Tag Archives: tips

How to Unlock Secrets in OS X


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Steven has created an excellent screencast for all of you Mac users out there. I know – those of you on Windows are having a conniption right now. All I can say is that if you want to see more Windows screencasts, create them! I’ll gladly feature any that follow the few rules that I have. As for this particular video, though, Steven is going to show you how to use a free utility called Secrets in order to unlock some pretty cool added features in OS X.

Once you’ve installed Secrets, you’ll just need to head into your System Preferences. You’ll find Secrets located at the bottom, under the “Other” category. As soon as you open Secrets, you’ll find a ton of different things you can do to your OS X install. Don’t worry that you’ll mess something up. If you aren’t sure what a particular Secret may do, you can always click the “Revert” button to put things back the way you had them. You’ll also find buttons for more help and information, as well as to update the client with new Secrets.

There are Secrets that will help you customize your dock, your folders, your widgets, and more. One of Steven’s favorite Secrets is the one where you can turn all of your folders to X-ray view. What this will do is make your folders in OS X appear to be transparent, so that you can see what’s inside!

Thanks, Steven, for an excellent screencast! For anyone who is now installing and using Secrets, leave us a reply and let us know your favorite one!

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Aardvark Bought by Google

Just a few moments ago, Aardvark co-founder Max Ventilla confirmed that a deal has been signed with Google. While the details haven’t yet been released, I can only think positive things will come of this merger. If you haven’t heard of Aardvark yet – or are not using it – shame on you! I have a feeling that this little service is going to become very huge, very quickly… thanks to the backing Google will bring.

Aardvark is a new tool that lets you tap into the knowledge and experience of friends, and friends of theirs. Simply send the service a question – via the web, IM, email, Twitter or iPhone – and you’ll get a quick response. Your answers will come from people who have the right experience and know-how to help you, and who have friends in common (or similar tastes).

If you need information but don’t know where to start, that’s when you turn to Aardvark. You can ask anything, from general research, to tips and advice, and even get second opinions on products and services you find! You don’t have time to sift through a ton of pages looking for the right thing, nor to spend hours in a conversation with someone. Aardvark cuts all of that unnecessary legwork out for you, usually in under ten minutes!

Check it out for yourself, and let me know your thoughts. Did Google make a smart move in grabbing up this nifty start-up before any competition could?

Too, To and Two


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For the last video in the Grammar Teacher series, I had to discuss the difference between the words too, to and two. Too often, people are either too lazy (or just don’t care) to use these words properly when writing. How hard is it? And by the way – these videos were done at the request of viewers. That must mean they have several people they want to send these to!

Too is an adverb which means in addition to. It can be used in a sentence to indicate more than one thing: I am going to the mall, too..

To is a preposition, used for expressing motion or direction toward a point, person, place, or thing approached and reached, as opposed to from. I am going to the mall later today.

Two is a number! It comes after the number one, and before the number three! Some of you write as though you are still two years old.

It’s not rocket science.

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Top Five Things to Do in Hong Kong

Recently we have uploaded several travel tips videos, listing the best places to visit in your hometowns. The response to my request for more was so overwhelming, I cannot possibly create a video for each of them! I plan to add one of these a day here in the blog, so that I can share with you all of the places you should definitely check out if you ever have the chance to.

Today’s submission is from Daniel, and is filled with his favorite places to visit in Hong Kong. Daniel lives in Australia, but travels to Hong Kong frequently, and knows his way around quite well. Here are his recommendations:

  • Visit Victoria Peak – Named after the British monarch Queen Victoria, this hilly landmark is visited by every tourist to Hong Kong. A cable-pulled train takes visitors from Hong Kong Park to the peak. You can travel up the peak by bus too, but the cable car is more exciting. The views of the city from the peak are breathtaking.
  • Visit Ocean Park and Waterworld – Near the harbor southwest of Hong Kong island is a massive theme park and entertainment center. Amusement rides, a butterfly park, an aviary and marine shows are some of the highlights of Ocean Park. Particularly interesting is the Middle Kingdom walk-through exhibition, which features recreated street scenes and palaces from long ago. It’s a fun way to learn about China’s past. Waterworld has slides, a wave pool, man-made rapids and other child-friendly activities.
  • Visit Temple Street Night Markets – Temple Street is a street located in the suburb of Jordan in Kowloon, Hong Kong. It is well known for its night market and the busiest flea market at night in the territory. It is a thriving market for tech geeks as they sell lots of gizmo’s, gadgets and souvenirs. This is a must see for any geek in your community.
  • Visit the Wan Chai Computer Center – The Wan Chai Computer Center has two floors of practically nothing but shops selling computers, computer peripherals, tech supplies, digital consumer electronics & cell phones just to name a few. Plus its all legal! Most of the shops are not chain stores but their prices are sometimes better than the chain stores. Just like most all the other computer shopping centers in Hong Kong, it is crowded especially during off-work hours.
  • Check out Stanley Market – Stanley Market, located in the southern part of Hong Kong Island, is a dry market frequented by tourists. There are the usual oriental-looking gifts which you can find there. In addition to the market, there is a strip by the water with a row of bars and restaurants. Many of them have outdoors dining in the weekends when the street is closed off to motorized vehicles. When it comes to shopping for souvenirs, this market is a one stop shop for pretty much everything and its also really cheap.

Hong Kong has always intrigued me. The pictures I’ve seen are absolutely beautiful. Now, after reading about some of the places to visit, I wouldn’t mind checking them out myself.

[awsbullet:hong kong travel guide]

10 Things to Do in Tokyo, Japan


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Have you ever visited Japan… or anywhere seriously cool like that? What were some of the best things you were able to see and do while there? Shogo is a member of our live community who happens to live in Tokyo. He sent in his list of top ten places to visit should you ever find yourself in the area.

  • Go to Akihabara – It is the most famous tech town in Japan, even known as Akihabara Electric Town. Funny thing is, the train station in Akihabara actually has a exit to enter the main area that has electronics in Akihabara. Go at night, I personally think it has one of the best night scenes in Tokyo.
  • Tokyo Animation Center in Akihabara – This is pretty much the place you have to go, if you go to Akihabara. It has a lot of information, demos, showings and events about animation (called anime as many of you may know in Japan) and gaming.
  • Go shopping in Akihabara – Again, Akihabara is very famous for the vast amounts of electronics. Just go to the main street, Chuo-dori (Pronounciation : Chūō-dōri) and go in any direction, any street.
  • Go to Chuo-dori on a Sunday in Akihabara – Cosplayers galore.
  • Japan? Sushi. – You have to eat Sushi, but not at those conveyor belt shops. You have to go to a real restaurant, and experience real Sushi. Just watch how much you eat, it’s expensive. I recommend trying Ginza Hokake in Ginza. (A course is 10,000 yen which is about 100 usd.)
  • Check out the Sony Building in Ginza – You can even see cutting edge products that aren’t available for purchase yet.
  • Tokyo Tower – Getting less geeky, you might want to go to the Tokyo Tower, much like the Eiffel Tower in Paris. There is a glass floor on one of the floors, and you can look straight down through it, quite exhillirating if you have a fear of heights.
  • Mitsubishi Minatomirai Industrial Museum – Although it is not exactly in Tokyo, it is very near. It is very interesting, has exhibits on space, ocean, transportation and more.
  • Tokyo Disney Land or Disney Sea – Just like any Disney Land but hey, its fun!
  • Asakusa Shrine – Just plain beautiful, if you want to see the beauty of classic old Japanese architecture, you have to go here. Make sure you bring a camera, you would want to take a picture every step you take.

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Tips for Programming and PHP

Community member “a_v58” sent me a short list of PHP tips. These days, people are rabid in their thirst to learn more about PHP. If you want to become a programmer, you should know what you’re doing when it comes to PHP. The following tips were sent in to me by Andrew. They are solid tips, so I wanted to pass them along to all of you.

  • Don’t be tempted to use packets such as WAMP or XAMPP that install and configure Apache, PHP, MySQL for you automatically. You’ll learn more by installing them one-by-one and configuring them manually. After a quick Google search, you’ll find a list of recommended configurations for PHP and/or Apache – depending whether your machine is a server or a development machine. I recommend installing in this order: MySQL, Apache, PHP.
      A small suggestion to check if all 3 were installed and configured correctly: place a small PHP script in the .htdocs directory of Apache in which you call the phpinfo function, as well as one function from every extension (MySQL, cURL, Java, etc.). If there are no warnings or errors, everything should be fine.
      For fewer headaches and happier programming, I also strongly recommend using an IDE such as EclipsePHP (which can be found at eclipse.org) or Zend. You might also look into xDebug.
  • Remember to sanitize your database inputs. To avoid this, understand what this is and how this works. Google or read on Wikipedia for “SQL injection.” Use functions such as ‘addslashes’ and ‘get_magic_quotes_gpc.’
  • When you think you did everything right and you don’t understand why something isn’t working, look at your code carefully, debug it, and possibly run a ‘var_dump’ on all the variables to see whether something is faulty. If you still can’t figure it out, take a break and get some fresh air. Come back to the problem with a clear mind.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask on forums or the community questions. Remember: there are no stupid questions. However, if for every little mistake you ask, and you don’t figure a couple of questions on your own… no offense: programming may not be right for you.
  • Why choose PHP? It has a syntax similar to C/C++ (which are some of the used frequently for desktop applications. PHP.net has almost everything you might need to know – including examples and user-contributed notes (which may contain exactly what you need).
  • When somebody asks you a question, don’t be afraid to answer. You’ll either help that person by teaching him or her something new (or be corrected by someone with more experience – in which case, you’ll learn something new).

Sure, it’s a starter list of tips – extremely rudimentary for some. That’s where you have the opportunity to suggest your own PHP starter tips in the comments stream below. 🙂

Smokey Eyes


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Liz Money was kind enough to submit a video for me to add to our beauty tips and tricks collection. Granted, this particular video isn’t geared towards the guys. But hey! There are a heck of a lot of girl Geeks, as well! All you dudes, just chill and skip this one. Ladies – pay attention and learn how to get those sexy, smokey eyes.

Apparently you need several different fluff brushes in order to put all of this goop on! Make sure you have angled ones, and many different sizes. The particular palette she’s using has the colors already laid out for you. It tells you what color goes where on your eyes!! I guess they also are good for all skin tones, and day or night wear.

First you’ll add your primer (eyeshadow base). This will make your lid sticky enough to make the makeup last longer. Make sure you pat it on, and let it dry fully. Start with your lightest color, and sweep from the lashline to just under the brow using the large fluffy brush.

Next comes the medium color, which is the lid color. Use the smallest brush, or an angled one. Press it into the palette to get a maximum amount of pigment on the brush. Start at the lashline, and trace around your lid.

The challenging part is doing the crease… with the darkest color. Using a round brush, press it into the color again to get the right amount of pigment. It goes right where your lid creases. This creates depth, and shadowing. The trick with the smokey eyes is to blend a ton, so you don’t look stripey.

In order to line the upper lid, you’ll need to take the sharply angled brush and dip it in the darkest color. Start at the inside corner, and carefully trace across your lid, right at the lashline. Make sure you keep that eyelid pulled taut!

If you want to be more dramatic, you can line your lower lashline as well. You’re going to line the inside rim of your lower lashline. It sounds scary, but apparently it’s not! It looks crazy Liz – you’re right about that! But you’re right again when you say it makes your eyes pop.

So there you have it! Now when you’re wanting to look especially gorgeous for us Geeky dudes, you know what to do! Thanks again, Liz!

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Geek Eye for the Sloppy Guy – a Beginning

I think my new idea is catching on rather well. “Geek Eye for the Sloppy Guy”. I can’t help but love that title for the series I’m doing – beauty tips for guys! Who knows – maybe it will turn into a television show someday! Ok, ok – maybe not. But hey… anything can happen! Have you seen the latest additions to the series?

I’ve been busy doing other things, as well. Don’t worry – I’m still a techie at heart! Just because I tend to take pride in how well-groomed I am doesn’t mean I’m not still a complete Geek! I love to read about anything and everything, especially things that all of you from the community put out there. I spend hours a day just checking out what’s what, who’s where, and why wonders never cease! Are you reading what your peers are doing?

Fingernails Tutorial: a “How to” Cosmetics Beauty Tip


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Well, here we are again with another installment from the Geek Eye for the Sloppy Guy! It’s about time us guys had a chance in the beauty spotlight, don’t you think? We need to stand up and show that we care how we look, just as much as the next guy does – well, as much as the girls do anyway! Sit back and pay attention… you might even want to take notes.

Take a look at your fingernails right now. Do you see too much white there on the edge? Then you’ve let them grow far past their prime. Clip ’em! If you don’t have fingernail clippers, buy them. Seriously, it’s not that expensive and it won’t break the bank if you do. If you have some but haven’t used them in a few years – sterilize those puppies first.

While guys don’t need to be all frou-frou and have manicures at a salon, we should still care about how our fingernails look. Having ragged and dirty nails just shows that you don’t care about yourself, and will make chicks not want to care much about you! Having nails like that doesn’t make you more “manly”. It just makes you seem dirty and lazy.

Here’s a tip to remember: “If you see any white, get it out of sight!”. The second tip would be to stop biting at your nails. It also makes you look like you’re in grade school again. It’s truly disgusting, when you consider what could be under your nails. Admit it – you pick things on your body. You’re a GUY after all. And then you bite your nails… yeah. Whatever you picked or scratched just ended up in your mouth. HELLO! That’s just nasty and wrong.

All you have to do is grab a pair of nail clippers. Trim those nails down, and make yourself look like a million bucks.

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Is That a Unibrow – or Are You Happy to See Me?

Yes, I went there. What are you going to do about it? NOTHING, that’s what! You’re going to pay attention, because you are a guy with a unibrow, or you know one who has one! It’s a fact of life, guys. We have to deal with things like nose hairs, unibrows, and facial hair that grows faster than our brains can contemplate. I decided it’s high time us men do something about these things… and I decided I’m just the Geek to help you with that! Stay tuned for my entire series of “beauty tips” for dudes!

In the meantime, check out everything that’s going on in our geeky little world.