#396 Total Eclipse, Dataman Pro, Geek Holiday Gift Ideas, NosillaCast Google Community, Free Geek Gifts

Join the NosillaCast Google+ Community at plus.google.com. Watch Steve’s great Eclipse videos: the eclipse itself at youtube.com/embed/oTjHVrrCnUU and his GoPro video of the crowd’s reaction at youtube.com/embed/XOa0JRbhlms. Donald Burr gives us a review of DataMan Pro for for iPhone and iPad – on sale right now for $7 each. How about a geek gift guide for you to send to your relatives and friends for ideas? Check the shownotes for tons of links. In Chit Chat Across the Pond Knightwise from knightwise.com joins us to talk about free stuff to give away for the holidays.

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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 December 9, 2012 and this is show number 396. If you were hoping for a short show today, you’d better make other plans. We have a fun filled show including solar eclipse videos, a DataMan Pro review from Donald, Steve and my advice you should give your friends and family on great geek gifts, and after we spend all your money, Knightwise comes in on Chit Chat Across the Pond to tell you about free gifts to give your friends and family. Sit back and relax, it’s going to be a long one!

Steve’s Eclipse Videos

When I gave you my tech highlights of our Mac Mania 15 cruise, I didn’t tell you about the total solar eclipse we got to see. And by the way, yes Dr. Smarty Pants Neil DeGrasse Tyson, I DO know it’s technically a total solar occultation we saw, not an eclipse, but for brevity we’ll call it an eclipse.

The trip was not only a Mac Mania cruise, but also a Sky and Telescope cruise with one of the main reasons for being there to be able to view the eclipse. They explained to us before the trip how ideal this would be, because if there were a cloud blocking the sun during the eclipse, we could actually move the boat to miss the cloud. On the ship they had a bunch of astronomy classes, and Steve was really excited about them, but unfortunately most of the good ones were scheduled to be right on top of when I was speaking. Now he’s a pretty smart husband, he chose to go to my talks even when I encouraged him to go to the other ones.

We did make it to one where they started talking about what date and time the eclipse would actually take place. One would think that this would be pretty easy to figure out, but it turned out to be really really complicated. They knew what day and time the eclipse was going to take place in UTC, or Coordinated Universal Time. The problem was that we were on the other side of the international dateline so if eclipse was supposed to be a certain day and UTC, it would be a day later in Sydney time. However, we had left Sydney, and traveled to Brisbane, and then we were going to be out in the middle of the coral sea on her way to New Caledonia. Brisbane is an hour apart in TimeZone and I think New Caledonia was another hour or two, I started to lose track. As though this weren’t entertainment enough, the daylight saving time change actually took place while we were crossing over to New Caledonia on our way to see the eclipse. The result was that the astronomers told us they weren’t exactly sure what day or time we actually should get up for the eclipse!

Luckily within a few days they were able to determine exactly when the eclipse would be at around 6:49 AM. We went out early, I should say Steve went out really early, I think it was around 5:30. At that time the sky was completely socked in. Remember I said they could steer around a cloud? They didn’t say what they would do if there was cloud. Around 6:15 the sky parted and we had crystal-clear sky in every direction. Unfortunately, around 6:30 to 6:45, it turned completely cloudy again. Groans all around.

In one of the classes they explained that there’s actually four stages to an eclipse, or four contact points. First contact is when the moon just starts to cover up the sun. Second contact is when the moon is covering the sun, and is just touching the first side it covered and leaves of bright sparkling area on the opposite side. They call that the diamond ring. Third contact is when it starts to touch the other side leaving the diamond ring on the original side. And finally, fourth contact is when the moon is just barely touching this edge of the sun on its way completely out.

Well unfortunately 6:49 AM, the time the first contact came and went with the sun completely covered by clouds. A little while into the eclipse, the sun finally peaked out from behind the clouds and we got to see the eclipse starting, with about half of the sun still showing. The good news, or should I say great news, is that we had clear skies when we hit second contact and the sun actually was completely covered by the moon, and we got to see the diamond ring. The sky went completely dark, and it got really cold on the ship. While the sun was completely covered up, the clouds came back and we missed third contact, but this clouds cleared again later and we got to see the second half of the eclipse all away through to fourth contact as the sun came completely into view.

Partial eclipse coming out from behind the clouds:
partial eclipse
total eclipse, or occultation
Fourth contact – look for the TINY sliver missing in the bottom right, AND you can count 14 sunspots if you look closely.
fourth contact - there are 14 sun spots showing!

steve's duct tape and plastic glasses home made filter for his $1000 camcorderI should mention that on the ship they gave us little glasses that we were able to watch the eclipse without hurting our eyes. I had a special solar filter for my camera that Steve had bought me as a present just for the trip. Steve didn’t have a filter for his video camera though, so in the days prior to the eclipse he fashioned a small filter out of the plastic glasses that they gave us on the ship and some duct tape that our friend Wally donated to the cause!

Steve ended up taking two fabulous videos, and editing them down so they’re very very dramatic. I’ve included both videos in the show notes, the first one is of the eclipse itself and it’s pretty amazing, the second one is really interesting too. He fashioned his go Pro camera to the door handle on the deck where we were watching the eclipse and actually recorded the reaction of the crowd to watching the eclipse. It was a long video, so he sped the video up while we’re waiting for the eclipse, and then slowed it down during the actual eclipse itself, and you can really get a feel for the reaction and how it actually felt to witness this eclipse. I really encourage you to go over to the shownotes and watch both of Steve’s videos!

Using a Screen Reader? click here

Using a Screen Reader? click here

DataMan Pro Review

Donald Burr of Otaku no Podcast from otakunopodcast.com reviews the DataMan Pro app for iPhone and iPad.

Problem: You have a tiered data plan (not unlimited), and you are deathly afraid of going over. OR maybe you are traveling and got an international plan, and want to make sure you don’t exceed it.

DataMan Pro released earlier, taken off the app store for using unauthorized api’s, but was recently re-allowed (maybe Apple’s tacit acknowledgement of the iOS 6 data usage bug).

Run the app, you first configure it. Asks for your billing date (you can find this out from your bill). Then you get to configure how much data you allow yourself per day, week and month. Next configure your alert thresholds (percentage of allotment before you get warned). There are four levels of warning. Finally you want to turn on Precise tracking. Optionally you can turn on geotagging, which lets you see where you used your data. You’ll probably want to leave this off unless you are morbidly curious, because it uses GPS and battery.

You have to keep the app running (in the multitasking bar), in other words DO NOT press and hold on it to close it. As far as I can tell it doesn’t use an appreciable amount of battery or slow the device down any, so this shouldn’t be a problem.

Then just use your phone as normal.

When you next run the app, you instantly see the current total data used today, this week, and over the month. Tapping on the clock icon(upper right) will let you show data for a given period of time. Either way, when you choose what data you want to view, it will show you how much data was used, both up and download, over both WiFi and cellular data. You can even drill down to see, hour by hour, how much data you used.

Now comes the cool part. Tap the app icon and you will see your data usage broken down by app. This includes system processes such as iAd banners, sync services and Siri. You can also export the data at any time; this is done in the CSV format through iTunes file export.

In my informal testing I’ve found it to be reasonably accurate, close enough anyway to give you a reasonable estimate of your data usage, and prevent you from going over.

My only gripe with the app is that the user interface is a bit clunky. Drilling down to the data that you want takes a few taps, and the layout of information and buttons on screen is kinda clunky. But the sheer functionality and usefulness of this app outweigh this. My bigger complaint is that they make separate version of the app for both iPhone and iPad; each costs $6.99. Still, $7 – $14 is a lot better than paying those outrageous data overage fees.

DataMan Pro is available in separate versions for both the iPhone and iPad in the app store. Check them out at the links Alison will put in the show notes.

DataMan Pro for iPhone and DataMan Pro for iPad

Thanks for the review Donald! Katie Floyd told me about DataMan ages ago and I even bought it but I didn’t even THINK about using it when I was on my cruise! I think I’ll be checking this out more thoroughly now that I know more about it. One more thing – since Donald sent me the audio review, it appears the price dropped on DataMan – it’s still 2 apps to buy but each one is only $7 instead of $10 now.

NosillaCast Google+ Community

Google+ just created communities and we have a NosillaCast community now! People are joining up, having some conversations – we finally have a forum for us without me doing any work! If you have a Google account, or even if you don’t and you’re willing to set one up – check it out at plus.google.com.

Holiday gift ideas – Geeks should send their families to this episode!

Unless the geek tells you EXACTLY what they want, get a gift receipt

If they’re into photography (mid-range)

  • SD cards – look for Class 6 or higher, those are high speed
  • Extra battery for their exact camera

If they’re into iDevices

  • iTunes gift cards – keep your eye out for sales – often deals at office supply places and Best Buy
  • Apple TV – they may not know they need one

If they’re into iOS or Android phones and tablets

  • Portable Battery chargers like the Innergie 2.1 Amp pocket portable charger – that comes with a magic 3 in 1 charger cable for micro, mini, and 30pin dock connectors that’ll run you $77:
  • i.Sound PowerMax – a monster 16,000mAh charger pack that costs $70. It’s cheaper than the Innergie, but the Innergie only powers your cell phone once, this beast does more than 5 times, but it weighs a LOT.

Wall chargers – can’t get enough of these either

  • Innergie Two in One 15 watt charger – charge an iPad an an iPhone at the same time! It even comes with a 2 in 1 charger cable for micro and 30 pin dock connectors for only $38
  • Belkin mini-surge protector with 2 USB ports – $12 – we love this thing!


  • I mentioned the Innergie 3 in 1 magic cable, turns out you can buy it standalone too. This is a must have cable in my opinion. it’s only $20 and it’s a lifesaver.
  • If they have a new iPhone 5, get them an extra of Apple’s proprietary 9 pin cable and/or 9 pin adapter for $29. From what I’ve heard, accept no substitutes – the $3 ones from 3rd parties are not supposed to work – but if you want to try them go ahead and let me know!

If they’re into Windows

  • get them a Mac

If they’re into the Mac

  • iTunes gift cards
  • Spare charger (make sure you get their model correct)
  • Screen Cleaner + cloth – try Monster’s for $9 – do NOT get the wipes, they’re icky!

If they’re into any gadget things

  • Grid-it (many colors/sizes) $12-$20 – must have!
  • For the do-it-yourself organizer – Ziploc bags and plastic drawer boxes & marker to organize cables
  • Power strip extenders (make room on your power strip) – $10 for a pack of 5 – George from Tulsa bought Steve and me each a pack of these – they’re awesome!
  • Donald Burr recommends the Accell D080B-007K-R PowerSquid Outlet Multiplier for $16:

If they’re into GoPro and you don’t want to spend much:

  • GoPro Tripod mount for HERO Camera, inexpensive at $5.80 but very useful
  • Wasabi Battery and Charger Kit for GoPro, includes two 1400 mAh batteries (vs. GoPro 1100 mAh) and a 115VAC/12VDC charger, third party so much less expensive ($19.99 for entire kit) than GoPro batteries ($24.99 each w/o charger)

If they’re into GoPro and you’re willing to spend a little more:

  • GoPro Suction Cup Mount, a little more expensive at $29.99, but very versatile for any flat/smooth mounting surface (wish I had used mine for filming the total solar eclipse)
  • GoPro Dive Housing, a must if you are going to take photos/video underwater (standard case blurs the image underwater), not cheap at $67.49 – made all the difference in the world between Hawaii and New Calendonia underwater video


This week I was doing a lot of chatting and emailing back and forth with our friends Maryanne and Devon in New Zealand. At one point one of them mentioned that my email woke them up when it made a noise on her iPhone. Timezones can be tricky and I can’t guarantee I won’t do that again, so instead I whipped open my trusty Clarify and in about 2 minutes made a visual tutorial to show them how to turn on the scheudled do not disturb mode, new in iOS 6.

I took three screenshots with my iPhone, and since I have iCloud and Photo Stream enabled within Aperture and the iPhone, the images jumped right into Aperture where I could drag them into Clarify. I did a couple of annotations, threw in a sentence or two to clarify things, and clicked on the Share button and boom, there was a tutorial up on clarify-it.com showing her how to do it.

I felt so very helpful! I guess the fact that they already knew about the feature kind of defeated the purpose of the whole thing, but at least I only spent about 2 minutes making the tutorial that they didn’t need! I put a link to it in the shownotes in case YOU need it at least.

Check out Clarify from BlueMangoLearning.com and get the free trial, and when you’re ready to buy if you’d click on the big Clarify logo in the left sidebar on podfeet.com that would help out the show AND give it to you in the Mac App Store!

Chit Chat Across the Pond

Knightwise from knightwise.com joins us to talk about free stuff to give away for the holidays.


The gift of free services



Remote assistance


  • Skype account


  • Flickr
  • Picasa account

The gift of free applications

The gift of free music

The gift of free knowledge

The gift of free videos

That’s going to wind this up for this week, many thanks to our sponsor for helping to pay the bills, Blue Mango Learning at bluemangolearning.com makers of ScreenSteps and Clarify. Don’t forget to send in your Dumb Questions, comments and suggestions by emailing me at [email protected], follow me on twitter at @podfeet. Check out the new NosillaCast Community over on Google Plus at plus.google.com. 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.

6 thoughts on “#396 Total Eclipse, Dataman Pro, Geek Holiday Gift Ideas, NosillaCast Google Community, Free Geek Gifts

  1. Jeff Miller - December 10, 2012

    Here are a couple more free suggestions to add on to Knightwise.

    Librivox.com – Public domain audiobooks. People volunteer to create audiobooks from public domain sources. The quality is fairly good, though of course the quality of narrators vary. Since each chapter is an mp3 file this works across devices. Though I create audiobooks from them for ease of use and play them back via Downcast. While I use “Audiobook Builder” which is quite good and inexpensive you can also use http://audiobookmaker.sourceforge.net/

    Project Gutenberg – Public domain ebooks in multiple formats for epub and kindle.

  2. George from Tulsa - December 12, 2012

    Thanks, Jeff!

    Wasn’t clear if Audiobook Maker is Mac Only.

    If you do have a Windows computer, and Audiobook Maker won’t help, here’s a valuable link:


    There’s some excellent donationware utilities there, including one to merge mp3 files.

    I’m a big fan of AudioBook Builder, but I’ve abandoned my iPods. Mostly, I now download my Audiobooks on my Android devices using Amazon’s Audible.com application (also available on iOS, I presume).

    On books I rip myself, I’ve found the Dogcatcher Podcast App can be used as an audio book player, complete with many speed choices. But that only works on audio files encoded as MP3.

    Unlike a lot of Apps, Dogcatcher allows the user to specify storage on an external SD card, and a specific folder on that card.


  3. Donald Burr - December 15, 2012

    Heh. I’ve always thought that if I ever meet the guy behind Khan Academy I would run up to him and yell “KHAAAAAAAAAANNNNNNNNNN!!!!!!”

  4. Steve Sheridan - December 16, 2012

    Totally with you Donald – I wouldn’t be able to help myself 😉

  5. Morrie - January 3, 2013

    Allison and Steve, heard this episode on the way to work yesterday, so have just had a chance to watch the vids tonight. Amazing stuff. Awesome. Well done Steve. Looking forward to seeing more as the weeks progress. Happy New Year to you both, and to all the NosillaCastaways.

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