Howtos, Rants, and Reviews
September 2011 - Posts
Enable Facebook's New Profile and Timeline Feature
Friday, September 23, 2011 12:11 PM
Facebook reviled their new profile and look yesterday and I think people are really going to like it. The problem is it's going to take a couple weeks for the changes to make it the general public. If you are as impatient as I am then you don't want to wait for it roll out slowly over the next couple weeks. Well you don't have to you can enable it now. No one other than other developers will be able to see it, everyone else will just see your old profile.
In order to get the new profile look and timeline feature you have to be a developer, which isn't that big of deal really. All you have to do is add the developer add to your Facebook account, create an app, add the Open Graph settings, and you'll get an invite to the developer preview of the new profile look and features.
I'm not going to explain it all in writing because I have a video that shows you how to do it and a picture is worth a thousand words am I right? If you want a written description then checkout
Techcrunch's writeup here
I Love Facebook's New Profile Look and Timeline Feature from F8
Thursday, September 22, 2011 2:43 PM
At Facebook's F8 conference today they have revealed what the new profile will look like. I for one love it. They call the main new feature timeline and allows you browse a summarization of someones profile that shows most important items over time. It comes with a slider bar in the top right that allows you to view them from year to year. The older the items the fewer of them they show making going through years of posts possible. The video below is all about timeline, so check it out.
The Timeline is really a place for you to curate your profile and show what's important to you. The new focus on apps allows you to add items to your timeline that help describe who you are. Adding the Netflix app to your timeline allows friends to see what movies and TV shows you are watching on Netflix without you having to manually share items to your profile. Apps added to your timeline are like a real time connection to the service or website. This makes the service or website instantly social, sharing with your friends on Facebook automatically without the need for a share buttons and without spamming friends with updates.
I think the new features are great and I love that you no longer need a like button on your site to get people to post articles on Facebook. You have an app that people can add to their timeline and when they read articles on your website it shows on their profile. Simple and much more efficient and less annoying.
For more information on the changes coming to Facebook see the
. For more on Timeline see the
Update 09/23/2011 10:58
If you want the new profile and timeline feature now
Child Cage Fighting in the UK, Horrible or Misrepresented?
Thursday, September 22, 2011 12:29 PM
I came across a
this morning that discussed the child cage fighting that is happening in Lancashire UK. The article referred to the matches as barbaric several times quoting several child friendly service like Safechild children’s charity who said ‘This is sick, absolutely disgraceful and I would call on social services to step in." The question I pose to you is, are theses matches a horrible thing that should be stopped, or are they simply misrepresented?
First go and
read the article
and take note as to how one-sided it is. Go ahead I'll wait for you to finish and come back……done? Good so what did you think? Yeah it's a little shocking but primarily with how it's represented. Sure it looks like a full contact UFC match like ringside lady, referee, and hoodies, but if you take note, way down at the bottom, only mentioned once in passing, the article says they are not allowed to hit each other. Yeah, they can't hit each other, no punching, kicking or striking. Lets see, are there other sports that are like UFC but with not punching, kicking or striking. Um yeah it's called wrestling and kids have been doing this activity for sport for decades.
Sure wrestling has head gear usually and rules about which holds they are allowed to use, but it's essentially the same thing. You take wrestling and combine it with martial arts and you get this. Sure it's dressed up a bit with a big ring and audience which is what makes it seem brutal and wrong. You move this activity to a martial arts studio with the big thick blue mat and all of a sudden it becomes okay.
I think the cameras, ring, referee, and the whole UFC treatment makes this activity seem wrong. Should they be wearing more pads, like headgear? I think so but does that alone make it wrong? Would I let my kid participate in this activity? No absolutely not, but that doesn't mean I think it's wrong. I don't think kid boxing, martial arts, or wrestling is wrong so why this?
This is just my opinion, however, being a guy that has played sports all his life I may have a skewed perspective. I have a feeling the person who wrote the article is probably a woman which might skew her perspective. So what is your perspective? Leave your comments below and we'll fight it out.
ClipMenu - Cool Clipboard Manager for Mac OS
Wednesday, September 21, 2011 2:32 PM
You know me, or maybe you don't, but I love a good clipboard manager. I included one in the "
Must Have Mac Utilities
" post and have written about
as well. Clipboard managers store items you copy into your clipboard so you can access them later even after you copy something else. When you start using one you will wonder how you ever got along without it.
ClipMenu is a handy little clipboard utility that saves items you copy to your clipboard. You can then access the popup ClipMenu using a predefined hotkey combination and then choose what clip you want to paste into your document. Unlike Jumpcut/Flycut ClipMenu supports 8 different clip types including: Plain text, Rich Text Format (RTF), Rich Text Format Directory (RTFD), PDF, Filenames, URL, TIFF image, PICT image.
ClipMenu also allows you to predefine text snippets that can be pasted into a document using a few keystrokes. This allows you to save commonly used paragraphs or sentences as shortcuts for easy access and makes it easy to paste them into documents. ClipMenu also has an unlimited number of storable history items so you never have to worry about an item getting deleted. You can of course manually clear the history to keep from getting overwhelmed.
The app is a free and available on
Ikea Creates Game Room for Men so they can Skip out on Shopping
Wednesday, September 21, 2011 1:25 PM
This has got to be the best idea ever and I'm still not sure it's not a joke, however
seem to have confirmed it. Ikea has actually created a place called Mänland which is much like Smaland they created for kids. Wives and girlfriends can drop off their man at Mänland, which is stocked with Xbox 360s, pinball machines, foosball tables, free hot dog, big-screen TVs and arcade games, so the woman can take their time shopping in the store.
Even though I kind of like Ikea and don't mind walking around in there after a while it can get tiresome. This would be a welcome addition to my local Ikea, but I am a little confused by the 30 minute time limit. Ikea gives the woman a buzzer, just like they do with the kids, that buzzes after 30 minutes to remind them to pickup their man counterpart up from Mänland. In the video below they mention the 30 minute time limit, which seems pretty short and not enough time to even walk a quarter of Ikea. I don't get tired of shopping until we enter hour 2 of shopping. Seems 30 minutes isn't saving anyone from a 2 hour Ikea trip, but hey free hot dog right!
Anyway I think it's an awesome Idea one that I would gladly participate in next time I go to an Ikea with a Mänland. HAHA Mänland, Epic Win!
Apple Releasing iPhone 5 on October 4th Rumors Say
Wednesday, September 21, 2011 12:42 PM
I know I know every day practically people are predicting when the new iPhone will come out, but I'm serious this time. According to AllthingsD and a source close to the situation Apple is planning a big media even on October 4th where they will unveil the next iPhone. Also according to the source plan is to make the device available for purchase a few weeks after the announcement.
This is one of the first times someone has made a believable exact date prediction and I for one believe it. Everyone has been saying October is the likely launch month and cell carriers have been planning on buttoning down the hatches, so to speak, for the first half of the month. I think this is the date so all we need now is to wait for the invites to the event to start popping up all over the web on conformation.
Image and Story VIA
Cues - Get Location Reminders Now on your iPhone
Tuesday, September 20, 2011 3:03 PM
a while back
when all the information was coming out about the new iOS 5. There was an app called Reminders that worked like a to-do list with alarms. The most interesting feature being you could set reminders that would activate when you left or entered a specific region. Basically a location specific reminder or alarm. Well I haven't heard much about this feature since the initial release documentation, but I assume it's still a part of the iOS.
Location Reminders on iOS
If you don't want to wait for the iOS to come out, but still want to give location reminders a go, then cues might be just what you need. cues is a location bases reminder application that can does exactly what it says it will, mainly allow you to setup reminders that activate when you leave a given area. Hitting the "+" button allows you to add new reminders or select from previous ones you have already created. You give the alarm a name and select you current location or a different one by zooming and panning around the map. Once you have a selection you can choose the distance from the mark you want the notification to trigger in. You also have the option of setting up reminders that simply ring once or that persist until you turn them off.
The app does have a couple downsides however that you should be aware of before trying it out. The maps are not searchable so you have to zoom and pan manually and place markers where you want the alert, which is okay but not ideal. Also every new reminder is places as a bookmark even if you never plan on using it again which could get annoying. Because of the way location acquisition works on the iPhone the app has to constantly get your location from the GPS. This being the case, when the app is waiting to send out an alert it uses quite a lot of battery. This is something that can't really be helped but it's something that you should be aware of.
The app sells for $1.99, and is pretty cool, so I would go and check it out.
Cues - Henri Normak
YoYo.com - New Amazon-owned Quidsi Toy Finder Website
Tuesday, September 20, 2011 1:59 PM
I'm not quite to the point in my life where I find myself buying toys for children just yet, but that time is quickly approaching. If you have a kid I'm sure you get an ear full concerning things they want and can't live without, but what about the rest of us? I don't know what to buy a 5 year old girl for her birthday. Well a new website called YoYo.com by Amazon-owned Quidsi is out to help.
YoYo.com is a toy finder that helps you discover what toys to buy by filtering them by age, sex, and budget. You can also choose to view only toy that are YoYo Picks, which are toys hand picked by the YoYo team for their uniqueness and quality. You can also search the YoYo Picks by the top ten for any given age groups which makes finding something you know they are going to love easy.
The site is stocked with over 20,000 toys at it's launch. Quidsi wants to double that number by the end of 2011. The company wants to be the destination for all the hot toys as well as classics and hard to find ones. The site has a great interface and easy to use controls that make narrowing down your toy search easy and effective. So net time you need to find a toy for a birthday party or for your own kid give YoYo.com a try.
KeepRecipes - Stores all Your Online Recipes for later
Tuesday, September 20, 2011 12:20 PM
I have many cookbooks that I cook out of but I still use the internet to get ideas and get inspired. The only problem is I never save recipes I use when I make something. I have it open in my browser and then it gets closed and I forget all about it. KeepRecipes is a place where you can save recipes anywhere you find them online.
KeepRecipes uses a booklet that lives in your favorites bar at the top of your browser. When you find a recipe you want to save just click it and KeepRecipes will launch a window that allows you to customize the recipes information and picture before sending it to the site. You can also give the recipe tags and share it on Facebook or Twitter right from this window.
Once the recipe is saved it's available on your KeepRecipes profile page under "Kept" recipes. From there you, as well as friends and followers of your profile, can comment and like the recipe and view the original website. Other users can "Keep" recipes you have found which places them on their profile.
Probably the best part of this website is that they have a iPhone app that lets you browse your kept recipes and discover new ones. You can also take snap shots of something you are making and add the recipe right from your phone.
If you are familiar with
then KeepRecipes this is like the Pinterest for food. The website is free and the iPhone app is free so go and check it out.
Create and Manage Digital Business Cards on iOS
Monday, September 19, 2011 2:55 PM
The business card is such an unusual thing in the new technological age. When someone gave you their business card 20 years ago you would either put their info in your address book or file it in a business card book of some sort to keep their information just in case you needed it later. Now we struggle with how you get someone's business card information onto your phone where most people want it anyway.
When someone hands me a business card my first thought is can't you just send it that to me? So why don't more people have digital business cards that allow use to exchange contact information where it ends up anyway, on our phones. CardFlick is a new digital business card startup and even though it has a lot of improving to do it's shaping up to be a pretty cool service.
CardFlick is a slick and simple web 2.0 digital business card application. It allows you to create and share business cards between iPhones or by email. Your card and the cards you receive are stored on the phone and give you the ability to create a new contact or add the information to an exciting contact already on your phone. The best part is all the information stored on the cards is dynamic so if you change your email, or phone number all the cards you gave out will automatically update with your new information so they will always be up to date.
CardFlick does a great job at creating slick and cool looking business cards with several themes to choose from. Filling the card with information is easy and the picture icon is a nice touch to personalize your card. Sending a card is as simple as selecting the flick tab and swiping upwards. Viewing contact cards and storing their information to your address book can't be simpler. Sending by email not only sends an image of your card but a contact file that can be opened by applications such as Outlook or Apple Address Book just to name a couple.
The app lacks a lot of refinements and features that I'm sure the service will add as they grow and mature from their current infancy. The biggest drawback is it's inability to add multiple email and phone numbers. You are only allowed to add one phone number and email which most people would want to at least enter a work and cell number but CardFlick doesn't allow it. You can't add a company logo or custom background or template which would be nice considering there are only like 15 templates to choose from. It would also be nice to add the ability to create multiple cards perhaps a business card and a personal card with different sets of information on them.
The app is free so go and check it out. -
A Better Way to Move Images on Facebook
Monday, September 19, 2011 1:42 PM
If you are like me you have probably spent a lot of time uploading photos to Facebook for your friends and family to enjoy. Even though Facebook gives the ability to move an image from one album to another they don't make it easy on you. Currently you have to select each photo one by one in order to move all photos from one album to another. The
Chrome Extension makes moving all images from one folder to another a snap.
In order to move an image you have to go to, edit album and then edit photos. You then have to select a new location in the "Move To:" drop-down list. The extension works by changing all the "move to"drop-down lists to the same thing. So when you change one they all change. A dialog box will popup to let you know that it has changes all the images to the new location just incase you forget you have this extension installed and just want to move a couple.
This will save you a ton of time and quite possibly carpal tunnel from clicking so much. The extension is free of course and is only available for Google Chrome web browser.
Netflix Apologizes and Puts DVD Rentals Under a Whole New Name - Qwikster
Monday, September 19, 2011 11:18 AM
I got an email this morning from Reed Hastings, Co-Founder and CEO, of Netflix. The email was a basically an apology letter to all former and current Netflix Customers. The email also outlined the changes the company is going make in the very near future, which includes putting Netflix's DVD rentals under a new name and giving it a new website.
DVD Rental = Qwikster Streaming = Netflix
Qwikster is what Netflix is calling their DVD service now, which I personally think is a horrible name. It makes me thing of a ghetto gas station and convenience store. The name is suppose to convey how quickly DVDs arrive at your home, but like I said all it says to me is ghetto convenience store. This reenforces the fact that not only does Netflix want to split the DVD and Streaming plans but the business as well. Qwikster will get a new website which will look and feel just like Netflix's current one. Netflix also announced that Qwikster will adding Wii, PS3 and Xbox 360 video games to their rental offerings at an additional fee, just like they do for Blu-ray
The streaming service will now just be called Netflix. So I assume that calling the streaming service Netflix Instant Watch is no longer necessary since technically Netflix is now only Instant Watch. This move makes me wonder if they planned this split before or after everyone got upset over the price increase. Perhaps they think splitting the company will make people feel better about paying more for the service since you will get charged separately for the DVD and streaming services under their respective names.
Is this a Good Idea?
I think this splitting of the business is going to make people choose between the two services even more since many people will not like going to different websites to manage their accounts. They are basically asking people to signup for a while new service, new login credentials, new credit card payments, and get billed separately. I think this could be a hard sale and may turn off even more customers.
On a lighter note it was nice to get an apology letter from the CEO of Netflix. It did feel sincere and heart felt in the email and it made me feel a little better. Reed's main point throughout the email was that he felt he should have explained the changes to the services himself. He would have kept the changes the same but he felt the company handled the explaining of the changes poorly. He later explained the reason for the splitting of the services and why the company is splitting the services under two different names.
What are your thoughts? Leave them in the comments below and let me know. Check out the
for the content of the email.
How to Properly Clean Your Coffee Maker for Better Tasting Coffee
Friday, September 16, 2011 1:52 PM
Drip coffee makers are great, they are convenient and a fast way of making coffee. However, if you don't clean your coffee maker properly your coffee will come out tasting bitter and just plain bad. Because of the design of most drip coffee makers, cleaning individual parts is impossible. So I submit the following tips to keep your coffee maker clean and your coffee tasting great.
Use Commercial Cleaners
There are plenty of commercial cleaners out there that will do a great job of cleaning your coffee maker. They are specifically designed to clean well without leaving an aftertaste or residue. This is pretty important considering how much contact your coffee has with your coffee maker. I would recommend
Cafiza by Urnex
not because I have tried all the others and this one works the best, but because when I worked at Starbucks this is what we used. It worked like gangbusters and and Urnex is a pretty trusted brand in coffee cleaning supplies. They even have a
that is renewable, sustainable, and naturally occurring something not common among coffee cleaning products.
If you don't want to purchase a coffee cleaner you can just use Vinegar. Yeah I know the thought of putting vinegar through your beloved coffee maker is awful but it works. All you have to do is use a 1 to 1 mixture of vinegar and water and run it through the machine. You can do it several times with the same water and rinse with regular water and you coffee maker will be as good as new.
Cleaning Mugs and Carafes
a tip for cleaning coffee rings out of mugs and carafes using Baking Soda, something I had never tried. I tried it on a mug of mine that always had feint coffee stains in it and to my surprise it did an awesome job at cleaning it out. All you have to do is throw some baking soda into your mug, with just enough water to make a paste, and scrub. You will be shocked with what it can remove that just soap and water can not.
MOG FreePlay First Impressions
Friday, September 16, 2011 11:37 AM
MOG is a music streaming service that has recently announced a free offering to it's plans. The free plan is called FreePlay and is ad-supported with a very interesting game like feature. Instead of just giving you access to their music with ads, you have to earn your music by interacting with the site and sharing things with friends on social networks. It's not meant to hinder your listening in anyway, but to be fun and reward you for engaging and ultimately making the service better.
When you sign up for a free account you are forwarded to the newly revamped web music player where you can search and browse MOG's very large catalog of music. The web player is ad free for the first 60 days so you can get a feel for the service which was nice of them. If you use your Facebook account to create your account, MOG will fill your home page with bands it knows you like from your Facebook profile which is nice because you feel like the service already knows you and your musical tastes. The FreePlay account only gives you access to the web player. If you want to listen to music using the desktop application or on your phone you will have to upgrade to one of their premium plans.
The Free Music Meter
Like I said FreePlay makes you earn free music by referring friend and creating and sharing playlists. A meter in the top left shows how much more free music you have left and refilling it is as simple as doing one of those two tasks. MOG will also surprise users with free music as a reward for their engagement and usage of the site. It's more of a fun and engaging feature than it is an annoyance to get you to upgrade to the paid service. As time passes MOG will extend the ways you can refill your free music meter, which will keep the feature fresh and fun.
Some Great Features
Being that I'm new to MOG I'm just now discovering some of it's awesome features. Probably the most impressive one is its radio feature. I'm sure you are familiar with the way internet radio stations work on services like Pandora. Well MOG's radio station work the same why except you can pull a slider control that changes the frequency the artist the station is based on plays. So if you are listening to Weezer on the radio feature you can go from playing all Weezer songs to only playing songs by artists similar to Weezer and anywhere in-between. This is a very cool feature and is something every Pandora fan wants to be able to do, but can't because of licensing issues.
I do have a couple things that bother me about the MOG's offerings. First of all there is no Shuffle button! I know, how can you have a music player without a shuffle button? According to a support discussion they are planning on adding it soon and does have the feature on it's other players. It's probably just because the web player has gone through a recent HTML5 overhaul, so some features might be buggy or missing. Second MOG has a top tracks list but there is no way to add all of them to the queue without dragging them to the there one at a time. This is just kind of annoying because sometimes you just want to listen to the hits and it would take you forever to build that playlist. My last gripe is that you can't pause the player with the space bar. So if you want to pause the playback you have to go to the tab and find the button and click it. Just one of those little things.
All in all the service is great and should be interesting to see how it grows and changes their business. It will also be interesting to see what Facebook as in store for use at their F8 conference, where they are expected to announce a music feature. Maybe MOG is their partner or perhaps they are just one of several music partners.
New Free UPS My Choice Service - Get an SMS Before Packages Arrive
Thursday, September 15, 2011 3:30 PM
UPS has a new service called My Choice which gives customers delivery alerts via SMS, email, or phone the day before the delivery. My Choice also gives you a 4 hour delivery window so you know a ballpark to when your package will arrive at it's location. You can also authorize the package to be left at your house when it requires a signature so you never have to get those missed delivery notes.
In addition to the services I mentioned above you can also choose to have your package left at a UPS facility for pickup. My Choice has premium features as well which allow you to Deliver to a UPS Retail Location, Reschedule Delivery, Deliver to Another Address, Plan a Delivery, Leave packages with a Neighbor. These features are in addition to the free ones and come at a cost of $40 a year. Deliver to a UPS Retail Location, Reschedule Delivery, and Deliver to Another Address are available to free My Choice users for a $5 fee per use.
All in all a pretty cool service and something that will take the hassle of getting a package.
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