Archive for September, 2007

ThirdpartyappI was talking to a friend earlier about Apples decision to lock out any 3rd party apps from the iPhone. Now, if you think about it, it all makes sense. Because like Steve said back when it was released: “we don’t want our phone to take down the entire AT&T network”. Would you want that? Would you? Didn’t think so.

So here is my pledge: please people, stop using 3rd party software on your computers. Serious. I would hate it if you took down the whole internet. A single phone network, no harm done, but THINK ABOUT TEH INTARNETS!

And with all the fancy web 2.0 stuff happening, it’s not like you couldn’t just use web apps instead. So ditch that old MS Office for Google Docs, and swap out Quicken for Mint. If only YOU would listen to me, then at least this blog might stay online a few days longer. The end is near!

 

Tv-In-Air

Sometimes I wonder if anything would have been different if iTunes offered tv shows for download over here. My bet is that I would indeed have bought a few shows every now and then, at least for the time being since I don’t have cable access. Tv shows, unfortunately, have gone the way of digital music. As soon as the networks realize that people might pay for it, that’s what they want. And then comes greed. And they just don’t stop. NBC left Apple, Apple then decided to kick them out, and for some reason they just decided to still put out a couple of brand new shows on iTunes (Chuck being one that I will personally follow).

Now since we don’t have a single service for downloading tv shows in Norway (from several networks), the networks are pretty much left to do the job themselves. The way they attack this is VERY different however…

The biggest network, NRK, decided to put pretty much everything online, everything that they produced or co-produced anyway. And it’s all free. It is in streaming Windows Media format however.

The second biggest network, TV2, decided to get greedy. And unlike the iTunes Store, you don’t pay per show. You pay a subscription, just like you do for your cable. $6 / week, $17 / month or $161 / year. Again, it’s all streaming Windows Media. So no possibility to download it, or play it on any other device. The network has 5 channels right now, but far from everything is available online. No movies. And no global tv shows, except for 24 which is crippled with DRM so that it doesn’t even work on the Mac. The feeds are straight from the ordinary broadcasts, so even if you pay extra, you still get the commercial breaks. A pretty lame service overall I have to say.

But then there are the select few who simply decide to go the exact opposite way for whatever reason. TV3 is a fairly small channel, part of the Viasat satellite network. They only have about 10 shows online, all of which are self produced. They also use Windows Media. BUT: there is no DRM. It is 100% free. And, the download is progressive, not streaming. What this means is that once the entire clip has loaded, you can save it to disk and play it back whenever you want. Or convert it for playback on your iPod. The quality is decent, a 45 minute show were just over 600 MB. 45 minutes you say? What a weird length! Yes, they actually CUT OUT the commercial breaks before putting it online. And did I mention it is completely free? I have no idea how, or why, but I love it! Way to go!

Update: seems that TV2 also in fact does progressive streaming, so that at least with Flip4Mac, it is easy to save the show to disk.

 

(Amazon MP3 Purchases are limited to U.S. customers)

So there you have it. Great new service from Amazon. No I didn’t really expect to be able to purchase any music from them. But you have to wonder: why not, when I can legally purchase a physical CD from them?

 

I thought it was about time I recommended some more software. And given that there are so many lists out there with “10 apps you must have!”, I decided to recommend 10 apps that might not be on all of these existing lists. You won’t find Transmit here. And neither will you find Disco. I hope you will find at least one that you will give a try though. These are all apps that I keep around. Some I run 24/7, others I only use every once in a while.

AppFresh
AppFresh will search for updates for all your installed software, and even download it for you. It’s still in beta, but so far it seems to do a pretty good job.
DeskShade
Crowded desktop? I know mine is with its nearly 600 files and folders. DeskShade hides all that clutter, letting you enjoy nothing but a clean desktop. How? By overlaying the desktop picture on top of the icons. Yes, no files will be moved.
Desktoptopia
And while you are at it, how about a nice new desktop picture? Desktoptopia changes your wallpaper at a set interval, and downloads new ones from the world wide web. Only the best of the best pictures will be included in the database, so none of that crap you find on your average wallpaper site.
Disk Speed Bench X
Ever had the feeling that one of your disks might not give you advertised speed? Disk Speed Bench X will not only be great for showing off that new internal SATA disk, but is also great for comparing speeds on an external disk if you have more than one interface (USB2 and FW for instance). And if you have a feeling your external disk is slower than it should be, you can find out if it in fact is.
DVD Capture
Apple’s pesky DVD Player software won’t let you grab a screenshot? Of course you could just use the awesome VLC player – or you could use DVD Capture.
iNet Stream Archiver
Still my favorite for recording web radio. Splits up into separate files and tags them.
iScrobbler
Menu bar extra that submits your iTunes tracks to last.fm.
MPEG Streamclip
Simple app for cropping and cutting up a video file and saving it to a number of various formats. As opposed to QuickTime Pro, MPEG Streamclip can work with MPEG video (duh).
PdfMergeX
Merge 2 or more pdf files into one.
Startup Sound
Remove that pesky orchestra that plays every time you boot your Mac.

I also thought it worth mentioning that Dreamhost is now celebrating 10 years of quality hosting. I have been with them for over two years now (this blog has been on their servers since March this year), and overall it has been a smooth ride. They have excellent customer support, and signing up now will give you a whopping 500 GB of storage and 5 TB of bandwidth for as little as $5.95 a month.

Note that I am not being paid to say this, I simply wanted to pass along an offer that in my opinion is pretty good. Plus, I have been with them long enough to hopefully have a valuable opinion on their service. Oh, and I get a little extra if you sign up with the link I provided. See, no hidden, sneaky stuff here 🙂

 

I am sure many of you podcast lovers out there already heard about the new weekly show from Revision3, Tekzilla. Starting this coming Friday. But if all you saw was the trailer included in the latest Diggnation / Infected episodes, you might still not know a lot about it.

I present you what I know based on this Wired article and this forum thread:

– weekly show
– 30 minute episodes
– hosts: Patrick Norton and Jessica Corbin (and more?)
– not live
– will replace InDigital
– same style as The Screensavers and DL.TV, aka. “your standard variety show, with how-to segments, call in questions, product reviews, and interviews”.

I’m guessing call in questions will be done via Jangl or Skype.
Given that it replaces InDigital, I’m guessing that Tekzilla will be just as much about gadgets as it will be about computers.
I’m so excited!!

 

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