Monthly Archive for December, 2005

Build to Flip = Build to Fail

Build to Flip = Build to Fail – must read [via xplane]

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Jobs in ’84

Video of Steve Jobs pitching the Macintosh in 1984 [via the thicket] Truly a good look at Steve Jobs’s presentation style in 1984… not all that much different from today, though today, he’s much more polished.

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Funny Doc from Apple

“As if it were a swarm of bees, you should stay away from the SyncServices folder in Mac OS X 10.4.” as seen in this Tech Support Article [via Matt Russell]. Too funny. Happy New Year folks!

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Dating My Daughters

If you haven’t read Dating My Daughters by Jack Yoest, go read it now. Hilarious and spot on!

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Dell Customer Service …

I’ve been tempted by the Dell pricepoint on some of their larger LCD monitors, but in this post, Jeremy details one example of why I won’t buy Dell just because they’re cheap. They’re cheap for a reason folks. Enough bad stories like this one, and less and less people will buy Dell, too…

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Cross-Processing with Photoshop

Maury posted his Cross Processing Technique for Photoshop last week. It’s the second item on the weekly archives page I’ve linked to. Interesting how much Photoshop can do once you start to understand it and the concepts behind it.

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YAMSL

Yet Another Macintosh Software List: This one from them … good list covering the basics. I’m adding this list of favorite Mac OS X applications to this post, because I think there are already too many lists out there, but this one is good. Definitely take a look.

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TexasGigs.com relaunched

this one is for CindyIn case you’re living under a rock, I need to point you to the relaunch of TexasGigs.com as part of Pegasus News. Why is this important you might ask?

Well, because quite honestly TexasGigs has been the most important band/music site in North Texas for the past 2-3 years, and it was really just a great niche weblog run by one woman: Cindy Chafin.

Cindy’s a smart cookie and when my friend Mike Orren started talking to her about putting TexasGigs on the map by making it part of Pegasus News, well, I guess she just couldn’t resist…

The combination of Cindy + Pegasus now makes TexasGigs a full blown music, media, news, and venue site, all catering to Texas and Texas music (that’s not a genre folks, it’s a way of life) that you can use to find who’s playing tonight, where, when and why you should be there, not just Cindy’s top picks (though those are always worth paying attention to!)

I first ‘met’ Cindy back when she linked to inluminent in 2003, and we exchanged a few emails, remarking how we were both really enjoying learning about website marketing, and the like. I also remember something about her owning a really kick ass looking luxury campground that I still need to check out one weekend.

It’s really really nice to see Mike and the rest of the team at Pegasus News powering TexasGigs.com now… and I just love how easy it is to find what’s happening on New Year’s Eve in Dallas. We’ll be there ringing in the New Year, and I can’t decide between Jack Ingram and Kevin Fowler… which one should we try to get tickets to?

Good luck getting that next round of funding Mike… I can’t wait for Pegasus News to lauch in full!

How to Build a Lightbox

How to Build a Lightbox – quick and easy read… great tutorial.

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RAILhead Design on Aperture

Go read RAILHead Design’s posts on Aperture from last week if you’re interested in Aperture. Good stuff.

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Flipping Your Startup 101

Looking at starting a company, so you can flip it to get rich? Read this: Flipping Your Startup 101

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Hilarious LearnFree.com Video Outtakes

If you’ve got 10 minutes to spare this morning, you’ve got to watch these Video Outtakes from LearnFree.com. My buddy Josh used to be a video editor, and he saves these old outtakes from his first job out of college. Man I remember back when I thought he’d made it forever, because he worked at a real “dot com” and was going to have plenty of stock options. Those were the boom days. Lesson learned. In 1999, people didn’t pay for online training videos that weren’t all that good at training you. What’s really crazy is you could buy Vidbook.com for $2888 as of this morning… that’s insane knowing what once went into building that domain originally. Make sure you watch this one … it’s the funniest one, but Josh pulled it down because his grandmother might not like it … heh.

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Getting Aperture to load without 1 GB of RAM

I spotted this on the internet somewhere (wish I could remember where, so I could point to it)

When you get Aperture, and install it, it’ll let you install it, if you don’t have enough RAM, but it won’t run, and will give you an error saying something like “This machine doesn’t have the minimum resources to run this application” (I haven’t seen it, so I don’t know what it says).

To get it to work do this:

open the file info.plist (inside the Aperture.app bundle)

and change this
<key>AELMinimumRAMSize</key>
<string>1000</string>

to

<key>AELMinimumRAMSize</key>
<string>700</string>

The above hack lowers the RAM requirement from 1 GB of ram to 700 MBs of RAM. I bet you could play with those numbers to see how low you can get it and still get Aperture to work. Something tells me though that Apple wasn’t bullshitting when they say the application needs 1 GB of RAM, so if you have less, be careful with this hack.

It goes without saying this hack is totally unsupported by myself and/or Apple. Your mileage may vary.

update: a few searches on Google lead to these other posts that might help you get Aperture running on unsupported hardware:

TimBL has a blog

Tim Berners-Lee posts his first post to a blog. – cool.

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WP-Cache 2.0

I just turned on WP-Cache 2.0, because I’m getting nasty notes from my hosting company (Dreamhost) that I’m using too many resources on my shared server. I totally understand their wanting me to use less resources, so, I’m hoping this cache plugin will help… Though, I’m not 100% sure WordPress is the thing that’s using all of the resources…

I hope this fixes the problem and I don’t have to go debugging all of my sites to find the problems.

If you see any problems with the site, or the RSS feeds, or anything, let me know.

Think Different Stamps

If you’re into customizing your icons on your Macintosh, go check out this icon set: Think Different Stamps on InterfaceLift. Very cool set. I can’t decide between Kermit and Jim Henson or Picasso as a replacement icon for Mail.app. Which do you like best:

So, which one?

Small Biz 101: Masterpieces

No one starts with a masterpiece” is the latest in 37 Signals Small Biz 101 series. Go read it for more tips if you’re looking at starting your own biz (or already did and want to read some tips that might apply to you too): “Every successful business has a dirty little secret: They didn’t know if they were going to be successful when they started.”

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Another New to Mac OS X List

Pedro Vera just posted a list of software that you should investigate if you’re new to OS X.

It’s a decent list… though, I’d highly recommend Interarchy for your FTP needs as well. I’ve used it for years now, and find it indispendable.

I’ve also never seen Flip4Mac, which purports to be a WMV plugin for Quicktime which I’ll have to check out.

Also, check out my buddy Josh’s list of OS X apps for the newbie. From his list, I’d highly recommend iPhoto Diet and iProduct (you’ll have to visit his site for the links). I will point out that I use LaunchBar instead of Quicksilver though, just out of habit.

I’ll also point you to my “list of best Mac OS X software” from July 2004…

Customizing WordPress

If you use WordPress, go read parts one and two of Claire Campbell’s Customizing WordPress series on Performancing.com.

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Funny call with MBNA

This is hilarious: Listen to this guy’s Mp3 of call with MBNA trying to sell him a Visa card. So funny… lol… wait until then end of the call when he get’s mad … “wait a minute lady” … “you ought to quit your job”.

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Backpack Widget

If you’re a Backpack using Mac user, check out the Backpak Widget. Great tool!

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Top 10 Innovative Web 2.0 Applications of 2005

Top 10 Innovative Web 2.0 Applications of 2005 – ’nuff said.

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How much to charge

How much to charge – Good examples of how much to charge if you’re an independant web designer, but completely accurate and applicable to other trades.

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PC World on Aperture

PC World: Aperture Takes Digital Photography Back to the Future – PC World’s Mac Skeptic takes a look at Aperture, from a “point and shoot” perspective. Not worth it for a point and shoot photographer, but probably worth it for a serious pro, if only for a few reasons is her take on it.

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Meetro wants Mac beta testers

I sent Meetro an email this morning asking to be a beta tester, after reading Scoble’s post on the subject. Sure enough, Meetro’s CEO, Paul Bragiel, sent me an email telling me that I’ll get to beta test the application and asking me to help him find more beta testers. Pretty cool that the CEO himself responded to my request 😉

If you’re interested, email them at [email protected] (include your city/state you reside in).

Meetro is an app that uses your wifi antenna to figure out where you’re located and then finds interesting things/people nearby.

Digital Photography 101: Aperture

This is part three of a series of articles I’m writing about digital photography, as I learn more about it. You can find links to the other articles at the bottom of this one.

No, we’re not talking about Aperture, the software application from Apple. We’re talking about the Aperture on your SLR camera in this article.

After I answered some questions for myself about Film Speed, I started wondering: “What’s this f-stop Aperture thing that people keep telling me about?”

So, I sat down last night, and read a bunch of websites, and then took a bunch of photos (all inside) with different lenses to see if I could figure out what Aperture was.

The best way I can explain it is this:

Aperture is the diaphram that sits inside the lens on your camera. The aperture setting is the size of the opening between the outside world and your film or digital sensor that controls how much light passes through the lens to your sensor. It controls light and impacts depth of field.

Aperture is also related to shutter speed, which can also be used to control the amount of light that reaches your sensor, but impacts the amount of blur in your photos, not depth of field.

Together, aperture and shutter speed affect exposure, and the goal is to get the right exposure at the aperture and shutter speed you want to get.

Aperture + Shutter Speed = Exposure.

This is a key point to understand when thinking about photography. All cameras have a shutter, and all lenses have an aperture. They are manipulated to get the proper exposure for your shot, depending on what kind of settings you use.

Let’s talk about those settings.

Lenses can have a fixed aperture, or a variable aperture. I haven’t made any judgements or assumptions about which type is better: fixed or variable, though I’ve heard for professional photos, having a lens that allows you to fix the aperture while shooting is preferrable, so you can control more aspects of the process.

Apertures are usually denoted in f-numbers. f/22, f/16, f/11, f/8.0, f/5.6, f/4.0, f/2.8, f/2.0, etc…

It’s confusing for a beginner, but, if you can remember this, you’re set:

The bigger the f-number, the smaller the aperture.
The smaller the f-number, the bigger the aperture.


image borrowed from Wikipedia

So, a f/2.0 aperture is actually bigger in physical size than an f/2.8 or f/4.0 aperture.

Say it with me: The smaller the number, the bigger the aperture.

So, combined with the shutter speed, the aperture setting of your lens creates the amount of light exposed on the film or sense in your camera. But…

Aperture also adds that important photographic element called “Depth of Field” which is basically how you get a fuzzy background or a sharp background in your photo… you focus the image on an object, then to get the right depth of field, you set the aperture bigger (smaller number) to get fuzzier backgrounds. If you’d like to have sharper images, you need a smaller aperture (bigger number) so that your lens focuses across a larger space. Depth of Field is also very much affected by the focal length of your lens.

I’ll follow this article up with one on shutter speed, exposure and depth of field, and lenses, so stay tune. I’ll also link all of these articles together with added images to complete the whole process as I write them.

Other sites worth reading if you want to learn more about Aperture are:

Other articles in this series:

And you can browse the rest of the Photography + Video category on this site for more links to relevant content.

How to Ship Anything

How to Ship Anything – How a small business owner built a smart shipping process to reduce labor costs… very cool.

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Local online advertising alternative

If you own a retail store, and are looking for a smart local online advertising alternative, you might look at StepUp. It’s like ShopLocal, but as I user, I personally find it more useable… too bad they only have one store in Austin listed in the system, as I’d really like to find a way ot find what I want locally instead of driving to two or three different places to find what I’m looking for (I’m really tired of doing that).

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Ars Followup Review on Aperture

Ars Followup to Initial Review on Aperture – Ars Technica reviewer, Dave Girard, goes into more detail with Aperture based on the feedback he received from his initial review. Good reading here, especially if you’re still on the fence about dropping $500 for an immediate workflow fix to your Digital Photography needs.

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DaVinci Code Trailer

If you’ve read the book, you really need to go watch the new DaVinci Code Trailer. Looks fantastic, though I don’t know that I’ve have pictured Tom Hanks as the main character when I read the book. If you’re planning on seeing the movie, I’d highly recommend reading the book first, if you haven’t yet. Great story.

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Web 2.0 replaces Office?

Ana BeatrizI’m wondering when there will be a Web 2.0 application to replace PowerPoint.

Currently there is:

Writely, the ever capable browser based Word stand-in (I won’t call it a replacement yet, but it’s damn close) that lets you create documents that need a word-processor, share them, edit them, and publish them on the web. Cool. update: Writeboard is a Safari compatible (Writely isn’t) web app for word processing.

Num Sum, a web-based spreadsheet application that honestly does most of what I do with Excel, but doesn’t come close to having the full power of Excel yet… I’m sure it could with age though.

Where’s the PowerPoint replacement? I’m sure it’s either done and I don’t know about it, or it’s in the works… Is SoapBX it? Not yet, but someday, maybe?

These new online AJAX based web apps are pretty cool, in that they even work, but also if you’re a small or new business owner, they can provide a different way to get things done than the standard M$ route… your mileage may vary though, of course. I still wouldn’t trust a mission critical application to these largely unproved web app companies.

Is there anything else anyone needs from Web 2.0?

I ask because I’d love to be the guy that builds it and cashes out to Yahoo or Google – bwahahaha!

Small Biz Part Two: Cash Flow

Small Business 101: Part Two – Cash flow – a good quick guide to cash flow, with an example excel file to help you plan better.

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Digital Photography 101: Film Speed

This is part two of a series of articles I’m writing about digital photography, as I learn more about it. You can find links to the other articles at the bottom of this one.

photos are back... Jessica Alba for startersI bet your new Digital camera has a setting for “Film Speed” on it… and if you’re like most amateurs (totally including myself here), you remember using different film speeds when you were a kid, and you actually bought film.

But I bet you always bought ISO 400 (or maybe it said ASA instead of ISO) because you never knew if you were going to take a photo inside or outside, and the clerk behind the counter (back when clerks actually knew something about what they sold) told you to go with ISO 400, because it was a good all around film speed.

Guess what? That clerk was right… but in today’s day of digital cameras, you don’t have to stick with ISO 400, because you can change film speed on the fly with your new digital camera. You don’t have to shoot a whole roll of 24 exposures, or waste the rest of those shots just to change speed.

So, like myself, you need to know what film speed to use when.

Here’s a little guide. I’ve read about 40 articles on the subject and am firmly of the mind that every photographer has their own opinion about exactly what film speed to use when and where, but, the generalities of this guide should fit most of the situations you find yourself in.

What does film speed mean?

Film speed is generally denoted as an ISO number: ISO 100, 200, 400, 800, and up…

Film speed is a measurement that indicates a film’s sensitivity to light. The higher the film speed, the faster or more sensitive it is to light

Which translates to:

Higher Film Speed -> less light needed, or faster shutter speed for action
Lower Film Speed -> bright daylight shots, static subjects, longer shutter time

Quick Guide to Film Speeds

  • ISO 100: “Slow” film, good for sunny, outdoor conditions
  • ISO 200: “Slow” film, good for overcast outdoor conditions
  • ISO 400: “Fast” film, good compromise for indoor/outdoor use
  • ISO 800 & up: “Fast” film, good for indoor use, low light conditions, or action shots

I’ve read recommendations to use ISO 1600 and ISO 3200 films (if you’re camera supports those) for extremely low-light situations when you just can’t use a flash… I’ll have to experiment more with those myself to see what I find useful.

The funny thing is that I’ve been taking photos for about 3 weeks with my “new to me” D60 completely backwards… now that I know the right way to pick a film speed, we’ll see what I get with my shots 😉

Other articles in this series:

And you can browse the rest of the Photography + Video category on this site for more links to relevant content.

Optimize performance in Photoshop

Optimize performance in Photoshop (CS2 on Mac OS) – good stuff if you’re into Photoshop. Windows version here

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Just launch it

Simple means launching something – launching a new product? or a new company? pay attention to this advice: “If you find yourself talking more than walking, shut up, cut the vision in half, and launch it. You can always fill in the gaps later. In fact, you’ll know more about what gaps need to be filled after you’ve launched “half a feature” than if you tried to fill them in before launching anything.”

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Chuqui on Aperture

Some initial thoughts on Aperture from Chuq – Another look at Aperture from a non-pro. “My cut: Aperture is an impressive first release; among other things, they got the performance and the organizational aspects of it well fleshed out. I’m a LOT happier with Aperture than I was with iPhoto…”

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BBum on Aperture

BBum on Aperture – first look from another non-professional photographer… and I think my big problem with Aperture is going to be how I architect my organizational scheme. Aperture offers a much freer form than iPhoto in how you organize your photos, but I’m sure I’ll figure out what makes sense to me…

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DivX Codec for Playback for Macintosh

DivX Playback for Macintosh – every once and a while I download a movie (Quicktime or WMP) that I can’t watch for whatever reason… I don’t know if I need this DivX codec or not, but hopefully having it will save me some strife when I need it.

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Digital Photography 101: What’s an SLR Anyways?

This is the first part of a multi-part series of articles I’m writing about digital photography, as I learn more about it. You can find links to the other articles at the bottom of this one.

So, you just got a new Digital SLR for your birthday, or mabye you’ll get one for Christmas, if you’ve been a good little boy or girl this year…

Or maybe, you’re just lusting after the latest Canon EOS Rebel XT, or you’re eyeing a used D60 on eBay. Either way, you find yourself asking the question:

What the hell is an “SLR” anyways?

I did, as I started to contemplate writing a “Digital Photography 101” series for this website. (I’m starting this little series of posts with this one, because I just graduated to using a real 35mm Digital SLR that I bought off a buddy that had out-grown his. As I learn stuff, I’ll try to pass it on, and hopefully people will correct any inaccuracies I come across, so I can learn faster myself).

So, I turned to Google, and the best answer I could find to this question came from the best information source on the ‘net… the Wikipedia:

Single-lens reflex camera

The single-lens reflex (SLR) is a type of camera that uses a movable mirror placed between the lens and the film to project the image seen through the lens to a matte focusing screen. Most SLRs use a pentaprism to observe the image via an eyepiece, but there are also other finder arrangements, such as the waist-level finder or porro prisms.

The shutter in almost all contemporary SLRs sits just in front of the focal plane. If it does not, some other mechanism is required to ensure that no light reaches the film between exposures…

So, if you were wondering, go read the full entry for SLR on the Wikipedia, and sound smarter next time “SLR” comes up at a dinner party.

Expect more as I learn it.

Other articles in this series:

And you can browse the rest of the Photography + Video category on this site for more links to relevant content.

Unsharp Mask Explained

Unsharp Mask Explained – everything you ever wanted to know about the Unsharp Mask tool in Photoshop … very useful tool.

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Extreme Macro Photography on a budget

Extreme Macro Photography on a budget – great ideas for some cheap ways to do some macro and micro photography.

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Bored?

If you’re bored, or having a bad day, go play with entertainmentanytime.com – lots of fun.

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White Balance

Ron Bigelow on White Balance – funny how having a Digital SLR will make you actually want to learn what all those settings on your camera will do for you … heh.

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How To Install Apple’s Front Row

How To Install Apple’s Front Row – great instructions.

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The Five Deadly Business Sins

WSJ: Peter Drucker on The Five Deadly Business Sins “(This article originally appeared in The Wall Street Journal on Oct. 21, 1993)” … and couldn’t be more true to this day. Peter Drucker was so dead on all the time…

The world will always be a little less right without him:

Everything I have been saying in this article has been known for generations. Everything has been amply proved by decades of experience. There is thus no excuse for managements to indulge in the five deadly sins. They are temptations that must be resisted.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

I’m reminded of the old Dinah Shore and Johnny Mercer tune tonight:

Yes, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside“.

And the funny thing is it’s a lot colder in other parts of the country… like in the single digits in Denver and Chicago… brrrrrr.

11 Techniques to Increase Page Views on Your Blog

11 Techniques to Increase Page Views on Your Blog

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Is starting a company the right thing for you?

Signal vs. Noise: Is starting a company the right thing for you? – Part One of their take on Business 101.

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Beginner’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization

Beginner’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization

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Mexican Martini vs. the Margarita

On the difference between the Mexican Martini and the Margarita – I love me a Mexican Martini.

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