Archive for Cloud Gazing

Cloud Gazing: Pic Monkey – College Maker

Last week for my Mobile Monday post I shared a Collage app for Android today I thought I’d share an online Collage application.  Of course PicMonkey is a lot more than a Collage maker. It’s a full online photo editor, something I’ve been looking for since Google shutdown picnic in the spring. I have used Pic Monkey before, but it’s lake of integration with any of my online storage services has kept it from becoming a regular part of my work flow. It’s still a very powerful application with one of the best Collage options I’ve ever worked with. I do want to do a full review of PicMonkey, but I haven’t had time to really look into all the features, and I want to do  that before I review the.

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Mobile Monday: Introduction with bonus App

Today I start a new series of posts, Mobile Mondays. It’s a expansion of my earlier post about mobile apps. I plan on posting once a week something to do with mobile. There will be app reviews, Hardware Reviews, my thoughts on the mobile space and more. I have tried to get into a roll with this kind of posts for a while. I had hopped to when I posted my review of WordPress for android a few weeks back(link). It didn’t happen but today I am confident that this time it will work out. With today’s post you will see the addition of Mobile Mondays tot the Data Points. This will be a central place to see the different posts that make up this series. You will also find a link to AppBrain and a list of applications that I have installed on my Milestone. It seemed fitting to start the series with a review of AppBrain.

AppBrain is an application manager for android. Its web interface makes it easy to find and install applications from any web browser. The Android Application makes it easy to manage and find applications from your phone. When you launch the app on your device you are given 4 choices.

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Project 365-194: Good Food, Bad Chair?

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Tonight we went for dinner at Montana’s,  a restaurant we go to regularly.  One we think of as Nut free,  except for the Ice Cream.  But now we find ourselves questioning that.  See when we got home Violet had to large welts on her legs.  Now they could have come from the shopping cart at either Costco or Sobeys. Of course during dinner she was acting a little uncomfortable in her chair, so much so we thought she might have a full diaper but changing that didn’t seem to help. So we’re left wondering what caused the welts and how to protect out little cupcake in the future. The minimum I think is that we’re going to have to start cleaning off any chairs or carts, probably with something stronger than our diaper wipes…

Software I use: After the Deadline

When After the Deadline was first released for Firefox in the beginning of February, I thought it looked interesting. So I installed the Extension to see how it would hold up to day-to-day use. In the 3 weeks that have followed it’s become integrated with my day-to-day work flow. I even find myself taking chunks of text from desktop applications and coping them into a web form so I can use it. Of course if you’ve never heard of After the Deadline you are wondering what I’m talking about.

After the Deadline is an open source server software that provides spelling, style, and grammar checking. The service is free for personal use, and commercial users can run their own server. It has an open API so Plug-ins can be developed to integrate its functionality into almost any application. Right now I’m running both the Firefox Extension and the WordPress Plugin.  It’s moved me out of Microsoft’s Live Writer for writing my posts because I want to use it to check my writing. I’m thinking that it might be an interesting exercise to try to write an After the Deadline plug-in for Live Writer, though after using the built-in editor in WordPress for the last few weeks, I’m wondering if it’s worth it. Perhaps I should move to the web for my writing.

What makes this different from most spell checkers is that it’s very context aware and so it can spot the wrong use of words like ‘meat’ and ‘meet’ or ‘know’ and ‘no’. This is one of my biggest issues when writing, I spell the word right, it’s just the wrong word. Another great feature is that when it shows you your errors it has an option to see an explanation. For example this last sentence I had a hidden Verb, I had know idea what that was but a quick check of the explanation and now I do:

Though as with all automated checkers it’s not right 100% of the time, I’ve found it right most of the time. Add to that the ability to prompt you when you are submitting a form without running a check, makes it a great tool if you do any writing online.

Cloud Gazing: posterous

Tonight my readers will get an extra post, I think. I’m sitting here at my computer working on my Project 365 Post and got distracted by the blogging service posterous. Its a simple blog engine that allows you to post from email. I signed up for an account when I first learned of the service. Wanting to get address mrj.posterous.com. I used it a few times but it never stuck. When I started my blog Geek With Kids I registered the domain geekwithkids.posterous.com as well, but until today I’ve never posted to it. There are two reasons I don’t think I’ve ever used this service. The fist is I like my posts being on my blog. Why should I have half a dozen different blogs spattered around the net? Second I usually don’t like posting my first draft of my entries, and a first draft is all I ever get on my phone’s keyboard.

So you are wondering what brings me to posterous today then, well it’s the ability to have it automatically repost you posts. So I send my entry to posterous and it then sends it to what ever other services I want. This seemed intriguing to me so I wanted to see how it worked. I thought about doing just a basic Test post. In-fact I had written it before thinking why not turn it into a review.

Posterous has the most basic sign up of any site I’ve ever used, you just email it. Send an email to post@posterous.com it sets up an address based on your email account and away you go. From then on you can post to that blog from that email address. You can use it without anymore setup. Of course if you want a different address or to add some advanced features then you need to Set a password using the link in the return email they send you. In less than 5 minutes anyone can have a blog that they can update from anywhere with just email.

Now the advanced feature I’m writing about to-day is the Autopost. The ability to take you posterous post and send them to other service. There are a bunch of supported services. Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr are just a few. I’ve configured my account for just twitter and my blog to see what it will do. So now here is where my post will get a little strange. I’m going to post this review and then either edit the result or post a follow-up, after seeing posterous’s autopost functionality works. So stay tuned.

Posted via web from Geek With Kids

Cloud Gazing: Backupify

One of the biggest fears about moving to the cloud is how do you backup your data. The data sits on someone else’s server and usually there is no easy way for you to backup that data. You are at the mercy of the service provider to backup your data and if they go under, cancel your account or just don’t have a backup strategy you could be out of luck That’s where Backupify comes in.  Backupify is a service that allows you to backup your different cloud based services. You can backup the data to your own Amazon S3 account, or just use Backupify’s account. This is great for people who want to make sure that there important files are in more then one place.

Setup is simple, after creating your account you are given a list of service they support. You select the service you want to back up, enter your credentials and away it goes. Where ever possible it uses Oath to authenticate so that you don’t have to trust backupify with your password. Though there are some services that don’t support this.  Once the service is registered it will backup, usually in the next 24 hours.

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Cloud Gazing: Picnik

The thought of an online photo editor always seemed silly to me. Why waste the time uploading your images just to edit them. There are a ton of great editors for windows, why move it out to the cloud. That was before I really started using Flickr and other online photo sites. Even then I saw the online image editors as basic tools used for quick touch ups. Boy has things changed. The market is exploding with tools, you have picnik, Photoshop Online, Aviary and many more. I’m planning to do a review of  some the different products out there but that is for another day. Today I want to talk about picnik.

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Disappointment in the tree house

A few days ago for computer time Jacob and I decided it was time for a change so instead of the usual PBSkids.org or www.cbc.ca/kidscbc. I went to treehousetv.com. Tree House TV is a kids network that is mostly commercial free. So it seemed logical to go to their website with Jacob. We fired it up and went to the video section and looked over the different shows, what bothered me was before each clip was a 30 second commercials. It didn’t matter if it was a 5 minute clip, or a 60 second preview of the Christmas programs. It seems a little excessive.

I try to keep Jacob away from commercial, it’s bad enough that most shows are nothing more then glorified commercials, I don’t need to add to that with commercial television or excess commercials on the web. So though treehouse might be on the TV it wont be on the web again anytime soon. Though I think I’m going to have to find some more sites that Jacob and I could go to for our computer time.

1000 Days of Twitter

A few months back someone twittered that they had been on Twitter for some amount of weeks. It was a high number I can’t remember who it was or how long they were on twitter, I just remember wondering how long I’d been on twitter. I looked it up on www.whendidyoujointwitter.com

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At the time I thought wow, I’m only less then 100 days from being on twitter for 1000 days, that’d make a good blog post. I wonder if I could find my very first post. A quick google search later and I found www.shotbeak.com/oldtweets/index.php and with I found my first ever tweet sent 1000 days ago was:

Thinking about going to sleep… Wondering if this thing’s on!!!

Not a very inspirational first tweet. It didn’t get much better from there:

  • watching twitter vision  999 days ago
  • working away 957 days ago
  • Still working away… you’d think I’d be done by now 894 days ago
  • Programming away, can’t seem to stop… even though my bed is calling me!!! 887 days ago
  • A new way to look at the clouds

    Today while going through one of my inboxes I had an email from Live Labs with a preview code for Pivot, an experimental way to look at large amounts of data. As I sat looking at the email on my phone I found myself wondering what was Pivot.  I recalled requesting an invitation, but that was it. While I was considering that I was trying to think of what to blog for today and I realised that when I started my Cloud Gazing series the plan was to write about this very thing. An interesting Application or service that I happened to have signed up for. I’ve done some of this, but I still find myself waiting way to long from using a new service to writing about it. That ends today. First with my First look at Pivot, and next week when I write about my experiences with Threadsy, Inbox2 and how I hope Mozilla’s Raindrop will wash them away. I’m also hoping to get to some follow ups, but that is for another day.

    Toronto Blue JAys Players from 2009

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