Tag Archives: computing

Tablets, Phones, and Laptops

About one year ago, I purchased an iPad. It’s been an amazing device. I read my news on it, read my email there, play games, and use it as a reference. I thought I would write blog posts, read books/pdfs, and create more with it. While I do some of the latter, it’s difficult at times. The iPad (and iOS) isn’t set up for content creation as I do it. I know that’s a bit of trope in the tech press: the iPad is for content consumption not creation. I think that it’s an unfair statement in general, but for me, it’s true.

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Services

I’m a big fan of internet services. So much so that I am willing to pay for them. While most of us use and love Dropbox, one service that I actually don’t pay for right now, I’m not here to write about that. I’m here to write about the services that many of us are unwilling to pay for. For what it’s worth, the following three services work well on mobile (iOS) and desktop.

Email

Gmail rules the roost for most people. Even though I’ve had a Gmail account since the very early days1, before that time, I was paying for an email service for myself and Mike. Periodically, I overhaul my email setup.2. Recently I made another transition to Fastmail.

I can’t say enough positive things about Fastmail’s service. Unlimited domain names, aliases, plenty of options for aliases under Fastmail owned domain names, good filtering via sieve, and plenty of space. It doesn’t hurt that the webmail application is “not too shabby.”

RSS

Brian just recently made a large post about RSS. I love RSS as echoed during Brian’s post. I’ve been very happy with Feedbin as my RSS hub. It hooks into the apps I use, has good search and sharing options, and a responsive developer. I’ve used Feedbin for a couple of years now and I’ve loved it. RSS and email are my two most used services, so having a solid provider for them is advantageous.

Bookmarks

I’ve used various home grown methods of bookmarking web pages and archiving online content that I wanted a permanent record of. I haven’t kept up with most of the methods because they ultimately took too much involvement on my part. That being said, I think Pinboard is going to work for me.

It’s fast, simple, and affordable. It fits my working style. I like the archive option too.


  1. I got a Gmail beta invite from a friend mid-August 2004. According to Wikipedia, “Gmail initially started as an invitation-only beta release on April 1, 2004[9] and it became available to the general public on February 7, 2007…” 
  2. This is a habit that would repeat itself several times. I made a big transition after graduating from college and losing that address. My transitions midway through grad school were written about previously. I realized near the end of grad school I would need to transition off of my Princeton email address, which would be a much more painful process than moving on from my undergrad email. In preparation for that, about a year before I graduated, I started to consolidate my mail on our paid server account (protozoic.com). We used that service up until about a month ago, when I moved us to Fastmail. Parallel to all of this email provider movement, I’ve also moved email clients, from Eudora->Apple Mail->Mailsmith->Pine->Mutt. That is a story for another day. 

Guten Tag – The Infinite Forum

I had this idea the other day for a new style of forum software. And maybe this has been done, but I haven’t seen it anywhere:

The Infinite Forum (or The Freeforall or Guten Tag )

The specifics of the forum structure would be these:

  • There would be no mandatory “forum categories” per se. Or, if there were they would only be organized according to some politeness schema (like age appropriateness, potential offensiveness level) or maybe along lines of preferred language spoken.
  • In place of standard topical categories each post would be defined by a unique identifier and a set of tags. These tags would take the place of standard forum categories. This is the centerpiece of this system, the cornerstone around which the rest of the forum software is generally organized.

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The Gateway 2150 (De)repair Saga – Part I

I tried posting this inquiry on some message board specifically intended for dealing with Gateway laptops. But it’s not the most active board out there. And after about a week of not getting any help I thought:

“Protozoic has always given me plenty of love. Maybe they’d have some insight into this whole issue.”

So here’s the project at hand:

We have this old Gateway 2150 laptop that we never used for about 5 years due to the fact that it ran really slowly compared to our newer computers, and had a tendency to crash even when operating standard Windows 98 applications.

Also the battery doesn’t seem to recharge.

And also the fan didn’t seem to come on ever.

But this year I decided I’d try resuscitating the thing. I only plan to use it for word-processing, a little e-mail checking on occasion, possibly to learn linux.

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DNG Workflow

Here’s some workflow helper scripts for digital photography. A couple of assumptions are made with these scripts:

  • You use OS X 10.4 – mandatory since this stuff uses Automator.
  • You use Adobe DNG (version 3.2) – not mandatory, but you have to take out the dng conversion steps.
  • You want your photos stored in a date hierarchy, specifically /yy/mmddyy/yyyymmdd-xxxx.dng. The xxxx is the original number from the raw file. As an example, a photo taken on Aug. 11th, 2005 would be stored in /05/081105/20050811-2927.dng.
  • I use a Canon Digital Rebel, so the naming conventions are CRW_xxxx.CRW, CRW_xxxx.THM, and IMG_xxxx.JPG

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OmniOutliner to iCal Script

I wrote this script to export an OmniOutliner list into iCal as a list of To Do items. I’ve used iCal off and on, and it’s not great, but it does currently hook into the syncing system of OS X. OmniOutliner is infinitely more usable in my mind, and lets you work the way you want to.

The primary motivation for this script is to let me sync my to do list to my phone, which only syncs through iCal. I’m sure others might find other uses for it. If you like it, have a suggestion, etc., leave a comment or send an email.

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I’m a Gesture Junkie

So today I watched Minority Report that bear lent to me and noticed, apart from that Philip K. Dick liked to write stories about future prediction, the computer interface Tom Cruise used was reminicient of what Keanu Reeves used in Johnny Mnenomic, only without the goggles. That is, not only did they use their hands as if they were a computer mouse, but gestures were added that performed functions you’d normally find in some hotkey or drop-down menu list. I really think that this kind of interface (albeit rather exaggerated in the movies to be efficient), along with voice commands, is the future. Except, they aren’t the future at all. Gestures are already here.

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SpamSieve

Mark Mayo of VMUNIX discusses his move to SpamSieve. I think he will be pleasantly surprised at how well it handle a butt-load of junk mail. Sure, sometimes with large loads of mail, it takes a minute to get processed through SpamSieve, but it does a great job at learning what is junk and what isn’t. I get on average 100-300 spam emails a day, and SpamSieve keeps on chugging. It works great in combination with SpamAssassin and other spam filtering utilities that tag spam in the headers since SpamSieve can learn about the spaminess of any portion of an email, including all headers. A++.