Tuesday, September 27, 2011

MYTH: Apple is a marketing company

The best rebuttal I've seen for this myth:

"Apple Is A Marketing Company" at Brian S Hall's blog

Other company's commercials focus on pizazz and marketing. Apple focuses on people using its products. Marketing my ass.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Great Printable Productivity Tools

Productivity Tools by David Seah.

There's so much good stuff here.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Manu Samoa Prayer

‎"Our players who art in Blue, Rugby be thy game.
When full-time come, thy will be done, in 2011 as it was in '91.
Give us each game our daily victory, and forgive us our previous shortcomings...
As we forgive those who coached in '07 (and after '91).
And lead us not to knock-out round failure, but deliver us from World Cup drought.
In the name of Fats, Birtwhistle and the Holy Samoa islands.
AMEN!"
GO BLUE!
(via Mark Esau and family)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Twitter Mobile now available for Bluesky customers in American Samoa

Announcement tweet:

http://twitter.com/#!/twittermobile/status/104598670225309696

This was actually a lot of fun to set up. It was really cool working with the team at Twitter, and actually implementing a service to interface with something as big as Twitter was really gratifying.

The only downside is that I've been killing the battery on my phone with all the texts.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Movist

I have three apps on my Mac for playing movies:
- Quicktime (included in the default install)
- VLC
Movist


Movist is currently my default video player for everything except wmv files which VLC tends to do better on. But other than that, Movist has quite a few advantages over the other two.

If you have several video files in a folder that are parts of the same clip—such as movie1.avi, movie2.avi, and movie3.avi—Movist will automatically play the next one when the first one finishes. The only caveat is that they have to be named the same with number suffixes.

You can also turn the volume up to 4x the normal maximum. Quicktime is obviously stuck at 1x and VLC only goes up to 2x. This is a boon to laptop users since the smaller speakers aren't very loud to begin with.

It's a solid app and definitely worth a look.


If You Only Read One Article About The Patent System Issues

... it should be this one.

http://thisismynext.com/2011/08/11/broken-patent-system/

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Preview Can Now Add Digital Signatures

You can now add a digital signature in Preview using your laptop camera.

View -> Show Annotations Toolbar


via TUAW



Let's Play Archive

The Let's Play Archive is a dangerous site in the same way that TVTropes.org is dangerous. It's really quite easy to lose a few hours on each of those sites.

The LP Archive is basically a collection of photos or vides of people playing through games and commenting on them. It's not a walkthrough though. It's more like MST3K with video games.

To get a feel for what it's all about, here's the LP Archive for a craptastic game that's so much more enjoyable than it was actually playing it:

Final Fantasy VII: Dirge of Cerberus by The Dark ID

Just don't say I didn't warn you.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

iPad Gaming

A couple of years ago I bought my son a Nintendo DSi and a handful of games. It's a fun platform and we've gotten many hours of enjoyment out of it. But it looks like it's days are numbered.

My son has two chances to get a new game each year: Christmas and his birthday. So, the first year I bought it, I got maybe 3 or 4 games. At about $35 a game that's $140.

A year ago, I got an iPad.

But I get pestered every paycheck for a new app, or smurfberries, or whatever the virtual currency of his latest obsession is. $0.99 here or a $1.99 there and it doesn't seem like much. But I just checked my iTunes bill for last month and I spent about $25 in Apps and  In-App Purchases.

So, in 6 months, I will have spent more money on the App Store than a year's worth of DSi games. Actually, it's quite a bit more. Just this month I bought Final Fantasy Tactics for "my son". At $15.99. So I'm on track to spend about $35 this month in the Apple ecosystem.

This is significant.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Function Flip

Way back in 2002, CrazyBrowser released a tabbed browsing wrapper for Internet Explorer 6 and it was amazing. I loved it and used it until I switched to Mac in 2007.

I was still using dialup in those days so I'm of the generation that would open a link in the background tab to load while continuing to read the current page. As such, I hardly used the back/forward functionality and switched between tabs exclusively.

The default keys for Previous Tab and Next Tab were F2 and F3 respectively. This worked out perfectly since I'm a touch typist and have my left hand on the home keys and my right hand on the mouse.

This behaviour has since become so ingrained that I add global shortcuts on my Mac to mirror this as one of the first things I always do when setting up.

However, this necessitates setting F1, F2, et al to act as function keys in System Preferences. This wasn't so bad on my 2006 Macbook Pro since the volume keys were on the left hand side and so was the Fn key. On my new Macbook, the volume keys have been moved to the right and I can no longer hold Fn and hit the volume keys with one hand. And as we all know, changing the volume is a pretty frequent task.

And then I came across Function Flip (via Shawn Blanc).



Function Flip basically gives you the option of setting specific keys back to their default hardware functions. So I can use F1 through F9 as regular function keys and use F10 through F12 as hardware keys to change the volume without having to hold Fn.

It installs as a Preference Pane and getting up and running with it is ridiculously simple. It only does one thing, but it does it well and it's the one thing I need.

Good software should make you feel like you don't know how you lived without it. Function Flip is firmly in that category.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Final Fantasy Tactics Released For iPhone

Must. Resist. Urge. To. Buy.

...

Too late. wheeeeee

iTunes Link

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Why do I Twitter?

http://twitter.com/shitmydadsays

That site is awesome. Seriously, go read it, and then come back.

...

Done? Good. Great stuff, right? But in and of itself, not a reason to go around stalking following people on Twitter.

Since 2001, I've been frequenting The Ozone Asylum forum on and off. On there, Jive started a thread on this in 2008, and I went ahead and signed up. But other than some tweets from Bugimus (@bugimus) on what he had planned for the weekend, there wasn't really much there to interest me. (Not that Bugs wasn't having interesting weekends back then. :) )

Fast forward to earlier this week, and someone mentions @shitmydadsays to me. So I read it, and I damn near died laughing. My endorphin hazed brain then hit on something profound, at least for me.

Twitter is really just a way to listen to interesting people. But the beauty of it is that you get to decide what's interesting.

I read Daring Fireball almost religiously, and I think I'd John Gruber would be a pretty interesting guy in real life. So I follow his Twitter stream. Simple as that.

When I'm browsing the internet, and I come across an interesting blog post where the author has a Twitter, I'll follow him for a few days. If I don't like his stream, I unfollow. Again, pretty simple.

But then, some of my friends on Facebook use it like broadcast SMS. "Hey, let's do pizza tonite. Meet at Pizza Hut."

Twitter in Plain English is good, but is a bit narrow in scope. Then again, it's hard to explain twitter to someone who doesn't already know what it is.

So, here's a quick way to get started. Sign up, find some people that interest you and start following. Don't be afraid to reply to their posts. I know a guy who tweeted Mariah Carey for a year just to get a response.

If you're from the South Pacific, it's a great way to connect with islanders from all over the world. Search for the hash tag #teampoly and start following people on there.

Short version:

  1. Follow a bunch of people
  2. Reply to the one's you find interesting
  3. There is no step 3
Enjoy.



$500 For An Ethernet Cable?!

You've got to be fucking kidding me.

http://gadgets.boingboing.net/2008/06/13/500-ethernet-cable-a.html

This is highway robbery and is aimed at naïve audiophiles. There is nothing here that a regular run of Cat6 won't do. Even the product description is bullshit:
"...signal directional markings are are provided for optimum signal transfer..."

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

George R. R. Martin Is Hardly A Slacker

John Scalzi writes on Whatever:
"During those years the unsocialized were snarling at Martin for being lazy or procrastinating or indolent or whatever, he wrote about as many words for novels as I had. By this superficial but easy-to-quantify metric, on the novel front he was as productive as I was, and most people seem to agree that I’ve been pretty productive these last six years. I just spread my words around five novels while he poured all of his into one."
A Small Observation Regarding Words And Releases 

I'll admit, I was one of those people who bitched about Martin taking six years to write a book, and Scalzi's analysis proves that I was wrong.

I think the main complaint is that the books are so good that's a bit of a letdown when you get to the end and there's so much story left to tell. The last book is no exception.

The chapters jump around between the different characters, and at the end of every chapter you're a little annoyed at reading about a different character. However, halfway through that chapter you're so engrossed in the character that by the end you get annoyed when it switches back or switches to another. And yet, I loved every minute of it.

Get the book. Read it. Seriously.



(Full disclosure: buy it from the link above and I get a few cents. Yay me.)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Easily Generate Hex Passwords

From Terminal:

openssl rand -base64 8 | md5 | head -c8;echo


Or use ping:


ping -c1 google.com | md5 | head -c8;echo


Via http://osxdaily.com/2011/05/10/generate-random-passwords-command-line/

Monday, July 11, 2011

Monday, June 27, 2011

Download Skype Without Having To Sign In

Skype recently start the idiotic process of requiring users to sign-in to their Skype accounts before giving them a download link. To get around that, use the links on this page:

http://ptspts.blogspot.com/2010/11/how-to-download-skype-without-having-to.html

Windows 7 Aero Peek

Here are some useful registry keys for Windows 7 Aero Peek. If you don't know how to edit the registry, you probably shouldn't be messing with it.

These are all 32-bit DWORDs.

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced

* DesktopLivePreviewHoverTime - 0
- Time between mousing over the bottom right and the desktop appearing
* ThumbnailLivePreviewHoverTime - 4294967295 or 3600000
- time between hovering over the taskbar thumbnail and the preview showing
* ExtendedUIHoverTime - 0
- time between hovering over the taskbar item and the thumbnails showing

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\AltTab

* LivePreview_ms
- Alt-tab live preview delay time

DWORD max value 4294967295

Log out, log back in, and you're good to go.

Friday, June 24, 2011

A Comprehensive Look at Dig

Available here: http://www.madboa.com/geek/dig/

The ones I use most:

dig +short
dig mx
dig any
dig aaaa
dig -x

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Monday, June 20, 2011

John Stewart on Fox News

John Stewart is awesome. John Stewart on Fox News, is priceless. I'm pretty sure Chris Wallace knew what he was in for, but it's still great to watch.

http://gothamist.com/2011/06/20/video_jon_stewart_says_the_times_bi.php

via Daring Fireball

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

Being a dad is rewarding and joyful and amazing. It's also one of the toughest things I've ever had to do.

Being a dad is being the authoritarian. The disciplinarian. It's laying down the law-and enforcing that law-and all the while praying that your kid doesn't hate you. It's listening to him cry and being firm. And hurting when they do. It's watching them run to their mom, who represents comfort, and doubting that you did the right thing. It's hoping that one day they'll understand.

They probably won't. Not for a long time.

It's wanting to spend time with your kids, and always getting caught up in work or reading the paper your RSS feeds. It's spending the whole day with them, trying to spend some time with your wife in the evenings, and then hearing them say that you never spend any time with them.

It's tough. It sucks sometimes. And half the time you wonder if you're going insane.

But it's also watching them graduate from Kindergarten and trying not to cry. It's watching them learn how to walk and realizing that the whatever shit task you had at work is nowhere near as hard as that.

It's being the hero in their story and conquering the monster-under-the-bed. It's working a 17-hour shift and knowing that your wife had a harder day than you did.

It's hoping your children will do better in life than you did and at the same time secretly hoping you'll be as great as your dad was.

It's laughter and tears. It's happy and sad. It's hugs and kisses. It's a damn country song on repeat. And I wouldn't trade it for the world.

So this is for all the father's out there. If you've ever wondered whether you're doing a good job or not, you are. You just won't find out for a long time. But the journey is going to be one of the best things you'll ever do with your life.

And this is for my sons, who I hope will one day understand as I did. And who I hope won't hate me when I have to be the bad guy. And who will always want 200% of my time. I love you guys.

This is for my grandfathers, who I miss more than words could say.

Being a grandfather is the reward you get for being a dad. It's spoiling your grandkids, and always being the good guy.

This is also for my Dad.

I didn't really understand my Dad until I had kids of my own. Even now, when I talk about my Dad, it's always a capital 'D'. And while I still think I know everything about life, when he talks, there's always a part of my that immediately says, "Yes, Dad".

And this is for all the times when you said someday I'd understand. Because I do. I've understood ever since I had my first son. And I love you for raising me the way you did. And I'm sorry for the times I have be tough on the kids. It's easier being a grandparent, and I hope I make it that far. I'll probably give my son the same stern look you're giving me when he has to be tough on his kids. You probably learned that look from your father.

What I'm saying is, I'm sorry for being such a little shit sometimes when I was a kid. Although, I think we can agree that this is a case where the punishment fits the crime.

I love you, Dad.

Happy Father's Day.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Dear Photograph

http://dearphotograph.com/

A great idea for a Photo tumble blog.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Karspersky CTO Tries To Prop His Business

Mac Daily News
“Apple cannot continue to lock down its iOS platform and restrict the types of software developed for it, says security firm Kaspersky’s CTO Nikolay Grebennikov,” Stuart Sumner reports for Computing.
MacDailyNews Take: Kaspersky’s CTO Nikolay Grebennikov. Taking disingenuousness to the next level. Why didn’t he just come right out and say, “We wish Apple would make its platform insecure like Google, so that we can sell ‘security’ to hundreds of millions of iOS users?”
Spot on. (emphasis mine)

The State of the Tablet Market

Marco Arment does a nice deconstruction of the Ars Technica review:
"Android tablets have managed to copy the iPad’s hardware well enough — the easy part — but have failed to provide good software and significant third-party app choice — the hard part."
(via Daring Fireball)

And in other news, Acer cuts its table forecast in half.

The most apt description of it all is summed up by Dare Obasanjo on Twitter:
"Acer finds out what I've always said, there isn't a tablet market, there's an iPad market..."

Thursday, June 16, 2011

World IPv6 Day Was A Success - ISOC

Great overview at CircleID.

Also:
"Based on the encouraging results, we’ve decided to leave our Developer site dual-stacked, supporting both IPv4 and IPv6. And we will continue to adapt our entire code base and tools to support IPv6."
Donn Lee, Facebook Engineering

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Lunar Eclipse - End of Humanity

Wikipedia link earlier today when clicking on the Google headline for the lunar eclipse:
"A lunar eclipse is when the moon turns black and explodes, releasing a poisonous gas, killing all of humanity..."
It takes you to the real Wikipedia page, but I'm not sure if this bit of humour is from Google or Wikipedia.

Sadly, the link no longer shows up like this if you check now.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Unlocked iPhone Direct From Apple

This is huge. Especially if you travel between Samoa and the mainland a lot.

http://store.apple.com/us/product/MC603LL/A?mco=MjI4NTM2NTM

Via TUAW

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Attack the Block


Looks pretty sick.

HD Trailer on YouTube

Thursday, June 9, 2011

CSL Offering Free Internet Access for Samoa Primary Schools

http://www.spasifikmag.com/publiceducationpage/26may11freeinternetaccess/

Great job by CSL.

LeBrondown

This article pretty much sums up my thoughts about Lebron James.

http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/6640925/time-lebrondown-part-ii

Micheal's getting a little old now, but the 1998 Jordan would have wiped the floor with this guy.

via kottke.org

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Sarah Palin: A Hero’s Journey?!

WTF?! moment of the day:

http://www.overthinkingit.com/2011/06/06/sarah-palin-a-heros-journey/

Maybe this is why people like her. Of course, going from what she is now to Wonder Woman is a pretty tall order.

NBC's The Voice Counting iTunes Downloads As Votes

That's actually a pretty good idea. Considering the aim of the The Voice is to get a recording contract, counting how many songs an artist actually sells would be a good indicator of how they sell if signed.

Plus, adding money to the mix means your votes really will count. You wouldn't download a garbage song just because the singer looked hot. Or would you?

via http://mashable.com/2011/06/07/itunes-the-voice/

'Functionally Cured' of HIV

Helluva story.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_thelookout/20110603/us_yblog_thelookout/first-man-functionally-cured-of-hiv

Laptop Runs Faster On Battery

Here's a Dell Latitude e6400 with SpeedStep turned on running with the charger plugged in.


A Core 2 Duo running at 800Mhz?! Yup, the multiplier has been set to 6 and the frequency is halved at 133.

Ok, let's unplug the power and run off battery.


Oh, hey, 2.5GHz. That's more like it.

Unfortunately, this means I get full speed for about two hours then have to put up with 800MHz on battery.

But what happens if we disable SpeedStep? Well, then it sets it to the lowest clock multiplier of 6, but the regular frequency of 266, and I get about 1.6GHz all the time, on charger and battery.


What I'm guessing is that the 65W charger that the laptop came with doesn't provide enough power to run the laptop at full speed. A 90W charger may solve the issue, but I don't have one to test with.

For now, I'll probably just compromise, turn off SpeedStep and run at 1.6GHz. 

p.s. Turning off SpeedStep has to be done in the BIOS and requires a reboot. Ugh.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Infinity Blade Earnings Exceed $10 Million

According to the press release, ChAIR Entertainment has made over $10 Million dollars on Infinity Blade in the first 6 months of release.

That means they would have had to make over $16.6 Million total considering Apple's 30% cut. That's over 2.7M units sold.

To put that into perspective, Gears of War sold over 3 million units in 10 weeks, and Gears of War 2 sold over 3 million units in its first month of release.

Now, 2.7M units over 6 months isn't much compared to that, but I'm willing to bet that ChAIR is keeping a far larger share of the retail price than it would have with a game using the regular publishing methods on any of the main platforms.

IOS 5 Feature: Reminders

Reminders are pretty cool, but not really noteworthy except for one simple feature: Location Reminders.

Getting reminded to buy milk when I walk into the store? Yeah, that's some I'm-living-in-the-future type shit right there.

Best of Behind the Scenes

Great behind the scenes shots on Angus Shamal's blog.



via Daring Fireball

Monday, June 6, 2011

Graphing Bandwidth Over Time In Excel

You would think that something as simple as graphing a rate over time would be easy in Excel—and it is—but you it's not really intuitive, at least to me.

Let's say you have 48-hours worth of data (I'm making this up, btw).


If you try to select these two columns and then click on Line Graph, here's what you get.


That's obviously not what we want. The trick is to use a Scatter Plot. I prefer Straight Marked Scatter.



And here's the final result.


I did have to make two changes.
  1. Vertically align the x-axis text
  2. Change the x-axis scale

Friday, June 3, 2011

Windows: Show Hidden Folders After Virus Infection

Run this command on the folder or drive that has the hidden folders:

e:\attrib -a -s -r -h /s /d

Command Switches:

-a : clear archive attribute
-s : clear system file attribute
-r : clear read-only file attribute
-h : clear hidden file attribute (normally this is all you need, but the virus tagged them as system files as well)
/s : match files in the current folder and sub-folders
/d : process folders as well as files




Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Listening to...

Best Love SongBest Love Song by T-Pain feat Chris Brown. It's catchy and upbeat. And I've had it on blast all morning.

(Full disclosure: that's a referral link. If a thousand people click it and buy the song, I might get $1.00USD. Whee.)

Adding Facebook Comments to Blog

I followed the instructions here: http://www.allblogtools.com/tricks-and-hacks/exclusive-integrate-facebook-comments-box-for-blogger-in-very-easy-and-simple-steps-full-guide/

Note the following:
- you need a verified Facebook account (add either your mobile or a credit card to your profile)
- if you just copy/paste everything, you'll end up with a big, ugly image promoting that site

For just the comments without the image, paste this instead for the last part:

<b:if cond='data:blog.pageType == &quot;item&quot;'>
<script src='http://connect.facebook.net/en_US/all.js#xfbml=1'/>
<div><fb:comments width='450' expr:title='data:post.title' expr:href='data:post.url' expr:xid='data:post.id'/></div>
</b:if>

Now, I applaud the guy for putting up an easy guide to implementing this, and I'm gladly providing a link back to him at the top of this post.

But links to his site on every post that uses the comment system? Yeah, smells like SEO garbage.

Updated: If you change your template, you have to repeat the process again as I just found out.

Coffee?!

"You may also wish to note what other things are categorized as Group 2B possible carcinogens, including gasoline, pickled vegetables, and (GASP!) coffee." - Why I’m (still) not worried about my cell phone hurting my brainPhil Plait


via Daring Fireball

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Cell Phones and Cancer

If you read nothing else about the issue, read this.

Why People Think Cell Phones Cause Cancer by Glenn Fleishman

via The Angry Drunk

Windows Phone 7

Best review of Windows Phone 7 that I've seen by Lukas Mathis. Summary: a really good Mobile OS with a few shortcomings.

http://ignorethecode.net/blog/2011/05/31/windows_phone_7/

via Shawn Blanc