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:





Blog Action Day

15 08 2008

Yesterday, the topic for this year’s Blog Action Day was announced – Poverty.
Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself, because maybe a lot of people don’t know what Blog Action Day is. The goal of the event is to get bloggers and pod and video casters to post about the same topic to spur both discussion and change. Once the year’s topic is announced, you can sign up to commit your blog to the event, meaning that you “promise” to blog about that topic on the chosen date. This year’s date is October 15th.
B.A.D. has posted a video, both on their website and on Vimeo, announcing this year’s topic. I put it up here just to make it easier for you all. I think it does an excellent job to excite the viewer to get involved.

Are you excited yet? Me too! But what do you write about? Advice that is given on the B.A.D.’s website suggests that you stick with the overall topic of your blog. For example, if your blog’s topic is Politics, then you could write about what the candidates are doing, or plan to do, about this issue.
If you want more information and to register your blog, visit Blog Action Day’s website or follow them on Twitter. Also, be sure to go Digg them, they deserve it!





Aurora Browser Concept

6 08 2008

Adaptive Path has joined forces with Mozilla Labs to create Aurora. This is actually part of Mozilla’s browser concept series which allows designers to showcase their visions of the future of the web.

Right now, Adaptive Path has two videos showing some of Aurora’s features. They are kind of cheesy, and I don’t understand why the people in the videos aren’t actually shown talking (watch them and you’ll see what I mean.) But they do a good job of showing the browser and the multiple different things that it can do, both at home and on a mobile device. There are several more videos that are “coming soon”. I subscribed the RSS Feed so I can see them once they come out.
If you want to watch these videos for yourself, you can visit Adaptive Path’s Aurora page. The videos are also in HD on Vimeo. I would suggest watching at Vimeo, just because it is HD and you can go into Full Screen so that you can actually see what’s going on.
This is really exciting new technology, and I would love to see it available to consumers. I know that will probably be a while, but I’ll still look forward to it!

Update – 5/7/08
The third concept video was posted today. Follow the same links as above to watch!

Update – 5/8/08
The fourth, and final, concept video was posted today. Again, you can watch it from Adaptive Path’s website or from Vimeo (which I recommend.)

Having watched all of the concept videos now, I have a semi-better idea of the Aurora browser. However, I think that there are many more fine details that should be explained. At least two of the videos touch on the use of RFID. In order for a user to get this data, the object/product/etc. in question would have to have already been tagged, making the technology useless on any product that has been produced previously (without RFID.)
When a user wants to share data, invite others to an event, or contact others, does that person need to be using the Aurora Browser as well? It seems like in order for the proposed collaboration to take place, each user would need to be using this, otherwise there would be no way to accomplish whatever it is that you were trying to do.
Does this take the place of an operating system, or is it a browser like we know today? Does it just deal with your chats, internet, online shopping, and email? I guess that’s what was so confusing to me, because in the “screen shots” it seemed like it was either a full screen application, Aurora was independent of your computer, or it was all that you would ever need. If it was independent, what would be the way that data is shared between the two devices? If it is just an application, does the way that data is organized in Aurora affect how it is organized on your computer?
I know that this all ties in with the semantic web, and I’ve been really interested in the semantic web for a while now. However, it is all kind of confusing in how it would actually work. I think that the ideas and the potential are fascinating, but it’s the specifics behind it all that need to be worked on.





PSDTUTS Wiki

31 07 2008

PSDTUTS offers lots of Adobe Photoshop tutorials, articles, and other useful related information. Recently they launched the PSDTUTS Wiki. This is all community edited, and until August 6th, the three members with the most contributions will receive a $100 gift voucher to Amazon. One random contributor will also receive a gift voucher (you only need to make one contribution in order to qualify.) More detailed instructions, rules, etc. are on the main page of the wiki.
This is a really great way to get involved in something that you are passionate about (if Photoshop and design is one of your passions.) You can contribute as little or as much as you want. There is a lot of work to be done, and there are several projects that you can contribute to: Photoshop FAQ, User Directory, Photoshop Video List, and Photoshop Website Directory. Projects are being added quickly, and there is a lot of organization needed within these projects.
The only thing I find frustrating is that there are so many things that need to be done, that sometimes your changes are undone because someone was using an older version of the page to make their edits. My advice is to copy and paste your changes, so in the event that this does happen to you, you don’t have to do it all manually again.
Let me know if you join!

Update – Aug. 5, 2008
Tomorrow is the LAST day to make edits that will count towards a chance at winning $100 Amazon gift voucher. However, edits can continue to be made, and there are plenty of articles left to work on. On top of the main projects, there are articles for every tool and specific things that can be done in Photoshop. If any of these are your expertise, please contribute!
It’s surprising to see how much the wiki has changed since the beginning. It’s even more impressive that it was all done in such a short amount of time. Good job everyone!





New Facebook Layout

24 07 2008
I’m sure many of you have heard already, but Facebook has announced the new layout and users can already preview it. Logging in the regular way will take you to your old layout, but typing in www.new.facebook.com will let you log in using the new layout (I found that clicking this link does not work, you have to actually type it in.)

Old News Feed Page:

New News Feed Page:

Old Profile:

New Profile:

Besides the aesthetics, there are other differences. The news feed pages actully didn’t change that much. The biggest things that I picked out are that your friends’ status updates are not in the main feed anymore, they now have their own section on the right hand side. There is also a spot for bookmarks, and the search tool has been moved to the top of the page (it was on the left hand side of the page before.) The most changes that I saw were in the profiles. There are yellow tool-tip like tabs that explain the new features. The Wall Filters now lets you see just the wall posts that you posted, or you can see just the ones that other people posted. Your wall, information, and photos are all on separate tabs. In this area is a ‘+’ tab which allows you to place those annoying applications in their own separate tabs too. And finally is the publisher area. This is only available when you are on the Wall tab. The publisher area is where you upload new photos, update your status, and write wall posts (to name a few.) When you switch between your wall and information tabs, your picture and friends stay in the same area. But when you switch to the pictures tabs, everything else disappears from the page. Not really sure what the logic behind that is. I went through other areas of Facebook to see what changed, but there was nothing that really stood out. But enough of me telling you what it looks like, go check it out yourself! Are there any new features that I failed to mention? Or maybe just so really big change that I didn’t notice?

UPDATE:
  • Once you switch to the new Facebook, it will stay like that every time you log in. To switch back to the old Facebook, there is a link in the upper right hand corner that says “Back to the old Facebook”. After that, you will see the old layout every time you log in.
  • To turn off the yellow tips in the new layout, there should be long yellow bar above the box where you type what you are doing right now. There should be a little downward pointing arrow that you can click. This is where you turn off the tips.
  • In the new layout, you can now import feeds from other websites.  These include: Flickr, Digg, del.icio.us, last.fm, Yelp, Picasa, Google Reader, YouTube, StumbleUpon, Pandora, hulu, and a blog or RSS feed.  If you want to do this, click the link that says “settings” next to the links for All Posts, Posts by you, and Posts by others (underneath the box where you type in what you are doing right now.)  To see all of the sites that you can import feeds from, click the more link.
  • You can now take photos using your webcam, or the built in camera on macs, using Facebook.  Click “Add Photos” and then go to the “Take Photo” tab.  After you take it make sure you hit the “Post” button, this will add it to your News Feed.
  • I didn’t notice the “Boxes” tab before, or maybe it wasn’t there a few days ago.  I’m actually not sure what exactly the point of this is.  In mine I have the applications that I have viewable in my profile.  The layout of this tab is bad, and I’m not sure why the tab is named “boxes”.
  • Again, clicking the “+” tab will add a single application into it’s own tab.  I guess this is good when you have favorite applications that you use all the time.




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.):
http://weblogs.redeyechicago.com/iphoneblog/2008/07/servers-overloa.html

Update:
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!





App Store

10 07 2008

Ok, so this is kind of in response / an update of my post this morning about iTunes 7.7. Like I said before, the new version of iTunes is all about the App Store. I wrote my previous post before I actually went and played around with the App Store.
In case you don’t know already, to go see all of the applications, you don’t click on the Applications Link on the left hand side – you go to here. This is where you can see all of the applications currently available. Going back will take you to the main App Store page, where you can see the staff picks, what’s hot, what’s new (which is funny to me, because aren’t they all new?). And you can also browse all of the free applications.
Once you download an application, it will show up in your download section for a second (they are really fast), and then you will be able to see them in your Applications area. And tomorrow you will be able to add them to your iPhone.
I can’t wait to try some of them out, and get rid of those links for twitter, myspace, etc. on my homepage of my phone.
Update
It seems the App Store is working the way that I expected it to now. You can now access it through the Applications area (once you add it), and then click the link on the lower right that says “Get More Applications”. This will take you to the App Store (doing this earlier today told you that the App Store was not yet available.)
The other way to get to the App Store, that was not an option this morning, is to go directly through the iTunes Store. This morning there was no direct link from the iTunes Store and the App Store. However, now there is a link on the left hand side that allows you to go directly to the App Store.