Tribute to Steve Jobs, Dorothy asks a Dumb Question about Services is answered by Bart Busschots of
bartb.ie and George from Tulsa reviews CardRescue from WinRecovery Software for saving photos on problematic memory cards. Amazon Affiliates are back in California, so please use podfeet.com’s Amazon link when you’re buying things there? Dr. Robert Carter explains how the new Kindles are inaccessible – please go to this link where you can give feedback to the Kindle team and tell them what you think about it. In Chit Chat Across the Pond we get to talk to Chris Ashley of the Simple Mobile Review Podcast about Windows Phone 7 Phone.
Hi this is Allison Sheridan of the NosillaCast Mac Podcast, hosted at Podfeet.com, a technology geek podcast with an EVER so slight Macintosh bias. Today is Sunday October 9th, 2011 and this is show number 333.
What a very sad week this was. I’m really glad that this show was four days after Steve Jobs died. So many people broadcasted that night, I don’t know how they did it, I was a quivery pile of jello, reduced to tears all night long. I couldn’t even speak a full sentence without falling apart. Steve and I watched the live TWiT coverage and I was so impressed by Sarah Lane’s composure throughout such a difficult evening. You could hear it in her voice how much it was affecting her, but she didn’t break down, not till the very end when Leo asked her for a final word. She was such a professional, I could never have done it. I couldn’t even watch her without crying.
I’m not a big baby. I was raised by men – you know, stiff upper lip and all that. I don’t cry hardly ever. I felt badly for my husband Steve, he did a great job of comforting me but it’s a role he doesn’t play often luckily. I have no idea why it got to me so much – of course I’m a fanboy but it was more than that. I didn’t feel like I’d lost a friend so much as I felt like there was just this big hole. Something huge in my life was gone, that dent Steve Jobs wanted to make in the universe – I think he succeeded at it.
I want to walk down memory lane just a little bit here. In 1984 Steve and I went over to our friend Calvin Wong’s house to see his home computer – something completely unheard of in that day and age. it was a Mac 128K. One of the most dramatic things was when Calvin played “Money for Nothing” by Dire Straights on the Mac and when we got home, Steve said we had to have one. By the time we were ready, the 512K fat Macs were out. We got the computer, a carrying case (that we actually used), a box of 400MB single-sided floppies for $100 ($10/apiece). We got a dot matrix printer (we went for the wide format 15″ I think it was, just in case we ever needed it – which we never did). We also got a chess game on a floppy. Out the door – $3000. When Steve figured out the sheet music on his own to the tune of Axel F – the theme song from the movie “Beverley Hills Cop” – it made him really happy. Since then, the only computers in our home that we we’ve used by choice have been Macs. I think happy is what really makes Apple products stand out.
I remember the first time I plugged in my new red iPod Nano (I’d had the original black one), and when iTunes launched, it showed the actual red Nano on the screen. That made me really happy. Imagine what goes on inside Apple to come up with something like that. Does someone just say, “hey, I’ve got time on my hands here, no pressure on the job, I think I’ll just spend a few extra hours to make a beautiful graphic to match the iPod and do all the programming to take that info out of the firmware of the iPod so it matches up”? And why is that info in the firmware in the first place? We can’t be sure, but I bet Steve Jobs looked at it and asked why a black Nano was showing up when a red iPod is plugged in. I read an interview of an engineer who worked on the first iMacs and he said that Steve asked him if they could change all of the wires inside the machine to match the colors of the Apple rainbow logo. So I guess maybe Steve did see that black Nano and make them change it to red. But as silly as all this seems, it made me smile.
I was talking to someone at work about it and he had an interesting observation. He said that the attention to detail and perfection that Steve brought to the products caused a trickle down to every employee. He went on to explain that if the bottom guy knows that the top guy cares about the color of the device showing in the firmware, then the bottom guy will strive for perfection in everything that he designs. He knows that “good enough”, just isn’t.
I did get to talk to Steve Jobs one on one at All Things D quite a few years back. I approached him and started to tell him that I thought the quality of the products were slipping because of so many failures I’d had in a row…and he waved his hand at me and said that I was simply wrong and walked away. I wasn’t shocked, all I’d ever heard about him was that he was abrupt and rude. Over the years watching him from afar at D and at Macworld Expo (saw him unveil the iPod shuffle with my buddy Ron), I seemed to sense a shift in him to the mellower, more human Steve who we remember now. When I talked to him at D in 2010 he seemed somehow more tolerant. Not tolerant of idiots but just more polite I guess.
If it weren’t for Steve Jobs and the great people at Apple, I wouldn’t have my day job. I have my day job because of the Podcast. I wouldn’t have the podcast without Apple. If I didn’t have the podcast, one of my best friends wouldn’t be a wonderful man in Ireland. Without Apple, I wouldn’t know any of you. I wouldn’t have the live show and Rose wouldn’t have founded the NosillaCastaways who are such a big part of my life today. I wouldn’t have been part of the MacRoundtable. I wouldn’t know Don and David and my bestie Katie. Steve wouldn’t have his 5am photo walks and coffee with Victor. I wouldn’t have my dear friend Tim Verpoorten. I wouldn’t have virtually met Shane Jackson and Dr. Robert Carter and Darrell Shandrow in real life to learn about accessibility and how incredibly fun it can be if done well. Donald Burr would not have taught me to make sushi with Star Trek sound effects. We wouldn’t have gone to Europe to meet Don and Barbara and Gazmaz and Knightwise and Nyana and done the tweet ups where people would ply us with chocolate and beer. I’ve gone down a dangerous path here naming people – I’m going to have to stop here because there are so many people who are an important part of Steve and my life – because of Apple and Steve Jobs. Our lives are so full after that one day in Calvin Wong’s house where we a little computer made music for us.
I know we still have Apple and the products will still make us happy, but I also know there’s a hole that will never be filled.
Rod Simmons sent in a short message about Steve that I’d like to play.
Well, let’s shake off the sadness and get happy again – how better than with a Dumb Question?
Dumb Question Corner
Insert Bart from last week:
Dumb Question – Services
Dorothy, aka @maclurker asks, “Every Mac app I’ve seen so far has a menu selection under the App called “Services”. Plus I hear about them in Mac podcasts all the time, but no one ever explains what that means. What are Services? How do they work? Examples would be helpful here. Why would I want to use them? If I did, where would I find them? And how do I add them? OK. That’s five dumb questions, but I’m completely ignorant about services and need a simple explanation.”
- Services are small little bite-size pieces of functionality that users can access from anywhere in the OS that they make sense. The context of what you are doing will change the services you see in the Services menu. If you have text selected you’ll see services that relate to text, if you have files selected you’ll see services that relate to files, etc.. OS X Lion comes with some A good example would be that if you select some text in any cocoa app you can get a dictionary definition for the word you have selected from the services menu, or start a new email with that text, or create a new sticky note from that text.
- You would use them if you need the functionality they provide. Services can be a great way to automate repetitive tasks that you have to do often.OS X has some services built in, but they are at their most powerful when you make your own (more on this later). I have a service set up that allow me to right-click on any image file in the Finder and convert it to the size I need for my blog, and add a drop shadow for example. Another services I have set up for myself at work is one that takes the contents of the clipboard, and if it is a MAC address in any format, convert it to a MAC address in the Linux format used in our host management system, and then put it into the clipboard. So, each time someone sends me an email with a MAC address in windows format, I just copy it, invoke the service (I bound the service to a key-combo in keyboard preferences), then paste, and I get it in the format I need.
- Services are stored in the Services folder in both the system library (for services all users can see), and in the Services folder in your own account’s Library for services that are installed for just you. The best way to get services is to make your own using Automator. When you start a new workflow in Automator the wizard asks what kind of workflow you want, and one of the options is a services. you then tell it what apps to show the services in, what type of input your services accepts, and then just drag and drop actions into the workflow to build up what ever functionality you need.
Amazon Affiliate Back!
Great news – the State of California and Amazon have made nice nice and so the affiliate program is back for us. Why do you care about that? Because it’s the EASIEST way to support the show. Next time you’re going to buy something at Amazon, just click the Amazon logo on podfeet.com, and then buy what you were going to buy anyway. A small percentage of most sales go back to support the podcast. Buying one of the new Kindles? Click the link! buying books to go on your iPad in the Kindle store? Click the link. It’s October already so that means holiday shopping, use the Amazon link on podfeet.com. I really appreciate the support, it does help me to pay for all the tools I need to run the show for you, and like I said, it doesn’t cost you a dime! Heck, why don’t you bookmark podfeet.com but CALL it Amazon in your menubar. Yeah, that’s the ticket…
George on CardRescue
I don’t have the eye or gear to approach Bart’s photographic excellence. But at times I’m the best at hand, and Roger’s funeral a couple of weeks ago was one. As 140 of Roger’s friends and family gathered to share memories and a meal, I photographed them all. I captured flags lowering in his honor, and the gleam of chrome from the the Patriot Guards Motorcycle escort lined up to take Roger home.
But when I inserted the camera card in my new Air, the computer thought it was blank. Fortunately, I’d recently heard Leo recommend a Windows-only card rescue program, and turned to Google for a Mac equivalent. CardRescue opened the card my Mac wouldn’t. It found the pictures I needed, together with hundreds more I thought were long ago formatted away. 636 in all. Time to buy, because while the Preview reports what can be rescued, a paid license is necessary to do it. I bought mine instantly from the Developer’s site.
CardRescue is also sold on Apple’s Mac App Store for the same $39.99. Its free Trial is only on the Developer’s site. Like all programs, CardRescue has some idiosyncrasies. I put a list of the many file types it recovers in Allison’s show notes:
but the Preview mode only thumbnails JPGs.
CardRescue works fine on trouble-free cards. That means you can try it out and learn how it works before you’re bitten by Murphy. Don’t wait until you’re holding Mipples above shark infested Australian waters. You’ll want those last pictures of your MacMania Cruise. I’d cue the theme from Jaws here, but don’t want to throw blood in the water. If there’s one shark more terrifying than the Great White, it’s the Copyright Lawyer in full frenzy. As always, links, and more, in the Show Notes: Bart’s Flickr Photostream, Leo’s The Tech Guy, Aug 28, 2011, CardRescue Site, CardRescue on Mac App Store, MacMania Cruise # 15 with Mipples, Theme from Jaws!.
Thanks for the recommendation George. I’ve had this problem before, and there are so many fake products out there that I have hesitated to pick one to try. I’ll keep CardRescue in my back pocket for the next time.
If you’ve been in the live show in the last month or two, you’ll know that I’ve been through some, ahem, challenges with piping audio from my mic and GarageBand into the live feed for people who are watching the show. I do have a really complicated setup of applications and devices, but the main problem was that we had some funkiness thrown in when I moved over to Lion. I’ve been struggling to get the audio from my mic at the same level as the audio from GarageBand and into the live video AND the separate audio-only feed on Icecast. Well this week, my hero, Stu Helm from the International Mac Podcast (impodcast.tv solved the problem with the easiest, simplest solution. I’m not going to go into all the gory details, but it involves using a $25 Griffin iMic.
As I learned from Stu, I realized that I’d better make a ScreenSteps tutorial for myself to make sure I could reproduce what he’d taught me. I took a photo with my iPhone of the iMic hooked up to my Mac, emailed it to myself, and simply dragged that image into the ScreenSteps tutorial. I annotated the image with sequence numbers so in the instructions I could note what each interface was supposed to do. I then took screenshots of each software step, annotated those. threw some tags on the lesson and now I’ve got it saved for when I’m stuck in the future.
I even adapted Stu’s advice for the live show to allow me to record Chit Chat Across the Pond with two separate audio sources into WireTap Studio, even though WireTap Studio won’t work with Lion to do that. Using the iMic it’s all possible. I made a duplicate of my other lesson, modified the appropriate steps, and now I’ve got two lessons recorded, all in a matter of maybe 10-15 minutes. The BEST part was when I realized that I’d neglected to answer an email from Leon Walsh from over a week ago, and that he needed exactly what I’d learned about using the iMic with WireTap Studio. I simply clicked the share button in ScreenSteps, selected html to clipboard, and plopped that right into an email response to Leon. It couldn’t have worked out better than this!
I guarantee that if you spend the measly $40 to buy ScreenSteps from ScreenSteps.com you’ll find you’ll be creating lessons for yourself, your friends, your family and your co-workers. Be sure to tell them Allison sent you, ok?
Robert Carter on Amazon Kindles’ inaccessibility
Robert Carter of the Tech Doctor Podcast called in with an impassioned plea about the newly-announced Amazon Kindle products. He describes how with the exception of the Kindle Keyboard, they’re 100% inaccessible. The Kindle Keyboard model has a very few minor bits of accessibility.
Thanks Robert. I went online and looked for a place to gently suggest a change in their dumb ways, and I found a specific link where you can give feedback to the Kindle team. I put that link in the shownotes so everyone can use this link to complain. In my note to them I pointed out that there are 135 million blind and visually impaired people in the world (source: uniteforsight.org) and that simply ignoring such a vast percentage of the population is simply dumb for business. I hope we can collectively make a difference.
Do you ever get tingly feelings in your wrists from typing too much? Maybe you’re a really fast typist and you feel the pain of too much typing as a result, but you just have to be efficient, it’s like an obsession with you. Or maybe you type really really slowly, two fingers at a time, irritated that you can’t keep up with everyone else.
What if you could have a tool that let you type fewer characters? you could go faster if you’re a slow typist, you could become even MORE efficient if you’re a fast typist. Either way, typing fewer characters has to be good for your wrists, right?
Enter TextExpander from Smile. With TextExpander, all you do is tell it whatever phrases you type often and tell it an abbreviation for it, and now you never have to type those phrases again. They can be really long paragraphs, or they can be just annoying to type words, like the ones with a capital letter in the middle for no apparent reason.
You owe it to yourself to get TextExpander from Smile to save yourself time, and to reduce the pain in your wrists! Check it out at smilesoftware.com. And be sure to tell them you heard about it on the NosillaCast!
Chit Chat Across the Pond
Windows Phone 7 Phone with Chris Ashley of the Simple Mobile Review Podcast
The name is Windows Phone the latestversion happens to be 7.5 codenamed Mango.
I know pretty much zero about Windows Phone 7 so what better week to talk about it than this?
Windows Phone is Microsofts reboot of it’s mobile Platform which was previously called Windows Mobile. The reinvention was needed because Windows Mobile was A desktop OS crammed into a small device were Windows Phone is a mobile OS from start to finish.
Tell us how Windows Phone 7 works -what’s the layout, how do you navigate around the phone?
Windows Phone is not an icon based os but rather a tile based os. The tiles are very similar to Widgets were they can not only launch into something but they can also display information. The concept is “glance and go” where you have information available to you on the screen and then you can get back to life. However, going into applications is a beautiful experience where navigation is up and down and sided to side.
What do you really like about it?
I love the complete reinvention of a Mobile UI and interaction with it. If you look at every other phone out right now and just looked at the screens, they are all the same, a bunch of Icons that go into siloes. Windows Phone 7 bubbles up like information together to create a more seamless experience. I don’t have Facebook contacts and twitter contacts and email contacts I have “People” that I communicate with.
What do you not like so much?
I don’t like the rate of updates for the platform. I think for Microsft to get a faster foothold in the market new and cooler features need to be coming out every other month to keep Windows Phone on top of everyones minds. Also Iknow there is a team dedicated to getting the top apps onto Windows Phone but I think they need to be biggersoit can happen faster. There are still a lot of new apps and important apps that are not in Phone 7 such as Sirius XM DirecTV NFL Ticket app.
What’s this “live tile” thing I hear so much about?
Live tiles are similar to Widgets were the tiles that you see can actually display information to you. My weather app updates the current weather my RSS reader displays the tile of the latest article and how many are unread. My Peoples Hub tile updates with new pictures. My wife’s Tile updates with her latest posts. Developers are free to use these tiles to display information from their applications.
Where do you get apps forWindows Phone 7? What cool apps have you found?
Like other OS platforms there is the Windows Phone Marketplace currently around 30,000 applications and growing rapidly. Microsoft reports that 90% of the top apps are available for the Windows Phone Platform.Currently I am hooked on Wordament, Wonder Reader, Mo Tweets Pro, but I am looking forward to Skype.
When I look at the images of the OS, it seems sort of bland with the plain green and blue tiles – what do you think?
I agree that a look at a Windows Phone in a store may come off like that and that is something MS is aware of and will have to figure out a demo mode for the phone because it is not until your information is in there that you start to see that magic of the tiles updating with info.
I’ve played with Windows 8 – is the navigation the same as Windows Phone 7?
The plan is for it to be the same as Windows Phone infact you will see that UI on the XBOX too.
Does it seem probable that Windows Phone 7 and Windows 8 would merge so there would be one OS for tablets, PCs and phones?
That is the bet and there are signs of that with the UI being seen on three different platforms. I am sure Apple is working on the same thing.
How do OS upgrades work for Windows Phone 7? Fragmented like Android? Control freaks like Apple? somewhere in between?
When Microsoft designed Windows Phone the point was to be somewhere in the middle of Android and iPhone from a management standpoint. The start screen UI has to look pretty much the same across the board where each manufacturer and carrier could then add their own tiles to the start screen. Hardware has a certain spec. that has to be adhered too but the size and a lot of the design of the device was left open. So when updating there are many different models across many carriers that have to be addressed. Android creates a new version and users may not see the update for a year if at all. On the other hand iPhone has complete control of updates and leaves nothing to the carriers.
This week Mango came out – what’s cool about it?
Mango brought with it over 500 new features but the stand outs are, multitasking via a card based UI, Twitter integration, threaded messaging even between messaging platforms and the deeper pinning such as mail folders. There is also been added support for HSPA+ and front facing cameras as you will see them on new hardware this year.
Where would you like to see Windows Phone 7 to goin the future?
I am definitely interested in seeing Windows Phone’s UI on many platforms moreover seamless cloud sync that Apple is pretending to have invented. I also want to see a better adoption from third party accessory manufacturers even if MS has to build it themselves they do make decent hardware. I also want to see the Zune Music service go cross platform.
I gotta ask – how’s the battery life with wifi and bluetooth on?
I get a full day out of my battery however I do have to grab a charger around 9:00. Their is a cool option on Windows Phone that puts itseld into battery saving mode which essentially shuts off bacground email synincing andother changes to extend the battery life. The mode is turned off after a power cord is plugged in.
You can find Chris on Twitter at @bigcashley
That’s going to wind this up for this week, many thanks to our sponsors for helping to pay the bills: ScreenSteps, and Smile. Don’t forget to send in your Dumb Questions, comments and suggestions by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow me on twitter at twitter.com/podfeet. I contribute a fair amount over on Google Plus nowadays so just search for me by name if you want to circle me up. If you want to join in the fun of the live show, head on over to podfeet.com/live on Sunday nights at 5pm Pacific Time and join the friendly and enthusiastic NosillaCastaways. Thanks for listening, and stay subscribed.