March 2011 - Posts

Google +1 - Google Becomes More Social
Thursday, March 31, 2011 12:41 PM

Google recently has been on a crusade to weed out bad content popping up in their search results and rewarding the good. One way they have begun doing this is with their new URL blocking feature that allows you to block URLs from popping up in search results. This also tips Google off that the site my be bad for the search or just poor quality in general.

With the huge success of websites like Facebook and Twitter many people have been talking about the effect social networks could have on search. Google tries to predict what people want to see, but with social network features like Facebook's "Like" button the public can actually tell you what they want to see based on their vote.

This is really what Google's +1 feature is all about. It's just like Facebook's Like button except it lives on Google and it can help them improve search results and better target ads. Google learned from their mistakes with Google Wave and Buzz, they are starting small with a simple +1 button on search and moving up from there. All the button does for now is recommend the website to friends, contacts, and others who might come across it. Websites you +1 can also be viewed from your Google Profile, which shows a full list of sites you +1.

I think this is a great feature and if you want to try it out for yourself you have to go over to Google Experimental and enable it. Make sure you are logged before doing so, and then head on over to the search page and give it a try.


by willburns1 | 1 comment(s)
Add to Bloglines Add to Del.icio.us Add to digg Add to Facebook Add to Google Bookmarks Add to Newsvine Add to reddit Add to Stumble Upon Add to Shoutwire Add to Squidoo Add to Technorati Add to Yahoo My Web
Parkopedia - Helps you Find Parking with Pricing and Maps !
Thursday, March 31, 2011 11:16 AM


I live in Pittsburgh and it seems there is never anywhere to park in this city. Whenever you go anywhere the big question is where are you going to park. Sometimes it's obvious, and other times you end up sitting in traffic as you circle the block trying to find a garage. If you use Google Maps on your phone some garages will show up, but most of them don't. This is where Parkopedia comes in handy. They have 15 Million parking spaces in 20 countries and they can help you find a spot using your computer or mobile phone.

Parkopedia will display several different kinds of parking like private parking, tag-needed parking, public garages, free street parking, and meters. Parking entries are equipped with pricing, height restrictions, number of spaces, and the features the garage may have. You can also read reviews left by Parkopedia members as well as get directions to the garage using Google Maps. You can use their parking price calculator to figure out how much it will cost you to park in different garages given the time you plan on being there. You can then sort them by price giving you the cheapest way to park nearby. If you are unfamiliar with a given city this could be invaluable.

Parkopedia has a free iPhone app as well as a webapp versions for non iPhone users. native apps for Android, Nokia, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, and Palm are in the works. As for now iPhone users can download the app for free in the App Store.

Parkopedia Website
and iPhone App @ App Store   
by willburns1 | with no comments
Add to Bloglines Add to Del.icio.us Add to digg Add to Facebook Add to Google Bookmarks Add to Newsvine Add to reddit Add to Stumble Upon Add to Shoutwire Add to Squidoo Add to Technorati Add to Yahoo My Web
SuperCook - Smart recipe finder, lets you cook with what you have!
Thursday, March 31, 2011 10:22 AM


I don't know if this has ever happened to you, but you want to make something for dinner, but you just don't have the time or the strength to go to the store. So what do you do? You go through the fridge and try and figure out what you can make with what you happen to have in the fridge.

If you had chicken in the fridge you could do a search for chicken recipes, but you often find recipes that include items you don't have. So the solution is to tell the website what you have and let it find recipes you can make based on what ingredients you have. This is what SuperCook does and will make your life a lot easier.

The site is simple, you enter ingredients you have on the left and it generates a list of recipes on the right. You can view the recipes in categories like Starters, Entrees, and Desserts, and enter keywords to better help narrow your search results. As you start to enter ingredients the site will begin to popup recipes. If recipes presented have ingredients not on your list it will tell you at the bottom of the listing so there are no surprises.    

Below the food entry box you will see a box that says "Do you have?" which suggests ingredients you may have that would be useful considering your current culinary direction. For example if you enter chicken breasts it will ask you if you have butter, barbecue sauce, olive oil, lemon, onion, and so on. This is especially helpful because it helps you discover ingredients you might not of thought to add which could lead to an awesome recipe.  

Just as important as what you want in a recipe is what you don't want, so SuperCook has a tab that allows you to add items you don't want include in the recipes. Items like meat or dairy as well as common allergens like shellfish and glutens. This is handy for people who can't eat particular things and will help them avoid having to wade through recipes they can't use.

SuperCook saves your list of ingredients so next time you need a recipe idea, your ingredient list will already be started. This saves you from having to reenter everything next time around. Checkout their website everything is free to use, so go and take advantage of it.

SuperCook
by willburns1 | with no comments
Add to Bloglines Add to Del.icio.us Add to digg Add to Facebook Add to Google Bookmarks Add to Newsvine Add to reddit Add to Stumble Upon Add to Shoutwire Add to Squidoo Add to Technorati Add to Yahoo My Web
Is BlackBerry Messenger coming to iPhone? If so do you care?
Wednesday, March 30, 2011 1:23 PM

One of the best things about the BlackBerry is there ability to handle email and their Blackberry messenger service. The service has been around for a while and was really revolutionary at the time. It allows owners of Blackberries to send messages of unlimited length to each other as well as pictures and videos. This was built into the phone and does not use SMS messaging to do so.

It's basically like an Instant Messenger service except it's been on a mobile platform for a lot longer. It's also a way to communicate with people without giving them your actual phone number. You can exchange BBM, BlackBerry Messanger, IDs and keep a little privacy intact.

There have been a lot of rumors floating around that BlackBerry is going to release apps for both the iPhone and Android. This would widen BBM's reach past owners of the BlackBerry which would be nice for all parties. Some are saying it's true others are saying it's was a hoax. I'm not sure what to believe, but let's just pretend BlackBerry was really going to release the app. 

The real question is what's the big deal? There are several apps in the App store and Android market that can send messages back and forth with pictures and video. Also there's SMS and MMS, so why can't you just send someone a text? I know the BBM service is free and faster, but I already pay for SMS so why not use it. 

I assume the issue here is their user base. Since just about everyone with a phone can receive SMS messages this makes the service very valuable, hence why they charge for it. If BBM was released to everyone it could become a standard for free mobile to mobile communication. With so many IM services and copy cat messenger services out there you have to be a member of all of them in order to not leave out any of your friends who may prefer one service over another.

So where does this leave us? Well if BlackBerry released it to both Android and iPhone it would be pretty cool. I would download it and use it, but I don't really see what is in it for them. Why would BlackBerry give away one of their phone's best features?


by willburns1 | with no comments
Add to Bloglines Add to Del.icio.us Add to digg Add to Facebook Add to Google Bookmarks Add to Newsvine Add to reddit Add to Stumble Upon Add to Shoutwire Add to Squidoo Add to Technorati Add to Yahoo My Web
Chrome Plugin "Get Rid of the New and Annoying Facebook Image Preview" does just that!
Tuesday, March 29, 2011 2:32 PM
I wrote a post a while ago about a greasemonkey script for Firefox that allows you to get rid of the annoying theater picture viewing mode on Facebook. Well now for all you Chrome fans out there you can get rid of it too. Just use the Get Rid of the New and Annoying Facebook Image Preview plugin for chrome. Just install and enjoy theater free image viewing on Facebook.

As several people in the comments pointed out you can hit the reload button in your browser to get rid of the theater view, but you have to do that each time you click an image. This plugin and the script for Firefox gets rid of it for good forcing Facebook to load the old view.



by willburns1 | 2 comment(s)
Add to Bloglines Add to Del.icio.us Add to digg Add to Facebook Add to Google Bookmarks Add to Newsvine Add to reddit Add to Stumble Upon Add to Shoutwire Add to Squidoo Add to Technorati Add to Yahoo My Web
Amazon Launches Cloud Music Streaming Service
Tuesday, March 29, 2011 1:34 PM


The internet is a buzz today with the new release of Amazon's cloud music storage and streaming service. The service is a full featured storage and streaming service allowing you to stream music from a computer browser or Android device.

The web service must of come as a surprise to Google and Apple who are both developing similar products. Sure there are services like this before Amazon released theirs, but none by company as large. The service will not work on your iPhone however, since Apple has rules about non-competing applications and not to mention the cut Apple wants to take from all applications that offer subscriptions.

The app works with a helper application that finds all your music on your computer and allows you to choose what songs and playlists to sync with the cloud. You only get 5GB of space for free, which will not be enough for most people's your entire music collection, but it will give you a good taste for what the application is capable of. Additional space can be purchased for $1 per 1GB per year. So if want 20GB of space it will cost $20 a year.  This is actually pretty cheap if you consider the alternatives.

You can play the music back using the web based player or the Android phone with their Amazon’s Cloud Player. Blackberry and Palm phones and use their web app versions of the cloud player as well.  The player is pretty basic displaying your imported playlists from iTunes and the like and displays music by artists, album, and genre. The interface is nice and clean and will not overwhelm you with gadgets and gizmos.

Amazon has set the bar and price point for this type of service. I don't know if this is good or bad to tell you the truth. On one hand they are the first major company to hit the market, and on the other companies like Google and Apple know how to sweeten the deal and take Amazon out of the picture. It's a major disadvantage to Amazon not to be available on the iPhone. We shall see how this effects their service and adoption rates.

Amazon Cloud
by willburns1 | with no comments
Add to Bloglines Add to Del.icio.us Add to digg Add to Facebook Add to Google Bookmarks Add to Newsvine Add to reddit Add to Stumble Upon Add to Shoutwire Add to Squidoo Add to Technorati Add to Yahoo My Web
Desktoday - Organizes and Store Desktop Files For You
Tuesday, March 29, 2011 12:02 PM

I don't know about you but I use the desktop a lot. It's a very handy place to store files temporarily until you delete them or find a place for them in your file structure. The only problem for some is they never clean their desktop up so it becomes a large mess of files across weeks if not months. You should see my father's desktop. The icons literally span from one side of the desktop to the other. It's a forest of icons swimming in background, makes my eyes hurt just thinking about it.

Desktoday lives in the menu bar. When you select Clean Desktop from the menu it takes all the files on your desktop and places them in a folder with today's date. You can of course view the files by selecting the days files you wish to view from the menubar. You can of course just browse to them from Finder, but Desktoday provides you with the handy shortcut to view them from.

This doesn't actually solve the problem but does help you get the files off your desktop. You still need to organize them later but having all the files from a particular day in one place might make the process a little easier. It's better then working in a ocean of icons, and should help your productivity. I wish there were more controls in Desktoday. You can currently choose the destination folder and exclude certain folders and files. I wish files created on different days would automatically filter into different folders, but as it is now all files created or placed on your desktop today or yesterday will all go into the same folder. You just have to run the cleanup every day to keep the files organized by day.

Desktoday is a free application and is available in the Mac App Store right now. It's definitely worth a look see.

Desktoday @ Mac App Store


 
by willburns1 | with no comments
Add to Bloglines Add to Del.icio.us Add to digg Add to Facebook Add to Google Bookmarks Add to Newsvine Add to reddit Add to Stumble Upon Add to Shoutwire Add to Squidoo Add to Technorati Add to Yahoo My Web
Remote SSH Login From Your iPhone
Monday, March 28, 2011 1:38 PM
There are several reasons why one would want to execute a remote SSH login. For one you can control your entire computer with just the command line. This means no trying to use the remote mouse and slow remote desktop loading. It's perfect for launching applications, quitting applications, and moving and deleting files.  

I run an Audiogalaxy helper app on my computer at home so I can stream my entire music collection to my iPhone via the internet. I don't keep it running all the time because I only need it occasionally. I often forget to turn it on before leaving the house so I need a way to launch the application remotely. This is where a remote SSH login can come in handy.

How to setup your SSH Connection

Enable Remote Login in Sharing
You first need to enable Remote Login in the Sharing section of System Preferences. So open System Preferences, click Sharing, and check the Remote Login box. On the left select everyone or add your account you will be logging into.

Forward the Port
Now you have to forward the 22 port to your computer. This can be confusing and by far is the hardest step. How you go about doing this depends on your router, but this website can walk you through the steps no matter what router brand or model you have.

Gather some information
Once you have the port forwarded you need your public ip address. So go here and copy the ip address it gives you. Now open finder and take note of the name of your home folder and remember it.

Get an App
Now you need a SSH app for the iPhone, I use an application called simply SSH Terminal that allows you to setup a SSH connection. It's $.99 in the app store it works just fine. Open the app hit the plus button in the top right and enter your information. Title: enter any name for the connection, Hostname: enter your public ip address, Username: then name on your home folder, Password: password to your account. Click save and your done. I would leave the password field empty so on connection it asks for a password. This way no one can just pick up your phone and mess with your computer.

If everything is setup right you should be able to select the connection in the main menu and be presented with a command prompt. You now have SSH access to your remote computer.

Basic SSH Terminal Commands

Replace words in italics, and be mindful of spaces and capitalization.

open -a ApplicationName - Opens an application
open -a Application\ Name - Opens applications with spaces in the name.

killall Applicationname - Closes an application.

cd Directory - changes directories
cd .. - goes down a directory level

mkdir Name - Makes a new folder.

ls - shows a list of files in your current directory.

man command - Shows you the manual on any command example "man open"

rm file path - Deletes a file.
by willburns1 | with no comments
Add to Bloglines Add to Del.icio.us Add to digg Add to Facebook Add to Google Bookmarks Add to Newsvine Add to reddit Add to Stumble Upon Add to Shoutwire Add to Squidoo Add to Technorati Add to Yahoo My Web
WWDC 2011 - June 6 iOS 5? Mac OS X Lion?
Monday, March 28, 2011 11:37 AM


Well Apple has just sent out the invitations to the WWDC 2011 at San Francisco’s Moscone West. According to the invitation they will be focusing on the future of iOS and Mac OS X. So what can we expect from this WWDC?

It seems pretty self explanatory really, I think we will see previews of both the iOS 5 and Mac OS X Lion. I don't think either will be released this soon however. The Mac OS Lion will most likely be released this summer sometime with some of Apple's cloud services they have been cooking up. The iOS 5 is still rumored for the fall sometime maybe even after the iPhone 5 release.

So where do we stand in regards to the new iPhone 5? Many people are saying we will not see a new iPhone in June due to the focus on software and the fact the iPhone 4 is still prevalent in the market. People who believe this are saying the new iPhone will release sometime in September or October. Others still contest that the new iPhone will be released at the June event despite the software focus.

What do you think? What are your predictions for the newest Apple iStuff?
by willburns1 | 2 comment(s)
Add to Bloglines Add to Del.icio.us Add to digg Add to Facebook Add to Google Bookmarks Add to Newsvine Add to reddit Add to Stumble Upon Add to Shoutwire Add to Squidoo Add to Technorati Add to Yahoo My Web
Track a Stolen Laptop with Prey
Friday, March 25, 2011 11:53 AM
When your laptop is stolen the first thing you wish you had installed was software to track it's whereabouts, and then you begin to think about all your stored passwords you wish you could remove. Prey is a free open source app that could get your laptop returned to you or at least keep your passwords safe.

What can Prey do?
So what can Prey actually do? Well for starters it can use your devices GPS or WiFi connection to triangulate your computer's position. Prey can force your computer to connect to a WiFi network when no internet is available. Prey will take screenshots of active sessions as well as take pictures with a built in webcams so you can get a look at the thief. These are all the covert operations but Prey has more up its sleeve. 

You can make your laptop sound a loud alarm for 30 seconds just in case it's near by. Prey can make a message popup letting the thief know you're on to him. Prey also allows you to lock your computer to prevent him from using it until a password is entered. To prevent the thief from getting into your other accounts you can have Prey delete your browser cookies and passwords for all users as well as hide emails.  

Pray is simple to install, all you have to do is download the software, which runs on Mac, Windows, Ubuntu, and Android. You then create an account which you activate using your email address. That's it you're done. You can now activate all of Prey's monitoring features using their website.

The free account allows you to track one device and store up to 10 reports at a time. Prey offers several payed accounts which are very affordable on any budget. It's worth a look see and might just save you a laptop. 

by willburns1 | with no comments
Add to Bloglines Add to Del.icio.us Add to digg Add to Facebook Add to Google Bookmarks Add to Newsvine Add to reddit Add to Stumble Upon Add to Shoutwire Add to Squidoo Add to Technorati Add to Yahoo My Web
Sparrow Minimalist Email Client
Friday, March 25, 2011 11:19 AM

If you own a Mac and love simple minimalistic applications like Tweetie than Sparrow might just be the email client for you. Sparrow, other than being minimalistic, is also perhaps the best native Gmail client for Mac adding priority mailbox and IMAP support.

Sparrow now supports all IMAP email services and with their new priority inbox support make their Gmail integration even better. The application is simple and elegant and reminds me a lot of Tweetie, now the official Twitter desktop client. The new version also supports multi-touch controls as new contact groups feature and formatting bar. 

If you want to give sparrow a try you can find it in the Mac App Store for $10. They also have a trial version of Sparrow that only supports one email address if you want to give it a try before buying. 

Sparrow @ Mac App Store

by willburns1 | with no comments
Add to Bloglines Add to Del.icio.us Add to digg Add to Facebook Add to Google Bookmarks Add to Newsvine Add to reddit Add to Stumble Upon Add to Shoutwire Add to Squidoo Add to Technorati Add to Yahoo My Web
Color - iOS and Android app that shares images with people within a 150 foot radius
Thursday, March 24, 2011 2:09 PM
p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 18.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 18.0px Helvetica; min-height: 22.0px}

There has been a lot of hype around the new iPhone and Android app Color. Maybe it's the $41 million in funding or the fact the founders behind LaLa have their hands in it. Whatever it is the app is pretty interesting.The idea behind it is to take pictures that are instantly shared with people within 150 feet of your location. If several users all in the same location begin taking picture what is created is an instant album of the party or event. The photos are 100% public and there are no friends or followers. Photos in your area popup in a stream allowing users to favorite, comment, and share them via SMS, email, Twitter, and Facebook. 


It's an interesting idea for sure, but will it catch on? The main problem, in my opinion, is the lack of privacy controls. If I am taking pictures with friends I don't want other random people to have access to these images. It kind of ruins the idea of the app if you start restricting access but at the same time I don't want my photos flying out to just anyone who might be sitting near by. The idea of a collaborative album of photos generated by people in a general area is pretty interesting if you can get past the creepy factor. 


This might be one of those things, like Twitter, that seem kind of dumb until it's widely accepted and used making it very interesting and usable. The low client base makes sharing a little pointless right now since in any given area you and your friends will likely to be the only people sharing images. 


The real surprising thing is how much money Color was able to raise even before it opened it's doors and had an established client base. They also spent $350,000 on color.com, which is more that most startups raise for themselves in a lifetime. Only time will tell if color becomes the next big thing or a big fat flop. 

by willburns1 | with no comments
Add to Bloglines Add to Del.icio.us Add to digg Add to Facebook Add to Google Bookmarks Add to Newsvine Add to reddit Add to Stumble Upon Add to Shoutwire Add to Squidoo Add to Technorati Add to Yahoo My Web
YouTube adds new features to its online video editor!
Thursday, March 24, 2011 1:33 PM
p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 18.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 18.0px Helvetica; min-height: 22.0px} li.li1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 18.0px Helvetica} ul.ul1 {list-style-type: disc}

For the last 9 months YouTube has offered a very basic online video editor. It contained basic features like the ability to trimming, combining videos, adding music, inserting transitions, and rotating clips. These features are about a basic as they come allowing for some very bare bones video editing. YouTube announced yesterday that they are planning some enhancements to their online video editor bringing new features that make it more like desktop video editors. These features include the following: 


  • Video transitions (crossfade, wipe, slide)
  • The ability to save projects across sessions
  • Increased clips allowed in the editor from 6 to 17
  • Video rotation (from portrait to landscape and vice versa - great for videos shot on mobile)
  • Shape transitions (heart, star, diamond, and Jack-O-Lantern for Halloween)
  • Audio mixing (AudioSwap track mixed with original audio)
  • Effects (brightness/contrast, black & white)
  • A new user interface and project menu for multiple saved projects


Two new features not mentioned above that are particularly interesting are the stabilizer feature and the 3D creator. The stabilizer allows you to remove the camera shake from a shot using a rather impressive algorithm. The example here is quite impressive, though at the beginning of the clip it looks like the buildings are swaying back in forth.


The 3D creator is just what you think it is. You shoot video using two video cameras that are positioned in a specific way. You then can use YouTube's video tool to compile the two videos into one 3D video. Pretty neat for a free online video tool!


by willburns1 | with no comments
Add to Bloglines Add to Del.icio.us Add to digg Add to Facebook Add to Google Bookmarks Add to Newsvine Add to reddit Add to Stumble Upon Add to Shoutwire Add to Squidoo Add to Technorati Add to Yahoo My Web
Views.fm - Add Photo Galleries and Comments to Public Shared Dropbox Folders
Thursday, March 24, 2011 12:24 PM


If you are a fan of Dropbox than I'm sure you have used it to share pictures from events with friends and family. The only problem is Dropbox only displays pictures in gallery form in the native Pictures folder. So what is a Dropbox fan to do?

This is where Views.fm comes in handy. You go to their website and create an account. You then connect to your Dropbox account, and choose a public and private folder you want to share. If you choose to share it privately only the people you send the invite to will have access. If you share it publicly anyone with the URL can view it. After creating the URL for your new shared folder just copy it and share the URL with your friends and family.

This is a great way to share pictures with people because no only can they view the images, but they can download the full size images something you can't do on services like Facebook. I wish there was a feature that would allow you to download all the images at once, lets say in a zip folder, but there doesn't seem to be a way to do that. All in all it's a pretty good service and a great way to make quick and easy photo galleries with full quality downloads.

 Views.fm - Checkout my Example Gallery
by willburns1 | with no comments
Add to Bloglines Add to Del.icio.us Add to digg Add to Facebook Add to Google Bookmarks Add to Newsvine Add to reddit Add to Stumble Upon Add to Shoutwire Add to Squidoo Add to Technorati Add to Yahoo My Web
Best AR Games for iPhone and iPod Touch
Tuesday, March 22, 2011 1:08 PM
I recently watched a video of the new Nintendo 3DS and saw their really cool Augmented Reality mini games they had included. It used a little card as a reference point and used the surroundings as part of the game. It's was very interesting and I wanted to know if there were anything like that for the iPhone since it too is equipped with a camera. Well there really isn't anything quite as advanced as the games I saw on the video but there are a few that come close.

1. AR Defender - My favorite My favorite

AR Defender is a really basic tower defense game. You control the gun on top of the tower and you have to shoot the many enemies coming to destroy you. This game might be fun even if it weren't an AR game, but because it is makes it even cooler. You need to print out a little square that has seven little dots on it that AR Defender uses as the reference point for your tower. You can then move around the tower while shooting your enemies trying to kill them before they kill you. The square comes in three sizes making the play area bigger as the square gets bigger.



2. AR Basketball - Free Lite Version and Full $1.99

AR Basketball is another game that requires a printed piece of paper in order to construct it's virtual basketball goal. The game play is simple, all you have to do is flick the ball into the hoop. You have a limited amount of time to make as many baskets as you can from different positions on the court.

3. AR Invaders Free Lite Version and Full $.99

This game is unlike the two others in that it doesn't require a printed square to play. You have to turn your body and look around to find the attacking alien ships. This game uses your surrounding as more of a backdrop for the game rather than part of the game. Still it's a pretty cool unique gameplay. 

- Honorable Mention ARGirl $.99

This isn't a game really but just something fun to do. You draw or print a AR marker which in this case is a v shape and watch the virtual girl dance to music form your iPod library.   
by willburns1 | with no comments
Add to Bloglines Add to Del.icio.us Add to digg Add to Facebook Add to Google Bookmarks Add to Newsvine Add to reddit Add to Stumble Upon Add to Shoutwire Add to Squidoo Add to Technorati Add to Yahoo My Web
More Posts Next page »

This Blog

Syndication