Category Archives: Technology

Hulu was worth the wait…

If you haven’t heard of it, Hulu is an online video site from several major TV and movie studios where they put entire television shows and movies. I signed up for the private beta a month or so ago and finally got my invite today and I love what I see.

There aren’t too many movies, Breakfast Club, Conan The Barbarian, Sideways to name a few, but they have a lot of TV shows, mostly from NBC. But they do have WKRP In Cincinnati.

I just want to test their embedded video option, like what you’ve seen from me with YouTube, with one of my favorite SNL skits from the last few years: Business Meeting With Rainn Wilson – I LOVE absurdity. Enjoy!

My Favorite Windows Mobile Apps

I was recently given a Samsung Blackjack for work (unlimited data, oh yes) and I have to say I am very happy with the phone. Of course, I’ve never used another “smart phone” but Windows Mobile doesn’t bother me and ActiveSync is your friend when you live out of MS Outlook. I bought a 2gig Micro SD card off of some website (meritline.com, maybe) for $20 shipped so it’s maxed out with storage (until 4gig MSD cards come out and are $20).

To boost download speeds, AT&T in Buffalo upgraded their wireless network from Edge to 3G so surfing the internet is nice. I use the browser-based version of Gmail to access my email and Google has really put a lot into it. I refuse to use Java-based apps on the phone, it’s like being on a crappy island, detached from society and the Gmail App for Windows Mobile doesn’t even seem to support my hosted domain email (I use wnymusic.com and not gmail.com for Gmail email). If that makes sense.

So, as far as decent Windows applications go on the Blackjack, you are limited, but I have found several that make the Blackjack a standalone computer when I’m away from my laptop.

  • Yahoo! Go 2.0 – News, Maps, Weather, Flickr from Yahoo all in one place. A very slick application. The Flickr support is nice but when I last tried it, it could not access my storage card which is my default location for saving videos and pictures on the phone.
  • vTap – With the 3G connection and an unlimited data plan in place, vTap is useful for accessing online videos. All sorts of video; I watched a mini documentary of some Russian woman stunt pilot.
  • SiriusWM5 – As a hardcore Sirius Satellite Radio listener, this is one of the coolest apps on my phone. It basically gets you logged in to your online Sirius account and then streams radio to Windows Media Player. A solid app.
  • Palringo – FINALLY a free Instant Messaging app for Windows Mobile. I actually found this last night reading Lifehacker and immediately installed it. 10 minutes later, I got my first IM from Rat down in Pittsburgh. It doesn’t appear to import your contact list but managing my very long contact list via such a small screen would be interesting to say the least. Still, people are able to IM me and it supports all the major IM services (AOL, Yahoo, MSN, ICQ and Jabber/Gtalk/XMPP).
  • MSNBC.com Mobile – Even though they have a web presence, I actually like this app a lot. It makes reading the articles easier than navigating the web. Has all the NBC News video options as well.
  • Live Search Mobile – Another app from Microsoft that I love. It has many of the same features the Google Maps and Yahoo! Go apps do but this one does exactly what it should; find places, let you call them and give you mapped out directions. I use it all the time and all over the country.
  • Doom – What more needs to be said other than it runs and looks better than it did on the old 486 I started playing doom on 14 years ago.
  • PocketNester – A Nintendo emulator that I found to be real nice and easy to use. You’ll have to do some searching for the ROMs of the games on your own.

That about does it and really covers everything I need from such a powerful phone that it doesn’t come with out of the box. You might wonder how I stay productive on the phone for everything else and for those things, I use the mobile web. I’ll post again soon with a list of must have mobile website bookmarks.

How to delete a song in an iTunes playlist

If you use playlists in iTunes to listen to your music, then you may have noticed that it is impossible to delete a song while viewing the playlist. You might need to delete a lost song or just to remove a song you are too embarrassed to even have on your computer (where did that Wham! song come from anyway?).

I discovered a keyboard shortcut that allows you to do this, simply press control-shift-delete after the selecting the song(s) you want to delete. That’s it, hope it’s helpful for you.

Spam? Yeah, I get spam…

According to Google, who now manages my 3 main email accounts and the aliases that go to them, I got 21,252 spam messages in the last 30 days.

21,252 =
708.4 per day
29.5 per hour
.5 per minute.

Gotta give it to Google though, I get 30 or so spam messages in my Inbox a day and rarely do I get a false positive (good email in my spam folder).

Make that 21,256…

UPDATE 10.27.2006: I’m now topping 26,000 spam messages for the last 30 days. Ugh.

Why is it called Bluetooth?

From: http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/bluetooth.htm

Harald Bluetooth was king of Denmark in the late 900s. He managed to unite Denmark and part of Norway into a single kingdom then introduced Christianity into Denmark. He left a large monument, the Jelling rune stone, in memory of his parents. He was killed in 986 during a battle with his son, Svend Forkbeard. Choosing this name for the standard indicates how important companies from the Nordic region (nations including Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland) are to the communications industry, even if it says little about the way the technology works.

I only knew the first part when I saw it on Jeopary last week, very interesting. Bluetooth is slow and a total P.I.T.A. on windows but I know of no other communication mechanism with such a cool name.

Google Analytics

I’m such a sucker when it comes to Google. I instantly grab anything they push out, install it and figure out what it is later. I must admit though, things like the Deskbar, Desktop Search, Google Updater, Google Home Page (the customizable one), GMail (need an invite?), AdSense, Toolbar (IE and FF) and I’m sure a few others are things I use everyday and could not live without. A few others, like Google Reader and Google Pages didn’t have me coming back again.

I just can’t figure out Google Reader. It’s almost like Google knows the best way to read RSS feeds and is trying to teach me and I’m just not getting it. It’s useless to me. Google Pages is pretty nifty but it is what it is, a simple way to create simple pages at a simple URL. You can see my Google Page over here.

But after months of waiting, I finally got my invite to Google Analytics and I IMMEDIATELY added it to wnymusic.com. I’m not really sure what it will do for me, I never really cared much about stats… I know I get a lot of hits, yada yada. Some people have balked at my numbers but I don’t make this stuff up – they’re just haters who constantly worry about stats. Not me.

Maybe this will change now that i have a slick interface to watch it all go down in real time. Looks like they have some version of Urchin on steroids but it’s layed out in typical Google fashion; no fancy graphics or fonts, just the data you need, where you’d expect it.

Now if I could just get my freaking Yahoo Mail Beta invite, I’d be happy!

Finally, a good iPod cover?

I’m currently waiting for my 3rd iPod cover to come in the mail and I’m already not happy with it. First we bought the iSkin Duo, which I love but turned out to be too bulky when I got my iTrip for broadcasting to radio. It has 2 skins that hold a plastic cover for the click wheel and screen between them – having something protect the screen is very important. I stripped it down to the inside skin which is very thin and doesn’t protect the screen but is sufficient to protect the rest of the body. I think it was $40 from the Apple store.

Then I found Nano Crystal Clear Film Screen for $5 and gave that a shot. It was really hard to work with since it’s basically a stiff, clear sticker that you adhere to the front and back of the iPod. It’s really hard to keep the iPod and the sticker clean enough to get it on straight and it drove me nuts. And the separate round stickers for the click wheel and button didn’t even fit. I didn’t want them anyway. So I got the stickers on and put the inside Duo skin over that and I’m pretty happy. It’s not very attractive since the inside duo skin isn’t really meant for real world viewing but it works.

Now, I have a standard, snow white silicon skin coming in the mail. It was $10 and should have that finished look and work well with the film covers on there now.

Then I find the Nano iKeyChain form A1 Quality Products (you know it’s good with a name like that, right?) and this looks very, very cool. I like the key chain idea and it looks like you could drive over it. In fact, I think there’s a pic of just that scenario. I might give it a shot, maybe not that color but I’ll let you know how it works out.

One thing is for sure, the Nano has no scratches yet and I want to keep it that way. And if you’re a student or an educator, ALWAYS take advantage of Apple’s educational discount. We’ve used it for the Nano and iBook now and saved some bucks.