Ten Must Have Applications for a Mac

Macbook Air I have just received my new 11 inch Macbook Air with 8GB of memory, 1.3 GHz Intel Core iS and 250 GB of storage. I have only had it for a day now and so I have been spending most of my time getting it set up the way I want. This will be my secondary machine as I already have a Mac Mini as my main machine. I was therefore setting it up as a new machine. One of my primary goals while setting the machine up was to be selective when adding applications to it. These are the ten applications that I chose to add at this time.

  1. Dropbox
  2. 1password
  3. Omnifocus
  4. Nvalt
  5. Textexpander
  6. Hazel
  7. Quicksilver, or Alfred
  8. Evernote
  9. Fantastical
  10. MultiMarkdown Composer

The following is why I chose these ten applications. The first application I would install on any computer is Dropbox. Many of the applications I use store their data in Dropbox. The next application I would install is 1password. I have 1password installed on all my computers and it is great for generating and securely storing passwords, notes, credit card, and other personal information. The third application I would install would Omnifocus.  It is currently my task management or GTD application of choice . I don’t know about you but I am constantly coming up with idea that I need to write down quickly before I forget them. I use Nvalt for this purpose it is both simple and powerful at the same time. It allows me to write thoughts down quickly and easily search for them later. If you are constantly writing the same thing, over and over again then TextExpander will become your best friend. Once you create a snippet and add it to TextExpander you can invoke that snippet at anytime with a simple keyboard shortcut. I try to keep my files organized and I like a clean desktop.  However like most people when I find something I want to keep, I have a tendency to throw it on to the Desktop. Hazel is the solution to this problem. You can set Hazel up to automatically move files or folders from one location to another. For example I have Hazel set up to move any image file from my desktop to a folder on Dropbox an hour after it was added. I am a big believer in app launchers such as Alfred or Quicksilver. Currently I am using Alfred on my main machine, but am trying out the new version of Quicksilver on my Macbook Air. Both of these applications can be used to quickly launch any application, but they can be customized to do so much more. I use Evernote as my catch-all for receipts, emails and other things I want to save and access everywhere. Fantastical allows me to quickly enter an event without having to open up iCal. Finally I wanted a text editor that works with MultiMarkdown and MultiMarkdown Composer fills that niche.

These are the ten applications that I installed automatically on my new Macbook Air. If you just brought a new Mac and you could only install ten new applications, what would they be?

Dynamics ePlates: Credit Card for Today’s World

Dynamics Dynamics Inc has developed cards for Visa that have chips embedded into them. The battery inside the card will last at least four years. There is a user interface including buttons and a magnetic stripe that changes so user can make different choices at the point of sale.  The user can easily change the awards available on the cards through the website. There are currently fifty different award partners that the card can be connected to. You also receive the rewards a lot faster than you do with a normal card because of the system they have establish. These cards are more secure than normal cards due to the fact that the information is stored in an embedded processor on the card

Dynamics Inc is also developing a card that has security code embedded in it. You have to punch in the code for the card to become active. When the right code is punched in the card number appears and the magnetic stripe becomes active After a period of time the number disappears and stripe erases. F’or further information and sign up for a card go to Dynamics Inc website or the UMB Bank website.

Interview by Andy McCaskey of SDR News and RV News Net, and Daniel J Lewis of the The Noodle.mx Network and the Audacity to Podcast

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Ustream Producer Pro vs. Livestream Producer

I recently compared Ustream Watershed to Livestream Producer. In addition to Watershed, Ustream also has an offer called Ustream Producer Pro. How does it compare to Livestream Producer? Here is the information you will need to see the similarities, and the differences, between the two.

Price:

Ustream Producer Pro : There are three different prices, depending on which plan you want.

The Starter is $99/month. This gives you 100 viewer hours. If you go over, you will be charged $0.50 per additional viewer hour.

The Standard is $499/month. This gives you 4,000 viewer hours. If you go over, you will be charged $0.25 per additional viewer hour.

The Enterprise is $999/month. This gives you 9,000 viewer hours. If you go over, you will be charged $0.20 per additional viewer hour.

A viewer hour is the cumulative amount of time an audience watches your stream. The example they give is if 10 people watch your stream for 1/2 hour, that would be 5 hours of cumulative view-time. It would equal 5 viewer hours.

Livestream Producer: $45.00/month – unlimited bandwith. No overages, ever.

Is it embeddable?

Ustream Producer Pro: The Starter does not include embedding. Both the Standard and the Enterprise allow for embedding. Broadcasters who purchase the Enterprise package will be able to remove their content from the Ustream site by hiding their live channel pages.

Livestream Producer: Not currently available

Analytics and APIs?

Ustream Producer Pro: As far as I can tell, it is not currently available.

Livestream Producer: Not currently available

Storing Recorded Video on their site

Ustream Producer Pro: The Starter has 50 GB of storage. If you want more, it will cost $0.50/GB.
The Standard has 500 GB. If you want more, it will cost $0.20/GB.
The Enterprise has 1,000 GB. If you want more, it will cost $0.12/GB.

Livestream Producer: Bandwith and video storage on the New Livestream platform is unlimited for the life of your plan.

Is it ad free?Ustream Producer Pro: All Ustream Pro Broadcasting packages remove all in-video ads, as well as display ads on your channel page. Ads are even removed from embedded players and recorded content.

Livestream Producer: Yes. You can do live streaming without any advertising.

Integration with social media

Ustream Producer Pro: It has a “widget” framework that will allow you to integrate with outside services. Current extensions include: Facebook Fan Page “Like” Button, Twitter Follow Button, iTunes Promotion, Amazon Promotion, Thumbplay Ring Tones, and Custom Uploaded Banners. New services will be added in the coming months.

Livestream Producer: There is a New Livestream for Producers iPhone app which can be used for live encoding and real-time posting from your iPhone. Livestream Producer does integrate with Facebook. Users can “like” posts, comment on posts, and receive notifications of upcoming events.

$3 Dollar Tablet Stand

Ever wander into the iPad/tablet accessory isle at your local big box electronics store looking for an inexpensive stand for your iPad, Nook, Kindle, or other tablet/reader device? If so, you know these things have a tendency to be rather pricey and may not even do what you want them to.

I’ve got an inexpensive, very effective solution you may not have thought about. Make a trip to your local hobby store, a dollar store, or any store that sells nick-nack type items. What you are looking for are small easels either made of metal wire or even wooden ones with folding hinges. These can sell for as little as a $1 and up.

I purchased the pictured wire metal easel from my local Hobby Lobby store for $2.99 plus tax to hold my Barnes & Noble Nook – about $60 dollars or so less than I would have paid for a specialty tablet stand.

Save your money and have an effective solution all in one fell swoop.

Garmin DEZL 560LT Trucker’s GPS

GPS units have been around for several years and have made quite a heavy penetration into the automotive marketplace. It would be logical to assume a degree of maturity when it comes to GPS maps and operating system software on the units themselves. However, there is still quite a bit of room left for improvement.

GPS market saturation, combined with the sales of millions of Android and other smartphones that contain sophisticated GPS functionality have conspired to bite into the growth of stand-alone GPS unit sales, forcing a reduction in price along with a search for ways of adding value in order to justify and/or maintain higher price points. Thus, GPS manufacturers have created a market segment of specialty GPS units aimed specifically at truck drivers and the recreational vehicle market segments.

After trying and returning two faulty TomTom GO 2535M Live units, as well as trying and returning a Cobra 7750 Platinum trucker GPS unit, I’ve settled on a Garmin DEZL 560LT trucker GPS. The Garmin 560LT has a 5” pressure sensitive widescreen LCD display along with a number of features that attempt to tailor it toward commercial drivers.

From an operating system/software standpoint, the Garmin is solid. Also, the Garmin hardware build quality is quite good. The unit seems very solid and the pressure sensitive touchscreen works extremely well. The 5” widescreen LCD display is bright and colorful, remaining quite visible in bright daylight. It includes Bluetooth speaker/microphone functionality, along with the ability to display photos as well as function as a video display for a composite backup video camera.

Most of the trucker-specific features revolve around map and point-of-interest databases. As always, these databases continue to have holes in them. Although you can program in large/heavy vehicle types and sizes, the Garmin mapping software does not necessarily follow only truck routes when calculating routes. Garmin’s “out” on this point seems to be the fact that it makes a chime sound and pops up a specific on-screen icon when on a route that “truck accessibility information” is not known. When on secondary roads, this icon pops up a surprising amount of the time. It even pops up when driving on a fair number of freeway access ramps. This lack of “truck accessibility information” is quite perplexing, since the vast majority of these roads have been around for many, many years and therefore HAVE to be clearly well-known. The surprising thing is that these same roads that “truck accessibility information” isn’t available for have extensive speed limit information available. The Garmin unit is highly accurate in displaying the vast majority of speed limits on federal, state, and even on many county roads.

The other problem has to do with truck-specific point-of-interest databases that are included in the unit. These include truck stops, truck washes, truck repair shops, etc. Some of these facilities show up in the database, and some don’t. It can be quite maddening. Also another problem that has long plagued point-of-interest databases is inconsistent naming conventions. “T/A Truck Stop” may sometimes be entered into the database that way, or it might be “TA Truck Stop” or “TA Truckstop” or “TA Travel Plaza” or “Travel Centers of America”, etc., etc., etc. – you get the picture. When one tries to do a text search for the name of any business this inconsistency will almost immediately rear its ugly head.

Although the GPS certainly makes many things easier to find, it is not anywhere near a 100% foolproof solution. I frequently find myself having to search Google on my Android phone, which carries with it its own set of problems. Search Google for “truck wash” along with the name of a city and state and you are almost certainly going to come up with a bunch of listings for local car washes that have nothing whatsoever to do with offering washing services (specifically, refrigerated trailer wash-out services) for large commercial vehicles.

I like the Garmin DEZL 560LT and plan on keeping it. It’s a good hardware/software platform, and hopefully Garmin will continue to develop the updatable databases so that future updates contain more complete information.

My idea of the ideal trucker GPS would include the full-time data connection and “HD Traffic” of the TomTom GO Live, the solid, easy-to-use design of the Garmin, much more accurate truck-specific information concerning secondary roads, along with much better, more consistent point-of-interest information.

ArtRage Painting Programs For Touchscreen Computers & iPad

ArtRage is a series of painting program for touchscreen computers, albeit with a twist. You can paint with actual paintbrushes! ArtRage 2 sells for $20 for Windows and Mac OS/X. ArtRage 3 Studio sells for $40 for Windows and Mac OS/X. ArtRage 3 Studio Pro, which contains additional features, sells for $80 for Windows and Mac OS/X. ArtRage is also available for the iPad.

Interview by Jeffrey Powers of Geekazine.Com.

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MiSee TX Computer In A Box

Scott Elliot talks with Charlie of CTX Technologies. Charlie demonstrates a prototype concept computer that has a functional projected virtual laser keyboard and a pico projected screen.

The technology will be shrunk down for use in smart phones and tablets.

Interview by Scott Elliot of Geek News Central.

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GE Healthcare Reader, Capture Station, Quietcare, Intel Healthguide

Carissa O’Brien interviews Scott from Intel GE Care Innovations. Scott demonstrates the GE Healthcare text-to-speech reader in conjunction with the Capture Station.

Quietcare is a monitoring system for those living in assisted living facilities.

The Intel Healthguide is a remote monitoring unit that enables medical staff to do remote monitoring and interaction with patients in their own homes via the Internet, including video calling.

Interview by Carissa O’Brien of Geek News Central.

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Sonomax Self Mold Earphones

Don’t you just hate earbuds? They are often uncomfortable and randomly fall out of the average ear. Up until now, you could pay $2,000 to have custom-molded earphones. Well, all that is about to change.

Nick from Sonomax Technologies uses Geekazine host Jeffrey Powers as a guinea pig to demonstrate “sculpted eers” custom molded earphones. The kit, expected to become available in Spring 2011, enables consumers to create their own custom-molded earphones exactly shaped to their ears using a four-minute-long silicone process. The price point is expected to be $199 for the basic one driver per ear model and $299 for the premium two-driver per ear model. I can’t wait!

Interview by Jeffrey Powers of Geekazine and Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central .

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GadgetTrak Remote Tracking Software For Mobile Gadgets

GadgetTrak is a piece of software that you install on your mobile phone or laptop. The software will periodically check in and let you know the physical location of the device. If a camera is present, for example on a laptop, it can even take a photo of the thief and email it back to the owner. The software cannot be disabled by the thief.

For a Mac or Windows laptop, the price is $34.95 per year.

For Android and Blackberry phones, which includes remote data wipe ability, secure encrypted backup and a loud piercing audible alarm even if the device is in silent mode, the price is $19.95 per year.

For iPhone, iPod, and iPad, the GadgetTrak app is .99 cents, The iOS version does not include remote data wipe, but does include remote camera and push notification support to inform the thief of the GadgetTrak software’s presence.

Interview by Jeffrey Powers of Geekazine.

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