Ok I got something that is not quite new but may be new and useful to some of you out there reading my technology blog.
Do any of you use the mail program that is a part of the Microsoft Office Suite known as Outlook? I use it all the time and it has a lot of uses other than just reading mail.
Today I will show you how to use it to control actions on your computer. First let me tell you two instances where its actually needed.
The first instance, I use a laptop for work and I needed to run by after work hours and retrieve it from my desk. I knew that I would have to go into the office and power it down and wait on it and then bag it up. I am the type that doesnt like to wait for much, the type that is always in a hurry, so I was thinking….it sure would be nice if I could have it powered off and all I had to do was bag it up when I got there. Sure I could use LOG ME IN or TEAMVIEWER or something to remote into it and shut it down, but at the time I was driving. I know its bad to text and drive, but how about remote controlling into a computer why driving all from your cellphone? No thanks, thats an accident just waiting to happen.
It would be much simpler if I could text my computer and tell it to shutdown. I could manage to type that without running off the road.
How can I make this happen? Before I tell you, how about I tell you about a second instance where such an idea is needed.
A co-worker of mine was out of town over the holidays, he was using teamviewer to remote into his laptop at work. Teamviewer had locked him out somehow and there was nothing he knew to do. He called me asking if I could remote into work and force reboot his machine with some tools we have available on our work network. I says sure I can and I do so and then I mentioned this little hack I am about to teach you guys and he says I should have told him sooner as he could have used it that day so here it is, my latest post in a long time.
Lets get to it!
Basically its simple. I email a code to myself and the computer sees it and does what I have scripted it to do upon receiving such code.
Outlook is the key ingredient here and I leave it running all the time on my computer.
Here is what to do.
Make your self a script folder on your computer.
It could be C:\Scripts
In that folder make a couple batch files like reboot.bat and shutdown.bat Reboot.bat
shutdown /r /t 05
shutdown /s /t 05
Ok now moving on to Outlook.
Lets create some rules.
Rules > Manage Rules and Alerts
Create New Rule
Under Start From a Blank Rule Choose the first one, Apply rule on messages I receive.
Place a check mark on With Specific Words in the Subject
Click on the phrase Specific Words in the lower window pane, and choose a secret word or code for the subject.
Then click ADD and OK
Now scroll all the way to the bottom and choose On this computer only
Place a check mark on Start and Application.
Click the phrase Application on the lower window pane and choose your script you created earlier.
Now scroll back up and place a check mark in Delete it.
This has to be done in this way to place items in the rule in the correct order.
After its read by outlook and processed it will be deleted.
This way you will not accidentally re read the email at the computer and reboot yourself.
Click Next and name this rule.
Now I can email myself and have my computer reboot or shutdown or start winamp or itunes and place a tune, you are only limited by your imagination.
Now armed with this knowledge what else will you command outlook to wait on your word to do?
As many of you know, I play with as much tech as I can get my hands on. I try to thoroughly test devices and applications best I can.
Also I have been a long time fan of Apple devices since getting my first iPhone 3G in 2008. Soon following with the iPhone 4 then the iPhone 4S and now after being fed up with horrible AT&T service in my area, the iPhone 5 on Verizon.
The iPhone 5 came preloaded with iOS 6 which included the new Apple Maps, a replacement for Google Maps which had been on all iOS devices prior to iOS 6.
I was excited about the new maps and on first use it did not fail. The turn by turn and voice were magnificent. It was spot on. I thought it was working great and would be ready to serve me up directions to anywhere whenever I needed it.
Later in the week to come I read many articles on how the Apple Maps were horrible at giving directions. I couldn’t figure out why they were so bad so I decided to further test it out.
Wow this app really IS bad.
Apple Maps could not find my local Wendy’s Restaurant right in the middle of my small town. Also while traveling, it COULD drop a pin on the hotel I was staying at, but its location was miles from me, so had I chose for it to give me directions to it, I would be almost a hundred miles from it. This was not good!
Not a Wendy’s in my town at all according to Apple Maps.
No Home Depot in Oxford, MS ????
I KNOW there is a Chili’s in Batesville, MS. Why would Apple Maps disagree?
I can do this all day but I wont.
First before I tell you an awesome alternative to Apple Maps, I must defend them a little bit.
You can read it all day long on the internet http://www.newjerseynewsroom.com/science-updates/apple-apology-for-maps-shortcomings but to sum it up, Apple wanted Google Maps to on their iDevices to have turn by turn voice directions.
Google said No!
Google wants to reserve that to just their Android powered devices. Apple said Good Bye and put a nice effort into making their own turn by turn voice driven Map application. Unfortunately it didn’t work out that well right out of the box. Tim Cook CEO of Apple release an apologetic letter to all and within it some alternatives. When Apple gets this one right, it will be great. Its already been proven that it uses vector images and therefore reducing data usage a great deal.
Of all the alternatives mentioned in Tim Cooks letter and the ones I have used in the past, I really really think WAZE is the best to use.
Ones I have used in the past were:
Motion X GPS
Google Maps inside of Safari
WAZE is the only one that has our most recently built TACO BELL on it. This is because the maps are constantly updated with other WAZE users input. I myself have even fixed some roads along my travels.
A short video about WAZE.
Has WAZE been helpful? You bet!
WAZE knows where the closest Chilis is!
It even knows where Wendy’s is
This app is really fast. Its faster than any other navigation app I have ever used. Its intuitive and easy to operate. It has alerts for speedtraps and other things due to the community of other wazers out there reporting.
We have talked about Apples Airplay before on this website here http://www.userbytes.com/enable-airplay-on-boxee-xbmc-plex/ which allows us to push whatever we are seeing on the iphone, onto the tv screen if you are using an Apple TV or Plex, or XBMC, or even Boxee.
Airplay is a fantastic technology that uses WiFi instead of Bluetooth.
I spend a lot of time in my backyard working on projects, swimming in the pool, etc. I love it!
Often when we have people over and have time by the pool we pull out an old set of computer speakers with a sub. I have this mounted to a carry around unit I made. I plug it into the power outlet and plug the 3.5 mm cord into the headphone port of my iphone, or anyones device, and we rock out. This is cool and all but I have to remember to put it up out of the weather after each use. Also I have to leave my phone tethered to it.
This is inconvenient.
There’s a better way!
I decided to mount two outdoor speakers under the eve of the house on the corners near my security flood lamps. Then an amp to power them, then connect the amp to an Apple Airport Express. I built a small box to house it all in under the eve of the roof.
The Apple Airport Express is connected to my current WiFi. This is beautiful as I do not have to switch WiFi signals while in the backyard.
This works great too. Now while by the pool or anywhere in the backyard I can Airplay my Pandora, Slacker Radio, or iPod to the speakers in the backyard. I bet my neighbors love me even more now.
Also if you have iTunes on your computer, you can use Remote found in the Apple App Store to control your iTunes playlists and make them play over the Airplay as well. Also in iTunes there are a ton upon tons of radio stations to listen to.
Here is a list of what I purchased to accomplish this setup.
Wouldn’t it be awesome to have a reserve battery in your cellphone for emergencies and all you had to do was shake your iphone for 30 secs or so to get it charged enough to use it? Think about it. Your cell phone could be charging its reserve while you run, walk, or while its in your pocket while you are walking!
Some have never heard of such, and here I was thinking that everyone knew about this kind of technology to charge things.
I cant remember when I heard about it first, but many many years ago my Aunt got me a shake light for my Birthday and I was wow’d at the simple technology behind it. It has this really neat wireless switch that works of magnetics. It charges itself with a magnet passing through another magnet with wires wrapped around it. This charges a capacitor and stores the power. It can be charge hundreds of thousands of times.
Here is a video from the company demonstrating all there is to know about the light.
It really is a nice flashlight and I recommend it to everyone. Its a great light to keep in your trunk as you will never have to worry about batteries corroding. Take it hunting or fishing, camping, anywhere!
Christmas is around the corner and this would make a great gift for anyone.
Apple released iOS 5.0.1 today to fix a few bugs that effected the battery life and some document syncing issues.
You can download it with iTunes and it will be the full install of 709MB or you can use your iDevice and go to Settings/General/Software Update and update it over the air. This will be only the changes needed and will be 55 mb.
Download the correct version for your operating system.
Next you will want to do a full backup of your iPhone to iTunes.
I do it the old fashioned. That is to say that when the iPhone is detected in the left hand pane of the library window in iTunes, right click the iPhone and choose Backup.
This will back it up and copy any new apps over to iTunes.
Now you have a complete backup.
Now install iBackupBot (free download) program and open it up.
It will scour through your iTunes Backup directories and reveal all of your backups.
Select the latest most recent backup.
Now for the Camera hack, look for Library/Preferences/com.apple.mobileslideshow.plist
Double click it to open it up in the plist editor.
Click Cancel on this page about registering the iBackupBot app.
Now you will add a few lines and they will look like this:
Then save it, then close it. Follow steps one, two, and three.
Here is a picture.
Now for the keyboard hack.
While you are in iBackupBot with your backup open, look for Library/Preferences/com.apple.keyboard.plist
You will do the same thing but add the following:
After that click Save and Close.
Now from within iBackupBot, you will restore your backup to your device.
Let me tell you a story about How Google AdWords Screwed Me. In case you do not know what Google Adwords is, its a form of advertising program from Google. You can set up an ad to run, known as a campaign on the Google search network based on keywords. Have you ever typed in a search on Google and noticed that first there are ads displayed first on the page? See the picture below. These are ads relevant to your search based on your keyword phrase and you can see in the picture that Radio Shack is first in the list and they probably paid a pretty penny to get there. See you pay per click on these campaigns so if I click the Radio Shack ad, it may cost them (Radio Shack) $1.00 a click or more.
When I setup my hosting account with BlueHost they gave me $80 worth of AdWords Credit to use.
I have recently been using DropBox for my cloud storage for all my security cam uploads. (thats for another story)
I recently read and article on Lifehacker.com that explained how you can use adwords to get more referrals.
I thought wow that’s a great idea and I have $80 in Google Ad Credit so why not!
Well I tried and it and Google kicked my in the nads! Not 1 day after I set up my campaigns, Google had this to say.
Your Google AdWords account has been permanently suspended for repeated violation of AdWords or Landing Page and Site policies in this or a related account.
So I contacted Google about this OVER THE PHONE!
The representative on the phone said that he saw nothing at all wrong with my account, and that he would escalate it to a higher level and that I would get an email within 24 hours.
All that Google had to offer me was this:
Thank you for your call last week regarding your account.
It has come to our attention that your Google AdWords account doesn’t comply with our terms of service and advertising policies. As a result, your account has been suspended, and your ads will no longer run on Google.
We appreciate your cooperation. Best regards, The Google AdWords Team
So I replied saying they still didn’t tell me what I actually did wrong and that I combed over the terms and could find nothing wrong.
They replied once more with a sense of harshness this time.
Thank you for your continued patience during this process. Our specialists have re-reviewed your accounts and have determined that our decision is correct and final. As a result, your account, and any related accounts you may have created, have been suspended, and your ads will no longer run on Google.
- Our support team is unable to provide any further information on this matter.
- Please refrain from creating additional AdWords accounts, as they will be subject to the same suspension.
We appreciate your cooperation and thank you for your understanding. Sincerely, The Google AdWords Team
At this point I am mad now. I did some searching and found that Google is doing this to many people and they are not happy about the non explanation for it.
I am going to try it again with a new account and see how far I get.
Meanwhile read this article to see what I wanted to do that many others are doing. Nothing at all wrong with this.
For long time on Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. you could find me parked on a couch somewhere tuned into ABC to watch my beloved L O S T.
Before I lost myself in “L O S T” it was “Big Brother” on CBS.
We used to pile around the TV set and watch this show.
To this day I cant figure out why, but me and several others used to have Big Brother and Survivor parties and sit and watch these shows. I say I cant figure out why, because after about 5 seasons of the same thing, you grow tired and wonder what the hell you were doing ever watching it past season one.
Back in those days it was a sure fire way to have a social gathering. A very positive thing.
The negative, was that you may have found yourself always having to be in front of the TV at a certain time. These days the entire television frontier has changed.
The future of TV is right now and growing quickly. Right now you no longer have to fit YOUR schedule around your TELEVISIONS schedule.
With the advent of DVR’s (digital video recorders) and other like devices, you can now watch TV when YOU want to watch it.
In this “On Demand” world we now live in, everyone wants to WATCH what they WANT when THEY want to, freeing up their lives to do more, like going to soccer games, no longer postponing dinner engagements, and other things.
Currently there are many devices on the market to which TV shows, Podcasts, Music, even Movies can be delivered to your TV anytime you want them.
We really shouldn’t call these devices SET TOP boxes anymore as its hard to set anything atop a flat screen LCD that is only about 2 inches thick at most. Instead we now call them appliances. Seems like everyone is getting into this game now. Lets see there is the Roku player, the Boxee Box, The Apple TV, heck even hard drive maker Western Digital is getting into the mix with their WDLIVE!
Out of all the appliances out there today, the only one I want you to really meet is the new black Apple TV or as some are referring to it as the Apple TV 2 or ATV2 since its the second generation one that Apple Computer has put out.
Apple TV is slick and tiny. It can fit in the palm of your hand, and is very easy to setup.
You simply just take it out of the box, connect an HDMI cable (not included) to your TV and power it up, then you are quickly presented with a screen to set up a few preferences.
Recently I got my hands on a new audiobook and I wanted it to appear in the AUDIOBOOKS section of my iPhone/iPod. At first this was a difficult task. I dragged the folder full of MP3′s into iTunes into the Books Library. It imported them just fine, but it was into the Music Library.
I thought ok, I will choose Get Info and change it to Audiobooks. Well that doesnt exist in the latest iTunes. You can however add the word Audiobooks in Genres, so I did that. I went to sync the iPhone and I chose that Genre on the lower bottom half of the music part of the iPhone sync section in iTunes.
After the sync was complete I checked, and it didnt do much good. It was mixed in with my music. All this had done was, when you click on the MORE section of your iPod on the iPhone, there is a place called Genres, all the mp3′s were in there and mixed in with my music, so this was not acceptable.
Finally! I figured it out.
In iTunes, in the Music Library, I chose the album or selection of mp3′s and right clicked and selected GET INFO and on the OPTIONS tab where it says MEDIA KIND I chose AUDIOBOOK. Next I chose REMEMBER POSITION-YES , and PART OF COMPILATION-YES then it moved into the Books Library.
Next before I synced my iPhone I went to the books tab on the Devices part of iTunes and at the bottom of the page I chose Sync Audiobooks, then chose Selected Audiobooks and finally placed a check by the Audiobook I wanted to sync.
That was it.
After the sync it was under AUDIOBOOKS on the iPhone just as it should have been all along.
Hey the new iphone 4s is coming with an 8 megapixel camera, but does that really mean its going to take better pictures?
Yes its going to take better pictures, but only because its going to have 5 lenses, better aperture to bring in more light, and a new larger sensor.
So how many megapixels do you really need?
See in the past, the 2g(first) iphone, the 3g, the 3gs and the 4 were all almost capable of taking fantastic pictures, but they lacked the lens and sensor to do so. Its always been the Lens that makes the difference in good pictures.
Sure having 8 megapixels is nice, but only if you are going to print out 16×20 inch photos for your wall. Let me explain.
The choice of how many megapixels you need on your phone depends on what you want to do with your photos. If you just want to capture life’s memorable moments, send them to friends and family, and post them on the Web, a 1.3 or 2 MP camera will do the job. If you want to take high-resolution pictures, blow them up, and edit them on your computer, then pixel-size really matters.
This guy explains it really well.
So you see you can’t always believe the hype when it comes to advertising megapixels. People tend to go on the notion that more is better. Especially in this case when all the cellphone makers are competing to be the leader. Most people will buy simply based on how many megapixels a camera is cause the average consumer thinks that more is better.
The latest cellphone trying to get the top megapixel spot is the “Samsung’s M8910 Pixon12″ capable of 12 megapixels.
Crazy isn’t it?
This is terrible for networks and network speeds. Emailing a 12 megapixel photo from your cell phone? Forget sending that over MMS. Are you serious? That’s going to be 9-10 megabytes in size. Ridiculous!
If you can take anything away from this short article and video, just remember that when it comes to purchasing a Digital SLR camera, a point and shoot, or cellphone with high megapixel camera, just remember its all in the lens and not the advertised megapixel. Please do not believe that the more megapixels the camera has, the better this is. This was not the case with the iphone 2g, 3g, 3gs, and 4.