Categories
voip

Skype Privacy Settings

I use Skype on one platform or another every day. I use it mainly on my Mac, and occasionally on my Nokia E71 via Skype for 3 (if out and about) or Skype’s own Symbian client (if wifi is near). On rare occasions I’ll use Fring, because it has the most fluid chat functions.

It seems as if every time I launch Skype for 3, which is essentially a rebranded version of iSkoot, or Fring, the default privacy settings on my Mac’s Skype client are reset to only allow calls and chats from people in my address book. This is deeply annoying. Skype for 3/iSkoot/Fring do not allow you to adjust privacy settings – the used has no control over them.

I have to try and remember if I have used Skype for 3 or Fring and reset the permissions on my Mac. Every. Time.

It wasn’t until a friend told me that my Skype Online Number had been engaged for several days, that I managed to work out what had happened. Skype – please allow your desktop clients to lock their privacy settings. I’m sure I’m not the only one to be affected by this.

It would be useful to have a different privacy profile for when I am mobile, and while Skype’s own Symbian client allows this, the call quality simply isn’t up to much over 3G. In the next version of Skype, I don’t want any extra whizzy features, it’s fine as it is (v. 2.8 on Mac) – just refinements to privacy settings, and I’ll be a happy man.

Categories
Mac Software

MacJournal

I have just bought the latest MacHeist nanoBundle2 (after I found that there’s a $2 discount to existing MacHeist members) and MacJournal came as part of the bundle.

I do use DevonThink for most of my information organisation, but MacJournal’s, well, journal feel could be quite interesting. And it, hopefully, can publish to my blog, which is the real purpose for writing these words.

I may post more if the software become more useful. You never know.

[Update: 22/09/10] I don’t use it much, actually. I’ve added MacJournal to my Dock, in the hope I’ll jot down notes that could become posts.

Categories
Gadgets smartphones Software

Life with the Nokia E71

I’ve had my E71 for about 6 weeks now, and I thought that I’d write a few words here to let people know how I’m getting along. Would I recommend the E71 to anyone who is looking for a smartphone? Absolutely. Would I recommend it over the iPhone? That depends. If battery life is important to you, then certainly. If productivity software such as word processing, spreadsheets, etc, then yes again. I’d even say that the camera on the E71 is better than that of the iPhone (based on shots that I’ve seen on Flickr).

However, I have found the breadth of software available for S60 series smartphones to be somewhat lacking. I’ve spent ages looking for a native Twitter client (not J2ME) and I’ve only found one (WirelessIRC + Twitter), which is an add-on to an IRC client. The iPhone has lots of clients, many with their own twists on user interface. [Update: As of May 2009, there are a few more options, one of which, Gravity, is superb!]

Without going in to great detail of packages that I have tried and disliked, I do have an iPod Touch with which I can compare some apps. Generally, apps on the Touch are much nicer in terms of user interface. But I do know that battery life and a lacklustre camera on an iPhone would annoy me too.

However, I have a nice core of software on my phone that do most things that I would want to do whilst mobile. I have a phone whose battery lasts me 3 days of normal use (web browsing, Twittering, some music, some photos, updating the calendar, email) and I can coax more days out of it with less use.

So on the whole, I’m a happy E71 user, and hope that the phone lasts me a good 18 months or so before the next best thing is released!

Categories
Mac Software

Video on the BBC website / Installing Real Player on OSX


Warning – this one is a bit of a rant. With pictures.

I’ve just tried to watch a video on the BBC website on a new(ish) MacBook running the latest version of the Mac operating system (Leopard). But of course, I’d forgotten, you need Real Player or Windows Media Player to watch their video:

No Real Player

Grrr. Please use Flash video, as you’re using on the iPlayer, not clunky old RealPlayer. Anyway, I’ll download the wretched software and install it for the future. Or will I?

So I head off to www.real.com to download the latest version. I click the big shiny “Download FREE RealPlayer” button. And a Windows .exe begins to download. Hello? I’m on a Mac! So the download is cancelled. I spot under the button in tiny writing “Other versions / languages”. It seems like the much touted version 11 of RealPlayer isn’t available for OSX, so I’ll have to use version 10 instead. Stupidly, I click the first link for OSX, and the download is offered in Spanish…

So I return to the previous page, and find the English version at the bottom. Most websites these days are able to tell your OS and your language automatically – can’t Real do that? Anyway, I select the rather old-fashioned link to the copy hosted by Demon Internet which downloads rather swiftly (Demon are my ISP).

The RealPlayer icon extracts itself from a dmg (disk image) into my downloads folder. Great! I can just drag it into my Applications folder like a normal Mac program!

Real Player icon

…well actually that’s not how it’s done, as I find out by double-clicking the icon…

RealPlayer setup

Another dialogue between me and the video (it’s just the weather forecast for heaven’s sake!). So I follow the necessary steps, agree to sell my soul by agreeing to the license without reading it, save this draft, let it close my browser, and (cue fanfare):

RealPlayer10Gold for the Mac

So I eagerly open my Safari web browser, and head off to the BBC Weather homepage to watch that all-important weather forecast (snow tomorrow, apparently, and we don’t get it that often here).

The fanfare rapidly turns into a parping sound:

No Real Player

I give up.

Please BBC, please fix your videos to use Flash video or something that will work with a modern slimline, cross-platform plugin.

This is now 2008. The process I’ve just been through feels like 1998, and I have deja vu…

Postscript

After posting this, I had another close look and it seemed that the BBC site had decided that I chose Windows Media Player as my preference (which I hadn’t).

BBC video preferences

Just clicking on OK set my preference to RealPlayer, and lo, the holy Weather Forecast was watched:

BBC Weather forecast

Amen…

Categories
Apple Software

iMovie ’08 on a 1.8GHz single processor G5


According to the system requirements for Apple’s newest incarnation of iLife (iLife ’08), iMovie ’08 shouldn’t work on my machine (an ‘original’ 2003 1.8GHz SP G5 with 1GB RAM).

The installer runs a system check before it installs iLife (as it did on my G4 laptop) to see if your system meets the minimum requirements (a dual 2GHz G5 PowerMac or a 1.9GHz iMac). If you don’t meet them, it won’t install iMovie, and you’re stuck with the old (but oddly, better featured) iMovie HD.

That is, unless you own on the of the original 1.8GHz single processor G5s from 2003. I installed iLife ’08 last week, just for the upgrades to Garageband and iPhoto, but miraculously, iMovie ’08 installed as well.

And it works rather well. Playback is smooth enough for me, scrubbing through frames works well, as do the transitions and titles. And I didn’t even need to perform any of the dodgy hacks that have been going round to make it work on my system.

Since my system was only around for a few months before being discontinued back in 2003, maybe they’ve forgotten to put it in the ‘exclude’ list, who knows?

Categories
Apple blogging Software

Testing Ecto 3 alpha

Way back in the dim and distant past, before my other blog, Past Thinking, began to focus solely upon heritage matters, I reviewed Ecto 2. Now, 2 years later, I’m writing this with the alpha version of Ecto 3.

This isn’t a full review – this is really just a test drive of the alpha version, and a quick account as I go along.

I once decried the rich text editor of Ecto 2, wishing for a WYSIWYG editor, and it seems as if at long last my wish has been answered. Everything you do in the editor is actually displayed as you expect it to, rather than the strange highlights and awkwardness that went before (which I did get used to).

Ecto 3, although not yet finished, has a much more ‘Mac’ look and feel to it, although perhaps I still find the multiple windows to be slightly annoying – I’d prefer a more unified or tabbed GUI. Still, you can close the windows that you’re not currently using.

Uploading images is a breeze – the screenshot below was captured in Skitch and dragged from Skitch right into Ecto, where it was automatically resized. Very nice. I then had the option to upload the image there and then (which I forgot to screen grab).

Ecto 3 (alpha) screenshot)

And, since the WYSIWYG editor uses WebKit, it looks like it’s doing a fairly accurate job.

As you can see from the screenshot, there’s a “Keywords” box below title. It’ll be interesting to see if these hook into Ultimate Tag Warrior, or appear as html meta tags (does anything still use them these days?). In the alpha version, there is no help file (it’s still being written) so I’ll give it a go and see what happens.

All in all, writing this little ditty was a pleasure in Ecto, and if you are reading this, it successfully connected to my blog and posted this.

When Ecto 3 is finished, I’ll post a comprehensive review here. You can read Adriaan’s announcement over at Infinite Sushi.

(ahh – so that’s what the ‘Keywords’ does!)

Categories
Mac Software

On NewsFire an other feed readers

My feedreader of choice is, and has been for some 2 years, the excellent NetNewsWire Lite on a Mac. It handles my 244 feeds very well, and they’re all nicely categorised into groups.

But I’ve had a bit of trouble recently in that NetNewsWire Lite has begun to randomly jumble up individual posts. Rather than sorting them by arrival order, it’s just mixing them together. I’ve checked “View > Sort By > Arrival Order” and it’s checked. I’ve clicked everything and double-checked settings, and it should all be OK.

Just out of curiosity, I thought that I would try out NewsFireRSS. Its interface looks very clean, and I do actually have a license bought through the recent MacHeist promotion (I bought the MacHeist bundle primarily for Delicious Library and Rapidweaver). So I thought that I would give it a whirl.

NetNewsWire allows you to export your RSS subscriptions to an OPML file with two options: first, as a flat file, and second, preserving your subscription groups. I opted for the second option, as I’ve got them all nicely grouped, and it would takes ages to sort them again by hand.

Sadly, when I imported the OPML file into NewsFire, none of the groups were preserved. I had one huge list of subscriptions. Not good!

Just to test the exported OPML file, I imported it into the open source feed reader, Vienna. My groups were preserved, thankfully, so the OPML file did export correctly from NetNewsWire. It seems that NewsFire just can’t cope with OPML groups – a big shame! I might have to relent and re-group by hand – or just stick with NNW or Vienna.

Categories
Mac Software

MacHeist

Having just moved house, and having just packed all my books and CDs, I decided that I really ought to catalogue them. I’ve been tempted by Delicious Library for a while now and thought it an excellent time to buy it.

Luckily, I heard about MacHeist, who, at the time of writing, are offering Delicious Library and 8 other software titles for just $49. This includes RapidWeaver, Shapeshifter, TextMate, NewsFire, FotoMagico, Disco, iClip 4, DEVONthink Personal, and a Pangea game. To buy them all separately would cost you $307.74, so that’s rather a bargain.

For every $49, a proportion (25%) of that money is donated to a charity, so even better.

MacRumors point out that currently, MacHeist has raised over $100,000 for charities with this current offer. But it isn’t without some controversy. Without going in-depth at how MacHeist managed to make such a good offer (I’m not party to specifics), there are a number of critics mentioned on the MacRumors article.

It’s worth reading what MacHeist have to say about how it works, and to read the fors and againsts before you decide to take advantage of their next offer…