Picasaweb Mobile for iPhone

I have been looking high and low for either an app (preferably free) or a workaround that allows me to view my entire Picasa web album set on my iPhone. The standard site automatically redirects to the mobile version and I can’t find a way to turn that off. The problem with that is the limitations built into the Picasa site. You can’t see the complete list of albums and if you have more than 100 pictures in an album, you can’t see all of them.
I have found a 99 cent alternative, even though I think what I spent for the extra storage space with Picasa should entitle me to be able to see my whole account on my mobile device. (c’mon Google, all you need to do is put a link at the bottom for “desktop mode” just like many of your other iPhone web apps.)

The alternative, Web Albums is available for just $.99 at the App Store and does its job pretty simply and plainly; it displays all of your Picasa albums and all your photos.

The only thing lacking in the app is Favorites or the ability to add multiple albums, such as those you have been invited to by friends. I’d also like to see some Facebook and Flikr integration as well as the ability to save images to my iPhone without having to email it to myself. Otherwise it’s pretty solid.

Leave comments or links if you know of better options.

Win7 Parental controls

In a previous post I mentioned that AT&T made some fair software for Parental Controls.

After installing Windows 7 on the computers in our home, I found a nice Parental Control Panel. It has you setup a Microsoft Passport account for each user you intend to add to the Parental Controls panel. Windows 7 then tracks the user through their control panel.

I have it running on my daughter’s machine and it’s very nice. Whenever she runs across a site that is blocked automatically by the software, she can simply click a button to request access to the site. I then get an email telling me to administer her account. I can go to our family’s site and administer which users can go to which sites. My daughter’s account will show all her requested sites and allow me to approve or deny them after a review.

It’s very easy to use and works in the background. It doesn’t seem to use many resources and controlling it from either my computer or one of the others is pretty simple. Check it out and feel free to leave a comment if you know of other solutions.

Internet Meme reference guide

Ever wonder what the heck is up with rickrolling? Look it up.

http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/rickroll

AboutRickroll_by_efg9000

Rickrolling is a bait and switch: a person provides a web link that he or she claims is relevant to the topic at hand (like this one), but the link actually takes the user to the 1987 Rick Astley video Never Gonna Give You Up. The URL can be masked or obfuscated so a future victim cannot determine the true source of the link without clicking (like this). If a dumb cluck does click and is led to a web page with the song, he or she is said to have been Rickrolled (also spelled Rickroll’d).

Look up the meanings and origins of many of the internet’s more popular memes. By the way, “NSFW” means “Not Safe For Work”, which means it is probably PG-13 or worse…

http://knowyourmeme.com/

They have tons of information to get you caught up with all the goofy trends on the “internets” or the “tubes” or whatever…

AT&T Uverse

No, AT&T is not paying me.

I’ve been using AT&T Uverse for about 8 months now. I’m very happy with the service and the features. I was actually a very loyal Cox subscriber for several years leading up to just a few months before canceling my service with them. We had internet and television service with them through 5 homes and 5 cities. Service was always great. Mind you, Service is not the same as Customer Service; I’ve never gotten great Customer Service with any cable or internet provider, until AT&T.

I was paying for Cox’s highest level of service, which evolved and occasionally had services added or improved. I was very happy with the features and especially the speed of the internet connection. Several months before I dropped them, I read articles about how they were going to be testing new “features” in certain test markets. A few weeks into it, I read that my town was one of the test markets. The last time I lived in a test market, it was very good for me. I was a beta tester for cable broadband; the only Mac beta tester in town. They had the throttle wide open for testing and gaming online was amazing, especially in the days when 56k had previously been the best option.

So, given this past experience, I wasn’t so worried about being a tester for Cox. I thought the worst case would be that I am without service on the rare occasion and I could call or submit a report and actually be of help to the improvements. I was wrong. Service was intermittent with television and the internet that I was paying so handsomely for was really slow. I was paying for the 12Mb connection. I know that 12Mb was the “best case scenario”, but over and over in my testing the best I could get was 1.2-1.5Mb down and a paltry 312k-1Mb up. There were no new features with the television, no new widgets or toys with the internet service, no letters explaining what was going on and no explanation or attempts to rectify the situation when I contacted them on several occasions.

Then along comes Uverse. I knew I wanted to leave Cox, just out of spite. I had relatives that had Dish/satellite and I didn’t care for that implementation. I haven’t had a home phone service in several years and I don’t intend to get it just for shooting a signal back to the ‘net for satellite internet service or for uploads with some of the other services that are available in our area. it took a few weeks to decide and a lot of research, but I was glad I took the plunge.

AT&T came and ran a fiber line from the street to my house, gave me all new equipment without rental fees and even wired it to a couple of locations without charging me for the work. Not a bad start.

Then I saw the interface on the DVR, the ability to record four channels at the same time (vs Cox’s max of 2), the quality of the HD channels and the integration of my Flikr, internet and cable TV accounts as well as its own iPhone app and portal website. I think there was only one drawback, and it might not even be a real drawback.

Parental Controls. I have always wanted a good way to protect the whole family from the internet-at-large but not eat up all my computer’s resources. AT&T has some decent software, but don’t install it on a machine that has to have any horse power left for photo manipulation or video compression. Install it on the kids’ machines and administer it from there; at least the kids will be the only ones having to deal with an app that asks for a password to do stuff and slows other apps down. Granted, the protection is there and Cox’s solution is down-right crude in comparison, but it could be better.

All in all, Uverse is wonderful. The few times I have had issues, they have been responsive and nice. One Sunday we woke to the kids complaining that the TV and internet was out. I ran a few simple tests of my own, cycled the power on the gateway and DVRs and nothing helped. I gave AT&T a call and got a real person. They sent TWO techs out to fix the problem; one guy for the stuff in the house and another for everything from the house to their box down the street. Turns out I live too close to the local AM radio station and that we had been having problems on our equipment since installation, but no serious outages. The guys installed filters on the equipment in the house and re-ran the wires in their own boxes to reduce the interference and we’ve had no issues since. They had everything fixed within a couple hours of our first call… on a Sunday morning.

What else is there to say?

Find a better version of that image – TinEye

FirefoxFor Firefox users; you are already ahead of the curve by simply NOT USING Internet Explorer. For you folks still using IE, get with the program and download Firefox, Chrome or even Safari, but for Pete’s sake, dump IE. You’re making the rest of the human race look bad.

Anyway, Firefox has some really cool plugins (Adblock Plus or XMarks included) and TinEye is certainly one of them. I help my kids find cool desktop backgrounds for their computers and sometimes the pics they like are too small to make decent backgrounds. TinEye allows you to search the web for better versions of the same or similar images.

From the site:

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/8922

TinEye is a reverse image search engine. The plugin adds a right-click menu item that allows you to search for an image to find out where it came from, how it is being used, if modified versions of the image exist, or to find higher resolution versions.

Block Ads in Firefox – Adblock Plus

Adblock Plus is one of those application enhancers that kind of straddles the line for bloggers/web developers and their readers. It can help you keep offensive junk away from your kids’ sensitive eyes, protect your computer from having the kids (or not-so-savvy-users) click malicious ads, and simply cleans up some rather junky-looking sites. But it can also drive down the potential ad-generated revenue of some very deserving sites.

I suggest downloading it, installing the default filter set and then customizing it to trust those sites that you visit often or want to help support by allowing their ads. You won’t regret how much better the web looks without all those annoying ads everywhere!

Synchronize your bookmarks – Xmarks

Xmarks LogoXmarks is a plugin for Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Internet Explorer that can automatically synchronize your bookmarks across multiple computers. I have used it for longer than any other Firefox add-on I use. It’s very useful for me because I use the same software on my home computer as on my work machine; 3DS Max, CS4, etc. Whenever I find a resource at work that I could use at home, I bookmark it on my work PC and it automatically syncs with the bookmarks on my home machine. Same goes the other way around; when I’m surfing at home and find something relevant to work, I don’t have to email a link to myself, I just bookmark it. Very handy!

Bacon Cups – O M G !

I am not a fan of many things. I’m not a sports fan, I don’t even know all the names of the members of my favorite band (Boston) nor do I follow the life and times of any of my favorite actors. There is one thing that I think I can safely say, “I’m a fan!” and “I’d like to get to know ___ better.”  if ever asked in a Facebook quiz; BACON.

God Bless Not Martha’s cholesterol-heavy heart! She made little cups and bowls from BACON! Although she fills them with lettuce and tomato, I still think it’s great.

Check out the site for complete instructions on creating these wonderful little miracles!

http://www.notmartha.org/archives/2008/02/27/bacon-cups/