May 2011 - Posts

XBOX 360 to get a Price Cut Soon - (Rumor)
Tuesday, May 31, 2011 2:16 PM


Thanks to a graphical slip by target it seems retailers are gearing up for a Xbox price reduction. According to a graphic on Targets electronic section which boldly presented you with a deal for a 250GB Xbox 360 with Kinect for $299 with free shipping. That bundle is currently $399 so the question is did the Target art department make a mistake or did they simply jump the gun by a week.

E3, the annual video game conference and show at the Los Angeles Convention center, kicks off June 7th. This is when video game consoles usually see their price reductions so it's fishy that something like this would happen so close to the start of E3. I for one hope there is a price reduction in the future. My Xbox is busted right now and I'm about to go into video game withdraw. A new Kinect/Xbox 360 bundle with it's new low price would be a welcome surprise.

VIA Engadget
by willburns1 | with no comments
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Make Your Own Mic Arm Stand for $10 (IKEA Hack)
Tuesday, May 31, 2011 1:45 PM


If you have a nice microphone for making podcasts, Youtube videos, or for simply talking with friends on Skype then you have probably dealt with what kind of stand to use with your Microphone. Sure most microphones come with a little desktop stand but these take up space and require you to rearrange your desk to use them. Microphone booms built to hold specific mics are expensive ranging from anywhere from $75 - $150 for a decent one. You can get the same effect with a clever IKEA hack for just $10 bucks. 

You start with the IKEA Tertial Work Lamp that cost just $9.99. You then have to remove the light from the the balancing arm by loosening the black wing nut near the end of the arm and removing the screw. With a little pressure applied to the white plastic spacer you can remove the light portion from the arm. You will then have to cut the wire and pull it through the piping in the arm.

Then all you have to do is attach you microphone to the end of the arm. How you do this depend on the kind of mic you have. I have a Samson Co1U which only requires you to remove the screw connecting the desktop tripod bottom from the top portion that attaches to the Mic. You can then use the screw and wing nut portion of the lamp to attach the mic to the arm.

Over at his home improvement blog, Bill Hutchison, did this project with his Blue Snow Ball Mic with shock mount attached. He explains how he attached his to the IKEA lamp arm. 

I unscrewed the shockmount from the table top base that came with the microphone. I had to file the plastic spacer down significantly for it to fit around the base of the shock mount. After trying to file down the plastic space for quite a while I ended up having to take a drill to it and really jam it into the end of the arm.The bolt and nut from the lamp head fit in with new microphone and shockmount, so I just used them to attach the shock mount and boom arm together.

This is a great way to get a functioning mic boom for really cheap. If you enjoyed this IKEA hack you should checkout IKEA Hackers. They have all sorts of IKEA hacks that create clever and cheap solutions with IKEA products.
by willburns1 | with no comments
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Min.us adds Firefox and Chrome Extensions
Tuesday, May 31, 2011 12:37 PM

Min.us is a website that allows you to share images and files with people on the internet. They started out by only allowing image sharing through their website and now they have desktop applications as well as extensions for Firefox and Chrome.

The new browser plugins allow you to take screenshots of the current webpage including content that doesn't fit on the page. You can also right click images on websites and save them directly to your Min.us library.

In addition to those features it also gives you quick access to your Min.us photo galleries and your images. Checkout the Min.us if you haven't already, and if you currently use Min.us then checkout the new Plugins.

Min.us for Firefox and Chrome  
by willburns1 | with no comments
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iCloud Officially Confirmed, iOS, and Lion OS X All Coming to WWDC
Tuesday, May 31, 2011 11:51 AM


Today a short press release by Apple has confirmed the existence and the name of their new up and coming cloud music service called iCloud. Before this it had all been rumors, although the signs here unmistakable, so it's great to hear that at this years WWDC we will get to see what Apple has been cooking up for their cloud music service. Also in the press release they mentioned Lion OS X and iOS 5 will be at WWDC, with people assuming they are in their final release form.
Apple® CEO Steve Jobs and a team of Apple executives will kick off the company’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) with a keynote address on Monday, June 6 at 10:00 a.m. At the keynote, Apple will unveil its next generation software – Lion, the eighth major release of Mac OS® X; iOS 5, the next version of Apple’s advanced mobile operating system which powers iPad®, iPhone® and iPod touch®; and iCloud®, Apple’s upcoming cloud services offering.
The big question on everyone's mind is what will the Apple iCloud service look like? Will it be like Amazon's and Google's cloud services allowing you to just upload all your music and then stream it back or will it be something more. With the blessing and streaming rights from nearly all the major music studios, something Amazon and Google don't have, will the Apple iCloud service allow user to skip uploading their tracks and just stream the ones Apple already has down from the cloud?

All this and more will be answered on June 6th, this coming Monday, when Apple gives their Keynote speech at the start of WWDC. The Keynote that Steve Jobs normally does and will continue to be a part of despite being medical leave.
by willburns1 | with no comments
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Amazon Opens their Own Mac Software Store
Friday, May 27, 2011 3:25 PM


Amazon continues to compete with Apple by opening it's own Mac App Store allowing application to be purchased and downloaded right to your Mac. The Amazon Mac Software Store opened up yesterday and is the first time Amazon has offers a large number of downloadable software title for purchase for Mac. They are also offering $5 off your first purchase to give it a try with coupon code SAVE5MAC.

The store is, however, just another part of their website making it kind of difficult to find what you are looking for. Like most things on Amazon it's cluttered with software thumbnails, text, and links making it hard to find things when you don't know exactly what you want.

The best thing about Amazon offering downloadable software for Mac is their aggressive pricing structure. They will not be undersold on the internet and that is something you can take advantage of. For example right now you can purchase Call of Duty Modern Warfare 4 on the Mac App Store for $39.99 and it's only $24.99 on Amazon. You add the $5 off coupon above and it's only $19.99, which is a really good deal. So I think Amazon's store will be nice as an alternative when they can offer a better price.

Mac Software Downloads @ Amazon
by willburns1 | with no comments
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KeyRemap4Macbook - Re-map any key without Restrictions (Mac)
Friday, May 27, 2011 1:27 PM

The Keyboard is a powerful tool one that is only limited by the software that controls it's inputs. So why doesn't Apple give you the tools to change and remap keys harnessing the full power of your Keyboard? Who knows, maybe it's too confusing and they trying to prevent users from messing things up. whatever the reason there is software out there that will allow you to re-map your keyboard allowing you to change the functions of any key on the keyboard.

In addition to letting allowing you to modify what keys do what on your Keyboard that application can also let you change the key repeat setting down to the millisecond. Giving you more control over how fast your you can move the curser with the keyboard and how fast keys repeat.

This application isn't for everyone. It's a bit confusing and more for the power user than the casual user. For those of you out there that want that level of customization this is a great place to start. Even though the application is called KeyRemap4Macbook it actually works for all Mac models and keyboards for that matter. If you have a none Apple keyboard you can use this software to remap the keys to more Apple like functions. The application is free and can be found over at Macupdate.

KeyRemap4Macbook
by willburns1 | with no comments
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Muppets Movie 'Green with Envy' Parodies 'The Hangover' with new line of teasers
Friday, May 27, 2011 11:34 AM


The Muppet have a new movie coming out called 'Green With Envy' and we don't really know that much about it yet other than that Jason Segel and Amy Adams star in the movie alone with the muppets of course. The basic plot of the movie entails Segel and Adams helping the Muppets put together a show to save their old production studio from destruction.

It's interesting to see how Disney is marketing the movie with their newest teaser which parodies the Hangover 2 teaser as you can see below. Calling themselves The Fuzzy Pack which is an obvious riff on The Wolf Pack a reference from the first Hangover movie. They even have a YouTube channel for The Fuzzy Pack that currently only has one video, but I assume there is going to be a series of Fuzzy Pack video teasers. They also have a Facebook page called The Fuzzy Pack as well as their official Green With Envy page.



I have to say I like the playfulness of the teasers and the general feel of the movie so far. As you can see in the teasers the movie at least features cameos by Danny Trejo and Wanda Sykes which is a fun surprise. I have a feeling there are going to be many celebrity cameos in this movie. Who wouldn't want to be in a Muppets movie.

by willburns1 | with no comments
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ClipMorpher - Removes text formatting and performs different operations on your clipboard
Thursday, May 26, 2011 1:16 PM

The Mac clipboard is an invisible application that holds text and other content in memory until it is overwritten by another copy. With the help of some clipboard managers you can do a lot more with your Clipboard my favorite of which is Jumpcut, a free application that holds old copies for future use. However a new clipboard application has caught my eye with some interesting features.

ClipMorpher lives in the menu bar and can automatically morph or modify text copied into your clipboard. When enabled it automatically removes formatting from text which is nice if you copy text from one document to another. It can force all the text into lowercase or uppercase as well as remove line breaks and multiple spaces.

This is where it gets interesting; it also has the ability to extract URLS and Email address from copied text. When the URL extract option is enabled you can, for example, copy the source of a webpage and when you paste the text into a document it will only return the links present in the copied text. All the other text is erased automatically. I'm not sure why that would come in handy, but I'm sure people have their uses for it. The email extractor works the same way eliminating any text that isn't a part of an email address from the clipboard.

One of the coolest features is that you can add your own custom text morphings using regular expressions. You could of course just use ones already written over at regexlib.com. ClipMorpher is a free application which you can download here.
by willburns1 | 1 comment(s)
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Download and Stream Torrents on your iPhone without Jailbreaking It
Thursday, May 26, 2011 12:02 PM


In the past there have been ways to download and manage torrent downloads to your computer from your iPhone. Like the web interface for Transmission which offers a self hosted iPhone specific web app that can add, delete, pause torrents downloads from anywhere. To learn more about the Transmission web app checkout this post.

Now there is a native applications called iTransmission that allows you to actually add, delete, and download torrents right to your phone. This is a Jailbreak only application of course, but for those of you who really want can now have it. I'm not sure what that would do to your data plan considering the data caps on mobile data, but if you have an unlimited data plan still then go for it.

If you, like me, refuse to jailbreak your phone then there is an alternative. NowStream is a startup that allows iPhone users to paste in a torrent URL and stream it to their device. I assume the NowStream server downloads it quickly and then streams the media file back to you. This seems familiar kind of like Put.io or fetch.io but for the iPhone.

This is a more ideal situation since you won't have to store the file on your device just to play it. NowStream is currently dealing with legal problems at the moment which isn't a good sign for a service that hasn't actually launched yet, but you can go to their site and enter your email address to be informed of when they are up and running.

 

 
by willburns1 | with no comments
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How to Import AIM Contacts into Gmail
Thursday, May 26, 2011 11:02 AM


As I wrote earlier AIM is teaming up with Gmail to allow you to import your AIM contacts into Gmail. This basically allows you to have one login for both AIM and Gtalk accounts. This comes in handy especially for you Android users out there that can now chat with AIM buddies using the default Gtalk client on your phone.

To import your AIM contacts into Gmail just go to the Import page. You login to your AIM account and then your Gmail account. The importing process is automatic but only imports the 38 most talked to contacts the rest you will just have to import manually I guess. I don't have 38 people I still talk to on AIM anyways so I don't think it will be a problem for most people.


by willburns1 | with no comments
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Amazon Repeats $.99 Lady Gaga Album Offer Promises Servers Won't Melt
Thursday, May 26, 2011 10:13 AM

Amazon earlier this week offered Lady Gaga's new Album 'Born this way' for just $.99 and it about took down their infrastructure. Amazon typically has daily Album deal for $3 or $5 but as a way of introducing people to the new Amazon cloud service decided to sweeten the deal and offer the super star's album for $.99.

Well Amazon as a sort of apology for the slowed response and performance is repeating the offer today and this time they promise the severs will not melt under the pressure.

Lady Gaga 'Born This Way' $.99 Today Only
by willburns1 | with no comments
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Soluto - When Applications Crash Soluto Helps you Find the Problem - Windows
Wednesday, May 25, 2011 2:37 PM

One of most frustrating things about using a computer is applications crashing loosing your work and wasting your time. I can't tell you how many typed out pages I've lost do to applications crashing. When an application crashes there's always a reason most of the time it's something you can fix to prevent it from happening again.

An application for Windows called Soluto which is a useful tool for to speed up your system boot, has updated it's application to collecting crash reports and providing possible solutions. When an application crashes it sends a crash report to the developer to help them fix the problem, but that doesn't help you right now. Soluto collects the crash reports and allows users to submit solutions for crashes they have experienced or know how to fix.

This is a great new feature to Soluto and over time become a very helpful tool. I assume at first it will be a lot of crashes without a whole lot of solutions, but I imagine that will change as time goes on. You can download Saluto for free here.
by willburns1 | with no comments
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WolframAlpha adds CDC Survey Data Helps you Self Diagnose Illness
Wednesday, May 25, 2011 1:44 PM


Have you ever gone onto WebMD and done a search for your symptoms only to have it tell you probably have some terrible disease that's incurable. Well I hope you haven't or at least it wasn't true, but next time instead of letting WebMD scare you give WolframAlpha a try. They now have CDC Survey Data that allows WolframAlpha can take your symptoms and return data on patients with your symptoms, diagnosis probabilities, probabilities of co-occurring symptoms, characteristics of patients and more.

The data not only shows you the diagnostic possibilities but how likely it is you have that disease or condition based on your age, sex, race, and other factors. So you might have some crazy incurable disease, but seeing the likelihood of having combined with your other facts can all but rule it out.

Well that makes me feel better, every time a look something up on WebMD I feel like I'm not going to make it to my next birthday. Give WolframAlpha a try and tell me what you think in the comments.

WolframAlpha

by willburns1 | with no comments
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CrashPlan - Versatile and inexpensive Backup Service
Wednesday, May 25, 2011 12:40 PM


With the variety and affordability of current data backup solutions there's no excuse not to have a backup of the data on your computer. There are free and more advanced paid backup tools that can store your data in the cloud, on a local drive, on a network drive, or on a remote drive. A combination of these solutions can keep your computer's data safe and backed up incase of a hard drive crash, theft, natural disaster, or other unfortunate event.

CrashPlan is just one of the many backup solutions but I like it better than the others for a couple of reasons. First of all they allow you to backup your files in 4 different ways, Cloud-based storage, Remote storage (friend-to-friend backups), Local network backup (backup to home server or NAS unit), and Folder backup (backup to secondary or external hard drive). There software free to use and is cross-platform running on Windows, Mac and Linux OS. The only service you have to pay for is the cloud storage option which runs you only $6 for unlimited storage space for 2-10 computers which is a much better deal than cloud backup solutions Mozy or Carbonite.

CrashPlan has some great features considering the core software is free to download and use. Just as you would expect CrashPlan features automatic backups and synchronizes them so all your backup locations have a complete backup at the same time. The service keeps all your delete files, unless you tell them not to, so even deleted files can be retrieved no mater how long ago you deleted them. Most people have a lot of data to backup initially so CrashPlan has a Seeded Backup program where they send you an external hard drive to backup your data and send it to them to be added to your online storage. The process can be reversed as well, they can send you a hard drive with all your data on it incase you need a full system restore. If you are concerned about the safety of the backed up files, don't all files are encrypted using the Blowfish algorithm and have multilevel password protection.

CrashPlan is affordable and offers some of the best multi-tear backup solutions on the web. Go and check them out and see for yourself. Also if you are looking for a tutorial on how to setup a remote backup aka friend to friend backups, then checkout this great post over at HowToGeek. You can also hear Adam Pash from Lifehacker talk about CrashPlan on the Tekzilla show.


 

 

by willburns1 | with no comments
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What to do if your Mac won't startup - Bootup Troubleshooting Guide
Tuesday, May 24, 2011 2:59 PM

So you are having problems booting up your computer. Well don't freak out there are many things that can cause this to happen some of which are not hardware failures, so keep your pants on. Just a quick rundown of some things you might see if you are trying and failing to boot into your system.  

If you are seeing a blank blue or grey screen this typically a Disk or permission problem, 3rd party software problem, or maybe even a hardware issue.

If you see a "no" sign, broken or flashing folder this means the Mac can't find the needed system which usually means a hard drive crash.

If you see a black screen with no sound this may be a power issue, a bad logic board battery ,bad RAM, or some other hardware issue.

If you are experiencing any of these or something else all together try the following until something gets you back up and running.

Try First
Start in Safe Mode
- Hold the Shift button down then hit the power button. You can release when you see the grey screen with turning gear. This will take longer than a normal start, but If the system fully starts up, restart the machine to get out of safe mode.  

-Starting in Safe Mode does a couple things for you automatically: it disables all unnecessary startup items, loads only the required kernel extensions, deletes the dynamic loader shared cache and runs a directory check on the Startup disk. This is your go to fix for startup problems if this does work move on to the next one.  

Round 2. Fight!
Repair Disk and Disk Permissions

  1. Insert the Mac OS X installation disc. If you don't have a disc or are using an older OS that doesn't have the Disk Utility on the CD skip this step and go to the next one.
  2. Hold Down the C Key until the grey Apple appears.
  3. Mac OS X 10.2.x through 10.3.x: Choose Installer > Open Disk Utility.
  4. Mac OS X 10.4.x: Choose Utilities > Disk Utility.
  5. Select your hard drive icon on the left and click Repair Disk in the First Aid tab.
  6. After the Disk Repair is done select Repair Permissions.   
  7. Reboot your Mac


Only do if you couldn't do the step above.
Start in Single User Mode
  1. Power the machine on and immediately hold down Command + S. You should see a black screen with white text.
  2. In the prompt type fsck -fy
  3. Press return. If the system returns "system has been modified" repeat the "fsch -fy" command until it returns "No Problems Were Found." Then type reboot and hit return.


Third Times a Charm
Reinstall the OS
If all these fail to get you back into your OS try reinstalling the OS. All your files should be retained during the install just the systems files are reinstalled. For more ideas before reinstalling try some of these over at Apple Support site or maybe some good ideas over at Cult of Mac.

  1. To install the OS startup while holding down the C key.
  2. Follow the on screen instruction.

What are friends 4
Target Disk Mode
by putting your computer in target disk mode you can access your computer's hard drive from another Mac allowing to save files and perform more tasks on the drive.

  1. Hold down the T key while you turn on your Mac. Let go when you see a FireWire icon on the screen (shown here).
  2. Connect the troubled Mac to a good Mac via a FireWire cable.
  3. Open Disk Utility on the good Mac (located in Applications/Utilities).
  4. Select the troubled Mac’s disk icon on the left and click Repair Disk in the First Aid tab.
  5. If possible, recover or backup important data files if the troubled Mac’s drive is visible on the good Mac’s desktop.  

by willburns1 | with no comments
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