Howtos, Rants, and Reviews
September 2010 - Posts
Use Google Voice like Skype Using Fluid and Gmail
Thursday, September 30, 2010 1:29 PM
Google has to not, as of yet, released a native Google Voice application that will allow you to make phone calls using your computer. You can make calls that ring your different phones and make the connection that way, but not using your computers microphone and speakers. When Google added the calling feature to Gmail, what they basically did was give us a preview of what the Google Voice desktop app will look like. You can connect your Gmail calling feature to your Google Voice account which allows you to make and receive calls through Gmail.
Since there isn't an application that lets you do that leaving Gmail open all the time is the only way to intercept calls to Google Voice right on your computer. The problem with that is you need a tab open all the time with Gmail open in it, which in my opinion is annoying. I would much rather have an independent application running to fix this problem. This is where fluid comes in, a SSB, also known as a Site Specific Browser. You can turn Gmail into a fluid app and then convert it onto a menu applet as you can see in the image above. When someone calls my Google Voice number my computer rings and I can answer it right from my desktop for hands free calling.
I made the application a start-up item so it loads when I start my computer, I don't have to worry about leaving my browser open to have the connection active. I also have set my Skype username to forward to Google Voice, when I'm not online, so anyone trying to call me from skype could get me on my cell phone pr my make-shift Google Voice application right on my computer.
If you want to make your own Google Voice/Gmail SSB check out
for Mac and
How to fix your old broken Xbox 360!
Thursday, September 30, 2010 12:08 PM
I don't know anyone who has been playing the Xbox 360 console for a while who hasn't gone through at least one of them. The things break left and right and it seems you can't own just one. You have to ether buy a new one or constantly send it in to Microsoft for repair. The sad thing is after your warranty runs out you can no longer get your Xbox repaired for free. You then have to pay shipping both ways and a flat fee of about $100 to get it fixed. With a brand new Xbox with all the goodies costs $300 why not just buy a new one rather than risking your old one, that you just spent $150 bucks to fix, breaking again?
So I suggest this, why not just repair your Xbox yourself? You can purchase many of the hardware components yourself online and the warranty is up anyway so why not give it a try. If your options are spend $100 plus tax and shipping or buy a new one, why not spend $30 - $40 or less to get your box back up and running.
There are several resources online that will sell you the components that you need to repair your Xbox. First you have to figure out what is wrong with it. If you have one of the original Xbox 360's from back-in-the-day and you are getting the 3 red lights aka "The Red Ring of Death" that's most likely the CPU/GPU over heating problem and you can
buy a kit here that fixes that
for about $15 bucks. That's less than it would cost you to ship your Xbox to Microsoft.
If you are getting disc read errors, and you still get them after deleting your cache, the error occurs on all your games, and without the hard drive attached, then most likely need a new optical drive. You can open the faceplate (image above) and see what kind of drive you need and purchase it online. See the image above to determine what drive you need. Just look through the little hole on the front of your Xbox for the colored wires. It's relatively easy to install and cheap to purchase.
sells them for about $30 plus $10 shipping which isn't bad if you know what kind of drive you have you can google search yourself one cheaper.
This Fixit page
shows you how to replace your optical drive if you need a visual.
Those are the two major problems that I know plague the Xbox 360. There are of course much more ways you could kill your Xbox, but I'm sure there is a fix for whatever ails your Xbox. So don't give up find a repair fit and get fixing. Happy repairing!
How to peel an egg the cool way
Thursday, September 30, 2010 11:07 AM
I thought this was fun, saw it on Lifehacker this morning. A video by a guy called Tim Ferriss showing you how to blow an egg right out of it's shell. Apparently there a couple tricks to getting eggs to shell easily. You need to add a little baking soda to the boiling water to reduce the PH, leave 2 inches of water above the eggs, and soft boil them for 12 minutes.
Once you have your eggs cooked, cool them with cold water and ice. Now your ready to do the magic trip. Remove some egg from both sides of the egg and blow on one of the sides. The egg should simply blow out the other side.
This trick of course requires you to breath on the egg, so for a more sanitary solution
Apple TV iOS Jailbroken Already!
Wednesday, September 29, 2010 11:36 AM
image VIA Wired
When we got our first look at the Apple TV everyone wanted to know what kind of OS was the Apple TV running. Was it running a similar OS as before or since the hardware was similar to that of an iPad could it be running a version of the iOS. If it is running the iOS would it be possible to jailbreak it so you could install apps onto your Apple TV. Well it turns out the Apple TV does run a iOS version that is some kind of mashup between the iOS and the previous Apple TV OS, and it seems the people over at the iPhone Dev Team have already figured out a way to jailbreak it.
Using a tool called "Shatter" the same tool used to jailbreak the new ipod touch, the iPhone Dev Team was able to unlock the Apple TV's firmware. This means you can run any App on the Apple TV as you could on your iPhone. According to the Dev Team member Will Strafach “The most interesting thing about the new AppleTV OS is that all binaries are marked iPad-compatible. I do wonder what Apple is planning….”
All we need now is an input device so you can play all your favorite games right on your TV. Of course you could just use your iPhone or iPod as the controller and I'm sure that will be worked in there somehow. Also if you could get a camera connected you could do video conferencing from your couch, which might be fun.
DropMock - Dead Simple HTML 5 Slideshow Magic
Wednesday, September 29, 2010 10:24 AM
You can't get any simpler than DropMock's HTML5 online photo galleries. All you have to do is drag-and-drop photos onto the browser using a HTML5 compatible browser. The photos are uploaded and presented in a simple left to right photo gallery. You don't even need an account to use this free service. If you want your galleries to stick around you can authenticate using your Google account.
Once you drag-and-drop your photos you can delete the ones you don't want and share the gallery using the provided url. Here is one I made so you can see how they work.
. You can navigate using the left and right arrows as well as clicking on the next picture. The image list only appears when you are logged in and not when you're just sharing the URL. Give it a try it couldn't be simpler.
Apple Peel, turns an iPod into an iPhone, is coming to the US
Tuesday, September 28, 2010 2:39 PM
A very interesting product called the Apple Peel 520, a Chinese-developed product, that got a lot of attention on the web for being able to turn a iPod into an iPhone. The add on device looks like a simple iPod case except it's armed with a dock connector, battery, and a sim card. After you properly install the iPod into the case it turns your iPod into a iPhone letting you place calls and send text messages.
The product will most likely make it's way to the US, no word yet on a price point for the product. The company is set to release 2000 units of the product this month in china selling for 520 Yuan which is about $77 bucks. The successful of the product will most likely depend on the price gap between purchasing an actual iPhone and getting an iPod with an Apple Peel attached.
It might be nice if you could get cheap cell service that could work with the Apple Peel that way you could have an iPhone like device without the price tag. Also you can purchase old models of iPhones online for sometimes less than the cost of an iPod. So the question is the price gap being to be large enough to make the product successful.
XMarks calls it quits - 90 Days till lights out!
Tuesday, September 28, 2010 12:18 PM
XMarks is arguably one of the best bookmark syncing plug-ins for all the major browsers. Xmarks is calling it quits after 4 years of their bookmark syncing magic. The whole idea behind syncing your bookmarks is highly useful so much so that now all the major browser offer their own syncing service. With the increase in services that sync bookmarks, most of which are free, you can see why Xmarks has been unable to sell their business though they have come close several times. They didn't have the choice to start charging for the service, since all the other similar service are free. Their user would simply use the other service.
It was sad reading
this blog post
about the company history and it shutting down. Seems a lot of blood, sweat, and tears went into the company and it's sad to see it go. I use the service myself and now I have to find someone else that can sync bookmarks over several different browsers with the ease and grace of Xmarks.
Xmarks has considered staying open if enough people pledge that they would be willing to pay 10 bucks a year for their service. If you want to try and save Xmarks
and pledge to pay for the service, and keep Xmarks open.
Update October 8, 2010
- It seems the Pledge Drive has worked. The interest that was shown by the Xmarks community has shown potential buyers that their user base really cares for the service and now they have multiple offers on the table. It's not a done deal yet, but it seems there will be a new Xmarks owner and no gap in service.
Rescu.me - Get out of a date or conversation using a fake call or text
Monday, September 27, 2010 5:25 PM
Have you ever gotten caught up in a conversation that you desperately need to get out of? Or perhaps you're on a date and you need someone to call you so you can get you out of obligation! Well Rescu.me just might come in handy then. All you have to do is send a message to
You then type SMS or CALL followed by how long of a delay before you receive the txt message or phone call.
For example a message sent to (206) 866-5924 might read CALL 5 or SMS 5 in which case you would get a call or a text message in 5 minutes. You can even add a message onto the end to have the message repeated back to you via text message or call. All you have to do to add a message is to add it after the delay time. like" SMS 5 You have to get back to work now!" You can even assign the number to a contact real or fictional to make it seem more believable. I'm sure this little trick will come in handy one day.
Kanye Tweets Converted to Tracy Morgan Quotes
Monday, September 27, 2010 4:52 PM
Kanye West is known for saying unusual things from time to time. Now that he is on Twitter where he can say whatever comes to mind without much thought you are sure to get some unusual Kanye quotes. People have been hanging on every tweet by the popular rapper, one guy even thought his tweets would make for great
New Yorker cartoon captions
. Then this past Friday a graphic artist and game designer
decided that Kanye West's tweets sounded much like a Tracy Morgan line from the popular NBC show 30 Rock, simply by adding Liz Lemon onto the beginning. Here are some examples of the Kanye/Tracy Morgan words of wisdom.
Liz Lemon, Why don’t they make Macbooks that get online like the Ipad… that’s some bullshit man
Liz Lemon, I wish I had a fashion week time machine… Now I gotta learn to live with regrets
Liz Lemon, I want to edit the film on a boat… where are the good editing boats?
Liz Lemon, I think girls be trying to impress other girls with all them weird ass lip colors lol
Liz Lemon, ninjas are kind of cool … I just don’t know any personally. Get on that.
Now you could of course add the Liz Lemon onto the beginning of each Kanye Tweet, but why not just follow @
who does it for you.
Fridge Knife Magnets
Monday, September 27, 2010 4:02 PM
placing items on your fridge can be a great way to display your favorite pictures or your kid's artwork, and people have been doing so ever since the refrigerator was invented. So why not spice up the magnets used to secure these items of trivial importance to your fridge? Enter the fridge knife magnet that makes anything you pin to the fridge look more bad ass.
Fridge Knife Magnet $10 at ThinkGeek
0Boxer - Make a Game out of Inbox Maintenance
Wednesday, September 22, 2010 11:41 AM
Keeping your inbox clean can be boring, but many times it's necessary to being productive at work and not loosing important information or forgetting about responsibilities. So why not make organizing your inbox a fun game to encourage you to keep everything organized put away.
With 0Boxer you can do just that. 0Boxer makes organizing your Gmail inbox a social competition to stay organized. Everything you do in your inbox scores your points, everything from deleting emails to applying labels. You can check your stats in Gmail as well as at 0Boxer's website. You can also see how to stack up to the rest of the 0Boxer community with their leader boards.
To install 0Boxer you just need to head over to http://www.0boxer.com/ and link you gmail account. Then you need to get the Chrome or Safari extension (Firefox and other soon to follow). All you have to do now is head over to Gmail and start organizing, and you will start to see your points adding up.
If it encourages you to keep your inbox clean and organized then it's probably worth a try.
0Boxer Website to get Started
McAfee URL Shortening Service - Makes sure URLs are Safe
Wednesday, September 22, 2010 10:33 AM
URL shortening services are a dime a dozen and many of them are all the same. One of the major problems with URL shortening services is you can shorten a malicious URL and send it to unsuspecting victims. McaFee has set out to make a URL shortening service that not only shortens a URL, but checks it against their blacklist to ensure the site doesn't have malware or viruses. When a user clicks a mcaf.ee link they get a banner at the top that ensure there is no malware, click-jackers, or any other malicious code running on the page.
I think even though McAfee isn't the first company to make a URL shortening service that has security built in, it does have name recognition. If people feel more confident about clicking links you are posting because of the McAfee name then I'm all for it.
Amazon 100 Albums for $5 - A good way to steal business from iTunes
Tuesday, September 21, 2010 12:58 PM
There are several things that people don't like about iTunes. Probably the biggest thing is the DRM that iTunes places on all of their music, and even though it's easily removed it's still annoying. Something else that bothers me about iTunes it that they never have sales or deals on music. This is where I think places like Amazon are going to excel in the music business.
Amazon will run deals on there downloadable music letting you pickup some great albums for half as much. Right now they are running a deal where you can choose from 100 different albums for only $5 each. These albums are all really good and for a fraction of what you would pay on iTunes.
100 Albums for $5
The World Smallest Stop-Motion Video!
Tuesday, September 21, 2010 11:57 AM
This stop-motion animation film was made using a Nokia N8 and a CellScope Microscope, which is used to photograph blood samples in third world countries. The point of the film as to celebrate the technology and so doing making the world's smallest stop motion animation.
The little girl, named Dot, in the animation is only 8mm tall and had to be printed using a 3D printer. The little characters then had to be pained. Because she was too small to manipulate they had to make 50 different version to make the different movements. The world the Dot lives in was mounted to machine that would systematically move the background so the animation moved at a good pace. It's amazing what you can do with a phone camera, a microscope, and a whole lot of patience.
Native Google Voice Apps Come back to the App Store
Monday, September 20, 2010 11:26 AM
One of the first big controversial App store decisions Apple made that began this whole Google vs. Apple ordeal began with the removal of the native Google Voice Applications. One day Apple decided that the Google Voice application duplicated the iPhone's functions and they removed all of them. Well now native Google Voice applications are back, after Apple has revamped the App Store and released new relaxed rules and regulations.
Apps like GV Mobile and GV Connect are back in the store already. Still no word when the official Google app will make it's way to the store, but it's hasn't arrived yet. These apps give the the ability to use your Google Voice number just like your main cell number. All your contacts are integrated into the application and it allow you to see your Google Voice call history as well as listen to voicemails, change your Google Voice settings, and of course place calls.
Having a native app that can handle your Google Voice account is a lot easier than trying to use the web version. Slow internet speed or internet unavailability made the usefulness questionable. Both GV Mobile and GV Connect are $2.99 in the app store and are worth the money if you want to use Google Voice on your iPhone.
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