MyMac Podcast 229 – iChat and Cloud Computing

On February 27, 2009, in Podcast, by The MyMac Podcast

Download the show here, or via iTunes
This week, David Cohen, Tim Robertson, and Owen Rubin discuss Hulu being taken out of Boxee, and what that says about big media. Then Mark Rudd joins in with a discussion on iChat, what you can do with it, and why it won’t cost you a dime to use. And in the third segment, Guy Serle jumps on with a chat about Cloud Computing.

Total Running Time: 46:13

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Xtands for Apple MacBook Pro, MacBook, iPhone, and iPod Touch
Company: Just Mobile

Price for Just Mobile Xtand Pro: US$90
Price for Just Mobile Xtand: US$40

These top quality brushed aluminum bases for computers, iPhones, and iPod Touches receive much praise and a little criticism from us. The Xtand Pro laptop riser comes with two sizes of columns so it can be used in two set positions. There are no intermediate adjustments, or any swivels or tilts. In contrast, the Xtand iPhone/iTouch riser has a fixed height and semi-permanent position. See photos below.

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Do you want to program the iPhone or iPod touch, the Mac, or maybe even an Android phone from Google, and you have no idea where to start? One option to learning all this is sitting in a class, you could always find a company like Edison Labs ( (shameless plug) and sign up for some training classes in these topics, where experienced teachers will bring you up to speed on the topic of your choice. There are a number of companies who offer such training classes across the US, but many of those assume you have some programming experience already. But what if you want to start from scratch, or just need a head start before taking such a class? What else can you do?

Turn to books. There are a LOT of books released recently, or updated and rereleased on these subjects, and here are a few books of interest to cover these topics.

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Network Space 500 GB Central Storage Ethernet Disk
Company: LaCie

Price: 500 GB at $149 , 1 TB at $199

NAS, or Network Attached Storage is all the rage these days. Made very simple, NAS is basically a hard drive attached somewhere in your network that is accessible to computers on your network. Typically, however, NAS drives are anything but simple, requiring complex account, permissions, and volume set-up and administration. And that is both the good news and bad news with La Cie’s “network space”, which they call a “Central Storage Ethernet Disk” rather than a NAS drive.

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Funtastic Photos – Review

On February 25, 2009, in Review, by Donny Yankellow


Funtastic Photos
Company: Ohanaware

Price: $34.99

Want an easy to use program for editing and adding special effects to your photos? You might want to check out Funtastic Photos.

Funtastic Photos is the photo editor that is for people who want to play with there photos and add cool effects with a click of the mouse. It is also for those that like having fun (no pun intended) with their photos and like a little more control over the effects.

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Pinnacle Video Transfer – Review – UPDATED 2-25-09

On February 23, 2009, in Review, by Owen Rubin

Video Transfer
Company: Pinnacle
Price: $99.99

I have an iPod Touch now, and I am constantly downloading apps from the Apple store. But I have a real problem when it comes to downloading TV shows and movies. Somehow, I just cannot pay again for the same TV or movies I can get on my Dish Network PVR, or DVDs, or old videotapes that are already paid for. But how do I get them from the source onto my iPod?

Typically this is often a complicated process involving a lot of time and money, usually done with some kind of capture card inside of a PC, or maybe an external device that captures and send the files to your computer’s hard disk. But then they are often not the right size or format, so you have to convert to the format you need, and maybe to the size for the device as well, and that all takes time and lots of effort. And there are hundreds of settings and options in every program that even a video engineer might not understand, meaning trial and error over and over to get it to look good.

Continue reading » Podcast 228 – iPhoto 09 – Voila – New Format

On February 20, 2009, in Podcast, by The MyMac Podcast

Download the show here, or via iTunes
The NEW Podcast starts here! Short, more focused podcasting from Tim, David, Guy, and Mark. Features this week include changes to the show moving forward, the Geekiest Show Ever podcast, a review of Voila from Global Delight, and a look at iPhoto 09 after weeks of living with Apple’s latest offering.

Total Running Time: 48:23

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Vitor Cunha Music
Global Delight
Geekiest Show Ever Podcast

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showTIME – Review

On February 19, 2009, in Macintosh, Review, by Rich Lefko

Company: Scosche

Price: $39.99

If you own any iPod capable of playing video, or an iPhone, and you’ve always wished you could somehow play a video on a television or display, you’ll want to read about Scosche’s “showTIME.”

I’ve owned an iPod Touch 2G for about three months and it really has become my favorite piece of electronics gear. Watching a movie is fine, especially on a plane or in a car (not while driving), but when you are in a hotel room, or visiting Aunt Martha, it would be great to display pictures or a movie from the iPod on the big screen. Scosche’s “showTIME” cable (ST) will allow you to do just that.

The “showTIME” cable is simply a cable with an iPOD connector on one end and composite video jacks on the other end. To use the ST cable you plug one end into your video iPod, or iPhone, and plug the three connectors on the other end into their color corresponding jacks on a television. Most modern televisions have composite inputs that are color coded red, white, and yellow.
The ST cable itself is six feet long (1.828 meters) and is constructed with tapered metal composite (RCA A/V input) connectors that have colored bands around them which make it easy to match the correct connector to the television port.

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Artist’s Touch – Review

On February 19, 2009, in Review, by Donny Yankellow

Artist’s Touch
Company: Artamata Inc.

iTunes link

Recently, I reviewed a program called Artwork which turns your photos into paintings. In the past I have reviewed several other paint programs that have this feature. Well, now there is an iPhone/iPod Touch app called Artist’s Touch that does the same thing.

For $4.99 you can take a photo from your Photo library and turn it into a painting. The program does not do it for you, you have to paint it yourself. The method is very cool, and very similar to the method used in a program called ArtRage 2 (look for a review on ArtRage Deluxe coming soon).

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Album Art in iTunes – Winners and Losers

On February 18, 2009, in Opinion, by Tim Robertson


A decade ago, back when the web was still easy to develop webpages on, I was the WebMaster for (Don’t bother going there now, it’s a parked site for some internet squatter.) It was a website for a local record store here in my home town. (It later became the domain name for a church after the record store and I parted ways, but I had nothing to do with that.) Rather than pay me in cash, which I would have preferred, we had a barter deal. As a music lover, this worked out fine, as their website did not take much time to maintain once it was built, and in exchange I would get one music CD a week.

I did it for three or four years. So my music collection, already fairly large at that point, got exponentially larger very quickly. This all leads, of course, to the point where I stopped listening to CDs and started listening to MP3 formatted music on my iPod. At that point, I used iTunes to convert all my music CDs to MP3, and never looked back.

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Introducing CallWave’s Fuze HD Web Collaboration Tool

On February 18, 2009, in Review, by Tim Robertson


Introducing CallWave’s Fuze HD Web Collaboration Tool
Company: CallWave

Given all the hype surrounding the term “high-definition,” along with the current proliferation of HD content-HD TV, HD Blu-Ray discs, HD camcorders, even HD radio-one might be forgiven for being more than a little jaded when a new HD service is announced. But it’s not every day that high-definition Web conferencing comes along, so the announcement of an HD-capable Web collaboration tool at MacWorld this past January caused us at to sit up and take notice.

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TuneFlex AUX with SmartClick – Review

On February 17, 2009, in Review, by Mark Rudd


TuneFlex AUX with SmartClick
Company: Griffin Technologies

Price: $79.99

The flexible cradle is nothing new to iPod/iPhone ecosystem. Many companies including Griffin have been producing these types of products for quite some time. The TuneFlex AUX with SmartClick is a well constructed product combining a 12 volt adapter with a line-out auxiliary port, rubberized flexible arm, and a configurable 30 pin adapter/cradle.

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Altec Lansing T612 – Review

On February 16, 2009, in Review, by Mark Rudd


Altec Lansing T612
Company: Altec Lansing

Price: $199.95
Altec Lansing

The Altec Lansing T612 in one of the first audio systems to adorn the new, “Works with iPhone” logo. This logo indicates that the T612 is certified to work in harmony with the iPhone in accordance with the specifications and standards established by Apple. We have all experienced the cellular bleed through resulting from using an iPhone with a standard iPod audio system. The “Works with iPhone” program was implemented to restore order between the iPod within the iphone and external audio systems. We have tested the diminutive (in size only) audio system and the results may surprise the average iPod/iPhone user looking for big sound in a small package.

With design cues reminiscent of many modern Apple products, Altec Lansing has designed an aesthetically pleasing audio system. The minimalist industrial design of the T612 combines harmonious amounts of brushed aluminum and black finished components.

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Five Exceptional Digital Photo Books

On February 16, 2009, in Book Review, by John Nemerovski

Photographic Multishot Techniques – High Dynamic Range, Super-Resolution, Extended Depth of Field, Stitching
by Juergen Gulbins and Rainer Gulbins

Rocky Nook
ISBN 978-1-933952-38-3, 227 pages softbound
$34.95 US and CN

This is a serious, high-energy book on a subject you’ve never considered: taking several photos of the same subject to end up with with a single image result that is sensational. The authors are precise and emphatic in their workflow instructions, so if you are sloppy or lazy, Photographic Multishot Techniques will exhaust your energy in its initial pages.

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MyMac Podcast 227 – 15 – 17 – or AppleCare

On February 13, 2009, in Podcast, by The MyMac Podcast

Download or listen here (iPhone safe!)
Subscribe via iTunes here
Is Apple ripping us off? Was the original Mac beloved by all Apple fans back in the day? Want to win a case from David Cohen? GREAT Apple Service! Proving myself to Comcast. All this and a lot more discussed this week by Tim, Guy, David, and Mark. A truly geek-out festival this week on the MyMac podcast!

Please take a moment to review our show on iTunes here.

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Links from the show:
AppleCare on eBay

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Filemaker Pro 10 – Review

On February 12, 2009, in Review, by Mark Sealey

Filemaker Pro 10
FileMaker, Inc.

FileMaker Pro 10: $299 ($179 upgrade)
FileMaker Pro 10 Advanced: $499 ($299 upgrade)
FileMaker Server 10: $999 ($599 upgrade)
FileMaker Server 10 Advanced: $2999 ($1799 upgrade)
Volume, Education and Non-Profit licensing available

System Requirements (Tiger): PowerPC, G4 or G5
Intel-based Mac
CD and hard disk drive

System Requirements (Leopard): PowerPC G4 (867MHz+) G5
Intel-based Mac – 512MB RAM
CD and hard disk drive

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Astraware Board Games, Pudge, Totomi iPhone Game – Review

On February 12, 2009, in Review, by Donny Yankellow

Recently, I had the opportunity to try out three VERY different games from the iTunes App Store: Board Games, Blurb, and Tatomi. What did I think? Read on.

Astraware Board Games

Price: $4.99

There are several different board game apps available. Some are collections and some are single games. Board Games is a collection, and a good one. It consists of Chess, Backgammon, Ludo (I never heard of this before, but it is a lot of fun), Checkers, Reversi, Nine Men’s Morris, Snakes and Ladders, and Tic Tac Toe. The graphics are great, and the gameplay is smooth. Compared to another board game collection on the market, the point of view in this one is much better making it much easier to play (and more fun, too).  If you want a collection of traditional board games for your iPod or iPhone this is worth your money.

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Adobe Illustrator CS4 – Review

On February 11, 2009, in Review, by Tim Robertson

Adobe Illustrator CS4 (version 14)
Company: Adobe System, Inc.

Price: $599.00
Upgrade from $199.00

Ah, vector graphics. If I am not working with actual photographs, chances are I’m doing artwork in Adobe Illustrator. I enjoy working with the program for most of my art needs. While I’m not a graphic artist, I can create some good production-type work more easily in Illustrator than I can in Photoshop.

There are some major and minor changes in this version of Illustrator, some of which I like, some I don’t, and some which seemed, at first, to break my workflow in such a way that I was pulling my hair out. It took some people at Adobe to show me the work-around, and while I appreciate it, I still find it annoying that it happened in the first place. But more on that later.

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Take Control of Buying a Mac – Review

On February 11, 2009, in Book Review, Review, by Neale Monks

Book Review: Take Control of Buying a Mac
by Adam C. Engst

Price: $10
98 pages

There’s never a perfect time to buy a computer. If you wait a few more months, computers will be faster and cheaper than they are today. But the corollary to that piece of wisdom is that if you wait for the perfect time, you’ll never actually get around to buying a computer at all.

In the real world, all you can do is make the best choices from the options available. Budget is a factor of course, but you also need to appreciate what it is you want from a computer. The needs of graphic designers are not the same as those of journalists, students, or folks working out of a home office. This is where Adam Engst’s book ‘Take Control of Buying a Mac’ comes in; in a bit under a hundred pages he explains how to decide which of the various Mac models will best suit your needs.

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Etymotic hf5 High-fidelity  Noise-isolating earphones
Etymotic Research, Inc.

Price: $149.00

Etymotic Research is a heavy hitter in the iPod earbud field. Their hf5 earbuds are a new addition to their wide selection of high-end earbuds. The Weeks Division of MyMac Labs spent some time with the hf5s. Here’s what we found.

If you judge quality by specifications alone, the hf5s should sound great. They have a frequency response of 20Hz-15KHz, which is quite good for such small drivers. On top of their wide frequency response, the hf5 can pump out 122 decibels, which is guaranteed to turn your eardrums into a quivering mass of bleeding tissue. Rest assured I did not try these at max power! In the interest of audio self-preservation, be careful that you check the iPod volume level before you hit Play.

Sound isolation is part of the name. The spec sheet shows the hf5s reduce sound by 35-42 dB; that’s a lot of noise reduction. More on this later.

The hf5 earbuds come in three colors; black, red, and blue. While the earbud color won’t color the sound output, it does allow you to make an ear fashion statement. Our review copy was red. My wife felt it looked more like a dark coppery-red, but she says I don’t know my colors.

Right off the bat, I liked the four foot long cord. Too many earbuds come with a cord that’s just a bit too short. This one has a clip to fasten the cord to your shirt or jacket, and a small cable slider to take up slack near your head.

For your $149, you get three sets of ear tips; foam, flanged, and rounded plastic. The real prize in the box is small pointy tool for removing ear wax from the ear tips. Wax be gone!

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