Wednesday, 29 October 2008

It's been an interesting and exciting few days in iPhone land.

In the just past couple days, Google Earth and a voice recording application from Griffin have both been released for the iPhone. Add to that the news that iPhone owners now have access to AT&T WiFi hotspots for free - nice! Google Earth is - of course - free, and Griffin iTalk is free for a limited time, along with it's Mac client (for syncing).

Google earth on the iPhone (iTunes app store link) is pretty cool. It takes advantage of the GPS and accelerometer, and other than that it's, well... Google Earth, just on a smaller screen. You can use touch/twist to rotate gestures on the screen, as you'd expect. I should mention that it's crashed a lot on me, and that when I first installed it I had to hard-reset my phone to get anything to work. But for the most part its been as stable as any other complex app on the device (meaning mediocre to so-so). It's worth the install for sure, if for no other reason then just because of most of the cool things you can do with Google Earth on your Mac or PC.

The other great app that everyone with an iPhone or second-gen iPod Touch should run and get right now (while it's free) is Griffin's iTalk and the complementary iTalk Sync client, which allows you to sync your audio recordings made with the iPhone app to your Mac (PC version coming soon) over the air via WiFi. It works like a charm, is well-documented, looks great and the audio quality is user configurable. The best quality setting sounds pretty great. It could realistically be used for man-on-the-street style interviews.

Provide a file name, select the recording quality, and start recording by clicking the Big Red Button:

The green button means you're actively recording. The VU meter shows your audio levels live. Click the green button to stop recording.

You'll end up with a file (or more than one if you record multiple times) showing in the recording list.

When you load up the Mac sync client app (a small and quick install) and start the iPhone app on the same wireless network, you'll be prompted to allows the sync client to access your iPhone's recordings.

While copying the file via the sync program, the iPhone shows you the status and progress:

And finally you have the files on your Mac (or soon on a PC), in .AIFF format, ready to use. Nice and easy!

I plan to play with the app in Barcelona next week and test the audio quality to see if it's really good enough for on-the-spot interviews for the podcast. It's worth a shot, although it won't touch the quality of my Zoom H4 recorder, of course.

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Apple | Mobile | Tech
Wednesday, 29 October 2008 20:06:48 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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I got a call this morning, a variation of the same call I get around two or three times a month. Someone saw my phone number over in the sidebar and called me to find out about posting items for sale or rent on "Greg's List."

Each time the call comes in, I explain that the site they're looking for is actually Craig's List, which is on the web at So, if you happen to be looking for Greg's List, it's actually called Craig's List, and there's the web address for ya. And don't worry, you're not the only one.

Of course, you can still feel free to call me up and say hi anyhow, if you like. :)

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Random Stuff
Wednesday, 29 October 2008 18:04:00 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Friday, 24 October 2008

Update: Microsoft's Mac business unit just set the land-speed record for turning around a fix. The story is available over at TUAW.

I've been wrestling with a problem for a few days after applying the latest Office 2008 for Mac update (v12.1.3). Everything works well except for sending and responding to meeting notices.

After the update, when Entourage tries to send a meeting notice or response, it throws the following: "[Error] Unexpected data was encountered. [Explanation] Mail could not be sent. Account name: 'Exchange - Greg' Error: -17997."

Needless to say, this is a frustrating problem. I managed to send some original meeting notices by opening them up after they failed to send (you can find them in the Outbox) and clicking the 'Send' button a second time. That worked for some reason. However, the same workaround doesn't seem to work for meeting responses, so I am having to send emails created by hand in order to confirm meeting requests with people who send them to me. Thankfully, when I accept a meeting request it does make it onto my calendar properly - it's just the outbound email that gets hung up.

I've had problems in the past with Entourage not parsing updates created by Outlook, but this is a much bigger and more painful problem. This is another case of "if it just worked the way it's supposed to, it would be the best option by far." A lot like my iPhone in that regard. Glitches kill the experience and create big frustration.

UPDATE: I just found a Microsoft newsgroup thread discussing the problem, and apparently it's a known issue bug in the latest release. Hopefully they'll be able to release a fix quickly. Workarounds include:

  • Uninstall Office and reinstall, then update to the version prior to the latest release
  • Move invitations you create from the Outbox to the Drafts folder and resend (won't work for acceptance notifications, though)
  • Grin and bear it. :)

I may try removing my Entourage account profile from this computer completely and then setting it back up with the Exchange server fresh just to see what happens. I'd lose a few things that are store local-only in the process, but that won't really hurt me should I decide to go that route.

Anyone else having this issue? Any other great workaround ideas?

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Apple | Tech
Friday, 24 October 2008 08:31:01 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Wednesday, 22 October 2008

The fall conference season is upon us, and I'll be off to Barcelona on the first of November for a week at the Microsoft TechEd Europe/Middle East/Asia conference. I'll be joining my friend and colleague, Richard Campbell, there for the week. If by chance you'll also be there, be sure to let me know ahead of time!

Then, the following week Richard and I will both be traveling to Las Vegas for the Connections conference, where we'll be doing a live RunAs Radio recording session. Should be fun, and we have a great guest slated. More on that later.

If you'll be at either conference, please let me know via a comment or an email!

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RunAs Radio | Tech
Tuesday, 21 October 2008 23:36:00 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Thursday, 16 October 2008

My friend Richard Campbell and I spent the morning recording a couple episodes of RunAs Radio for publication in the near future. One of our guests (whom we shall reveal when the show is published) provided some amazingly great information about using Performance Monitor, or "perfmon" for short. He's a perfmon Ninja, really. I'm excited about that show because I think when it comes up I think people will be able to learn something quite useful, as it includes some desktop video (perfmon is, after all, a very visual tool) and other resources. I think you'll like it.

Needless to say, both of us have been playing with perfmon for the past hour. Richard just IM'ed me with a funny situation, though:

Not really sure how that works. :)

So, be sure to check out RunAs Radio for the Performance Monitor show, which will be published sometime in the next couple weeks. We've also had a number of other great guests sit down with us over the past while, talking about some very useful topics suited for IT professionals. So check it out!

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Humor | RunAs Radio | Tech
Thursday, 16 October 2008 12:18:14 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Want to watch tonight's final presidential debate live on the 'net? Everyone should watch, and please don't skip your opportunity to vote in the election. It's just too important. is again streaming this debate, and you can watch it right here. Who needs a TV, anyhow?

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Random Stuff
Wednesday, 15 October 2008 13:27:34 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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