May 2010 - Posts

TrashMe – Free Application Uninstaller for Mac
Friday, May 28, 2010 1:01 PM


When you make the change to a Mac you may be confused by how you uninstall applications. For most applications you can just delete them from the Applications folder and you're done. Sometimes though files like small preferences files might get left behind but they aren't going to mess anything up. If an application interacts with other applications just deleting the application could cause the other program not to work properly.

TrashMe allows you to delete an application and all files associated with that application, so there will be nothing left behind by it. There are several App deletion applications for Mac but the best ones are not free. TrashMe works very well and is free which is hard to find.

Unlike other application uninstallers you don't have to drag and drop applications. TrashMe provides a list and you can check the ones you want to uninstall. If you prefer the drag and drop method you can do that as well. It's worth the time to download and checkout, and like I said it's free and you can't beat that.

TrashMe VIA Download Squad  

by willburns1 | with no comments
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Dropbox Adds Selective Sync to Experimental Build
Friday, May 28, 2010 11:56 AM


Dropbox every geeks favorite cloud based syncing service has just added a new feature called Selective sync to their ever popular Dropbox desktop application. The new feature does exactly what you think it does, it allows you to select what folders, in the Dropbox folder, to sync and which ones to leave out. This is a great feature and will allow you to add a folder of items, sync them, and then un-sync them without having to move them out of the folder.The new feature is in the experimental build for now, which can be downloaded here.

In my mind Dropbox has but one more feature to add that would make the service unstoppable, and that is permissions. As it is right now, you can't set permissions on folders. What happens is that people who don't understand how Dropbox works will remove files from the Dropbox folder that you put in there to share with them. They have the file but if that was the only copy of it they are now the only person that has it, because it will be removed from your folder when they moved it on their side. So the ability to make files read only to those who didn't put them there would be great for preventing people from moving them.

If you don't have drop box you can get 2GB of free space and an extra 250MB with this link
by willburns1 | with no comments
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OpenWays – Open Hotel doors with your Smartphone
Thursday, May 27, 2010 1:19 PM


When it comes to hotels the little cards with the magnetic strip on the bottom are pretty much the standard for unlocking your room. Two Holiday Inn locations are experimenting with something more however. They are using a system called OpenWays. OpenWays sends an encrypted audio code that unlocks your door. The system also sends you your room number via SMS so you don't have to stand in line at the front desk. When it's time for you to checkout the audio code becomes invalid and can be killed by the hotel at any time.

The OpenWays system is actually safer than a physical key system due to the fact the hotel can kill any code for any room encase of a breach. It would be nice not to have to check in or out or have to keep track of your key. This system has the chance of becoming very popular in the next couple of years if the test go well. You can get OpenWays on your iPhone, Android, and blackberry.

OpenWays VIA Download Squad
by willburns1 | with no comments
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BillShrink – Finds you the Cheapest Cable Provider
Thursday, May 27, 2010 12:24 PM


when moving to a new area you always have to research and find what cable providers are available in the area. This may involve going to the major providers and looking up your area code. Well even if you already have cable and just want something cheaper, BillShrink will help you find the providers and the best deal for your area.

 BillShrink is a website that finds you good deals on credit cards, Gas, and cellphone carriers and has added a new service for TV providers. It's still in beta and needs a little work, but it's a pretty handy tool and can save you a lot of time researching with this convenient search tool.

You start by answering some questions, including your address and who your current provider is. If you have a current provider you can enter how much you pay for service now it will compare what you're paying now to what deal they find for you. You can also specify channels that you have to have to make sure the provider carries those channels before suggesting them to you. You can then choose how many TV's you have and whether or not you want HD and DVR. After you're done with the questions you hit the Finish button.

You are then presented with a list of cable providers to your area and the deals you can get through them. They will be compared to your current bill and the price you pay and will be presented in ascending order by price. You can always go back and change the search setting to get different results if you feel that would be beneficial. I found that in may area, where I have done some research, they were spot on when it came to who was cheapest and the most expensive.

They need to include bundles because people rarely purchase just cable or satellite service by itself because it's always cheaper to purchase the bundle. When you throw internet service into the mix it could change everything. I think they should also rank and perhaps educate people one different kinds of internet services and which ones are better. Over all however BillShrink is a great free service you should check it out.

BillShrink

by willburns1 | with no comments
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Make your Own Virtual Business Card Email Signatures - Apple Mail
Wednesday, May 26, 2010 2:03 PM


When you send an email what does your email signature say about you. Does it say that you're a professional or does it leave the recipient wondering. I think people take emails more seriously when they see a nice and clean email signature that is presented in a professional manner. I think you are also more likely to get responses to emails when submitting or requesting information if the person you are sending the message to can see you should be taken seriously.

This is why I have put time into putting together a cool virtual business card that is added to each email that I send. I use Apple Mail for all my email correspondence which doesn't allow HTML emails. So you have to put everything in an image that is then added to your signature list. Ideally you would want the image to be a background and the text to actually be in the email so it can be copied or linked to sites. This is possible with other email clients but is also harder to put together.

I will show you how I made my virtual business card in Photophop. If you don't have photoshop there are some great alternatives like Paint.NET for Windows and GIMP or Mac, a full list here.

Start with a canvas of 320 X 180. I put a little shadow on mine if you don't want this you can make it 300 X 150.

If you want a shadow for that 3D effect draw a Box with the Rectangle Tool leave a gap on all sides for the shadow. Add the shadow by selecting the box layer and hitting the Fx at the bottom on the layers window and then selecting the Drop Shadow option.

Now all you have to do is add your text and images you want on your business card, it's always good to have the company logo on there as well to make it look a little more official.

Save the image either as a JPG or PNG, use PNG for a more crisp image if you get artifacts on your image.

Then open mail and open the preferences and go to signatures. Hit the plus button and drag and drop your new virtual card into the box. Don't forget to assign it to a email account so it's added automatically to each email you send.

There you have it, enjoy your new virtual business card signature!

 
by willburns1 | with no comments
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Half Life 2 Coming to Mac Today May 26 - We Hope!
Wednesday, May 26, 2010 12:10 PM



A new teaser trailer put out by steam hints at the fact that Half Life 2 is coming out for Mac sooner rather than later. The trailer is a Half Life spoof of the 1984 Mac Super Bowl commercial promoting the up and coming release of Half Life 2 for Mac on the Steam.

9 to 5 Mac and Cult of Mac has said that the game will come out sometime today though I just checked Steam and I didn't see it just yet. What you can get right now is a cool game called Killing Floor, which is a Co-op Survival Horror game. It's kind of like Left for Dead in a lot of ways but a lot darker and more mutant like enemies. It's also %33 off today making it a $13.39 purchase and it normally sells for $19.99.

Steam has already rolled out Portal for Mac and with Half Life 2 seemingly right around the corner there are going to be a lot of very unproductive Mac users in the next couple of months.

by willburns1 | with no comments
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Flattr – Social micropayment platform that lets you show love for the things you like
Tuesday, May 25, 2010 1:02 PM


There are a lot of people out there that create great content and do it for free. Most of them don't get paid for their content and if they run adsense they most likely don't make that much money off of it. So how can you reward bloggers and content generators for putting up great content? Well pay them for it of course, but who would send a blogger money via paypal for their content? It's almost never done so this is where Flattr comes in.

Flattr allows you to make micro payments to content creators that you like. You spend a flat rate of about $2.50 a month. That money goes to the bloggers, photographers, artist, or what have you that you like and enjoy their content. The owners of the content puts a Flattr button on their page and when you click it Flattr will send them a fraction of your $2.50. The more buttons you hit the smaller the pieces each person gets.

It doesn't sound like much but it will add up after a while. In order to make money on Flattr you have to participate yourself. So it's a 2 way street, bloggers can help support each other and encourage each other to keep on creating content.

I think the idea is a good one. It's not that popular right now but it's still in beta and requires an invite to join. The web company is based in Sweden so popularity in the US might also be a problem. If the idea takes off it would be great for bloggers and internet content creators alike.

Flattr

 

by willburns1 | 1 comment(s)
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Tabjacking – A very clever take on an old trick!
Tuesday, May 25, 2010 11:49 AM


I am sure that most of you out there know what a phishing scam is, and I'm willing to bet that you could spot one when you see it. Well there is a new ingenious way of tricking someone into using a phishing site and it's called tabjacking. The scammer gets you to click on their site which could be anything and when you switch tabs to look at something else it will change to a phishing like a Gmail login page. For people like me who have lots of tabs open all the time I can't remember what tabs they have open. It's a lot easier to spot a phishing scam when you were the one clicking the link, once the tab is open you tend to trust it will not to change on you.

This little bit of malicious code only works in Firefox as far as I know, but I am sure it will find it's way into other browsers. This is one of the reasons I use LastPass for my passwords. I never enter passwords by hand they are all stored securely in LastPass. So if I go to a login page that I have an account for it should autofill the password for me, if it doesn't then there is something wrong with the URL an it's probably a scam.  

If you would like to see it in action all you have to do is open this link in a new tab. Once it's open switch back to this tab and wait and watch the Tab you just opened. It's pretty freaky and scary that something like that is possible.


by willburns1 | with no comments
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Tripletz – Snail Mail Cards Made Cool Again
Monday, May 24, 2010 2:22 PM


I hate buying Cards for people. I don't think it's a very original way of saying anything. I feel like it's a copout, and it's like saying I don't know what to get you and didn't feel like spending much money so I got you this card. With Tripletz you can send a set of three cards each with a portion of a short 3 – 6 word message on them. They will receive the messages one day apart from each other and when you put them together they compose your short message on the front and the last card will have a 150 character personal message that you compose. I feel like Tripletz are at least unique and would be enjoyed more than a regular card would. Oh and they cost about the same as a single greeting card would about $4.99. With Shipping it comes out to about $6.50 so it's a little bit more than a greeting card would cost to purchase and send, but I think it's better than a traditional greeting card.

I wish the personal message on the back of the card could be longer than 150 characters, feels a lot like a tweet to me. Since the front of the cards doesn't say a lot I had hopes that the back of the last card could have a little content on them. The site is a little slow in showing the different card options, but other than that I don't really have any complaints about it. All the designs come from the users so they are all original and pretty interesting. You can also upload your own set and if you sell 333 cards they pay you $111. Pretty cool idea and opportunity for people who have designs sitting on their computer that they could be making money off of.

Tripletz 
by willburns1 | with no comments
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Trick.ly – URL Shortening with a Little Security
Monday, May 24, 2010 12:32 PM


There are hundreds of URL shortening services out there. They are all pretty much the same but Trick.ly is one that adds a small layer of protection. You can submit a Url, like other URL shorteners, but with Trick.ly you can make a password and give a clue to the password. So it allows you to put a password on your shortened URL quickly and easily.

I am not sure if this would be something you would use all the time, but I'm sure that there are times you would want to share a URL that you don't want everyone going to. For example your Droopy site that a wrote about the other day. You wouldn't want just anyone uploading things directly to your computer so if you wanted to send the URL to someone over a social network, so they can upload their files to you,  it could be done with some security to it.

Trick.ly URL Shortening

by willburns1 | with no comments
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Make Any Song Swing with The Swinger
Monday, May 24, 2010 10:07 AM


Do you like Swing music? Wish more songs were written for swing dancing, well now you can take any some and make it into a Swing dance song with “The Swinger” a bit of python code from the Music Hack Day event in San Francisco.

The bit of code takes a song and taking each beat and time-stretching the first half of each beat while time-shrinking the second half. It changes the song into something you could swing to. Pretty neat huh, now you will never run out of songs to dance to.

More Samples here



by willburns1 | 1 comment(s)
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Mozilla Weave Getting Update and change names to FireFox Sync
Friday, May 21, 2010 12:37 PM



Mozilla has a project called Weave an application that will sync all your bookmarks, history, and other data across your different computers. The software got a name change as well as some upgrades. Mozilla renamed Weave to Firefox Sync, to prevent any confusion to what the application does. They also made some user interface changes as well as increasing the applications response time during syncing. The new Firefox Sync has a new backup feature during the first sync, to prevent you from accidentally deleting your bookmarks.

The application is still in the experimental stage but if you want to try it our you can find it at their website.

Mozilla Labs

by willburns1 | with no comments
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Google TV – Overview and Predictions
Friday, May 21, 2010 11:46 AM

Everyone has been talking about Google TV, a new product that Google announced at the end of Google I/O. The product is simple a set-top box that runs android OS on your TV. You can search for shows and watch web content on your TV. It's a full featured web browser with flash support that you can view in high definition and full surround sound.

Let me first say that I love the concept and I hope it works as well as they say it will. It's not a new concept at all in fact all these mini computers and nettop boxes are trying to do the same thing. The closest anyone has come to something like this is Boxee and they still haven't come to market with  any hardware yet. All these devices want to bring your video and audio content as well as internet content to your TV. The only difference is Google is a big name and they have partnered big players like Sony, who's going to build it into their TV's, and Logitech, who is going to make the set-top box for TVs without Google TV built in.

People are comparing Google TV to Apple TV and I have to say they are apples and oranges. They are not the same devices and they have different focuses. Apple wants to sell you a device that streams your iTunes content to your TV and that's what it does. Google wants to sell you something that can find shows, tune channels, and stream content from all over the web. I think this is a good thing because Apple will have to improve and open their Apple TV design up because no one will buy it if they can purchase a device that does so much more for the same or less.

Features

Google TV will allow you to search the web for anything as well as TV shows and movies. They have partnered with Clicker.com, which I have written about before, who aggregates web video content and finds shows and where you can watch them online. You can also use Google TV to change channels and tell your DVR to record shows. You will also have the ability to run applications like Netflix, Pandora, and others much like Boxee can do. There will be games as well and a market place where you can download them. Google TV will support Wi-Fi, IR, and bluetooth and supports input devices like keyboards, remotes, and mice.

Specs
According to Gizmodo,
“An Atom (or better) processor, discrete GPU, HDMI-out, Bluetooth, IR (with a transmitting "blaster"), Wi-Fi, and Ethernet, all while supporting a keyboard and a pointing device, as well as more traditional remotes such as Logitech's Harmony universals.”

According to Wired,
"The sleek black Apple TV-sized box will run on a 1.2GHz Atom processor with 4GB memory, 802.11n Wi-Fi, dual HDMI-out ports, Dolby 5.1 surround sound and a pair of USB ports. If you hook up a webcam, you can even video-chat at 720p."

As long as it can handle that HD video signal that's all a care about. My Apple TV just doesn't have the muscle to do HD streaming video the way it is now. That would be my only concern about Google TV is making sure that everything runs smoothly, which I can't imagine them putting a product out that was that way.

Conclusion
I think the Google TV product is going to change a lot of things. I think cable and TV providers better be careful what they are charging, because with something like this people might up and decided to cancel their cable. This product will also encourage companies like Apple to put better hardware onto the market. Competition is good, it gives us better and more interesting things to play with.
by willburns1 | 1 comment(s)
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Jalapeno KeyFinder – Finds Lost Software Keys? - Windows Only
Thursday, May 20, 2010 1:41 PM

Have you been in the situation where you need to reinstall windows or other applications but you can't remember where you put the software keys? It's frustrating when you can't find what you need to reinstall the programs you bought.

Jalapeno Keyfinder will extract the product keys from applications like Microsoft office, Norton System Works, and even Windows itself so you can reinstall and have the original key to reactivate the software.

The software is easy to install and easy to use, all you have to do is install it and launch. When it's running it will find all the compatible software and decrypt the keys for you. The software works on over 170 different pieces of software, so it's not going to cover everything but just getting the major software keys is helpful.

You can get this software for $6.95, but there's an older demo version that works just as well so if you don't want to spend the money you can download it.

Jalapeno Keyfinder VIA Lifehacker
by willburns1 | with no comments
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Could an iPad really replace a Laptop? Should you buy a Macbook or an iPad?
Thursday, May 20, 2010 12:47 PM


The big question you have to ask yourself before buying a iPad is will it do everything I need it to do or should I just buy a Macbook. For a couple more hundred you can buy a macbook, so why by an iPad for $700 when you can by macbook for $999? Could an iPad really replace a laptop?

When the iPad came out I would have said no right off the bat, but now that it's been out for a while and I have gotten to see what it can do and what application are coming out for it, and  i'm not so sure anymore. One thing is for sure that a Macbook will have more functionality and applications support than the iPad. It will be able to run whatever you want but that's not really the point. The questions is could you use an iPad instead of a laptop for what you use your computer for?

When it comes to the basics, like internet, word processing, and email the iPad has you covered. You can even connect a keyboard to type on it you don't want to use the touch keyboard. You can store files and sync files from your computer using Dropbox app so file storage and transferring is there. You can use the iPad as a notebook using writing apps like Penultimate. Giving you notebooks that can be emailed to anyone at anytime. 

If you need to control someone's computer remotely iPad has apps like logmein ignition and Teamviewer that will get the job done. A program called desktop will allow you to run multiple apps at the same time giving the ability for example to use a calculator while sending an email.

The iPad has an app that can do just about anything a laptop can do it's just in a smaller bundle and all touch controls. I think an iPad could replace a laptop as far as functionality is concerned. I wouldn't use it as my only computer but as a portable computer on the go I think I would bring a iPad rather than a laptop. The apps have just begun to roll out for the iPad and as they do the functionality will get better and better. It will be exciting to see how people are using the iPad in a year or two.
by willburns1 | with no comments
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