Must Watch Video for All MacBook Owners

I’ve been a MacBook Pro owner for a little over a year now, and apparently I’ve been winding the cable on my power brick the wrong way this whole time. Lifehacker to the rescue. They posted a video and link the the site Tested that will hopefully help me get a much longer life out of my (expensive) power brick.

The main concept is that you don’t want to put too much tension on the two end of the power cord. That could both create a fire hazard and cause the power brick’s life to shorten. Both are not good in my books.

If you own a MacBook, do yourself a favor and watch the video below. If you’re an Apple hater you’ll probably find humor in the video, too. They take a couple shots at Apple and all of its minions. Good stuff.

Got any tips like this for your Mac products or laptop? Share in the comments!

Public Facial Recognition: The End of Privacy or Awesome Use of Technology?

Mark Cuban just blogged about a new company he just invested in. While he didn’t give any details about who the company is, he did outline some of the key features. The two main features he described are: 1) Accurate, real-time stats on how many people or vehicles are in a given place at a particular time; and 2) Facial recognition of people in public places. Here’s an excerpt of what he wrote:

The next extension is to install it in places where we can add facial recognition software. So rather than someone checking in to a specific application, we would already know you are there.

I’ve been using location-based apps (like foursquare and Gowalla) for a little while now and I have conflicted feelings. At one point it’s kind of fun to let people know the places you’ve been or are at, but at the same time it’s kind of creepy to know that random people can know you’re not at home and can take advantage of that (see PleaseRobMe). I haven’t been creeped out enough yet to stop using Gowalla, but I’ve scaled back my use some.

What Cuban is talking about could take things to a whole new level. He’s right that many of us already have a publicly-accesible picture on our facebook profiles or other sites, so in a sense this data is already out there. But it would be really, really weird to walk into Walmart and hear a computerized voice say “Welcome, Kevin Rossen.” I imagine that something like that will happen in the not too distant future. I can think of some cool ways that churches could use a technology like this.

What do you think? Go read Mark’s post then come back here to discuss. I’d love to read your thoughts!

TechCrunch posted about this today and thought they had some interesting thoughts as to when this type of technology might be commonplace. I think they’re on to something. Here’s an exceprt:

But to say that the check-in is 2010 implies that 2011 is going to be the year this stuff starts coming into play. I say no way. We’ll be lucky if we see that kind of stuff in play in 2020. Not because the technology isn’t there — it definitely will be, and probably already is — it’s because we’re just not there yet as a society.

Image by Flickr user Rob Pongsajapan

Six Weeks Later and I Still Love My iPad (Review)

I’ve had my iPad for about six weeks now, so I thought I’d post some follow up thoughts to my initial review. Bottom line: I still love it!!!

It’s extremely unusual for me to pull out my MacBook Pro (MBP) over the weekend now. Almost everything that I want or need to do I can do on my iPad, and usually do it quicker. It’s really convenient to pull it out and browse the web, check Facebook or Twitter updates, shoot off a couple emails, or play Angry Birds (I’m so addicted to that game). It’s been a great addition to my tech gadgetry.

Here are a few of the things I love about the iPad in no particular order:
– Battery life: it’s flipping amazing. I can use it for about 4-5 hours and it only hits about 50% remaining power. I’ve never seen another device like it.
– Noise: it’s completely quiet (except for pushing the home button). It’s not like the MBP has a jet engine or anything, but it does make some noise. Other laptops I’ve had in the past make even more noise, so having something that produces no noise from cooling fans is awesome, especially when the wife is sleeping next to me.
– Heat: there is none. Again, this relates a lot to using the laptop in bed (which could probably be another post in and of itself), but the iPad NEVER GETS HOT! It’s awesome and I’m not sure how they pull it off. Even my MBP gets pretty hot to the touch at times. Not the iPad.
– Apps: even with the limited selection (for now) there are some really, really nice apps that take advantage of the amazing screen on the iPad. I really like the new Documents To Go app that was released June 1. It does everything I need for basic word processing and office apps (and syncs with Google Docs/DropBox/MobileMe).
– Simplicity: it’s so simple a baby can use it (OK, maybe a toddler). I know because my two year old can turn it on, switch between app pages on the home screen, choose the app she wants to play, and make the apps do what they are supposed to do. It’s really amazing to see.
– Social: it’s a magnet for discussions and better at being social. There have been quite a few times that I’ve been using it out in public and someone has come up and asked me about it. That happens with almost every new tech device, but this seems to happen quite a bit more and the conversations I’ve had have been longer and more in-depth. Pretty cool. Also, when I’m meeting with someone I can just set the iPad on the table and everyone at the table can see what’s on the screen and interact with it. It’s much more social than a laptop.

It’s not a perfect device (hello, Apple: fix the wifi bug soon!!!), but it’s quickly become my go-to computing device. If you need to print stuff frequently (I don’t) you probably won’t like it as much as I do. But if you’re looking for something that’s a lot of fun, easy to use, and just plain works I highly recommend picking up the iPad. I haven’t regretted it once.

What about you? Do you have an iPad? What do you like or hate about it? If you don’t have one, are you planning on getting one? Why or why not? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Remember The Milk Cheat Sheet

If you’re anything like me, you’re always looking for ways to do things faster. I’m on a never ending journey of becoming more effective and efficient in my daily workflow. One of the components of most people’s workflow is a task list. I’ve been using (RTM) as my task manager for a few years (excluding a brief experiment with Google Tasks) and I can’t imagine trying to be productive without it.

There are a TON of ways to add tasks to your lists, but one of my personal favorites is using a combination of their add tasks via email feature (you’re given a unique email address that allows you to add tasks) and a newer feature called Smart Add. It’s a trick I picked up from the book Bit Literacy. If I get an email that requires an action on my part, I’ll forward the email to RTM and just change the subject line to something that helps me remember what I’m supposed to do. The body of the text is attached to the task as a note, which is nice to have to get a context for the task.

The downside to this method for me has been I can’t easily remember some of the feature codes for Smart Add, which I like to use. They have a lengthy discussion on how Smart Add works, but I don’t need all that. I just need the codes. I fixed my little problem today by typing up a nice little cheat sheet that I tacked to my cork board. Now I’ll be able to have a little more control over my tasks via email and you can too. Just print out the doc or this blog post, cut the cheat sheet up to your preferred size, and you’ll be all set.


RTM Smart Add Cheat Sheet

^ Due Date
! Priority
# List / Tag
@ Location
* Repeat
= Time Estimate


If you use RTM and you have a tip I’d love to hear it! Share in the comments.

iPad Quick Review

It took me three years to jump on the iPhone bandwagon, but I’ve already jumped on the iPad train. This thing is really, really cool. When I first heard about it from the Steve Jobs keynote I scoffed. I thought this was the biggest miss that Apple has done since the Newton, but I was wrong. This thing is awesome. It’s not quite a computer and not quite a smartphone, but it makes sense to me already. I think it will especially be a really big hit for parents with little kids, as there are already a bunch of apps for it and there will just be more and more that get developed.

If you’re on the fence about getting one, and you have the cash to burn, get it. It’s fun and elegant. It’s not perfect, but it’s still great.

And yes, I did write this post from the WordPress app on my iPad.

Problems With My Blog

— UPDATE (3/5/10, 4:45 pPM): Everything seems to be working right now. Let me know if you run into any issues. —

I’ve been trying to work out some problems with my blog for the past day. You may not even ever see this post, but just wanted to put something up that hopefully will show up on the front page.

Image by flickr user jmarty.

Google’s Newest Experiment: 1 Gbps Fiber to the Home

Google announced today that they’re going to start experimenting with delivering extremely fast internet directly to people’s homes. As in, 1 Gbps. That’s blazing fast no matter who you are. To put the speed in perspective compare it to my current ISP. I currently have 15 Mbps from Verizon Fios, so Google’s planned service would be 67 times faster than what I have now. That would be incredible. I really, really hope Flower Mound, TX gets early access to this, but I won’t hold my breath.

In their blog announcement, Google said that one of the reasons they’re doing this was to help developers create cool new web services and apps. They wrote:

Next generation apps: We want to see what developers and users can do with ultra high-speeds, whether it’s creating new bandwidth-intensive “killer apps” and services, or other uses we can’t yet imagine.

Check out the video announcement below:

Your thoughts?

Stuck Trying to Figure out What or How to Blog? Check out ProBlogger (Book Review).


ProBlogger by Darren Rowse and Chris Garrett

Over the past month or so I’ve been wanting to get back into blogging and trying to figure out what my personal blog should be focused on. What’s my niche? Why do people read my blog? What should I write about? It’s the type of questions that I believe every blogger asks at some point in the life of their blog.

Through the course of asking myself these questions, having a couple of conversations with a friend about a new joint-venture in blogging, and looking for some ideas to generate a little extra money on the side I decided to buy a copy of the book ProBlogger by Darren Rowse and Chris Garrett. I’m glad I did.

The sub-title of the book is “Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income,” so I was expecting the it to be mostly a “I got rich blogging and here are the ways that you can get rich quickly, too” type of book, but getting rich quick was not really the main focus of the book. There are a few chapters on money-making blogging strategies, but the majority of the book is devoted to helping you figure out how to run an effective blog. In fact, throughout the book the authors stress that most successful/profitable blogs are the result of years of work.

The main takeaway that I got from the book was that the best blogs are ones that focus on a niche market. The more specific the niche the better. Beyond that, the book was filled with practical ideas on how to write content that people want to read and gave numerous specific examples on how to generate ideas for new blog posts.

Overall, I’m really glad I spent the time to read the book. I don’t know whether or not I’ll make even a dime from blogging, but it has given me some motivation to get back in the game, as you can probably tell from this new post.

If you’re new to blogging, a veteran blogger looking for ideas to get unstuck, or trying to figure out how you might make a little money writing in your spare time I highly recommend getting a copy of the book for yourself.

Check out the blog that inspired the book at