Windows Vista Volume Mixer - Nice...


Wow. Windows Vista's volume mixer allows you to control the volume of individual applications (including Windows Sounds).  This could be a great solution for finally silencing websites that play music and other annoying sounds.  I really haven't been keeping up with Vista, but this is one feature that really makes me want it.  There's an application for Windows XP called IndieVolume ($24.95), I'm not sure if there's anything like this for OS X.

Publishing to the Kindle Store is Dead Easy


In my last entry about the Amazon Kindle, I wrote that Amazon should make it really easy for publishers to make their content available on the Kindle.  Amazon's Digital Text Platform does exactly that, it enables publishers to upload their content to the Kindle Store.  Did I mention it was REALLY easy? You basically just fill out the details of the publication, upload the file (supported formats include HTML, PDF, even Word Documents), and set the price.  I'd love to see small magazines, professional journals, universities and even museums take advantage of this; it could be a great way to reach a larger audience and have a permanent archive of content.

YouTube for Audio, Reprise


One of the top search terms that land people here at They Should Do That is "YouTube for Audio."  It turns out that there are a handful of services out there that pretty much do exactly what I proposed in my original entry.  I haven't actually used any of these, but they all seem to make creating a podcast and embedding audio into a webpage pretty easy.


HP TouchSmart uses Cameras to detect touches


When I first came across the HP TouchSmart, I thought it was just a cool all-in-one with a touchscreen display.  But what makes the TouchSmart really unique is that it uses cameras to detect finger touches, as described in this great NY Times article.  The only other touchscreens (I know of) that use cameras are big ticket multi-touch systems like Microsoft's Surface, and Perceptive Pixel's huge interactive wall, which use cameras mounted behind the screen to "see" touches.  The HP TouchSmart has two cameras on the outside of the screen in each of the upper corners.  This allows the TouchSmart to use a conventional LCD screen instead of rear projection and maintain its slim profile.  Since finding this out I've started to wonder if the HP TouchSmart may be able to detect multiple finger touches with some modification.

Ok, so aluminum is pretty tough


These pictures of a MacBook Pro that took a bullet during a mugging in Brazil pretty much have me eating my words about the durability of aluminum versus polycarbonate.  The aluminum definitely seemed to protect the components of the computer.  I do wonder how a polycarbonate MacBook or iBook would have fared in the same situation, as polycarbonate is used to make bulletproof glass.

photograph by fidgetingwildly

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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It’s Alive! High Resolution PowerBook Created?!


Well it looks like I’m not the only person eager for Apple to release high resolution laptops. BaxterBrittle, so totally fed up with waiting for Apple, has taken matters into his own hands. He has successfully retrofitted his Aluminum 1GHz PowerBook with a 15.4” WUXGA display (that’s 1920 x 1200 resolution). To accommodate the 15.4” screen, the display enclosure from a MacBook Pro was used as the original PowerBook enclosure can only handle a 15.2” display. Reportedly the laptop does close and latch properly, but the display does overhang a bit. The combination of mismatched parts, and overall beastieness, has prompted the laptop to be dubbed “Frankenbook.”

Thorough instructions have not yet been posted, and the mod hasn’t been successfully completed on a MacBook Pro. If I were BaxterBrittle, I’d offer to retrofit anyone’s PowerBook for $100 plus the price of the new display.

MacRumors discussion thread (via Gizmodo)

Google Bookmarks: Adding Easier, Gunning for


Google recently added this "Add Bookmark" pop-up window, which makes bookmarking a site much easier. The window is launched by a bookmarklet that can be added to your browser links toolbar, so it's very quick and easy. Obviously the window bares a pretty close near identical resemblence in both form and function to's tag window.

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