Wednesday, December 16, 2009

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Podcast Wednesday - 12/16

Cold Boot hits before the holidays with iMac talk, the Microsoft/EU settlement, the lack of Verizon apps, and an update on my URL shortening situation. It might be Winter, but the Cold Boot 'cast is HOT!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

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URL Shortening - The New Movement

Having just recently gotten into the blogger foray on a regular basis, I wasn't entirely familiar with URL shortening until now. I still don't totally get the concept, but I currently use to shorten my links on Twitter (it's Twitter's default, but TwitterFeed lets you choose from a myriad of options)., probably the most recognized because it is Twitter's default service, is gaining quite a bit of company, however, as well as adding some services. Pro is that provider's way of making "www" addresses a thing of the past. For instance, if you type into your browser, you will end up with the New York Times homepage. Other sites, such as The Onion, MSN, and the Wall Street Journal have also gotten into what is now the beta stage of Pro, which also provides detailed statistics of use for those that sign up. Facebook has also entered the URL shortening mix, allowing users to either reach the Facebook homepage at, or utilizing Facebook's new username service by entering the username following a forward-slash.

URL shortening, albeit interesting, seems a little silly to me. Bookmarks became commonly used years ago, and users across the globe use them all the time to access their most frequented sites. Even if you are trying to attract new users, wouldn't it be easier to remember "" rather than ""
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New iMacs Experience Shipment Delays and Graphic Issues

This hasn't gotten a ton of pub, but Apple is apparently having some issues with their new 27" iMac line. Not only are they having problems filling orders for the desktop computer, but the iMac display has had problems as well, including cracked screens and flickering. One post on the Apple discussion forums, "New iMac 27inch screen flickering/tearing/shutoff," had 1,284 replies at the time of this blog posting. The issue, according to some, can be tied to either the ATI video card Apple has now decided to use in this new line, or the i5 and i7 processors overheating.

In terms of shipping the computers, Apple's claiming that their iMac sales are up 74% over last year, which is what's causing the delay. Some suggested that it was the graphic issue that slowed the iMac shipments, but Apple claims that isn't true. Whether or not Apple delayed shipments to fix the flickering issue might not be solved until after the holiday, when those who receive the delayed iMac's have their chance to complain if problems persist.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

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Use SkyDrive for Hosting Streaming Media

If you've tried to use Windows Live SkyDrive to host a podcast or video, you may have noticed that the link seems to  become unusable within a few hours of uploading the file. Well, it does, and that's due to Microsoft implementing a changing URL system, probably precisely for preventing streaming media to be placed on, and clog up, their servers. The old method, which worked fine up until a few months ago, would be to right-click the file you wanted to stream in your SkyDrive library, copy the link location, take the "?download" text off the end of the address, and that would be the direct link.

Well my cyber friends, don't despair, Tim Acheson has come to our rescue! Acheson has created a dynamic redirect URL that allows you to use SkyDrive to host streaming media, and will work as a permanent link! Here are the steps:

1. ASK Tim Acheson if you can use his redirect link. He's worked hard on it, and would like to know how many of us are taking advantage of it. It's only right to ask permission from the author, and it's not all that difficult or time consuming, so do it!

2. Copy this URL, as it will be the first half of your permanent link: 

3. Go to the SkyDrive page that simply shows your file as an icon. It's hard to describe this page exactly, so I've got an example for you HERE.

4. Copy that URL, and paste it behind Acheson's URL listed above so that it follows the "=" sign.

Once you've followed these steps, you've got a working link! The streaming URL for the file is the one that changes, not the URL that takes you to the file's SkyDrive page. Tim's basically gotten the redirect to automatically click to access the file that the SkyDrive link is connected to. This is AWESOME news for us podcasters, as we can now use a full 25GB of space to host audio, video, and whatever streaming media we want! Be sure, again, to ask Tim if you can use his redirect URL, and thank him while you're at it for helping us out majorly.
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Podcast Wednesday - 12/9

Podcast Wednesday's back in effect! This week starts with an explanation as to how to access the new iTunes feed, but then goes on to talk about Office 2010, AT&T data charges, and the Barnes & Noble Nook. Soak it all in.

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Monday, December 7, 2009

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Windows 7 Family Pack Out the Door

In a weird, scrooge-like holiday move, Microsoft has "sold out" of their Windows 7 Family Pack allotment, and it will no longer be available new from retailers. The Family Pack, which gave users three Windows 7 Home Premium upgrade licenses, was $150 new, compared to $120 for an individual Home Premium license. This nice discount was set to expire from the start, but it makes you wonder why Microsoft would pull this around the holiday. I can only imagine it's an attempt to get consumers to buy a new system or pay more for an upgrade, but neither sounds like something your average user would be overly eager to do in this economy.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

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Quick Hits - 12/6

Dell Baseball Skins - I try to avoid unintentional promotions on this site as much as possible, but, being a big sports fan, I've gotta put this one out there. I'm not sure how long ago this started, but Dell's line of Studio laptops have the option of being customized with Major League Baseball skins, with all 30 teams being listed as options. There are three designs for each squad, but the "Classic" theme is far and away my favorite.

Verizon's Higher Early Termination Fees - They've got to defend their implementation in front of the FCC by December 17th. Verizon may find it easier to back down from their increase, which was from $175 to $350 for an "advanced device." My guess is that covers any phone that Verizon considers to be a "feature" phone, like the enV Touch, Dare, or Rogue, to smartphones like a Blackberry or Android phone. Their claim that this is necessary to cover the subsidy that results in the lower price of the phone is a bunch of nonsense. There can't be that many customers canceling the second they pick up their Motorola Droid to be costing the carrier that much dough.

Friday, December 4, 2009

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Verizon's HTC Droid Eris Getting Android 2.0

In a move that should make the Eris an awesome holiday gift for any Verizon smartphone user this year, Verizon has confirmed that the Eris will get an upgrade to the Android 2.0 operating system in early 2010. This means that it'll also have the cool Google Maps Navigation that only the Motorola Droid currently sports. At $99, with a buy-one-get-one-free deal going on right now from Verizon, getting this phone appears to be a no-brainer headed into the holidays, especially if you want to get one for a friend or family member. The lack of Android 2.0 was one of CNET's only drawbacks when it came to reviewing the phone.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

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Consumer Reports Talks Cell Phones

In the January issue of Consumer Reports, the magazine gives some recommendations as to what cell phones they would recommend for each carrier. The iPhone, of course, gets their nod as the top smartphone on AT&T's network, while the HTC Touch Pro2 and BlackBerry Storm 9530 are picked for Verizon. I'm happy with their designation of the LG enV Touch as one of the best non-smartphones on Verizon. It has its issues, but so does every phone, and not every phone has such a great, roomy physical keyboard.

Verizon also was at the top of the list for customer service and satisfaction. Their number one complaint from their customers was the cost of their service, but I would imagine that may be due to a lack of other areas to complain about. Their data service, as I've mentioned many times before, is way above and beyond that of AT&T's. Speaking of AT&T, they don't rank second in service, but at the bottom with Sprint, behind T-Mobile. T-Mobile, however, is lagging behind when it comes to the network capabilities of the larger carriers.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

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Podcast Monday - 12/2

Office 2010, the Verizon/AT&T feud, and Cyber Monday are all topics on this week's podcast. Sorry about the holiday last week, but I promise I'll be back on my game starting today.

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