Category Archives: Media Blog

Do You Rely on Your Phone?

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Someone asked recently if I could live without my cell phone. Ten years ago, I could have. Back then, my phone wasn’t smart at all. It was big. It had a lot of buttons on it. But it didn’t really DO much.

These days, my smartphone has turned into the best computer I’ve ever had. It’s with me anytime I leave the room, let alone the house. I don’t (and can’t) always carry my iPad or laptop with me. I certainly don’t haul my desktop around. My phone is always in my pocket and I can use it to do nearly anything I can do with the other devices.

My phone allows me to stay better connected with the world around me. I’m able to do most of what I need to do from wherever I am – I’m even always online. This is a more powerful computer than what I had back in high school. I don’t need a physical keyboard or mouse for a device to be a computer. It’s a basic input/output device. That’s all I need.

I don’t know if – today – I could live without my phone. I truly don’t think I could. How about you? Could you live without your phone?

What Helps You Sleep?

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If you’re like most geeks, it’s difficult for you to shut your brain down, relax and just – sleep. Many of us cannot pass out without some type of noise to help our brains tune out completely. Dylan’s video this week features an excellent website that will put an end to your sleep deprivation.

SimplyNoise is a website full of sounds that will put you to sleep – literally. You can choose from several different types of noise and adjust the speed and volume at which they play.

You’ll also find several downloads available, including “soundscapes” – such as a thunderstorm. Set your timer to have it shut itself off when you know you’ll already be in dreamland, and even have it take you to your zen place.

There are iPhone and Android apps available, as well… so you can enjoy your white, pink or brown noise wherever you may be.

Recover Lost Files With Recuva

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This week, Matthew is showing off a small but powerful tool called Recuva. Recuva recovers files deleted from your Windows computer, Recycle Bin, digital camera card, or MP3 player. And it’s free!

I know it’s happened to you… you’ve deleted something that you shouldn’t have. Perhaps your computer crashed (or the power went out) and you lost something you were working on. I know I’ve deleted something from the Recycle Bin and later realized I still needed it. It happens to all of us. Recuva will help you get those files back, though.

Recuva works on any rewritable media you have. Whether you need to recover priceless photographs from your digital camera’s memory card, files you backed up to an external hard drive, or the documents you carry around every day on your USB key, Recuva’s got you covered. Heck, it can even recover stuff from your iPod’s drive!

This program can restore unsaved Word documents, find files on a “reformatted” disc and recover that email you shouldn’t have deleted.

I TOLD you it was powerful. It’s simple to use, and it really is free. Why haven’t you downloaded it yet?

LEGO Advent Calendar 2010

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‘Tis the season to assemble LEGO! You may not celebrate Christmas or Advent, but how cool is this particular Advent calendar, anyway? There are 25 days, just as with normal Advent calendars. Instead of chocolate being behind each little window you open, there are new LEGO pieces!

The kit comes with a total of 257 pieces, including various city equipment, minifigs, a Christmas tree, a fireplace, and much more. You’ll have everything you need to put together a fantastic city scene, which can (of course!) be used as a holiday decoration.

I’m not sure which holiday you choose to celebrate. I choose Christmas, even though I am no longer a practicing Catholic. To me, the holidays are about giving to others, no matter what religion you are a part of or which holiday you call your own. Heck, I keep in mind that we “stole” Christmas from early Pagans. They began their Solstice celebrations many MANY years before Santa Claus or Christmas made their entrance.

No matter what you choose to celebrate this year (and every year), I hope it is a safe, healthy and happy one for you and your family.

How to Edit Audio and Video with Roxio Creator 2011 (and a Giveaway!)

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When the good people at Roxio asked if we wanted to take a look at Roxio Creator 2011, I jumped at the chance and tagged Dylan to do the honors for us. His work is solid, and I knew he’d give an honest review. From what I’ve seen in this video, Roxio Creator 2011 is a fantastic overall application that will fit most of your media needs. We’ll tell you later in this writeup how to win one of three copies for yourself!

Roxio Creator allows you to edit in 3D, and create standard-definition and high-definition Hollywood-style 3D movies on DVD from 2D and 3D input. Free 3D glasses are included with your purchase!!!

Easily edit your standard and HD videos. Add picture-in-picture effects, titles and scrolling credits. Rotate video with one click, auto-adjust color, brightness and contrast. Access and share the videos and movies on your PC from the Internet virtually anywhere, anytime.

Trim unwanted parts, combine multiple tracks together, normalize the volume across the mix and add fun effects. Create advanced playlist projects with crossfades, transitions and audio mashups. Dylan reports that this software is quite good at audio editing. He would know, as he’s a professional podcaster and works with audio files every day.

The photo-editing portion of the suite is not one that Dylan felt comfortable enough to do an in-depth review of. He admits to not being a photo editor. However, he found the software to be intuitive and simple to use… yet allowed him to make photos look very VERY good with just a few easy clicks.

If you’re looking for an all-in-one suite, Roxio Creator 2011 just may be the one for you! If you’d like to win one of three copies for yourself, make sure you’re following me on Twitter. Send me an @ Tweet and include the hashtag #RoxioCreator before noon eastern time on Friday, December 17th. Three people who do this will be chosen at random to win a copy for themselves. That’s all there is to it!

How to Optimize OS X

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Someone in chat asked if there are tips and tricks to fine-tune OS X. Why yes, young grasshopper, there are actually many ways you can optimize your Mac!

I recently came across MacKeeper. If you’re interested in this software, I can try to get you a discount on it. It’s a piece of software that is a bundle of most important system utilities for performing different tasks on your Mac. It helps you navigate through files and even clean out your cache quickly. It includes unparalleled support, which is fantastic. I was having an issue on my Mac that no one could figure out… until I asked MacKeeper.

It even scans all of the software on the computer to tell you what updates you may need. It even lets you know if you are lacking in some areas, such as anti-virus and anti-theft. You can also use the application to encrypt or shred your data and files.

If you’re looking for a Mac system optimizer, this is the best one out there as far as I’m concerned.

Manage Your Network With Tonido

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Tonido is a fantastic – and simple – way to manage your home network. Tonido lets you access and share all of your files, documents, photos, music and videos from anywhere, either via a web browser or your smartphone. There’s no uploading, no storage limit and no cost.

You can share large files, stream your videos, listen to your music, publish a blog and more using Tonido. Access your desktop using a personalized web address… your data is always safe and always stored locally with you.

How do you manage your network? Would you like a Tonido? Leave a comment on this blog post or video, and you’re automatically entered to win one of five devices of your very own.

Are You Using the New Facebook Profiles?

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Matthew’s screencast this week takes a close look at the new Facebook profile design. Word on the street is that once you change, you cannot revert back to the old style. With that in mind, watch Matt’s video here to see if you think this is going to be something you’re going to enjoy.

Most of the changes take place at the top of the page. Your information is now found at the top of your profile page instead of off to the side. Below that you will see photos you have been tagged in. Just underneath those pictures you will now find a “Share Toolbar.” This allows you to quickly share a status message, video, photo or link without having to click elsewhere to get to the update box.

The profile information editor has received a few updates, as well. It’s much easier to navigate your way through and figure out which information you want to fill in – and who you want to share it with.

Some of you may enjoy the new photo album viewer that Facebook has given us. There is not update to the way actual single pictures are viewed… just with the way albums themselves are presented and viewed.

Off to the left side of your profile page (just under your avatar), you’ll see a new Friends Browser. There’s a little search bar within this browser, allowing you to find your friends faster. You can view all friends in either thumbnail or list view, which is actually pretty handy.

There aren’t a lot of changes, but they seem to be a nice improvement over previous versions. What do you think?

Is the Government Blocking Cell Phones in Cars?

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MSNBC reported that the Department of Transportation is considering software that, if you reach a certain speed in your car, would disable your cell phone from use. If this isn’t Big Brother, then I don’t know what is. As quickly as it comes out, it’ll be hacked and disabled, so what’s the point? Spend that money on educating the idiots who text and drive and kill people; don’t punish the masses!

Lamarr can’t even bring himself to pretend that this is a good thing. He had to give that up pretty damn fast, and I have to agree. Yes, there have been a few deaths and injuries related to talking (or texting) on the phone while driving. There have also been deaths attributed to women putting on makeup, men shaving their faces on the way to work, people looking to see if their screaming child is okay and someone changing the radio station. Are we going to allow the government to ban or disable all of those things, as well?

It’s more important in Lamarr’s mind – and mine – to try and educate people. Blocking them does nothing. As pointed out in the intro paragraph, this is going to be hacked to kingdom-come pretty damn fast. Why would the government waste a ludicrous amount of money on this software?

Everyone should not have to be punished for a few bad apples who weren’t careful. Yes, it is sad that they died. No, it shouldn’t have happened. But monitoring us to this level will do nothing to truly solve the problem.

What are your thoughts? Do you agree with Lamarr and myself, or do you feel that the government is getting something right this time?

How Much Should an eBook Cost?

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Patti asked on Twitter what I think a fair price is for an eBook. A fair price is the price that someone is willing to pay – for anything. This includes eBooks. I’ve sold eBooks in the past for as low as ninety-nine cents, and as high as forty-nine dollars. People have bought them, no matter which price range they fell in. If the information is worth something, then the value of it is higher. You have to decide if a given eBook holds value for YOU when deciding if it is set at a price you are willing to pay.

I don’t think there’s a “right” price. You can do a variety of tests with pricing to see what works well. I’ve been very happy as an electronic publisher over the years. Giving valuable information is what it’s all about. If you feel the things you have written will help someone in some way, then price it accordingly.

If you think you’re going to make it in this universe by thinking you’ll get everything for free – get a life. That’s not going to happen. Everything comes with a price, including knowledge at times.