Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Microsoft releases new Windows Live Writer

I've really enjoyed Windows Live Writer, an off-line blog editor that does just about everything I could ever ask.  But just today I was wondering when it was going to be updated.  The version I'm working with has been out for quite a while.  Like everyone else, I want my free apps updated regularly.

As it happened, today Microsoft released version 2.0 of Live Writer.  You can read about it here but below are the improvements from the site.

New Authoring Capabilities

  • Inline spell checking
  • Table editing
  • Ability to add categories
  • Page authoring for WordPress and TypePad
  • Support for excerpts and extended entries
  • Improved hyperlinking and image insertion
  • Paste Special
Integration and Compatibility
  • SharePoint 2007 support
  • New APIs enabling custom extensions by weblog providers
  • Automatic synchronization of local and online edits
  • Integration with Windows Live Gallery
  • Support for Blogger Labels
  • New look and feel
  • Available in 6 languages
  • Improved accessibility and keyboard support
  • Many other frequently requested enhancements!

I'm downloading now and will comment later.  You can download it here too.

via Scobleizer

Monday, May 21, 2007

20 Sure-Fire Ways to Come Up With Great Ideas

I often wish that I had more "great ideas."  I always envy people who are always over-flowing with super ideas (and even more those who have great ideas AND can execute on them).  Some days when I'm bemoaning my lack of creativity, however, there's a little voice that asks how good steward I've been with this ideas I've had.

While traveling I'm catching up on some of my reading and came across this post from Rilian Project.  It's a list of 20 "sure fire ways" to come up with great ideas.  This post was specific to coming up with ideas for blog topics, but I think there's some good stuff in here for me too.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

It even happens to the pros

Jason Calacanis got caught without his macbook-projector monitor adapter.  I'm glad to see these things even happen to the pros.

This is from his Twitter feed.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Gmail integrating PowerPoint presentation tool

It is clear that Google is enlarging its office-like offerings.  While they already offer Word & Excel counterparts, a PowerPoint counterpart is on its way, though has been largely rumor-ware up until now.

Now some Gmail accounts are now showing a "view as sideshow" options for Gmail with a PowerPoint attachment.

If you click on sideshow a flash-based player is opened and away you go.

The player gives you a number of options, including one to "embed this presentation," assumedly in a website or blog.

This hasn't been enabled in my account, but it looks like very, very handy product.  Imagine going anywhere on missionary tour and never actually needing PowerPoint to show your decks.  It's all in the "cloud".

Pictures via LifeHacker and Google Blogscoped

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Skype for Mac goes to v.2.6, adds call transfer

I'm not a Mac user, but my wife is.  I thought I'd show a little Mac love by pointing out that everyone's favorite VOIP application has just been updated and released.  It's an interesting update too because Skype is releasing a new feature in the Mac version before it's released in the Windows (Windoze, for you clever Mac users) version.

Skype has introduced a new call-transfer feature that is exclusive to the Mac platform. Users can now select More > Call Transfer to transfer an ongoing call to another Skype user on their contact list. This will be a useful feature for businesses and families alike.

Sounds like a great feature.  I've often wanted to be able to transfer a call from my computer to my wife's while talking about mission business.  Good move.

via JKonTheRun's Twitter feed

Sunday, May 13, 2007

8 Tips for Better Bookmarking

I haven't written about, my all time favorite  bookmark manager, since October but it remains at the center of how I keep track of stuff on the Internet.

Web Worker Daily has a great post on how to use more effectively.  They offer eight tips for better bookmarking and a number of commenters have chimed in with tips of their own.  If you don't use something to manage your  bookmarks you're missing out.

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Missionary Speaking Check-list

While back in the US for I've had many opportunities to travel and speak about our work in Kosovo.  That involved both weekend trips and extended 6-9 week trips on the road; I've noticed that Mr. Murphy likes to tag along.  How do you deal with him? 

Pamela Slim offers a great example of what can go right and wrong with speaking engagements.  She's come up with a list of does and don't to help harried business presenters on the road.  Her list grew out of her own inner obsessive-compulsive, but she has some good tips for us too.

What about you?  What are your tips, hacks and hints for extended speaking trips on the road?  Here are a couple of mine:

  1. Backup everything, and keep your back ups with you.  Call me anal, but I kept three redundant back-ups of all my PowerPoint presentations and speaking notes with with me. 
    1. The first back-up is to the 2GB SD card that lives in my laptop.  Twice a day it backs up all my current project files, contact information, PowerPoints and messages to the SD card.
    2. The second was to the 2GB SD card that lives in my Treo 650.  I backed this up once or twice a week or whenever I thought about it.  My first backup would save me if my computer croaked (which it did once).  This backup would save me if my computer got ripped off or "lost."  This may sounds like a pain, but my backup software is configured to do this automatically whenever I stick either SD card into the laptop.
    3. Backup to a DVD kept in my suitcase.  This copy was only refreshed a couple of times, but it contained the baseline PowerPoint decks and talks.  I wasn't religious about backing it up, but it was always there if I needed it.
  2. A USB adapter for getting your cleverly backed-up data off your SD card and into someone else's computer.  Believe it or not, though I back up everything as outlined above, I never thought to buy a $9 USB adapter to stick the SD card into...not until it was a too late.
  3. Always carry an extension cord.  The first time someone needs to plug in an overhead projector, guitar amp or lava lamp in addition to the data projector you're out of luck.  Churches have an amazing array of stuff stuffed into every nook & cranny and plugged into every jack and splitter in a church auditorium.  BYOP...bring your own power.
  4. A tap, plug splitter or "guz-inta" (as in "this goes into that").  You won't need this in churches too much, but the next time you're waiting in an airport terminal, Panera, Starbucks or coffee shop you'll be trying to find a plug along with all the other folks on the road.  Carry a splitter with you and allow not only yourself, but 3-4 new friends access to electricity too.
  5. Sound cables
    1. 1/8"-1/8" phono cord.  This is the cord that goes from the headphone jack in your laptop to the audio input on a projector (or with a 1/4" adapter, into the church sound board). Only one of the churches I traveled in had one of these laying around. 
    2. 1/8" phono cord to RCA stereo.  Ditto the above and for a similar application.
  6. Remote and extra batteries.  I travel with my own PowerPoint remote control.  They're not expensive and it's easier to use one you're familiar with than to rely on someone else's.  In one church I used one of those cordless gyroscope mice because mine wouldn't work.  It worked by moving the mouse through the air. It worked fine, but I wasn't accustomed to it.  I think I looked a lot like a mime doing the "stuck in the box" routine in front of the audience.  Always pack extra batteries and, unless your remote has an on/off switch, carry it in your gear bag without the batteries in it.  It's too easy for it to get pushed up against something else, draining your batteries right before you need them.
  7. Check and double check that you have the right notes and the right version of the notes for that group.  I usually did a little research on the city I was speaking in to give the talk a little local color.  Nothing's worse than getting up to speak with the wrong talk.

What do you keep in your gear bag when on a speaking tour?  What items are on your checklist?  Let's make a list together.

via How to Change the World

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Launchy...the little app launcher that could

Several months ago I read a someone's post calling ActiveWords the best application that they could live without.  ActiveWords is an enormously powerful program that runs just below the surface to launch programs, replay text, spell-check and so much more.  It's also a system hog and I didn't reinstall it the last time I rebuilt Windows (or was it two times ago?).

Several months ago Lifehacker pointed me to a great little application launcher called Launchy.  It is fantastic. 

Launchy is first of all an application launcher.  Hit the default keyboard combination (Alt-spacebar) and a little dialogue box pops up.

Type in the first couple of letters of the application you're looking for and hit enter.  The app launches.  Launchy automatically indexes your start menu and gives you access to your applications without every touching the mouse.  It also indexes your other things, including your control panel.  Need to change display settings?  Simply type 'display' and launchy will take you there.

There are also some other handy functions built in, like a calculator.

Hit Alt-Spacebar and enter the numbers you want to operate on.  Launchy will do the rest.  You can check out some other features and screen shots at Tweaking Launchy. You won't want to be without this.

via LifeHacker

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Joost: TV wherever you are

Don't have any access to English TV programming in your neck of the wood?  Not to worry...or at least soon you won't have to worry.  Created by Skype founders Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, Joost promises to bring TV to you through your internet connection. Joost has been hyped for quite a while and in truth, it has a beautiful interface and stunning video quality (on my mediocre broadband connection).

Thus far the channel offerings have been a little lame.  You can watch the Comedy Channel, MTV, National Geographic and a bunch of other not-so-interesting channels.  In fact, a lot of the content isn't completely family friendly.

But things are beginning to get more interesting.  The news is that CNN, Sony and quite likely, NHL, have signed deals to put their content on Joost. 

Joost is now in "invite" mode.  If you would like an invite so that you can download and try this for yourself, let me know, either by posting a comment with your email address or sending me an email.


via TechCrunch, DownloadSquad and DownloadSquad