Sunday, 19 June 2005

Gnomedex starts this Thursday evening in Seattle, and it promises to be a great time. Chris and Ponzi are wearing themselves thin getting ready. Lots of cool stuff planned.

Big announcements and a confluence of super-smart people. Gonna be a good one. Definitely not a snorer...

Be there and be square, as they say.

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GnomeDex | Random Stuff | Tech
Sunday, 19 June 2005 10:22:37 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Saturday, 18 June 2005

Darn it all! I'm wishing I was in Ohio this weekend. Why? Because this weekend is the Duct Tape Festival and it's taking place in Avon, Ohio.

Everything duct tape. I mean, what could be better than that???

Check it out at

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Geek Out | Random Stuff
Saturday, 18 June 2005 18:14:29 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Friday, 17 June 2005

Berry411screenBerry 411 is a cool Charityware app you run on your Blackberry handheld. I've been using it for a sort time, and it's already super-useful.

Berry 411 installs an icon on your start page that gives you quick access to yellow pages, white pages, Google, movie times, weather, encyclopedia, and Froogle results.

You can dial any phone number directly from the display or add it to your phone book. The results are formatted to fit the Blackberry screen.

Skip the web browser and clunking around entering addresses to find information - this is a power tool for anyone with a Blackberry. Not sure how I missed this one over the past few months, but sure am glad I found it.

Phillip Bogle (blog), the author of Berry 411, has some other useful apps vailable for download, too. I'll need to see if Scott knows about AddToPath. And BerryBloglines is cool.

What you can do with Berry 411:

To find something, type what you are looking for and click the trackwheel. You can select from the following types of searches:

  • Yellow Pages let you find local businesses by name or category.
  • White pages searches residential listings.
  • Google searches Google, with results conveniently formatted for the Blackberry.
  • Encyclopedia searches reference information at mobile
  • Movies displays local movie times. Enter the name
  • Weather displays the local weather forecase.
  • Shopping displays Froogle shopping results. Eventually I will add online reviews and local shopping results where available.

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Mobile | Tech
Friday, 17 June 2005 12:46:45 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Wednesday, 15 June 2005

My coworker Jeff (gotblog?) sent me an email this morning pointing out that Microsoft has released it's WinXP add-in that lets you view and work with RAW images right in the OS as a natively viewable fomat.

"The Microsoft RAW Image Thumbnailer and Viewer is a free "PowerToy" for Microsoft Windows XP that provides the ability to view, organize, and print photos captured in RAW image formats from supported digital cameras."

Download here (47.7MB file)

And don't miss this related whitepaper if you're interested in working with RAW photos in Windows:

Whitepaper: Viewing and Organizing RAW Images in Windows XP

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Wednesday, 15 June 2005 06:47:25 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Sunday, 12 June 2005

You've seen it before, over and over and over again: PowerPoint presentations that contain practically every word pouring out of the presenter's mouth, slides that digitally drone on and on and on and...

PowerPoint, when used well, can be a useful, powerful (hmmm) and productive tool. But more often than not, it's a bane of our existence, putting us to sleep with completely forgettable blocks of useless text and gratuitous effects.

I have seen PowerPoint used as that proverbial, metaphorical screwdriver, where the proper tool would instead be a hammer. I've seen attempts at web-site designs done in PowerPoint (by the way - that still doesn't work people). I've seen it used over and over - by a wide variety of people trying desperately (and with good intentions, I am sure) to create something outside their area of expertise - using it to do things for which it simply was never intended.

But even when PowerPoint is used what is was meant for - creating slides for presentations - it can be painful to see how people use it. It's a software tool and requires some level of technical understanding to be sure, but technical expertise in using the program is not the most important part of the job.

PowerPoint has become a crutch, and more often than not it's damaging the patient. It's the loaded gun in the hands of the untrained shooter. It's the '79 Cadillac being driven by the nine-year-old who learned by watching mommy.

Kathy Sierra gets this. She understands, and she wrote about it to try (I assume) to make a difference in how it's used in the world. If you use PowerPoint, regardless of your expertise of years of experience you should read her post and take it to heart.

I've also been reading Cliff Atkinson's new book, "Beyond Bullet Points," and it's a great book for learning how to put together effective presentations "that inform, motivate and inspire." Recommended.

PowerPoint's a great program, to be sure. But it's only a good tool when put in the hands of someone who knows how and when to apply it. Kathy's post should be mandatory training. We license drivers... Maybe we should come up with a test and a license for PowerPoint users?

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Random Stuff | Tech | Things that Suck
Sunday, 12 June 2005 12:51:24 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Marshall Brain, creator of How Stuff Works and other successful ventures, presented to a group of college students recently on the topic "How to Make a Million Dollars." He received a number of requests to provide the presentation afterward, so he published the slides and typed up the presentation online.

And it's quite good. He distills the options down to the stuff that matters, and as usual his style helps to carry the message. Click the image to get his presentation.

[via Jeremy Zawodny]

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Sunday, 12 June 2005 05:55:29 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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