Tech

Reader Poll: How Did You Know Your Computer Was Toast?

Clearly if you are reading this blog, you have a computer. And whether you've experienced the loss of a computer firsthand or know a friend of family member that has, you understand what it's like to have a computer completely bleep out on you.

How did you know your computer was dying? (Specific symptoms are helpful). And more importantly, what did you do about it? I'm collecting information to analyze my current technological situation. . . Thanks for your help!

I Want My (Internet) TV

Online Television Not The Real Thing Yet But Will Do In A Pinch

We are lucky enough that television (or at least websites with television-like qualities) is making it's way online. Great for people like me who don't want to pay for high speed internet and cable (guess which one won out for me?) Let's check out our options, shall we?

YouTube, Metacafe, Videojug, etc.

Idea: User submited (and theoretically user generated) videos; ability to rate the videos and sometimes embed them into your own website; you can make one video or a hundred.

The Pros: Short enough to "sneak a quick one", easy to keep clicking from one to the next

The Cons: Often short, sometimes crappy, highly addictive to some people

My Take: I don't like these kind of videos. Nerve Scanner, a blog I love, is great about getting the coolest, funniest ones off the web. I'm not patient enough to watch a bunch of ok videos to find one good one. (Meanwhile Sean will watch YouTube karate videos for hours, though he also likes people being clumsy). To each his own I suppose.

iTunes, or any online location for video podcasts

Idea: User generated and submitted content; like a audio podcast, you can subscribe and get all the episodes; most often a series (it's kind of a commitment). Also, iTunes often has a free television episode every week if you are looking for something random.

The Pros: Usually when people commit to making a series of videos, they are more commited to it then the average person. You can expect content that was thought about at the very least, and if you like what you see, you can see more on the same subject by the same people. Easily loadable on the newer iPods.

The Cons: Sometimes videos seem a little more on the informative side and a little less on the fun side. Sometimes podcasts also just "disappear" (as in they stop being updated with no explanation).

My take: I don't count on anything from iTunes. I use it to learn something (like I love the WhoWhatWear Daily video podcast) and when I go on a trip, I'll download some free television for entertainment. Other then that, not much iTunes for me. 

SurftheChannel.com (from Comment faire de l'argent…en economisant)

Surfthechannel.com Idea: A central place you can go online to watch all your favorite shows… and shows you didn't even know existed (hello, "Make Me A Supemodel"!)

The Pros: Hundreds of shows (everything from Little House On The Prarie to Will and Grace) and by hundreds of shows I don't mean just different shows. There are over 300 LHOTP episodes! You can take the experience to full screen too.

The Cons: It takes awhile to load full screen (so just get up and make popcorn while you wait). The quality is also a little bad. Oh and sometimes the videos have distracting subtitles:

My Take: If I'm bored some Friday night and want to watch a little bit of "Make Me A Supermodel" to test drive it, I will. If I really like the show, I may rent a DVD of a season of it. This is the closest thing to a cable experience I can have at this point.

ABC, NBC, (Television Network websites in general), Hulu

Hulu Idea: Networks, not wanting to lose their audience or potential for online revenue, have moved some of their shows online. The good news is sometimes independent companies (like hulu) are thinking of better ways of bringing the episodes to the average computer.

Pros: Video quality is usually good, automatically blowing up to full screen well. Full length shows!

Cons: If you have a five year old (and on it's last leg) laptop, your video card may not be up to snuff. I could only watch about 5-10 seconds of any NBC show before my computer spaced out. 

My take: If I had a good enought video card, this would actually be the closest thing to a cable experience for me.

Image from blogsmonroe.com, Check out a post about Hulu here.

 

So the good news is, if you want a television experience, it can happen online. It certainly does have a little bit of a ways to go to make it similar to a real television experience though. If none of what I've listed above works for you, here is someone who has done enough research to rank each site and list what's available in table format.

Travel Special: Podcasting And Driving

Podcasting's Just Another Word For Trying Audio Out

This audio (5 minutes) is me on the road. Want to hear my voice? Hankering for some Nicole-isms? This is for you! (It's acutally about saving money while on road trips.)

Whew! It’s Friday Link Love

Sadie_007Sadie shares my sentiments; it was time for this week to be over!

I thought that a round of link love would be a lovely Friday idea. The theme: "Make Something Of Yourself This Weekend" Perhaps you, like me, feel the need to do something productive over the weekend after a week filled with work and general blah-ness. (I’m all over this curb appeal project! Plant sales, here I come.)

Here are some ideas if you are blocked or don’t want to attempt curb appeal-related projects, some more crafty then others. (Some requiring little time, giving you plenty of quality napping.)

Make a podcast. (Try Audacity or FeedForAll for free editing software.)
Make sculptures with junk cars. (Carhenge!)
Make dangly pearl earrings.
Make a cool sewing project. (Free sewing patterns that are actually cool.)
Make a lemon creme brulee tart. (This recipe makes me want to bake. Amazing.)
Make something new out of your jeans.
Make your desk clean.
Make someone’s day.

Happy weekend! 

Whew! It's Friday Link Love

Sadie_007Sadie shares my sentiments; it was time for this week to be over!

I thought that a round of link love would be a lovely Friday idea. The theme: "Make Something Of Yourself This Weekend" Perhaps you, like me, feel the need to do something productive over the weekend after a week filled with work and general blah-ness. (I’m all over this curb appeal project! Plant sales, here I come.)

Here are some ideas if you are blocked or don’t want to attempt curb appeal-related projects, some more crafty then others. (Some requiring little time, giving you plenty of quality napping.)

Make a podcast. (Try Audacity or FeedForAll for free editing software.)
Make sculptures with junk cars. (Carhenge!)
Make dangly pearl earrings.
Make a cool sewing project. (Free sewing patterns that are actually cool.)
Make a lemon creme brulee tart. (This recipe makes me want to bake. Amazing.)
Make something new out of your jeans.
Make your desk clean.
Make someone’s day.

Happy weekend! 

The Free Version of Photoshop: Nothing To Get Excited About

Photoshopexpress This past week, Adobe came out with a free web-based software called Adobe Photoshop Expressions. Marketed for a younger (and subsequently poorer) audience (because Photoshop is, even with a good deal, a few hundred dollars), you upload pictures (they have 2 G of free space per account) to your spot and can modify them from there.

I enjoyed how the web site was shamelessly marketing to the young and hip. From "Join the 24/7 photo party. No cover charge.) to the cool, flashy black and grey interface to the registration page with a default birth year is 1990, I felt a little unsure of it. I mean I’m not that cool. I signed up anyway so I could report on my findings to other frugal-minded types.

The airbrush tool (of most interest to me and most every other woman I know) was not as precise and the shortcut tools I know with regular Photoshop (like holding "shift" while cropping to make the photograph a perfect square) didn’t work. I feel like most digital cameras come with the other features of Photoshop Express like red eye reduction and photo effects (you know, like tinting yourself pink and stretching your face out). I use the real version of Photoshop at work almost everyday and if I did any kind of real work with photos, I think I’d pony up for the full version of the software.

I guess with all the hype, I was expecting more. That said, it sure beats the pants out of Microsoft Picture Manager, which comes with windows systems. In short, better than nothing but certainly nothing close to Photoshop proper.

Have you tried Photoshop Expressions? What did you think? If you’re interested, here’s the link.

Image: Here’s about two minutes of fun with Photoshop Expressions. Cute but nothing to write home about.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19