Google Chrome – Part 1

6 09 2008

The beta version of Google Chrome (Google’s new browser) was released last week. However, it is only available to Windows users.

I would have loved to download it, play around with it, and write up a comprehensive review, but I’m avoiding my windows machine until I finally get around to reformatting it. Or until I finally get around to installing Windows on my Mac.

If you visit the Google Chrome website, you can sign up to get news about the development of the browser for Mac.

So I am calling this post “Google Chrome – Part 1” with the hopes that I will soon be able to get a beta version for Mac and then review it here (“Google Chrome – Part 2”).

However, for those Windows users out there that want to try Google Chrome, I strongly encourage you to. But just remember that this is a beta version, and so functionality can be somewhat limited and there are more than likely some bugs. I’ve also put together a list of links relating to Chrome that you may want to check out:

Coolest iPhone Application

18 07 2008

Ok, so I have downloaded several applications and have only had problems with a few of them. And generally, my favorites had just been versions of websites that I use on a daily basis (Myspace, Facebook, Yelp). But I found the coolest application and I am so glad that I did! Here’s a little preface: I have a lot of mixed CDs from friends, that aren’t tagged with song titles, artists, or albums. I like my music library to be really organized, and mixed CDs are always a nightmare if I don’t know who the song is by. What I would normally resort to is listening to each song, pulling out a sentence or phrase from the song, and googling that. Usually that will come up with the artist and song name. Then I would go to Amazon and look up that artist’s albums. I would go through each album looking for the name of the particular song. Needless to say, this was a horrible way to do it!
Well, along comes Shazam (free). You just tap the “tag now” button, and it listens to the song and will come back with the artist, name of the song, genre, label, and album. Wow, what a time saver! So, I tested it out with some songs that I already had the information for. I tried some well know artists, and some lesser known or older artists. Shazam got it every time! So, I moved on to tagging a CD full of G Love songs, which are all from different albums. It got every single one of them. If I had more time today, I’d finish my entire music library, but I have quite a few unknown songs!
Anyway, point is, if you find yourself in the same predicament as me often, then this is definitely an App to check out!

For real this time

11 07 2008

Alright, so now that I have made it through what Gizmodo was calling iPocalypse, I can finally give you my thoughts.
After your data is restored to your iPhone, you will get a message telling you that your phone has been activated. You will then get a message telling you how to rearrange the icons on your homescreens. The update forgets any of the rearranging that you may have done in the past, and puts all of the icons back to their default positions. For instance, I had placed my SMS in the dock instead of having mail there. But the update puts mail back in the dock and SMS back in the homscreen. Also, any other icons that you had on other homescreens move to fill up the empty space on first homescreen. Not that this is really a big deal, but it is just a little annoying. I will probably be getting rid of most of the non-default icons right now anyway because most of them now have App-equivalents.
Obviously, the App Store icon is new. Clicking it takes you to the “new” section (which still cracks me up, because they are all new for the time being”), and then there is also a “what’s hot” section. I was hoping that there would be some way for the App Store to know what I have already downloaded through iTunes, but there wasn’t, so I guess that has to be done through sync.

Well, on my way to go the sync, I’m running into the same iTunes error message again, and the “Accessing iTunes Store” message that goes on forever. What do I need to go to the store for? I’m already activated? I just want to sync!!!! Is this going to take another two hours? I really just want to see how it all works… I guess in the meantime, I can talk about other stuff.

There is another new icon – Contacts. Which is nice because now you don’t have to go through the phone icon in order to view your contacts. Search in contacts is great and will be a total time saver! But I recall that tapping the top of whatever screen you are on would take you to the top. For example, if you were in the ‘V’s of your contacts, tapping the top where it says ‘All Contacts’ would take you back up to the ‘A’s. But, this doesn’t seem to work, so is this is just a feature if you bought the new phone?
Update: I realized that you actually click up top where the time is shown, and that will take you to the top.
The Calendar has a change too. When you are tap a day that has an appointment, it would usually just show you the start time and the title of the event, and you had to click on it to see anymore information. Now, underneath the title is the location of the event.
One of my biggest pet peeves with maps was that it gave you the option to view traffic. But in my area, it never worked. If I scrolled over to the next big city it was fine. I never really understood this because I don’t live in a small town… but that’s a topic for another day. But now maps tells you if traffic is unavailable. The area you tap to change views and see traffic has changed a little bit, but it’s probably just for aesthetics, not functionality. When looking for current location, you now get a message stating that maps would like to use your current location, and asks you to deny or allow. Interesting too, that bus stops and the direction the street goes are now shown in map and hybrid views.
Because the phone is now “location aware”, camera also asks if you want it to know your current location. This is awesome, because I can now see how it ties into Apps like WHERE and Whrrl.
None of my alarms were restored after updating. Not that big of a deal, but still would have been nice if I didn’t have to reset all of them.
Calculator in vertical mode looks a little different, and as we know, turning it horizontally will put it into scientific mode.
Settings has a couple of changes as well. Support for MobileMe to sync everything in the “Fetch New Data” area. Mail, Contacts, and Calendars is all in one area now. And any applications that have settings will now show up in Settings (for example, SmugShot has a spot in there.)
I think that’s all, I think I’m going to watch guided tour again, because I honestly don’t remember all of the changes that were going to be made. And if I do remember them, then I can’t remember how to do them.
What I would have liked to see:
An option to set an alarm to go off everyday, without having to manually select every day. I think there should be an option that literally says “Every day”.
Traffic in more areas. Why doesn’t Reno get traffic, it’s not that small!

Need a break… back later with thoughts on Apps

Ok, I’m back…
I downloaded several Apps, so here is what I think of them as I go setup and play around with them:
Friend’s profiles look exactly like what you would see in the iPhone’s contacts area. Tapping on a physical address opens Maps, tapping a phone number immediately calls the person instead of asking if you want to call, and tapping an email address opens Mail.
I think the Facebook App is setup very nicely and is very easy to use.
Very cool! MUCH MUCH MUCH better than the online mobile version. You can do pretty much everything on the App that you can on the actual website. You can also search for people by their name now, instead of just an email address. I love it! But the only thing that I noticed after playing with it for a while is that it doesn’t tell you that you have new comments.
Right off the bat asks you if you want it to know your current location. Again, this is because it is now “location aware”. You then get a message asking if you want to setup an account (ie. for people who already have an account… kind of misleading.) The alert noise honestly scared me when it first happened… not sure if I will keep it.
Easy setup of new account. May take some getting used to when actually using. We’ll see…
Update: I did end up getting rid of this App.
Very slow to load. There are a lot different thing integrated into this though, and it seems like it is better setup that Whrrl to be honest. They are pretty similar in what they are aiming to do. But I thought I’d get both and decide what I liked best. Using WHERE will probably eliminate my need for the Yelp! App. I can honestly see myself getting a lot of use out of this App and I’m really excited to use it!
Like I just said, WHERE will probably eliminate my need for the Yelp! App, but may as well take a look at it anyway. However, I can see where it could useful when looking for something specific. Maybe I’ll keep it on there for now and see if it meets a need.
I think this is an awesome concept. But how much would I use it on my phone? Especially with out a way to select text? I could definitely see myself using it on my desktop. So maybe I’ll hold off on this until I use it on my computer.
I didn’t have a Jott account before, so I had to register for one. Annoying thing: you have to tap in the middle of the text box in order to use it… weird. After registering, you are sent a SMS in order to validate your account, this takes a while. Waiting….. Waiting….. Still waiting….. Ok, well, since Evernote also has the ability to do voice notes, I got rid of Jott. Never did get that text message…
I know some of this is kind of scattered brained. But I hope it helps someone.

Later in the day I ended up adding a couple more applications. I haven’t had the time to try them out yet, but if I feel that you’d benefit from what I have to say, I’ll write a blog.

Update: iTunes Error

11 07 2008

For any of you that are having problems with activating your iPhone after the update – you are not alone! I totally predicted this last night. It seems that there is a server overload, which really is not surprising at all. Not only are they release new software that will require activation, but they are also releasing a new phone which will need to be activated. It’s easy to explain why this is happening, but what’s not easy is not knowing when it is going to be fixed and not having a phone until then.
Anyway, here’s a link that is tracking the error and the progress and will hopefully let us know when everything is going to be back up and running (ie. when we can finally use our phones again.):

I started my update at 9:30 am, and now at 11:30 am I finally have my phone back. No more brick!
For everyone out there having the never-ending “Accessing iTunes Store” problem, here is my advice: Click ‘ok’ on the error message. Click any other heading in iTunes. Click back to your iPhone and wait while it accesses. This is essentially saving your place in line. Eventually you’ll get through (although, I hope you don’t have to wait 2 hours like I did.)
DO NOT unplug or restart your iPhone. This will restart the entire process over again, causing you to wait even longer than you already have.
Good luck!

Today is the day!

11 07 2008

It’s July 11th everyone, and we all know what that means – iPhone 2.0 software and iPhone 3G day! While some of us (ie. me) aren’t getting a new phone, we can still look forward to the new software, including the App Store, which launched yesterday.
I downloaded iTunes 7.7 yesterday and looked through all of the free apps (not ready to commit to buying apps at this point.) I downloaded a few, but had to wait today to actually use them. (Ok, I know, there was an unofficial release of the update yesterday, but for the same reason that I never jailbroke my iPhone, I decided to wait until the official release.) Speaking of jailbreaking, there is news that iPhone 2.0 has already been jailbroken (that was quick!). The Lifehacker article was particularly good.
Anyway, back on track, I’m sure everyone has their own personal opinions on the new software, but here’s mine:

It took a while to back up, prepare, and restore both software and firmware on my iPhone. But I guess so does reformatting a computer, so I should be used to it. I guess I was just really excited for it that my normal impatience was even worse waiting for this.
Once it finished restoring, it had to restart, and I assumed it would be something like when you first got the phone, and you had to go through all sorts of setup. Well, I was waiting, and waiting, and waiting while it accessed the iTunes store and then I got this error message:

Ok, so try again. Nope, same error message. *Sigh* how long is this going to take?
I guess me and my opinion of the apps are going to have to wait until I get this figured out.
More to come…

iTunes 7.7

10 07 2008

iTunes 7.7 is available today. I went to Apple’s download page, and it says it’s version 7.62. If you click on it, it then says it’s version 7.7. But when you download it, it really is version 7.62. So, I kind of wasted my time trying to do it that way. Version 7.7 is available through Software Update (as well as a OS X update).
So what’s new in iTunes 7.7? Support for the App Store, of course! Now in the preferences, there is an option to show Applications (in the same area where you see Podcasts, Ringtones, etc.). Also in the preferences, under the Advanced tab, there is now an option to look for iPhone and iPod Touch Remotes.

Sort of related:
REALLY excited for software update tomorrow. I know they aren’t really blow-your-mind changes, but definitely some much needed upgrades. However, copy and paste really should have been included in this, but maybe in the next update? (hint hint, Apple.)

World Record!

3 07 2008

Well Mozilla did it… it made the Guinness Book of World Records. Firefox 3 was downloaded over 8 million times in a 24 hour period. Read the official announcement here: