Hulu- Television How it is Supposed to be

Written by: Charles Sporn

Categories: Cool Stuff, Reviews

If you haven’t heard of the video website Hulu, you must be living under a rock. For the past few months, it has been the site of controversy, hate, and mild like. For those who are living under rocks, let me sum it up for you. Hulu is a joint venture between NBC Universal (NBC, USA, Sci-Fi, etc) and Newscorp (Fox, FX, Fox Sports, and iHOR (International House of Republicans)). Both of them were tired of having their shows put up on YouTube, and felt that Apple was ripping them off, so they decided to make their own site. When I first heard about this site, I assumed the usual: No downloading, heavy DRM, no Mac/Linux, and only clips. Yet I signed up anyway because, lets face it, I am a sucker for a new web service (I am the guy who signed up for the Slingbox for Mac private beta even though I do not own nor have I ever owned, a Slingbox.) A few days ago I got the email that I had been accepted, and I delved into the website with the lowest of expectations. And those expectations were blown away.
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GarageSale Reviewed

Written by: Charlie George

Categories: Cool Stuff, Reviews

garagesale.jpgLike many people you have stuff that you:
A: Want to get rid of and
B: You don’t want to give it away for free.

This is where GarageSale (http://iwascoding.com/GarageSale) comes in. If you have stuff that just has to go, and you like to use eBay, then this is the app you want to use. GarageSale is an all in one eBay selling app that takes you from the setting up your sale to feedback and completion. To give you an idea, I sold an item for this review and I am going to give you the play by play.

Setting up the application is really simple. Just give GarageSale your eBay information as it is an approved eBay application and needs to be linked, plus you can also link your PayPal information. Now you’re set!

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App of the Week: 1Password

Written by: John Fiore

Categories: Cool Stuff, Reviews

In OS X we have the Keychain and Autofill features to make managing usernames and passwords very simple. Agile Web Solutions saw the room for improvement however, thus the creation of 1Password. It is easy to dismiss 1Password as an alternative to keychain and autofill, but doing so would not be taking note of the full power of the application. 

I tried the program on recommendation of a friend and at first found it nothing more than a “neat” app, but after making use of all its features I don’t see why they aren’t built into OS X already. If you do online banking, bill paying, or have any sensitive information stored on the web you’ll quickly see why 1Password is an essential component to the operating system.  

The problem with passwords is that they really should be complex, but we often are willing trade off security for something easy to remember. It doesn’t get any easier when you have more than one account on a website. 1Password not only remembers your existing passwords, but has an amazing GUI for creating insanely secure passwords. You can access all of these with a single master password.

  .Mac, iPhone, and Palm syncing allows you to bring these passwords with you easily wherever you go. And the security features include prevention from phishing scams and keyloggers. Even if these features may not at first look appealing to you, a use of the demo will almost surely sell you on it. Check out 1Password here, and don’t forget to watch the excellent Video Introduction.Available for $29.95 USD at 

1Passwd.com

MacMania 7 – Combining Leopard and Life Boat Drills

Written by: Chris Christensen

Categories: Reviews

I attended a class by New York Times technology columnist David Pogue on the new features in Leopard recently. Mr. Pogue is a dynamic speaker and the enthusiastic crowd was rocking. No, really, I mean the room was literally rocking. Of course the room was located on Holland America’s ms Volendam so the rocking was fairly easy to explain. This class was part of Insight Cruise‘s (formerly Geek Cruises) MacMania 7 cruise.

A MacMania cruise is like a Mac conference at sea and more than one of the attendees had their attendance at conference paid for by their company (although only the most generous company will also pay for the cruise itself). The speakers on MacMania 7 were: Richard Dreyfuss (the actor), Janet Hill, David Pogue, Randal Schwartz, Jason Snell, Sal Soghoian, Derrick Story and Robin Williams (the Mac author not the actor). One of the wonderful perks of the cruise is being able to meet, talk with and generally shmooze with people who are well known in the Mac community.

The classes offered on MacMania 7 included:

  • Introduction to Lightroom
  • Introduction to Aperture
  • iPhone: The Missing Manual
  • Maximizing iPhoto
  • Photoshop for Photographers
  • Integrating Photoshop with Aperture, Lightroom, or iPhoto
  • Which Is Best for You — Aperture, Lightroom, or iPhoto?
  • iDVD and iMovie
  • Apple’s Latest and Greatest
  • The Ground Floor Guide to the Macintosh
  • Extreme Googling
  • Inside Mac OS X “Leopard”
  • Leopard Power User Tips
  • Introduction to iLife
  • Pushing iLife to the Limit
  • Amazingly Cool Utilities
  • Personal Podcasting Primer

The classes are not held while the ship is in port so that attendees and speakers alike can enjoy shore excursions or just generally explore. MacMania 7 stopped at a prvate island in the Bahamas, Aruba, Curaçao, Panama and Costa Rica with the highlight of the cruise being the Panama Canal.

The cruise had more than 4 days spent entirely at sea. If you enjoy the normal ways to spend your time on a cruise: shuffleboard, bingo, art auctions, shopping, etc then a geek cruise may not be right for you. If you can’t imagine entertaining yourself on a 10 day cruise and think that spending the time with 150 other Mac fanatics would be fun, then you might want to look into MacMania 8.

Insight Cruises also ran Shakespeare at Sea on the same cruise (which is what I was officially attending but I was allowed to attend either program). More information about the cruise can be found in Amateur Traveler Episode 113 – Theme Cruise to Panama (Shakespeare at Sea / MacMania).

Apple Wireless Keyboard: Classy & Compact

Written by: Dale Mugford

Categories: Reviews

apple_keyboard.jpg

My pre-ordered new Wireless Keyboard arrived, and I can say easily that my first impressions are very positive.

I have owned a Core2Duo MacBook for about a year, and become very accustomed to the keyboard style and layout. As a result, more and more when I sat down at my iMac to do some work I became annoyed at the bulky, blocky keyboard that came with the iMac. I even replaced it with the Wireless one that was previously released, which had little effect on my appreciation of the keyboard.

When Apple announced the new keyboard design I felt as if my mind had been read- for awhile now I had been thinking that it would be great if the keyboard for the imac was identical to that of the MacBooks. In fact, I’m considering an upgrade to a MacBook Pro, but am waiting for it as well to be upgraded to the recessed, square key design of the MacBooks and now iMac keyboards.

The New Wireless Keyboard is very, very compact. I don’t think it’s clear in the photos just how small, thin, and well-designed it is. It’s width and profile are exactly that of the MacBook’s- to a tee.
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App of the Week: Connect360

Written by: John Fiore

Categories: Reviews

Having recently purchased in an Xbox 360 I was disappointed to find out there was no native support for streaming content to your 360 from your Mac. One of the major selling points of the 360 is its ability to act as a media center, even allowing Mac formated iPods to connect via USB. Windows users can stream a wide array of media to their 360, but Mac users have been left out. This is where Nullriver Software comes in with Connect360.

The concept behind their software is to allow all of your iLife content to be streamed directly to the 360, and it works as simply as it sounds. Requiring minimal setup and only $20 USD for the full version, Connect360 is a must have for Mac and 360 owners. The only notable downsides are not the fault of Nullriver, but of DRM and Microsoft’s limited codec support.

There is a generous free trial version available that allows you to stream a limited number of photos, music, and videos at a time. For more information about supported content see this blog post from msdn.com

Quick Review: D-Link DNS-323 (Update)

Written by: Adam Christianson

Categories: Reviews

DNS-323_main.jpgAs of late I’ve been trying to solve the ever-worrisome issue of efficient and effective data backup for my personal information at home. I recently purchased and installed a product that’s put my mind at rest – at least for now. It’s the D-Link DND-323. This is a dual SATA drive NAS enclosure that allows you to configure the drives as a redundant array (RAID 1). I was able to pick up the D-Link product, and 2 500GB drives for about USD$400. This gives me just about 500GB of total storage space. The D-Link site does not show Mac compatibility for this product, but I’ve had no trouble managing and connecting to it from my MacBook Pro. The device is simple, runs pretty quiet (mine’s tucked in a basement) and has some pretty useful features:

  • Easy to use web interface for management
  • Gigabit network jack
  • Built-in USB print server
  • iTunes server (iTunes shows a Shared library)
  • Email alerts for things like drive failure, overheating, etc.
  • FTP server that can allow you to access your files remotely over the Internet (some security issues if you’re familiar with FTP)

All in all I’ve been very pleased with the device. It’s comforting to know that my family videos and pictures, as well as my digital music and important documents are being stored safely. It’s not bullet-proof, but honestly, you could ramble on forever in perinoia over backups if you let yourself. This offers a relatively low cost & simple solution to data backup. It runs the EXT2 file system and does not support NTFS – so don’t plan on using something like this in a Windows business environment where you need to set specific user permissions. The device, however, does support embedded user accounts that you can setup and manage from the web interface.

Checkout a full in depth review of the D-Link DNS-323 at ExtremeTech

Update
Editors note: I received an email from a listener in Japan who uses this also and had a note for any international listeners who may be dependent on a solution with double-byte character support.

I read the review on D-Link DNS-323. It’s a nice neat device except one thing… It does not work well with double byte character sets (or Japanese UTF-8). It doesn’t recognize Japanese file names using OS X (it works with XP, though…). Since I’m Japanese, this is very critical… I ended up creating a huge disk image on DNS-323, and coping Japanese files to the disk image…

Fuji Finepix Z5fd Review

Written by: Dave Cryer

Categories: Reviews

fuji-z5fd.jpgThe Fuji Finepix Z5fd is a compact 6.3 megapixel digital camera. This baby is really compact, small enough to fit in your shirt pocket. The 2.5-inch LCD screen is pin sharp too, which is a good thing, as you use this for framing up your shots as well and viewing playback of your photos.

A quick rundown of the specification of the Z5fd will help you to see just how featured packed this camera is. As previously mentioned you get a 6.3 megapixel resolution, a 2.5-inch LCD screen, picture stabilization and natural light modes, face detection, up to ISO 1600, 3x optical and 6.2x digital zoom. The camera has 26MB of internal memory, but no xD memory card supplied. It also has 14 quick scene modes, for things like portrait, night, and sports shots.
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A review, if you’re not “iPhoned out”

Written by: Adam Christianson

Categories: Reviews

Okay, I’m just about all iPhoned out. I know many of you are sick of it. Sorry for all the jazz…I’m posting this here mostly because I think many were expecting some sort of review from me. DONT READ IT if you don’t care about the iPhone. ;-)

A little more (EDIT- actually a LOT more) on the phone itself: A friend grabbed mine from me at midnight and wouldn’t let go of it for an hour last night! The interface is intuitive enough that he only had to ask me once or twice how to walk through the features.

Set-up

Setup was too damn easy. I’d planned on a couple of hours setting it up, getting contacts synced and all that, even though I knew it was just iTunes easy. It took 5 minutes to walk through the setup, a few more to get the activation email, and a few minutes for my contacts, calendars and music to sync into the phone. Almost boring! LOL I had no problems with activation like I see some are complaining about on the news.
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iTunes 7.2 and iTunes Plus: Initial Reactions

Written by: Alex Curtis

Categories: News, Reviews

ac-itunesplus12.png

Adam already posted that iTunes 7.2 and iTunes Plus went live, but I don’t think the actual functionality was live when he made the post. Here are a quick look and a few points I’ve noted with the new iTunes features.

After you’ve updated iTunes to 7.2 from either downloading it separately or running Software Update, when you fire-up the iTunes Store in 7.2, you may not notice much change. To setup your preferences for future iTunes Plus purchases, you’re going to want to hop into your iTunes account settings (which can be found in the quick links on the right column or by clicking on your user name just below the search field in the iTunes window). From there, the first option you should see is labeled “iTunes Plus.”
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