March 4, 2014
I recently flew Delta out of La Guardia airport in New York.
It may be true what Joe Biden says, about La Guardia being like a third-world country, but Delta is looking to improve the gate-waiting experience by having an iPad at every single seat, whether at the food and drink bar or at one of the many tables throughout the gate area.
My experience with the iPads was exctremely positive. From any seat in the whole place I can order food and drink that gets delivered right to my seat. I can also order newspapers and magazines, even electronics (headphones, speakers) which supposedly are hand-delivered within 15 minutes.
Not surprising that Delta is seeing a huge increase in sales per passenger at the La Guardia terminal compared to elsewhere.
In addition, you can punch in your flight info, and the iPad keeps you updated on the status of your flight. Which was great for me, since my flight was over an hour delayed. No need to keep going back to the gate to get updates; they all came through on the iPad directly in front of me.
If this is the way New York City air travel is going, perhaps people won’t be so upset about the perennial delays at NYC airports.
Read more about iPads at La Guardia in the New York Times article from January, 2013: At La Guardia, Delta Uses iPads to Fill the Wait Time
February 28, 2014
Recently I’ve bought a few items from Shapeways. Each item is printed to order, which means it takes a few weeks to get to you. But it also means that sometimes you have your choice of materials, including sterling silver (the most expensive), steel, brass, sandstone, and various kinds of plastic.
A few of the coolest things on the site:
Jewelry. Lots of rings, bracelets, necklaces, earrings. Check out this gorgeous pendant that doubles as a pocket-sized art object. It’s based on the shape that soap bubbles make when clinging together.
Miniatures. Tiny model trains and trucks and spaceships.
Dice. If you play a lot of dice games you should definitely check out some of the incredible designs here, like this Botanical Die.
iPhone cases with all kinds of wacky designs, kickstands, credit card holders, and so on.
Ceramic ware. Yes you can print in ceramic, which means lots of unusual coffee cups. Check out this coffee mug with a caffeine molecule design.
Coming soon: I design my own objects and have Shapeways make them!
February 18, 2014
This past week was the 3D Print Show, held at the Metropolitan Pavilion in New York City.
Of course we attended; here is what we learned.
1. 3D printing is quickly becoming a big deal. There are now dozens of companies making 3D printers.
2. Lots of artists and designers are now using 3D printing technology; for example, take a look at Nervous System to see lighting designs, jewelry, and other design ideas. Or check out Joshua Harker’s works of art. Or Davide Prete, who makes sculpture and jewelry.
3. There are 2 major companies where you can upload your 3D design and have it printed in various media, including ABS plastic, translucent plastic, resin, brass, sterling silver, stainless steel, or ceramic. The best-known is Shapeways; another I just learned about is i.materialise. Both sites also let you sell your designs to a general audience.
4. There is a place in New York City to go for 3D printing as well as classes on 3D printing. It’s called 3DHeights and it’s up at 172nd Street and Broadway in Manhattan.
5. Most 3D printers start at $1200 and can go up fast from there. However there’s a new company, The Micro 3D, whose mission is to make a very small 3D printer for a purchase price starting at $200. Their Kickstarter campaign begins soon; check out the website for details. So prices are coming down fast.
6. You need special software to design a 3D object for printing; there are various free open-source options, online options, and of course paid options. Here are a few of the more inexpensive options:
- Tinkercad: Free and basic online tool
- Inkscape: Free, available for Mac, Windows, Linux
- Adobe Photoshop Creative Cloud: Has 3D options built in; $50/month or free if you already have Photoshop CC
- Autodesk 123D: Online design, free
- Sculptris: Calls itself “digital sculpting,” free
- Blender: Very complex, can be used for animation also, free
February 10, 2014
My home printer isn’t a multifunction, so I can’t do scanning on it.
So I’m using my iPhone and iPad to do my scanning, and my scans look great. I use it for receipts, notes in my notebook, handouts from meetings…
My favorite app is JotNot Scanner. The app is free but you need to do an in-app purchase to upgrade to the full version. It can create PDFs (which is my preferred), or JPGs, or PNGs. And you can send your scans to email, Dropbox, Evernote, and Google Docs.
Here’s how to use it:
- Launch the app.
- Click the Scan button at the bottom.
- Lay your document on a flat surface, and take a picture of your document from directly above. Make sure all the edges are in the shot, and try to keep your paper as flat as possible.
- JotNot Scanner will guess where the corners of your document are. If they are right, click Process. If not, drag the corners to the actual corners of the document.
- The app will convert your photo into a black and white scan. Make it darker or lighter if you want by using the gray squares at the bottom (although I find that 90% of the time it’s readable as is).
- If you want to add additional pages to your scan, you can follow these steps again for the next page.
- To rename your scan, click at the top where it says “File-[date]” and give it whatever name you want.
- To email your scan or send it to Dropbox or anywhere else, click on the box with the arrow in it, at bottom right. You’ll get lots of options.
JotNot also saves your scan in the app.
February 6, 2014
I was experimenting with Profile Manager in Mountain Lion Server, and a while ago installed a profile that required a password to remove. And I forgot the password. Whoops. I had a profile I couldn’t remove from my own phone.
Fortunately, I tracked down the original profile by searching for a file ending in “.mobileconfig” on my Mac, and opened it in BBEdit. I looked for a key called “RemovalPassword”, and, voila, there it was — the password was visible. I removed the profile. Whew.
Time Machine is a great way to back up your Mac.
But what happens when you’re away a lot, with your MacBook Pro or MacBook Air? It means your computer can’t back up via Time Machine.
So it’s even more crucial that you have a cloud backup of your Mac. We recommend CrashPlan, but there are other services out there as well (Mozy, Carbonite).
If you have one of these services backing up your Mac, it means you’re backing up anytime you are on the internet. No matter where you are. Not just in the office or at home.
You wouldn’t want to lose all the hard work you did while you were on a business trip, would you?
Another CrashPlan backup tip:
CrashPlan backs up more slowly when you are using the Mac, and it backs up faster when you’re not using it. (This is on purpose, so that your computer isn’t slow and pinwheeling all the time.) So leave your Mac on overnight, on the internet, plugged in to power, and with the Energy Saver System Preference set to put the display to sleep but not the computer itself.
So while you’re sleeping, your Mac is backing up.
Image by Dennah Jones, from Flickr Creative Cloud.
February 3, 2014
The weather in New York has been so snowy and cold this winter, and I’m miserable in the cold weather. Here’s how I am using my iPhone to make it through a rough winter.
Yes, it gives you hour-by-hour forecasting, maps, precipitation. But it’s the gorgeous photos on this app that make it special. Amazing photos of NYC, all chosen from Flickr, to remind you why you live here. I also suggest adding a few cities in warmer climates, so you can look at sunshine and palm trees.
Dream of vacations to warmer climes with these apps.
Or go all in and see if there’s enough snow nearby to go skiing. Enter your fave ski slopes and it tells you how much snow has fallen in last 24/48/72 hours.
When paired with a New York Public Library membership number, you can borrow e-books without even going to the library. Works with their audiobooks too. Or use OverDrive Read, for reading on your iPhone or iPad in Safari.
Order food from your iPhone so you don’t have to go out until it warms up.
January 30, 2014
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January 28, 2014
I got a new 21″ iMac last week.
My old iMac was from 2008. It was maxed out on RAM, was on its 3rd internal hard drive, and was slowing down. So 6 years later, I decided it was time for an upgrade.
I purchased it online at the Apple Store and it arrived on Tuesday. It wasn’t until Friday that I was able to finally get to work on my new Mac, after many hours of setup. Yes, it took probably 6 hours over 3 days to get to the point where I could get back to normal work.
So why did it take so long?
One reason is because I wanted a fairly unusual setup — I put my Home folder (where all my documents live) on an external hard drive, and kept the system and software on the internal drive. This required some fancy Terminal commands.
But it wasn’t just my special setup. I had to migrate data from a Time Machine backup, run all the system updates, upgrade software that’s no longer working, log back in to Dropbox and CrashPlan and iTunes, and ensure my mail was still coming and going.
When our clients ask us, “Why did moving me to a new Mac take so long? I thought Apple made it easy!” The answer is that the basics are easy, but getting all the details right so a client can just get to work takes time. Now I know from personal experience.
January 23, 2014
If you are a Mac user, have you ever received an email attachment called “winmail.dat”?
I’m not talking about spam; I mean an attachment you were expecting, from someone you know.
If you receive a winmail.dat file, which you can’t open on the Mac, here’s what to do:
- Download the free application TNEF’s Enough and install it into your Applications folder.
- Run the TNEF’s Enough application by double-clicking on it.
- Drag the email attachment out of the email and drop it on top of the TNEF’s Enough icon in the dock.
- Doubleclick the file in the bottom half of the window that appears.
- The program will ask you where you want to save the new file; choose the Desktop or wherever is convenient.
- Go to that location and open your file!
The winmail.dat problem has to do with the sender’s email settings; often the sender is using Outlook for Windows and his/her email is hosted with Exchange.
Image by Steven Taschuk from Flickr Creative Commons.