Send your messages in Morse Code

Want extra security for your e-mail messages? Write your text then paste it in to this Morse Code Translator and voila! your text becomes unsearchable by normal means! For added security you can play the Morse Code audibly and record it to your computer. Then send the audio to your recipient! You can send them a Morse code alphabet so they can transcribe it back to the original message!

It also makes you feel a little bit like the US/Russian spies of the 50s & 60s with their special encoder machines! To bad they didn’t have internet and a handy Morse Code Translator back then!

Just let the recipient know what you’re doing or it will be pretty useless to them also!

Accessing Apple’s Time Machine files with a PC

I like Macs…I really do, but when my video card went out on my MacBook Pro I wished I had purchased a backup to keep on hand.

My screen was blank and I found myself with all my information on my computer or on my Time Machine backup hard drive with no way to access it. Oh, and I”m living in Guatemala where the nearest Apple repair center is about five hours away. Sadly, my only working computer is my wife’s PC.

Not only can I not access all my wonderful media and information, I also can’t read the Time Machine backup because PCs don’t play well with Apple’s Time Machine format. I plugged in my hard drive and had access to nothing!

After several days of trying to get my going again and praying for it to work (literally!) I found out about MacDrive.

From MediaFour's MacDrive

MacDrive didn’t give me my computer back, but it gave me access to the backup drive so I can see the files, copy them to my wife’s PC and get what I need until my Mac can be fixed. I tried out MacDrive’s trial copy and probably will buy this handy software unless I end up getting my Mac fixed in the next week or so.

Here’s my review of MacDrive:

I like it because it’s simple. Just load the software. Restart. Plug in your Mac formatted drive or Time Machine Backup drive and, voila! you’re ready to access your files!

I don’t like how you have to copy the files to your PC instead of accessing them straight from the drive, but this probably is a good safety check to keep from messing up my backups for when my Mac is up and running again.

If you’re having trouble with your Mac. You have a backup drive and your only computer is a PC…go for it. Try out MacDrive and get easy access to your files…at least until you can get your Mac back from Apple repair!

Doxie scanner review

Product image from Amazon.com

We’re moving out of the country and tax season is fast approaching. After a conversation with my CPA, I realized that I’m going to need a way to easily scan in documents for e-mailing and such.

After searching the internet, visiting the local Best Buy, Staples and box stores, I finally found what I was looking for in a scanner. My criteria…:

  1. Must be small in size so I can pack it in wherever I go.
  2. Must be easy to use
  3. Must be able to generate quality scans
  4. Must play well with Macs
  5. Must be a space-saving device for travel

When I came across the amazing Doxie scanner for documents I decided that I’d give it a try despite it’s cutsie pink hearts. Besides, I had two days  before my flight and didn’t have any better options. Thankfully, I’ve not been disappointed.

I ordered the Doxie on Amazon.com and had it shipped overnight to my hotel so it was waiting for me when I arrived. The creative packaging and easy setup were impressive. Here’s my review:

Simple Startup

Easy instructions make Doxie an easy scanner to setup. Just download the application and install. There is a quick calibration with provided calibration sheet then you’re ready to scan your own color or black and white documents at up to 600 dpi resolution. Continue reading

Preview of the Nikon D7000: Full HD Video with control

The Nikon D7000 (Photo: Nikon USA)

Nikon is raising the bar for DSLR video

Nikon has announced another new gem in the video-capable DSLR with the new D7000.

When I reviewed the D3100 I predicted more was on the way and Nikon has delivered! Due to ship in October, the D7000 adds the controls and pro lens capabilities the D3100 was lacking. At $1199 this looks like just the tool to put in modern photojournalists bags.

This mid-level model is the second Nikon to have full high definition (1920 x 1080 pixels) recording capabilities and active auto focus during video recording — something Canon doesn’ yet offer.

Here’s a rundown of Nikon’s latest:

Basics:

  • 16.2 megapixel DX format CMOS sensor for sharp images and great prints
  • 3-inch monitor screen
  • Full HD (1920 x 1080) video recording with active auto focus
  • Up to 6 frames per second in sweeping 100 image blasts
  • 39 point auto focus
  • ISO sensitivity from 100 – 6400 expands up to ISO 25,600 equivalent (Hi2)
  • Dual SD card slots for longer shooting or splitting RAW, jpeg, and movie files
  • 100% viewfinder view
  • Lots of regular Nikon features included like:  Image processing, In-camera editing, pop-up flash, etc. Continue reading

Great Website enhancing tool: Wibiya

If you haven’t seen it yet, check out Wibiya’s handy toolbar (see a sample at the bottom of page here). This tool helps increase interactivity and keep people on your site longer. Plus there are revenue generating options integrated if you want to use them!

Wibiya provides a web toolbar that enables blogs and websites to integrate the most exciting services and web applications into their blog or website.

via About Wibiya.

Preview of the Nikon D3100: Step into Full HD

Nikon is stepping into Full HD

Nikon has announced their latest foray into the video-capable DSLR with the new D3100 which adds a 9th camera to their DSLR line up. It is supposed to be available in mid September!

This entry level model is the first Nikon to have full high definition (1920 x 1080 pixels) recording capabilities and likely heralds the coming of full HD to their high end line as well. One great feature on the D3100 is the auto focus during video recording!

Like it’s predecessor, the D3000 the D3100 is an entry level camera but has some great capabilities that can get even an pro interested in this camera as a backup. Here’s a rundown of Nikon’s latest:

Basics:

  • 14.2 megapixel DX format CMOS sensor for great prints even beyond 20″x30″
  • 3-inch monitor screen
  • Full HD (1920 x 1080) video recording
  • Up to 3 frames per second bursts
  • 11 point auto focus
  • ISO sensitivity from 100 – 3200 expands up to ISO 12800 equivalent
  • Auto Sensor Cleaner
  • Lots of user friendly features included like: Guide Mode, Scene Auto Selector, Image processing, In-camera editing, pop-up flash, etc.

There are lots of great previews out there reviewing the D3100, so I’m going to cover the features that attract me to this camera and a few that make me wish for more. Continue reading

Fine Tuning Autofocus on your DSLR

Do you have soft focus issues with your digital camera?

Some of Nikons DSLR’s like the D300 and newer  come with the option of adjusting the focus yourself if you know which way to adjust. Sadly, the D200 didn’t include that option. You might have to send the camera in for repair if it is a D200. Try reading over this and downloading the chart (It’s on the last page) to test your camera and see how it handles focus.

If you do need to adjust your focus, check out what Leon Goodman has to say. He also provides some great targets for download.

Facebook Group vs Facebook Fan Page: What’s Better?

When it comes to Facebook its hard to know whether it’s best to make a fan page or to use a group page. I came a cross a great description on Search Engine Journal.

Here’s a quick summary of Ann Smarty’s review of the two features. I didn’t include it but her article includes a great table that compares the feature of pages and groups.

  • Pages are generally better for a long-term relationships with your fans, readers or customers;
  • Groups are generally better for hosting a quick active discussion and attracting quick attention.

via Facebook Group vs Facebook Fan Page: What’s Better? | Search Engine Journal.

Snapped4U — A tool for photographers to sell photos

I remember seeing photographers doing this on campus when I was in college but it was before every soccer mom had a super camera. Now you can have a basic camera and a few business cards and “work the crowd” to make money doing what self timers and tripods once did.  I’m curious how well this actually works and if people will pay $4 for a jpg of themselves.  Will people they actually go and check the pictures out.

Here’s how it works:

  • You go out and shoot photos of people at some event where there are lots of people.
  • Send them to Snapped4U’s web site
  • They search for their images and hopefully buy lots of them.
  • You get paid (via PayPal) $3.50 per image they buy.
  • They get a jpg of the image e-mailed to them.

I like the idea behind this, but wish they had a print option as well. For four bucks it seems like they should get a print, but that would involve printing and shipping…unless they teamed up with Wal-Mart or Walgreens to provide digital delivery to a location near you!

Maybe the future of vacation photos will be something like this…your family is out in front of the St. Louis Arch having a picnic and some guy comes buy takes some pictures and gives you a card to Snapped4U. You get back to the hotel, check it out and buy a few copies, post them to Facebook and click on a button to have them both e-mailed to you and prints delivered to your neighborhood Walgreens Photo Center. When you get home, you drop by Walgreens and pick up your pictures to show the neighbors.

Here’s what Snapped4U says about themselves:

Snapped4U is about getting pictures of people, particularly the group shots they can’t get themselves. Watch for events like concerts, fairs, festivals, markets, and sporting events. Think of places such as parks, beaches, monuments, and scenic overlooks. Choose a venue, then go when it’s busy and work the crowd.

via Snapped4U – The Place for Photographers to Post and Sell Their Photographs.

Review of Gravity Water Filtration Systems

I’m considering a gravity water filtration system. These can be a key element to personal health especially when you’re dealing with water sources that are not sanitary.  Here’s what I’m discovering so far:

1. ) La Natural Terracotta Base with ceramic filter

Combines old technology (naturally cooling effect of terracotta with modern filtration technology. Pour 1 gallon of water into container and gravity pulls it through a “dual micro-pore ceramic/activated carbon filter that removes 95% of chlorine, pesticides, heavy metals including iron, aluminum, lead and 100% cryptosporidium, giardia and sediment.” Can filter 6 gallons a day…if you keep up with filling it. The filter lasts one year or 2500 gallons.

Costs: $198 (from watersavers.com)

Replacement filter: $72

Positives: Natural cooling effect is nice.
Negatives: Small capacity, heavy for shipping and fragile for transport. Pricing seems high compared to more higher tech and ones with better ratings than this. Continue reading