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Picasa Ignores Folders Named Temp

Just discovered this – Picasa (excellent photo management app) won’t detect and index photos if they’re in a folder named “Temp”. I had some photos from my camera in a desktop folder with that name, and they weren’t showing up in Picasa. On a hunch, I renamed the folder, et viola!

Now you’re warned if you ever run into the same problem.

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Can I resist the Nintendo DS Lite? Probably not…

Rumors have been swirling for months that Nintendo was going to release a redesigned, slimmer version of the Nintendo DS. As recently as yesterday, Nintendo was denying that anything was going on with a DS redesign. Now, this morning, they come out and announce the Nintendo DS Lite:

It’s less than 2/3 the size of the DS, and 20% lighter. Also supposed to have 4 backlight brightness levels for the screens.

My one complaint about my Mario Kart Red DS is the size – it feels kind of bulky (though not too heavy), and the design just isn’t as sleek and elegant as the PSP.

The DS Lite will be available in Japan by March, probably in the U.S. shortly thereafter. No word on color variations, but I want a black one, please, to match all of my other gear. πŸ™‚

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Amazon Finally Shipped my Naked Conversations

I’ve had Robert Scoble and Shel Israel’s book on business blogging, Naked Conversations, on pre-order from Amazon since it was announced. I was part of the first 100 (1000?) orders that were supposed to get a signed copy. The order was for full price of the book – about $30 with shipping.

However, something got screwed up at Amazon, because the shipping date for the book kept jumping around, from March to a date a few weeks in the past. However, the site was showing new orders shipping immediately, and at 40% off the price I had ordered at. Ouch.

All of that became too much for me, and I cancelled my pre-order, and just ordered on of the discounted copies. Just got word that it has shipped – can’t wait to give it a read.

As far as missing out on having a signed copy, I’ll just get Robert to autograph it the next time I see him. I’m sure he’s gotten good at that by now. πŸ™‚

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Some Real World Performance Stories from Intel-based iMacs – They Really Are 2x Faster

A couple of people on a mailing list I’m on have received their new Intel-based iMacs, and shared their experiences about how much faster they really are. These stories are shared with permission.

David Geller of WhatCounts, Inc. shared the following:

Just thought I’d share some first-hand knowledge and experiences with the new Intel-based iMacs. We received two at work today. I had ordered them for two of our developers about 5 minutes after the products became available online. Beside the nice changes over the previous generation they were using (built-in iSight, Front Row, etc.), the Intel processors are definitely pushing these boxes at a faster clip.

We’re a Java development house, so we were especially pleased that Sun’s James Gosling (co-creator of Java, in fact) is also an Apple [PowerBook] fan. This basically made it so Sun has been quietly shipping fat binaries of Java for a bit – ready for PowerPC or Intel under OSX.

Long story short, our total, full-product soup-to-nuts rebuild doubled in speed with the new systems – which greatly pleased our developers. Doubled. These developers also use Eclipse and were able to find a new version of 3.2 (preview 3 of 4, I think) that made it work on these new boxes as well. Jetbrain’s IDEA should work automatically because it uses Swing instead of SWT. They reported that Eclipse was noticeably faster and crisper on the new systems.

Having happy developers makes me happy – and will ultimately make our customers happier too.

(Emphasis mine).

I’m glad to hear that the benchmark claims of the new Intel iMacs being 2x faster than the iMac G5 are true, and not just marketing hype. Thanks for sharing, David, and I hope your new Intel Macs really do make your customers happier! πŸ™‚

Andru Edwards of Gear Live Media also had an experience to share:

I have had a 2.0 GHz Intel Core Duo iMac for a 7 days now. A few observations:

The stock 512 MB RAM was not enough to keep up with my tasks – that being 15 or so Safari tabs open, iTunes, iMovie, and Garageband open and doing their thing, plus Photoshop, Mail, and NetNewsWire open as well. I know, I am not the “average” user – but neither are many of you on this list. Truly, even with just the browser and Mail open, I felt the lag. Impressively though, on the G5 my processor would run at about 60% (with 2 GB RAM) when I had all that running. With the 512 MB RAM, the processor was running at 16%. Amazing.

Yesterday I upgraded this thing to 2 GB RAM. It FLIES. I am more than impressed. iMovie and ffmpegx encode video swiftly compared to the G5. You would not believe how many applications I have open right now. In addition to the ones listed above, I also have Adium, Transmit, Windows Media Player, Quicktime, and ffmpegx all running. I have tons of windows open (the 20″ screen makes this manageable). My processor is currently running at 17%!!! Unreal. I have about 120 MB RAM available as well.

Really – the new iMacs are a thing of beauty if you need an elegant workhorse of a PC.

I’ve always heard that having a lot of RAM is essential if you want your Mac to perform, and it looks like Andru’s experience bears that out. That’s true in the Windows world, too.

Dangit. All these stories about how fast these new Intel Macs are makes me want to get one even more. Wonder if I can hold out until the rumored 12″ MacBook Pro appears? πŸ™‚

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Best Buy in Beaverton, OR has Xbox 360s

I was in Best Buy in Beaverton today (on Cedar Hills Blvd) at about 2:00 PM, and they had a little table out with about 10 Xbox 360s. There were a few guys there buying, but they might still have some. I overheard someone say that he had looked all over town for weeks, and this was the first ones he’d been able to get.

Don’t know if they still have any, but if you’re in the area an interested, give it a shot.

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Cub Scout Geek Out with X41 Tablet and Electroplankton

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before, but Rachel and I are Cub Scout Webelos den leaders. Of course, I try to be the geekiest den leader there is. We have made PVC marshmallow shooters from the HowToons comic I read in Make Magazine. We were inspired to drop Mentos into a bottle of Coke by the video that showed up on Google Video, and made its way around Digg and the other usual places. Tonight, we had a pack meeting (about 10 boys age 7-10, their parents, and leaders). The theme was “Music Magic”, and I volunteered to show off some cool musical things you can do with computers as the main presentation.

I went up with my X41 tablet, and first showed off Adobe Audition. The default session that Audition comes with is pretty cool to look at, with all the loops and samples, and sounds like a cool little ditty you’d hear on the radio or TV. I showed how you can drag the tracks around to change it, and what a normal, recognizeable song looks like when imported into Audition (just the basic waveform). I then recorded the kids singing a verse of “Jingle Bells”, and applied some cool effects – pitch shift, etc. They thought it was all very cool, and was great to have the tablet in slate mode, and be able to move it around and show everyone, rather than just sit there, and have everyone crowd around the screen.

Next up was Electroplankton on my Nintendo DS. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s not really a game, but more like interactive media art. There are ten aquatic themed, uh, things that do different musical things. Pentatonic harmonies, voice sampling, various intstrument sounds and rhythms, etc., all controlled by the touch screen on the DS. It’s very hard to explain, but very cool, and you can quite easily make some very interesting music. So I pulled the DS out of my pocket, and they all crowded around to see. We did some voice changing and sampling, and basically messed around.

On the surface, I was supposedly showing them how they could use computers and electronics in creative and maybe unexpected ways to make or mix music. In reality, though, I was just a big kid, up front showing off and sharing his cool toys with all the other kids.

Is it any wonder I love being a Cub Scout leader? πŸ™‚

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What Made Him Think TinyScreenfuls is Software?

I got a weird phone call on my cell while I was out this afternoon, try to track down a decent deal on a tripod. It was someone from Toshiba, wanting to know if I ever resell hardware with my “TinyScreenfuls” software. (“Heh heh”, he chuckled “that’s a great name…”).

Imagine his surprise when I told him TinyScreenfuls is my blog, and just my blog. I don’t sell software (or hardware, or anything else for that matter).

I’m trying to imagine the set of events that led up to this call. I list my cell phone number on my blog, and have only had good experiences as a result. Opportunities that I would have otherwise missed. (OK, and a few weird questions :-)). So he must have gotten my number from the site.

So how did he look at my site, and get the idea that I sell anything?

Maybe my number was harvested by some bot, but if that were the case, I expect I’d be getting more spam calls. Maybe it’s from a card I handed out at a conference. I don’t know exactly what happened, but it made me scratch my head.

Whoever you are, if you’re reading this, drop me a line, and let me know the backstory. Don’t be embarrassed! πŸ™‚

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