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Home page: http://joshjanicek.com
Posts by Josh
While it probably doesn’t happen very often, you might find yourself needing or wanting to disconnect with someone on LinkedIn. Here’s a simple screencast video of the process (and the six steps outlined below):
How to disconnect with someone on LinkedIn:
1) Login to your LinkedIn account
2) Place your cursor on ‘Network’ at the top of the page
3) Click ‘Contacts’ in the dropdown menu
4) Click ‘Remove Connections’ link at the upper right side of your screen
5) Select the contacts that you’d like to remove
6) Click the blue ‘Remove Connections” button
In March of 2010 I started working on Scrubbly. Scrubbly is a software project that services the very specific niche of email marketing compliance. The concept of the software is simple:
1. Take two lists of email addresses (one being a mailing list, the other being a suppression (do not email) list
2. Scrub the two lists against each other
3. Remove or return the duplicate email addresses that were found
I don’t know how to develop software, so I hired someone who did. He did an awesome job. Given that this is a desktop application, I knew I wanted to sell licenses to increase revenue, and so one person wouldn’t buy it and then freely distribute it. I did a lot of research into software licensing and settled on a $300 solution from ScienSoft. The licensing software works great, and does exactly what I wanted it to do. A customer buys a Scrubbly license, they open the .exe file and are presented with a “Registration ID.” The customer then provides me (via email) with the Registration ID and I manually generate a unique “License Key.” Manually being the operative word here. Any time someone bought a Scrubbly license from me, I had to start my virtual Windows PC on my Mac, copy the Registration ID into my licensing software, generate and provide the License Key to the customer. It’s not like it’s intensive or time consuming work, but it requires manual intervention. And my licensing software resides on one computer. There were a couple times when I was out of town (without the computer that has the licensing software) when I’d receive a Scrubbly purchase. That meant I’d have to login to my computer at the house remotely, then start up Windows on my Mac to create a license key. Now that’s a painstaking ordeal.
Last month I was finally able to completely automate Scrubbly. I re-engaged my contractor friend who developed Scrubbly for me and he implemented a web-based licensing solution from LimeLM. LimeLM has completely automated everything for me. Whenever someone purchases Scrubbly, the payment is verified via Paypal and the customer is automatically emailed a License Key. I’ve been completely removed from the equation. Scrubbly runs itself now, and that’s been damn nice.
Since the beginning of this year, my only active involvement with Scrubbly (besides promoting it) is getting notified whenever someone has made a purchase. I use Gmail for my Scrubbly email, and I’ve set my email account to where Gmail will send me a text message whenever someone purchases a Scrubbly license (for AT&T customers, just set Gmail to forward incoming email to [email protected] Read more here). All I do at that point is update my Profit & Loss ledger with new sale information.
I’m writing this post on how to track downloads using Google Analytics because everything I found by using my Google Fu turned up posts that were geared towards people who use Google Analytics all day, every day. I’m not that guy. I use GA a few times a month for the sheer sake of curiosity. Now I actually wanted to use GA to track some trial software downloads that I’m offering, really because I want to see if there’ll be revenue coming in after someone downloads a trial of my software, decides they like it and want to purchase it.
Before we go any further, I’m assuming you already have your Google Analytics tracking code on your site.
In the interest of self promotion, I’ve owned Scrubbly for 3 years. Scrubbly’s a Mac & PC desktop app that allows emailers and affiliates to “scrub” their email list against a suppression (unsubscribe) list. In recent weeks, my developer and I completely overhauled Scrubbly so it runs faster for customers, and also built the Mac version of Scrubbly. I built a brand new, beautiful website for Scrubbly, and we also implemented a new SaaS licensing and registering solution so after a customer makes a purchase and the purchase is verified, he’s sent an automated email that contains a license key which allows him to start using the product immediately (this used to be a manual process for me).
And I’ve always understand and appreciated the value of providing a trial version of most software. I’ve provided a trial version of Scrubbly for years. Since the licensing aspect of Scrubbly used to a manual process, I always had the insight into who was requesting trial versions and when they were doing it. Since I’ve automated everything, I’ve kind of lost that trial request visibility.
Enter Google Analytics to track downloads from your site.
Now, I could just use Google Analytics to track page views on my “download a trial” page, but that wouldn’t accurately let me know if people actually clicked on a button to download a trial version of my software.
To track downloads using GA is actually pretty easy. Again, everything else I found was probably more technical than most folks are interested in, so I’ll try to simplify it here.
Here is what your download link looks like today:
<a href=”downloads/trial.zip” target=”_new”>Download</a>
Here is what your download link should look like if you want to track the download using Google Analytics:
<a href=”downloads/trial.zip” target=”_new” onclick=”_gaq.push(['_trackEvent','Trial','PC',this.href]);”>Download</a>
Pay attention to that green part up there. That’s what you need to add to your download link. Now, you’re probably wondering about those ‘Trial’ and ‘PC’ labels. That’s the ‘category’ and ‘action.’ Both are required in order for this to work (and I’ll explain that here momentarily). You can name these two things whatever you want. If you want to learn more about what we’re doing here, which is called “Event Tracking,” you can read more on the Google Developers site which talks specifically about Event Tracking for more information and technical enlightenment.
So, for my purposes, I wanted to label this download ‘Trial’ and ‘PC.’ I have another link that’s labeled ‘Trial’ and ‘Mac.’ This obviously allows me to track how many people downloaded the Mac trial of Scrubbly and how many people downloaded the PC trial of Scrubbly.
And that’s all you have to do. It’s really quite simple. Now, to go in and track your downloads, simply login to your Google Analytics account, and go to Content > Events > Overview. And then from there, click on “Event Action” and that will show you how many times each download link has been clicked. Check out the Google Analytics screenshot below. Easy peasy.
I love taking screenshots. Screenshots are great for a multitude of reasons:
“The rounded corner on this window doesn’t look right.”
“Mom, Systems Preferences on your computer can be found here.”
“When you login to the application, the chat window is over here to the right.”
“This is the box you want to check when you create your account”
I’d always known that OS X had native screen capture commands, but didn’t know I could annotate those screenshots with a simple app that’s native to OS X until yesterday. In the past, I was a big fan of Jing. Jing was cool because I had it set up to where I’d just hit a couple hot keys and I could take a screenshot of my entire screen, a certain window or application, or even a very specific section of my screen. And then, what’s even better, I could use Jing to immediately draw an arrow pointing to something in my screenshot, or draw a circle or a box around something, and even add text to my screenshots.
Yesterday Jing failed me and I needed an alternative. I was needing very clean screenshots of just an application window, and Jing would no longer do this for me. Jing would only let me select a section of my screen by dragging its crosshairs. I needed a few exact screenshots and my screenshot crosshair accuracy isn’t that good. Skitch is an alternative, but Skitch is a little too cutesy for my liking.
Enter the native stuff on OS X that’ll allow you to create and annotate beautiful screenshots.
- Press Shift + Command + 3 to take a screenshot of your entire screen
- Press Shift + Command + 4 to get crosshairs that you can use to capture a specific section of your screen
- Press Shift + Command + 4 and then press your spacebar to toggle to the camera mode, which will take a perfect screenshot of any window that you mouse over.
Your screenshots should be immediately saved to your desktop. And by default, your screenshots should open in Preview. I didn’t realize this, but Preview has editing and annotating features built in. Simple click on the ‘Show Edit Toolbar’ button to annotate your screenshots.
Below is a quick demo video of me creating and annotating screenshots on a Mac:
My mom graciously bought Elise and me a SodaStream soda maker for Christmas this year. It was a totally unexpected gift, but cool nonetheless. So, after we got back home and the holiday hustle had slowed a bit, we unpacked the SodaStream and tried making a liter of soda. In a word: blech. The carbonated water is great, the prepackaged flavor not-so-great. Actually, it’s pretty gross. It’s sweetened with something like Splenda, so your SodaStream sodas leave you with that mouthful of pennies kind of aftertaste.
I perused the web in search of some DIY soda flavors and sweeteners. A lot of what I came across was a bit involved, with some hard to procure ingredients and, well, the SodaStream is supposed to be a quick and convenient way to obtain diabeetus. I wanted something quick, easy and sweet. I decided I needed some kind of oil or extract flavoring. Something like root beer, orange, raspberry, something. I ran to Whole Foods in Austin and found nothing. It’s high time I say it now. I don’t like Whole Foods. Everyone in Austin loves. I don’t. There, got that out of the way. I’m more of a Central Market kind of guy, so that’s where I headed next. I didn’t find anything myself, but a friendly employee walked up to me and asked if she could help me find something. I told her I was looking for something like a root beer or fruity syrup for a soda maker. She walked me over to aisle 14 where they sell Monin syrups. I picked up a bottle of caramel syrup, turned it over and immediately found a recipe for caramel cream soda. Sold!
I came home, burbled up a 1 liter bottle of carbonated water, poured into a glass with a splash of the Monin caramel syrup and maybe an ounce of half and half. Wow! I’ve never had a soda prepared for me by a soda jerk, but I’d imagine this is what it’d taste like. And it was crazy simple to make. I didn’t measure the syrup or half and half (I don’t measure anything in the kitchen unless I’m baking), so my recommendation is to just mix to taste.
This morning I was chatting with my neighbor and he asked, “did you like those cherry brownies I made you for New Years?” I said I did, and asked if he used a cherry liquor. He said he used Watkins cherry extract from HEB (our local grocer). He told me on what aisle it could be found, and also said they carried root beer extract. So, I hopped on the bike, went to HEB and picked up a little bottle of Watkins root beer extract. I came home and immediately burbled another liter of carbonated water and added a splash of the root beer extract. Bah! It tasted like root beer flavored bubbly water. It wasn’t sweet. So, I boiled up a batch of simple syrup (1 cup water, 1 cup sugar) and sweetened up my liter of root beer. I think I added a bit too much root beer extract as it tasted a bit like pink bismuth, but it was still palatable — much more than the prepackaged SodaStream flavors.
So, two simple home recipes for your SodaStream:
Caramel Cream Soda
1 liter carbonated water
3-4 oz. half & half
1-2 oz. Monin caramel syrup
1 liter carbonated water
1 Tbsp. Watkins root beer extract
3-4 oz. simple syrup (equal parts water & sugar, boiled to dissolve sugar)
The other day I had an early morning phone call with my attorney. Everyone was still asleep in the house, so I ducked out into the garage to have my call and not wake anyone. The only comfortable spot in which to sit in the garage was in the Jeep. It was early, and the sun was yet to rise, so I turned on the dome light in the Jeep. By the time I was done with my phone call, the sun had come up and I neglected to turn off the dome light. Two days later I tried to start the Jeep. Nothing. It was dead. And I then remembered that I didn’t turn off the dome light.
It took me a while, but I finally able to jump start the Jeep. The only problem was, my stereo appeared to be dead. No display, wouldn’t turn on, nothing. I have a Pioneer DEH-1900MP. After some Google Fu, the best answer I could find (and the one that provided the path to least resistance) was to just disconnect and reconnect the car’s battery. That seemed simple enough. So, fingers crossed, I went out to the garage to disconnect the battery.
PRO-TIP: Remove The Negative Cable First, Re-connect The Negative Cable Last (you can read why here).
So, I disconnected the battery, went back into the house and watched a sitcom with my wife. Then went back into the garage and reconnected the battery. BAM! The DEH-1900MP came on! Of course, the clock was blinking 12:00 and all of my presets are gone, but no biggie.
Oh, and in case you’re looking for how to set a Pioneer DEH-1900MP clock, here you go (I don’t know why car stereo clocks can’t be designed intuitively):
- Press SOURCE and hold until the unit turns off.
- Press SOURCE and hold until function name appears in the display.
- Press FUNCTION to select clock.
- Press < or > to select the segment of the clock display you wish to set.
- Pressing < or > will select one segment of the clock display:
- Press ^ or v to set the clock.
- Press SOURCE again to set.
I can’t recall exactly when we did it, but it’s been years since we’ve subscribed to a cable television service. I’m pretty sure it was around the time that I was aggressively paying down our student loans. We decided to ditch cable when my wife found herself agreeing to participate in a Nielson family survey. During this survey my wife realized that of the 9,384 channels we had available to us, we watched 2 local network stations. So we ditched our cable television subscription from Time Warner. If memory serves me correctly, we were paying something like $60/month just for cable television. That’s $720 a year to be “entertained” in our own home. She and I could go on a little vacation for that kind of money.
We don’t watch a lot of television. Honestly, together we watch 3 sitcoms on network television. We have two young daughters, so genuine family time is more important to us than screen time. Anyway, without getting all preachy about how TV is mindless dribble, I’m here to sway you into connecting a computer to your television set. Having a computer hooked up to your TV in the living room means you have a computer in your living room with a really big monitor. And since your computer will be hooked up to the internet, you have the entire web from which to choose your content. Here I’ll just tell you how mine is setup and some basic (non-technical) recommendations.
First, we’re an Apple family. Every computer in our house is a Mac. The computer that I have hooked up to our TV is a Mac mini. The Mac mini is beautiful. It’s tiny. It’s silent. It’s a fully-functioning Apple desktop computer. It’s so small and quiet you won’t even know its huddled next to or behind your television. I bought a returned Mac mini from my local Frys for around $500. A brand new Mac mini today will run you $599. Don’t scoff. Remember, you’re paying between $700 – $1,000 a year for cable television. I’ve had the same Mac mini hooked to my TV for almost 5 years. Apple sells refurbished Mac minis. Also, check eBay or your local craigslist.org.
Since my Mac mini is an older model, I hooked mine up to my TV with a VGA (monitor) cable and had to use and audio cable to get sound from the computer to the TV. With the newer models, you can just hook your Mac mini to your TV (I’m assuming you have an widescreen, flat panel HDTV) with an HDMI cable. The HDMI will transmit both the picture and sound in one cable.
And that’s pretty much it. That’s all you have to do. You now have a Mac mini connected to your TV! Oh, wait. You probably want a mouse and keyboard, right? You have many options there. I bought a Logitech diNovo Edge wireless keyboard with a trackpad. $100 for a keyboard is a lot, but it’s a great keyboard for “couch surfing,” and having the trackpad right there on the keyboard makes is simple, convenient and sexy to control your computer from the comfort of your arm chair. Another FREE option is to use Apple’s built-in Screen Sharing. Screen Sharing is a simple visual way to control your Mac mini from your laptop (or any other Mac computer). There’s always a laptop or two in our living room, so I just use Screen Sharing to control the Mac mini.
And since you’re using Screen Sharing, I’m assuming you have wireless internet. For us, the Mac mini is tucked away in an TV armoire at a place in the house that is very far from our wireless router. Our Mac mini’s wireless internet connection was really bad. So I ran 100 feet of CAT 5e cable through the attic and to our router. Now my Mac mini has the fastest internet connection in the house.
Now the cool things you can experience with a Mac mini hooked up to your TV and a fast internet connections are many. Here are a few that I use and enjoy:
- Torrents – Torrent are peer-to-peer files shared over a wide network of users. I’m not going to bore you with the geeky details. You can read more about what Torrents are here. You can download torrents of independent movies, TV shows, audio, games, software, etc. Just make sure what you’re downloading isn’t copyright protected and/or punishable for pirating. I use Transmission as my Torrent client.
- Vimeo and YouTube - hours can easily be passed by browsing video sites. It’s fun for the family. Just do a YouTube search for “sharks.”
- Hulu – you can watch some TV shows and movies for free. Netflix is also a household name. Of course, you can get wrapped up in paying monthly fees for these services.
- Instead of TV, you should watch… - this is a great site with interesting and [usually] educational videos culled from YouTube.
- r/ArtisanVideos – this a subreddit that has really cool videos of craftsmen (craftspeople?) making their wares.
- Movies – my Mac mini is an older version, so it has an optical drive (DVD player). We also buy/rent movies from iTunes or Amazon. Something you’ll probably want to consider is ripping all of your old DVDs. Download Handbrake (it’s FREE!) and rip all of your DVDs. They’re just sitting there, taking up space anyway. And when you’re done ripping all of your DVDs, post them for sale on craigslist. Make a little money.
- Surf with the family. I have NetNewsWire on my Mac mini so the entire family can view RSS feeds. You could also use Google Reader.
- Send a web page from Chrome on your laptop to a new tab in Chrome on the Mac mini using SendTab. This is great when you’re on your laptop and you say, “Hahahaha! Check out this picture of this cat doing chin ups.” And then at the click of a button, the photo shows up on your 96″ HDTV in the living room for everyone to see.
- iTunes – now you can have your entire music collection in your living room. Extra points if you’ve your TV hooked up to your home stereo/surround sound.
- Pandora – free internet radio (excellent quality, too) in your living room as well. Pandora’s awesome when you have company over and you want some upbeat jazz or classical ambient music, or, this time of year, when you’d like to play some Christmas music but don’t have many holiday digital music files in your iTunes library.
When my daughter was old enough to speak English and count to ten, I decided it was time she knew how to operate the phone. The first instruction was how to dial 911, and what 911 is there for. I also wanted her to be able to call me, her mom, grandparents, neighbors, etc. So I wrote down our names and phone numbers on a piece of paper and stuck said paper on the fridge. That piece of paper has since gone missing. I decided I’d print out a nice looking “directory” for our 6-year-old, and our 6-month-old (because she’ll need it in the next couple years).
I wanted to include photos in the directory and had a bitch of a time getting it to look right in a table using Mac OS X’s Pages application. After poking around for more minutes than I’d like to admit, I finally found how to create a background image for a cell in a table in Pages.
First, make sure you have the Inspector window open in Pages (View > Show Inspector). Then select the table icon at the top of the Inspector (should be a yellow grid with 6 cells). Now, select the cell in which you’d like to insert a photo or image. Now back to Inspector. See the dropdown menu toward the bottom that reads “Cell Background?” Click the dropdown and select ‘Image Fill.’ You can choose different ways for your image to be inserted in the cell. I chose ‘Scale to Fill’ because I wanted tight photos for my directory. I had to do a little cropping and resizing in Photoshop, but got it to look the way I wanted it to.
And then I just went into my iPhoto library and exported the photos for the people who I listed on our little family directory. And if you haven’t already done so, this would be a good time to employ the “Faces” feature that comes with iPhoto.
And in case you need it and it makes your life easier, here is a link to download a Kids Family Phone Directory for you to edit, print and hang on your fridge or somewhere near the telephone. It’s never too early (or late) to teach your child how to use the phone.
I’ve had the same vanity email address for upwards of 12 years now. In that time, I’ve been a happy Dreamhost customer. Dreamhost has provided hosting for a myriad of websites that I run and all of my email. Until now. Because my wife gets a lot of spam. We’ve been a Mac family for nearly a decade and while Mail.app does great at spam filtering, we needed a better server side filtering solution so the spam wouldn’t even make it to the inboxes on our respective Macbooks. And, even more importantly, we needed a way to stop spam before it hit the iPhones. In case you need it, here’s a really great method by which you can setup a “secret” Gmail account to do spam filtering for your iPhone while maintaining your same (non-Gmail) email address.
Anyway, I decided I finally wanted to make the switch and migrate our email from Dreamhost to Gmail (or Google Apps for Domains). Thankfully Dreamhost will still host your websites and allow you to use Gmail for your email. Honestly, I was a little intimidated by the process at first because I was nervous that I’d screw something up and lose 12 years of saved email messages. I’d been putting off this migration for a couple years and, for whatever reasons, I finally decided to bite the bullet and just do it. I did a lot of Googling and while there are some helpful pointers out there, I wanted to get it from the horse’s mouth, so I wrote Dreamhost’s Customer Support and told them that I wanted to move from their mail servers to Gmail. Within an hour, I received pretty straight forward and easy instructions from Dreamhost on how to make the move to Gmail.
I hope I can help. Keep in mind that part of this depends on Google’s email setup instructions, so I’ll refer to theirs where needed since they are pretty detailed. On the Dreamhost side of things, keep the email accounts here active (don’t change to Google on our panel until you’re completely done). You can create he email accounts in the Google Apps system before you “throw the switch”. That means as well that you can configure email programs to include their IMAP settings alongside ours. Then, the matter of moving mail becomes as simple as drag and drop. So, this brings us to how to setup the email accounts in an email program. Just let me know if you don’t recall how to setup a Dreamhost email account in an email program and which is being used. As for the Google Gmail accounts, this goes over setting up an IMAP connection:
That’s general, so if you need specific email program steps, this is the top level article for that:
After the new email account is setup in the email program, just drag and drop the messages and folders you want to copy or create on the Gmail servers. After every email program has their email moved over, then, you return to the Dreamhost panel and visit the Custom MX page (https://panel.dreamhost.com/?tree=mail.mx) and click edit next to the domain and then choose Gmail on the page that loads. That’ll start routing email to Google’s email servers for the domain. I hope this helps. If you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to let me know.
Now, keep in mind, this is the method by which you migrate your IMAP email account(s) from Dreamhost to Gmail. The steps I followed were just as Casey from Dreamhost had given me in the above, and our outlined for sake of ease below:
- Setup Google Apps for your domain. (Don’t worry, this won’t mess anything up or interfere with your website(s) or email address(es). Just setup Google Apps for your domain.
- Setup your user(s) in Google Apps with email addresses ([email protected]). Again, don’t worry. This is not going to mess up your existing email. Your email will still be coming through to your Dreamhost hosted email.
- Now you’re going to setup your new Google Apps (Gmail) email address in your email client (Mail.app, Sparrow, Thunderbird, whatever you use). So you’re going to have your normal email address (that’s still receiving email) from Dreamhost. And your going to have your new (not yet working) email address from Google Apps. You’re going to have two [email protected] email accounts setup in your email program. Here are instructions from Google on how to setup your new account in your mail client of choice.
- Now you’re going to copy over all of your folders, drafts, sent messages and the messages in your inbox from your current, working email account to the new, not-working-yet Google Apps account. So you’ll want to physically drag and drop everything from your current email account to the new email account, all from within Mail.app (or whatever email program you’re using). If you have a folder called “Family Stuff,” drag and drop it from your Dreamhost account to the new Google Maps. Drag the folder(s) from the pane that has all of your folders to your new [Gmail] folder in the same pane. All your doing is just moving the messages. The new email address doesn’t have to be working yet. You’re just copying data over before turning the key to switch on the new email address. Note that this was the time consuming part. My wife and I both have a lot of folders and a lot of saved messages. And we both wanted to save and move over all of our ‘sent’ messages, and those were tens of thousands of messages. Just take your time here. I copied over a three months worth of messages at a time. Worth noting that Gmail wouldn’t let me copy over messages that were larger than 25 MB. This helped me delete stuff that I really didn’t need. Again, drag and drop all of your folders, sent messages, drafts, and whatever else you want to move over. And don’t forget the messages that are in your inbox! When you’re done, double check to make sure you’ve copied everything over that you need.
- After you’ve double checked to make sure you’ve copied over everything that you need, now you’re ready to officially make the switch. Yay! Now just go to your Dreamhost Panel and click the blue button that reads “I’m ready to use Gmail now!”
And that should be it. It took a little less than 2 hours for DNS to propagate and our new Google Apps email addresses were receiving email in our new inboxes. And we now have the awesome power of Gmail spam filtering for our email addresses. Note that you’ll want to login to Gmail and check your Spam box to make sure good messages aren’t getting filed in there. And if you get a spam message that makes it to your inbox, login to Gmail and spam it there.
In summary, migrating from Dreamhost email to Gmail isn’t daunting. Moving all of your saved and filed messages is time consuming, but totally worth it.
I’m totally stealing this from Marc Cizravi, so a big hat tip to him for taking the time to post this tutorial on his site.
I’m a fan of Western Digital external drives. No real reason, other than when a powerbrick for a clunky LaCie drive failed on me, it was time to switch. Since then, Western Digital externals have served me just fine. They look good, work well, and have always been at a price that suits me.
That all said, a couple years ago I purchased at 750 GB Passport drive from Costco. Great drive, but it had this stupid “WD SmartWare” partition that came with it and, for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out how to get rid of it. I wasn’t going to break my back trying to hack the thing. My inclination was to just use Disk Utility and erase and repartition. That didn’t work. So off to the Google I went and found Marc’s great tutorial on how to remove WD SmartWare using your Mac. And here it is, republished without permission here:
Mac STEP 1:Firmware Update: Release 1.032 (11/19/09)
Western Digital’s portable ‘Passport drive’
Mac OS® X, Tiger®, Leopard®, Snow Leopard™
This update is recommended for Mac OS X 10.4.11, Mac OS X 10.5.8 and any version of Mac OS X 10.6.
- Disconnect all other external drives from the computer except for the My Book or My Passport hard drive you want to update.
- Ensure that the My Book or My Passport drive is connected to a USB port on your computer.
- Download Firmware Updater for Mac. (mirror here)
- Unzip the Firmware Updater and double click WD Essential and Elite Firmware Updater for Mac.
- Verify the attached drive’s serial number located on the back of the drive.
- Select the drive displayed.
- Click Update Firmware.
- Drag both My Book Drive and WD SmartWare Virtual CD icons to Trash bin.
- Click OK.
- Click Accept the End User’s License Agreement (EULA).
- Click Yes.
- Once the updater is finished, click Exit.
- Turn off the drive – For My Passport, disconnect the USB cable. For My Book disconnect both USB and power cables.
- Wait 10 seconds. Reconnect the USB/power cables.
Mac STEP 2:Download and run the VCD Manager
- Download VCD Manager VirtualCDManager_v1003.zip for Mac to your desktop. (mirror here)
- Unzip the utility and double click to open.
- Click Continue to disable the VCD.
- Click Accept the End User’s License Agreement (EULA).
- Click Drive to configure and select your drive.
- Verify desired Virtual CD setting.
- Once the utility has found your drive, click Configure Drive.
- Once the Virtual CD setting is finished, click Exit.
- Power cycle the drive – For My Passport, disconnect the USB cable. For My Book disconnect both USB and power cables.
- Wait 10 seconds. Reconnect the USB/power cables.
- Verify that the VCD no longer appears.
I received a UPS tracking number from an eBay seller the other day. I was going to check on the status of my item’s delivery this morning while I was holding our week-old daughter. I’m usually a cmd+c, cmd+tab to Chrome, cmd+v kind of guy, but since I was holding a baby with my left arm, I instead right-clicked on the tracking number. And before I could even mouse down to ‘Copy’, I saw a ‘Track Shipment…’ option. I clicked on Track Shipment and UPS’s site immediately popped up from within Mail.app with my item’s shipment status.
It’s those little things that make OS X so awesome.
Note: this is what I’ve found to work for iMovie ’11 (9.0.3) running on Lion 10.7.3
I was having a bitch of a time just importing the 15 minutes of video I shot with my iPhone of our daughter hunting Easter eggs into iMovie yesterday. Her grandparents, who live 1,000 miles away, really wanted to see video the video that I shot, and I was getting really frustrated in my attempts to share our video.
After some preliminary searching, I found a few threads where it was recommended that you delete the iMovie preference files (Home Folder>Library>Preferences) Look for anything like com.apple.imovie… and simply delete them. I found two files:
Note: if you’re having a hard time finding your Library directory, take a look at my article here.
It was also recommended to repair disk permissions. I didn’t think that would do anything, but I tried it anyway. To repair your disk permissions, go to: Home Folder>Applications>Utilities>Disk Utility. Then, select your hard drive in the left side of the app and then click the ‘Repair Permissions’ button in the main section and wait for Disk Utility to do its thing.
Unfortunately, deleting preference files and repairing disk permissions didn’t fix my problem. iMovie was still crashing when I tried to import my videos from iPhoto.
Finally I found a fix that worked for me. Simply move your ‘iMovie Projects’ folder and then delete it from the ‘Movies’ directory. Your iMovie Projects folder should be in the Movies folder of finder. I simply copied mine to my desktop, and then deleted it from ‘Movies’. Apparently there’s a tendency for something to get corrupted in the iMovie Projects folder, and when it’s deleted and iMovie is started from scratch, all is well again.
“And I’m really happy for young people to have an outlet to create, especially apps for the phone. It’s like a class of people who aren’t big, rich companies that already have it made. They’re just young people, who have a talent – they can make something special and as good as they can, and they find out, ‘Oh, I can make a little money, or I can lose some money, but now I can try something else.’ Getting that little experience in business and entrepreneurship and what it’s lead to for me in my life, I’m always a big supporter of it.”
Early in February I was inspired to finally build an iPhone app. I’ve had countless app ideas, but this one I knew I could do, and I felt strongly that there would be a market for it. I knew from before the word go that I wasn’t going to learn how to code the app myself. I spent three miserable years of my life in college as a computer science major and I knew I didn’t want to try to learn how to code again. I don’t like coding, I suck at it, I find absolutely no fun in it, and my brain just doesn’t work that way. I greatly admire, respect and hold in high esteem those who do code. In my career I’ve really enjoyed working with developers, and I like to think they’ve enjoyed working with me. And that’s why I leave the coding to those who enjoy it and are good at it.
Years ago Elise told me she would love a simple grocery list app. She wanted one that would allow her to type or copy & paste in her grocery list items, and then be able to check off each item as they were procured in the grocery store. It’s a really simple app idea and I’ve always liked the concept. I’ve kept this app idea in the back of my head for a couple years now. When I finally had some downtime this last summer, I created a graphical workflow for the app as I had interpreted it. Once I started on the workflow design, the project started becoming fun, and I got a bit of wind in my sail. After spending a couple days on the design, I reached out to a friend who was the sales director for a local app development shop. A week later, he came back to me and said, “iOS 5 is slated to have this exact app. If you still want to do it, it’s going to cost you $20,000.”
And that totally took the wind out of my sail. A few months later, iOS 5 came out and, if I had to guess, the app that was supposed to be just like mine was ‘Reminders.’ That wasn’t the case. I kept my workflow design filed away on my computer and it wasn’t until I recently tripped over some inspiration that I decided I was just going to have my app built anyway. Reminders isn’t the same app, and there are tons of list, to-do, grocery list and getting things done apps out there, but my gut kept telling me that mine was unique because it solved MY (wife’s) specific problem. And that is how great things are created.
Late one recent evening I opened my workflow design in Photoshop and gave it a once over. I made a couple minor changes, wrote the “story” of what problem my app is supposed to solve, and then I sought a developer to help me. Two years ago I hired a developer when I barely had enough money to pay him for the work, and today that little idea has turned into a successful and profitable little side business called Scrubbly.
I consider myself very blessed to be of the “get shit done” mentality. I love having a to-do list, but I hate having stuff on said to-do list. I get things done, and this was one of those things that I had to get into motion or the mental inventory would weigh on me. Like most, there’s a small part of me that thinks, “Oh, but what if some developer steals my idea and makes millions?!” With Scrubbly, and other ventures, I’ve learned that “what if” is a leading cause of procrastination. Someone else might think my idea is great, but that’s just it, it’s my idea and vision. I’m the one that’s passionate about it. I’m the one that’s treating it like it’s my baby and will push and fight and make it happen. The passion and the enthusiasm are the driving forces behind seeing an idea through to a product. It’s all about the execution.
So while my developer was working on the nuts and bolts of the app, I worked on the other facets of the app, like graphic design, copywriting & marketing strategy. I knew I wanted a landing page website for the app, so I built that. I spent a couple hours creating and updating the copy on the site, as well as swapping out icons, updating meta data and app screenshots. I also created a couple menu items: a “buy” button (an extra call to action never hurts) and a link to watch a demonstration video. I think a demo video is a must have for most every product. I created a simple demo video of Scrubbly, and I think it really helps in showing customers what the app actually does. I did the same thing here with SlimList.
I probably spent the most time on the logo. My first inclination was to outsource the logo design, but thought I’d give it a shot first. I kind of knew what I wanted in my head, so I figured I’d try to harness my vision and get it onto my screen. My initial design idea was a list (a vector image of a piece of paper with a list written up on it) and some kind of belt or ribbon wrapped around the middle of the list to make the list look “slim.” I also knew I wanted a checkmark on the list. I didn’t know how I would go about making the ribbon to make the list look slim, so I started playing around with general button shapes and checkmarks. It didn’t take me long to figure out how to create the square with rounded edges and the gradient, nor did it take too terribly long to create the checkmark. I was actually quite surprised with how my first iterations came out, so I just kind of stuck with what I’d come up with on my own. As I thought more about the logo and looked at the one I’d created myself, I realized that what I’d come up with was simple and to the point, so I decided to stick with it. It works.
At first my logo was going to be red. Then I simply changed it to blue in Photoshop because Elise’s favorite color is blue. Blue stuck. Blue also invokes feelings of calm, rest, peace & tranquility. Blue’s always a good bet. Plus, simple blue icons on my iPhone always seem to attract my eye. Just look at Skype, Facebook, Amazon and Google — all simple. All blue.
Because I’d spent many intimate hours with the SlimList workflow diagram last year, there wasn’t a whole lot more that my developer needed from me. He’d plug away at the code and reach me via Skype with any questions he had. We collaborated very well and ironed out any kinks together as they came up.
I had a couple last minute feature requests toward the end of the project (like the little ‘note’ icon for list items and the ability to repurpose a list stored in the ‘Logbook’), and we had to design the search functionality together as I hadn’t really thought that part through in my original design.
And then the day came when he sent me the final version of SlimList for approval. I signed off on it, we collectively indulged in a sigh of relief, and then it was time to submit the app to Apple for approval.
I’ll spare you the details in submitting an iPhone app to Apple for approval because honestly, I don’t know all the minute details of the process as I had my developer do the legwork there. I’d heard that the process can be somewhat daunting and painstaking for a first-timer, so I saved myself the headache and paid him to create the profiles and upload the binary. I created my own developer account, setup my “company”, categorized the app and handled all of the marketing aspects such as the logo, screenshots, keywords, description and pricing.
The name SlimList was kind of an accident. When I designed the app, I called it “Simple List Maker” As it came time to think about what to actually call it, I first thought of its acronym – SLM, which quickly became SLiM, and then SlimList. I really like “Slim” because I wanted it to be a “slimmed down” and simple list management app by design. There are tons of list apps out there, but most of them are bloated with so-called features that are too clunky and aren’t appealing or useful as an everyday to-do list management tool for most people.
It’s impossible to put into words how much fun I had, and how much I learned from the experience. And I can’t wait to get started on the next one!
I’ve been a long-time advocate of hosting my own videos on my various websites, which is in-line with my general “owning your own content” mantra. You never know, YouTube and Vimeo may just up and disappear one day. And that’s fine if you have local copies of your precious videos.
I don’t remember why, but many years back I researched and decided to convert all of my videos to Flash before posting them in blog posts. And I fell in love with Techspansion’s VisualHub. It was inexpensive, quick, simple, and it did exactly what I needed it to do in that it took the .mov or .mp4 files that I would export from iMovie and convert them to .flv files. And it did the conversion crazy-fast!
When OS X Lion came out, VisualHub stopped working. Even though they’d stopped supporting VisualHub all-together, Techspansion was awesome enough to offer an update for Lion. And it worked for a short period of time.
It’d been two months since I last posted a video on one of my websites. Last night I had a video of our unborn baby kicking his or her older sister, and I really wanted to post it on Janicek.com for the grandparents to see. I fired up VisualHub and was immediately greeted with a “Download Extras” screen. I thought I needed to update VisualHub again. I manually installed the updates only to be greeted with this error when I tried to convert my video:
Apple Script Error
Cant get text item 1 of “”. (-1728)
So I decided it was time to move on. VisualHub had been nice to me over the years, but it was time to find a new solution. After some quick Googling, I found iSkysoft’s Video Converter for OS X. For $35, you can’t really beat it. It’s simple, intuitive and quick, just like VisualHub once was. It allows me to take my .mov and .mp4 files that I export from iMovie and easily convert them to .flv files to play on my websites. iSkysoft Video Converter for Mac lets you easily convert videos, movies and TV shows to optimized preset formats to fit iPad, iPod (iPod touch 4), iPhone (iPhone 4S) and other devices. It also lets you onvert video to and from a vast array of video formats including AVI, WMV, MPG, and MOV. Video Converter for Mac is compatible with Mac OS X Leopard, Snow Leopard and Lion!
Five or so years ago I gave my 14″ iBook G4 to my in-laws because we’d upgraded and my in-laws really needed a Mac. To date, that’s one of the best laptops I’ve owned (I have a little emotional attachment because it was my first Mac notebook). When we visited the in-laws for Christmas this year, Steve (dad-in-law) and I noticed that it was on the verge of going to meet Steve Jobs in the sky. Here’s a video of the sound that the iBook’s drive was making:
It’s really easy for me to sell the notion of buying a new Mac to my in-laws (or anyone, for that matter), but it just wasn’t in the cards for them. They kicked around the idea of buying a new iPad as their collective Christmas present, but they’re needing to focus their finances on getting their house ready to sell. So, I offered to bring the trusty iBook back to Austin and replace the drive for them. I thought this was going to be a simple feat seeing how I’ve done this kind of surgery before.
Well, upgrading an iBook G4 hard drive ain’t easy. And to add insult to injury, I figured I’d upgrade the OS to Leopard.
Here’s what I learned.
- Getting to the iBook hard drive is intensive. I used this YouTube video to help me through most of the process. Worth noting that this video is of a 12″ iBook while mine is a 14″ iBook. So there are quite a few extra screws on the 14″ model. Just have patience.
- An iBook uses an IDE drive. Most drives today are SATA. I drove over to Fry’s yesterday afternoon and picked up a 160GB 2.5″ IDE drive for $75. One of my gadgets that’s worth it’s weight in gold is my universal drive adapter, which made it easy to format the drive and install Leopard.
- Since an iBook is PowerPC architecture, there are a few caveats:
- If you’re installing Leopard onto an external hard drive first, make sure you partition and format the drive correctly. Using Disk Utility, select the root drive, then create 1 partition (or however many you want/need). And here’s the important part!: Click the ‘Options’ button. That will bring up a dialog where you choose the partition scheme. For a PowerPC Mac, you’ll need to check Apple Partition Map (not GUID Partition Table).
- Here’s the awesome kicker: you’re not going to be able to install OS X Leopard onto the Apple Partition Mapped drive. This means you’re going to have to install Leopard on another external drive (assuming you’re doing this via the external drive route) that’s formatted using the GUID Partition Table. Once you have Leopard installed on the GUID drive, use Carbon Copy Cloner (or whichever app you fancy) to make a bootable clone of the drive with Leopard on it onto the Apple Partition drive.
It took a lot of trial and error, scouring the web and re-doing things to finally get Leopard up and running on the iBook G4, but it was totally worth it.
I have a MacBook Air running OS X 10.7.2 (Lion) and over the past couple weeks, my Command + Tab (keyboard shortcut to switch applications, documents, etc.) will randomly stop working. After a couple minutes of sleuthing, I’ve found that I’m not the only one who’s having problems with command + tab.
Here’s what I’ve tried:
- Restarting the Dock by opening Terminal (Applications > Utilities > Terminal) and typing “killall Dock” (sans quotes)
- Rebooting. This always does the trick, but who wants to reboot their Mac, even if it’s an Air and reboots crazy-quick?!
- Repairing Disk Permissions (Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility). Select your local drive and click the ‘Repair Disk Permissions’ button.
- And what I’ve found to work like a charm is simply turning off Screen Sharing. I always have Screen Sharing open because I’m often times accessing the Mac Mini that’s hooked up to our TV in the living room.
So, if your Command + Tab isn’t working in OS X, simply try closing Screen Sharing.
I know how frustrating it can be in finding that “next great thing” for you. You’re going through the motions, sending out resumes, reaching out to friends, colleagues, acquaintances, looking for any kind of lead — that tiny little glimpse of a light at the end of that long and dark tunnel. That little light is out there, but you might not be able to see it because you’re squinting with disdain and your eyebrows are all furrowed.
You’re probably downtrodden, disheartened, discouraged and more than likely, at some point, downright mad. Don’t be. If you didn’t get an email or a call after you sent in your resume, followed up, interviewed, whatever, on that job that you knew fit you to a T, then it wasn’t meant to be. Call it fate, call it destiny, call it your resume got stuck in someone’s spam folder or they just didn’t like you. It wasn’t meant to be. Stick your chest out and move on.
And do it with a smile.
For me, attitude and enthusiasm plays just as an important role in my hiring decision as knowledge and experience. For the past 2 weeks my number one goal has been to find a rockstar of a Project Manager. I’ve met with some really great and qualified candidates, but the resounding and missing ingredient has been enthusiasm. I know that three recent candidates with whom I spoke really wanted the job, but they just fell short in conveying the, “I really want this job!” attitude.
I’m sure nerves play a large part in conveying that enthusiasms because, let’s face it, guards are up in the interview process. We all have that tendency to be stern, straight-faced and “professional,” especially when our livelihood is on the line. Let that guard down a little and let your happy, enthusiastic and human side shine though.
And here’s the easiest and most effective strategy in conveying your excitement about a job: just ask for it. If the buy signs are all there, ask for the sale! Strike while the iron’s hot!
“I’ve done x, y & z at my last 2 jobs. This job sounds perfectly in line with where I want to go in my professional development and I think I’d be a huge asset to your team because of my abilities to solve the problems you’ve outlined for me. I can’t put into words how excited I am about this opportunity. Can I have the job?”
You may or may not get a yes or no right then and there, but you’ve told me you can do the job, you’re really excited about the opportunity, it’s where you want to be, and you asked me for the job.
You just went straight to the top of the list.
When the iPhone 4S was announced, I knew I wanted one. My last upgrade was the iPhone 3GS a couple years ago and honestly, I was sold on the 4S’s 8 megapixel camera and 1080p 30 frames-per-second video upgrade. I haven’t shopped point and shoot cameras in a while, but $300 for a good camera that shoots 1080p video sounds like a good enough deal for me. And then you add on a phone, iPod, internet device and a borderline AI digital assistant, you’ve got a single device in your pocket that’ll do pretty much everything I need it to do. We have a new baby due in April, and as many photos I took and video as I shot with the first child, I like the idea of being able to snap all of those photos and take great videos from a single device.
I wasn’t the Apple fanboy who pre-ordered the iPhone 4S. I figured I’d wait a few weeks until the demand died down and I could just walk into the Apple store and pick up a new phone. The family and I happened to be in Katy this past Saturday (the day after the iPhone 4S hit store shelves) and I decided to just swing by the AT&T store, just for shits and giggles to see if maybe they had a few iPhones left in stock. I was surprised when the salesperson told me that she had plenty of 32GB and 64GB models in both black and white. I let her quickly sell me a black 64GB model. While we were there, we went ahead and upgraded my wife to a 16GB iPhone 4S as well (the 16GB had to be ordered).
But all that’s kind of beside the point. When I got my shiny new iPhone, I immediately synced it with my iTunes account and pretty much got everything how I wanted it (folders, apps, settings, etc.) I was almost ready to wipe my old iPhone 3GS to sell it when I realized that my new iPhone didn’t have my text message history. All of my previous text messages were still on my old iPhone 3GS (or hopefully stored as a backup on my MacBook).
After doing some scouring with the Google, I learned that your text/SMS messages are stored and backed up on your Mac when you do a backup of your iPhone via iTunes.
Your iPhone’s backup file on your Mac is located here:
If, for whatever reason, you can’t find your ‘Library’ folder, try pressing the ‘Option’ key when you click on the ‘Go’ menu item in Finder.
Your backup files should look something like this in Finder (click image below to enlarge):
What do you do with your iPhone backup files?
You should see a bunch of folders and a ton of individual files with non-descript names like “0b6dc57b11f9862d66c0a08f34c0786ddf6b6427″. Those are your backed-up files. Awesome, huh? What the hell are you supposed to do with those? Well, you can go through them individually and you might see a photo or two among the thousands of other files in that backup folder. You could get yourself some kind of SQLite browser and spend your precious time figuring that out.
What I found was a cool little application called Decipher TextMessage from DecipherTools. It takes all of those weirdly-named backup files, pulls them into a nice-looking, well-packaged user interface that lets you view, print, save and copy your text message archives onto your computer’s hard drive. I don’t necessarily want all of those old text messages on my new iPhone, but I do want those old text messages saved, if only for the sake of for posterity.
If you want to save your text messages from your iPhone before upgrading, you just can’t beat the $9.99 price tag for Decipher’s TextMessage. I was hesitant at first, but quickly reminded myself that someone took the time to bundle a slick and easy-to-use software application that does something really well, and saves folks time in researching convoluted ways to archive their text messages from their iPhones. You can buy Decipher TextMessage directly from their site or by clicking the Decipher TextMessage image below: