RSS Feeds: Feedreader

Ever since I came across RSS feeds (during the podcast explosion of … 2005?), I’ve been trying to find a way that would make them work better for me. This has been a work in progress that is constantly being modified.

About 18 months I started using the RSS feed gadget with my google account. The problem that I had with this was that it wouldn’t tell me if anything had changed since the last time I looked at it and it would kick back errors frequently enough that I started looking elsewhere.

Next was Thunderbird. I figured, I use it for email, why not use it for RSS feeds too. The problem that I had with Thunderbird is that every time an article in my feed was modified, I’d get a new notification. For me, that made me hit the delete button a little too much.

Most recently, I came across Feedreader. It’s a simple, open source feed aggregator that does exactly what I need it to do. It allows me to easily subscribe to feeds and notifies me of new articles at the time that I specify. This is definitely an app worth looking into.

Until next time…
-D

Posted in rss feeds | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

Milpon: Free iPod/iPhone Remember the Milk App

I’ve probably been using Remember the Milk for over a year now. Ever since I got my touch, I’ve searched on a monthly basis for a free app that would allow me to access my Remember the Milk tasks.

About 2 months ago I stumbled across Milpon. This is the first app that I found that would allow me to stay on task without having to pay another yearly fee. It allows the adding and completing of tasks, badge notification, syncing … it’s great. A must for anyone that has a touch or an iPhone and doesn’t want to shell out any more cash to stay in sync with your Remember the Milk task list.

Until next time…
-D

Posted in iPhone app, Review | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off

Sixth Sense w/ Technology

Imagine looking at your wrist and seeing a clock appear with the current time. Imagine taking a picture using nothing more than your fingertips. Imagine reading a newspaper and seeing a video clip augmenting the article that you are reading.

At pranavmistry.com, they show several videos depicting new hardware that is in the works that does just all of that. It’s really exciting (as a tech enthusiast) to see what is in store for the future. Two really great things is that the software is supposed to be released (this month) as open source (ie free to use, modify, and distribute) and the hardware (once mass produced) would be no more expensive than our current cell phones.

This is something interesting to look at and keep an eye on.

Until next time …
-D

Posted in future technology | Tagged , | Comments Off

Google Tasks: How it Stacks Against "Remember The Milk"

While I used to be terribly disorganized, I have made many strides … now I’m just “kind of” disorganized.

I currently use “Remember the Milk” to manage my ToDo list. I’ve tried all kinds of things including “I Want Sandy” in conjunction with “Jott“. There was even a way to Jott (via phone) right to your Google calendar. It was neat, but very buggy.
Edit: Apparently ‘I Want Sandy’ is no more. It’s a good thing I didn’t use that for long.

I digress. I really want Google’s Tasks to be the next greatest thing because I already use Google Calendar with a lot of success … especially since I can now sync over the air with my iPod. Genius.

When you’re logged into your calendar, you can see the toggle link in the top left corner.

 

 

I like the way it works and looks. You can even assign multiple lists like you can with Remember the Milk. It also has an “okay” interface when using a mobile device (mail.google.com/tasks).

If Google Tasks can make some minor adjustments, it would sweep me off my feet.

  1. We need the ability to repeat tasks. (ex. Run back-ups on monthly basis, flip the mattress every since months, etc.)
  2. We need a quicker interface. The web is nice, but I want a database front-end that I’ve grown so accustomed to on a mobile device.

If Remember the Milk allows use of their iPod App without their Pro account – they have me no questions asked. If Google gets their act together though …

Until next time …

D

Posted in Productivity, Review | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

Mozy: Off-site Data Back-Up Solution (Review)

I finally committed to an off-site data backup solution (Mozy). I ended up going with a two year deal and saved 20% with this Mozy promotional code. I have to say though, I’m really not all that impressed. I’m glad that I have a service just in case of theft or fire, but I have no intentions of using this service again when I’m up for renewal.

For starters, the application itself is very slow. One of the neat things is that it (supposedly) encrypts all data housed on their servers. It’s kind of moot for me because I keep all of my important data encrypted. However, the application isn’t very efficient. It will encrypt a bunch of data and then stop encrypting while it uploads the information to the server. Come on now … the year is 2009, we’ve been working with multitasking machines for, what, 15 years? While that’s uploading, keep encrypting … move on to the next file, don’t get lazy on me.

With this application you can specify which files or folders to backup. I created a folder called “NoBackups” which is used for material I specifically don’t want to back up (which I marked as such). You’d think that if I put something in that folder, Mozy would not back it up. You’d think that … but you’d be wrong. Instead, Mozy sees a new item and decides that it should make a backup of it regardless of whether or not the folder is marked as ‘backup’. This oversight on their part makes for a good bit of wasted bandwidth.

I recently stumbled across ADrive. I like that they have a free 50G account. I’m curious to see how that works. I might have to look into that more thoroughly when I decide to mozy away from my current company.

Until next time …

D

Posted in offsite storage, Review | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Ubuntu Studio – Eliminate Checksum Error

A friend of mine recently sent me a link for a distribution of linux called Ubuntu Studio … a special flavor of Ubuntu geared towards people that produce media in various forms (audio, video, print, web, etc.).

I checked out the site and decided to give it a whirl as a virtual machine using an application that I previously reviewed, Virtual Box. I encountered 2 major problems.

The first, I kept getting a checksum error whenever I tried to install the application. I downloaded the ISO directly from the site, a mirror, and even using a torrent provided by the US web site. I finally managed to stumble across a “how to”, which was only helpful to the extent that it gave me another avenue to explore.

On my computer, I have a virtual CD/DVD drive courtesy of Magic Disc. I was using this to mount the ISO which I had downloaded. I’ve used this exact method before with Ubuntu, DSL, and even Windows XP and have never had this problem. I was then giving my virtual machine full access to this drive. For whatever reason that was not working … however, when I mounted the ISO from within Virtual Box itself, the problem disappeared and I was able to mount the disc without any problems.

If you are not using VB 2.2.2 – you need to download that. No matter how much RAM I tried to allocate to the virtual machine, it would always hang. Updating to the latest version solved that problem.

I wish I could give a little bit of a review on this distribution of Linux … sadly, my laptop (1.7 gHz Pentium-M, 1G RAM) is not powerful enough to run it as a VM. Perhaps I’ll put it on my tower and we can see how well it runs. That’s it for now. Until next time …

-D

Posted in install error | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

TripIt Integration

I stumbled across the web site TripIt.com a few months ago but never really gave it a try. This evening I decided to give it a whirl one more time … especially since it now has the iPhone app to go along with it.

The thing that really wins this service over (aside from being free) are a couple of MAJOR key points. For starters, integration is painstakingly easy … if the service were actually an operating system, it would be a Mac (awwww). Seriously though, it’s great (granted, I’ve been using it less than a day).

01. Easy to add itineraries.
02. Google Calendar Integration
03. Extras

Assuming that you’ve already created your account with TripIt, the next time you book your trip with your favorite online entity (I personally like Expedia), forward your confirmation itinerary to plans@tripit.com. It’s that easy.

Next, if you keep a Google Calendar (or any other digital calendar for that matter), you can easily subscribe to your TripIt iCal feed. What does this mean? Flight information (number, airline, date, time, etc.) automatically go to your calendar and subsequently to your portal device (an iPod in my case).

For this trip, using the TripIt app, a map of the city where I’m traveling too was also added. Preeeetty slick. There’s also apparently a Pro account with (from what I gather) will automatically update your itinerary as things change (your flight for instance). Let’s keep our eyes on this one.

Until next time,
D

Posted in Productivity, Review, Travel | Tagged , , | Comments Off

Good-bye to iCal (Not "Romance") – A Google Calendar/iPhone Solution

I’ve been debating on utilizing the active sync for Google calendar and my iPod touch. The big delay for me was that sync only supported 5 calendars … I know what you’re thinking “… you have MORE than 5 calendars???” Well – at any rate, I decided to bite the bullet and give Google’s new iPhone/iPod sync a try despite possible problems.

I’ve been using the sync with my Google Calendars for about 3 weeks now … I LOVE IT!!! The full directions are here:

Click here for the full directions to sync your iPhone/iPod Touch with Google Calendar.

Finally I can enter events on my iPod touch and it updates right away with Google Calendar … well, usually within the first 30 seconds after finding a wireless connection.

While we’re talking iPods … you may recall a previous post where I was evaluating my iPod touch. I said that one thing I was really disappointed in was the lack of bluetooth. Well, if you don’t have an iPod touch, now is the time to get one. Apple has decided to unlock the bluetooth capabilities of the 2nd generation iPod touch. That means the biggie is here … bluetooth stereo headsets.

Until next time,
D

Posted in Google calendar | Tagged , , | Comments Off

No Phish for You! (Location Bar 2)

About a week or two ago, I stumbled upon this nugget and just had to share.

Anyone remotely concerned with keeping his or her machine secure and free of malware, viruses, worms, rootkits, etc. should already be using Firefox. That being said, there is one more weapon that you should wield.

My friends, I give you Location Bar 2. This is an add-on for Firefox that alters the appearance of your address bar. While it allows you to customize, the default setup shows the top level domain of the website that you are currently visited in a different format than the rest of the address (subdomains, folders, etc.).

So the next time that you click on a link that says that your ATM card was stolen, the address that it will show in the location bar will look something like this:

http://www.bankofamerica.fakesite.com/account_login.asp.

Instead of:

http://www.bankofamerica.fakesite.com/account_login.asp … genius.

Until next time …
-D

Posted in Plugins/Addons | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

True Crypt

Traveling with data has always made me nervous because of the possibility of losing my thumb drive … with passwords, FTP info, POP3 email (still working on a solution for that one), etc. This same problem transcends my thumb drive (no pun intended) … the laptop is also a major problem.

My friends, I bring you True Crypt AND Portable True Crypt. Using this free, open source application, you can create an encrypted volume on your disk of choice (full disk, new partition, etc.).

The one downside is that the volume will not grow based on the amount of data inside. When you create the volume, you need to specify how much memory you want the volume to have.

Once you create the volume, unmount like you would any external drive (like a thumb drive for instance). The next time you mount the drive via True Crypt or Portable True Crypt, enter the password and you have access to your files again.

The recommendation for a more secure password includes letters (upper and lowercase), numbers, and symbols totaling at least 20 characters.

At this point in time, I believe this is Linux and Windows only. For our Mac users, you can accomplish the same thing using Disk Utility or can opt to encrypt the entire drive.

Until next time …
-D

Posted in encryption, Travel | Tagged , , | Comments Off