Monthly Archives: June 2009

iPhone 3.0 Jailbreak Available via PwnageTool, QuickPwn to Follow [Downloads]

Mac OS X only: The iPhone Dev Team has already released the iPhone 3.0-jailbreaking Pwnage Tool for Mac OS X (just two days after the iPhone 3.0 release), with QuickPwn for Windows and OS X soon to follow. There are a few catches, though.

This current jailbreak has its peculiarities (it doesn’t currently work with 2G iPod touches or the iPhone 3GS), so before you go straight to the download and jailbreak, be sure to read up on the full blog post from the Dev Team. The real question at this point: The better the iPhone 3.0 software gets (and this really is the best it’s been yet), the less reason many people have to jailbreak (unlocking for other carriers is another story). Is a jailbreak still worth it to you? Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments.

trois, drei, ???, három! [Dev-Team Blog via TUAW and Gizmodo]





Buy the Right Amount of Paint for Home Projects [Home Improvement]

Paint isn’t cheap. Avoid being stuck with nearly full paint buckets with a calculator that figures just how much paint you need. Photo by ellievanhoutte.

Having a little left over paint is handy and great for touching up an occasional scuff or ding, but with the price of premium paint approaching $50 a gallon, you don’t want to be left with gallons of non-returnable touch-up paint. Don’t waste money on paint you don’t need to see it suck up basement or garage space.

MyHomeIdeas posts a detailed calculator for figuring out how much paint you’ll need for your walls, ceiling, and trim paint. Painting something other than a standard room? You can still measure the surface area of it and use the basic calculator to figure out how much paint you’ll need for your project. Check out the link below to crunch the numbers on just how much burnt sienna you’ll need for your retro lounge.





Sketchup Basics – Trunk Lid Pt. 3

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In the final part of our series, Aaron puts the finishing touches on the trunk lid. If this is your first experience with SketchUp, I highly recommend checking out the tutorials located at SketchUpForWoodworkers.com.

You can download SketchUp here and if you are looking for the original file used to make this Steamer Trunk tutorial, you can download that here. Also, check out the SketchUp model area of our forum. There is a growing list of models there available for download.

Evernote 3.0 Makes Syncing Instantaneous, Improves Capture Speed [Downloads]

iPhone/iPod touch: Evernote, the brain-expanding memory and note tool, is making full use of the iPhone 3.0 features with a new version that makes reading, synchronizing, mapping, recording, photo-capturing, and landscape-viewing your notes easier, and promises app interactivity to come.

All of the Evernote 3.0 app’s features are available to all iPhone and iPod touch owners, as the majority involve code optimizations and fixes for convenience. There’s no more concern about “pending” notes, or having to hit the “Load 25 More” placeholder when scrolling through, for instance. Evernote 3.0 instantly synchronizes info and thumbnails about your notes, leaving the full load for when you pull them up.

The app also removes a few of the button taps necessary to capture and tag an image or record an audio memo. Turn any device sideways, and you get a landscape timeline view for browsing through everything you’ve recorded lately to your web brain. If you’ve got notes spread over an entire city, or maybe a state or country, Evernote offers a built-in mashup showing your captures across the land.

There’s a lot more explained at the Evernote blog linked below, and in this brief video explainer:

Evernote 3.0 is a free download for iPhones and iPod touch models running the 3.0 software. If you’re an Evernote fan who’s digging on the new features, tell us how you use them to your memory-expanding advantage in the comments.

Evernote 3.0 [iTunes App Store (direct link)]
Big Update: Evernote for iPhone 3.0 is Here [Evernote Blog]





Hands On with iPhone 3.0′s Best New Features [Screenshot Tour]

The iPhone 3.0 software update hit servers a few hours ago, and we spent our afternoon playing with every new feature we could find. Step inside for a look at our favorite new iPhone 3.0 features.

The Goods

  • Spotlight Search: Possibly the best feature from a productivity standpoint, just press the Home button from the Home screen (specifically the first page of your Home screen) to bring up a quick search box that searches across the breadth of your iPhone. That includes contacts, bookmarks, music, applications, notes, calendar, and even email messages. Incidentally, you can also now switch the double-click Home button behavior to launch Spotlight (or the Camera). If you don't want an item indexed or you want to change the result order, just head to Settings -> General -> Home and tweak the the Search Results (this is also where you change the double-click behavior).
  • Copy and Paste This one wins the award for the longest-time-coming iPhone feature. Just double-tap or tap-and-hold a bit of text to bring up your copy context menu, adjust the start and end points of the text you want to cut or copy, then tap the Copy/Cut button to finish the job. When you’re ready to paste, just double-tap again in an input field. If you changed your mind about a paste or cut, you can also shake to undo.
  • Camera/Photos tweaks: Your Camera and Photo apps both saw some minor but cool feature updates. Pictured, you’ll see that the Camera app now sports a tiny thumbnail of the last picture you took that, when tapped, takes you to your Camera Roll. When you’re sending, copying, or deleting photos from your iPhone, you can now select multiple photos at a time (handy for iPhone reviewers emailing images to themselves).
  • Messages (aka the old SMS app) Well, this will be cool, as soon as AT&T gets it together. Right now, if you're an AT&T user, it's exactly the same as it was. When MMS is available, it'll be capable of sending vCards, pictures, audio files, and Google Maps locations—all of which would be great.
  • Form AutoFill in Safari If you’re anything like this editor, you spend a lot of your time on the iPhone in Safari. I even use Gmail via Safari rather than Mail. Sure I’m always checking that Remember Me box when I log into web sites, but now I can simply hit the AutoFill button and be done with it. It’s a security concern, to be sure, but it’s also extremely convenient.
  • Open Link Options: Anyone who’s gotten used tabbed browsing on the desktop probably feels a little suffocated by the lack of options for opening links on the iPhone. That’s all gotten a bit better with the improved Open link options in the new and improved Safari. Just tap and hold a link for a convenient pop-up that allows you to choose where you want to open the link (and lets you copy it for pasting elsewhere).
  • Search in Mail Like I said, I still do most of my iPhone emailing with Gmail in Safari, but if you use Mail regularly, the new search option, complete with filters, is gangbusters.
  • Shake to Shuffle on iPod: This novel feature has mostly just been weird in my tests. I feel like I have to shake awfully violently for it to work, and it just seems like way more effort than it’s worth.
  • Push Notification: We haven’t seen a lot of applications that already support background push notifications, but you can expect to hear a lot more about this feature as more and more apps integrate them. Right now we’re told that Tap Tap Revenge, the AP Mobile app, and a few others are already working with push. I’ve tried a few but haven’t received any push notifications yet.
  • Voice Memos App: At this point voice recording applications are a dime a dozen in the App Store, but it’s still great to see a really nice one come with iPhone 3.0 out of the box.
  • Landscape on Everything: Okay, not everything, but you now get landscape mode in Messages (SMS), Mail, Stocks, Contacts (strangely, though, just in the Contacts app and not in the Contacts section of the Phone app), and Notes. Big improvement.

Other Things to Note

The big iPhone 3.0 feature that we still can't try out here in the U.S. is data tethering, which, unfortunately, is still in the works with AT&T and will likely cost much more than it's worth.

How Do You Like It?

If, like us, you've spent your afternoon getting to know the ins and outs of the new iPhone 3.0 update, let's hear how you like it so far—and what features stand out to you—in the comments. For a more extensive look at some of the finer additions—like stereo bluetooth—check out our siblings-in-gadgetry Gizmodo’s review.





FBackup Makes Backing Up Application Data Simpler [Downloads]

Windows only: Freeware backup software FBackup includes special plugins for most popular applications—so you don't have to worry about which files to backup anymore, it's all handled for you.

FBackup can do all the things standard backup applications can do: automated backups, zip compression, password protection, an easy wizard, and even backing up open files—but the killer feature is support for plugins that tell the backup application exactly which files to backup—an extremely useful feature for easily backing up hard-to-find files like the profile folders for Google Chrome, Pidgin, or even Opera without resorting to manually finding each location from deep within a hidden folder somewhere. Sure, you can always backup the entire contents of your drive to make sure you captured everything, but even with today's hard drive sizes that's still a waste of space.

FBackup is a free download for Windows only. For more, check out your five favorite Windows backup tools, take a look at the five best file syncing tools, or learn how to automatically backup your hard drive.





Fast Duplicate File Finder Finds Your File Dupes [Downloads]

Windows only: A little sloppy file keeping can lead to a lot of duplicate and space-hogging files. Dig up all your dupes with the speedy Fast Duplicate File Finder.

You can scan local, external, flash-based, and network drives with Fast Duplicate File Finder. There are several convenient features like the ability to automatically mark the older of the two duplicate files as the one that will be deleted or moved, protection of system and program files, and a shortcut to immediately jump to the actual folder where a duplicate you’d like to examine is residing.

Fast Duplicate File Finder supports projects, essentially profiles, so you can customize your scanning technique and the locations to be included based on your various needs. There is in-program preview for images, video, music, text, and binary files. When you find duplicates you can dump them into the recycle bin, delete them permanently, or have the files and their folder structure copied to a backup folder to serve as a holding area until you’re certain you want them permanently deleted. Fast Duplicate File Finder is freeware, Windows only.





TweetDeck Adds Multi-Column iPhone Client, Account Syncing [Downloads]

Windows/Mac/Linux/iPhone: TweetDeck, the Twitter client that helps cut through social noise, has unleashed a clever version of its popular multi-column app for iPhones, as well as made it easy to synchronize columns and work with multiple Twitter accounts.

The column synchronization is a smart move, considering many fans of TweetDeck’s increasingly popular desktop client are likely to try out the iPhone and iPod touch version and not want to have to add in all their columns again. The desktop versions don’t seem to synchronize all your actual app settings, though, so our previously posted migration tip is worth checking out.

As for the client updates themselves, well, TweetDeck as run on Adobe AIR hasn’t changed all that much, other than allowing for controlling multiple Twitter accounts, which power users will love and may migrate over for. The iPhone app does a great job of recreating the multi-column control of TweetDeck through sliding tabs, and offers most of the functionality for reading and posting that other popular apps like Seesmic and TwitterFon. Most importantly, it does what its desktop counterparts does—sifts and sorts through all kinds of noise to let you get at your replies, messages, and most relevant search terms quickly.

TweetDeck is a free download for iPhones and iPod touch models through the App Store, and via the Adobe AIR platform on Windows, Mac, and Linux systems. Click through the screenshots below for a bigger look at TweetDeck’s iPhone client and multi-account desktop integration.


TweetDeck’s main view. Click on a column to zoom in and scroll through, then hit the “Columns” button again to switch to the 10-feet-away view.

Composing a new tweet in TweetDeck, with options for TwitPic-powered photos (from camera or your saved photos), web links (which seem to be waiting for cut and paste to drop today to start working), and adding geo-location map URLs.

Adding a new column from the iPhone is pretty easy, and doing so with a TweetDeck account enabled syncs it to your desktop versions.

The multi-account manager in TweetDeck’s Adobe AIR client. I don’t have multiple Twitter accounts, but from other screenshots, it only takes one button click when composing or replying to decide which account your message comes from.

Synchronization of columns back to your TweetDeck account, so they show up on your iPhone and other desktops.





Lifehacker Pack 2009: Our List of Essential Free Mac Downloads [Downloads]

We’ve featured countless apps or all sorts over the years, but if you just want a quick look at the best free downloads for your Mac, this post’s for you. This is the 2009 Lifehacker Pack for Mac OS X.

Like our 2009 Lifehacker Pack for Windows (and its predecessor), the Mac version has the same goal in mind: to provide Mac lovers with a single, handy list of the best free applications that you’re likely to use on a regular basis.

Note: You can head directly to each application’s download page from the [Download] links and see what we originally wrote about them at the [LH Post] link.

Productivity

Internet/Communication

  • Firefox: All debates about security, memory use, or compatibility amongst the web browsers aside, Firefox can adapt to nearly anyone’s browsing habits through a range of adaptations. Whether that’s an extension/add-on (and here are our top 10 picks), a Greasemonkey script (again, our 10), or some deep-down about:config tweaks, Firefox can probably be what you want it to be. [Download] [LH Post]
  • Adium: Pronounced like “stadium”, Adium is a free, powerful multi-protocol instant messaging client that connects to everything from AIM and Google Talk to Facebook Chat, MySpace Chat, and everything in between. Adium is extremely customizable, works like a charm, and brings way more options to your chats than the OS X standard, iChat.
  • Postbox: If you’re not using your email’s web interface, use this. It’s basically Thunderbird, the open-source email client we’d previously included in our Lifehacker pack, but remixed with stronger, almost Gmail-like powers. It finds and indexes all the attachments in your email account, groups together conversations with similar subject chains with the “Gather” command (like Gmail’s conversations), offers tabbed inbox and message views, and lets you organize emails under your own chosen “Topics.” It’s also got built-in easy setup steps for Gmail and other webmail systems-in other words, everything we’re waiting to see Thunderbird implement. [Download] [LH Post]

Utilities

  • Unarchiver: OS X’s default Archive Utility handles a lot, but the first time you come across slightly more unusual (but still very common) archive types like RAR, you’ll notice it stumble. The Unarchiver handles ZIP, TAR, RAR, 7Z, StuffIt, and several more obscure archive types without flinching. [Download] [LH Post]
  • Transmission: The most popular BitTorrent client for OS X, Transmission rolls virtually every feature you’d want out of a good BitTorrent application into one clean, easy-to-use package. You can even remote control your BitTorrent downloads with Transmission, or get clever and start new BitTorrent downloads at home from any computer with Dropbox (mentioned below). [Download] [LH Post]
  • AppTrap: One of the best parts of OS X is that uninstalling an application is as simple as deleting it, right? Yes, but not exactly; often simply deleting the file leaves your computer with old junk files sitting around that used to belong to the application you just deleted. AppTrap automatically detects when you’re deleting an application, looks for associated files, and automatically deletes them for you along with the app in question. [Download] [LH Post]
  • Burn: OS X comes with Disk Utility—a very nice burning application plus some—out of the box, but it's often used only for more advanced ISO burning, disk formatting, and other heavy-lifting type activities. Burn, on the other hand, is a simple, user-friendly CD and DVD burning application that does data, audio, video, and disc copying with aplomb. [Download] [LH Post]

Multimedia

  • VLC – Got a video or audio file to play? VLC probably plays it. Don’t like how heavy Quicktime is? VLC is lighter. Want it free, working on any system, and have it show album art from your tracks? Done and done. [Download] [LH Post]
  • iTunes: We’ve seen stronger competition for your music management in OS X this year than ever, particularly with the recent release of Songbird, but right now you’re still better off sticking with iTunes on your Mac. Not only does it integrate seamlessly with your various iPods, but it also integrates with most of your Mac’s iLife applications and other Mac apps. So while you’d better watch out for the competition, iTunes, you’re still the favorite for music. [Download] [LH Post]

File Backups/Syncing

  • Dropbox: Put simply, Dropbox makes synchronizing your files across Windows, Mac, or Linux systems a very simple, almost magical process. Put a copy of what you're working on or want saved in your Dropbox folder, and it's synchronized to your account, which has 2GB to start with, and gets bigger if you recommend friends. When you're at another one of your own computers, your Dropbox updates and grabs those files. If you're at someone else's system or on a smartphone, head to Dropbox's mobile-friendly site and grab what you need. It's not quite a backup tool, but it is one of those utilities that makes a lot of old habits—thumb drive copying, CD burning, emailing attachments to yourself—seem unnecessary. [Download] [LH Post]
  • Mozy: If Dropbox is where you stash the stuff you're working on or enjoying at the moment, Mozy is the backup service that saves everything for when your system goes black on bootup. The free accounts for Macs (and PCs) offer 2GB of free online space, and with the really smart filtering tools, you can have Mozy crawl your whole system and back up financial documents, Excel sheets, and any file with "Steve" in it. If you spring for a monthly unlimited plan, Mozy is a smart whole-system saver—one that doesn't eat bandwidth when you're using it, and works when you're not working. [Download] [LH Post]

If you were to compare this pack of software with our Lifehacker Pack for Windows, you’ll notice a fair amount of overlap. That’s because, luckily for all of us, in many cases free, cross-platform software is thriving. In other instances, we didn’t include a Mac version because the system default is already a very solid choice. (For example, where we recommended Foxit Reader on Windows for lightweight PDF duties, we’d just suggest the built-in Preview in OS X). Other utilities, like Texter, don’t have a completely free Mac alternative (though we do very much like TextExpander, which has a free trial beyond which it turns nagware).

Things change daily in the world of free software, and we by no means believe that this list is absolutely definitive, so if you've got your own I-can't-believe-they-didn't-include-X must-haves, tell us all about them—and share any other thoughts on our list—in the comments. Happy downloading!





Opera Unite Puts a Media Server in Your Browser [Downloads]

Windows/Mac/Linux: A test version of Opera’s formidable alternative browser introduces Unite, a plug-in that lets users share music, pictures, files, notes, and chat rooms straight from their desktop. Check out its services and features in a quick screenshot tour.

Before jumping into the big pictures, note that Opera 10 with Unite is a “Labs” release, meaning some features may not work as intended and might run a bit buggy. I created Unite services in an Opera window and accessed them with a Firefox browser, and all but the straight-up web serving, oddly enough, worked just fine.

Once you’ve signed in, or signed up, with an Opera account, you can hand out your sharing URL (in the form of computername.username.operaunite.com and, when you start up your Opera Unite services, your friends will see the same landing page as you. Streaming music and full-res pictures from your system can obviously be a bandwidth and system resource drag, but if you’re using Opera Unite mostly while you’re away from your system, that’s probably not an issue.

Opera Unite is a free download for Windows, Mac, and Linux systems; using and serving up files and media requires a free Opera account sign-up. Click the screenshots below for a gallery-style tour of Unite’s features, and be sure to hit the “800×600″ links for full-size shots.


The controls for Opera Unite mostly run out of a pop-in sidebar, allowing you to start, stop, and configure services you want running. Oddly enough, to set a password for each service, you have to visit it from the browser instead of set it in your configuration panel. New services can be installed with a few clicks from Opera’s site, but it appears this Unite test version comes loaded with everything that’s out there, for the moment.

The Fridge is a pretty neat, simple, and ingenious little service. Anyone who knows your sharing name can stop by and write a little note to tack to your fridge, though you can tweak the accessibility from the configuration options.

The straight-up web server. Doesn’t support PHP, mySQL, or any of the other modern web services (though those may arrive in the future), but could be helpful for selective web access to your-eyes-only documents, or hosting docs from crashed/overwhelmed servers.

Photo sharing is straight-up and simple. The server points to whatever folder they want shared, and the user sees thumbnails and bigger pictures when clicked, and can download the full-res version from there.

Music streaming is also fairly straightforward, but offers preview streams along with full downloads. If you’ve got a whole lot of music you want to offload to friends, you’d be better off running the more direct File Sharing service (not pictured, but pretty much how you’d imagine it).

The chat service works well and is really snappy in relay time, at least in our own browser-to-browser tests. Then again, there are a whole bunch of web-based services that let you create instant chat rooms (TinyChat and Chat.io come to mind) without having to make your browser the center of repetitive pings.





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