NoSleepHD protects my sanity

March 9, 2009 at 7:54 pm (Technology) (, , , )

NoSleepHD is an windows utility that stops your external hard drive from going to sleep. Windows by default will put to sleep external devices to save energy and such. The problem I have is when my external decides to wind up, which can be at any given time, gives me some terrible audio feedback on my speakers. So, until I get that problem fixed (Most likely convert to all digital audio) this will do. Also people who need the performance perks of having a external that is ready to go will also find use in this program. It’s pretty straightforward, free and you can download it here.

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Qik for mobile. In case the world doesn’t see you enough.

February 9, 2009 at 12:54 am (Products) (, , , , )

Qik is a awesome program that lets you record (and live stream) video from your phone, upload it online, and update a number of social media sites, all seamlessly and simple.

I’ve seen quite a few twitter users that are on Qik, and never really had a phone that would support it. Recently, I retired my company Blackberry Curve, and opted for a Blackberry Bold. Since the Bold is 3G + WiFi it was much better suited for Qik. Current Qik is supported on a pretty wide range of smartphones (including the iPhone) as well as a ton of Nokias. Supported Devices.

Qik then is downloaded on the phone. A super simple interface will then title, tag and then start your video feed. This will start to stream live on Qik’s website. Once you stop it will upload the movie in it’s entirety online.

You can integrate a number of sites into Qik. From their website you can add twitter support and youtube (the 2 I did). If you want facebook support, you actually have to add a facebook app to do so.

It’s that simple to start live streaming video from your phone, and keep your social web apps updated automatically. I did a post earlier chronicling how it’s a pain in the neck to get Qik onto WordPress.com, along with a video of the new car.

p.s. My Qik account is here, add me!

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Youmail, Voicemail on steroids

February 7, 2009 at 12:02 pm (Products, Technology) (, )

I recently started using youmail for my voicemail, and I have to say, it is AWESOME! Essentially it’s voicemail on steroids. There are a lot of cool features that definitely enhance how I use my phone. It’s VERY easy to setup, and they lead you through the whole process (With pictures!).

First off it you can listen to your voicemail from any computer, pretty nice if you loose your phone, and you can receive voicmail updates via email and text. They call this “Visual Voicemail”, but if you’ve used an iPhone, it’s just not the same. But wait, there’s more! If you have a blackberry, you CAN have visual voicemail like on the iPhone! The Youmail program does the exact same function of the iPhone visual voicemail. It’s not perfect yet, but it’s getting there. All of this is FREE too, can’t beat that!

Youmail also offers a transcriber service as well, at reasonable prices. If someone leaves you a voicemail, within 10 mins you get an email with a transcription of their message! I signed up, just to see how well it worked, 5 out of the 5 messages I got were spot on, the 6th was close enough.

There are a couple other cool features such as, ability to import contacts, set assigned voicemail to certain people and block calls (Or assign them a voicmail that states the phone has been disconnected!). My phone is for business and personal use, so I’ll setting my friends for a more personal greeting, and my work contacts can have something a little more formal.

There is some room for improvement, mainly the phone application support. The blackberry should definitely be able to recieve a push notification from youmail, and alert you that you have a voicmail via audio and vibration, without having to have a text sent to you. Hopefully they’re working on this, as well as more supported phones. Also the transcription service sometimes takes up to 15 mins on high quality. Youmail still seems like it needs some work before it can go mainstream, but it’s definately worth checking out if you can benefit from it’s features! Below are some pictures of the service, unfortunately I don’t have a picture of the visual voicmail app though. 😦

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My bandwidth

February 3, 2009 at 11:04 pm (Rants, Technology) (, )

My bandwidth usage for the month of January

My bandwidth usage for the month of January

Yes, I know, it’s not as much as some, but 23 GB is a ton of data for not doing terribly too much. I downloaded BWMeter from their site. It’s free for the 1st 30 days, and it’s pretty interesting. It’s designed more for enterprise setups, but works fine for personal usage.

The main reason I did this was to see if I could stay under the 5GB threshold of most aircards today. The major players have all instituted these “caps” to decrease the amount of users that purchase aircards to replace home Internet connections. If you were just using it for email and light browsing, it wouldn’t be a problem, but the second you open a torrent (legal ones of course) that 5GB would be out the window. Also, satellite providers, like wildblue, also have caps (Their highest being 17GB) that I would also exceed. Hopefully I never move somewhere I can’t get DSL…

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How to simplify your life with Google Reader

January 26, 2009 at 12:40 am (Technology) (, , )

rss_logoSo, I’m a pretty techie guy, but until a couple weeks ago, I hadn’t set up Google Reader. For those who don’t know the concept of an RSS reader, it’s simple. Websites (especially blogs) have what’s referred to as a feed (Indicated by the logo to the left). You can subscribe to these feeds with a feed reader and get all the updates at one source. So if you have a couple websites that you check daily (or more), you add them to your reader, and it’s a personalized news feed! I’d say it cuts my morning waste time on the computer routine down quite a lot. It’s pretty easy to set up, and again, I’ll hold your hand!

google-reader11.) Pick a reader, I’ll be using Google Reader. It’s pretty straightforward and I can use it at work. Point your browser to reader.google.com and login (or create a google account). This will bring up your reader page, right now it should be blank (with an intro video)

icanhasrssfeed12.) Head to your favorite website, and play a little game called spot the reader. Some websites it’s pretty obvious, others you have to do some poking around. We’ll use icancheezburger. The RSS feed logo is always an indicator, but some websites just say the words “Feed” or “RSS”, but they will do the same thing. Mine says “Entries RSS” on the bottommost section of the right side toolbar.

readers23.) Most websites will prompt you to add the feed to a reader, you’ll click google, or whichever reader you use. Then click “Add to google reader”. This should bring you back to your reader, where you can now always catch the most recent cats with poor grammar(Not that I’m much better)

There’s really not to much more to it, as you find more interesting websites (Like my blog, hint hint) add it to your reader, so you can always stay on top of things! Just try not to spend ALL day looking at cat pictures!

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Why aren’t you using Pidgin yet? (with Facebook chat!)

January 19, 2009 at 10:32 pm (Technology) (, , , )

This post is for my less tech savy friends (I’ll go easy on you!). If you are still using separate programs for AIM/MSN Messenger/MyspaceIM this is for you. If you want to use facebook chat without having to log into facebook’s website, this is also for you. Pidgin solves all these problems and wraps them into one easy to use, customizable program.

Pidgin has been around for a bit, and those who had used trillian should be familiar with the concept, all of your messangers in one spot. You can see from their website that out of the box it supports a slew of messengers, and i’ll show you how to add facebook to the list. Don’t worry, you can hold my hand…

1.) Download Pidgin and install. It’s fairly simple, just hop over to pidgin.im and hit Download. Obviously install, I recommend going ahead and installing the dictionary for spell check support.

2.) Go ahead and install the Facebook chat plugin found here (For the curious, their website can be found here). Start up pidgin (Mine did crash the 1st time, so don’t freak if yours does the same) and it should automatically bring you to the following screen, if not click ‘Accounts’ > ‘Manage Accounts’ on the top of the screen.

Yeah, you know who I am if you need me.

3.) Your’s won’t look like that, it’s okay. Go ahead and click Add, select the messengers you want (We’ll use facebook).

Pidgin Facebook

4.) This should be pretty self explanatory, but here’s a screen shot just in case. Go ahead and put your email address and password in there and hit save. Make sure there is a check box next to your account on the account screen (Picture #1) and close. You’re online friends should be showing up, and you can start to chat away!

The next steps. You saw in the 2nd screen shot MyspaceIM was already in there, along with other popular services, add whatever you need, and they’ll automatically login when you start pidgin. You can even update your facebook status by clicking ‘Accounts’ > ‘Facebook’ > ‘Update Status’. Some of my twitter friends should note that you can find a twitter plugin here. It will update your status according to your tweet history. Last.fm friends you can add a plugin that will change your status according to what you scrobble, add it here.

If you guys have any questions, let me know, I’d be glad to help you out!

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