Posted tagged ‘technology’

Streaming Christmas Music (iTunes)

December 22, 2012

Apple could stand a better search interface for searching their “radio” streams in both iTunes and especially in AppleTV.

So, Merry Christmas from me to you… I’ve found a good number of the streams from within the various iTunes radio categories just for you conveniently linked below:

Snow FM Ireland (classic Christmas oldies, 128 kbps)
Classical 24/7 (classical instrumental Christmas muzak)
Big R Radio Christmas Classics (eclectic Christmas mix, 128 kbps)
Fresh Christmas (hodge podge of Christmas “hits”, 64 kbps)
Got Radio – Christmas Celebration (all-over-the-place XMas music, 64 kbps)
1.FM TM – Always Christmas (From around the world, 64 kbps)
Christmas – Sky.fm – (roll of the dice, ?? kbps)

These might work fine on iPhone and iPad (or not). I haven’t checked them yet. I have no clue how to get these “bookmarked” on AppleTV (don’t get me started on that line of griping). And, if I manage to get back to this post I may be able to add a few more before Santa’s big globe trotting spree.

Enjoy!

iOS 7 Better Have…

December 13, 2012

There are some things iOS7 had better have before I consider shelling out the bucks for the next new iPhone. Here’s my iOS bucket list:

  • I need a way to import a high quality greeting to my voicemail. Hardline dialing and recording a new greeting is NOT Apple-worthy. I don’t mind recoding to the Voice Memo app or on my Mac. I just ought to be able to import a sound file as my greeting dangit!
  • I expect a way to SEND my voicemails to my iCloud account as email attachments. Or create a rule that does it automatically.
  • I expect a way to FORWARD voicemails to other iOS devices as messages. I can send a picture/video via MMS… Why not a voicemail attachment?
  • I expect a heckuva LOT more out of Siri. It’s more useless than the Maps app right now.
  • Maps is borked. Now that Google Maps app is on the App Store… I’m going back to what works. Still love you Apple. Just need excellent Maps when I need a map.
  • Something’s still not quite right about Contact sync between iPhone, Mac laptop and iCloud. I have duplicates of many contacts in the order of 19 to upwards of 30 of the same person. There needs to be a super easy way to purge duplicates. Contact management shouldn’t be this nasty a chore.
  • Speaking of chores… Apple got the Notes app sync PERFECTLY across devices. It’s not broke. Don’t fix it. ;) Replicate it’s success for the other devices.
  • Facetime is such a great idea. I’ve tried and tried and tried to Facetime on our local wireless LAN. Each time it rings once (so I know the call is coming through) and then indicates I’m busy to the other devices. Needs to be easier.
  • The new messaging works pretty swank too. Not sure how they’d improve it just now.
  • Can we PLEASE just sync up our phones to Time Machine? Pretty please?
  • Passbook is freakin awesome! A killer, kick ass kind of awesome. The world is ready (it just doesn’t know it yet).
  • Airplay = way awesome.
  • Safari “Reader Mode” is slick. Wish there was a way to make Siri read the content while I’m driving or otherwise occupied. That’s one thing I love about Alex on my Mac.
  • Photo streams to my AppleTV is not quite as straight forward an intuitive as I would expect from Apple. Needs Improvement.
  • Newsstand is a useless icon on my phone deck. Please, let me delete it or file it in another folder.
  • Faxing from my phone should be a no brainer easier than anything to do.
  • Finally, PRINTING. Guys. C’mon. Really? Printing is right up there with copy and paste. We’ve been doing this a long time. Why can’t we seem to get this right?

iOS is a super platform. So good in fact that in our household we’re getting device confused. I can’t tell you the number of times we’ve swiped our fingers across the screen of the laptop or the iMac. It’s silly really that we’ve become so accustomed to iOS that is’s bleeding over into how we interact with the other computers around us.

 

 

HOW TO: Grabbing Mac App Icons

December 9, 2012

There are a number of reasons to want a Mac App icon. Maybe you want to create a how-to document for a class. Maybe you want to customize a folder icon on your desktop. Maybe you want to create a header for a blog (like the one above). Who knows why you’d want the icons. There are a couple ways to do what you’re wanting to do though. I’m assuming you have OSX 10.5 or better.

To change a Mac folder (or document icon)

1) In the Finder, click ONCE on the document or folder icon you want to copy.
2) Press cmd-i (for “get info”). An informational window should appear.
3) In this new informational window click ONCE on the icon you want to copy.
3) Press cmd-c (to “copy” the image to your clipboard).

Halfway there!

4) Close the informational window and click ONCE on the document or folder you want to change.
5) Press cmd-i. The familiar informational window should appear.
6) Click ONCE on the icon you want to change.
7) Press cmd-v (to “paste” the image from your clipboard).

The nice thing about this approach is if the SOURCE image has transparent spots (also known as an alpha channel) in it… it will carry through to the TARGET file/folder icon. If you already have an image on your clipboard you can simply follow the second half of the instructions above and voila!

Copying App Icons Into Photoshop Layers

There are times when you may want to create a picture with a clean icon in it. Copying and pasting the “get info” icon doesn’t quite cut it for Photoshop. Yes, the icon gets copied. Yes, you can paste it. But the alpha channel gets lost and your icon comes through with a white background on the same layer as the icon you wanted. That may not quite be what we intended. Not to worry though. There is a better way.

FYI: I’m using Photoshop CS5 and think this applies to older and newer versions but reserve the right to be wrong :) This is a little more involved of a process. The steps below are pretty straight forward. But, the video may be easier to follow for some. [Video added after the original posting] This procedure is for copying an APPLICATION ICON for use in an image editing app.

1) In the FINDER ctrl-click on the icon you want to copy. A contextual menu will pop up. Select “Show Package Contents”
2) A new folder will open and depending on the app you’ll see a “Contents” folder and maybe some others.
3) Open the “Contents” folder.
4) Inside that you’ll see a few more files. One of them will be a .icns file. Usually the one you’ll want is your App name + the icns suffix. For example: iDVD.icns
5) Open the .icns file with something like Preview.
6) There may be multiple “pages” to the icns file. Select the first page’s thumbnail.
7) Select “Export” from the FILE menu.
8) The format you want to export as is PNG and you definitely want the Alpha channel checked. Save it where you want and named as you like.
9) Now, simply open that file in your image editor.

You now have a super high resolution app icon with exceptionally crisp edges. Yes, you could have achieved something acceptably close with some of the image editing tools. But, this way you have edges every bit as good as the app author is using for their own purposes.

iCloud VIP list broken?

December 9, 2012

iCloud’s VIP lists seems to be malfunctioning or at the very least working in some cases and not others.

Web-based iCloud mail isn’t showing the last month or so of a certain VIP. Though my iPhone (latest rev of iOS) displays my VIP lists her properly. For reference this seems to only display properly on web back to early November. Then nothing in VIP newer than that displays correctly.

I’ve turned off all my rules based settings at iCloud.com.

I’ve double checked my iCloud contacts are set properly on iPhone settings.

I’ve removed all my VIPs and added them back slowly.

Nothing seems to have improved the iCloud VIP situation on the web-view of my email.

Any thoughts out there?

Smart. Phone. Distracted. Driving.

March 27, 2012

We want it all too quickly don’t we?

A nifty device lands in our life in the form of a smartphone. One iteration after another it’s improved upon until we reach the intersections of dependence, need and technical capability. I’m of course talking about my iPhone and it’s current OS (version 5.1).

Siri intrigued me as a potential virtual private assistant. The concept is sound and the execution is promising. But, it’s also clear why Apple would label it “beta” at this point in time. It’s tantalizing to the point of leaving me wanting it to do more than it does (or perhaps is capable of at this time).

Point in case, Siri can handily manage my text messages plus respond to simply queries. Which is really quite nice. But, not particularly habit forming as texting just isn’t my cuppa. But, email IS my domain. There are so many things I’d have Siri do for me in the email department such as finding, reading, writing, responding, filing certain emails for me. Some would be routine such as notify me ONLY when an email from Alexander or Tania arrives and file it in the Important folder.

I know we’ll get there. But, as fast as technology is moving wouldn’t it be great to have Version 21.0 right out of the gate?

Who is AAPL’s next COO

August 26, 2011

Everyone’s all rev’d up about Job’s resignation as CEO, Tim Cook’s ascencion to CEO.

No one is yet talking about who replaces COOK! Tim is a brilliant ops guy. Sure, he gets strategy. He’s helped drive it at Apple now for nearly a decade for crying out loud. The guy “gets it”. No question.

But, who becomes Apple’s next COO is really pretty important.

In fact, AAPL has several key executive jobs to fill. Serlet – Developer Relations. Johnson – Retail. Very quickly Tim Cook will have the opportunity – nĂ© the responsibility of hiring in his “Cabinet” to carry the ball for the next [several] years. So, are these internal young stars we’ve not seen much of yet? Are these people we’ll say… oh, yeah, that makes total sense? I’m betting we already know these people.

See, Apple has a University internally for continuity. They want everyone to know… Apple isn’t going to change too very much. We like them the way they are. They like them the way they are. So, sure, people come and go… even higher ups. Continuity and panic control were expected and factored for.

So, here’s the 64-bit question… Who is the Apple management dream team?

Stupid Email Trick to ID Those Who SELL Your Address

June 22, 2010

Sometimes someone shows you something so slick you don’t really appreciate it immediately for what it is. Such is the case here. So, bookmark this post… you’ll come back to it for a double take some day. Or Digg it or Delicious it… keep it close. It’s so stupid simple it’s almost elusive. I happened to be participating in a conversation today at AVC.com (GREAT blog btw, highly recommend Fred) and realized I hadn’t shared this little trick. Let alone blogged in while. So, consider me to have fallen back on the blogging wagon with this post.

I’m sitting in a coffee shop one day grumbling to an acquaintance about my email address getting a ton more spam than usual and suspecting it was due to signing up for one of a dozen or more services recently. He said, “You should have appended your email address.”

Huh?

“Yeah, all you have to do is put a PLUS symbol after your actual email ID (but before the AT symbol) when you register for stuff and you’ll know who’s doing what with your email. If an email comes from someone unexpected with THAT appendage it was obtained… somehow… probably without your knowledge or consent.”

Bullshit! It couldn’t be THAT easy. I need a service or something to do this… I think those were my exact words to him.

“Oh, yes it is that easy and you don’t pay a penny to do it. Helps me figure out who I can trust and who I can’t. Try it.”

Hell if he wasn’t right (mostly). I’ve registered with a TON of third party services since as Gerald+SERVICEID@mydomainname.something… and it’s worked like a champ on my domain, on gmail but not on Dot Mac (or Mobile Me or whatever the hell they’re calling it this year… iMe?) Anyway, point being I’ve been able to isolate some offenders. I’ve been able to prioritize some actions based on the TO: field (AT&T, Apple, special vendors I really don’t want to miss messages from, etc).

Test it yourself. Not all email servers will behave with the + symbol in the ID area. If you send yourself a message with +TEST after your ID but before the @ symbol and it delivers… you’re in tall cotton. If it bounces your email server doesn’t play nice. Not sure why some do and some don’t. That’s just the breaks I guess. But, once you figure it out there are all sorts of things you can do from there. Have fun & spread it around.

If someone’s intent on doing you wrong they’ll be able to GREP that +TRACKING@ element out and THEN sell your information downstream. But, not all sleaze bags are that smart. Trust me, it’ll be eye opening and you won’t have to have a bunch of email addresses to keep up with.

REVIEW: Pelican Micro Case i1015

January 1, 2010

I’ve bought a LOT of Pelican shipping containers in the past several years and they make a MEAN box.

So, when the email came in asking me to review the i1015 Micro Case (for iPhone) I have to admit, my expectations were pretty lofty.

The GOOD
The i1015 seals TIGHT. So, if you work in a dusty environment or maybe a little bit wet/misty… this case might just do the trick for you. The lid is transparent to boot. There’s a handy jack outside that couples with the phone on the inside. While I haven’t tried this (and don’t recommend it by any stretch) I suspect the i1015 will float if dropped in a lake.

The BAD
What seems to be missing to me is a charging/peripheral slot. For instance, I might be on a boat (or sitting on the front porch when the neighbors sprinkler turns on). My phone should be able to charge while safely stowed away. There really aren’t any security features… It took my oldest (8 years old) less than a minute to open the box. All the other Pelican cases I’ve owned were lockable… I like the idea of being able to store my iPhone in a shock absorbing case, still use it AND charge it. So, that’s where my expectations were maybe too high.

The UGLY
I suspect there’s no way around the bulk. It just seems unnecessarily big in my opinion (about as big as the 3GS box my phone came in when I bought it).

I’ll probably give this unit to my neighbor across the street. He bought the iPhone on opening day just like I did and is an avid fisherman (taking his boat out regularly). Wouldn’t it be great to know his iPhone didn’t go down to Davy Jones’ locker because of the i1015. THAT would be one swell success story… Maybe he’ll toss HIS phone into the drink just cuz. If he does I’ll let you know all about it. :)

[REVIEW] iFrogz Earpollution Earbuds

September 24, 2009

iFrogz was kind enough to send me a pair of their Earpollution Earbuds to review. The short of it: They’re decent earbuds at a good value. More after the jump…

(more…)

Snow Leopard Imminent

August 24, 2009

The Apple Store has just updated to note Snow Leopard ships on August 28. Lots of update options: $29 update is presumably an updater only for those of us running 10.5.x already. If you buy a new Mac that doesn’t have Snow Leopard installed… $9.95 will get you there. A boxed full-install, set of Snow Leopard will cost $129.00

Snow Leopard unlimited server will cost $449 and ships at the same time.

Visit http://store.apple.com/ for more details.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.