Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Flickr slideshows...without the fuss

I’ve really taken to using Flickr, a web-based photo-hosting site on steroids.  Flickr allows you to upload huge numbers of pictures every month for free.  That’s not unusual these days, but Flickr also makes good use of “tags,” which is an easy way to organize and share your photos.  How do I use it?

We have a lot of short term teams that come to visit.  Each of these 5–10 people comes with a digital camera.  When the trip is over, I gather all their photos and upload the good ones to Flickr.  We just had a group come from the South Pacific District of our denomination, the Christian & Missionary Alliance.  Want to see the best photos from the week?  Just click here.

But what if I want to send you a slide show without all of Flickr’s sometimes messy interface?  Enter Splashr, a front end for Flickr slide-shows.  When you go to the Splashr homepage you’ll find a very simple interface that allows you to select Flickr tags or users or both.  You can also customize how the slide-show will be presented.


You can see in the tags field I’ve entered “sttspd” which is my tag for “Short-Term Team, South Pacific District”.  After selecting your display options, click Next and you’ll be taken to a summary page with the slide-show link, an option to email the link, etc.  To view the slide show, click the link that is shown and you’ll see something like…













This is a pretty slick way to give folks back home of the latest pictures of their friends and family without them needing to use Flickr directly.

via DownloadSquad

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

TabletBible for OneNote 2007 coming soon

Rob Bushway is reporting that the Bible in ESV and NKJ versions will be ported to OneNote2007 by July 1st.  Among many other things, Rob runs where he has ported the Bible for PlanPlus and GoBinder

The picture to the left, which comes from Rob’s Bible site, is an example of the type of thing one can do with the Bible on a Tablet PC.  Highlight, take notes in your own handwriting, etc.

I had the privilege of being one the “beta testers” for the Bible in OneNote and it has some real potential.  Imagine sitting in church or in a Bible study with the Biblical text open on your left.  As the speaker or teacher does his thing, his message is recorded into OneNote.  You take notes on the important points and maybe add hyperlinks to commentaries, other passages or your previous notes.

OneNote makes all of this information searchable including the audio content you’ve recorded.  OneNote also indexes your notes to the audio you’re recording.  That is, when you go back later to review, you can select a particular note you’ve scrawled and hear exactly what was recorded when you wrote that note.  Of course, all of this is native to OneNote, but there is a lot of work that goes into formatting the Bible and getting it ready to work in OneNote.

Great work Rob! - TabletBible for OneNote 2007 coming soon.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

How to Remember Names -

I’m not the best at remembering names.  I do okay in my host culture, where all the names are familiar and there is lots of mental scoffolding on which to hang them.  In my adopted culture, however, it’s much, much for difficult.  Not only is it difficult, but in my adopted Kosovar Albanian culture, names are much more important, and much more frequently used than in my North American culture.  What’s a missionary to do?

eHow has a some good tips that I think will be helpful whether I’m introduced to Fred or Faruk.

  • Pay attention when you are introduced to someone. A few minutes after you meet the person, say his or her name to yourself again. If you have forgotten it, talk to the person again and ask for the name.  
  • Write down the new name three times while picturing the person's face; do this as soon as possible after meeting someone.  
  • Ask how to spell a difficult name, or glance at the spelling on the person's business card, if it's offered. If you know the spelling of a word and can picture it in your mind, you'll remember it better.  
  • Connect a name to a common word you will remember. For example, the name Salazar could sound like 'salamander,' 'bazaar' or 'sell a jar.'  
  • Make a connection to the person's hobby or employment. 'Bill the pill' might help you remember the name of your pharmacist, for example.

What are you best tips for remembering names?  Check out the eHow link for most tips.

via LifeHacker

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Great Outlook and OneNote Integration

Chris Pratley, the OneNote guru just posted some great information on how tightly Outlook and OneNote are integrated together.  They always have been, but now much more so.  I’ve really enjoyed some of these features in the beta 1 release, but now they’re so much better.

For instance, you can now link back and forth between calendar items, to-dos and contacts.  For instance, say you have a contact and you want to gather research about that person or business.  Simply click the OneNote icon and you’ll be linked to a OneNote Page.

You’ll notice a OneNote button both on the main contacts windows and also on the right side of the individual contact menu.  When you click that button you’ll automatically be taken to a new OneNote page where you can add information, and websites to your hearts content.  Check out Chris’s blog post for all the other ways you can use the built-in integration of OneNote and Outlook.




There are more great features here than I can possibly elaborate on at one time…I’ll save more for later.

Microsoft Office 2007 Beta 2 released...what a mouthful

If anyone is interested, Microsoft has opened the beta program of Office 2007 to the public.  That means anyone can download the new versions for free from here.  I would highly recommend it as it’s fantastic!  This was announced earlier this week and I’m kind of slow.

Office 2007 is the new set of Word, Outlook, Excel, etc., applications plus OneNote and a bunch of others.  If you’re remotely interested in these products download them now.  they’re not “production” quality, but I’ve been using the beta one now for months and haven’t had significantly more problems than any other Microsoft product .

Take a look.  The Office suite includes: Word, Outlook, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, InfoPath and Publisher.  It’s a 440 MB download…so it took me two days   OneNote, which I can’t live without anymore, is 220 MB.  Have fun!



Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Get automatic updates when someone adds pictures to their Flickr site

I’ve made the decision to use Flickr as my online photo host.  That’s no surprise, it’s one of the most popular services out there and it’s free.  Now you can get automatic updates when someone adds pictures to their site, or adds pictures marked with a particular tag.  Go to Notifyr and check it out (ya, I know…it’s yet another snazzy “-yr” site.

It is pretty slick though.  Below is picture of the window I used to automatically send my mom updates when I add pictures of my two daughters.  Within a couple of minutes she shot me an email and said, “Hey!  Thanks for doing that!”


As you can see in the pic you can also send links to email recipients.  For instance, we just said good-bye to a short-term team from the US today.  If I’d known about Notifyr I could have sent their family members an email with this link: . After they clicked the link they would be taken to the Notifyr site and asked for their email address.  That’s it!  They’d get every picture from of that team as it’s added throughout the week.

Notifyr does some other things too, check out the site.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

New Sony Vaio...full-size power in less than a pound

Sony released details of their new Vaio UX computer today.  While it won’t be released until July, it appears you get a lot of functionality in a package that’s less than a pound. On the other hand, it’s not a UMPC/Origami device.  You do get:

  • Core Solo processor, 1.2 ghz ultra low voltage
  • Slide out qwerty keyboard
  • 512mb ram ( not upgradeable )
  • 4.5” SVGA (800 X 600) xbrite screen
  • equipped with stylus for touch
  • biometric sensor
  • 30 GB Hard drive
  • two built-in cameras
    • one on front for video
    • one on back for taking pictures (1.3 MP)
  • WWAN (Edge), wi-fi, and bluetooth
  • Battery life: 3 hours
  • Docking station support
  • Weight: 1.2 lbs
  • Windows XP Pro

With no Windows XP Tablet Edition it  won’t work as a tablet.  I think this is a mistake.  Sony had a lot of experience building the U-70, which also had a passive digitizer. How did they miss the boat on this one? 

Monday, May 15, 2006

jkOnTheRun: More Sony UX pics

JK is posting a bunch of pics of a new device from Sony.  Sony disappointed a lot of people when it dumped its CLIE line of PalmOS handhelds.  However, I’m sure they picked up a lot of expertise in minaturization if nothing eslse.  If you’re at all interested in ultra-mobile PC’s, you have to follow the link and  check out the rest of the pics.  Apparently, this device will have Bluetooth, WiFi and WWAN (which I assume is EV-DO or something similar), which packs a lot of connectivity in a small package. 


More details are to be released here at Sony’s teaser site on May 16th.

Palm Treo 700p announced

I’ve been waiting a long time for this.  Today, Palm announced the release of the Treo 700p, offering for the Palm user what the Treo 700w did for Windows Mobile crowd earlier this year.

The 700p will feature:

  • EV-DO (broadband Internet wherever you are)
  • 312MHz Xscale CPU,
  • 128MB flash memory (60MB usable)
  • 1.3 megapixel camera
  • Bluetooth
  • SDIO
  • 320 x 320 resolution screen

No word yet on the price or the official release date, but something to look for.  Some say that Palm OS 5.x is getting a little long in the tooth, but Palm keeps churning out successful devices that use the OS.  I’ve been eye-balling this myself as a replacement for my CLIE TH55.  The only problem is that I don’t need…and can’t use…EV-DO.  You just can’t find a provider in Kosovo!

On the other hand, the release of the 700p is certain to unleash a deluge of Treo 650s on Ebay. Now that’s something to be looking out for.

via Engadget.

Skype Makes Outbound Calling Free

Skype is undercutting the competition with this announcement today:

Skype on Monday turned the Internet telephony industry on its head by introducing free calling to traditional landline and mobile phones in the United States and Canada through its SkypeOut feature. The move comes just days after Microsoft introduced Windows Live Messenger beta with its calling service.

SkypeOut previously charged users per-minute fees for making calls to non-PC users -- a business model being adopted by a number of rivals, including Yahoo, AOL and Microsoft. Now, Skype users can call both fellow Skype users and standard phone numbers without being charged until at least December 31, 2006.

BetaNews | Skype Makes Outbound Calling Free.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Skype Launches Real-Time Voice Translations

Here’s what I like about this: It’s easy to use (add the service to your Skype contacts), its not horrendously expensive ($2.99 per minute, no other fees, taken out of Skype Out credits), and you can use this on the fly with no scheduling (you can get an interpreter on average in 45 seconds after an initial request).

One problem: I’ve verified that the service works on a PC, but it does not work at all on my Mac.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

What happens if you lose your thumb drive?

I’ve often wondered what would happen if I lost my thumb-drive (flash drive, USB drive, whatever you want to call it).  Mostly nothing would happen, as I don’t store anything too important on it.  But LifeHacker had some really great suggestions of a couple of easy things you can do to make your jump drive more returnable.

  • Change the name of your drive to your phone number.  This is easy.   How do you do it?  Insert your jump drive and wait for Windows to find it.  Open Windows Explorer, or whatever you use, and open My Computer.  Right-click on your drive and click on “properties.”  Change “volume name” to your phone number … or some other identifier.
  •  Create a text fire call REWARD IF FOUND.TXT or something similar.  In that text file you can include your name, phone number, address and/or email address.  Create or copy this to your removable drive so that people know where to send it if lost.

Pretty simple, really.  Make sure that you if you leave your USB drive somewhere, it can find its way back to you.


Now the Bible is Web 2.0 too.

TechCrunch is posting news about a new online Bible currently in beta. 

Search any of a number of versions of the Bible with eBible by keyword (and switch between Bible versions once you’ve selected text you are interested in). eBible pulls additional information relevant to your query from a library of Bible reference sites, such as dictionaries, topicals, encyclopedias, handbooks, etc. Expert commentary is also included in the margin of Biblical text.

 You can check out their blog here too.  There are lots of on-line Bibles out there, but this looks like it will have a  lot more functionality built in than the average “eBible.”

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

New Windows Live Messenger and collaborating online

There are lots of people talking about the “public beta” of the new Windows WML_picMessenger Live today.  Check out TechCrunch and Download Squad have more details.  I’ve been using it on and off since I got an invite from Rob Bushway and like it.  What’s best?  I like the ability to use ink in Messenger.  I blogged about that here.  Normally, like everyone else, I can type faster than I write.  But sometimes sketching pictures communicates better than words alone, and that’s where WML shines.

Michael Arrington, at TechCrunch found something else I didn’t even realize was included:

The feature that I like best about Live Messenger, though is the file sharing via integration with the previously acquired Foldershare product. Drag any kind of file into a contact name in the Live Messenger, and a folder will be created on each of your desktops with a copy of the file. Any changes to the file will be replicated in both folders. I use Skype for file transfers often, and the Live Messenger integration is quite a bit simpler and easier to use.

The WLM website adds some more information about this sharing functionality:

I can already share documents using e-mail. So what's the big deal?
The Sharing Folder is easier than e-mail for sharing photos and documents. In a Sharing Folder, any time a file in the folder is added, modified, or deleted, those changes are synchronized with your contact. And it’s a simple drag-and-drop operation to share files—even simpler than the Messenger “send file” and “save as” functions you probably already know about. No muss, no fuss, no setup or configuration. Plus, you can access a Sharing Folder from your desktop to manage files whether online or offline.
This could be really powerful for online collaboration, whether your co-workers are in the next cubicle, like some, or the next country, like mine.  I can imagine working on a schedule for a short-term team, for example, and keeping everyone up to speed with the current version using WLM.  That could come in really handy.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Rename files, especially pictures, in bulk

Many missionaries I know are regularly snapping digital pics of events, friends, projects and so forth, visually documenting their lives and ministries. I regularly come home from something and copy 5-15 pics from my CLIE or digital camera to my pictures folder. Naturally, I’ve ended up with about a thousand pictures called “DSC00035.jpg” or something similar.

It’s true that there are lots of photo management apps out there, including a free one I use called Picasa, but what if you could tag all your photos easily at the moment you transfer them?

This trick doesn't use tags in the conventional sense of the word, but tags your photos by changing the file name to something recognizable, quickly and easily. Yesterday, for example, I helped host an outreach event and naturally took a bunch of pics. When I got home, I transferred them to my laptop. This morning, when I figured out you could bulk-rename them, I did so.Bulkrename

How do you do it?

Simply navigate to the folder where your pictures are and highlight the ones you want to bulk rename. Here are the instructions from LifeHacker

Once all the files you want to rename are highlighted, press F2, or right-click on one of the files and select Rename. All of your file selections will disappear except for one, but don't panic: Type in your new name and click Enter. That's it! One file will be now be named "renametext" and the others will have sequential numbers in the format of "renametext (1)" and "renametext (2)" and so on.

This is really simple, but I for one can say that I never knew that you could do it. This really does sound like a great way to make files a little more identifiable with hardly any time commitment.

I didn’t know you could do this either, but now that I’ve learned I know I’ll use it a lot. Actually, I use Xplorer2 as my default file explorer and it allows you to automatically append different custom tokens to the end of the file name. Instead of just changing the number, as in the instructions above, you can add a custom text and a custom “token” like date, file attributes, etc.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Check outSkype 2.5 BETA...supports SMS

I’ve mentioned countless times how much money Skype saves our mission organization.  It has saved us so much that our regional director now actively encourages us to pursue broad-band-ish connections wherever we can.

Yesterday Skype released version 2.5 beta, which includes at least one awesome new feature.  You can now send SMS messages to any phone in the world through Skype.  I downloaded it and tried to send my self and SMS and….surprise it worked.  This surprised me a little because Kosovo is a bit of a telecommunications island.  Internet works fine here, but the telcom situation is a bit pathetic.  Kosovo’s single, legal mobile operator is actually operated out of Monaco and I can’t SMS my colleagues who live across the border in Macedonia, though they can SMS me.  Weird, I know.

How does it work?  Simple

1. Open the SMS window

2.  Choose the recipients

3. Write and send the message

That’s it.  Pretty sweet, eh?  Normally it costs real money to send SMS from my phone…from Skype, it’s free.

via TechCrunch

UPDATE:  Okay, I was wrong.  SMS isn’t free, it actually cost me € .078 per message…that’s a lot cheaper than my local provider.. but not quite free.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Nice Origami review

MSNBC’s Gary Krakow has published a review of the new Samsung Q1 and the UMPC form factor in general.  It’s a good read if you’re interested in the future of this little devices.