Deeper Lets You Control OSX Hidden Settings

deeper_logoHave you ever been annoyed by a default setting in OSX? Let’s say for example you take a screenshot; the default for a long time (maybe it still is) was to save the shot in TIFF format which is HUGE. You wish it would save it in a more manageable format like jpg or png. If you query around how to change this, invariably someone will say, “well all you do is launch the terminal and type in default write and a bunch of gobbledy gook after that.

For years I’ve kept a list of all the various gobbledy gook that changes all the defaults on OSX to the way I like it. After a nuke and pave, or a new machine, I run through them all to make sure OSX is tailored to my every whim. One of my favorites is that the brainiacs in Cupertino thought it would be awesome to have copy email address to not just copy the address but to also copy the html around it. I change that one with some boolean gobbledy gook. We all KNEW that set theory they forced down our throats in grammar school would come in handy one day, right?
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$23 Roker Sound Cube Portable Bluetooth Speaker by Donald Burr

Roker Sound cube looks exactly like a jam box, with textured sreen edges made of parallelogramsRoker®Sound Cube Portable Wireless Bluetooth Stereo Speaker review
Link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00H3JTT30/?tag=otakunocast-20

The problem to be solved

  • I like to listen to podcasts while doing chores, relaxing in the poul, etc.
  • iPhone 5 has a fairly loud speaker, but it’s not quite loud enough to cut through the noise when doing certain chores (washing dishes, laundry, yard work, etc.)
  • Needed an external wireless speaker, because I tend to need to remain mobile while doing chores, so can’t be tied down by a wire.
  • In the case of the pool, I have a waterproof case for it, but you can’t hear the speaker through the case, meaning you have to wear earbuds. I know they have waterproof earbuds but I’d just rather use a speaker.
  • There are a plethora of Bluetooth speakers on the market. Prices have come down a lot, and decent ones can be had for around $100. Unfortunately that’s a bit over my price range at the moment.
  • While browsing Amazon I found these Roker speakers at $22.99, and since they were Amazon (i.e. no-hassles return policy) I figured I’d roll the dice.

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AppleTV Continues to Fail…Sort Of

photo of my TV showing 5 hours and 3 minutes till I can play my movieI’ve complained about my AppleTV for a long time and I thought it would be good to do an update. If you haven’t been playing along with our home game, it might be fun to do a review.

Steve and I bought the original AppleTV ages ago, and I pretty much hated that thing. It didn’t do anything I wanted and even with the hacks available still we hated it. I hated it so much that I tweeted out that for $50 I’d send it to anyone I wanted. Jonathan Cost jumped on the deal and I shipped it off to him.

When the AppleTV 2 came out, we gave it another try and it wasn’t at all bad. In fact, it was pretty cool to be able to rent movies and such with the device. Life was good. In fact so good that we bought a second AppleTV 2, and eventually bought an AppleTV 3. When Airplay came out, it became even more fun. Disappointed that Steve’s Macbook Air was just a couple months too old to have Airplay, but AirParrot works sort of ok, unless he wants audio with his Airplayed content of course.
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How to Turn Off Auto-Play Videos in Facebook

If you’re as sick of auto-play videos in Facebook as I am, you might appreciate a little tutorial I created (guess what tool I used?) to show you how to shut the darn things off. It’s not too hard to find in the web-version of Facebook but oddly the fix is only available in Chrome, not Safari. Once you fix it using Chrome, it shuts them off in Safari. On iOS it’s hidden in a completely different place, maybe because Facebook uses Webkit as does Safari so it’s the same problem. In any case, here’s a link to my tutorial. You can thank me later!

podfeet.com/blog/tutorials-5/how-to-disable-auto-play-videos-in-facebook/

Can a $38 Pair of Bluetooth Headphones Be Any Good?

Avantree headphones as describedWe’ve talked about the $130 Jaybird Blubuds, and then the Jabra Sports+ $60 headphones, but what if even that price is too steep for you? This week I’ve been testing the Avantree Jogger Sports Bluetooth headphones that will run you a mere $38 on Amazon. To review my requirements – I want something for running and working out at the gym that will stay put on my head and have acceptable audio for podcast listening. They have to be comfortable and not too fiddly.

The Avantree headphones do not have any flangy thingys at all to fit into your ear like the Jaybirds or Jabras. Instead, they have a stiff but flexible cable between the two sides that goes around your ears and then behind your head. The headphones themselves go just inside your ear, and have a large disk that covers most of your ear. No fiddly bits at all, and the part that goes around your ear doesn’t actually need to grab hold of your ear to stay in place. The wire is stiff enough that they just sort of compress a bit on your head. Of the three headphones I tested, they stayed snugly in place better than all of them.
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Nokia 635 – A Windows Phone Even an Apple Fan Can Like

Microsoft's image of the 635You may be thinking I’m having a psychotic episode, but with malice aforethought, I knowingly bought a Nokia Lumia 635 running Windows Phone 8.1. I learned from Chris Ashley on the SMR Podcast that Nokia (aka Microsoft) was selling the Nokia 635 off-contract for only $100. He said it was a decent phone and I figured for that price I could use it as an iPod Touch and learn about the device and the operating system with a very low commitment. It would have been even more fun if I could have taken my SIM card out of my iPhone and really committed to the phone but they take different sized SIMs.

As I said last week, I do not hate this phone. If I were looking for my first phone and didn’t have an investment in one of the other platforms, I would definitely put the 635 in the running. The build quality of the device appears to be quite good and it even survived a 2-3 foot fall to concrete without a scratch. At 4.5″, the screen is a bit bigger than the current iPhone and is bright and crisp. I know it’s not supposed to be a high-end phone but it feels at least as good as an iPhone in my hand.
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Would You Trust Your Healthcare Login to Facebook?

followmyhealthfailThis week my medical group sent me an email inviting me to click a link to get online web access to my medical records and more. Let’s think about that. They thought I would click a link … in an email. Just that by itself is a bad assumption, but better yet a link where I’d be giving access to my medical records? Right. The only reason I was vaguely interested was that my medical group had given me a heads up a month or so ago that I should expect to get this email. I still wasn’t going to click a link in email though.

I navigated by hand to find out if this service was real. It turned out it was, but you’ll never believe what they offered me next. They offered to let me log in using Facebook! Are they kidding me? But no, they weren’t kidding. I could have used Yahoo or Google or Microsoft logins too, which are only slightly less terrifying than using Facebook.

That got me thinking about the next step in this. Can you picture logging into your healthcare site with your Facebook login and then later they offer you an app on your smart phone? Sure, that’s the next logical step. And now imagine the privacy agreement on the app. Do you approve Facebook to contact your doctor on your behalf? How about submitting medical information? Can it use your camera to take a picture of that weird mole on your back and post it for you? Would you like to compete in a Facebook challenge on your cholesterol levels? Do you agree that Facebook can change its privacy policies on these and other usages of your data without written notice? Say Yes, or Yes Please!

I posted about this (on Facebook) and my friend Paul Wilson wrote “I can just see it now the software posts the results of my colonoscopy on Facebook. Yeah I bet I would get a lot of likes.” Absolutely! I would totally post “great work on the cleanse, Paul!”

In all seriousness though, the service, called FollowMyHealth is actually pretty cool. I can see things like my blood pressure for the last so many visits, and what medications I’m on. Even better, it was really interesting to find out that I’m in stage 3 kidney failure. Um, what? Not that I’d wish an error like that, but without this online system I wouldn’t have known they had that in there. And who knows what medications I might have been denied in an emergency because they thought it would conflict with my kidney medication? Because the system exists, I was able to send a message through the system to my doctor that said,

Just signed up for the “new and improved” Follow My Health online program. Working pretty well but under my various diagnoses it says: CKD (chronic kidney disease) stage 3. This is news to me – is this maybe a mistake or did I forget some really bad problem I have?

And because my doctor is connected to this system she was able to write back:

I have reviewed your kidney function labs, and they are normal. You do not have chronic kidney disease. I will correct your chart.

What my doctor lacks in bedside manner she makes up in efficiency and brevity.

It’s an interesting topic whether you trust your medical records to the cloud. I’d say without a doubt I wouldn’t click a link in email to enable it, and for the love of all things good in this world I would NOT use my Facebook login to access my records. But overall I think this is a useful, if scary trend in the medical field.

My Ice Bucket Challenge to Benefit ALS Research

A lot of people are not “getting” what the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is all about. I had heard about ALS before but had no idea how awful and terrifying of a disease it is until I saw the Ice Bucket Challenge carried out by a 26 year old man named Anthony Carbajal who’s family is riddled with ALS, and who has recently been diagnosed with ALS himself. If you want to be inspired, go watch his video here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cK7UUYt_vRI

You don’t have to be loud and crazy and dump ice water on yourself to help. All you have to do is go to http://alsa.org and donate some money to help find a cure.

In my Ice Bucket Challenge I throw it down to Knightwise, and the G-Men, Guy and Gazmaz.

Enhance Your Podcast Listening with Overcast by Terry Austin

logo from the app storeHi there, Castaways! I’m Terry Austin and I’m here to tell you about an awesome new podcast app called Overcast from Marco Arment. You may recognize the name, Marco created Instapaper and was the co-founder of Tumblr. There’s a great interview article over at TechCrunch titled “Why Marco Arment Built a Podcast App”.

I’m always looking for a new podcast player, in fact faithful listeners heard a review of another one from me about this time last year. Ok… why is Overcast my current favorite – this one may last longer than the previous year-long winner for me.

  1. It’s FREE in the app store. Currently it’s iPhone only though of course it will work on your iPads as well.
  2. There is one in-app purchase and YOU WANT IT. For $4.99 you get SmartSpeed and Voice Boost. I’ll come back to those in a minute. Let’s talk about ease of setup first.

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