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Archive for January, 2010

Tethering the Motrola Droid with PDANet

January 23rd, 2010 No comments

My Airport card started acting up the night before my presentation. For some reason I didn’t think too much of it until I couldn’t connect the the wireless network at the hotel the next morning either. I only started panicking when I had about two hours left and I had yet to test my demo solution. I ran out to Verizon Wireless and after learning I cannot tether my Droid, nor can I rent a MiFi I had purchased one. MiFI is great if you’re traveling a lot and need fast mobile Internet or if you want to share that Internet connection up to 5 individuals in a room. The MiFi costs $99 with a one-time purchase fee, as well as a $59 per month subscription fee. You can return the equipment within 3o days for a full refund.

Then I learned from a fellow FileMaker developer that, indeed, you can tether the Droid via PDANet. So, this morning I have finally had the time to test it out, and as I’m writing this post from my new wireless access, it is verified. You have to download the PDANet desktop, as well as the Android app. Works both on Mac or Windows. You can connect via Bluetooth Dial Up (DUN) or USB. I recommend the USB if you have a Micro USB cable because the connection is not bottlenecked. The free version has one limitation: will not connect to sites that start with “https”. For a mere $30, you can eliminate this restriction. When you connect it might give you an error message “mismatch detected”. I ignored that and it works just like a charm. When connecting, start the PDANet app on your phone and connect, then connect from your computer. When disconnecting disconnect from your computer then turn off PDANet on your phone so it won’t drain your battery.  As customary with Verizon, you cannot make phone calls while using the data connection. The data connection will stay, it will just not pull up websites while you’re on the phone. As soon as you hang up, you’re back in business.

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Make a Pandora Widget with the help of Safari

January 14th, 2010 2 comments

I like to listen to music while I work. When my network allows I listen to Pandora. I always have the trouble of finding the Pandora tab among my million open tabs when I would like to learn he artist or song title. So today I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be great if I had a widget? After searching the web I did not find a ready-made widget but I learned how easy it is to make one yourself. Now this method is not rocket science: it is height the feature built-in Safari.

Here’s how you can make yourself a Pandora widget:

  1. Open Safari (have no idea if this works on Windows, if someone can confirm, I’d appreciate)
  2. Navigate to Pandora.com
  3. Go to File/Open in Dashboard
  4. Select the area you’d like to clip, then hit “Add”
  5. Click the “i” on your new widget to take off the check box marker on “Only play audio in Dashboard”.

Now, you have a full functioning Pandora widget. Mine is very small so I can only play the currently selected album or pause it, adjust volume and fast forward. Yours can be whatever you’d like it to be.

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MiniMail – a plug-in for your Apple Mail

January 13th, 2010 No comments

If you get as many emails per day as I am getting in my 6 mailboxes, you start to wonder if you should just keep your mailbox closed until a set hour every day and then read and respond to all of them. But then you’re risking missing some opportunity of vital information.

Someone just recommended MiniMail (an Apple Mail plug-in) to me today and I had to try it out immediately. At first I wasn’t sure what I’m supposed to be getting. It installed just fine, saw the Preference Pane under Apple Mail/Preferences, but that was about it.

Well, once you download it, you should select, which mailboxes you’d like it to track, which you do in the Preferences/Show Mailboxes. You can choose from one of the options or customize it. Then once you hit the “Maximize” button (the green dot in the upper left corner) and you get this:

Once you actually get an email, you get this:

And then you can hit the spacebar while selecting the window above and you can preview your email. You can “scroll” through your unread email. It’s pretty nifty, because I can monitor my incoming emails on my second screen in a small window and use the appropriate action: read, mark unread or delete, but there are more options.

So, to recap:

  1. MiniMail is  shows you the new mail in several mailboxes
  2. it does not have notifications (version 2.1 will as I learned from support today)
  3. let’s you control your actions on the individual mail you’re viewing
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