl+alt+del button apparently)
- The CPU is slow, so the whole thing is very un-responsive with a large OS like Win7 on it. The demo of the web browsing was PAINFUL to watch.
- It does run Flash – but, is that a good thing when it clearly cripples the browser and makes scrolling slow and jumpy?
- This REALLY doesn’t look like a first-tier company offering
- HP have WebOS now that they bought Palm – WHY are they wasting their time on a hack like this?
- Lets hope we see WebOS tabs soon!
The Galaxy Tab:
- The interface looks clean, responsive, and snappy – really looks like a first-tier offering
- This OS was designed to be used by fingers, not a mouse
- It’s hard to tell how easy it will be to use from a video, but it seems to be userfriendly and consistent
- The screen is surprisingly small at just 7″ – the demo shows a guy holding it in one VERY stretched hand – I guess it might be OK for pianists, but people with small or even normal hands – not so much
- The reported price points are HORRIFIC – Samsung seem to be pushing this as something people will only get on contract
- Is there a WiFi-only version?
Well that’s going to wind things up for this week, let’s do this again next week, shall we? In the mean time, send in your Dumb Questions to firstname.lastname@example.org – I PROMISE to not make you wait 10 months for an answer like I did David! You can also join the live show each week by going to podfeet.com/live and join in the chat with all the other Nosillacastaways. To hold you over during the week, follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/podfeet. Thanks for listening, and stay subscribed.