Archive for the ‘Tech’ category

How to control iTunes with headphones

April 28, 2010

If you own headphones with a built-in remote, such as those that come with the iPhone (or these), you can control iTunes directly from the button when it’s plugged into your Apple laptop.

To launch iTunes, press the button once.

To play/pause, press the button once.

To skip to the next track, press the button twice.

To go back to the previous track, press the button three times.

Amazing, I know.

I have these by Etymotic, and they are fawesome.

How to Turn Off Google Buzz

February 10, 2010

Friend Feed

April 21, 2009

Friend Feed: Like Twitter, but without Oprah or Ashton or any of that other crap.

lala – $0.10 – $0.89

October 23, 2008

LaLa - Where Music Plays

lala is a new music service that puts your music in the “cloud”. Don’t ask me what that means. But here’s what you can do:

  • – “Upload” your entire music collection to lala and listen to it on any computer with an internet connection.
  • – Buy “Web Songs” for 10 cents. You can’t download them, but you can listen as many times as you want on your computer.
  • – Buy full songs for 89 cents. You can download these to your iPod and listen to them as many times as you want on your computer.

I’ve been using lala for the past 2 days, and it is the greatest thing ever. Ever!

Sign up now and get 50 free credits (that’s 50 free Web Songs).

A Picture Everyday – $0

May 5, 2008

A Picture Everyday is a cool little Facebook app that lets you take a photo of yourself each day with your web-cam. Check it out if you have a built-in iSight or USB web-cam.

Howcast instructional videos – $0

February 6, 2008

Like learning, but hate reading? Watch free instructional videos at howcast.com.

Joost – $0

May 1, 2007

joost invitation code

I’ve been playing around with the beta version of Joost for the past few weeks. If you haven’t heard already, Joost is a “new way of watching TV on the internet.” You can choose from over a dozen channels and pretty much watch TV completely free from your computer. It’s definately a cool concept, and there’s no surprise that Joost has been receiving plenty of hype from the media and Internets. But there’s only one problem: Joost sucks.

The biggest flaw with Joost is the content. Honestly, who wants to watch National Geographics and GameStar TV. And if you like sports, you’re stuck with Indy racing, soccer, and some crappy extreme sports channel. They’ve also thrown in big names like MTV and Comedy Central for good measure, but you only get the reject programs like Laguna Beach (wtf?) and Stella.

There are also problems with the actual software. I’m currently running on a 6 month old Macbook with plenty of RAM. When I fire up Joost, I feel like my laptop is about to explode. So don’t even think about running any other application if you have Joost open. Although I’ve upgraded to the latest version of Joost, I’m still experiencing random delays and crashes. Not good at all.

But enough bitching and moaning from me. Joost is currently invite-only, and I’ve got a few invites left. If you want to see what the hype is all about, leave a comment and I’ll send out invites on a first come first serve basis.

Update: You can manually invite yourself to the Joost beta here. Joost also came out with a new software upgrade today, which crashes your computer even more. Folks, it still sucks. If you want a real Internet TV solution, get yourself a Slingbox. I’ve had mine for over a week and it seriously kicks ass.

Start a business with Cambrian House – $0

April 17, 2007

cambrian house

Today, I attended the Web 2.0 Expo at the Moscone Convention Center in SF. In a nutshell, it was a gathering of online companies – many with dumb names – trying to promote their latest and greatest by luring you in with free t-shirts, candy, and beer. I visited a ton of booths (and got a ton of t-shirts) but usually walked away feeling bored and unimpressed. However, one company by the name of Cambrian House did catch my attention.

Cambrian House dubs themselves as the “home of crowdsourcing”. Crowdsourcing is a term used to describe getting something done using the collective effort of a large group of people usually over the Internet. For example, if I have an idea for a business, I would post it on Cambrian House and find other users to critique, collaborate, and eventually form the business with. The lady at the booth described it as an easy way to get your ideas out in the air and see how people respond. If people like it, you can potentially search within the community to find those who fit the skill-sets needed to execute the idea (partners, programmers, designers, etc.).

To test the effectiveness of Cambrian House, I’ve decided to share an idea that has been brewing in my head for months. I’ve guarded this idea with secrecy and have told only a handful of trusted friends. So here it is folks: Carbon Dating Service. Let me know what you think.

Ear Light – $6.99

April 9, 2007

ear light reading light

Reading in bed with a night lamp is so 2006. The Ear Light is the all-new futuristic reading light that you wear on your ear, kinda like the Star Trek-ish Bluetooth headsets. The Ear Light contains a white LED light that runs off 2 coin-cell lithium batteries (included).

Get with the times!

LawYours – $0

April 8, 2007

Attention all Bay Area lawyers and Internet geeks, LawYours is a free event for you to mingle with up-and-coming entrepreneurs and top Silicon Valley law firms.  The event will take place on the evening of May 10, 2007 in Palo Alto, California. Michael Arrington from TechCrunch will be speaking as well. More info available at Entrepreneur27 and geekwhat.

USBCELL Rechargable Battery – $9.30

March 16, 2007

usb cell rechargable batteries

These are your standard NiMH 1.2v 1300mah AA batteries, but rechargable via the USB port on your computer. Unfortunately, it takes about 5 hours for a 90% recharge. A bit pricey considering the $18.59 price tag for a pack of 2, but cool nonetheless.

Get them at Amazon

Getting Real – $0

March 14, 2007

getting real 37signals

Getting Real is a book written by the folks at 37signals. In their own words, it’s about discovering a “smarter, faster, easier way to build a successful web-based application.” You can buy the PDF for $19, the paperback for $29, or if you’re a cheapo like me, read the book for free via their site.

Read Getting Real at 37signals

Photorgy – $0

March 9, 2007

photorgy

There are a ton of free photo sharing websites on the Internet, but none are quite like Photorgy. Photorgy has made it super easy to post your photos online with AOL instant messenger. In fact, just about everything is done through AIM: registration, photo uploads, etc. Photorgy just launched recently so give it shot.

Do it with your friends at Photorgy

Floppy Disk Pen Holder – $4.99

March 2, 2007

disk holder

What good are floppy disks in a world of DVDs and Blu-ray discs? Pen Holders of course! Designed by GeekGear, this ingenius creation is manufactured from black recycled 3.5″ floppy disks that would probably just end up in a landfill. They also have notepads made from 5.25″ floppy disks in case you’re old enough to have used them.

Go retro at GeekGear

Macworld Expo 2007

January 11, 2007

macworld expo 2007

Aside from all the free promotional schwag, most of the cool stuff at this year’s Macworld Expo cost over $10, way waaay over. Below are some pictures. Enjoy!

 

iwoofer
iWoofer looks like an iPod with legs.

 

jbl
A really ugly iPod speaker system by JBL.

 

lacie bluetooth speakers
Wireless Bluetooth speakers by LaCie. Looks like sewer pipes from Super Mario Bros.

 

lacie
This tentacle contraption by LaCie comes with every connector you could possibly imagine.

 

skins
Spill-proof skins for Apple keyboards.

 

apple tv
Apple TV streams music and videos from your computer to your TV.

 

etymotic
Etymotic Ety8 Bluetooth earbuds with iPod Adapter. If you can get past the ugliness, they actually sound pretty damn good.

 

nikon lens
A big ass Nikon lens!

 

lacie brick hard drive
LaCie 250 GB Brick hard drive. They are stackable like Legos.

 

apple iphone
iPhone, the most coveted gadget at Macworld. You can’t even touch this thing.

DIY eBay Photo Studio – $0

January 3, 2007

If you’ve ever wanted to take professional looking photos for your eBay listings, look no further. Today, I will show you how to make a simple macro photo studio using common household items. You will need the following supplies:

  • Empty Corona 24-pack box (or any cardboard box)
  • Paper towels (I used Bounty quilted)
  • Printer paper (8.5″ x 11″)
  • Duct tape
  • Scissors and/or razor blade
  • Reading lamp (Mine has a 60W bulb)
  • Camera

Step 1:

step 1

step 2

Start by cutting out the top, sides, and bottom of the box, leaving the back intact. The Corona box will be the enclosure to your macro photo studio.

Step 2:

step 3

step 2

Cover up the top and side compartments with paper towels. Use duct tape to hold them in place with the box. Leave the bottom completely open.

Step 3:

step 3

Tape two sheets of printer paper together and attach them to the back-top of the box so that they drape down.

You are now ready to start taking professional quality photos. Take your reading lamp and position the light to the side of the box. The paper towels will diffuse the light to create soft, beautiful shadows on whatever you’re photographing.

setup

Below are a few sample photos:

altoids

ipod

nokia phone

corona beer

Update: I used a Canon Digital Rebel with a Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II lens. Shots were taken about 2 feet away from the object with no flash, 400 ISO, white balanced to Tungsten (do this for incandescent bulbs), and automatic setting. Photoshop was used only for cropping and auto level.

Update 2: If your images are coming out too dark, you may want to switch to a compact fluorescent bulb. They’re much brighter and more efficient than your standard incandescent bulb, and they also come in daylight color so your photos won’t come out yellowish.

Online Music – $0

December 31, 2006

Pandora

pandora

Pandora is a free internet radio service that helps you find new music. You start by creating a “Station” with an artist or song title. After that, Pandora automagically streams music featuring similar artists and songs. Pandora is great if you’re in front of your computer all day and want to hear some new music.

Napster

napster

Napster allows you to listen to every track in their 2 million song catalog up to 3 times for free. These are ENTIRE songs, not lame ass 30 second samples. Napster is good if you want to sample a song before you download it on BitTorrent or a P2P service…not that I know anything about that…

iLike

ilike

iLike is a relatively new service that acts as an enhancement to iTunes. You have to install their software, which adds a sidebar to iTunes. Whenever you play a song, the sidebar generates recommendations to similar songs/artists which you can download for free. iLike is made by the guys from GarageBand, so all the recommendations come from GarageBand’s song database.