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Archive for June, 2005

Updated iPods + Podcasting

June 28th, 2005, 2:01pm by Jake

Lots of news in the iPod/iTunes world today. First, Apple has replaced the old 20GB iPod with the new 20GB iPod with a color screen, for the same low, low price of $299. The old 30GB iPod photo is gone, and the 60GB iPod (also with a color screen) is now just $400. Engadget has coverage as well. But that’s really minor news.
The big news of the day is full Podcasting support in iTunes 4.9. This was a hot topic on Pyslent last month, and may help Derrick solve some longstanding problems. You can find hundreds of free Podcasts from the iTunes Music Store, and iTunes will automatically download new episodes to iTunes and sync them with the iPod. Here’s the Engadget blurb. The news is all over the place, including MacNN and News.com.
I tried it out real quick, and it seemed to work fine. I set up a subscription to Engadget’s Podcast, and listened to it on my drive in. The only downside is there doesn’t seem to be a way to make a smart playlist of Podcasts, although you can make a regular playlist quite easily. This makes it tough to find using the Alpine-iPod interface. Supposedly, the click-wheel iPods and iPods mini have updated firmware to give them more control when finding and listening to Podcasts on the iPods. I’m sure there’s a lot more waiting to be discovered, and hopefully Mike & everyone else can chime in with their thoughts.

Photo Montages

June 26th, 2005, 1:25am by Jake

Quite a while ago, Lifehacker posted an article about how to make a Life Poster (20″ x 30″) using iPhoto. Seemed like a fun thing to do, so I recently made a Life Poster with some of my favorite shots from the last few years (except for the printing out part). That’s OK.
This week, Lifehacker spotted another cool photo app, this one called Montager. It creates photo montages from Flickr based on keywords. Pretty neat, but there’s not enough control and it’s tough to use only your pics; but if you make one using the keywords “south bay” you’ll find half the pics are mine. That inspiration led to the discovery of MacOSaiX, which creates photo montages from your own pictures (or from the web, if desired). A little flaky and slow, but the results, given enough time, can be quite impressive. Here’s one example, using 3600 tiles based on images in my iPhoto library. The full image is about 11MB, 6000×4000 pixels; it does pretty well in comparison to the original.

Lezione d’Italiano

June 25th, 2005, 7:17am by Mike

We found an internet cafe today while wandering around town, while we’ve been looking for Italian classes. We’re definitely getting used to things here — the bus is really convenient, and it doesn’t cost anything — as long as you’re willing to risk getting caught without a validated ticket, a risk it seems everybody is willing to take. We found the nearest “fresh market” in our neighborhood, and they have a good selection of fresh vegetables, fish and meat, and stuff like cheese and jars of pesto, which was what we made last night. My UCSD Italian is serving me pretty well — we can get around fine, had no trouble at the market — the only problem is if I’m not in complete control of the conversation. As long as I’m asking questions and they answer the way I expect them to, things are fine, but if they start talking about something else, or answer in a complicated way, we’re screwed!

Piazza Navona

June 23rd, 2005, 4:30pm by Mike

We’re in Rome, and so far so good. Our apartment is great (can easily sleep more people if anybody finds a cheap ticket!). I’m gonna keep this short, since I’m not sure this mfop thing is gonna work. Attached is a picture we took last night of Piazza Navonna, so you can check out the low-light capabilities of my Treo camera.

Any ideas for new schemes?

June 22nd, 2005, 7:01pm by Jake

This is really about 3 stories in one, but it all ties together. A few months ago, I helped Aaron set up an AdWords account with Google, a pay-per-click advertising service. It got off to a slow start, but Aaron re-designed the landing page for the ads, and his sell-through has started to pick up. He might even get to the point where he can rely much less on eBay for sales. This week, we doubled his ad budget. Fittingly, the Wall Street Journal (via Slashdot) published a story about how Google is threatening eBay because AdWords allows small retailers to more easily acquire customers. Here’s the article for posterity. One of the highlights of the article is the realization of sellers back in 2000 that you could sell used stuff on eBay for more than you paid for it at retail– remind anyone of the PayPal/Microcenter/eTrade scam?
So I send Aaron a message about this and he responds,

skimmed. interesting. maybe I should try amazon, though i dont think jewelry will sell to well… anyway, i can hire a full time programmer from india, guy i have worked with before for $650/ month. if you have any schemes let me know and it may be worth looking into. he left old company.

Looks like some people never gave up looking for new schemes. So, you got any ideas?

Extreme Makeover

June 22nd, 2005, 2:37pm by Kelvin

So we are putting the finishing touches on our fixer-upper :). Here’re some before and after teaser shots. Big move is this weekend, with most of the furniture getting delivered tomorrow, with no effort on my part.

Favor for Mike

June 22nd, 2005, 12:10pm by Kelvin

Anyone in front of a computer right now?
—–Original Message—–
From: Mike
Date: 6/22/05 8:56 am
To: Kelvin
Subj: Mfop2
Hey Kel–
Can you do me a favor? Can you set up an mfop account for me from this address (the gmail one)? I don’t remember which address I used when I set it up originally.
Also thought you’d like this pic — I thought Arnold took care of this years ago…

Broadcast Flag Shenanigans

June 20th, 2005, 10:54pm by Jake

flag.jpeg The internet is in a frenzy tonight because of a rumor that the MPAA will sneak the Broadcast Flag provision into an appropriations bill, which we’ve talked about here before (1, 2 and 3). The EFF is leading the charge along with Boing Boing. Of course, engadget and Slashdot join in as well, and I added my 2 cents. If you care about this & live in California, try calling Diane Feinstein’s office [202-224-3841] before 11 AM tomorrow.

Google vs. PayPal?

June 20th, 2005, 10:23am by Jake

Lots of speculation that Google may introduce a PayPal rival in the near future. I think all of it (that I’ve read) misses the mark, because most writers think Google would introduce a straight competitor. No matter how popular Google is right now, I don’t see how they could gain much share since PayPal is so entrenched. I think what Google can bring to the table is a very efficient micro-payment system, since they already run the largest micro-payment network with AdWords and AdSense. Since Google can make money charging only $0.05 at a time, I bet they can be the ones to solve the long-standing micro-payment problem. What do you think? Is there anything on the web worth paying $0.05 or $0.25 at a time for; can Google beat PayPal. Also, if anyone finds a nice Google vs. PayPal graphic, let me know & I’ll add it to this entry.

Treo Central

June 19th, 2005, 12:51am by Mike

Well, at long last, it’s finally here. Seven and a half months later, I have my Treo 650!


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