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Software

Trialfire

Making Analytics a Little Bit Easier

By | Software | No Comments

Now, I haven’t used it yet, but if Trialfire can deliver on its promise of making assigning analytics code easier, then I’m really excited.  I use Google Analytics for all my client’s sites so I was happy to hear that this tool will integrate with that interface.  This means I can keep using the same interface and start getting more data for my clients…pretty simple.

I’ll have to give this a try sometime soon and I think it’d be worth it for you as well.

My Impressions of OS X 10.10 Yosemite Public Beta

By | Software | 4 Comments

To sum it up: It sucked!  I never got past the login screen.

I’m a big fan of Apple and was really excited to hear that the new public beta would be available to me, yes me, on July 24th.  This was my golden ticket of geekiness in the form of an email from Apple.  I promptly downloaded the latest OS X operating system using the App Store (just over a 5 GB download size) and started off the installation.

An important note: always use Time Machine (or better yet, create a duplicate backup using something like SuperDuper!) to create a backup before doing anything like this; even if it’s the final release.  It saved my butt on this one.  Fortunately, I took my own advice on this one.

After about 45 min I was ready to go on the login screen, then the following video happened. The 18th second was my favorite moment.

Screen flickering, graphics distortion.  I tried restarting.  Nothing.  I tried repairing permissions in the Disk Utility (boot using CMD + R).  Nothing.

Fortunately they built in a fix, which wasn’t really a quick fix, but it got me back to running again today.  Restore from Time Machine backup.  It’s a menu item when you access your restoration software; again, hold down CMD + R  when booting your computer.  The process took about 11 hours (wish I had a Thunderbolt drive), had to reenter some passwords, but all seems ok.

Yes, the software is a public beta, but that was seriously disappointing Apple.

I Love Keyboard Shortcuts

By | I'm a Nerd, Software, Technology | No Comments

And I’m not afraid to admit it.  I truly believe that if everyone just learned the two most important shortcuts (Cmd/Control + C = Copy AND Cmd/Control + V = Paste) we’d probably raise our GDP by 10%, people would be happier and global climate change might rethink what’s it’s doing.

But seriously, you need to start using keyboard shortcuts.  Trust me.  It’s awesome.

Which brings me to why I’m writing in the first place, Waldo.  He’s been found and his last name is Bronchart (seriously?).  Waldo Bronchart has created a great tool to learn keyboard shortcuts for Lightroom and keyboard shortcuts for Photoshop.  He even made his technology Open Source so you can create your own keyboard shortcut maps.  I just realized how nerdy this sounds (checking the ‘I’m a Nerd’ category box now).

Check it out.  It’s cool I promise.  Thank you Waldo.

Lightroom Mobile for iPad

By | Photography, Software, Technology | No Comments

UPDATE: If you’re running OS X then you’re likely pretty peeved at the moment, but here’s a nice work around so you can start using it!

I’m pretty excited about trying this out.  Sure, I need to download the Creative Cloud version of Lightroom to get it to work, but that’s a minor inconvenience considering I’m already paying the monthly fee for the whole suite.  For everyone else, this would likely read as bummer.

The idea is that I’ll be able to edit photos directly on my iPad and then sync it back up with my desktop.  Sounds pretty good.  I’ll let you know you know how it goes.

Download LR 5.4 now and the Mobile app Read More

Free Website Usability Testing

By | Software, Startups, Technology, Website | No Comments

Was reading up on blog posts in Pulse today and stumbled across a site that offers free usability testing with real feedback, from a real person.  Cool.

The site is called Peek and it offers free usability testing of 3 sites each month.  You put in a URL, click Start! and then enter your email address.  That’s it!  The site is in Beta currently so no news on price options in the future.  I have to assume they’ll offer pricing if you want more than 3 sites per month.  This is a great tool for freelancers and entrepreneurs like myself that are constantly launching new sites, but don’t really have anyone (or the money) to do some usability testing.

I’ll let you know how it goes once I get feedback on my 3 sites: jbwoodruffdesign.com, meals4you.org and campfinder.co

Long Tail Keywords

By | Insight, Software, Technology | No Comments

In the world of the Internet, specialization (niche business) has been a growing trend as a way to combat larger businesses.  You may never be able to get the sales volumes of someone like Amazon, but you’ll get dedicated customers looking specifically for your niche product/service.

So why not use the same tactic for SEO?

Read More

The Power of Shooting in RAW

By | Photography, Software | No Comments

I just returned from a trip to Mexico and I’ve been going through my pictures.  I’m writing this post because I wanted to visually show how powerful shooting in RAW and using software like Lightroom can be to enhance your photos.

Here is the original (cropped).

DSC_4332-2

 

Here is the edited photo after using Lightroom.

DSC_4332

 

The reason this works is because RAW captures a lot more information than a JPEG.  The software enables you a much greater freedom during editing to bring out the colors and enhance the shadows and highlights.

Total edit time about 5 minutes.

Great OS X Photography App Bundle

By | Software | No Comments

I love application bundles for OS X and this one might be one of the best I’ve seen.  This one comes from StackSocial and it’s The SuperStacked Mac Bundle 2.0.  I like it because one, it’s for Photography/Design and two, the applications are really good.

I already own the good ones of this bunch, Snapheal, Focus and ColorStrokes, but for $30, those alone are worth it.

Yes, if you have Photoshop then you can perform most of these functions; however, these apps make the actions easy.

Snapheal > remove unwanted objects in the photo.

Focus > nice focus effects to achieve a shallow depth of field look or miniaturization effect.

ColorStrokes > remove color from everything, but the objects you want to pop.

I don’t get paid to promote this one (wish I did) so it’s just my word on this one.  Worth trying out if you’re into photography and want some great tools to enhance your photos.

Is There a Good Alternative to OS X Mail?

By | Software | No Comments

I’m all about maximizing efficiency in the way I work and email is one of those things that continues to cut away on a daily basis. I spend way too much time getting through emails, updating my 2Do list and then filing things away for later if I need them.

Now, I’m not your average user as I currently have 8 email addresses to work across. Each one necessary to maintain for different things in my life. My personal email, my personal commercial email (for e-commerce, signups, spam), and one for each of my business endeavors.

Here’s What I Do

Boot up OS X Mail. Read my emails. Flag those I need to take action on. File those I want to keep. Delete those that I don’t. Repeat 100 times a day.

MailHub
I use a great program for mail filing called MailHub. Because I’m a filer of past emails, this program is amazing. It actually learns, based on the sender and context, where I might want to file an email. I no longer have to drag and drop an email into the hundreds of folders I have. It places a nice tool just above the email list where I can direct my messages. I’m not sure what I’d do without this program.

MailHub

Is there a better way?

I’m asking you.

I’ve tried moving away from filing and to embrace the world of search. Conceptually this is pretty awesome. Enter some people and keywords and you’re all set. However, my experience has been that the results are never as focused as I need them to be.

Airmail
The nearest, best solution is Airmail. You can buy it for $1.99 so it’s pretty much a no-brainer to at least try out. I loved the interface, customization options, integration with 2Do (task management) and marking items as To-Do (vs. flagging). It really worked for quite some time. Tragic flaw was the (in)ability to file away old emails. I’m a clean inbox guy and after some time it was just taking too long to file things away. If I could get MailHub in Airmail I’d quit OS X Mail in a heartbeat.

MailPilot
I love the concept. It’s a mail client and task manager in one. It works really well if you have one email address to look after.

Is there a good email application for people who have too many email address?

This is a much better question I should be asking. I need it to do the following:

  • Ability to easily file old, but important messages
  • Integration with, or replacement of, 2Do
  • Help me clear my inbox

If it works, what’s wrong with OS X Mail?

As I said, I still spend way too much time on my emails. Maybe the only solution is to give up on filing and delete more messages. Perhaps I could have much higher level folders, one for business and one for personal. Then I could select the folder when searching to have a narrower field to search from. Maybe I’ll give that a try.

QUICK UPDATE: Sources

This post quickly prompted me to do a search. Here are some good resources for me and others: