#357 Kernel Panics, Quicken for Lion, My Talk Tools, Capti, FlyGrip, Home Networking

We had a kernel panic during the live show last week, and four tech mavens helped me figure out what caused it, George from Tulsa tells us about the new Quicken for Lion: Lion Compatible Quicken FAQ, Import Quicken Essentials Data into Quicken, Buy Lion Compatible Quicken from Intuit for $14.99. Two more reviews from the CSUN Persons With Disabilities Expo, My Talk Tools from mytalktools.com and Charm Tech Capti for a more accessible and enjoyable access to Firefox. Professor asks if there isn’t some way to protect his PowerPC Macs. FlyGrip iPhone and Android accessory from flygrip.com. In Chit Chat Across the Pond Bart goes on a rant about 3rd party cookies, and then gives us the higher division course on home networking, and the advantages of building your own network router.

Continue reading “#357 Kernel Panics, Quicken for Lion, My Talk Tools, Capti, FlyGrip, Home Networking”

Keynote Theme Advice if You’re Blind

In order to narrow this down, I took a look at Apple’s best practices for creating a presentation on a Mac for use on an iPad. They suggest only 10 of the possible 44 options in Keynote for the Mac. In describing these themes, I chose to explain the colors, the contrast, and the overall feeling you get when looking at them. I hope this is of some help in choosing a theme if you’re blind. You can read Apple’s Best Practices here:
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#338 Time Machine, Blindfolded, Photography and the Mac, Quit All Apps, 3 in 1 Camera Lens, Apple Sandboxing

Time Machine review, Blindfolded accessibility update, Photography and the Mac Podcast Promo find it in iTunes. In Dumb Question Corner Professor Albert joins us again asking how to quit all running applications and gets a surprising answer. 3 in 1 Camera Lens review from Rod Simmons. George from Tulsa says some nice things about Podfeet.com and explains that you have to turn off Ad Block to see my Amazon Affiliate link, and then throws down the gauntlet about a lively discussion he and Bart had about Apple’s move towards Sandboxing. Bart comes back with a full Chit Chat Across the Pond explaining Sandboxing and why it’s a good, not scary thing.

Continue reading “#338 Time Machine, Blindfolded, Photography and the Mac, Quit All Apps, 3 in 1 Camera Lens, Apple Sandboxing”

How to Make Your Own Charge-Only USB Cable for the Novatel Mifi

The problem to be solved: You have a lovely Novatel 5410L 4G Hotspot from Verizon, but the battery only lasts 4 hours. If you plug it into a computer’s USB high power port, the device automatically goes into charge only mode, and stops providing any wifi access. The steps below will walk you through how to take an ordinary and inexpensive USB cable and make it work to charge the device via USB and remain a hotspot. You may think you can buy a charge-only USB cable, but it turns out those don’t work with this device – you must short the green/white wires together to trick the device into charging and delivering wifi at the same time. Just having a cable with no green/white data pair does not work. Credit goes to bill-mifi at the Verizon Wireless forums for explaining about the green/white wire shorting idea.

BREAKING NEWS! Verizon put out a firmware update for the Novatel Mifi that actually fixes the problem! Here’s a link to the instructions on the Verizon Wireless website where you can get the firmware update, it’s not the most obvious procedure in the world but it works if you follow them carefully.

If you’re still interested, read on!

Basic steps are, we’re going to cut a USB cable in half, short the green/white wires at the micro-USB side, then reconnect the black/red pair. Solder, Electrical tape and we’re done. I found it helpful to show my work every step of the way to Quality Control Director Steve before proceeding.

But first, let’s watch a short video showing the behavior of the Samsung Mifi 4G with a normal USB cable and then with the modified charge-only USB cable.

Video Demonstrating Why This is Necessary

The video above shows the behavior before and after hacking the cable for the Novatel Mifi. Using a screenreader? Click Here

Buy a Micro USB Cable


Actually buy several. If you buy from Monoprice.com, they START at $0.65 apiece, if you buy 2+ they’re only $0.62 apiece. I bought 3 because I knew I would wreck at least 1. I was right.

Tools You’ll need

  • Couple of Micro USB cables
  • wire strippers
  • wire cutters
  • box cutter
  • electrical tape
  • scissors
  • soldering iron
  • solder
  • glasses (if you’re over 40)

Tools I Started With


I prefer the short micro USB cables, here’s how short the ones I suggested are compared ot the mifi. Wire strippers are a must but weren’t as helpful as I thought they’d be.

Cut the Cable in Half


As you can see from this photo – I cut the cable very close to the micro USB end, which was a big mistake (hence the need for the backup cables). I clipped the wire in with the wire cutters, and then actually had to use the box cutter to cut a ring around the cable before I could use the wire stripper to pull off the outer rubber. I might need a new pair of wire strippers!

When I got past the cable cover, I found first a bunch of shielding wires, then under those I found a thin foil covering as well. I cut all of that back to the edge of the rubber cover.

Closeup of the Shielding


This is before stripping the inner wires.

Too Short!


This is where things went wrong – leave yourself PLENTY of length to work with in case you accidentally cut through one of the very thin wires when trying to strip them. Like I did. the wire cutters I have aren’t fine enough, so I was having to use the flat cutter blade they had to just grab and pull and hope for the best.

Short the Green/White Wires Together


This is the critical step. On the Micro-USB end, twist the green and white wires together. the twist the red to the red and the blakc to the black (basically restablishing the connection. Cut the green and white wires on the big USB end as short as you can so they can’t touch anything.

Test Before Taking Next Steps


Test the connection by plugging to the high power USB port. On a MacBook Pro this is the port closest to the power adapter.

Odd Error


I received this error during my first test, but nothing at all went wrong. I didn’t get it again when I had the cable fully stabilized with solder and electrical tape.



Solder the shorted green/white wires, and the reconnected black/red wires. I soldered them so they were essentially in line, and in the next step folded them back on themselves. Hope that makes sense…

Tape The Connections

  • Tape the shorted green/white wires on the micro-USB end.
  • Cut the green/white wires short on the non-micro end.
  • Tape the red wire carefully to ensure no short can happen to the black wire (and vice versa).
  • Trim back all of the foil and insulation wires
  • Test again by plugging into your computer to ensure it charges and broadcasts wifi.

Tape the Whole Thing


Finally wrap the whole thing as tightly as you can making sure there’s no unprotected areas, and that you’ve taped onto the original rubber coating so it’s stable.

Do a final test and celebrate!

Record Your Own Review

We’re very lucky on the NosillaCast because so many people contribute fantastic reviews or record their Dumb Questions. I often get questions on the best way to record, how long the reviews should be and the best way to get the recording to me. These quick instructions will tell you everything you need to know.

How Long Should it Be?

I find that people like guest recordings in the 3-5 minute range so try to stay under that limit (it’s not easy to do that short)

How to Record

Hardware to Record:

  • Use any USB microphone hooked to your computer (don’t use the microphone jack though)
  • If you don’t have a USB mic, you can even use the internal mic, do a test recording and ask yourself if you’d like to listen to it
  • Important bit – make sure you wear headphones so you don’t get feedback into your computer from the speaker
  • Use your iPhone – it makes an m4a file that is quite good actually

Software to Record:

  • The Open Source Audacity from audacity.sourceforge.net is cross-platform and free, so what’s not to like? It’s a little clunky looking but it works perfectly on the Mac, Windows and Linux.
  • If you have a Mac, Garageband works quite well and it’s already installed on your Mac anyway
  • One more point – if you have a choice, make sure it’s a 16bit AIFF (32bit won’t import to iTunes)

Format for Recording

The best format is an uncompressed format (AIFF or WAV) because when I get it, I’ll be adding it to my own recording and then compressing it. If you send it as an MP3, it will be compressed twice. It won’t be horrible but why not make it the best it can be!

Garageband isn’t obvious in how to save uncompressed. If you create your recording as a podcast, you won’t be able to save it uncompressed. Hide the podcast track and then choose export, and UNcheck the compress box. That will create an AIFF file.

For Audacity you’re in luck – I create an Audacity Tutorial for Podcasting. Just stop before I teach how to compress to an mp3 and you’ll have an AIFF or WAV file.

Don’t Forget to Send the Script & Links

Remember that we have a lot of people who like to read rather than listen to the show, and there’s the deaf who can’t listen, so if you use a script (which makes it easier to stay under 5 min) be sure to send it to me. Even if you don’t use a script, if you can give some bullet points that’s good too. And don’t make me go hunting you down to get the links to the products you’ve reviewed, send them the first time! Oh – and don’t forget to plug your own work, if you’ve got a blog or a podcast of your own, or you just want people to follow you on Twitter, send me that too!

How to Send it to Me

If you keep your recording down to the 3-5 minute limit, you can probably email it to me. If your email provider won’t tolerate that large of a file, here’s some other options (and there are many more):

  • Put it in Dropbox or OneDrive or some other cloud sharing service and email me the shared link
  • YouSendIt – free account at yousendit.com to send files up to 100MB

Where to Send It

Send your reviews, Dumb Questions, comments to allison@podfeet.com

#289 Automator, Zumocast, iStopMotion, Shai

No PivotTable Charts in Excel 2011, Kirschen Seah gives us her Add Prefix String Automator action at http://www.freerangecoder.com. Zumocast from zumocast.com vs. AirVideo for video watching on the iPad. Accessible Mind Sweeper from Programar a ciegas at programaraciegas.es. iStopMotion review from boinx.com including Bastian Wolfe’s hysterical video and my 1 second stop motion movie. In Chit Chat Across the Pond performing artist Shai Yammanee of shaiyammanee.com joins us to talk about the tools he uses in photography, video and audio recording.

itunes Listen to the Podcast Once (1 hour 20 minutes)
Continue reading “#289 Automator, Zumocast, iStopMotion, Shai”

How To Disable Java in Chrome

Quick tutorial on how to disable java on Google’s Chrome browser for the Mac.

Open Preferences


In the menu bar, select Chrome and pull down to Preferences.

Under the Hood


In Preferences select Show Advanced Settings…

Content Settings


Scroll down to Privacy and click Content Settings…

Scroll Down to see Plug-ins


Click Disable individual plug-ins…

Disable Java


Click the Disable link under Java


* Note: Craig Reynolds pointed out that in the future you can get to the plugins page faster by simply typing in the URL bar:


How to Record Two People on Skype Video

This tutorial solves a tricky problem – how to broadcast two video sources into a live streaming broadcast system. The example used here is you and a partner on Skype video. Requirements to be met:
– Video and audio of both of you to be streamed
– No lag (no more than you normally get through Skype) between the two of you so you can have a normal, fluid conversation

While your audience will see you and your partner’s voice and video, and you will be able to see real time both of your video streams, your partner will,be able to hear you, but they will not be able to see you.

Tools You’ll Need

A Mac on your end with a video source for yourself (iSight or other webcam)
A willing partner with a Mac, PC or Linux machine on the other end, along with a webcam
Skype (free) from http://skype.com on both ends
A good broadband connection between the two of you
Camtwist software (free) from http://allocint.com
Audio Hijack Pro ($32) from http://rogueamoeba.com(or some other tool that will pass audio from an app to a virtual audio source)
Ustream account to broadcast the video at http://ustream.tv (or this would also work in Stickam)
Soundflower (free) from http://cycling74.com

I’ll not explain how to install each of these, the links above will take you to the various websites to learn how to download and install the applications.

High Level Explanation


You’re going to use Camtwist to capture a portion of your desktop. In that portion you’ll be displaying the video of your partner from Skype. the other half of that screen area will look blank to you, but in Camtwist you’ll also display picture in picture from your webcam. Camtwist will then be the video source that gets plugged into Ustream. Likewise you’ll use Audio Hijack Pro to combine your voice and your partners voice from Skype into a single audio source to pipe into Ustream.

We’ll start by setting up Camtwist to record the screen and PIP, then we’ll set up Audio Hijack Pro to capture and launch Skype. Then we’ll go into Ustream and set the audio device to AHP and the video source to Camtwist.

Camtwist – Set Up Picture in Picture


Launch Camtwist
1 – Under Video Sources, double-click Webcam
2 – at the bottom click on PIP (for Picture in Picture)
3 – You should see PIP Webcam under Effects in Use now

Note that Camtwist will be in control of your camera as soon as you turn on PIP.

Camtwist – Set Up Desktop Capturer


1 – Under Video Sources, double-click Desktop
2 – You should see Desktop under Effects in Use now
3 – Uncheck Full Screen, which will make the Select Capture Area button available to you

We’ll adjust the capture area of the desktop later. Note that you can use a secondary monitor for the screen capture if you like by changing This Screen to a different monitor.

Audio Hijack Pro Setup


We need to pipe all sound through to Soundflower (2ch).
1 – Add Skype in the left column by clicking the plus sign at the bottom left
2 – click the Effects Tab
3 – click Effects, and choose auxiliary Device Output


Set Auxiliary Device Output to Soundflower (2ch)


This will bring up a window where you can choose the Device output, select Soundflower (2ch). Leave the Source pulldown alone. Close that popup window, and then click Hijack in the upper left (with Skype still selected).

the last step will actually launch Skype.



Connect to your partner into an audio only chat, and tell them to click the Video button. You will not be able to click yours because Camtwist "owns" your camera for the Picture in Picture. This means that they will be able to hear you but not see you.

Ustream Setup


You’re almost there! Now go into Ustream to your video channel and click Broadcast now. Accept the Flash request. Under Video Source choose Camtwist, and for Video choose Soundflower (2ch).

Now comes the fiddly part. Go back to Camtwist and click on Desktop under Adjust Settings and click on Select Capture Area. This will give you a rectangle that you can resize and move. Move your partner’s video screen from Skype into one half of that capture area, and resize the capture area and their video until it looks good. Don’t click Done on the capture area yet.

Now click on PIP under adjust effects, and slide the little black box around until it’s in the Capture Area too. There’s a slider at the top of that window that allows you to increase the size of your video until it matches their size. This takes a few minutes to get it just right but it’s doable as you can see above.

Double check that when you each talk you see the VU Meter above moving for both of you. Got it all set? Click Start Broadcast and you’re done!

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