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Zune Filling Stations

A recent article on the Register indicates that Microsoft may be working on Zune Filling Stations that will allow Zune owners to wirelessly download music to their Zune for free.  This concept is pretty similar to the idea I wrote about shortly after the Zune launched.  I'm eager to see how they actually implement this concept. If done well, this could be a very good thing for the Zune.

Microsoft wants Wi-Fi 'filling stations' for Zune II (The Register via Gizmodo)

Witch, Window Switching on OS X Done Right


For any Windows users that are switching to Mac, or even OS X power users, Witch is an absolute life saver. Any long-time Windows user knows that the fastest way to switch applications or windows isn't the taskbar, it's good old Alt+Tab. However, to switchers the OS X equivalent doesn't quite cut it. Apple+Tab switches applications and Apple+` switches application windows. It’s two keyboard chords to do the work of one in Windows. But the real frustration, is that if the application window is minimized Apple+Tab (or Apple+`) doesn’t un-minimize it. Which is super annoying, why would anyone want to switch to an application and not see it? That's where Witch comes in. Witch is an application switcher AND a window switching in one handy keyboard chord. But best of all it will automatically un-minimize windows, it will even re-launch an application if it doesn’t have any windows (i.e. Finder). It uses a nice little heads-up display which lists all windows, plus it's very customizable (almost to the point of confusion). Read on for some handy customization tips for Windows Switchers.

Download Witch (via Shiflett.org)

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About They Should Do That

"They should do that" is an exclamation. It's what you say when hit with an idea that seems brilliant, inevitable and obvious all at once. Unfortunately it's usually said in reference to something you can't do a damn thing about.

TheyShouldDoThat.com is a casual exploration of emerging ideas, gradual improvements, and missed opportunities in technology and modern life. It all began as way for me to catalog my ideas for new products, services, and projects. However, the site quickly grew to focus on the progress of new ideas. Still, many entries contain an original idea, recommendation, or prediction, often using the words "They should."

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New Design is Live

The new They Should Do That design is live! If it still looks the same to you press CTRL+F5, that should fix it. And if it looks a little different, but you can't figure out what changed, you are looking at the new design (it's not that much different). The font-size for entries is bigger, there are more fonts and more colors, and I added that mini description inside the big { } next to the logo. Soon, I'll actually link that to the "about" page (as soon as I finish it). For those still nostalgic for the old design, here's a nice little screen capture of it featuring, what else, but a post about Jeff Han's Multi-Touch interface.

They Did It: Adafruit Industries Laser Etching


I remember reading about it right when it was announced but forgot I had previously blogged about this exact idea. In April of 2006 pictures of laser etched gadgets from Nike's labs started appearing on the web, and I wrote about someone should start a company to laser etch gadgets. Then in December of 2006, word broke that Phil Torrone, an editor of Make magazine, and Limor Fried were starting a small company in New York to laser etch gadgets. No clue when they started working on this project. Best of all, they're publishing business plans to start your own gadget laser etching company. Hmm...maybe I should take my own advice and get the plans to start one up in good old St. Louis...

Adafruit Industries Laser Etching
Laser etching coming to a laptop near you - CNet.com

Cow powered farm, it's like win, win, win, win.


Ok! I admit it, I don't know the first thing about farming but this recent story about Anaerobic Digesters on "Living on Earth" was absolutely fascinating. The story focused on Blue Spruce Farm, a 2,000 cow farm, which uses anaerobic digesters to convert the cows' urine and manure into electricity. Previously, the farm was paying about $8,000 a month in electricity bills , but now the electric company pays the farm $2,000 a month for the extra energy they pump into the grid (win #1). This means that less energy is coming from sources like coal, which is bad for the atmosphere and dangerous to mine (win #2). Also, collecting and processing all the cow waste on site keeps area water cleaner (win #3). Lastly the byproduct of the process is a light and fluffy material which is used for bedding for the cows, which saves the farm another $7,500 a month (win #4). The Sierra Club is basically favorable about the use of anaerobic digesters on small farms, but against them on large farms (but that seems because they're against large farms in general).

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Gmail Unread Messages Menu Item


I love Google Gmail, but sometimes it's hard for me to find all the unread messages in my inbox when they're not in the first page of messages. They should totally just add an "Unread" menu item, which would quickly display all unread messages in the inbox. Currently the only way to view all the unread messages in your inbox is to search for "in:inbox is:unread" (which isn't that hard, but the menu option would sure be easier).

Hotmail Cruelty


Recently a coworker asked me to help her send an e-mail attachment to her daughter using Microsoft Hotmail.  After we sent the message I said, "There now you should also have the attachment in your 'Sent Mail' folder."  But when we looked, the sent mail folder was empty.  It turns out Hotmail does not automatically save sent messages.  Instead there's a checkbox in the compose message screen to "Copy Message in Sent Folder."   Worst of all there is no account setting to "Always save my messages to Sent Folder," instead the user must click the checkbox each time.   How could they be so cruel?

I could tear into them more, but honestly, this just makes me sad.  At least it looks like Microsoft will make it easy for Hotmail users to migrate to their new e-mail service, "Windows Live Mail," which does automatically save sent mail.  Ok, maybe just a little more tearing...

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They Should totally redesign this website

A new design is coming to They Should Do That.com. Nothing major, just some tweaks. But fear not, you'll still be able to enjoy the same typo riddled "writing" as before. Hopefully, the release of the redesign will coincide with the site explanation I've been kicking around for the last few months.

Jeff Han's Multi-touch still kicks butt

A new video just surfaced of Jeff Han's amazing multi-touch interface. While the hardware driving this interface may be big, as it requires cameras behind the glass to see fingers touches and rear projection, the software is unbeatable. I wonder how much longer before he and his entire crew are snapped-up by Apple.

Thanks John!

Can't Touch This- FastCompany.com

Apple Multi-Touch and Han’s Multi-Touch


Since the iPhone announcement at MacWorld some interest has developed in the similarity between Jeff Han’s multi-touch demonstration and Apple’s multi-touch. They both sense multiple fingers touches and they both demonstrated the “pinch” zoom gesture. However, there are some pretty fundamental differences in the hardware driving the two multi-touch interfaces. Read on for a more on this….

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Apple TV: The Real Scoop


Admittedly, I'm a little obsessed with the AppleTV and after the announcement I eagerly went online to pull up some more info about it. Unfortunately, I couldn't find answers to my questions, so I called up Apple and spoke to an unbelievably helpful and gregarious sales rep. Most of my questions seemed to stump him and he had to ask someone else for clarification, so here's what I found out.

Things you can't do with Apple TV:

  1. Shop on iTunes - You can't buy music or movies directly from the Apple TV you have to shop from a computer.
  2. Connect an iPod - You can't connect an iPod to the USB port and access it's media.
  3. Access the Media on the Apple TV from your computer - You can sync media to the Apple TV, but you can't access media on the Apple TV from other computers on the network.
  4. Record Live TV, Play DVDs - Yeah, the Apple TV is not a DVR, just like we all expected. And it doesn't have a DVD drive.

I have to say I'm a little disappointed with the Apple TV. I think it should be able to do more, and perhaps it will through software updates. Anyways, one question the sales rep asked me is "When do you think you might order one?" To which I answered "When it can do the things, I've just asked you about." But it was a really good question and it got me thinking about what would make be plunk down $300 for an Apple TV. Read on for my list.

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