Building on the expertise they’ve gained by firing two CEOs in less than a year, HP has launched CEO Swapper — a beautifully designed iPad app that makes it easier than ever to dispose of one CEO and pop in a new one.
CEO Swapper streamlines the CEO replacement process by putting all the basics at your fingertips. Using HP’s proprietary CEO Seeker™ technology, you can search the current pool of possible CEOs by category: your previous CEOs, competitors’ CEOs and washed-up CEOs that might be available at bargain rates.
EnlargeCEO Swapper takes all the work out of CEO replacement and actually makes it fun. Once you’ve chosen a replacement, simply choose a fate for your current CEO (demote to mail room, escort from building, etc.) and touch the Swap button.
Need a press release to announce your latest sacking? Not a problem. CEO Swapper automatically generates gorgeous press releases on your own company letterhead, artfully weaving a story from up to five reasons you choose from a pre-defined list. HP has really done its homework here, providing a wide range of reasons to fire (falsifying expenses, drug use, caught with stripper, and more), but the final release is fully customizable.
“This is fantastic,” said Charles H. Noski, member of the Board of Directors at Microsoft. “This is exactly the kind of app we’ve been looking for.”
While CEO Swapper has already made the App Store’s Most Popular list, one bug has been reported. Currently, when you press the Swap button, the outgoing CEO is issued a $25 million severance payment. HP says it’s working on a fix. In the meantime, they suggest a workaround: shred your CEO’s existing employment agreements before you use the app.
That’s right. I just quoted the entire thing. It was just too good to leave any of it out.
Quite possibly one of the most annoying things I ever felt my iPhone did was ask me every time it detects a WiFi network if I wanted to join it. Now, I could understand why it would do this and how, for some people, it would actually be rather nice. But for me, it was just plain annoying.
Luckily, there’s a super easy way to turn it off. Just hop on into the Settings app, go to Wi-Fi, and then slide “Ask to Join Networks” to off.
I always knew that this switch was there, but I just never took the time to figure out exactly what it meant. I’m sure glad I did though. Having it off is great. Now when I want to join a network I just hop into settings - although all my known networks usually auto-join - but when I have no interest whatsoever in joining a network, my iPhone doesn’t ask me fifty times.
I’ve been meaning to make this point for a long while, but in light of this current post I figured now is a great time to finally get it out there.
So here is the deal. You know the iPad? Well that’s just the thing. It’s AN iPad. Not just iPad. Apple will not one day introduce iPad 3. No. They will introduce THE iPad 3. See what I’m getting at here? Apple, one of the largest offenders here, seems to think that their products are human. They’re not. I am not sure why Apple has been doing this as of late. They didn’t used to way back when.
But really, I don’t make a call on iPhone, I make a call on MY iPhone or AN iPhone. It’s not a person. I don’t have iMac, I have AN iMac or THE iMac.
Every time I hear an Apple ad in which they refer to their products as if it is a person and not a thing I cringe. Don’t get me wrong, Apple ads are great, but their whole anthropomorphizing their apps is just ludicrous.
I mean, even look at this post’s title. Apple would have written it without the word ‘the’. And it would have been ridiculous.
Of course, Apple is not the only company to do this, but if I am at all correct they were definitely one of the first and are now currently the largest offender. The other companies are just taking cue from Apple.
Perhaps I am the only one that feels this way, but something tells me this isn’t the case.
So please. Please. Stop with this nonsense. Products are not people. Stop referring to them like they are. It’s just plain weird
If you wear glasses, as I do, when you do your daily lens clean with soap and water - you’re doing that, right? - use bar soap instead of the liquid/pump soap. I find that bar soap comes off far easier than liquid soap, thus expediting the washing process by a surprising amount. But more than that, I found that it cleans them so much better. I couldn’t explain it, although I’m sure someone out there could, but it does an incredible job. Worlds better than liquid soap. It’s like magic.
Just how good is it? Well let me ask you this: If cleaning your glasses with bar soap wasn’t that much better than cleaning them with liquid soap, do you think I would have written this post?
FinalTouch allows you to create a hot key to slow down the speed of your mouse when you need extra precision.
This is especially handy if you have large monitors and have your mouse speed set high.
Really clever, no? I can see this being a great tool for designers and the like. I do a tad bit of design work and would have considered getting this. Why didn’t I?
It’s 15 bucks. For that simple tool. And I only do a little bit of design work from time to time. For the pro, pricey for what you get, but if you’d use it all the time, go for it. Me though? I think not.
These days I have lots on my mind and tons of things to remember. Tools like Things, NvAlt, and others help me keep track of everything. But sometimes, for whatever reason, I can’t get to my iPhone or Mac to jot down some info into a note, or a task into Things. Maybe I’m stuck in class, or in a position where taking out my phone would be rude, am just away from it all, or just want to try remembering something with my actual mind for a change. Assuming that I have no access to any means to write something down, remembering said item can be rather difficult.
I hate forgetting things. It drives me mad. So I devised a system of sorts to help me remember things when I have no means to write it down. And I have to say, it works. It’s not perfect, no, but it sure helps.
The system is a way of mentally tagging things. Doing so helps you associate items with something that is easier to remember, thus recalling the items later is made easier.
Now, there is a general memory improvement theory that dictates that associating, or tagging, things with other things you know will help you to remember the item. For instance, you can associate the names of the Presidents with objects in your room at home. When you get to that test in school, you should be able to just think of the object and your mind will make the jump and associate said object with the allotted President. Of course, it’s not quite that simple, but is worlds better than just blindly recalling facts.
While that theory is great, and indeed is the basis for my system, when trying to recall tasks or quick ideas - which is what this system is for - I actually only mentally tag items with one of two things: Numbers or Importance. For recalling things like tasks and quick ideas I find this more specific method of tagging to work better.
First, you have to boil down the task or idea into a word or two at most. Anything more than this will prove more difficult to remember. Just come up with a trigger word that, upon replaying in your head, you are sure that it will lead you to remember the full task or idea.
Second, tag that word or two with a level of importance. Determine just how important the item is to remember, and then mentally tag it with one of two categories: Important or Not Important. ‘Important’ items are ones that you really want to remember, while ‘Not Important’ ones are not so much useless items, but rather, ones that, if forgotten, would not be all that devastating at all.
Why do you do this? You see, this step is the crux of the system. It is so crucial. Because, the truth is that you are going to forget some things. But what we want is to not only keep the amount of forgotten items to a minimal, but also to make sure that those forgotten items are not the important ones. And so that if and when you do forget something, you can put your mind at ease by knowing that it wasn’t really all that important, instead of racking your brain and getting stressed out trying to figure out what it was.
The third step is to tag the item with a number. Not only is this yet another thing for your mind to associate the item with, but it makes remembering lists of items so much easier. By turning the items you need to remember into a list it becomes far easier to recall just how many items there were. So come time to finally dump your brain into your computer or notepad, you can know without a doubt that you remembered everything.
The final step, of course, is to get all of the information out of your head and into written word as soon as possible. The next opportunity you have, get all those tasks and ideas in your computer or notebook.
There are some tips I can offer before I can truly say I am done.
Tag even only one item with ‘1’. It’s another thing that makes it easier to remember.
When it comes to tagging items as ‘Important’ or ‘Not Important’, an easy delimiter is whether or not the item will come up naturally in your day to day life. For instance, “Get new pens” is something that you will, at one point or another, remember regardless of whether or not you remember it right now. The time will come when you realize that all your pens are out of ink and the end result will be you getting some new pens. Something like that should be tagged with ‘Not Important’ because you know that even if you don’t recall that item when you get to your computer later that day, you know in the moment that you will definitively remember it at some point. Don’t worry about these as much.
Remember that list you made? Well, go over it as often as possible. Not obsessively, but when you get the chance run the items through in your head. Every time you go over it makes the list that much fresher when you try to recall it later in your day.
Get it out. The sooner you get the items out of your hand and into written word the higher chance you’ll get everything.
What if you do forget something? Get over it. I hate to be blunt, and trust me, I know exactly how difficult that can be some times, but that is what you have to do. The fact of the matter is that getting all bent out of shape trying to remember something just isn’t worth it. And I know that is a lot easier said than done - I struggle with it myself - but you got to do it. And, if you’ve used the system outlined here correctly, chances are that the item you’ve missed is something that’s lower on the importance totem pole, or better yet, something that will come up sooner or later anyway. Don’t drive yourself crazy over something non-crucial. That’s what ‘Important’ vs ‘Not Important’ means.
Of course, this works for everything in life that you would like to remember. Mental tagging is a powerful thing.
Eddie Smith of Practically Efficient at the end of an article detailing how he uses Evernote:
Don’t approach Evernote with an all or nothing attitude. Instead, 1) look for specific ways that Evernote can make your life easier, 2) use it for those things, and 3) STOP.
May I make two points:
The same can be said for Yojimbo my “everything bucket” of choice.
I am still left wondering what he does for bookmarks. I throw all of mine into Yojimbo - and am even considering moving some other list and such into Yojimbo as well, although more on that in a future post - but he makes no mention of bookmarks at all.
You see, there’s something that I have to do today, and in fact every day this week. The details of which are unimportant, but the fact of that matter is that it’s not something that I really enjoy doing, and thus there is not much motivation for me to actually do it. And thus, knowing myself fairly well, I knew that it was not going to get done unless I put it in my ToDo list1.
I knew without a doubt, that if I put it down in my ToDo list, it would get done in the time frame that I specified.
Now that’s saying something.
Some things may take longer, but if I put something in my ToDo list it will get done eventually.
I’m not entirely sure why this is, but I think that when it comes down to it, it’s just my modus operandi. It’s just how I am. I only put things down that I really do want to get done. If someone tells me to do something that I don’t want to, or at least don’t believe - however deep down - that it needs to get done, it’s not getting on that list. But once something does, you can bet your bottom dollar it’ll get checked off. And boy do I like checking things off.
I write this all to say, perhaps, that if there is one thing that you should be OCD about, it’s your ToDo list. I’m rather glad that I have a relationship with my ToDo list in which I know that if something is added to it, I’ll have it done. I think everyone should be able to say that about their ToDo list. The difficult part is figuring out how to achieve that.
Missing the best show this summer after that fantastic finale? Can’t wait an entire year until the next season starts?
Well, these behind the scenes shots from Gabriel Macht’s wife on set ought to hold you over until then.
Oh who am I kidding. There’s no way I can wait that long. But that’s not reason not to bask in the awesome glow of these pictures. My favorite, by the way, is by far the continuity shots of Harvey’s hair.
On July 27, 2010 Apple released the Magic Trackpad, the first radical new pointing device in a long time. Instead of dragging a mouse around your desk, you simply have a slanted metal trackpad that you drag your finger around on. Push down to click and the feet beneath the trackpad create a true ‘clicky’ feeling. All the multitouch gestures found on the iPhone and iPad can also be found on the Magic Trackpad, especially when used in conjunction with Mac OS X Lion. You can pinch, rotate, drag, flick, and more. It’s like a touchscreen computer, but better.
For the longest time people have been speculating that Apple would release a touchscreen desktop computer. When Steve Jobs announced the Magic Trackpad though, there was no loner any speculation. Apple’s stance on touchscreen desktop computers was clear. It was the Magic Trackpad.
How so? As Jobs went on to explain, a touchscreen desktop requires you to keep your hand in an upright position pointing forward the whole day. It causes fatigue and becomes difficult to use after a short time. In a word, and in my opinion, it’s ridiculous. I dreaded a day when Apple would create a touchscreen computer for those very reasons, and I’m so glad that we now know they never will.
Instead, they proposed the Magic Trackpad. It presents a touch based interface to interact with your computer, but is at the level of your hand. All the advantages of touch - fluidity, ease of use, simplicity, power of multitouch - without all the stupidity - fatigue and all that goes along with it, mainly - associated with an actual touchscreen desktop. Best of both worlds, right?
Backing up a bit, the Magic Trackpad really isn’t quite that radical. We’ve had them on laptops, also due to Apple, for years. It’s bringing that model to the desktop that is so radical. It was right in front of us all, but I would have never thought to use a trackpad to control a desktop. But it does make sense. A lot of sense. We’re clearly moving in the direction of touch interaction, and a trackpad is far and away better than reaching forward all day to tap a screen. I still can’t believe that anyone thinks that’s a good idea. The Magic Trackpad is indeed how touch should be, but that’s not to say I don’t have my issues with it.
Say what you will about Apple and their recent use of the word ‘magic’, the Magic Trackpad is indeed somewhat magical. The way in which you can manipulate the screen using just your fingertips is, well, there’s just nothing else like it. Except for the iPad. I remember the first time I saw the iPad demoed, and how ‘magical’ I thought the way you interacted with it was. Specifically the photos app. The pinching and rotating. With the Magic Trackpad you get the same magic on your desktop.
Gestures and Speed
Gestures are what make the Magic Trackpad. They truly do speed things up a ton - once you know how to use them all. Some are more gimmicky, and some are impossible to live without. The best resource I found to learn just about every gesture there is is this article over at Macworld.
Also, a word of caution, many gestures were switched with the move to Lion. The most noticeable of which is the Exposé gesture which is now enabled by a three finger swipe up as opposed to the four finger swipe down of old. On that note, most every gesture is highly customizable in System Preferences.
I’m just going to cut to the chase here when it comes to the downsides of using the Magic Trackpad: I feel like it’s far slower than a mouse. I tried using only the Magic Trackpad for weeks, and while it did get somewhat better, it still didn’t feel nearly as good or as fast as a real mouse. Nor, by the way, did it feel as accurate.
Maybe it’s the strangeness of not actually physically moving anything while using the Magic Trackpad. Maybe that’s just how it is supposed to be. But as John Siracusa has said, I feel like I would be able to beat anyone using a Magic Trackpad with my Magic Mouse on both accounts of speed and accuracy.
I feel impeded slightly with the Trackpad. Slowed, hampered, if you will.
I actually find the Magic Trackpad less ergonomic than my mouse. I think it has to do with the fact that I feel the need to hover the rest of my hand over the Trackpad so that I don’t accidentally hit it, and make a move I did not want to make. It’s one big slab of touch sensitivity - it feels far more likely to do something by accident than a mouse. Regardless of whether or not that’s actually true.
What’s super interesting is that I never felt any of this with the trackpad on my MacBook. I never felt slowed, nor the strange ‘don’t let another finger touch the trackpad’ phenomena.
Maybe it’s the positioning, or the size of the smaller trackpad and the size of the smaller screen. I’m just not sure. But to me, the trackpad feels best suited for a laptop.
Tap To Click
I have Tap To Click on. This way I don’t actually have to press down on the Trackpad to make a click. Just tapping will do. Just like on an actually multitouch device. I just find it easier this way.
If you look on the underside of the Trackpad by where you insert batteries after the cap is removed, you actually can see two small painted batteries facing the direction they need to be placed inside. It’s a real nice touch. Love it.
The Magic Trackpad is clean and people really love it. It truly is magical, fluid, and just downright cool. For me though, at least for now, my Magic Mouse remains my primary pointing device. I do still keep the Magic Trackpad on my desk to use on occasion, and would recommend that anyone do at least that. It is the future, like it or not.
And again, that is not to say that I don’t like it. I just don’t love it - and definitely not as much as I love my Magic Mouse. And you see, I get the Magic Trackpad. I really do. But I still just find it a tad slow for my taste for speed.
The Magic Mouse is the perfect cross between a plain old mouse and the Magic Trackpad, just like the Magic Trackpad is the perfect cross between touch desktops and mice. I guess I hope they both stay around.
Good to know for when I actually need to unlock it because the bimbo before me didn’t.
Then again, perhaps it is indeed best to avoid them entirely. Just don’t leave your things out in plain site. No one is ransacking your room, but making things overly tempting to take is never a good idea either.
If you’re a guy, you no doubt carry around a wallet with you. In fact, you probably have a large bulge in your back pocket from said wallet right now.
That bulge is not only a big no-no in the fashion world, but I just flat out hate it. It’s annoying and looks terrible. I’ve always been one for thin wallets. And I always thought my wallet was pretty thin until I heard Ben Brooks talk about the JCrew Magic Wallet one day.
I had wanted to get the Magic Wallet since I first heard Mr. Brooks talk about it, but only recently got around to it. It came the other day in a nice little envelope. Reaching inside I was super surprised and excited at just how darned thin the thing really is.
Plus, the package came with preprinted return labels in case there were any problems. Big brownie points for JCrew there, but there’s no shot in heck I’ll be returning it.
Come to think of it, as it’s a rather old item on there site, I should probably order more before they discontinue it.
A Magic Wallet
The Magic Wallet is not your typical wallet. Yes, it is wafer thin, but that’s not what makes it special - or “magic”. Rather, the magic is in how exactly the wallet holds your cash. You see, in any other wallet there is a large pocket for you to stash all your money. Not so with the Magic Wallet. Instead, with the magic wallet, there are simply intelligently placed elastic bands that wrap around the whole thing. Simply lay your (thin) wad of cash on the bands, close the wallet over it, and the next time you open it you’ll find that the bands have moved along with the wallet, slipped around the money, and are now snugly strapping your money down to the inside of the wallet. Magic.
Now I know this concept is rather hard to visualize and truly understand through the written word. Trust me, I had no clue how it would work until I first tried it, which is why instead of continuing with the written word - as this is the internet - I’ll just show it to you:
Apparently the concept for this is of French origins, and I actually remember having a magic trick years ago that used the same method.
To be honest, the magic wallet was a little difficult to figure out at first, and it came with absolutely zero instructions of any kind. After a tad bit of tinkering though, it became super easy - but keep in mind that I had that magic trick to jog my memory. Should you choose to purchase one - which I wholeheartedly recommend - the video above should be more than enough to get you going, so fret not.
Although I’ve seen it written elsewhere that magic wallets latch onto the cash as soon as they are closed, that’s actually not entirely true. It doesn’t do anything when it’s just closed until you pull it back again in the opposite direction. That’s just enough to snap the elastic around the cash.
And yet it still is so much faster than a regular wallet. Just fold the cash stack, lay it on the inside flap of the wallet, and with a quick flick of the wrist the cash is more secure than in a regular wallet. And to get it out you just tug it out from under the elastic. The thing is super slick. And you can tell from all the italics I’ve used in this post thus far.
I believe at one point JCrew offered the magic wallet in a black as well, but they do not any longer. The brownish leather is fine in my opinion, but the fact that they no longer stock the other color is what worries me that they will discontinue it one day. Sad, but I suppose there will always be other places to get similar things.
Be warned: There is not much room at all for cards. Of course, that’s kind of the point of a thin wallet. I mean, how many of those cards do you really need?
To be precise, there are two slots for cards, but I found I was able to get two cards in each slot no problem. So, with doubling up, you can get a maximum of four cards, IDs, etc, in the magic wallet. More than enough for me.
Please, do yourself a favor and get rid of the bulge in your pocket. Get yourself a thin wallet. And once you’re going to do that, make it the magic wallet. It’s simple, clean, minimal, super thin, and unique. It’s all leather other than the elastic and goes for only about $25.
And the best way to understand all the magic spoken about in this article is to try one for yourself.
In short, I’m going to be explaining the simple system I use to manage my RSS feeds.
Before we get started though, a quick refresher. RSS, or Really Simple Syndication was created as a sort of email service for the web. In other words, instead of you going to all your favorite sites, you have them come to you. Any site tat so choose, which is close to all, can ‘burn’ their site to an RSS feed. This site’s feed for instance is run through FeedBurner and can be found by clicking the RSS link on this site itself, or going here. People can then subscribe to the feed using the service of their choice. Google Reader is by far the most popular. Instead of using the website though, many people prefer to use an application like NetNewsWire or, my personal favorite, Reeder. These applications are far better made then Google’s basic site, look nicer, and are far more capable, powerful, and feature-full.
The problem with all of this is that, as you can see, “Really Simple” syndication is no longer so simple. People, myself included, are subscribed to well over one hundred feeds - if not far more - and managing them all became somewhat difficult, really. Reader, and thus all it’s client applications, support folders. But should you organize by topic? By importance? By a little bit of both?
Are folders really the answer at all?
For one, do you ever really want to read by topic? I never did, and that’s how I used to organize them. It just got annoying to swap between all the various folders. It was more keys hit on the keyboard, or clicks or them mouse. Then take organizing them by importance. How do you determine importance? An A-List and a B-List? Maybe a C-List too? I tried that too, but then you only ever end up reading the A-List. And better yet, if you find something unimportant and hit ‘Mark As Read’ as soon as you see it, unsubscribe from it altogether!
I just wanted a list of all my feeds to be able to read them all together, or perhaps sometimes by particular feeds.
My System. Or Lack thereof.
I organize my RSS feeds by not organizing them at all. No folders, just a list of feeds. Simple. My system is a total lack of a system altogether.
And it works like a charm.
No more am I reading only some of my feeds. I now read them all. What about when I go on vacation, or am away for a little while and my unread items build up? Well, they don’t. I’m very strict with the feeds I am subscribed to. I went through all my feeds over the course of a few weeks using Patrick Rhone’s system, and got rid of every single feed I didn’t absolutely want to read. Again, it was that simple. And so when I get to Reeder during slow parts of the day, at night, or after a week of vacation, there is never a sick amount of unread items. And I know that I don’t want to miss any of the, and sit and go through them all.
I’ve never loved RSS so much before. I’m telling you, the ‘no folders’ thing works better than any other ‘system’ out there.
A Few Tips
Every once in a while I go through my feed list again and ‘trim the fat’ so to speak. I just make sure I am still reading all the sites in the list, and that all the sites are still publishing.
I also thought I should mention at some point that I am subscribed to somewhere around 100 feeds. Perhaps a bit more or a tad less at any given time. I find that 100 is just about the perfect number. I am able to read through all the great posts, and set the ones that I really love aside to post to this site.
I’m not subscribed to many news sites at all, and neither should you. (At least if you want this system to work - I can’t really tell you what you should and shouldn’t do.) Choose, say, 3-5 of your favorite news sites, and that’s it. They get really repetitive, especially when it comes to Apple news, and is just not needed. I like one or two Apple sites, one or two general tech news, and the Google Top News Feed . Big fan of that one.
An AlphaSmart is not a Newton. It is a portable word processor. A full-sized keyboard combined with a reflective LCD that can display six lines of text, save eight 25 page long files, and work off of three AA batteries for up to 700 hours. During hurricane Irene my AlphaSmart Neo was all I had to type on after the power went out. It allowed me to write two whole articles distraction free, long after both my MacBook Pro and Newton had run out of battery power. Due to its portability, durability, clever keyboard shortcuts, and writing tools the AlphaSmart may be my next great writing companion.
I was super surprised when I saw this post. The AlphaSmart is what my school was considering after they banned laptops from classrooms. I remember when I first saw the AlphaSmart - I thought it was some sort of joke. I see the light now. It’s not my first choice. Not even my second, that would be an iPad. And while I don’t agree with the ban on laptops at my school at all, I would take an AlphaSmart over nothing.
When you accidentally close a tab in Safari and then hit Command-Z to restore it, not only does it restore the browsing history of the tab but it also retains the buffered state of any videos you may have hit Play on before you closed the tab.
I’d also recommend reading the entire post for a heads-up about some oddities with this feature, and how to avoid them.
My application launcher of choice on my Mac is Alfred (with the Powerpack). On my iPhone however, well, there really is no application launcher at all.
On an iPhone
On an iPhone when you want to dial someone’s number you have one of two options:
Use the dial pad in the phone and enter in the number manually. Madness.
Use the contacts search (whether in the standalone contacts app or in the phone app itself) to find a single contact.
Tap the name.
Tap the number you would like to call from all the available options in that contact card.
To text or email you are presented with a similar situation. You either run a contact search, tap tap tap, or open up the app in specific, search for a contact, and then tap tap tap until you can finally actually compose and send.
Dialvetica solves all that tapping and wasted time.
When you have Dialvetica on your iPhone, things go a lot faster. Here is how any of the aforementioned scenarios would play out:
Open Dialvetica and start typing any letters, in any order, that are within the name of the person you want to call/text/email.
Tap that person’s name.
Dialvetica speeds things up a lot, basically.
By now you’re probably dying to see what it looks like (if you haven’t elsewhere, already). Well please don’t die. Here it is:
A few notes about the app UI:
It seems almost Android-ish
As you can tell, Dialvetica uses a custom keyboard that is far smaller allowing you to see more results at once. It also is not dependent on order, so, as stated above, you can type any letters of a person’s name, in any order, and it’ll know to pull that person up. That being said, if you absolutely hate it, you can switch to the normal iOS keyboard from within the settings (found in the Settings app).
The app is super fast. So much so it feels instant. I don’t think I’ve ever waited for it.
When you first launch Dialvetica you see an auto generated list of your most usual contacts. This is sweet, especially as I don’t think I ever used the favorites tab in the official Phone app other than to bookmark special AT&T numbers (to check data usage, etc.). A dynamic most usual contacts list was made for me. I know some people find it a little unsettling to see a newly reordered contact list every time they open the app, but I like it. A lot.
When you tap a name with multiple numbers for the first time, you are asked to choose a default number to call every time you tap that name in the future. As more often than not you only ever want to call the same number, the way in which this works is totally logical. If there comes a time when you would like to select a different number, simply tap and hold for a pop-up of all of that contact’s numbers.
The way you text or email a person as opposed to calling them is by tapping on the little icons for texting and emailing next to the contact of your choice. Doing so, however, multi-task ninja swaps you into the email or text messaging app itself. Calling too brings up the calling overlay over the app but upon finishing your phone call, it returns you into the official phone app. Essentially, no calling/texting/emailing actually takes place within Dialvetica itself although, at least in terms of texting/emailing, it is entirely possible and allowed by Apple. Curious.
The icon feels Android-ish as well.
Plus, the white grid design actually causes a famous optical illusion which makes the intersection points appear grey.
I’m not a huge fan of the icon.
An App Launcher of Sorts
I doubt there will every be any real sort of application launcher on the iPhone. Sure, there’s Spotlight search now, but that’s as good as it’s going to get. Except for Dialvetica. Dialvetica is better.
For the calling, texting, and emailing app, there is no better way to get to it then through Dialvetica. It’s fast and intuitive.
Trust me. You install Dialvetica on your iPhone, and you’ll be popping in and out of the lightweight app so quickly you won’t even realize it. No, I don’t use Dialvetica nearly as often on my iPhone as I do Alfred on my Mac.
But there’s still no doubt in my mind that Dialvetica is still more than just a cool contacts list.
It’s an app launcher. Of sorts.
I Only Dial With Dialvetica
Not only do I always use the super-speedy, way-faster-than-the-built-in-phone, Dialvetica, but it completely replaced the built in phone on my homescreen.
Frank Chimero answering the age-old question “Do I need to know how to code?”:
My short answer is “Learn code.” My long answer, I suppose, would be that one should learn to code (specifically HTML and CSS), because it’s the language of the web, and while these skills aren’t necessary for every position, team or project, the knowledge does nothing but benefit the designer. Design decisions are not only affected by the characteristics of the content being designed, but also the qualities of the format. The best way to understand the characteristics of the web is to speak its language.
Considering that design and developing is one of the numerous job opportunities within technology I am highly considering, and that coding has been something I have wanted to know how to do for ages, this article really spoke to me. As it happens, I am taking a computer programming course this year in school, and am hoping that it will lay some sort of foundation for me to build upon when I really start teaching myself code.
The length has less wiggle room. For whatever reason, men always wear their ties too short… The tip of your tie, however, ought to be around the middle of your waistband. It doesn’t have to exact, but it should be close. Your ability to achieve this will depend on how tall you are, where your waistband hits, and whether you have the correctly sized tie.
And now for another Mac gem of an application that you already have. That’s right. It came with your computer buried in your utilities folder, waiting to be launched.
It’s called Digital Color Meter.
So, what does this thing do?
Simple enough, really. It measures colors digitally. And if that wasn’t enough of an explanation for you, although I can’t imagine why not, allow me to explain a bit further.
What Digital Color Meter (DCM) does is basically give you the exact ‘color coordinates’ for any color on your screen. If ever there is a color on the screen that you’d like to use for yourself elsewhere, jot pop open DCM and it’ll tell you exactly what color it is you’re looking at simply by moving your cursor over it.
Now I wouldn’t try to go into the actual technology behind exactly just how the app works.
But I can walk you through how the app works in practice, and how to use just about every aspect of it. It may be small, but it’s powerful.
Now, DCM actually got a bit of an overhaul in Lion, but its core features remained the same.
The box off to the left side is the ‘aperture’. That box shows you everything within a defined radius next to your cursor. The box to the right of it shows you the precise color that you are seeing the values of.
Beneath the ‘aperture’ box, there is an aperture size scale. You can adjust this to make the pinpointed area either larger or smaller.
I rarely ever find myself using this feature. I keep it all the way at the bottom for ultimate precision.
At the top of the window you have a drop down menu that allows you to choose exactly how you want the values of the color to be displayed.
While I’m sure certain more ‘professional types’ will have their own uses for individual values, changing the setting very rarely even results in a change.
For just about every circumstance and to ensure compatibility, just go with “Display native values” every time. That will show you the exact Red, Green, and Blue (RGB) values.
With these values, you now have the exact color that can be used just about anywhere you’d like. We’ll get to all that soon, though.
The View Menu
There are a few more rather important aspects to DCM, and they’re all found in the menubar under the View menu. There’s nothing else of particular significance to this app under any of the other menus.
Lock X, Y
This is crucial. Essentially, when you have your mouse over the color you’d like, you pretty much always have to lock DCM so that it doesn’t continue updating and following your cursor. To do this, simply hit Cmd + X and then Cmd + Y on your keyboard. Actually clicking these option from the menu would defeat the purpose as you would have to move your cursor to get there.
You can adjust the magnification of the aperture by using this menu item. Again, I generally always keep it at 8x for ultimate precision.
I’m the first to admit when I don’t know something. And to be totally frank, I have absolutely no idea what the heck this does. There seems to be no change whatsoever regardless as to whether or not this option is checked.
By ticking this option, the coordinates of the mouse (in terms of pixels) will be displayed in a neat grey bar at the bottom of the aperture box.
Not something I ever have a real need for.
There are so many possible use cases for this thing, and the more I get into serious design work, the more times I find myself opening it.
Before you can do anything with your newly found color though, you have to be able to save the color in some way, in order to use it. You know, convert the RGB values into a usable color. Luckily, this is easy enough with any built in color palette on your mac. If you have an application like Photoshop, or better yet Acorn, now would be the time to open it. If you do not have either of these applications or similar, just pop open any application on your Mac that allows you to access the color palette (Pages, or even TextEdit).
Click on the color slider adjustment tab and switch the drop-down menu to RGB Sliders.
Adjust the corresponding RGB values from DCM in the color palette fields. You’ll see the color swab at the top adjust in real time as you make the changes to the RGB values.
If you would like to save the color for future use, simply drag from the color swab down to the color boxes at the bottom of the palette.
Acorn-like Apps Only: If you are using Acorn (or similar), you get one more tab in your color palette. The # tab. Once you’ve entered in the correct RGB values, you can switch to the # tab to see the hexadecimal color code of whatever color you ended up with.
So, why would you want to ever use DCM? Well, to be honest, there are really no uses outside of the design world. But the design world is bigger then you think.
As Patrick Rhone always mentions, say you see something in real life that you just love the color of. So much so that you’d like to, say, paint a wall in your house that color. Well, just take a picture of said object and bring the picture onto your mac. Then use DCM to get the precise color.
If you see a color used online that you would like to use to style some text in a document, DCM is your go-to app.
Coding and CSS. The uses here are just endless. You see a color elsewhere that you would like to use. You want to compare colors to see which one is darker. Or you want to know if something is true white or not. And the list goes on and on. But even just within using a color you see elsewhere, I mean, that’s just incredibly useful. It’s super powerful. Of course, you would need the hexadecimal color code in order to use it in CSS so Acorn (or similar) would be required, so just keep that in mind. And if you couldn’t tell already, I’m a huge fan of Acorn and highly recommend it.
To reference other work of yours. If you used a color a while back and forgot what it was, a few seconds in DCM will give you the answer.
There You Have It
Well folks, there you have it. A full rundown of Digital Color Meter. And you do quite literally ‘have it’.
Pixar is great. And they’ve had a damn near perfect track record for making fantastic movies up until the recent release of Cars 2. Now I have not seem the movie - and from the ads it honestly didn’t look to bad at all - but from what I hear it wasn’t very good at all. Especially not in comparison to the original Cars nor any other Pixar movies. It was just not up to par.
I mean, these are the people who brought us Finding Nemo, Monsters, Inc., and Toy Story. But more than all of that, they brought us The Incredibles. A movie that still resinates with kids like no other superhero movie quite does. And thus, the single comment I hear the most about the Incredibles is about when they’ll be making a second one. I mean, after all, it ended so perfectly, it practically begged for a sequel.
But that’s just the thing, people. There won’t be an Incredibles 2. Ever.
It was too perfect to touch. It was indeed ‘incredible’. They’ll never be able to match the magic they created with the original, and they know that. Especially now after the general failure of their sequel, Cars 2. (Sure, Toy Story had relatively successful sequels, but none were quite as good as the original. Toy Story 3 was stunning, but it was still lacking something that only the original had.)
The tales of The Incredibles as told by Pixar is over. They gave it such an open ending on purpose. That was the point. But now it’s over. It’s up to your imagination now - as cliché as that sounds.
Because while I strongly believe that the movies are done, the darned good story never will be.
A few weeks ago I decided that it was high time to see Inception with my mother. It is now one of my favorite films of all time, and although I had already seen the movie a good two or three times, my mother had never seen it.
I had to correct that.
Now, my mother isn’t generally a fan of these types of movies but something inside of me knew that she would like Inception. So the whole day I was anticipating blowing my mother’s mind with the stunning movie. Come nighttime, we sat down in our basement, flicked on the Apple TV, and I ran a search for Inception - a movie that I knew had been in iTunes.
What? How could that be? I remembered Inception topping the Top 10 charts! Maybe it was just a fluke on the Apple TV itself?
I tried it on my iMac back up in my room, but it wasn’t there either. Inception had indeed vanished from iTunes.
After a little bit of research it turned out that, for one reason or another, the particular companies that produced Inception ended their deal with iTunes. There were not many details, but the gist of it all was that iTunes no longer had the deal worked out to carry Inception. Or pretty much any other Christopher Nolan movie. All they had left was The Dark Knight1.
I Did What I Had To Do
This whole thing was just not cool. I was seeing that movie with my mother. Now. The stupid movie industry wasn’t about to stop me.
As it happened, I had an HD bootleg/torrented copy of Inception sitting on my iMac for quite some time. And I fully admit to that. But I also will admit that I was totally willing to pay the fee to rent, or even to buy and own, the movie that night. I generally do rent or buy movies. And trust me, as good as my copy was, the one from iTunes would have been better.
And so, that’s right. If they weren’t going to sell it to me, then I would get it through my own means.
What a bunch of idiots.
As I looked it the iTunes store as of writing this article, Inception has still yet to return. They had some book, all the apps, and even the soundtrack, but no movie.
They do now have some other Christopher Nolan films like Memento or Insomnia, so perhaps Inception will come back soon.
As It Turns Out
As it turns out, as I predicted, my mother loved it. All she had to say at the end was “Wow.”.
But Hollywood could have made money from that too.
I do use footnotes on occasion on this site when needed1. However, if you choose not to ever read a footnote though, you won’t have missed anything. If it was that important I would have included it within the article. And I do this because, to be honest, footnotes are rather annoying. Better to use them than to leave the information out entirely, but like I said, I try to avoid them when I can.
This Safari (and Chrome - see? Parenthesis, not a footnote) extension takes all the (slight) pain out of reading footnotes. Instead of popping you down to beneath the post, it simply dims the page and displays the footnote inline as a little beautiful popover. It’s awesome.
Go download and use this.
I’m happy to report that this site fully supports it.
For instance now, when adding something to the sentence would totally disrupt the flow. A comma, dash, nor parenthesis would work and thus a footnote is the only option. ↩
As web designers and developers, we have all come to learn many css tricks and techniques that help us achieve our layout goals. The list of these techniques is an ever expanding one, however, there are certain tricks that are essential to achieve your goal. Today, we will review 20 excellent css techniques to keep in mind when developing your theme.
No big article for you this time. This is more of just an update, really. An update to let you know that I will be on vacation from this coming Sunday the… hang on. Let me just open up iCal (which I actually do not think is hideous at all) real quick and confirm the dates. And… there. Yes. From Sunday the 21st until Sunday the 4th I will be on vacation.
For the curious folk, it’s actually not one long vacation, but rather two, each one week long (about). The more exciting of which is the first week starting this Sunday. I’m going to be going to The Atlantis in the Bahamas. Couldn’t be more excited about that. This place sounds so amazing.
But enough about me. Let’s talk about you.
Basically, you shouldn’t expect much from me on this site during the time I’m away. On the other hand though, between plane rides and any downtime, I should have plenty of time to write. So while I won’t be posting much, if at all, while I’m away, I’ll have plenty to post upon my return. And I’ve got some great pieces planned too.
So, expect little the coming weeks, but loads (tentatively) when I return.
I may even post some pictures from the trip to Flickr. We shall see.
For the longest time, I have wanted an iHome. It was always just something that made sense to me as I not only listen to my iPhone on a nightly basis (podcasts, mostly), but I even hooked up a charger cable there on my nightstand as well. An iHome would take care of the charging and also give me a far better speaker than the ones built into the iPhone1.
There was another reason that I wanted an iHome as well: Compatible iPhone frequencies. What in the heck am I talking to you about? I’ll tell you. Ever seen one of these?:
Well, they mean more than just simply that the product was made to be used with an iPhone. They also mean that the frequencies that the clock uses, whether it be to connect to the radio, or just those required to produce sound, won’t interfere with those of an iPhone. I’m sure you have one or two clocks at home that, upon holding your iPhone close to them, begin to emit a high pitched buzzing sound. As it happened, my bedside clock in particular did not do this, but there was something else that it did do that was far worse. I like sleeping with a sound soother/noise machine. It really helps me sleep, and is just something that I’ve grown accustomed to over the years. Sure, I can sleep no problem without it, but I like to have it on when I can. The problem with my clock, some old Homedics one, was that as soon as I actually turned the wonderful pit-pat sound of rain on and placed my iPhone on my nightstand near the clock, it emitted a horrible, loud squeal. It was really terrible. This is not just a slight buzz we’re talking about. This is an all out panic attack that the clock was having from the cell frequencies in my iPhone clashing with those in the clock. Because of this, I had to switch my iPhone into airplane mode, thus turning off the cell antennas, every night before turning on my noise machine.
In summary, not having a clock specifically designed for an iPhone, namely an iHome, all this time was rather annoying. And the only reason I didn’t have one is simply because I had just never gotten around to it. And then one day while shopping in the mall, I saw the iA5 on sale for about $50. Needless to say, I bought it.
And was immediately disappointed.
The premise of the iA5 was that it was the first iHome that was powered by an app. Super gimmicky, and makers of a clock making an app just scared me. More on that later, but as it turns out, I was right.
The iA5 was awkwardly shaped, and, believe it or not, was defective and actually emitted a barley audible high pitched squeal after the iPhone sat in its dock for more than a few minutes.
I never wanted specifically the iA5. It was just the one on sale, and as this is what iHome does I expected perfection. Ridiculous. Stay away from the iA5.
A Second Chance
I gave iHome a second chance though, and am sure glad that I did. I sent the iA5 back for a full refund, and ended up finding the iP21, a far simpler and better looking clock, on Amazon for about the same price as the iA5 was on sale.
The iP21 arrived from Amazon in a box that was easily twice as large as needed. The packaging of the clock itself was actually rather decent, but nothing Apple would approve. Although, there were iHome logo stickers. Guess where those went? Straight to the garbage, that’s right.
The iP21 is a slim, black clock, iPhone dock at the top, with the time shown in a brightness adjustable display towards the top. The snooze/dimmer button along with volume, playback, and alarm controls are all in a neat row along the top. There are also one or two buttons on the back, but more on that later. I could continue describing it, but I think it’d just be easier just to show you and then continue on with the interesting stuff:
…So Very Good
So far, there had been no high pitched noises and the iP21 fit far better on my nightstand than that other one.
I stuck my iPhone in the dock, hit play on a podcast, and the sound came right through the speakers in the iHome. Perfect. That was all I needed it to do. Well, that and charge it, which of course it did too. Any alarms I would set on my iPhone itself, and those stupid apps that iHome made, which this clock does indeed support as well, are ridiculous. They are gimmicky and I never use them. I don’t even think I have them on my iPhone anymore.
The iP21 also has some ExBass feature which apparently makes it sound better. I’m assuming it has to do with the Bass. There is a switch on the back to turn it off, but I’m not sure why anyone would.
And there are tons more features too that I will probably never use.
In short, so far, so very good.
Many of you are probably wondering what I did in terms of a sound soother/noise machine thingy. Obviously keeping my old one around would defeat the purpose of getting a new clock, so I did not do that.
What I did instead was purchase an app which I have been eyeing for a long time. It’s already in its second version and it’s called Ambience.
I’m not going to go into a review now (or ever, really). Basically, if this is something you want, get it. It’s not perfect and not always pretty, but it is by far the best sound soother app out there. There’s nothing even close.
There is a cheaper version which limits the amount of sounds you can download. Considering that the difference is mere pennies, and that a real sound soother costs far, far more, just go for the full more expensive version. Although be warned, that even the full version has a few premium sounds that cost an additional 99 cents. I have yet to download any of them. The free ones are more than fine for me.
Again, the app is great. Get it.
The clock came with most all possible needed dock adapters with the names of the iPods they are for written in tiny lettering on the back. Handy, and much needed. The clock did not, however, come with adapters for the original iPhone, and many of the older iPods, but everything else is included.
The power brick is one of those sideway facing ones which makes it fit really well on a power strip without taking up two or more outlets.
There is no radio in the iP21, which is totally fine with me.
Now this something that you wouldn’t miss if you never knew about it, but once you do it’s such a ‘duh’ sort of feature. Basically you stick your iPhone into the dock, and hit the time sync button on the back and it sets the time on the iHome to the time on your iPhone. Makes setting the clock so easy, and makes sure that your clock is the same time as your iPhone and not a minute or two behind or ahead which is a problem - however minor - that I used to have all the time.
The Bottom Line
Of course, there’s no single bottom line here. As with everything, I can’t speak for everyone, but rather this was all just my experience. But I would no question recommend an iHome - the iP21 in specific, for anyone looking for something like it. It does what I need and more. And I’m loving it.
Ever wondered how the seemingly strange Alfred release numbers are come up with? Turns out, there’s a lot of thought put into them, as explained in this blog post pondering the version number for the upcoming minor maintenance release.
You’re sitting at your unique and beautiful desk listening to some great Hans Zimmer while you’re hard at work doing whatever it is that your doing. Say, writing for example. Then, for one reason or another, you give in to the urge to check Twitter and within mere seconds find yourself on YouTube about to watch the latest and greatest…something. Obviously you can’t quite watch a video with your music playing at the same time, so you pause the music, watch the video, and return to work.
Quite some time passes before you realize that you have been working in silence for no reason other than that you forgot to turn the music back on after your little video interruption.
Every once in a while, something comes along, be it a piece of software or other, that totally changes your life.
You see, Take 5 will automatically start your music up again after you finish watching your video. How does it do this you may ask? Simple. Take 5 starts a 5 minute countdown as soon as you hit pause on your music and when that countdown hits zero it’ll fade back in your music.
Of course, that’s just the surface - and by that I mean the very basic concept. There is lots more to the app itself.
Just An Icon
Take 5 doesn’t have a dock icon (or at least you can turn it off in the preferences - something I highly recommend. There’s no reason to have it in the dock). It doesn’t have any real windows, either. Rather, it’s just a small little music note icon that sits in your menu bar, ready to be called upon. When the time is right, you just click on that little music note, and click the big pause button to the right of the currently playing track and album artwork that pops up in a small, neat, and tidy little black box under the icon. By clicking the pause button, you initiate the countdown.
Not only does the tidy little black box changes to represent the countdown, but so does the icon. It changes from a music note to a countdown of the minutes:seconds left until the music will kick in again.
And in a nutshell, that is the app.
Where Things Get (More) Interesting
The concept of Take 5 is certainly an interesting one. Where things get even better though is within the preferences. You see, there is a small little gear button in the lower right hand corner of the black popover windows that is Take 5. Click this and you open up a whole world of possibilities.
This is how I currently have things configured:
To walk you through it…
The ability to choose which application Take 5 should control is super nice, so much so it was almost unexpected. What would be nicer is if there was an option to control all audio programs instead of just one at a time, but alas, there is not. These are the supported applications for the time being:
I turned off the dock icon, as previously mentioned.
Now the timer duration is an interesting one. As the app is called Take 5, you would think that the only option would be, well, 5 minutes. Nonnegotiable. But it is. Which got me thinking as to whether or not I should change it. In the end, after much tweaking, I think there was a reason beyond just the common expression that they went with 5 minutes. It just seems to work the best. Only once in all my use have I had the music come on too early, but as the window pops up briefly when it does, I just hit pause again and started another 5 minute countdown. Anything more than 5 minutes seems too long and will more often than not require you to manually turn the music back on defeating the purpose, and anything under is too little. 5 is indeed perfect.
I like having Track 5 pop up when the track changes. It’s super slick to see what song is playing, and clicking on the album art in Take 5 will pop you right into iTunes at any time, which is also nice.
I do not have any hot keys set, other than the Timer Start/Stop as I see no need for them, nor why I would want to set an iTuned hotkey from within Take 5. As to the Music Play/Pause - that just seems redundant when you have the Timer Start/Stop set.
I don’t have the timer automatically start when I hit the pause button on my keyboard to save that as a way to quickly pause my music without starting the timer. I do want to do that often as well, say, when I leave the room for an extended period of time.
Essentially, to engage the Take 5 timer, I hit my defined keystroke or hit pause from within Take 5. Everything else, like the pause keyboard button or the pause button with iTunes, simply pauses the music without the timer.
I’ll be honest. Take 5 is a little pissy sometimes. Nothing happens when I click it’s little music icon every once in a while. In general, it is totally fine, but when it doesn’t decide to act up I find quitting and restarting both iTunes and Take 5 does the trick.
Hopefully this little glitch is something that The Iconfactory will fix in a future update, and as the app is distributed through the Mac App Store, that shouldn’t be much of a problem at all.
You Should Take 5
Take 5 is one of those magical apps that makes your Mac truly yours. It’s an app that will baffle onlookers as to how your music just turned off and on just for you without you actually having to do anything.
Take 5 is nice to have. Really nice to have. No, it’s not going to change anybody’s life, but it is a great way to make sure that you’re listening to music while working. It’s so awesome to know that as soon as you’re done taking your quick break your music will just start playing. And for me, as long as it has no words, that is a very good thing. It helps me think, work, and relax all at once. (As an aside, I save my true ‘with words’ music collection - from Coldplay to Queen - for real jam sessions.)
It makes taking five for whatever the reason far less annoying, and in truth, nothing short of magical.