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.
- $199 for 16 GB in U.S. – $299 for 32GB version (on contract of course)
- pricing only available to new AT&T customers
- $700 Upgrade fee for current AT&T iPhone users
- [June 10 Update: Rogers has announced that Canadian pricing will be the same as U.S. pricing – in Cdn $. So, $199 and $299 Cdn for the 16 and 32 GB units respectively. Only available on 3 year contracts again. No pricing for un-subbed units announced – un-subbed 3G iPhones still cannot be purchased in Canada. 8-GB, 3G Units will be decreased to $99. No word on 16GB units]
- Available June 19 (U.S. & Canada)
- $99 for prior 16 GB iPhone
- “up to” two times Faster
- Voice Control:
- voice dialing
- ask iPhone what song is playing and it will tell you
- tell iPhone to play a song, or songs by an artist or a playlist and it will play it
- developers can integrate into any app
Continue reading “New iPhone 3G S Announced – Available June 19”
Eric Schmidt is the CEO of Google. In the 2 minute video below he describes what he believes Web 3.0 applications will be.
In summary, he defines, Web 3.0 as:
- Applications that are pieced together.
- They are relatively small.
- The data is in the cloud.
- The application can run on any device, PC or mobile phone.
- Applications are fast and customizable
- Applications are distributed virally via social networks and email.
With Windows 7 RC1, Microsoft limited the number of Jump List items showing above taskbar icons to 10. (click image for larger view). In the beta there was no such limit.
I gather that more than 10 was confusing for some. For me large jump lists are very useful– especially for programs that do not make it easy to find and open recent files.
One such program is Windows Live Writer – the program I use to write blog posts. It remembers only the three most recent posts. However, I frequently tweak and retweak recent posts until I get it just right. The more prior posts showing up in the Jump List the easier it is to access and edit those posts.
To change the default number of items in the jump List that Windows 7 makes available:
Continue reading “How to Change Number of Items Showing in Windows 7 Jump Lists”
To me, and I suspect to many Windows users, it would be intuitive for Windows to bring whatever window the mouse is currently hovering over into focus without the need to click on that window.
It turns out that Windows 7 now makes this possible. I stumbled upon this tip when writing my ‘How to Shut Off Windows 7 Aero Snap – Stop it from Auto Arranging Windows’ post.
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.
Continue reading “How to Make Windows 7 Activate a Window by Hovering a Mouse Over It.”
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:
Continue reading “How to Shut Off Windows 7 Aero Snap – Stop it from Auto Arranging Windows”
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.
Continue reading “How to Listen to Video Podcasts with the iPhone Display Turned Off”
I did an in-place Windows 7 Release Candidate (build 7100) upgrade on April 26, 2009. For changes made from the beta version of Windows 7 to Release Candidate 1 see:
Below are my first impressions and initial observations:
- The System Seems Snappier: Moving from Vista to Windows 7 Beta provided a substantial performance boost to my system. After 1 hour or so, the system seems somewhat snappier still.
- Faster Access to Remote Drives: Navigating to and around my Drobo Drive (shared from another XP system on my network) seems dramatically faster than it was under either XP, Vista or Windows 7 Beta). This was a major annoyance under the Windows 7 Beta which was worse than under XP or Vista.
- System Search Indexing Problem Fixed: During my first couple months of using Windows 7, the Start menu search function (eg: searching for, say, ‘device manager’) had indexing problems where it took 30 seconds to a minute to search for and find system files/apps. It stemmed from customizations I made to the indexing options. I was never able to recover from whatever I did. After this upgrade the system search is wicked fast again!
Continue reading “Windows 7 Release Candidate First Impressions and Observations”
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:
Continue reading “How to Upgrade to Windows 7 Release Candidate”
The Daleisphere Command Center 🙂
In mid-February 2009, I made the unfortunate mistake or using a registry cleaner in hopes of tweaking even more performance out of my Windows 7 Beta (“Win7B”) setup. The net result – my ship was sunk!
All my data was backed up, of course, but it took me two months to gradually re-install and tweak ‘most’ of the dozens of apps I use to run my law practice, develop my websites, blog and otherwise run my world.
On the advice of my nephew Michael Kalistchuk, an IT consultant, I painstakingly documented the details of the applications I use and how I configure them. This post grew out of those notes.
It’s unlikely I’ll need these notes for recovery purposes because I have since used Windows 7’s built in image backup system to create a recovery image.
More likely, when the final version of Windows 7 is released, I’ll do a clean install (rather than install over my current install) requiring me to do all of this over again. These notes should dramatically decrease the time it will take to get my command center up and operational again.
Continue reading “The Windows Apps I Use and How I Configure Them”
In mid February 2009, shortly after installing Windows 7 Beta on my primary PC, I made the huge mistake of running an automated ‘Registry Cleaner’ program. Suffice it to say, it destroyed my system.
Because, my data is backed up on a nightly basis, I lost no data. But I did lose years (stretching back to my first Vista x64 install in January of 2007) of application installations and tweaks. Two months later I have finally (mostly) completed the long and laborious chore of re-installing and tweaking the many dozens of applications I use every day.
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:
Continue reading “How to Use Windows 7’s System Image Backup Feature”
Next to my ongoing desire for a podcast delete function, the next-most glaring problem I have had with the iPhone and iPod Touch’s iPod playback functionality is its janky fast-forwarding and rewinding (also known as ‘scrubbing’).
The two most common scrubbing issues I have with my iPhone are when I want: (i) to skip back , say 10 seconds, to re-listen to something i missed – like I can with TiVo’s instant replay button; and (ii) to jump forward past podcast commercials – I can only listen to so many Audible ads on the Twit Network.
Scrubbing with the scroll wheel on iPods is a breeze. (See this ‘How to Scrub on Your iPod’ video, depicted in the picture on the right, for example.) You can easily jump back and forth to the exact desired spot within the song, podcast or video you are consuming by moving your thumb clockwise or counterclockwise on the scroll wheel as shown in the picture.
There is no scroll wheel on the iPhone or the iPod Touch. Instead, there is tiny round selector (see image above) on a small 1.25” horizontal scroll bar that you slide left and right to move around your media. This provides decent accuracy for short items such as a 3 minute song. For longer-form content, such as multi-hour podcasts and movies, the 1.25” scroll bar is too small to accurately select any given point of play. I personally consume long-form content the most. Such clumsy scrubbing has often left me 5 to 10 minutes away from the place I want to be.
The solution, variable speed scrubbing.
Continue reading “Variable Speed Scrubbing (Fast Forwarding – Rewinding) Coming to iPhone 3.0”
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.
I use xmarks (formerly foxmarks) to synchronize my bookmarks between computers. While there is an xmarks beta client for use on the Mac, so far there is none for the PC.
Here’s the easiest way I could find to import Firefox bookmarks into the Safari 4 beta:
- Click on Bookmarks
- Click on ‘Organize Bookmarks’ (Ctrl-Shift-B)
- Click on ‘Export HTML…’ under the ‘Import and Backup’ pull-down menu
Continue reading “How to Import Firefox Bookmarks into Safari 4 Beta in Windows”
The Twitter apps, tools and widgets I use are constantly changing. Below are the tools I currently use (click on the images for larger views):
Desktop Client – Twhirl
I use Twhirl as my desktop twitter application. I looked at TweetDeck but it was overkill and it takes up too much screen real-estate. I tried the gorgeous blu (works only on Vista and Windows 7), but it does not have an adjustable font. The default font is too small for my aging eyes. Twhirl is surprisingly feature rich but it takes awhile to figure out all the intricacies. I’ve tried others, but keep coming back to Thwirl.
iPhone App – Tweetie
Tweetie is terrific. I had previously used Twitterific and Twinkle on the iPhone but Tweetie ($2.99) satisfies me the most. Tweets are presented in bubbles similar to the iPhone’s SMS bubbles. Thankfully, the font is adjustable. Functions and information are an easy swish away. Twitterific does have the advantage of supporting both Twitter and friendfeed.
See also: 29 Twitter Apps for the iPhone Compared (Mashable)
Continue reading “The Twitter Apps, Tools and Widgets I Use”
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.
Why Google Apps for Email?
A. Email Hosting for Any Domain – for Free: I used to pay $65 a year to have my @daledietrich.com email hosted by Elehost (a terrific ISP by the way). Now my @daledietrich.com, @daleisphere.com and @wishhh.com email is hosted on Google Apps for free!
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.
Continue reading “How to Host Your Email on Your Domain using Google Apps’ Gmail– for Free!”
Self-hosting using DynDNS.com was working out well until recently. However, there are several reasons why I moved to Media Temple’s Grid-Service:
Cost: Not including the original home-server cost (I had been using a $600 Dell desktop), it was cheaper to use DynDNS.com for my initial 3 or 4 domains. As I add new domains, the cost of DynDNS was about to become more expensive than Media Temple which allows me to host up to 100 domains for $200 a year.
Future Sites Planned: I have several websites planned for the future. I’m hoping one of those will take-off or get Dugg – where I’ll need the surge capacity that media temple can support.
Bandwidth Caps: As of August 2008 Rogers imposed a 95 Gig per month bandwidth cap. Unlike in the U.S. where a typical user accounts have 200+ Gig caps, the 95 Gig Rogers cap was attached to their highest price consumer account. I have bumped up against and surpassed that cap over the last few months (Rogers charges $2.95 per Gig above the cap). Note: Bell’s highest end consumer account cap is 100 Gigs.
Continue reading “Why I moved to Media Temples’ Grid Service from Self-Hosting with DynDNS”
[Update: As of April 18, 2009, the Facebook Connect glitch under Disqus discussed in this post appears to be remedied. As you can see, I have re-activated the Facebook Connect option on The Daleisphere.
I also note that commenters using Facebook connect have the option (when leaving a comment) to allow that comment to be posted back to their Facebook feed.
Finally, I have updated my ‘Why and How to Integrate Facebook Connect with Disqus’ post to reflect recent Disqus/Facebook implementation changes.]
Disqus is in the process of enhancing their Facebook Connect feature. However, for the last day or so, with the feature enabled, only logged-in Disqus users were able to leave comments on The Daleisphere and on my iMedia Law blog. Neither Facebook users, nor regular commenters could leave comments here.
I recently updated sections 4.6 and 4.8 of my ‘Why and How to Integrate Facebook Connect with Disqus’ post describing the changes that Disqus recently instructed me to make on the applicable Facebook developer pages to facilitate the latest enhancements. Clearly, they are not working.
For more information on the problem, I wrote a detailed description of Facebook Connect / Disqus problem here in the Disqus forums.
So, as of March 18, 2009, I have shut off Disqus’ Facebook Connect functionality on my Daleisphere and iMedia Law blogs.
I will update this post when this problem is resolved.
On Wednesday March 18, 2009, The Daleisphere was moved from a self-hosted server to Media Temple’s Grid-Service.
If you notice any problems with The Daleisphere flowing from the move, or otherwise, I would appreciate your leaving a comment.
Thanks to Dave Zatz for his constant help and guidance before, during and after the transition. Thanks also to the helpful support folks at media temple for making the transition reasonably painless.
For those interested, here are a few helpful resources I used when making the transition:
On Sunday March 8, I spent several hours on the phone with both TiVo and Digital River’s (TiVo’s online license key fulfillment provider) technical support teams. After installing the generic TiVo Desktop 2.7 software under the Windows 7 Beta , the desktop software would NOT accept my TiVo Desktop Plus License Key. It kept telling me I had an invalid key.
The only solution TiVo’s support team had in its database was to reinstall the app – which didn’t work when I tried it. Digital River issued me a new license key. The TiVo Desktop 2.7 app rejected that key as well.
After a couple hours and four phone calls we/they all gave up. I was about to try installing the older TiVo Desktop version 2.6.2 when it occurred to me to try running BOTH the installer and the app in Windows Vista compatibility mode.
VOILA!!!! That worked!
TiVo Desktop 2.7 accepted my Desktop Plus License Key and the application has been working fine under Windows 7 beta ever since.
Continue reading “Solving TiVo Desktop Plus v. 2.7 License Key Issue Under Windows 7 Beta”
I discovered a terrific new web-based image editor called pixlr.com. It works like Photoshop Elements, Paint.net and other popular image editors – but from inside any browser, with nothing to install.
It’s free. No sign-up or user account needed. No downloads or installs required. It just works – instantly.
Remarkably, If you have Adobe Flash 10 installed, it works like a desktop app, but, still, in your browser. Load and save images from your PC via typical desktop pull-down menus. Press F11 to make it go full screen. It looks and feels like you are running a desktop app.
It works on the Mac or a PC – anywhere you can install Adobe Flash. This is particularly attractive for Mac users given that there is no useful image editor built into OS X.
Continue reading “Pixlr – Terrific, Free, Web-based Image Editor”
This is the first time in my 25+ years in computing that a hardware manufacturer has informed me that it wants to charge me for a firmware update to a consumer electronics product. I checked my Drobo for firmware updates yesterday and was startled to receive this message:
It was bad enough that my DroboShare experience was a disaster. Despite promised upgrades, Data Robotics support folks could never get it to work properly with my Vista 64 or my XP systems on my home network – others had the same problem. They just gave up. To this day, my DroboShare sits unused on a shelf in my closet – $300+ wasted!
Continue reading “Data Robotics Wants to Charge Me for Drobo Firmware Updates!”
The bloom has just been taken off my iPhone rose somewhat. Prior to today I thought all iPhone Apps were available in all jurisdictions. Turns out that is not the case.
[June 25, 2009 Update: I was able to download Lose It! using Hotspot Shield on the iPhone. See my post: “How to Use Hotspot Shield to Get U.S.-only iPhone Apps” for details.]
As a Canadian long suffering the woes of countless U.S. web-based and other consumer applications, products and services not being available here, I had been extraordinarily happy with the understanding that iPhone apps would not be blocked by national borders.
After hearing so many comments on how terrific the ‘Lose It!’ iPhone App was, I decided to try it out today. When I tried to access it I got this error message:
Sad, very sad!
While I am not against providing feedback to Microsoft on their Windows 7 beta, I have constantly clicked on the ‘send feedback’ link on the top right of every window by accident.
To remove it:
I have recently reinstalled Firefox on a number of computers (iMac and two Windows 7 beta machines). Every time I do this, I have to recreate my Firefox configuration from memory. For the benefit of my future Firefox installs, and for anyone else interested in how I configure/optimize Firefox, in this post I describe the various tweaks I make to Firefox and the various add-ons and extensions I routinely use.
Note: The discussion below assumes you are using Firefox 3.0 and above.
A Word about ‘About:Config’
The tweaks below are made through Firefox’s ‘about:config’ page. It’s easy to use. To access the ‘about:config’ settings page enter ‘about:config’ into Firefox’s address bar (circled in green below).
You can scroll up and down the list to find the key you wish to modify (they are listed alphabetically). Click the key you wish to edit, change the value and click ‘OK’. Alternatively you can type the key (or the first few letters of it) in the Filter box (circled in red below) to narrow the list.
Continue reading “How I Configure Firefox”
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:
- open iTunes
- click on the ‘Edit’ menu
- click ‘Preferences’
- 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)
- right-click on it;
- choose "Create MP3 version" from the popup menu.
Continue reading “How to Convert AAC Songs to MP3s in iTunes”