Back up Power When the Power is Out

December 14th, 2013

I once read something floating around on Facebook that stated an eternal truth: “The computer still works if the internet is down!” Do I buy that. Sure it does, but it is such a crutch…

What happens when the power goes out and you run out of battery for your Mac or iPhone. Crybaby. Well…not really. You need a dial town in case of emergency and it would be handy to check the weather. If the generator can power the fridge, it can power an outlet perhaps to charge your phone.

There are now Conversion Kits so that you can run a generator on whatever might be available. If you run out of gasoline, you can run it on Natural Gas. If you don’t have the ability to tap into Natural Gas and it is not an available service in your area, companies such as Century Fuel Products have tri-conversion kits so that you can run one on propane. That is handy if you are in a remote area that relies on propane for your heat anyway, or even if you have leftover propane from your grill last summer.

It may sound frivolous to think about insuring that your devices light up, but with the absence of many landlines nowadays, it only makes sense. The external battery chargers only last so long after several days of no power.

iPad Mini at DealDash

July 1st, 2013

ipadmini It seems that Deal Dash, the penny auction site periodically has Apple products, such as the iPad Mini listed for sale on its site. In fact, someone just supposedly won one for under $28.00

I am a bit leery about penny auctions. They work like this:

The consumer purchases a package of bids for a set price. Each bid costs .60. The auction starts at .00. Let’s say bidder #1 bids one cent. One of his bids costs .60. No deal, right? Then, let’s say a few other people bid and bidder #1 bids again when the auction price is up to $5.00. She uses her second bid  that costs her .60. If the auction closes, she pays $5.00, plus the cost of her two bids.

Sounds easy, right? The caveat is: If you don’t win anything, the .60 you paid for the bid is gone. So if you bid ten times on something you don’t win, you are out $6.00. Sad.
Deal Dash has an offer to refund your first bid pack if you don’t win anything, and allows users to buy the item at a “buy it now” price that is set at the beginning of the auction if they still want to buy the item, but just were hoping to risk nabbing it for a lower price.

The verdict? Use the site with care – use it if you are planning to buy the item at the set price anyway after you shopped around and determined that the set price was reasonable, but just want a shot at getting it for dirt cheap. That’s at least my take. What about you?

iPhones: Custom Cases Avert Identiy Crisis

April 23rd, 2013

Picture 4My cousin and I put our cell phones on the table in front of us. “This is going to be fun,” she said, eyeing our almost identical blue gel cases. To avoid a “switched at birth” moment, maybe I need something a bit more distinctive before my phone ends up halfway to California before we realize the accidental swap.

Case Gorilla offers custom iPhone and Galaxy cases using your own graphics and photos. There isn’t a library of premade selections, so every case is truly customized. You can upload your photo or graphic, stretch it by width or height and orient it exactly how you wanted in relation to the edges and lens.

I played around with the site and tried a photo, then a text-only design. For a case with custom photo, the site charges $39.99 for either option. (You can create a design incorporating both text and graphics, also.) Right now, however, you can use coupon code googleapril for 50% off!

Let the pet/grandkid advertising begin.

Free Web Hosting in a Post Geocities World

April 14th, 2013

Back in the day – to be specific, the 1990s – you did not need a deluxe web hosting package in order to introduce your Felix the Cat collection, list of your top 10 dislikes in no particularly order or your grand kids. You just Googled  – No, at the time you AltaVista-ed or Netscaped – and found Geocities, or later Tripod, and set up residence in one of their friendly “neighborhoods.” If you were truly tech savvy, you even put a counter to show Uncle Stan that you had more than two visitors, or even an animated .Gif that you swiped from somewhere, or purchased. The disadvantage was your url: It was a bit long and drawn out.

Today, the “free” option is to set yourself up on Blogger, or the like. The disadvantage is that it does not come with your own domain name, but it will be something a bit shorter than a lengthy Geocities neigborhood. The other is that unless you hack around it, the post most likely has a date on it. You can buy a domain and have it direct to your blog, though.

If you want your very own domain and do not want to be attached to a free platform that will swallow up your site once it disappears, there are a limited amount of free web hosting provider that do offer space that is not attached to having your wedding blog page attached to The Knot.

Free Rider Web Hosting offers “free” hosting, but there is a catch: The monthly bandwidth allotment 100 GB, and the bandwidth is 10 GB. What – were you expecting to run your ecommerce site for free? It may not seem like much, but for Aunt Mavis and her thimble collection or for your grandfather trying his hand at html after taking an exploration class – it is “just right.” How do they make their money? They offer tiered premium web hosting that you will most likely opt for when the thimble collection goes viral.

Are there any other free web services that you would recommend?

Apple Wedding Flutes

January 12th, 2013

When a Mac user or computer programmer desires a Mac or computer-themed wedding, the most difficult element to theme is the wedding flutes. There are several choices for this, but you really have to use artistic license.

Yes, you might be able to find flutes with apples on them, particularly if the are not specifically made as wedding flutes, but use them cautiously. There is a whole different biblical undertone and popular symbolism. Just ask Eve.

The only two obvious ways to go are to find glasses matching the colors of the wedding, or even glasses that look like science test tubes.

When in absolute doubt, maybe a glass is a glass. No one will complain that you used the hotel-provided plastic champagne flutes if you don’t

Printing Personalized Napkins on a Mac

January 10th, 2013

napkinMany websites offer personalized napkins and other party necessities. An ambitious designer can make them from home and save a few pennies, but not without a long and tedious process. If you want bragging rights rather than a time saver, give it a whirl.

First, spread the napkin on a piece of wax paper. Then with the wax paper between the napkin and the iron, iron the paper to the wax paper. Once it cools, feed it through your printer with the desired printed side up. Lay the napkin out to dry. After the paper dries, put it in the freezer. After about a half an hour, carefully peel the napkin from the wax paper.

Quick and easy? No. You will get the design you want in a pinch and can say you did it yourself.

OT: Dental Practice For Sale

January 9th, 2013

It doesn’t surprise me to see broken computers, moose taxidermy and even Justin Bieber’s hair for sale on the internet. You can even find a dental practice for sale to surprise your sweetheart. For some reason, I thought buying a dental office was so specialized that they weren’t widely promoted on the internet. It’s not like your wife or husband will say “Honey, stop the car!” when they see the “For Sale” sign in front of the picture window of one.

Apparently, there are firms that just specialize in selling dental practices, particularly if the current dentist or partners don’t want the world to know they are thinking about selling. A dentist hoping to relocate from out of town can discreetly review the profit and loss statement without marching into the office and disturbing worried patients. If it works for other types of businesses…why not for tooth mechanics, too?

Wedding Centerpieces a la Mac Cube

December 31st, 2012

IFOff and on, I see creative ideas for reclaimed and recycled Mac gear. The Power Mac Cube didn’t take off like other Mac products, though some core aficionados loved it. The abandoned form lives on as many desk top fish tank aquariums.  Hopefully, all the computers used in these experiments were spent, rather than someone taking perfectly good computers and turning them into tanks.\

It would not be a stretch for the imagination to create wedding centerpieces out of Mac Cubes. They could be aquariums, less the fish, as that would be cruel to move them multiple times between house and hall and car and house, not to mention foisting them upon relatives who may not care for them. The more likely concept would be a terrarium, with shiny river rocks and foliage, or more appropriately, maybe bits of old computer chips and even action figures.

It may be too difficult to find one each for twelve tables, but you could create amazing things with lights and color for the head table or for a smaller wedding.

Give Back: Wedding Invitations

December 31st, 2012

Wedding invitations are a cinch to make on a Mac. If you don’t have the inkling or the time, there are several sites on the web where you can order printed invitations that benefit charity. The organization makes a percentage of the cost. Some sites allow you to select from a roster of designs and select any registered charity.

There is a high cost and low profit margin in printing small batches of cards (any wedding, unless you are members of the royal family and have 1,000 guests, would be a small batch.), so the organization really benefits more from volume. One order will never fund a project, but like anything else, if you are buying invites anyways, every little bit helps.

Geek Wedding Garters

December 25th, 2012

For couples who add geek touches to their wedding, like a Mario Bros. groom’s cake, or add elements of time travel portals somehow, the hardest thing to find “geek-ified” are wedding garters.

The tradition of tossing the garter, then shielding your eyes from the embarrassing scene of an unsuspecting wedding guest hiking it up the leg of their cousin, the bouquet catcher, is enough to have the tradition deleted from the menu. Even so, couples might desire one.

In visiting various wedding websites, it seems most brides opt to merely place a charm with a sci-fi or gaming character on the garter to theme it. There aren’t too many more deeply creative ideas. At your wedding, what did you come up with?



Make an iPhoto Wedding Guest Book

December 24th, 2012

A wedding guest book is easy to make on a Mac. There are several options. Set up your own ruled template with lines for guest wishes, or make a more personalized option with iPhoto. There are no templates per se in iPhoto for text, but this is a different kind of book. Guest will leave messages in the margins and in the white space of the photos.

In choosing a layout, consider the amount of white space around the photos. Also, choose or edit photos with the express intent of encouraging guests to leave wishes on the photo pages. For example, edit a photo of the couple with a background defocused in Photoshop. Alternatively, take photos with the photo book in mind, featuring the couple in 1/3 of the photos, and leaving gracious space for neutral scenery.

A book showcasing photos of the couple makes a more displayable item for the couple’s bookshelf or table and a more active conversation piece.