There is a known video rotation issue when importing videos into Windows 7 that were taken in landscape mode with the iPhone 4 and 4S . In Windows, iPhone videos will be upside down if, when you took them, you held the iPhone horizontally with the recording on/off controls at the top. Turns out that if you want your video to be right-side-up when importing them to the PC you will need to hold the iPhone upside down when taking the video.
Also, all videos taken in portrait mode on the iPhone will appear sideways when imported onto the PC. There is no way to take portrait videos on the iPhone 4 and 4S without them appearing sideways on the PC.
In the video below I show you how to use the terrific free ‘Freemake Video Converter’ app to solve this problem by rotating your imported videos to the proper orientation.
There is a known Windows 7 rotation issue with portrait photos taken with the iPhone 4 and 4S. Unlike with the 3G or 3GS, photos taken in portrait mode on the iPhone 4 and 4S do not auto-rotate when imported in to Windows 7. This is the case: (i) whether you sync your photos via iCloud; or (ii) whether you physically import them via USB; even when you explicitly set the Windows import utility to auto-rotate them on import. The issue is being discussed here, here , here and here on the Apple support forums and here on the Microsoft support forum.
To make matters worse, a good portion of these photos end up locked in such a way that you cannot subsequently rotate them with the various photo rotate tools built in to Windows 7 (see error message in the image above).
Having recently updated my Adobe Flash Player software for the umpteenth time on two different PCs, I discovered that if you download and install it in the normal way, you end up with a new and unwanted Adobe Download Manager Firefox extension that cannot be removed.
Here’s how to avoid this:
On the Adobe Flash Player download page, uncheck the “Free McAfee Security Scan Plus” option (who knows what that will add to your machine), then click on the yellow “Agree and install now” button:
Until Google Apps Sync I had no way of syncing contacts between Outlook and Gmail. When iTunes version 9.1 crapped out and stopped syncing contacts and calendar with my iPhone (this was fixed in iTunes 9.2 by the way) I made the decision to pony up the $50 a year for Google Apps Premier which includes Google Apps Sync.
It was worth every penny. I am rid the sync hodge-podge described above. I now have an end-to end, email, calendar, contact sync solution across my PCs, Google Apps Gmail, my iPhone and my iPad.
The Problem – How to Sync Only Selected Contacts
I only want a relatively few current contacts synced from Outlook to Gmail, my iPhone and iPad – about 250 or so contacts. But, I have accumulated some 800 contacts including historic clients and colleagues from prior law firms, restaurants from when I lived in different cities, old friends I no longer keep in touch with and so on. I don’t want to lose these contacts but I also don’t want them cluttering up my Google Apps Gmail, iPhone or iPad contact lists.
While you can segregate contacts within different contact folders inside the Google Apps Sync account in Outlook, all contacts such segregated contacts continue to sync into the unified Gmail, iPhone and iPad contact lists – regardless of the contact folder structure you set up inside of Outlook.
If the warning above annoys you as much as it does me whenever you open an attachment in Office 2007, here’s how to get rid of it.
Microsoft has understandably made security a cornerstone of its recent software releases. Each time you attempt to open a possibly malicious attachment in Outlook 2007, a warning dialogue box like the one above appears. It presents an always-checked, always-grayed-out box that reads: ‘Always ask before opening this type of file’.
Because Word, Excel, PDF and other document types can contain malicious code, you should, as the box warns, only open attachments from trustworthy sources. But, if you have a modern Anti-Virus program such as AVG or Microsoft’s Security Essentials (both of which are free), attachments in your emails should already be checked for malicious code. When this is the case, this warning dialogue box is an unnecessary interruption that becomes increasingly annoying if, like me, you receive emails with attachments many times a day.
The Solution in Windows 7
Warning: You should only do this if you have anti-virus software installed on your computer that checks for, and quarantines, all emails that contain attachments with malicious code. And, as the warning says, you should never open attachments from anyone that you don’t know and trust!
Since purchasing my iPhone back in August 2008, every time I connected my iPhone to my PC (originally Vista, now Windows 7 RC), iTunes would automatically start the Windows ‘Import Pictures and Videos’ wizard (“IPVW”), regardless of whether or not there were any new pictures on my iPhone to import.
Since I connect my iPhone to iTunes every day (to update my podcasts, backup data, install new apps etc.), I had to cancel out of the IPVW every time I connected. This was a daily frustration!
Along the line I had collected up some 30ish pictures in my iPhone’s ‘camera roll’ for the following reasons:
Originally, I had not set the ‘delete from iPhone when importing’ option in the IPVW, so those pictures remained on the camera roll even after syncing; and
For some good pictures, I just wanted to keep a copy on my iPhone for viewing.
Strangely, there is no way to move pictures from the iPhone’s ‘camera roll’ to an album in the iPhone’s native Photos app.
Most of the time I want pictures to be copied off my iPhone when I sync. As a result I had set the IPVW’s Import settings (see link in picture above) accordingly. To my mind, the iPhone should only automatically pop-up the IPVW when there are new pictures that a user might want copied over to the PC. That is not how it works.
With a few easy steps that take only minutes to complete, iPhone users the world round can get access to some (but not all) of the iPhone Apps that are only available in the U.S.. I’m surprised it took me so long to try this. I just used it to d0wnload the Lose It! which was previously not available to me in Canada.
Setup is a breeze. It took me about two minutes. You essentially set up a VPN connection to the U.S. through the HotSpot Shield servers. This, of course, would also be useful for safe surfing at coffee shops and other wifi locations.
Once you have set up your account, configured and activated the VPN (see instructions below), navigate to the App Store on your iPhone. Search for the app you want and (if its there) download it. It’s that simple.
Survives Desktop Sync
I was concerned that if I downloaded apps this way, they would be wiped out after I synced my iPhone with iTunes to my desktop. Not so. The sync went fine and the apps remained on the iPhone.
Windows has not provided .iso file burning functionality before. Rather than use a specialized tool, I have, until now, used my iMac to burn iso files. This morning I discovered that with a couple clicks of the mouse, Windows 7 users can now burn .iso files.
In Windows Explorer double click the .iso file you wish to burn
Windows 7 opens the following dialogue
Choose the DVD burner you wish to use (in my case Drive F:)
Select whether or not you wish to verify the disk after burning
Click the ‘Burn’ button and you are off:
That’s it. I’m surprised it took Redmond this long to finally include this functionality.
There are two additional reasons why I want Windows 7 to activate (bring focus to an ‘out of focus’ window) by hovering the mouse over it:
1. Symbiotic With Single-Click Item Activation
For the better part of a year I have been using the ‘single-click to open’ option in Windows Vista and Windows 7 (The option has been around since Windows 95). The idea behind this one-click option is to make the Windows use experience similar to the web-browsing experience. Instead of double clicking icons and options to open/access/activate them in Windows, you need only click icons, items etc. once.
Window’s 7 new Aero Snap feature is, no doubt, a useful feature for those with just one monitor. In my case, where I use multiple monitors, it is a major pain. Windows 7 frequently auto-adjusts windows across multiple monitors when I have no desire for this to happen.
In the picture above, my Firefox window was originally open in just the lower, central, window. I was dragging the lower right corner with my mouse (see yellow arrow) to adjust the window when, suddenly, it popped up across three monitors (see four red arrows above). Yikes!
Windows 7 does this because it thinks that if you drag an edge of a window to the edge of a screen (any screen) you want the widow stretched across the full screen (or in my case, multiple screens). Nobody would want the result produced above.
Before disabling Aero Snap this happened to me several times a day. It doesn’t any longer. To disable Aero Snap, follow these steps:
Have you ever wanted to share a blog post, website, video, music or news story in Facebook?
There are two ways to do this, by using either: (i) the ‘Share on Facebook’ bookmarklet’ (depicted in the image above); or (ii) the attach ‘Links’ method. Either way, your friends will see what you share in their Facebook feeds. Shared music and videos will be directly playable by them from within the feed.
Using the ‘Share on Facebook’ Bookmarklet
This is the easiest way. Get the the ‘Share on Facebook’ bookmarklet here. You’ll be taken to this page:
Follow the instructions. Grab (point and hold-click on) the ‘Share on Facebook’ bookmarklet icon on that page, then drag and drop it onto your browser’s bookmarks bar.
Later, when you are on a website, YouTube page, whatever, that you want to share:
click on the ‘Share on Facebook’ bookmarklet. A page like this will pop up:
While listening to audio-only podcasts, iPhone users can press the ‘Sleep/Wake’ button to turn off the display, yet still continue listening to the podcast. iPhone users can also click the iPhone’s ‘Start’ button when listening to audio podcasts, use other iPhone apps, and continue listening to the podcast uninterrupted.
Not so with video podcasts. Clicking the ‘Sleep/Wake’ button, or clicking the iPhone’s start button shuts video podcasts off. The inability to just listen to video podcasts has been one of my primary complaints with the iPhone’s iPod functionality. See my other major complaints here and here.
Why Would Anyone Want to Just Listen to a Video Podcast?
All video podcasts are not created equal. Some video podcasts such as CO-OP, demand that the user ‘watch’ them to get the most out of them. Other podcasts , such as the ‘Cranky Geeks’, Geek Brief TV and Diggnation can usually be enjoyed without ever looking at the screen.
There are several reasons why one might wish to consume a video podcast with the visual element shut off:
While Using other IPhone Apps: Since I can, and often do, use other iPhone/iTouch apps while listening to audio podcasts, I sometimes just want/need to just listen to video podcasts while using other apps. Why not?
Increased battery life: Video playback consumes an enormous amount of battery charge. If you don’t need to watch the video to enjoy it, why waste the battery?
Putting iPhone in Pocket: I often put my iPhone in my pocket while listening to podcasts. When the iPhone screen cannot be shut off, this becomes a bit clumsy. The act of putting it in my pocket (or taking it out) often results in unwanted screen clicks that can shut the podcast off, fast forward it, pause it etc.
While Driving: Who needs the video on while driving?
Bottom Line: Hardly a day has gone by since I purchased my iPhone last August, when I didn’t wish I could turn off the screen and still listen to my video podcasts.
Turns out that there has been a way to do this all along. It took me 8 months before I stumbled upon this trick.
I completed an in-place Windows 7 Release Candidate (build 7100) upgrade from the original beta build 7000. The upgrade took approximately 1.5 hours and went smoothly. The upgrade went faster than my original upgrade from Vista to Win7 Beta. See my ‘Windows 7 Release Candidate First Impressions and Observations’ post for post-upgrade details).
[May 5, 2009 Update:Download the Windows 7 release Candidate here. It will be available here until July. They are not limiting the number of downloads this time. The release candidate will function until March 1, 2010 after which it will nag you several times a day to purchase the RTM version. It will cease functioning on June 1, 2010. Until then, party!]
The instructions for how to do an in-place upgrade are set out below. I edited them to make them easier to follow from the instructions provided by Paul Thurrott on his SuperSite for Windows blog here. See similar instructions here (scroll down to the ‘How-To’ section).
Despite Thurrott’s ivory-tower purity of not recommending users do in-place upgrades, I went ahead anyway. At worst, I could have rolled back to my prior Windows 7 beta image. Doing a fresh install is obviously the best practice. But anyone that takes even a cursory look at my ‘The Windows Apps I Use and How I Configure Them’ post can understand why I was loathe to do yet another clean install for just a release candidate. That said, I probably will do a clean install when the RTM version comes out this summer.
In the mean time, here are the instructions for how to do an in-place upgrade:
To ensure that I NEVER experience this special kind of hell again I decided to create an image of my primary system C:\ drive. I looked at various commercial system image/ghosting programs but decided that the system image feature built into Windows 7 was sufficient for my needs.
The process took about 30 minutes for a 100 Gig C:\ drive.
I was able to use Windows 7 and all my apps as normal during the entire time the image was being created.
Compression was terrific. It compressed my 100 GB system to a 45 GB image backup.
Below is a simple step-by-step description of how to use it. The process is simple:
While Firefox is my mainstay browser, I pretty much use all current browsers from time to time both to test my various websites for compatibility and to keep current with what’s new in the browser wars.
I recently installed the Safari 4 beta. In earlier versions of Safari, there was always an option to import bookmarks from IE or Firefox during the installation process. Not-so with the Safari 4 beta install.
Note: I purposely uninstalled Safari 3 before installing Safari 4. My hope was to get a fresh import of my most current Firefox bookmarks in the process. That didn’t work.
The most important benefit of changing to this widget is that it works! The other widgets yielded spotty results with too many fail whales.
The other obvious benefit is that it allows me to embed many more tweets in my sidebar than the others did – through a scrollable interface.
Performance: Occasionally it doesn’t work. The result, a black fail whale rectangle with nothing in it. While annoying, so far the black rectangle appears less often than the fail whales I experienced with the other Twitter widgets. Also, sometimes the black box turns into the proper widget if you give it long enough. Odd.
Flash: On the downside the widget requires Flash. As a result, it does not work with the iPhone. Note: There is an html version of the widget available – though it’s not as nice or useful.
With Google Apps’ Gmail you can set up personalized email addresses for yourself, up to 50 members of your family or 50 employees in your business, using an Internet domain you own and control – for free! Your email address will no longer be chained to your ISP or your web-based email provider such as Hotmail, Yahoo! or Gmail.
I have been using Google Apps to host my personal and professional ‘@daledietrich.com’ email (pictured above) for about a year now. In this post I provide detailed, step-by-step instructions on how to do this.
While Google Apps’ Gmail is completely free, to use it you must register your own domain. If you haven’t yet, you can register a domain with a Domain Host (‘DH’). I use GoDaddy. As of the date I write this, GoDaddy charges $9.99 U.S. ($9.99 on sale) for a one year registration of a DOT COM domain ($6.99 to transfer in an existing .com domain) and $10.69 for annual renewals.
Screenshots below were taken when I set up my ‘daleipshere.com’ domain to use Google Apps Gmail using GoDaddy.com as my DH.
B. Freedom from ISP Domains: Most personal email accounts use the ISPs domain – eg: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com. This artificially locks users into a given ISP. If you wish to change your ISP you may be reluctant to do so because you’ll have to change your email address. If a move results in a change of ISP, you’ll have the additional hassle of changing your email address. But, when you set up a Google Apps Gmail account with your own custom domain, email accounts you set up for your family or business can be used forever – regardless of your ISP.
If you want to play those AAC songs you purchased in iTunes on another media player that doesn’t support AAC or if you need an MP3 version of an AAC song for other uses, such as with Animoto, fear not, its easy to convert an AAC song in iTunes to MP3 format.
Here’s how to do this on a PC:
click on the ‘Edit’ menu
click the ‘General’ tab
click the ‘Import Settings’ button
click ‘MP3 Encoder’ on the ‘Import Using’ pull-down menu
Select the desired quality level on the ‘Setting’ pull-down menu
I suggest using the highest possible ‘Higher Quality (192 kbps)’ option. This will take more time but encodes the best quality MP3.
click ‘OK’ twice to close both dialogue boxes
select the AAC track you want to convert in the iTunes window (you can click and convert more than one at a time if you wish)
Google’s acquired Feedburner back in June of 2007. Feedburner has since been integrated into the Google Adsense platform. Bloggers can now place adsense units into their RSS feeds. In order to take advantage of of this service I needed to migrate my three Feedburner feeds into the new Google adsense feeds system.
According to this Google/Feedburner FAQ, February 28, 2009 is the deadline to migrate feeds. After that users will no longer be able to access their Feedburner accounts.
The migration process is simple for regular Feedburner users.
The primary reason I switched from Intense Debate to Disqus, is Disqus’s integration with Facebook Connect. Below I describe why this is important. I then provide a step-by-step ‘how-to’ guide on how to integrate Facebook Connect with Disqus.
[This Post was Updated on April 18, 2009 to reflect the changes made to the setup process, both on Disqus and the Facebook developer pages.]
1. Why Facebook Connect is a Big Deal
Discussion via comments draws users back for repeated visits to their site while engaging them in conversation with the blogger and other commenters. Bloggers want traffic to drive more ad sales and, frankly, they want more people reading their content. Otherwise, what’s the point?
Users are understandably reluctant to leave comments on blogs. Most bloggers, including myself, require users to leave a name, email address and an optional URL. The reason for this, at least in my case, is to weed out spam commenters and to develop a sense of community among commenters. Requiring such information has the unfortunate side effect of dissuading most readers from commenting because they don’t want:
the ‘sign up’ hassle just to leave a comment; and
to provide personally identifying information.
Facebook Connect solves these two problems and provides other terrific benefits.
The Disqus installation instructions are out of date (written for pre WP 2.7 blogs) and surprisingly difficult to follow.
Happily, both Disqus and IntenseDebate mirror/sync comments within a blog’s databases (though there are still problems with threaded comments not retaining structure – see part 6 below). This makes it possible to switch back and forth between the two at will.
Below I provide a step-by-step guide for integrating Disqus within a WordPress 2.7 blog. I first make some preparatory recommendations. Then I describe the steps needed to set up with Disqus, download and install the Disqus WP plugin, how to import your historical comments into Disqus and, finally, how to reclaim straggler comments.
On Sunday January 11, 2009, I upgraded my 64 bit Windows Vista production PC to the 64 bit Windows 7 Beta (‘’W7B’) (available here until Jan 24February 10, 2009).
The installation was straight forward. It took about two hours to complete on my system (I understand clean installs can be done in about 20 minutes). After answering a few questions, the upgrade took care of itself.
[Update: On Sunday January 18, installed W7B on my Lenovo x41 Tablet in dual-boot mode. So far so good. I hope to write a separate post about my tablet experiences with it soon.’]
Below I describe the problems, bugs, likes, dislikes and other observations I’ve made after constantly using the beta in a production environment for five days.
1. Upgrade Problems, Issues, Bugs
The upgrade went smoothly for the most part. But, I did experience the following problems, issues and bugs:
Windows Desktop Gadgets Do Not Work When UAC is Shut Off: This bug took me several days to isolate. As you’ll read below, I shut off UAC because, among other reasons, Woopra wouldn’t start automatically with it turned on. Isolation was tricky because when you first turn off UAC, the gadgets don’t immediately disappear. But they will be gone after your next reboot. In my case the next reboot came after I installed a sound card driver (see below). For days I though my sound card driver was knocking out my gadgets … until I found this article explaining the bug. Suffice it to say, in Windows 7 Beta, if you turn off UAC, your gadgets will disappear. For now I’ve set UAC on the lowest settings to keep my gadgets going. This means Woopra won’t auto-start any more (see below) and I have to manually bypass the UAC warnings each time I manually start it up.
Multi-monitor & Screen Resolution Setup Issue: I have four monitors connected to my Dell XPS rig. Both: (i) the relative positioning settings (ie: where monitors sit next to each other); and (ii) the screen resolution settings s (ie: 1900 x 1200); used in Vista were futzed up after the upgrade. Plus, the procedure used to adjust the relative monitor positioning has changed in W7B. It took me some time to figure that out. To adjust each of these settings in W7B, right click on the desktop and select ‘Screen Resolution’ (click image for larger view). From there you can position your monitors and set the screen resolutions back to where they should be.