A New Beginning

For those of you who have followed One Tech of a Day, you know it has been a while since I have posted a blog update.  The hiatus was by no means a result of my keyboard blowing up from extensive writing sessions or anything so dramatic as that.  Nor has it been a result of a dwindling interest in technology or less use on a daily basis.  In fact, my use of and interest in technology is just as strong as, if not stronger than, ever.  Which leads me to the purpose of this post. Today in essence marks the Grand Opening of a new era for One Tech of a Day.  I am very excited to announce that One Tech of a Day is transitioning from solely being a blog about how I use technology daily while also offering tips and recommendations to help others, to a Personal & Small Business Technology Consulting service.  Well, I should clarify – the site is not becoming a consulting service, but rather I, Greg Domsten, am (the man behind the One Tech of a Day mask/curtain or any other concealing device that fits the image). So what does “Personal & Small Business Technology Consulting” mean?  Well, thank you for asking, let me share a bit about One Tech of a Day Consulting with you. If you are in need of a new phone or tablet, but are not sure what you should look for, I would like to assist you in that process.  If your PC or Mac is running slowly, your wireless printer is not able to print wirelessly, your...

A Brief Glance at Some Updated Apps I Use

  I use a variety of apps on my iPhone or iPad on a daily basis, and a number of them have had updates in the past few days.  I would like to run through a few of the apps and let you know the scope of the updates, either to make sure that if you also use any of these apps you are aware of the updates, or to raise awareness if you are unfamiliar with the apps.  Along with the list of updates or fixes for each, I also comment on the app itself and my use of it, and how the contents of the update will benefit me. iMovie (new version 1.4.1) improved reliability when sending photos from iPhoto to iMovie New feature – three new trailers – Adrenaline, Coming of Age, and Teen New feature – add photos to any trailer and they will be automatically animated with the Ken Burns effect. New feature – on the iPad, you can now open the Precision Editor to create split audio edits. New feature – play video clips in the Video Browser before adding them to your project. New feature – create a slide show by sharing photos from iPhoto for iOS. New feature – get coaching tips by tapping the Help icon. New feature – the ability to upload 1080p HD videos to YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo, and CNN iReport. New feature – audio recordings captured in a project will now appear in the audio browser, providing easier access. As I wrote in this article, I do not use iMovie very often on my phone or the...

So What’s the Deal with Podcasts?

Are you a fan of a particular radio show, but because of the time it airs you do not get to listen to it very often?  Do you have pastors you enjoy hearing preach, but because you live across the country you do not get to listen to their sermons very often?  If you answered yes to either of these, podcasts can solve your dilemma.  Podcasts are similar to On-Demand movies and shows you can get access to on your television, but they are digital media, consisting of typically audio or video, subscribed to and downloaded to a computer or mobile device. The term “podcast” is derived from the words “broadcast” and “iPod”, as they became popular with the advent of the iPod.   Originally audio-only, with the increase in speed for internet connections, video podcasts have become popular as well.  Video podcasts are generally short clips of video, shorter than a typical half-hour television show, for example.  Enhanced podcasts can also be a combination of audio and images, including hyperlinks, chapter marks, and artwork, allowing for easy distribution of school/university lectures, slide shows, or other presentation materials. To listen or watch podcasts, a special client application, called a podcatcher, is necessary.  Podcatchers access the web feed for a podcast you subscribe to, checks for updates, and downloads new files in the series.  The podcast files are either streamed over the internet or they can be stored on your local computer or mobile device, allowing for offline listening.  The best podcatcher apps will allow you to rewind/fast-forward, skip past any ads included in the podcast, bookmark locations within podcasts, create playlists...

Amazon’s AutoRip Service Provides More Options for Music in the Cloud

If you have purchased any CDs from Amazon, you can benefit from Amazon’s new AutoRip service.  AutoRip allows you to download free MP3 versions of CDs you have purchased from them since 1998.  The songs will automatically appear in Amazon’s Cloud Player, but you can also download them to your PC, which provides you with the ability then to import them into whatever music library software you use, including iTunes. The service is not yet available for all CDs, but more are being added all the time.  The terms and conditions of the service are worth keeping in mind as well.  For one, no CDs included in an order marked as a gift are eligible.  Also, if you download the MP3s and then for whatever reason return the CD, Amazon will bill you for the purchase of the MP3s.  The service is also only available in the United States. CDs eligible for free MP3 download are clearly identified in the product listing. If you are unfamiliar with Amazon’s Cloud Player, it is a free music service/player from Amazon that stores any MP3s you have purchased from Amazon and allows you to stream them from the cloud to a variety of devices, including Kindle Fire, Android phone/tablet, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, PC or Mac, and Sonos.  You can also upload up to 250 MP3s for free, or for $24.99/year you can upload up to 250,000 songs. One negative of this service is the fact that I now have Cody Simpson in my music collection, thanks to the purchase of Christmas gift for someone.  Though I suppose with a young daughter, music like...

iOS 6.1 Update Now Available

Apple released the first major update to iOS 6 yesterday, featuring not only bug fixes but new features as well. iOS 6.1 adds the following new features: Users can purchase movie tickets through Fandango after using Siri to find available showtimes (you need to have the Fandango app installed). 4G LTE support for an additional 36 iPhone carriers as well as 23 more for the iPad. iTunes Match subscribers can once again download individual songs to iOS devices from iCloud. Bluetooth keyboard capability is now available for Apple TV. Users can reset the Advertising Identifier, which serves as a way to control the informing of advertisers of your web activity.  To access the Identifier, go to Settings -> General -> About -> Advertising.  And what exactly is the Advertising Identifier, you might ask?  Here is Apple’s statement: iOS 6 introduces the Advertising Identifier, a non-permanent, non-personal, device identifier, that apps will use to give you more control over advertisers’ ability to use tracking methods. You can reset a device’s Advertising Identifier at any time. And, if you choose to limit ad tracking, apps are not permitted to use the Advertising Identifier to serve you targeted ads. In the future all apps will be required to use the Advertising Identifier. However, until then you may still receive targeted ads. Some other changes included in the 6.1 update are some tweaks to Safari, an updated music controls on the lock screen, new boarding pass behavior in the Passbook app, and a “behind-the-scenes” change in the Apple Maps app.  The iOS 6.1 update also includes some security fixes. To download the update,...

Help! I have Social Media Accounts Coming Out of My Ears!

Social networks are all the rage, and many of us have accounts in multiple networks.  Between checking our Facebook account, Linked In, Twitter, Google+, Foursquare, or MySpace, to keeping up on updates on media sharing sites like YouTube, Instagram, Tumblr, Flickr, or StumbleUpon, our computer desktops can become a convoluted mess of browser windows or tabs.  Furthermore, navigating multiple apps for all of these social networks on our smart phones or tablets can be very annoying.  Fortunately solutions exist to help stay current on the veritable cornucopia of social networks in which we may take part. Social media management systems (SMMSs) give the means to merge many social media accounts into one system or app, providing easy access to each with a simple mouse click or swipe of your finger.  If you have a status update, link to an interesting article, or a great snapshot of your precocious toddler you wish to share on multiple social networks, social media management systems allow you to enter the message once and identify which of your social network accounts you would like updated with the post.  Additionally, many allow you to schedule posts in advance. SMMSs are great for individuals, but are becoming almost mandatory for businesses or services using social media to market themselves.  Companies/services can utilize SMMSs to better develop and publish social media marketing content, more effectively engage with customers/clients through social media, and develop leads for new customers. A number of SMMSs exist, but I would like to share three with you that are very effective for individuals and/or small businesses. HootSuite     Probably the most popular SMMS, HootSuite...

How to Watch High School Basketball in the Car

This past Friday was my 10th wedding anniversary, and thanks to my wife’s parents and my sister and her family, we were able to take a long weekend away while our kids stayed with them.  Much of my technology use on our weekend away was similar to other trips I have documented in previous articles (NYC and Notre Dame) here on One Tech of a Day, so I will not go into detail again.  But I do want to share one more use we implemented this weekend that some of you may find interesting. We have a friend who coaches high school basketball in the Chicago area, and his team played in a tournament this weekend.  Being away, and on the road particularly yesterday when his team played two games, meant we were not able to attend any of his weekend games.  But thanks to the High School Cube web site, we were able to watch yesterday’s game(s) on my wife’s phone as we drove home (to be correct, my wife watched and I listened as I drove). High School Cube is a live streaming site dedicated to providing high schools with the ability to broadcast and share school events, from sports to concerts to even daily morning announcements on mobile devices, tablets, and computers, including HD if the school has the necessary equipment.  The site is broadcasting events from over 1400 high schools across the United States, all available to watch for free.  Not only are live events shown, replays of previously broadcasted live events are available as well.  Additionally, High School Cube provides real-time recording for replays,...

More New Features for 1Password 4 for iOS!

If you have followed One Tech of a Day for a while, you know how much I like 1Password for managing the vast multitude of passwords I own (see here).  Other password managers are effective, and may cost less, but for the combination of features and security, 1Password is my preferred tool.  I recently discussed the release of 1Password 4 for iOS, and not content to rest on their laurels, AgileBits has just released version 4.1.  More than just a release of bug fixes to version 4, version 4.1 adds many new features, all as a free update for purchasers of 1Password 4 for iOS. Among the updates are: Sync Improved Dropbox and iCloud syncing Support added for USB sync utility – one of the features that was present in 1Password 3 but removed in 4 was the ability to sync between a Mac and iOS via wi-fi.  Many users utilized this feature, and AgileBits received a lot of feedback expressing disappointment at the removal of this ability.  The wi-fi syncing had its share of issues, so AgileBits is readying a new utility to provide syncing between Mac and iOS via USB.  The utility is in beta mode now, but 1Password 4 for iOS is now ready for this feature. Security Improved settings for Master Password and Quick Unlock Code Added settings for Display – you can now change the font and color of your saved passwords for easier display. Vault Mode Tapping the tab icon twice on the iPad will now take you to the root view You no longer need to tap-and-hold on rows in the item detail...

I Found an Apple TV in My Stocking

One of the items I have had on my Christmas list for a couple of years now is an Apple TV, and this year a kindly elf fulfilled this Christmas wish.  For those of you who may not be familiar with Apple TV or its functions, in today’s article I will discuss some of its features, some of the reasons I have had it on my Christmas list for so long, and some alternatives for those of you who would like to stay away from Apple devices. Apple TV is a digital media streamer/receiver you plug into your TV, allowing you to watch rented/purchased movies from iTunes, stream video from Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube, Vimeo, MLB.tv, NBA League Pass, or NHL GameCenter, view photos from Flickr, or catch up on news from WSJ Live.  You can also listen to your own music, home videos, or photos from a shared iTunes library on your home network or wirelessly access your music through iCloud if you subscribe to iTunes Match.  Apple TV is 1080p capable, so you can watch movies/video in pristine HD quality (actual quality can vary based on speed of your internet connection), and it is Dolby Digital 5.1 capable as well. Another great feature is the ability to mirror your iPhone or iPad display through AirPlay, so you can view whatever is on your device on the big screen.  Airplay also allows you to wirelessly stream content located on your iPhone or iPad to your TV and speakers via Apple TV.  Another feature of AirPlay is dual screen ability, allowing you to use your iPhone or iPad as...

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from OToaD!

Please note that I will not be posting any new articles this week on One Tech of a Day as my family and I celebrate Christmas.  But while I am taking a break from posting, I will not be taking a break from using technology, so please be watching this space for new articles in the new year. Thank you so much for following One Tech of a Day.  I love writing, but it would not be any near as enjoyable if it was not for all of you.  I want to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a blessed holiday season!   Peace and glad tidings to you! (Photo courtesy of: CliffMuller via Compfight)...