Saturday, December 18, 2010

Santa's Bag is Loaded with Christmas Apps for Kids

I have been downloading apps for about a week that have a Christmas holiday theme. There are some pretty cute ones that will keep most little ones entertained.

What kid doesn't enjoy decorating a gingerbread house, cookies or snowman or an elf? Check out the following apps: Dress a Elf, Build a Gingerbread House, Cookies for Santa or Snowman Maker Plus.

For the older kids that enjoy games, check out OvenBreak where you help the Gingerbread boy by nabbing jelly beans, jumping over gaps and sliding and swinging on Candy canes. Santa's Christmas Word Search is fun for finding all the holiday related words, while listening to Christmas carols and viewing the animated tree. You can also throw snowballs at the Beserk Elves. Letter Blocks 3D Christmas (game FREE) is a good word game for children and is available in several languages as well. My favorite is probably Charmed Xmas a holiday themed version of Charmed which is one of the match three type games. Although I must admit the one that I know will be a hit with my grandkids is Cut the Robe: Holiday gift. It is a hit with me as well and will keep adults entertained as well.

If you have children who like to draw or color or paint, there is a lot of coloring apps available with Christmas themes, as well as a lot of animated stories and Christmas carols available. Just search the iTunes store by typing in 'Christmas' and see what is available. Many were free throughout the season, but have now gone to 99 cents. This is certainly a nice and inexpensive way to thrill little ones.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Playing with My Virtual Keyboard on My Mac

Not too long ago I dreamed of the Newton like tablet that Apple would produce allowing me to have touch technology to operate a tablet device. Apple came through with a remarkable device called the iPad.

As I walked through the aisles of Target or Walmart last week, I scoured the aisles for gifts to buy for friends and family. It amazed me that most of the items I saw, have been replaced by virtual devices or apps on my iPad. Consider the alarm clock, the weather station, the numerous board games, the GPS, just to name a few. If you own an iPad you have a myriad of devices at your finger tips, controlled by mere gestures of touching and swiping.

Today, I was contemplating the idea of a touch computer screen on a future laptop device. Would that not be amazing? I believe this would open the market to all ages and to all abilities for computing. Apple has always tried to implement new means to provide computing for all: via voice command technology and touch technology. It only stands to reason that touch computer screens must be next.

I was playing with the virtual 'keyboard view' under 'System Preferences' on my Snow Leopard system driven Mac Pro. I could set the keyboard to be visible on my screen (via the icon in the upper right hand corner of the Mac) and using my trackpad, I could tap on the letters on the screen, typing in the word 'Beatles' in my iTunes music library to search for a song. Imagine when I can use a laptop Mac and tap on the screen.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Top 10 innovations or new products or ideas that have drawn the most attention in 2010

Trying to put together a list of the Top 10 innovations, products or ideas for 2010, was no easy task. There are so many amazing inventions that rolled out into the spotlight this year, that choosing only ten, was a gruelling process. Each of the ideas listed here were chosen for their overall propensity to actually change the way we live as a society.

The iPad. Easily the most well-known, sought after gadget of the year. Innovative in its design and touch friendly, it has made the stuff of science fiction a reality. Other than the cell phone, it is the most popular consumer electronic on the market.

Square. This is destined to change the way the world does business. Square is a payment platform that is attached to a smart phone, allowing credit card transactions to be made by anyone who has a phone. Square also sends a receipt directly to e-mail.

The Plasma Scalpel. Invented for the military, this little gadget may be the coolest invention since, well, the scalpel itself. The Scalpel works with ionized gas introduced via a controlled light beam. This method can both cut and cauterize a wound in one motion. This technology is bound to save countless lives and change the surgical industry forever.

The MyKey. This little gadget is used to limit the speed of a vehicle, as well as the volume on the stereo. It can also detect and notify when the car is low on gas. Many parents will probably love this thing, although their kids might not be so excited.

The Looxcie. This is a camera that is worn on the ear. While it may seem irrelevant, consider the fact that trying to video children while simultaneously being a parent, has been the root of many ruined video moments. With the Looxcie, you'll get five hours of hands free recording of everything the user sees, as well as the option to send the last 30 seconds to a preset e-mail address, Facebook or YouTube, with just a push of a button. Amazing.

The KS810 Keyboard Scan. Anyone who does a lot of document handling will appreciate this. It is a keyboard, with a full color, 600dpi document scanner built right in. So simple, but so right.

Gibbs Quadski. A new way to think about fun, the Quadski is both an all terrain vehicle and a jet ski. With the press of a button, the wheels fold inside the body and the quadski takes off across the water.

Googles Prius' . A great idea and an effective one as well. Google is the first company to create a car than maneuver city streets and avenues safely in auto-drive. Over 140,000 miles and still going without crashing, the Prius is equipped with video cameras, laser sensors and a laser range finder, only google could amass the technology to make this happen.

Minesto's Deep Green. This revolutionary idea uses the concept of a simple kite design. Attached to the ocean floor, these round, turbine equipped underwater power sources can generate 500 kilowatts of power in calm water. A real breakthrough in green energy.

The Terrafugia Transition. Before now, the idea of a flying car was just that, an idea. The Transitions 100 horsepower engine gets about 35 mpg on the ground, and it can fly two passengers for 500 miles at 105 mph. This gem is priced at about $200,000.

There are many more amazing inventions and ideas that could not be included here, but it is certainly evident, that 2010 has been a creative year.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Spam, Spum, and Splog

Spam is slang for 'Stop Posting Ad Mail'

Spum is slang for 'Stop Posting Unwanted Messages'

Splog is slang for 'Spam on a Blog' or in other words a web log or journal that contains false advertising or information.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Airplay and Pandora

Like most people I enjoy the Pandora radio app, which gives me access to my favorite music channels while surfing the web.

Today, I was wondering if the Pandora app could utilize the new Airplay feature in iOS 4.2 and stream this music from my iPhone or iPad to my house speakers. Well, it can.

Log into your Pandora app on your mobile device. Select your favorite music channel and then start playing the channel.

After selecting the music channel to play, the player will be displayed on your mobile device. Notice the small blue up arrow icon in the lower right hand corner of the player. This is the access to your remote speakers that you can utilize via Airplay. Click on this arrow to display the speaker choices.

As you can see, in the illustration below: I have the option to listen to Pandora music through my iPhone speakers or headset, my house speakers hooked to an airport express base station or the speakers hooked to my Piano via airport express base. Select the speakers and viola you have music streaming remotely throughout your house.

Many of the musical or audio apps on your mobile devices can be played via this method. Just hook up some speakers to Airport Express base stations and setup on your Mac using Airport Utility application, then select your apps and Mac applications (iTunes for one) and try them out.

Music soothes the soul.

NOTE: The iPad version of Pandora doesn't seem to have the up arrow icon on its player. However, you can start playing a channel in Pandora on the iPad and then using multitasking capabilities of iOS 4.2, switch to your iPod player app and set the speakers through that app and then go back to your Pandora app and the music will stream through the external speakers. This little trick using iPod player app to set the speaker choice works with other apps like Netflix where you wish to stream a movie to your iPad, but have the sound come out some external airplay speakers.

musicalTouch - Airplay Connection from my iPad to Speakers in Disklavier

I've been exploring the Airplay feature in the iOS 4.2 update for Apple mobile devices. Yesterday I streamed music I played on the virtual keyboard in an app called musicalTouch.

musicalTouch provides 5 instrumental voices for the user to play on the virtual keyboard: piano, guitar, organ, syntheszer and electronic Bass. I must say the quality of the audio samples used for these 5 voices are amazing. There are also 10 unique drum loops of varying types: Pop, R&B, R&B2, Rap, Rap2, Dance, House, Techno, Rock, and Jazz, that allowed me to have a drum accompaniment as I played.

Some of the other features that are implemented in this app include the ability to overlay the key notes on the keys to facilitate learning and teaching tunes. But the best feature, was the newly implemented ability to be able to multitask and utilize Airplay. I was amazed at the ability to record and play my newly created tune remotely through the speakers on my Disklavier piano in the living room upstairs. The quality of the piano audio sample voice was so good, that it sounded like the piano was actually being played rather than just coming through the speakers.

Check this app out at:

Chris Khoury has an interesting app that might be of interest to some of you budding musicians out there. Now if only this app could somehow implement the midi functions and send those to my Disklavier and really play those keys.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Where's My Shared Printer? - Printopia

I was very excited about the new feature called 'Airprint' for Apple mobile devices that was included in the 4.2 iOS update that came out yesterday. I immediately went to the photo app on my iPhone to see if I could print a photo.

I was able to access the print option, by selecting a photo from my photo library on my iphone and then clicking on the share icon in the lower left hand corner. This brought up the options for sharing, one of which is 'print'.

Clicking on the 'print' option brought up the Printer Options window and I selected the arrow next to the Printer and waited patiently for my iPhone to find my Brother printer which I had shared in my system preferences options on my Mac Pro. The wheel started spinning and nothing seemed to happen in recognizing my printer. Alas. I then searched the Apple support pages to find out that there were only 11 printers that were directly supported by the new Airprint feature. Of course, they were HP printers and I no longer use a HP printer on my Mac.

Feeling a little disappointed I decided to research my options for some sort of printing this morning. I found a solution.

Ecamm has always been a software company that has had numerous solutions that I have used over the years. They have the solution for adding additional shared printers to all Airprint-enabled devices on your network. They have a 7 day demo that is worth checking out at the following link:

After downloading the Mac version of Printopia and installing it, I tried printing again from my iPhone. I have successfully printed my task list from Google web page and also a photo from my iPhone library.

PS - Also worked with my iPad.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Where's the Beef?

There is so much hype these days about 'branding' and how it should be utilized. Many of the expert social media gurus, point to the importance of using branding to get your company out there in the marketplace. As a result, most are jumping on the Facebook and Twitter band wagon to get their company and products known.

I must say that as an ex- small business owner, I realize the importance of making use of the internet to spread the word about your products. In most cases, small business owners have limited cash reserves to spend on big marketing campaigns. So utilizing the internet social network to spread one's name is pretty economical and easy for most to achieve.

Most of my business came from word of mouth and recommendations from of my customers to their customers, clients and suppliers. It was great and after the first year or so of heavy marketing and advertising fees, it was nice to put my resources into my production and let my customers do my marketing. In a sense, this is what Twitter and Facebook provide the small business man or woman. Nothing is better than having your customers recommend your product to their friends on Facebook or tweet about it on Twitter. In fact today, I made note of a company, explored their website and products on the recommendation of someone I follow on Twitter. Had I not seen their tweet about the service, I may have never discovered what this company had to offer.

In the past, branding was something that we saw in TV and radio commercials, that cost huge amounts of money. Just last night I was watching a great documentary about Dave Thomas the owner of Wendy's. I was intrigued with his life story, his achievements, hard work and innovative means to build an empire. He was one of the pioneers to utilize a successful branding that some will remember - Where's the Beef?

Not all small businesses have the means and money to pay for costly spots for Super Bowl TV ads and it seems to me that Twitter and Facebook are certainly a means to accomplish this for a lot less.

Check out this tribute to Dave

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Test blog post by email

I decided to test the option to post a blog from my iphone using email method.

To find the email address to use for posting a blogger text and 10mb photo - check under settings.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Where is it?

I am patiently awaiting the iOS 4.2 for my iPad. The suspense and time waiting is killing me. Very anxious to see all the features. Interested of course in the ability to have folders for apps, but the 'midi capabilities' is also intriguing.

Are there any 'midi' enthusiasts out there that will be making some apps for midis or will be evaluating and reviewing that feature? I certainly hope so.

Well, another day passes and still no appearance of the update for iPad iOS 4.2 system in the App Store.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy Halloween

Back from a visit with the kids on the coast. Enjoyed Orcas Island and Seaside. Made a spook house with granddaughters and saw our newest family member - grandson. Husband managed to get two bags of salt water taffy.

Friday, October 29, 2010

What are the 10 Best Ways to Retrieve Answers on the Internet?

1.) Use quotation marks ("") when you want to search for a specific term or phrase when using sites like Google.

For example, if you want to search for a certain Led Zeppelin song, simply type in "whole lot of love" to search for web pages that feature that exact group of words, in that exact order. If you type that song name without quotation marks, sites like Google will search for those words in almost any order they appear on any number of different web pages. This can bring up sites that have zero relevance to what you were actually trying to search for, and can be justifiably frustrating.

However, by simply adding quotation marks at the beginning and end of a phrase, or any other group of words you're interested in searching for online, you can more easily find the right information you are seeking .

2.) Browse the 'References' section of a Wikipedia page.

While Wikipedia ( is one of the largest collections of information on the planet, the ability for any number of users to add and edit pages makes the site far from 100% reliable. But, while the actual pages on Wikipedia are user created and moderated, the references found at the end of any given Wiki page are almost always from reliable sources. Newspapers, journals, and online, official documents are the usual information sources you'll find linked throughout a Wiki page; and, additionally, those external sites can potentially link you to other relevant information about the topic you're interested in researching.

3.) is a great place to find guides, lists, and how-to information online.

Whether you're looking for information about how to lose weight, or even if you're just trying to discover how to write a killer resume, ( is one of the most trusted (and free) sites on the internet for finding answers to questions you might have. is owned by the New York Times, so it has more than just a fly-by-night company standing behind the information it's handing out; and, the 'Guides, ' or, writers for the site, are all paid staff members, with many editors checking and rechecking their information before posting it to a page. is different from other information sites in that it offers not only articles about specific topics, but also contains how-to pages about thousands of different things. So, while Wikipedia can tell you all about the history of the guitar, is the site to check out first if you want to start learning how to actually play.

4.) Yahoo! Answers (, while not always offering reliable information, is one of the best places to get started if you only have a general idea of what you are researching.

Yahooo! Answers is a website that allows users to type in any question they can think of, and then wait for other Yahoo! users to answer it as best they can. You can also browse through the millions of questions already posted by users, by searching with specific keywords to see if your question has already been asked.

So, say you only know the plot-line for a movie, but can't remember the name of it...well, you can go to Yahoo! Answers and ask if anyone remembers the name of a movie that featured the specific scene or idea from your memory. Again, the answers that come back may not always be correct, but when you just aren't exactly sure how to even begin searching for something, Yahoo! Answers is a great first step.

5.) WikiAnswers ( is a site, similar to Yahoo! Answers, that acts as a good stepping stone for seeking out information, but, what it offers over Yahoo! Answers is it's collection of technical, scientific and historical Q&A's.

WikiAnswers allows anyone to answer a specific question, just like Yahoo! Answers, but, unlike it's rival site, usually only one answer is shown at a time. Additionally, other users can come in and change/edit the answer to improve its relevancy or accuracy. WikiAnswers is one of the best places on the Internet to go if you want to know why clouds form, who fought in the War of the Roses, or what specific vitamins do to the human body.

6.) ( is a mixture of Google's search engine and Yahoo! Answers, and it allows you to search for either specific words or a specific question.

When you search the internet using you will get two types of responses back. The first response will be the best answer as chosen by the staff; while the second response that shows up is a list of websites where you can find the information yourself. is a great tool to use when you want an answer, but also want to know where that answer came from.

Want to find out how long Route 66 is, but you also want to see it on a map? is the place to go.

7.) Forums, while harder to navigate than some of the above websites, are the best place to go to find the answer to a specific and/or detailed question about any given topic.

If you need to find out why certain software isn't working on your specific computer, of if you need to know what kind of fuel to put into your new lawnmower, then going to forums dedicated to such discussions is the best choice for finding the specific answers you need. By simply adding 'forum' to the end of a search on Google, or on any other search engine, you will usually find discussion groups dedicated to whatever it is you're searching.

Additionally, most forums are free to browse as well as internally search, though most ask that you register with the site before posting a new thread/question. And, remember, whenever you're going through forums that you should always read the 'stickies, ' or top discussions before posting a new thread, as those posts can contain very important information (and possibly the answer you're looking for!).

8.) Manufacture's Websites, when it comes to searching for answers about items you own or have previously purchased, are one of the best places to find just what you need to know.

While not all manufacturers have websites, and while not all of those that do are the most informative, an ever increasing number of businesses are providing Q&A sections, help pages, and other tools that are helpful in getting what you desire to discover.

When you have a question about a specific product, and you don't want to try searching for a forum, try going to the source first - the manufacture's website. Be sure that when you visit the main page you pay special attention to the bottom of the page, as it usually has links to all the different information found throughout the entire business' website.

9.) The Yellow Pages aren't just huge books left on your doorstep twice a year anymore. (or, offers an abundance of information about local and national businesses in the United States. Everything from a place's phone numbers, to multiple location addresses, and even coupons and special online deals can be found on the Yellow Pages' website.

If you know the name of the business you're looking for, or even if you just know the general type of food you're interested in eating tonight, is arguably the best place to not only get directions and phone numbers, but also to help discover new and local shops in your area, or the area you're visiting.

10.) Last on our list of the 10 Best Ways To Retrieve Information Online, is the powerful social networking site Facebook (

Facebook is not just a place to update your status and show off pictures of your cat anymore. Over the years Facebook has developed a powerful search engine that allows its users to not only search for friends, but to now also search for businesses, celebrities, bands, artists and more.

If you have a favorite restaurant, but don't know what their special is tonight, one of the first places you should check is Facebook to see if they have an official page. An ever-increasing number of small and local businesses have discovered the power of advertising themselves on Facebook, and many cafes and dining establishments will put up what items are special on a specific day, as well as list upcoming events and sales.

Business aren't all you can search for on Facebook though. If you want to know when a certain band is going to be touring through your hometown, the best place to check first is Facebook. Everyone from local bands to U2 have Facebook pages, and a great number of those pages are updated with band information, tour schedules, and album release dates.

Facebook, while it can't do everything (yet), can offer you more than just a temporary distraction while you're at work; and, it is one of the best places to start searching for information on local, as well as national businesses, events, and entertainment. You already have a Facebook page, so why not use it to the fullest?


This list is in no way complete, but hopefully it offers all of you a great way to get started on finding the answers to the questions burning hot in your heads. Remember, when you're searching for anything out there on the Internet, though, to make sure that the information you're reading is coming from a reliable source. Always fact check the answers to your questions, always have an up-to-date virus protection and firewall software program running on your computer, and always, ALWAYS be skeptical of anything that sounds too good to be true.

Happy Information Hunting!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Love the New Facetime for Macs

Just tried the new FaceTime application for my Mac. It is very easy to use, has excellent video and audio reception. Kudos to Apple developers for a great new application that I will be utilizing with family and friends on a regular basis.

Setting up the app and installing was fast and easy and automatically connects with simply choosing person I wish to call with my contacts list that was automatically interfaced, loaded, and accessible from the app. This will be a great way for my family to communicate via our Macs and iPhone 4's.

I especially like the 'Favorites' tab, where you can use the + sign to select contacts to add to your favorites list. I set up my family in the 'Favorites' list and now can just do a simple click to call either their computer or iPhone 4 numbers to video conference with them. There is also a 'Recents' tab.

The quality is much better than using iChat. You can increase the size of the FaceTime display by using the lower right-hand corner to stretch the viewing area and the quality is still superb. Or you can use the option 'Zoom' from under the 'Window' menubar or use the 'green button' in the upper left corner of the FaceTime Screen. Under 'Video' menubar, you can also select 'Portrait', 'Landscape' or Full Screen mode and it seems to also change it on the receiving Mac as well.

Under the FaceTime Preferences, you can add additional email addresses for you account ID if you wish to give out different emails for your Contact info.

The Beta version .9 looks great and look forward to more options being added in the future.

It is amazing how far technology has come since my first experience with a video phone in 1968 when I visited the San Antonio Texas HemisFair, more than 35 years ago where I saw myself on a phone for the first time.

Can't wait to be able to use this on our new MacBook Air while traveling. What a great way to video conference with the children, grandchildren and especially the new grandson.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

iPod App on IPad Stops Working Fix

Yesterday I discovered that one of my iPad apps called 'MyBeatPad' wasn't working and I automatically assumed it was the app which I had downloaded back in May or June of this year.

To resolve the problem, I first rebooted my iPad. That did not help. Second, I deleted the app from my iPad and then reloaded from the iTunes app store. This did not help.

Over the years I have learned that when one has a problem with a computer, printer or other device, that one should always check the obvious. For example, if your printer doesn't print, be sure it is plugged into the wall socket and the cables connecting it to the computer are working. So in this case, I decided that since MyBeatPad was an app that utilizes the iPod app on the iPad, that I needed to make sure that app was functioning properly. It wasn't. So now I had a new problem, a non-working iPod app that supplies my music features for my iPad.

Scouring the message boards and apple support discussions, I saw that others were also having an issue with the iPod app not functioning on their devices. The most common solution was to restore the device, which means basically reloading everything back on to the device. I wanted to avoid this solution and instead took the option to just use the 'Reset All' under systems preferences on my iPad. Basically all my apps, music, and photos remained on the iPad. The apps arrangement on each page of my iPad became alphabetical and I lost my arrangement of favorite apps on various pages, but I can live with that until the iOS 4 system comes out this fall for the iPad. All my general settings for connecting to wifi, games, etc were reset, but my iPad now plays music again and the app MyBeatPad works again.