iPad Photoshop Software

For The iPad- Adobe Photoshop CS5: Tutorial for Beginners Available in the Apple Store

If you have noticed my free version of Adobe Photoshop CS4 Tutorial which has been available here for download at, I have to tell you that Apple has just accepted my Adobe Photoshop CS5—A Tutorial for Beginners as an App in the iPad section of the Apple App Store.Searching by my name from your iPad is the fastest way to find it, and it is available for $3.99 until the first week in October (October 9, to be exact) as a “Back to School Special.” After that it returns to its $9.99 pricing.I designed the CS5 version to run only on an iPad because I wanted it to “lie flat” beside the computer and not be like the typical book that is continually trying to close. One of my pet peeves when I am working from or reviewing a book about photography or Photoshop is that I usually have to put a heavy weight on each side of the pages in order to keep the book in a readable position. An iPad seems to me to be the ideal companion that will behave itself and be available to switch forward and backward between pages so that the reader can go over a technique in a step by step manner and can refer back easily when needed.

Numerous comments from previous students convinced me that if a photographer has already invested in their computer and a legal copy of Photoshop© that the odds are high that they also have access to an iPad, and the ease of use of an iPad as a resource makes it an outstanding learning tool. So I was convinced to make the current version of my workshop lessons available only for the iPad.

If you want to know how Photoshop CS5 works, I think you will find this a valuable tool to take you step by step, and menu by menu, through the set up and utilization of the program. I’ve tried to show the reader how the same problem can often be solved with different tools, and which tool to use is often a matter of choice or preferred workflow.

Considering how many people have taken advantage of the free CS4 download I am hopeful that my graphic novel approach (done in Comic Life by Plasq) will appeal visually to both the new and experienced user of Adobe’s incredible Photoshop CS5 .

Digital Lifestyles

Google+: The Modular Social App

Google+ cannot be mentioned without comparisons to Facebook, which is unfortunate because as soon as something is touted as being better than “example media sensation” it seems to act as a strike against it.Think of all those films in the early 2000s that described itself as “better than the Matrix!” or any product that was termed “the iPhone killer.”

Instead, I’ll speak from personal experience. I attempted to manage my Facebook account to be my central “public identity” to interact with personal friends (many via my various tangential hobbies and interests,) family, business contacts, and fellow artists. I tried complex friend lists and constant adjustment and manipulation of privacy options. But it was a constant fight to fit a square peg into a round hole. Facebook constantly changes and updates its interface, often destroying my work and my privacy settings. Eventually, I gave up and made a “Fan Page” of my artwork and limited my personal account only to my friends.

Google+ is everything that I wanted Facebook to be. Through Circles, Google+ allows you to control who sees your posts and give you the power to address specific markets. This creates an environment based on content instead of how many “friends” you have. In addition to abetter quality picture sharing, this makes it especially attractive to artists. Each Circle can be created for a target audience. One can be created to share their work with others for critique and review,another of client listings, another for business contacts, etc. A person can also be a member of multiple Circles. This addresses the many problems having a single public stream such as: fears of some friend or family member bursting in with an unprofessional comment, a“Wall” for people to post inappropriate or spam material onto, or being hidden or dropped for posting content that the “friend” isn’t interested in.

Writer Mike Elgan elegantly summed it up as:
“Instead of saying, ‘I’m going to write a blog post now,’ or ‘I’m going to send an e-mail’ or ‘I think I’ll tweet something’ you simply say what you have to say, then decide who you’re going to say it to.
If you address it to “Public,” it’s a blog post.
If you address it to “Your Circles” it’s a tweet.
If you address it to your “My Customers” Circle it’s a business newsletter.
If you address it to a single person, it can be a letter to your mother.
I’d say this is pretty revolutionary.”

Note: Google+ is currently available as an app for the iPhone andAndroid. Unfortunately, it is limited to showing just one stream.Hopefully future updates will include narrowing to specific

Featured Gadgets Media Software

Ironman Central by Zumobi

Have a little thing for the “Man in Red”? Wait no longer, die hard Marvel fans, with a little help from Zumobi, there’s an APP for that!

Although there are members of my household, dying to get their hands on this bad boy, I have not yet had the pleasure of testing it out. However, I was able to get a little sneak peak into the highly anticipated game and we are definitely looking forward to it’s release. Here’s what Zumobi has to say about it…

Marvel Launches Iron Man Central, the New iPhone and iPod Touch Application on The Zumobi Network

[slidepress gallery=’zumobi-ironman’]

Zumobi, a leading mobile media company, and Marvel Entertainment recently announced the launch of Iron Man Central, the official Iron Man application for the iPhone and iPod touch. In anticipation of the biggest movie release of the year, IRON MAN 2, the Iron Man Central app provides fans new and old with an immersive experience into the world of the Super Hero everyone’s talking about.

“The first IRON MAN film was extremely successful due to the incredibly loyal and passionate fan base. In anticipation of IRON MAN 2, we wanted to bring additional content to Iron Man fans and moviegoers, and could think of no better way than to bring it to a mobile app,” said Ira Rubenstein, Executive Vice President of Marvel’s Global Digital Media Group. “We believe this app gives users an even more complete Iron Man experience by delivering news, videos and exclusive wallpapers, as well as special character profiles. And if you want to find show times for IRON MAN 2, this app will do that for you, as well.”

Using Iron Man Central, fans have access to all things Iron Man from his origin, to current news, exclusive wallpapers, video content, direct links to Iron Man content on iTunes and more. With a stunning user interface modeled after the hologram interface inside Iron Man’s suit, fans discovering Iron Man Central will be blown away by ease of use and navigation. The app also allows fans to purchase movie tickets through the app itself, so no fan misses a single showing of IRON MAN 2. The app also arrives with two free wallpapers and additional wallpapers are $.99.

Iron Man Central seamlessly integrates with users’ e-mail, Twitter and Facebook accounts, allowing them to share exciting new Iron Man content with friends and family.

“Marvel is a forward-looking organization that is well positioned to take advantage of the amazing new possibilities available in the mobile channel,” said Ken Willner, CEO of Zumobi. “By combining Marvel’s bold and unique visuals with the iconic character of Iron Man and Zumobi’s content-rich app format, we have the opportunity to offer moviegoers and fans an extension of the film experience. We’re thrilled to expand the Zumobi Network’s entertainment channel with this highly valuable property.”

Iron Man Central is available for free on Apple’s App Store and as a part of The Zumobi Network, the leading publishing partner for top media companies. It can be downloaded HERE.

Digital Lifestyles Software

Bundles of MacFriendly Joy for a Great Cause

If you hurry and check out, you can get two truly great deals. First, you can treat yourself to twelve Mac applications that are worthy of your icon bar. Second, you will be pleased to know that the funds you paid support the care and feeding of homeless animals.

First, the applications.

For photo buffs, there are three applications that you’ll enjoy.

  • Calico Panorama helps stitch rows, even multi-rows, of images together with ease.
  • Bracketeer takes your bracketed digital photos and merges them to form a uniformly lit scene – like HDR without the cartoon-like appearance.
  • PhotoStyler is a quick and easy photo enhancer designed for the digital photographer who remembers the “good old days” of film and instant camera photos by providing tools to help your digital images take on an analog feel.

Want to make a video diary?

  • The Video Diary helps you get your video captured and organizes it like entries in a diary.
  • MovieSherlock can download and convert videos from the popular site YouTube.
  • K Kitchen is a video burning and ripping program that converts video and allows you to burn to CD or DVD. And if you want to voiceovers or mastering of audio files, the TwistedWave audio editor is an easy to use program with powerful features.

For type geeks,

  • use Veenix TypeBook Creator to take stock of your fonts… print type specimen and sample pages, and organize your fonts.

Ever want to personalize your Mac desktop?

  • Berokyo does that and more. Customizable “cabinets” can hold your favorite and most used applications, documents, folders and webpages, and works in keep-visible, full-screen or auto-hide modes.

Email Backup Pro
is an automated solution to making scheduled backups to of your email… hands off after setting up the configuration using the simple interface. R10Cipher encrypts email and documents – personal or business. It runs on Mac and, er, other operating systems. And if you wish to partially cross over to the dark side, CrossOver Mac Standard will help you by running Microsoft Windows programs on your Mac.

So, how exactly does this help animals?

Here is a quote from the MacFriendly website: “Your MacFriendly Bundle purchase helps initiate and support feeding programs for homeless animals. Stray and feral animals are fed in order to gain their trust, leading to their eventual rescue. Only when they are comfortable with human contact will their rescue and successful placement in an adoptive home be possible. We provide basic vaccinations, spay/neuter services, collars, and identification tags for stray animals in stable circumstances.”

The total cost? If you add up these applications, you will find them to total about $400. Buy the bundle of joy, and get all these apps for only $49.95. That is a lot of utility and warm, fuzzy feelings for only fifty bucks.

But don’t wait… this offer ends February 26, 2010.

Desktop Theatre

Desktop Theatre Sc 49: Freestylin!

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Parallel Desktops

The application Mail quit unexpectedly – GrowlMail problems

One of my favorite–yet least mentioned–free utilities is Growl, a universal notification service for Mac that lets applications notify you of events. Now instead of each application deciding on how they want to present notifications for things like new mail, incoming tweets, etc. you can control it in a single place, assuming the application supports Growl or an extension has been written for it.

Such is the case with Though is not written to support Growl the developers for Growl have created an “extra” that can provide that functionality. I’ve been using this setup for a while now and have been quite pleased with it.

After upgrading to Safari 4 I suddenly found that was crashing on me as soon as a new e-mail came in. Here is the error message I was getting:

Which was followed by:

Reset and relaunch had no effect – just crashed again. It turns out that an error has been introduced into Growl after upgrading to Safari 4 that creates this crash. There are two solutions to this problem:

Solution 1: Change notification to Summary
The problem for Growl is when individual e-mail notifications come in; that’s what is causing the crash. If you don’t have any new e-mail (which causes the crash) you can load up the preferences and switch to the Growl tab, then change the setting to summary mode:

If however you can’t load mail up to get to that setting you can accomplish it by changing it through the terminal. Load up a terminal window and enter the following command:

defaults write GMSummaryMode -int 2

This will change the setting for you and allow you to load up The downside to this is if you still want individual mail message notifications. For that you can use Solution 2.

Solution 2: Install Growl Beta 1.1.5B2
There is a beta version of Growl that addresses this issue; you can grab it from the Growl beta page. Just download the DMG and install the latest Growl package AND the newer extension (in the Extra folder). This is of course beta software but I’ve been running it for a while on two of my Macs and it’s been running fine so far.

If you have any work-arounds on this please drop a note in the comments. I was able to find most of this information but it was a bit scattered. Hopefully people searching when they get the error will find this helpful.


Featured Software

Getting Organized: Evernote UPDATES!!

Since I am still quite the Evernote fan, I get their software update notices emailed to me periodically. I felt like this latest information was definitely work sharing…

First of all- Happy Birthday, Evernote! Evernote recently celebrated their first birthday. Read more on the Evernote blog….


Web Clipper updates

– Clip to Evernote bookmarklet: Clip part of a web page or the whole thing, plus create a simple quick note without launching Evernote. Read more»»»

– Safari clipper: The newest member of our clipper family comes with our latest Mac version. In addition to the standard features, it also lets you save whole web pages as PDFs. Read more»»»

– Firefox clipper for Mac: The new Firefox clipper is now tightly integrated with the Mac desktop client, making clipping faster and easier. Read more»»» 

Evernote Mobile Web Gets a Makeover for Android

Evernote Mobile Web, our mobile-optimized version, got a major upgrade for Android devices. If you have an Android phone, go here»»»  to see what’s new. They’ve improved searching and navigation, optimized the interface for touch screens, enabled portrait and landscape viewing, and taken full advantage of the Android browser. Read more»»»

Integration spotlight: Shoeboxed

Shoeboxed and Evernote have teamed up! Shoeboxed is a service that will scan all your business cards and receipts. You simply mail your papers to Shoeboxed and they scan them and make them available online. You can then easily send those scans directly into your Evernote account, where all your receipts and business cards are made searchable and accessible. Sweet. Read more»»»

The new Evernote Podcast

Reading is so 2008. Take a listen to the inaugural Evernote podcast. In this episode, Phil, Dave, and Andrew talk about cool ways to use Evernote, the Evernote business model, recent partnerships, upcoming mobile devices, and more. Read more»»»

For more information about Evernote, visit their website »»» . There is a very handy video on the home page introducing the new updates.

Featured Software

Getting Organized: Deep. Yep. and Leap. by Ironic

Okay so we’ve established that there are some pretty brilliant project management tools out there. From light weight, simple ToDo lists to extensive content management tools for keeping you on your toes from beginning to end of a project. Once you’ve found the shoe that fits you, you’re sitting pretty, finding a little more time on your hands to actually be creative and work on what matters. Let me just say life is about to get even easier for you. Maybe even so much that you may go crazy and get a second job or glorified hobby just to fill your time.

Ironic. Document Management.

I am starting to realize how fantastic reviewing software can be as it forces me to try new things. It turn my work life is getting easier and easier. The Ironic document management series was shared with me by one of my AppleJuice colleagues and man how grateful I am! With this genius three part software, I have no longer “lost it”!! I know pretty amazing right? No, not my mind – my FILES! Between Deep. Yep. and Leap. I am actually able to shave large amounts of time off my day, just by being able to find things quicker.

Deep. Image search.

I have a little over 60 clients with 1 to 40 projects per client. That’s a lot of files and a lot of artwork! I buy stock photography for a lot of different purposes, some of which can be used for multiple projects and multiple clients. I have often kicked myself when searching for an image I know I purchased for one project that would be fantastic for one I am currently building. If the original l used was not within the last few months and I can’t remember EXACTLY where I filed it, the search can take several minutes to complete, usually with a frustrated “who’s idea was it to file it there?!”. I have told myself a million times it was time to go out and get some type of organizational software just for my stock photography, or simply invest the time to organize it in iPhoto. Never happened. Now I am glad that time was not invested. With Deep, you don’t have to spend the time organizing your art, it goes and finds it for you, wherever you illogically filed it to begin with. The search features are genius. Search for any image on your computer via TAGS, KEYWORDS, LOCATION, IMAGE TYPE, SIZE and SHAPE and, my oh-so-favorite COLORS! Yes colors!

(1) If you have an image that you want to search for, that say has a bright red sofa in it, simply click on the Red color chip and BAM!  You have your image (2). From there you can either check out the path for future reference or choose to open it in Preview (3) or the editing software of your choice. If the image you are looking for doesn’t pop up first, simply hit the play button (4) under the preview pane on the right and it will play through all the images on your entire computer that contain the color you searched for.  You can even narrow your search from the beginning by adding all the factors you know are present: color, size, file type and shape.  This handy tool literally takes minutes off my design time and a lot can be done in a minute!



Yep. iPhoto for PDFs.

Now where did I put that PDF? Okay, so you have a client requesting a proof for a brochure you had printed a year ago. They want to order re-prints but want to take a look at it first. Where did you file it again? As much as I pride myself in keeping a “clean computer” I do tend to file by the seat of my pants. Unfortunately what makes organizational sense one day may not make sense a year later when searching for it again. In other situations, I may not always keep the PDF proof of a job once it’s been approved and printed. Why? Who knows, but I sure don’t want to go to the trouble of going back to the original files and recreating the proof if I don’t have to. Chances are I may have been proactive enough that day to keep a copy. This is where Yep can save your life.

Open up Yep and check out the column to your left. (1) Documents are categorized by tags. Yep searches for the tags within your PDF documents and the results are posted in this column. Your PDFs will be filed under one or more of the tags on the left. You can make life even easier by adding additional tags to your documents within Yep making them than much easier to find. Double click on the document you are searching for (2) and see the column to the right of your large preview (3). At the top of this column, you can check out the tags currently being used to file your document and add more if you choose. (4) Suggestions for tags would be, content, client, subject name, action. Under that you will find the date that the document was created originally (5) as well as the location of the document for future reference (6). You can also add a URL for the document if it is currently online.


At the top of this column, you can check out the tags currently being used to file your document and add more if you choose. (4) Suggestions for tags would be, content, client, subject name, action. Under that you will find the date that the document was created originally (5) as well as the location of the document for future reference (6). You can also add a URL for the document if it is currently online.


Once you’ve located your PDF, you can choose to print it, email it, rotate it, view it at full screen or open it in the Editor of your Choice(7). You’ll find this tool so handy that it will make you want to scan, and tag hard copies that tend to pile up in your filing cabinets and drawers. This too is made very easy by using the built in scan feature. Just click the plus sign at the bottom of the screen (8) and you will be moved to the scan screen where you can quickly and easily start archiving your hard copies in a way that they are more than easy to find! Simple enough, right?


Leap. Your new Finder.

As if we weren’t already more organized than our brain could handle, they took it one step further with Leap. Leap allows you to tag and search for anything and everything living on your Mac. You aren’t just limited to image or PDF files with Leap. Search for everything, from software and utilities to images and web files. There are 10 different ways to search for a document from flags to the date it was last modified. You can narrow your search with options like location or file type. You can even search through Leap for bookmarks you have saved but not organized in your browsers for a quick web search. Again you can simplify your life further by adding tags to your documents within Leap for quicker searches in the future. Trust me, you’ll be amazed at what you can find with this tool and surprised to come across things you didn’t even know you had! Here is a perfect example of Leap. I need to find a headshot I created for a client, Instead of looking through folders, I simply go to the Spotlight (1) option at the top of the screen and type in the client’s name and hit enter. The results are unbelievable. I not only found her headshot, but the original photo used to create it, her resume, and the original series of emails she sent to me with request for the job. It also pulled up the bids I sent to her for the printing of the shots. MUCH more than I expected to find and so helpful as I needed almost all of this for the reprint. This is just one simple example of all that Leap can do to simplify your life.


Major kudos to the developers at Ironic for this series of fantastic software. Now I just need to figure out what to do with all the time I’m now going to save with this new discovery!

The Details:

Deep. Image Search. $34 • Yep. iPhoto for PDFs. $34 • Leap. Your new Finder. $59
Looking for a deal? Buy Leap and get both Yep and Deep for only $10 more than Leap alone! That’s a savings of $58!

Visit for more info or to order your copies.

Happy Organizing!

Featured Software

Getting Organized: Notebook by Circus Ponies

I have to admit to behaving like a kid in a candy store wanderingthe notebook aisle at Office Depot. The Office Depot rush only scratches the surface of my excitement when, at he end of the summer,  they start bringing out the new school supplies at Target. Outside covers are only half of the notebook’s "cool". There is just something brilliant about a fresh blank notebook, willing and ready to de-clutter your thoughts all in one place. Its a place to stick your stickies (other than your computer screen) and a home for all the other notes randomly jotted down while in your car “driving” or on the phone in another room. Creative people understand the necessity of having a notebook-  you never know when a random creative thought will pop into your mind. (Normally mine hits in the shower so the notebook isn’t as conducive to my situation, but it’s handy to have waiting for me as I get to work and can unload all my random thoughts. )

So what does this have to do with virtual organizational tools? Well, everything.

Enter NoteBook. A brilliantly designed virtual notebook for the creative mind. This clever tool is the perfect answer to organizing all of your clutter in one place, while keeping the familiarity that we love about our spiral notebook.

NoteBook’s clever “spiral bound” interface is designed complete with pages tabs, sections and subsections allowing you to not only collect your clutter, but organizes it in a way where it can be easily found when you need to go back to it. Each notebook is saved as a file on your computer and you can save as many as you want to organize the largest and smallest of projects.

Use NoteBook to type notes and text, or simply drag in files and folders. I find myself inspired a lot while browsing the web for things. And also get the  random epiphany while emailing. Rarely do I keep track of these thoughts as I am usually in the middle of another task and don’t have a lot of time to stop what I’m you are doing to jot it down. Easy answer. No more “jotting it down”, just "clip" your web findings, mail messages and other content into your Notebooks. No need to leave the application I’m working in and it’s so quick and easy that I don’t loose track of the real job at hand. Lovely for those of us who are totally ADD.

So here is how NoteBook is most handy in my creatively random world… A new project for me starts usually with an email or phone call. So, knowing this project will be a big one with a lot of variables, I start a notebook. The first note being the original email, phone number of client and notes they gave me when I was most likely in the middle of another project. I will then create the project bid and after sending to the client, will clip the bid into my notebook for reference. Once the project starts, other emails will come usually containing content for the project weather it be images or copy or reference to another project online. I copy or clip each of these things into the notebook I have for this project. This way there is never a question of “where did I stick that note”. This is the best way to combine all forms of content used for a project and not only to organize then into tasks, but find then in a pinch. As I have mentioned in previous articles, I am a bit OCD when it comes to my email inbox. I like for it to be clean and my emails to be attended to in a timely manner. It is hard to do this when you have a major project going and your clients sends you small bits of info in 20-30 emails. This is where NoteBook is a saver of my sanity. Rather than letting the emails pile in, I clip the content into that project notebook and move it out of my inbox allowing me to contain all the info in one organized space!

From here I organize the content, assign tasks and deadlines and even make notes for future projects possible inspired my the task at hand. Then once the project is complete you can save your notebook in the customer file and refer back to it when needing inspiration for another project, or and this happens all the time, a client calls and says, “I sent you an email several months ago and I need something from it and just can’t find it, can you send it back to me”. Simple things like this can land you “Super-hero for the Day” in the mind of your favorite client!

Notebook also has excellent annotation features via highlighting, keywords and even voice annotation that can be sent to your ipod, which leads me to my favorite feature. Notebook is setup, well like a perfectly organized notebook, complete with a Multidex™ that locates each and every note you take by text, capitalized words, numbers, web addresses, highlights, keywords, sickies, to-dos, attachments, even attachments you’ve trashed, dates of creation, change or deadlines. Pretty cool that you never have to worry abut accidentally writing on the back of one of your “pages” and ripping it out to take with you only to later find that what was on the other side, was pretty stinking important! With this notebook, you never loose a page.

So many TO-DOs, not sure what to start with first? Join the crowd. Good news is this app makes checking off your TODO list even more fun! Simply add checkboxes and due dates to you tasks. So as you take down notes or clip memos into your notebook, you can then add a check box with a date to complete the task if you wish. No need to make a separate TODO list containing the same items you’ve made note of. I’ve found myself doing this over and over in my “paper” notebook which tends to bring on the overwhelming feeling of never being able to complete a list, not because you didn’t complete the task, but because you have it listed in 4 different places!

If you are like me your first thought is “where in the world do I begin?” So many notes, so little time. We’ll they’ve made it easy for you. First, download your 30 day trial version here….

Then when you open NoteBook for the first time after registration, this handy little screen will come up, giving you all kinds of ideas on what, when and where to begin your organization. This is by far my favorite of all the organizational tools I have reviewed so far and will continue to be a part of my everyday goal for an organized life.

On a side-note for those of you with kids, I never thought I would say this, but I will miss the little “stick figures conquering the world” that always found a place in my paper notebook on days when the kids were on break from school!” I may have to scan a few and clip them in for nostalgia! Happy organizing!

Digital Lifestyles Featured Software Workflow

Getting Organized: Simple To Do Apps

Being a very busy business owner of two, mother of two and wife, I am doing good to remember to brush my teeth in the morning!  On most days, I have 5-6 shifts, jumping from one hat to the other.  I joke and say that I need an assistant just to remind me to go  to the bathroom. All that to say, any handy tools I come across to keep me organized so that nothing takes second seat in my life, I at least check out.  Most I implement into my daily routine.  Evernote has been a lifesaver for storing and taking notes, especially when I am on the run. However, it is not as handy at making lists.  So, in search of something to help me not only organize but prioritize, I ironically came across “Simple ToDo” and again “SimpleTODO

The name for both says it all.  They are very simple applications for organizing all of your To-Do’s. Both dashboards are very petite and non intrusive so they allow you to leave them open at all times to add to edit your lists easily.

Here is how they work…

simpletodo by mesamysql

This application allows you to not only document each task you have by simply clicking on a line and typing, but also allows you to assign them to different lists as to keep your “shifts” separate. You can even go further by color coding the items in your list to organize by person, by order of priority, etc.  Here are examples of my three lists.

Features/Advantages of ToDo list #1 as listed on the download site…

  •  Manage any number of lists in one window
  • Edit a list description or status without scribbling or erasing
  • Copy and paste list items to any other program
  • Reorder lists at any time
  • Reorder a list’s ITEMS at any time
  • Assign a priority to list items and sort by priority
  • Assign a status to list items and sort by status
  • Define your own Priority value list
  • Define your own Status value list
  • Select viewing of list titles from Tab or Popup
  • Set item color, caps, bold, italic, and indent from toolbar
  • Print lists or selected items to any size paper
  • Print lists to Franklin page sizes
  • Perform list functions from the menu: Delete All, Enter First Open Cell, Insert Row, Delete Selected Rows, Delete Empty Rows, Remove all ‘Done’ Rows, Toggle List Window

To download this helpful too, go to  
Cost is  $10.00, but there is a trial version if you want to compare it to our other TODO before purchasing.


simpleTODO by julius eckert

Okay now this one further defines simple.  It does not have all the features as the first in that you can not add columns, print, color code, etc. but you can add “categories or shifts” however you want to call them and organize your lists within those categories. For some people this is all they need. Personally, I love that it is so small and and pops on and off screen as you need it.  I am not much for clunky, over detailed applications so this is more than enough for me.

Here are the keyboard shortcuts to help you maneuver quicker:

  • Up/Down: Select Tasks/Labels
  • CMD+Up / CMD+Down: Move selected Task/Label up or down
  • Enter: Edit Task/Label
  • Space: Check or uncheck selected Task. Show or hide selected Label.
  • Esc: Select Nothing

To download this simple too, go to   
Cost: FREE!

Have fun listing!

Parallel Desktops

Mastering Twitter with TweetDeck

I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t "get" Twitter. When I first heard about it and saw that "tweets" were 140 character micro-blog posts that contained such mindless drivel as "Heading out to work" or "Getting a haircut" I dismissed it as pointless.

A couple of months ago my good friend Jeff told me that I should give Twitter a go. Jeff’s a bright guy so I ask him "Why on earth would I want to do that?". His response was "You don’t blog frequently enough for me". Well, this was indeed true. As I’ve been working more and more on my startup I didn’t have as much time to devote to blogging. I had lots of things I wanted to share but didn’t want to take the time to put together a full blog post for it.

So in July of ’08 I grabbed a Twitter account and started tweeting away. I only had a couple of "followers" (people that would see my tweets in their Twitter home page) for the first few weeks. They were close friends that were also playing with Twitter for the first time. At that point simply using the interface that Twitter provides on their home page was enough. I’d drop in my 140 character status, catch up with what my friends were doing and that was that.

After a couple of months I had done little more than checked in a couple times a day to see what people had "said" and try to drop in a pithy quote here or there. Then Jeff pointed me towards the Search feature in Twitter and mentioned the value in using key tags in a search. Since Jeff and I are both huge Washington Redskins fans he found that many people were inserting a #skins tag in their tweets. By searching for that we could see a global and very dynamic conversation that was going on with our favorite football team.

As new tweets came in for the search term a dynamic indicator at the top of the search page would indicate how many new results there were and provide a link to refresh the page. This was great and opened a whole new way for me to look at Twitter. It suddenly became more about participating in a global conversation on topics of interest, a cross between an old fashioned chat room and a forum.

While all this was great there was one little problem. I found myself constantly pulling up browser tabs with different searches on them that would allow me to see what was going on. Though the web interface for Twitter is very easy I found that the more I used it the more difficult it became to manage the various views I had for Twitter data.

Enter TweetDeck
TweetDeck is an Adobe Air Desktop application that runs on Mac, Windows or Linux. It provides a multi-column interface for accessing different views of your tweets. You can create multiple columns of the following types:

All Tweets: A collection of tweets from everyone you follow
Replies: Replies targeted to you regardless of whether you follow someone
Groups: A customizable list of people you want in their own column
Direct Messages: Non-public tweets sent only to you
Search: Enter search terms and every tweet that contains them appears
Favorites: You can get a list any tweet you have flagged as a favorite

Within any of these columns you can also set a filter to help limit what you actually see in the event your are tapping a tweet source that is very active. You can also mark tweets as read and have them removed from your view if you only want to see what’s new. At the top of the All Tweets column is a number that shows you how many unread tweets you have though that’s the only place the unread count appears for me on the current 0.20b version.

Individual tweets display the image for the person making the tweet that doubles as a menu for interacting with it. Mouse over it and you have the ability to Reply, Retweet, Send a Direct Message or mark the tweet as a favorite.

The area at the top of the window for entering tweets is spacious and clearly marks how many characters you have typed in, also giving you tools to insert a shortened URL or a TwitPic (always helpful when dealing with a 140 character limit).

The notification options for TweetDeck include playing a bird chirping sound whenever new tweets arrive (which for me became quickly annoying; I turned that off), as well as a small notification window that will tell you which of your columns has received new tweets:

This was also something I turned off. Iain Dodsworth, the developer of TweetDeck indicated in a recent tweet that it would soon offer Growl support.

TweetDeck works by talking to the Twitter APIs, pulling down the messages you are reading and dropping them into a database on your local machine. Though you can manually pull down tweets at any time Twitter limits you to the number of API calls you can make in a specified period of time. You have some control over this polling of the Twitter service if you feel like tweaking how quickly your tweets come in.

Using TweetDeck
I really enjoy using TweetDeck. Though I would like the user interface to be a lot more compact I can generally see most of what I want on a single screen if I make the window large enough. On my Mac Pro with two 1600×1200 displays I’ve found that TweetDeck works best with 4 visible columns. Unfortunately you cannot size the columns so on my 1600 pixel wide display I max out at 5 visible columns.

I love that it has shortcuts for URLs and pictures when I am creating a tweet and that I can Retweet something I find interesting to my group of followers. I really do wish the text entry area had auto spell checking though; since it’s now embedded in virtually every editing surface I have I’ve become quite accustomed to seeing little red squiggles when a word is misspelled.

Getting beyond the UI, the biggest benefit to TweetDeck is that I can create a number of different columns that can track my interests, especially by entering a search term. This is where Twitter stops becoming just a cute little time waster and starts to become a very powerful networking tool. If you have a deep interesting in something just put it in a search column in TweetDeck and see what comes up. If it’s an active topic the search window will dynamically update, providing you with an ongoing stream you can dive in to if you see something that catches your fancy.

I have had some problems with these dynamic search windows in TweetDeck on occasion. Some times they will simply stop grabbing new results and need to be closed and reopened in order to see new results.

TweetDeck is not perfect but it is by far the best tool I’ve used for accessing Twitter. If you’ve got a better tool for accessing Twitter please drop a note in the comments or feel free to follow me on Twitter and shoot me a reply.


Digital Lifestyles Media Photography Reviews

It never fails.

Just as I get rolling on something I need to finish, someone emails me something which completely catches my attention and takes me away from whatever it was that I was doing.
(what was I doing?)
Distraction du jour:
There are several online tools which allow you to have fun with images, Dumpr and Gooifier are two free sites that I’ve used in the past, but Photofunia, also free, offers a more sophisticated selection and I like their interface better. Using face detection technology and offering 50 different templates which allow you to apply funny, creative or artistic effects on your images with just a few clicks, Photofunia can help you transform your everyday photography to something you can have fun with and even frame and give as a gift. The results are that good. There is no need to have any deep knowledge of photo editing. No program download or registration is required. Just upload your picture or graphic, select your desired effect from the comprehensive assortment of image thumbnails, and viola! Then, just click and save.
I had such a good time with this program that I sent my kids all the funny and cool photos I made of them on Photofunia. After about the seventh or eighth photo, I received an email back from my 19 yr old son who is away at university. That, in and of itself was a miracle.
"Dear mom, Get a hobby. Love you. =)"
"Dear Bobby, I found a hobby. Have you found a job?"
I haven’t heard back…