· comments  · 02-1-2011 · categories:links · technology ·
· comments  · 01-27-2011 · categories:links · technology ·
Image by Erica Reitman of Design Blahg.
I’m back from the Altitude Design Summit and simultaneously exhausted and energized. I got to meet and hang with amazing people (hello all the amazing people! I miss you!).
Here is a quick list of the resources mentioned in the panel I was invited to speak on called Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger Blogging. I was up there with Susan Brinson of House of Brinson and Erica Reitman of Design Blahg, who put together the fantastic slide show used in our talk. Big thanks Erica.
- Skitch for screengrabs. Allows you to made edits and draw on top of the image. Jing is another screen capture tool.
- Outbrain for related posts. Works with many blogging platforms, gives you stats on what posts are getting the most attention.
- Evernote for organization. Can organize and sort your information from mobile devices as well. Allows you to save text, images, links and audio notes.
- Pinterest for sourcing and inspiration. Community currated and full of pretty stuff.
- Squarespace for blogging. Allows for non-coders and coders alike to have lots of control of the look. (Full disclosure, Squarespace sponsored the panels. Fact, the Alt Summit website was created and is hosted on Squarespace.)
- Google Alerts to let you see what others might be saying about your site. Sends emails periodically or collects the alerts in a feed. You can monitor any search term.
- Mention Notifier to keep up with Twitter mentions. Sends you an email or text message any time you are mentioned on Twitter, works with any search or hashtag you’d like.
- Zinio app for reading magazines. Lets you read all your magazines on your iPad or iPhone.
- Twitter, obviously. Tweetdeck and Hootsuite were the favorites for the many ways you can sort and organize multiple accounts and searches.
- Photoshop actions for quick image preparation. Setting up your own actions means a photo can be ready for your blog in one click. You can also download actions created by others to get some very pretty looks going on.
- Instapaper to read things later. Saves a long form article in a very readable format and lets you read it later on computer or iPhone, downloads it so you can read when offline (hello air travel).
- Flickr for photos. You can store, share and sort your photos, as well as use search with Creative Commons licenses if you need to find something specific. I’ve been using it for years and people still regularly find my blog from a photo they saw shared on Flickr.
- RSS Reader to keep you organizes. Google Reader is the favorite choice. Use Helvetireader for a minimalist skin and Feedly provides a magazine like layout.
I want to add my own little tip. I never quite got into the habit of using another site like Evernote or Digg to collect the things I come across, instead what I do is to quickly bookmark/favorite/star/like (in a browser/email/Flickr/Twitter and on my phone) those things I find as I’m surfing but don’t have time to blog about them in that moment. And on Fridays I schedule a block of time, usually it only takes half an hour, to revisit and sort through all those items. I clear them out, which makes me feel like I’m tidying up and is a nice way to end a week, and usually I rediscover something I really dig but would have forgotten about. My method may not be as technically awesome as using a service to draw everything together, but I find that it allows me to move quickly through my week and think more carefully about if I want to include something in my blog later on when I’m more focused.
· comments  · 01-24-2011 · categories:technology ·
· comments  · 01-10-2011 · categories:links · technology ·
· comments  · 11-11-2010 · categories:links · technology ·
· comments  · 11-3-2010 · categories:links · technology ·
· comments  · 09-27-2010 · categories:links · technology ·
· comments  · 09-1-2010 · categories:links · technology ·
Did you hear? The Netflix iPhone app launched today. It’s pretty cool. If you have a Netflix account it lets you watch from your streaming queue, it even loads the information on which episodes of a series you’ve already watched, or watched part of. You can search for new movies and add them to the instant queue or start watching right away. What you cannot do from the app is access or add to your regular queue. (I hope they make the Netflix Mobile site snazzier soon.)
I have a 3G iPhone and I’ve read that the Netflix app won’t work unless you’ve upgraded to iOS 3.1.3. Now, just in case you don’t know, if you have a 3G do not update your to iOS 4.0! (That would be the current one.) This causes all sorts of trouble for 3G phones. If you didn’t upgrade to 3.1.3 when it was out you have to do some fiddly upgrade and downgrade action to get there. This thread over at Ask Metafilter has some advice and links on getting your 3G phone to the iOS 3.1.3. The commenters there also say that rumor is the iOS 4.1 will fix the troubles for the 3G iPhones. Thank goodness.
The scene from my desk right now:
· comments  · 08-26-2010 · categories:iphone · technology ·
· comments  · 08-11-2010 · categories:links · technology ·
· comments  · 07-13-2010 · categories:links · technology ·
· comments  · 06-23-2010 · categories:links · technology ·
· comments  · 06-1-2010 · categories:links · technology ·
The cool people at PRX have offered me a This American Life iPhone app to give away to one lucky person! Yay!
The app gives you access to all of the streaming This American Life episodes, all the way back to 1995. That simple. The downside is that you have to have a signal in order to listen. So you’re out of luck on, say, an airplane. The upside is that it’s easy to sort through them to find what you want to listen to.
I’ve been listening to This American Life for a very long time. It kept me entertained when I got my first job coding websites and discovered just how uninspiring cubicle life could be, so I have extra warm fuzzy feelings. I even have a TAL poster hanging in my house, it goes very nicely with my orange wall.
So, if you’d like to win a code for a free This American Life iPhone app please leave a comment with this post. The fine print applies. This ends at noon Pacific Time on Monday, May 31st when the Random Number Generator will chose the winner.
[Since I love the show so much I'd just like to point out that This American Life is currently engaged in that ever present struggle to raise enough money to stay alive. You can donate right there, they even take Paypal. You can also text "TAL" to 25383 ($10 will be added to your phone bill). See? Painless. Just for the record, nobody asked me to mention this, I just really really like the show.]
update: Thanks so much to everybody for entering! Because of the response PRX sent me two additional codes to give out, thanks PRX. The Random Number Generator chose 37, 78 and 92, and the winners have been contacted.
· comments  · 05-27-2010 · categories:technology ·
Here is an update on what apps I’ve been using lately, books I’ve been reading, and my absolute favorite iPhone case.
applications I use all the time
- Stitcher – I’m too lazy/impatient to download podcasts (I know.) so I use Stitcher to listen to them. With a super easy Favorites list it’s become all I need. (free)
- IMDb – We use it to play the “where have I seen him/her before?” game while watching Netflixed movies. (free)
- Convert – I think I saw this recommended over at Make, it’s got everything I’ve ever needed to convert, including bytes to kilobytes. It’s also handy for halving recipes that call for things in tablespoons. (99 cents)
- Public Radio Player – This allows you to listen to any streaming public radio station, but I mostly use it as a one-click way to listen to my local station. (free)
- NPR News –
It’s buggy and the interface is confounding and I want to like it but it causes me nothing but frustration. update: A recent upgrade has made this much easier to use, and relatively bug free. Much improved. But it remains the easiest way for me to listen to Morning Edition short of actually getting out of bed early enough. (free)
- (In case you’re interested here are my favorite podcasts: The Moth, Good Food, Splendid Table, Marketplace, WaitWait Don’t Tell Me, On the Media, To the Best of Our Knowledge, Sound of Young America, Dinner Party Download.)
applications I’m looking forward to getting to know better
- How To Cook Everything – All the recipes right there with me at the grocery store! ($4.99) disclosure: the HTCE app was a recent giveaway item on this site.
- Ratio – Michael Ruhlman’s ratios in handy, interactive-y form. I found myself stressing over quartering a large dough recipe recently and decided it was time. ($4.99)
- This American Life – The good: you can listen to any of the shows back to 1995! The bad: only when you’re within wi-fi or 3G network range. So, not in an airplane or my doctors office waiting room. ($2.99)
games I’ve been playing
- Babylonian Twins – This is currently consuming me, it’s a fun platformer that is challenging but never quite makes me frustrated. There are apparently secret levels to unlock but I’m still working on the final level so I’ll have to let you know. Highly, highly recommend this game. The story behind the game is fascinating. (free/$2.99)
- Archibald’s Adventures – A puzzle platformer that kept me completely distracted on the plane ride to Paris. The initial level set is far more fun than the additional sets, but there are so many it’ll keep you occupied for a good long time. (free/$3.99)
- Broken Sword – A classic point and click adventure game, updated with a parallel plot. I grew up playing the Sierra King’s Quest series so I really enjoy this, but I can see it feeling a bit slow if your parents bought you a Nintendo when you were a kid (lucky). Also, it’s set in Paris and I played it on the airplane to and from for my trip so I recognized locations in the game. ($4.99)
- Resquare – A simple, cleanly designed version of the ‘fit these shapes into this square’ style of game. It’s my current favorite for standing in long lines at the post office or bank. (free/99 cents)
- Flower Garden – This is more an entertainment thingy. It’s like having a pet garden that you care for. I didn’t expect to like it but I find I’m exited to check on my flower pots in the morning, birds chirp in the background and the flowers grow before your eyes, it’s all silly and charming. You need to grow certain flowers to unlock other seed packets and there are in-app purchases you can make to expand your garden (though I avoid in-app purchases like crazy). (It’s free right now!)
- Games I’m looking at: Giana Sisters, Domino’s Adventure, Dragon’s Lair.
- update: Games I’ve loved in the past, and keep on my phone, include Spider, Drop 7, Rolando and Glyder.
sites I read to learn about apps
- app.itize.us – Features little known but nicely done apps.
- Fingergaming – Game reviews, nice amount of detail and opinion.
- Touch Arcade – Game reviews, nice amount of detail and opinion. (Sometimes I mix Fingergaming and Touch Arcade up to be honest, but both are good.)
- Mobile Monday at Casual Gameplay – They try out a lot of smaller games the other sites don’t mention.
- (I’m always looking for sites that do a good job of curating apps and games, if you have one you like I’d love to learn about it.)
Kindle books (I still think the Stanza reader is far more pleasurable to use, but Amazon has the ease of purchase and delivery that has grudgingly won me over, at least when the book is significantly less expensive.)
- Waiter Rant – It took me years to finally buy this book to read, and I’m really looking forward to his upcoming book on tipping.
- Cleaving – This was a book that felt appropriate to read in a dark room while the glowing screen gave up intimate secrets.
- Interface and The Cobweb – Older Neal Stephenson books, I’m a big fan.
the quest for my favorite case
My quest ended with me going back to get new version of the very first one I bought. The case I love (pictured above) is the Incase Protective Cover, simply a rubber sleeve that hugs the phone all the way around. I love it because it’s grippy. When I drop my phone (which is rare, see: grippy) it simply bounces. The only downside is that the rubber makes it a bit harder to slide in and out of a pocket. Of most importance, though, is that the Incase rubber cover is the most comfortable for playing games. What can I say, I fully embrace my inner ten year old boy. They make a similar one for the iPod Touch called a gaming cover which I covet.
After I wore down my first Incase protective cover I tried a few hardshell cases and one other rubberized case, all of which I found too slippery to hold on to (admittedly, I’m a clutz). One hardshell case failed me when I dropped my phone and it cracked, luckily not the screen. (Wave Case I’m looking harshly at you here.) One final note, the Crystal Film made by Power Support has saved my screen from countless scratches, I like it very very much.
· comments  · 05-13-2010 · categories:iphone · technology ·