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July 2009

Written By: Gary on July 30, 2009 No Comment

Apple has finally released the iPhone iDisk application for the iPhone! Bottom line is that you can browse your iDisk from your iPhone. You can view PDFs, Office and iWork docs.

idisk.pngPros:

  • It’s Free!
  • You can view PDFs, HTML, Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) and iWork docs.
  • It’ll view images and stream video and audio (Apple supported formats).
  • It will cache files to the iPhone for faster access and you get to define how much space to use.
  • You can search to find your files.
  • You can share files right from the iPhone.
  • You can delete from the phone (oops, maybe this is a con!).
  • Works in landscape mode.
  • Keeps track of files you recently accessed via the iPhone.
  • You can access other member’s public folders.

    Cons:

  • You can’t view text clippings (why not?!?).
  • You can only view by alphabetical order.
  • HTML links are not clickable.
  • Can’t see full filenames sometimes (landscape helps) or file creation dates.

    All together, if you’ve got MobileMe and use the iDisk, this is a no-brainer to download.

  • Written By: Gary on July 29, 2009 2 Comments

    I never imagined getting my memos (just text notes) from my Palm Treo 755p could be such a hassle. First let me point out how important some of these memos are to me, they aren’t just from my Treo 755p: before that they were on my Treo 700p, before then they were on my Samsung SPH-i500 (best phone ever!) and also my Samsung(s) SPH-i330 and SPH-i300 (from 2001, I think). So some of these note have been around for a while…

    Googling around there is no good solution to get them on the phone into the iPhone Notes application, lots of people looking for solutions. The simple solution (but not what I wanted) was just to open Palm Desktop (for the Mac) and print all your memos to a PDF file and e-mail it to yourself and you can always open that later (or store it on your iDisk if you have MobileMe).

    Here’s the steps I went through to get them into the iPhone Notes application (I’ve only been using an iPhone since OS 3.0 so I don’t know when they added the Notes feature):

    phoneview.jpg1- Export your memos from the Palm Desktop software (I did this on my MacBook) choosing exported as tab delimited (you can turn some of the columns off if you want, I only exported the title and the body of the memos).
    2- Then I opened this text file up in the Mac’s TextEdit application, did a few search and replaces of any goofy characters.
    3- Then I used PhoneView from ecamm to view the notes on the phone.
    Here’s the mundane part:
    4- I highlighted the title and body of a memo.
    5- Dragged the selected text into the PhoneView application and let go.
    6- PhoneView created a memo with the first line of text being the title which was exactly what I wanted.
    7- Go back to step 4 and repeat for every memo you want. I only kept about 60% of my memos and more than a few of those might be out of date (but I have them!!!).
    8- Click the Apply Changes button in PhoneView to save the changes to the iPhone.
    9- I then exited the application and synced with iTunes.
    10- I then checked the Mail application on my MacBook for my Notes (why are notes kept in the Mail application?) and they were all there.

    PhoneView has a free demo, but I don’t know if any limitations will stop you from doing this. I already owned the application so I don’t know about this. If you’re reading this far, you obviously owned a Palm OS handheld so if you ever owned BeamPro, this is the company that wrote that software. And ecamm is the same company that wrote CardRaider which saved my Chicago photos last summer.

    Obviously, PhoneView isn’t made by Apple so I’m sure if it screws something up, it’s not covered under warranty. But a restore from your backup should make it all happy again if something happens.

    More ramblings about this process:

    This will take you a while if you have thousands of notes, so I thought I’d mention a few things.

    After step one (1) I was able to import this document into the spreadsheet in Google Docs and it put the title in one column and the body in another, so if you can manipulate it from there you might be okay. If I recall correctly if I could save each memo as it’s own text file I could just drag that to the Mail application Notes area (or PhoneView) but I didn’t have a way to separate the memos easily. Otherwise I think I just could have dragged 100 notes files in very quickly (Mail didn’t want let me drag TextClippings in nor could I view them via the iPhone iDisk application).

    Remember, the notes only get synced with iTunes, no wireless syncing with MobileMe (not even an option to view in MobileMe).

    Written By: Gary on July 25, 2009 One Comment

    I think it’s safe to say at this point I’ve become a huge WordPress fan. But I was a huge MovableType fan for a long time and I miss a few things about it.

    What I really miss (and would like) in WordPress is –

    • A good search and replace in the administration interface (dashboard).
    • An easy way to maintain multiple websites with one login interface (a dashboard deluxe). From Movable Type I could maintain several blogs and with blogging clients I only had to log in once to configure for multiple blogs.
    • An easy way to maintain multiple websites with one login interface (a dashboard deluxe). From Movable Type I could maintain several blogs and with blogging clients I only had to log in once to configure for multiple blogs.

    Maybe I can do do this with WordPress mu (multi-user)? I’m thinking the last few times I looked at it mu still didn’t handle things the way I wanted it to. Multiple blogs with different domain names still seemed to need plug-ins and I guess I’d feel better if it was integrated in the core. And I’m thinking not all plug-ins are WPmu compatible. I’m thinking when WordPress and WordPress mu becomes one product the plug-ins compatibility will change.

    Written By: Gary on July 24, 2009 One Comment

    The banner is an edit from a photo I took in Cardiff, Wales. It is of the Wales Millennium Centre (see photo) with (what they simply call) The Water Tower in front of it.
    walesmillenniumcentre.png
    These are located in Roald Dahl Plass (plaza) dedicated to the Cardiff born author Roald Dahl. This Millennium Centre is beautiful at night, I didn’t have my camera when I wandered down there when I was in town, but that photo will be on my list for the next trip. And hopefully there will be water coming out of The Water Tower next time too! The Plass is lit very pretty too!

    I’ve been thinking about Cardiff and also thinking about changing my photo so I choose this. I don’t have a lot of really wide photos that crop well so I looked around and found this one. Plus, I’ve got Torchwood on the the brain this week (month).

    On the photo (in this post) if you read the right half of the building you can see it says: “In These Stones Horizons Awen (Awe and?) Sing”. The left half says something in Welsh. I was told the building is built from materials made all in Wales.

    Written By: Gary on July 23, 2009 No Comment

    I’ve found a new WordPress plug-in that I like. It’s called “A Year Before“.

    It’s got options to show a year ago today (or months or days) what you were blogging about. I’m using “anniversary mode” which I think is taking the post from today for as many years back as it can find.

    Don’t worry if you haven’t been blogging long it’s got a “range” to show posts near a year ago (or six months ago). I’m running it on WordPress 2.8.2 (as of this writing) and it seems to be fine.

    On This Date

    2008 Best fix for my Convertible Rear Windshield
    2008 MacBook Rumors seem to be rising…
    2007 The Future of Television is selling me individual custom episodes
    2005 Google Moon
    2005 Don’t Be Afraid… Be Ready!
    2004 Photos! (London)
    2004 Did we walk? Boy did we walk!
    2004 Cowboy Junkies and Shawn Colvin

    I’ve been using it the last few days at the bottom of my left sidebar, but since I’m blogging about it I moved it to the top of the left sidebar, so you can see what it really looks like. I copied the text here so the links actually work. I’m not sure where I’ll move it to later.

    It’s interesting, maybe more to me than you, but they always say you should show links to older posts for newer readers. Without even reading them I’m reminded about a trip to London (and the concert I went to a few days before) and the slideshow viewer that never detected flash properly, a homeland security site (which now appears to be a FEMA site), Google maps adding the Moon, my dreams for a new MacBook and how $5 fixed my convertible roof saving me hundreds of dollars (and save multiple readers the same!).

    Written By: Gary on July 21, 2009 No Comment

    Torchwood: Children of Earth started in the US on BBC America last night and runs for the next four nights, kind of a mini-series of a season. Torchwood: Children of Earth [Blu-ray] BBC WarnerYou can already get Torchwood: Children of Earth at iTunes for $2.99 per episode in HD (or $1.99 for standard). Not bad if you don’t have BBC America in your cable package. Generally, iTunes has been that fast for US shows, but I don’t think they’ve been that fast with the BBC shows (or maybe it just seems longer since the BBC airs them so much earlier in the UK). I’m not sure what they’ll charge for the whole season once it’s available later this week (Torchwood seasons Season’s One and Two episodes are only $1.99 for HD and $0.99 for standard definition and you don’t even have to buy the whole season).

    Amazon has it on pre-order Blu-ray or DVD which ships next week.

    Written By: Gary on July 20, 2009 No Comment

    I mentioned the anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing earlier today. Here’s a few other “space” things that caught my eye:

    themoon.jpg

  • Apollo 11 restored HD video.
  • Send your name to Mars and get a certificate.
  • For your iPhone and iPod Touch get SkyVoyager and SkyGazer for free today (normally $17.98 combined).
  • Photos of the Moon landing sites from the LRO.
  • And Google has added the Moon to Google Earth (desktop application).
  • That’s it for now. Please post any recommended links in the comments below.

    Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

    Written By: Gary on July 20, 2009 No Comment

    On this day 40 years ago Apollo 11 landed on the Moon. astronaut_Apollo_11.jpg I’m not sure what else needs to be added to that statement: “We landed on the Moon”! How amazing is that?!?

    Just for some frame of reference: The Moon is 238,000 miles away (384,000 km), if you were driving 75 miles per hour it would take you 3,100 hours. Keep in mind that’s speeding and you don’t get to pull over for any bathroom breaks or snacks!

    Actually it took them more like five days to get there, so just dividing that out, that’s around 2,000 miles per hour (assume it took them a while to speed up and slow down).

    When I was a kid, my mother purchased me a two record set of the mission. Lots of audio recordings of the launch and landing. I’m thinking there was some insert with a bunch of photos too. I played that a lot on my record player. I don’t have any idea what year she purchased that, but I’d say I was six or seven(?), and it was amazing to me!

    It’s still amazing to me. Whenever I can watch a launch of some kind or another, I always turn on the TV and still get thrills and chills. I get chills just thinking about it as I’m writing this…

    Apollo_11_bootprint.jpg
    The sad part is we only landed six times and then we stopped.

    Photos courtesy of Wikipedia.

    Written By: Gary on July 16, 2009 No Comment

    Abnormally Attracted To Sin is only $2.99 (it’s now up to $949 [7/22]) right now at Amazon for the 17 track album. Abnormally Attracted To Sin Tori Amos/Republic RecordsI can’t say how long this offer is going to last but I just picked up my copy!

    iTunes wants $11.99 for Abnormally Attracted To Sin with one (1) bonus track (Oscar’s Theme), probably not worth $9.00 for that much more.

    What iTunes does offer is an Abnormally Attracted To Sin deluxe edition with with fifteen (15) videos for $13.99 (which also includes the 18 songs!), that might be worth it for the big fan. Personally, I don’t watch the videos enough to make it worth it.

    Obviously these prices will change eventually, but I’m sure the the $2.99 price probably wont last long.

    Written By: Gary on July 16, 2009 One Comment

    Forty-four minutes of video of Tori Amos playing at KCRW this morning.

    Below is just the audio of the show.

    Here’s a direct link for video and audio.

    She plays new and old music (lots of old!). I found it really enjoyable! There is some interviews in the middle of there too (starts about 15 minutes in and last for 12-14 minutes).

    PS – You can get CitiBank $5 lawn tickets for Tori Amos in Indianapolis, IN on 8/7/09 and Miami Beach, FL on 7/29/09 (sort by event and look on pages 3 and 4). There might be some other fees, but it’s still got to be a deal. I’m sure this offer won’t last long, if you check and they’re gone, please leave a comment and I’ll cross it off. If you get the deal leave a comment too!

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    Written By: Gary on July 12, 2009 One Comment

    Apple iPhone 3G Holster Clip BoxWave CorporationSo I have a holster for my iPhone that looks like this (I think it’s this same case with different branding). And it’s a great case! It’s plastic and holds the phone in just perfect, the clip at the top keeps the phone from bouncing out (the clip is important to me). But it’s got the screen exposed…

    What I want is for the iPhone to face inward, to protect the screen. That’s what I had for my 755p and I really liked that. Any suggestions?

    I’ve only found one and it doesn’t look like it has a clip at the top, not sure how it rotates without phone falling out.

    Honestly, I’m tempted to get a heat gun and make it a little bigger at the bottom so it’ll fit face forward. I just don’t know how much more fragile that will make the plastic. Plus, there isn’t anything soft on the plastic to protect the screen.

    UPDATE: This is the Seidio iPhone case and clip that I got.

    Written By: Gary on July 11, 2009 No Comment

    autostitch-icon.pngSo one of the coolest programs I’ve downloaded from the iPhone App Store is AutoStitch. It takes a bunch of photos and stitches them together. Alex Lindsey talked about this on MacBreak Weekly a few weeks ago. He spoke so highly of it, I plopped down my $1.99 and started using it immediately.

    autostitch-screen-capture.PNGYou take a bunch of overlapping photos and it stitches them together, it does this completely automatically, there is no user intervention. You can use pictures you’ve taken with the iPhone but you can just as easily use pictures that you’ve synced with the phone. So this can work for the iPod Touch too, just sync some photos and when you’ve got some spare time, stitch them together. It does an amazing job.

    I first used some photos that I shot on my Canon SD1100, it that just happened to be synced to the phone and did a great job of stitching them together. So you don’t need an iPhone, an iPod Touch with photos that you’ve synced works great too.

    Above you can see a sample screenshot from the program where I chose 22 photos and it stitched them together (click it to enlarge). Remember all I did was pick the photos and a few minutes later it churned these out. All these photos were taken with the iPhone 3gs. If I cropped some of the edges of the photos, it’d look like I took there with a really wide angle lens.

    Here are two samples:

    detroit-cityfestjaggies.JPG
    I chose this one specifically so you can really see how it pieces these together. It’s got gaps in it, (I think) this is the one I took 22 photos for the image; just the part with the people on the blanket in the middle is 3 or 4 images.
    Click the image to enlarge to 2,500 by 800 pixels.


    detroitcityfest.JPG
    This one is more complete as I took many up and down photos to go with it. That’s the Detroit Fisher Building on the left.
    Click the image to enlarge to 2,000 by 1,000 pixels.

    These pictures were taken at CityFest in Detroit this summer.

    I’ve used it multiple times and only once had a problem; it got confused when I did a 360 panorama when the same type of railing showed up several times, this was because all the condos where I live are similar so it really couldn’t match things up. There are some matching issues with color/contrast and people moving, but this is really great!

    This software is well worth the $1.99! I think I got that much fun out of it in the first hour, let alone all the time since then. ZZZ

    Written By: Gary on July 6, 2009 No Comment

    Torchwood: Children of Earth BBC WarnerDon’t forget Torchwood is on the the next five days starting today on BBC one. That’s it, the whole season three is only these next five days (more info on Torchwood here).

    The mini-series only starts today in the UK, Austrailia and maybe a few others. Each episode is 75 minutes, be sure to pad your VCR DVR in case it runs late. I think most of the rest of the world has to wait until July 20th, 2009 (that’s when it starts on BBC America).

    Watch the Torchwood (HQ) trailer here.

    And if you didn’t listen to the three radio plays last week, you have a few more hours to download those free Torchwood plays. I think this download is good for anywhere in the world.

    P.S. You can order Torchwood: Children of Earth now (available in HD too.

    Written By: Gary on July 5, 2009 No Comment

    Seriously, I’ve done similar offers in the past for offers like these, it’s been a while since I’ve seen them worth this much. This is for a Chase card and it looks like after your first month’s purchase you get 25,000 points to fly (up to $312.50 because you get a 25% bonus for booking on-line) or you can turn that into gift cards. Picture 34.pngI read somewhere you could also turn that into cash, but I haven’t actually done that before (I’ve signed up for cards with $250 rewards for first purchase though).

    Make sure you click on a link at the site that says you get the 25,000 bonus; if not, you’ll just get 10,000. I got there from this link.

    Who knows how long this will last, but if you’ve been dying for an iPhone 3gs, here you go…

    Yes, it seems too good to be true, but what do you have to lose. If it doesn’t work just cancel the card. No annual fee for the first year.

    Found at SlickDeals.net. I just signed up and was approved on-line. PS – You might have noticed I’ve redone the ads around the site, but this is not any kind of a referral link that benefits me.

    Written By: Gary on July 4, 2009 33 Comments

    Doctor Who - The Complete Second Series Sci-Fi Channel, TheSo this isn’t a chronology timeline, but more of a viewing guide on when to watch the TV episodes as they tie together with Torchwood. This is the order I believed they originally aired the episodes and watching them in that order works well.

    • Doctor Who S1 Rose
    • Doctor Who Christmas Special 2005 Rose
    • Doctor Who S2 Rose
    • Doctor Who Christmas Special 2006 Donna
    • Torchwood S1
    • Doctor Who S3 Martha
    • “Time Crash” – a mini-episode (only a few minutes) from a children’s fund raiser (BBC’s Children In Need) starring David Tennant and Peter Davidson The Doctor
    • Doctor Who Christmas Special 2007 Astrid
    • Torchwood S2
    • Doctor Who S4 Donna
    • Doctor Who Christmas Special 2008 The Doctor
    • Doctor Who Easter Special 2009 Christina
    • Torchwood Radio Plays (July 2009)
    • Torchwood Season 3 (Children of Earth)
    • Doctor Who November Special 2009: Waters of Mars Adelaide
    • Doctor Who December 2-part Special 2009: The End of Time Wilf

    If you read on, I’ll be giving you some spoilers, but I can’t really talk about continuity without talking about it. If you watch them in the above order you don’t need to read on.

    I only mentioned the radio plays since they were just released and definitely take place after season two. I’ve listened to the first two and so far it doesn’t seem significant that they need to take place before they should be listened to before the Children of Earth mini-series (no plot ramifications, but they chronologically take place before the 3rd series).

    The Sarah Jane Adventures can be watched any time but after her guest appearance in season 2 of Doctor Who would be best (especially if you don’t know who she is) and as long as you’ve started them before the before the end of season four of Doctor Who.

    Torchwood - The Complete First Season BBC WarnerTorchwood Season 1 could be watched any time after the first Doctor Who Christmas episode (but before the end of Season 3 of DW). I don’t think the other Doctor Who specials (or 2009 DW specials) make any difference to watching Torchwood, at least they haven’t yet; but you do want to watch them in order just for continuity of Doctor Who. There are lots of Torchwood references in DW season 2 that might be better if you see them all before watching Torchwood, but I don’t think these tie directly to Torchwood Cardiff (many were just more hints to get you into the new series). Later on, other guest appearances make more sense if you catch them in order, but you’ll probably figure them out, Martha makes appearances on TW and Jack is on DW three different seasons (1, 3, 4) for multiple episodes all at the end of the season. I’m sure someone will disagree with me on some of the significance of some of the references, but I’ll defer back to the original broadcast order listed above.

    Torchwood: Children of Earth BBC WarnerI think I originally watched parts of Doctor Who season two and caught up on DW season one and saw many episodes out of order and the different actors were distracting, but then I got it all when I finally caught the end of season one and the first Christmas special. This causes me to mix up Christopher Echelson and David Tennant when I think back about past episodes. Also, I think I was watching Torchwood before I watched most of season two of Doctor Who so some of the references came after the fact.

    By the time I watched Torchwood, I knew it was the same actor for Jack, but didn’t remember they were using the same character for him. I didn’t even realize it was SciFi at first, the Torchwood pilot seemed more mystical (think of they way the glove worked) until they explained it. Then I realized it was the same guy.

    Update: These aren’t all relevant for Torchwood, but it rounds out the David Tennant part of the series (although for that I should add the cartoons and Srah Jane’s Wedding).

    Written By: Gary on July 2, 2009 One Comment

    If the internet were portrayed as a musical, this could be it.

    Here’s the direct link to the video.

    Found here at But You’re A Girl.

    Written By: Gary on July 1, 2009 No Comment

    So I’ve mentioned Torchwood a few times in the past. But it’s the start of Torchwood month, so it’s time to talk about it some more.

    For the next few days Wednesday-Friday they are doing audio plays on BBC radio 4, you can listen to these live at 2:15 London time or you can download the Torchwood Radio plays until July 2, 2009 for FREE (I assume you can pay for them afterwards). This is three (3) different episodes about 45 minutes each. You have to wait until they broadcast them for them to be on-line. (Note: at some point on Thursday the MP3 of the Wednesday episode, Asylum, became unavailable in the US, so don’t wait. I can still listen to the stream of Asylum in the US here.)

    tw-asylum.png

    Torchwood: Children of Earth BBC WarnerAfter this week season three starts, or as the brits say “series” three, on Monday July 6th in the UK on BBC One (and a few other places) and Monday July 20th in the US on BBC America (and other places). I might be mistaken but I think July 20 is the launch of BBC America in HD! Here’s the weird thing, it’s on for five nights in a row and then the season is over. It’s a mini-series called “Torchwood: Children of Earth”, supposed to be 75 minute cliff-hanger episodes every night. And then we wait a year for season four.

    P.S. You can order Torchwood: Children of Earth now (available in HD too).

    Watch the Torchwood HQ trailer here.

    For those of you not in the know, Torchwood is sort of an offshoot of Doctor Who, a bit less of a family show tha DW, but it’s not really tied to Doctor Who. It’s got more kissing, violence, running and kissing that your average Sci-Fi TV show. The main character, Captain Jack Harkness was originally on Doctor Who (3 or 4 episodes of the 2005 season) before season one of Torchwood and still does a few guest appearances on DW, but the Doctor has yet to be on Torchwood. So while Jack appears on Dr. Who, The Doctor only gets the occasional reference on Torchwood, regardless of Gwen mentioning him below…

    Watch the Creepy Torchwood HQ trailer here.

    FYI, if you scramble the letters of Torchwood, you get Doctor Who. It was originally what they called Doctor Who when they were doing the new series in 2005, so no one would know what they were talking about. This was so no one would sneak onto sets, steal early footage or scripts, etc.

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