Tech I Couldn't Live Without in 2010

Inspired by Michael Arrington's 2009: Products I Can't Live Without, here are my vital tech products of last year:

  • Google -- Chrome, Voice, Gmail, Reader
  • Apple -- iPad, Magic Mouse, MacBook Air, iPhone
  • Twitter -- Twitter for iPad, Hootsuite, TweetDeck
  • Boxcar for iPhone
  • Skype
  • Tumblr
  • Flipboard for iPad
  • Foursquare
  • Facebook
  • BlogTV
  • TokBox

Honorable Mentions: Adium, Mozy, Dropbox

Heating Up for 2011: Mac App Store, AT&T MicroCell

Lost That Loving Feeling: Firefox, Google Wave, Netflix, Hulu

Top 10 Companies I Couldn't Live Without in '09

Inspired by Michael Arrington's 2009: Products I Can't Live Without, here are my vital tech products of last year:

  • Google -- Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Reader, Voice
  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Skype
  • BlogTV
  • Apple - iPhone + Push Notifications, iTunes
  • TokBox
  • Adium
  • Wordpress

Honorable Mentions: Mozy, Dropbox

Heating Up in 2010: Foursquare, Tumblr, Google Chrome, Google Wave, Netflix, iPad

Lost That Loving Feeling: Blockbuster Online, Delicious, Digg, Flickr, MySpace

My Favorite iPhone Apps

What apps do you guys have installed? I have a bunch but my favorites are:

TwitterFon
Let's me make a quick status update that'll push to my blog, Facebook status, Myspace profile and AIM profile.
Twinkle
Local chatting. I used this to chat with people within *x* miles of me. This came in real handy when I was looking for the best theater to watch Dark Knight.
Shazam
When you're listening to the radio and you wanna know what the song is, just run this program, let it listen for 12 seconds and it'll tell you all the song info.
Myspace
Cuz I'm a Myspace whore like that.
Facebook
Cuz I'm a Facebook whore like that.
AIM Mobile
Occassionally used to chat when I'm on the move. Add my mobile screenname: **mel so hungry**.
Cube Runner
Super simple and fun flying game that uses the whole device as a steering wheel.
Yelp
Uses your GPS to find nearby restaurants and bars.
Pandora
Streaming radio while on the move, cuz sometimes your music library isn't big enough.
Movies.app
Uses your GPS to find nearby movie theaters and movie times. Even tells you ratings from Flixster!

What about you guys?

How to Cram 30GB into Your 8GB iPhone

Even though the iPhone 3G is all sorts of sexiness in a handheld device, memory is limited to 8GB and 16GB. That's fine for people with only 8 or 16 gigabytes worth of music and videos...but what about the rest of us? You got four options:

  • Buy a bigger iPod or mp3 player
  • Hold out a few months for a larger iPhone
  • Manually drag and drop songs you like, one by one, onto your iPhone
  • Use iTunes' Smart Playlists feature

I've used that latter option -- Smart Playlists -- for years, when I figured out a way to cram 24 gigs of music to a 4GB iPod mini.

The basic idea is this: you set conditions on what you want to hear and the Smart Playlists will automagically build itself. For example, I may want:

R&B, at least 3 stars, that have not been played in the past week.

To do this in iTunes, just click on File, then New Smart Playlist, and then fill it out accordingly:

Cool, huh? Now whenever you add music to your iTunes, as long as it matches these conditions, it will automagically get added to this Smart Playlist.

Here's what I did for my 4GB iPod mini back in the day:

Up to 4GB's of the most recently added songs that are rated at least 2 stars, that haven't been skipped in the last month, and haven't been played in the last week.

If you notice, I have Last Skipped and Last Played in there. These are what make it powerful; as I listen to music on my mini (and skip the ones I don't like), the Smart Playlist will essentially learn what I like/dislike and rotate in songs from my 24 GB library.

Easy as pie.

For more Smart Playlist ideas, check out SmartPlaylists.com

Backup Your Shit!

Something bad happened at work the other day. A big folder for one of our projects was deleted. Nobody knows how, but it just magically disappeared. The backups we have of that folder also disappeared. Months of man-hours, by multiple coders, just went bye-bye.

Fuuuuuuck.

But wait, there's some good news and bad news.

Good news. There was one sole surviving backup, tucked away safely on an old server.

Bad news. The backup is over three months old.

We've employed the services of a data recovery specialist (the same kind of forensics that the CIA and FBI use). But that shit is hella expensive and can take a few days. Even then, 100% data recovery is not realistic.

Luckily, we have notes, bits and pieces of our work on our personal computers. It'll take a few days, but we'll be able to recover.

The point I'm trying to make here is the importance of backing up your shit. And no, I'm not just talking about your work, mp3s and porn. I'm talking about the important shit like your digital photos.

A few months ago I read someone's Facebook status message that said, "[I'm] depressed cuz my computer died and lost all my photos."

disappointed:

Work can be redone. Mp3s can be re-downloaded. And porn really isn't that important.

But those photos you've been taking on your digital camera of all your since high school -- shit like your graduation, your wedding and the birth of your first born -- are absolutely priceless. Photos are something that should last for the rest of your life. Something that you can show to your children and your children's children. Not backing up your stuff is just as bad as taking all of your parents old photo albums, putting them out on the sidewalk and hoping nothing bad happens to them. That's just retarded.

And to those of you who don't know, lemme tell you something about hard drives -- they will die on you. 100% guaranteed. The same way that a car engine will break down completely.

So please, do yourself a favor. Buy an external hard drive and use some kind of backup software. Or use an online backup service like Mozy.com (secure, unlimited space for just $5/month).

I use both. :bigthumbup:

My New Aeron is #1 Butt Love

Those infomercials say that the average person spends a third of their life in bed. So why not spend the money for a really great bed?

Well, I easily spend over 13 hours of the day at the desk...so why not spend the money for a really great chair?

$1,200 is a big chunk o' change, but with a 12 year completely-covered warranty, I think it's worth it. I mean the chair I've been sitting on is the same chair I've had since 7th grade. If that chair could last that long, I'm sure the Aeron can too.

The Aeron by Herman Miller

It's like sex. For your ass.

The Comic Book Effect with Photoshop

If you haven't seen any movie trailers lately, there's this crazy-looking movie coming out called A Scanner Darkly. The first thing you'll notice is their trippy comic book effect, which the director said that it took almost 500 hours to edit one minute.

The Rotoshop software that they use to do this isn't available to the common consumer, but one guy figured out how to create the same effect in photoshop.

I tried it out once and this is what I came up with:

Pretty cool, eh?