What's New in Snow Leopard?

If you’re like me, you installed Snow Leopard and thought pretty cool, now what? I wasn’t really sure what changed. The only thing I noticed was that the color contrast seemed higher (and as is turns out the output gamma correction was changed from 1.8 to 2.2). I also noticed the computer seemed to run faster (and as it turns out the coffee I’ve been drinking all morning has speeded up my fingers. Plus, Snow Leopard does run faster). At the prompting of Gizmodo, I attempted reading John Sircusa’s in-depth analysis of the new. While he does overwhelm with data that my non-programmer mind could fully grasp, I appreciate his detailed examination and found it very helpful.

First off, yes Snow Leopard is faster. In fact, that’s the big deal. It’s not bloated with lots of new bells and whistles that slow down the system for unnecessary functionality, but rather it improves performance and takes better advantage of the processor speeds. There are many reasons why it runs faster, but you’ll have to read Sircusa’s article since I can’t explain (or fully understand other than, “yeah that’s cool dude”). You can click and hold dock items and the OS will highlight and give you options. Cool, but I’m may not use that too much.

But there are some things I think I might use. Here are a few highlights:

Search Control – Choose “Preferences” in the Finder menu and you can customize search settings under the “Advanced” tab.

custom search

Faster – It’s faster. Did I say that already? It really is faster.

Column View is now sortable. If you Finder window is in “column view,” you can now sort the column. This is great!

sort by

Icon view change size – An easy slider let’s you pop up icons to large size for easy viewing. This is perfect for pictures and videos!

icons

Dialog Box – The open/save dialog box in programs now lets you add additional display columns by simply right-clicking.

dialog

Image Capture now offers a wider range of support for scanners. I never use it since it hasn’t worked well with my scanner. Now I’ll try it.

from John Siracusa at Ars Technica
Date & Time Location Finder – Like the iPhone, you’re mac can set time zone automatically. I likee.

datetime

But still no solitaire.

Text auto-correction

Critiqueing Walmart's Twitter Policy

When crafting a corporate social media policy, it is helpful to read critique’s of other policies (as well as reading other policies). By analyzing the good and bad (lacking) of Walmart’s Twitter policy, Augie Ray help shine light on issues that should impact all businesses developing policies.

While his whole article is worth reading, here is a quick highlight. Ray suggests that Walmart needs to set specific expectations of employee behavior when tweeting. The following list can be helpful for all potential tweeting companies:

  • How many tweets per day or week are expected
  • Rules for tweeting; what topics or language is acceptable and what is not
  • Follow-back guidelines–when should followers be followed?
  • Expectations for when and how to respond to @replies (or direct messages)
  • Expectations for retweeting
  • Expectations for seeking out new followers–since following people is a successful way to build a list of followers, how many new people should be followed each week and what are the criteria?
  • Expectations for monitoring for and responding to brand mentions on Twitter
  • Expectations for engaging with and showing interest in followers regarding non-brand matters.

Thanks to Charlene Li’s new Altimeter Group for the link to Ray’s article.

Blogging Flickr Photos

I use flickr photos most of the time when I add posts to my blogs here or at Douglas Floyd. I make sure I post photos that have a Creative Commons license (either for personal use on my blog or commercial use for business stuff). You can easily search flickr via Cerative Commons by click on the flickr search box. Then clicking “Advanced Search. Then look near the bottom of the advanced search page check “Only search within Creative Commons-licensed content.” Then at the top of advanced search, add your search term beside the “Search for” box and find a photo that fits your post.

There are several advantages. One the posts look better. Two my top viewed posts all have photos. People online and offline are more likely to look at photos and read caption than read lots of text (even though I like to write lots of text). There are several ways to add flickr photos but here I am going to run through the simplicity of linking your flickr account to your blog.

1. Sign into your flickr account or create one.

2. Click the small to the right of the “You” tab and select “Your Account.”

"Your Account" on Flickr

"Your Account" on Flickr

3. On the “Your Account” page, click the “Extending Flickr” tab.

Extending Flickr

Extending Flickr

4. Under the “Your blogs” section, click “Configure your Flickr-to-blog settings.”

Configure Your Flickr-to-Blog Settings

Configure Your Flickr-to-Blog Settings

5. Choose “Set up your blog.”

Set Up Your Blog on Flickr

Set Up Your Blog on Flickr

6. Click the drop-down menu, and select the blogging platform you use. (If you don’t already have a blog, I recommend setting one up on WordPress. It’s fast, free and easy.

Choose Your Blog

Choose Your Blog

7. You’ll need to provide the following information from your blog: API Endpoint, username, password. WordPress API Endpoint is http://your.blog.address/xmlrpc.php (for an extensive livst of API endpoints see, http://ecto.kung-foo.tv/docs/pgs/tocEndPoints.html

8. Now when you see a photo on flickr you like, you can click, “Blog This,” then add your title and copy (with html if desired) and the post will automatically show up on your blog.

9. I always go back to “edit posts” and add tags and categories for the new blog post.

Audiobooks in iTunes (moving files and syncing)

I have a bunch of audiobooks that I either imported from CD or downloaded from eMusic. One problem. These audiobooks don’t show up in the audiobooks section of iTunes. Why is that important? When I sync to the iPhone, my audiobooks show up like music files and I can’t bookmark my place. Big problem.

I skip around between different books (before finishing) and don’t like to lose my place. It was such a challenge that I had been keeping note everytime I paused an audiobook with the last chapter I was listening to. There’s got to be a better way! If I could get the books into the audiobooks section of iTunes, they would automatically bookmark the last place I stopped.

Finally, I did some searching in the iTunes customer forums and found two helpful things for myself and other audiobook listeners. Here are the steps I followed to move the imported audiobooks from the music section to the audiobook section on iTunes.

1. Highlight all the files for a selected book and right click (or control-click for us Mac users). Then select “Get Info.”

get-info

2. First, changed the generic “audiobook” genre to something more specific. In this case, I chose “novel.”

genre

3. Then jump over to the “Options” tab and change file from “Music” to “Audiobook.” I also changed to yes the following: “remember position,” “skip when shuffling,” and “gapless album.”

audiobook

4. Once you click “OK,” it takes a moment for iTunes to process your files. Now they show up in “Audiobooks” instead of “Music.”

audiobook-grid

5. In order to keep from syncing all audiobooks when I sync my iPhone, I select view by list. Highlight the books I don’t want to sync, right click (control click for Mac), and choose “Uncheck selections.”

uncheck

6. Finally, I choose “Sync only checked songs and videos” under the iPhone sync screen, and I am good to go.

options1

I Got a Free Apple TV Using My Debit Card

As it turns out my credit union, the Knoxville TVA Employees Credit Union awards points for using the debit/credit card. I checked the Bonus Check Card site last week and found out I qualified for a $250 Best Buy gift card (or a free Apple TV).

I figure that if my credit union offers these points, your credit union/bank might as well. So I encourage you to ask or visit your bank’s website to find out if they offer any incentives for using the debit/credit card.

The Browser War….It's ON Baby

Per Jeremy’s prompting, I spent the weekend playing around with the beta Firefox 3.0. While Firefox is a beloved old friend, I must admit that Flock and Seamonkey have been my mainstay browsers. But FF3 is faster, leaner and ready to take the battle of the browsers to the next level. NY Times today reports that Firefox, IE and Safari and all set to launch a new round in the browsers wars.

Brands as Tags

Last year I gave a presentation to group of businessmen on tagging and why it had the power to change the way we think about information, categories and even people. I suggested that we could have a tagging profile for members of congress the might paint a clearer picture than simple left/right divisions. In fact, I thought and still think that tagging could be an interesting tool for 360 profiles on how people (friends and co-workers) perceive us.

Looks like has got the ball rolling with their brand tagging tool. Brand tags is great for brand researchers and fun for the rest of us schmucks to brand the companies we don’t like with words like

Emusic Wants Your Poor, Your Tired, Your Huddled Cell Phones

Don’t throw out your discarded Cell Phones and MP3 players. EMusic is offering cash, paypal and even charitable donation options. That charitable idea is great, and I’m glad they’re offering it!

Anybody who offers Larry Norman downloads is already rocking in my book!

Microsoft Office is Now Open

Or at least the door is cracked! A couple years ago I wrote a post about online software and pointed to Boing Boing’s piece on Open Office running ads on the buses back and forth to the evil empire.

NY Times reports that the the intense ad war may just have worked! Microsoft is releasing an open document format in the updated Office 2007.