Monday, April 27, 2009

Convert Docs in the Cloud

Need to convert your .pdf files to .doc files or visa versa? Well CometDocs will convert basically any document to any file type online. The service is super easy to use. Just go to the site, upload your document, select a document type as your target, and put in your e-mail address (use your junk e-mail account just in case). You will recieve an e-mail with a link to the download of your document. Easy shmeesy - Pam Beasley...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Busy Busy

Sorry for the lack of posts the last couple days... I have been very busy with school. I am also working on giving the dull bulb a new look. I should be back soon with more great stuff.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Time for a new haircut.

If you are like me, you like some variety in your wallpaper selections. It was refreshing when Vista came out because it came with a handful of new wallpapers. Windows 7 is on the verge of being released and it will have a LOT of new wallpapers for your enjoyment.

The good news is you don't have to wait until then. You can enjoy the Windows 7 wallpapers now. Here is a small preview of what's out there:

I used Photovisi to make this collage... Booya.

Download them all here.
Download them individually here.

Friday, April 17, 2009

BumpTop -

Computer desktops are a common theme here at the dull bulb. I like finding programs that make desktops more flexible, convenient, and easy to use. For example, in the past I have featured dock applications, virtual desktops, desktop grids and many others. The purpose is maximizing the utility of your computer's desktop.

Recently I found a program that does more for desktop organization than I have seen in a LONG time. Its called BumpTop. Basically, it turns your rigid, unflexible computer desktop into a more flexible desktop that can be used more like your physical desk. Allow this video to demonstrate:

As you can see, its a beautiful concept. In fact, the idea is so wonderful, we will be seeing this concept take hold in future operating systems. Think about how the iPhone has revolutionized user interfaces. Apply the easy-touch interface of an iPhone/Touch to a GUI (graphics user interface) like BumpTop and you have a pretty awesome computer that has the flexibility of a desk and the utility, productivity, and power of a computer. Want an example? Check this out:

Visit the site. Download it Here.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Photosynth - Its like you were there...

A while back, Microsoft came out with something new and very cool. Its part of the "Live" project (a group of applications that sync together to allow people the ability to integrate various things like e-mail, chat, photos, blogs, etc.). The new web application is called Photosynth. Its a pretty neat idea.

What does it do?

Photosynth gathers photos of significant places and events and stitches them together to form a very large picture. It uses the photos to stitch together a larger 3D image to make you feel like you were there. Here is a video intro.

Right now, the full version can only be used on a PC. The Mac version is somewhat limited but its still pretty cool. Here is a little Mac demo of Obama's Inaguration.

How about using Photosynth to solve crimes... Microsoft found a good place to advertise their new application: CSI

And if you really want to learn about what Photosynth can do, watch this small lecture:

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Horrible Argument

I have to make a practice oral argument today. I'm nervous. But at least I'm not this guy:

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

the dull bulb's Daily Pick

I want to introduce the new feature on the blog - the dull bulb's Daily Pick. Everyday I will post a new song on the right side of the blog for your listening enjoyment.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Make your own Spy Camera

One of my IS professors during my undergrad had an interesting experience with a pen thief. He kept a cup full of nice pens on his desk. He noticed that his pen collection was diminishing on a daily basis and grew suspicious that someone was in his office while he was not there. To investigate the situation, he placed a small, well disguised web camera in between books on his book shelf before leaving for the day and used a program to capture video whenever the camera detected motion.
That is a spy camera - it also doubles as a laser capable of melting your face...
Oh, it also launches missiles at Russia - only Russia though.

The following morning he reviewed the video from the previous night. He found out that the only person coming into his office was the janitor and that the same janitor was indeed his pen thief. He decided to keep monitoring the situation and quickly became aware that this janitor was doing "a lot more" in his office than stealing his pens.

Like playing with his desktop basketball set...

The moral of the story? Spy on people that come into your office using a small, undetectable web camera so you can catch them red handed.

Here are some instructions on How to build a Spy Camera.

Unless you are James Bond. Q will likely hook you up with a much better gadget than you could make yourself.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Photo Collage maker

Time to make some photo collages! I searched the web for fast and easy collage makers so that I could make desktop wallpapers on the go. The following collage maker is one of the best that I found for fast and simple collages!

Photovisi is a fast and easy-to-use collage maker. It really is simple. You don't even need an account.
  1. First, click the Start button
  2. Choose your collage template
  3. Upload your photos - you can select multiple photos to upload by holding control (command) as you select your photos
  4. Wait a second while your photos upload
  5. Preview your collage - at this point you can delete, crop, or replace the photos in the collage
  6. Click the "Preview Ok" button to proceed
  7. Photovisi will offer you three different resolution sizes of your collage for download. Simply select the one that fits your purpose. For example, if you want to use the collage as your desktop background, download the size that most closely matches your computer resolution.
You're done! Simple, clean, fast, FUN! Enjoy making collages on Photovisi.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Throw Out Your Workout DVD's... Workout With Free Video Podcasts!

Stop paying money for workout DVD's and hop on the Free Fitness Podcast wagon. I stumbled across an article that provides information on how to get free fitness podcasts from iTunes.

Its not at all difficult to find the podcasts:
  1. Go to iTunes Store
  2. Select "Power Search" on the right hand side of the page
  3. Fill out the search parameters as shown in the picture below. Your results should look similar to mine.
  4. Now just find a workout that you like and go for it. Here is a link to one that I like - although I have never used it...

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Get Motivated

Enjoy some of my favorite motivational posters from around the web.

I took this one with my phone. Its funny.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Holy Bonus: How to remove iTunes DRM from Movies

Have you ever purchased a movie from iTunes and been frustrated by the fact that you can't burn it to a DVD? Even worse for iTunes, have you never purchased a movie from iTunes knowing that you can't burn it to a DVD?

Lucky for us, there is a method of stripping the DRM (digital rights management - the yucky stuff that prevents you from straight up burning an iTunes movie to a DVD) from an iTunes movie file. I found an article at Wired that explains the process. Wired is a Tech news, review, and How-To site. The How-To portions functions like a Wiki where people can post How-To articles to the site in a manner similar to Wikipedia.

Here is a link to the article.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Pod to PC

Let me tell you a story about me and the iPod: Between 2003 and 2005 I was out of the country and was unable to remain abreast with technological changes. After arriving home, I remember driving with my older brother somewhere and listening to some music (my brother used to really love music - now he just likes it). He kept changing songs using some small, magical, music playing device. I asked, "what is that?" pointing to the device. He replied with a little surprise: "an iPod..." I then asked the question that would change my life forever: "What's an iPod?"

Thing is, iPod's came out in 2001 but were so expensive until 2003 that I never heard about them up to the point of my leaving the country. I was in Brazil and if iPod's were unattainable in the U.S., they were most certainly unattainable in Brazil.

This Newsweek demonstrates that iPod's really became
uber-popular in 2004 - check out the date of the issue

The point of the story is that when I first became introduced with the iPod, I thought it was sweet because that would mean my friends could give me all the music on their iPod by simply attaching it to my computer and uploading all the files. Alas, Apple (and record labels of course) were fully aware that people would want to share music in such a way and therefore made it completely impossible to use iTunes to take music off an iPod and put it back on a computer.

Although I may have wanted to use this method to share music in the past, today I wish that I could just use my iPod as a means of backing up my iTunes library. I own an 80gb iPod Classic. They only sell 160gb classics at present. I want to be able ot use my iPod to listen to music AND backup my music in the even that my computer hard drive were to fail. Unfortunately, because people (like me) would use a iPod to Computer function to share music, Apple refuses to allow the functionality.

Despite the fact that iTunes does not allow you to transfer music from iPod to PC, MANY MANY applications exist that will enable you to just that. Today's post is one such application.

Pod to PC: The following information comes directly from Pod to PC's About page and explains very well the benefits of using Pod to PC.

Applications and Features:

iPod Icon Easily copy any music or video files from any iPod onto your computer.
Free Software The full version of Pod to PC is 100% free. There are no transfer limitations.
Recovery Icon Recover your music in iTunes after your computer crashes by transferring the music on your iPod or iPhone back to your computer.
Preview Icon Preview music and movies on any iPod before transferring it into your iTunes library.
Automatic Transfer Use the Automatic Transfer button to instantly select, then transfer all songs on an iPod that are not already in your iTunes Music Library.
Playlist Icon Easily copy a whole or partial playlist from any iPod into iTunes.
Already in iTunes Prevent duplicate transfers: Tracks already in iTunes are indicated with a blue check.
All Song Info Gets Transfered All track info gets transferred including the track play count, rating (out of 5 stars), album and more.
Search and Filter Quickly find the tracks your looking for with the Pod to PC search bar and filter options.
Free Upgrades Automatic upgrades notifications, keeps users up to date with the latest iPod and iTunes versions.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Still Tasty - do your food a favor...

In my house we constantly have a problem using up our broccoli before it goes bad. We buy broccoli, fully intending to enjoy its goodness, then forget about it and it goes bad. It would be nice to know what kind of life the broccoli has so that we can plan accordingly. Or maybe even get some tips on how to preserve its life.

Still Tasty is the answer to our food preservation problems. It has a plethora of information.

"Forgive me El Guapo . . . but could it be that you are angry at something else and are looking to take it out on [your food]?"

Anyway, Still Tasty will hook you up with some pretty important information about broccoli (and a bunch of other stuff). See:

Oh! So that's how you freeze fresh, raw broccoli! Freaking Awesome.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Use Google Preview - All the Cool Kids are doing it.

If you use Firefox you are already a cool kid. If you have the Google Preview extension - you are an even cooler kid. Google Preview is a really simple Firefox add-on that simply provides you with a preview of a webpage when you google any particular topic. I'll show you:

You see the little pictures next to the sites? Awesome! So how do you add the extension (add-on)? Easy:
  1. Go here
  2. Click the "Add to Firefox" button
  3. A little pop-up box (drop down box whatever it does) will show up and prompt you to install the extension
  4. Click Install
  5. Restart the browser and you are in business
Enjoy the Google Preview and I will show you some other cool extension in the future.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Lala - The Dark Horse of Online Music Streaming

This post is about music so why not listen to some while you read? And why not make it John Legend - Awesome. I am constantly exploring online music services. I dig music. I dig music that is free. I dig sites that deliver free music in a unique way. I have previously mentioned sites like Pandora, PureVolume, SadSteve, B-Sides, iTunes, Soundunwound, Soundflavor, and others, which are all good to listen to music and learn about new music. Recently I found the darkhorse of online music services...

Lala is an online music service that allows listeners to choose songs they like, create a queue (a playlist of sorts) and listen to music that they choose and love. In that regard, Lala is not a very unique service. In fact, if that is all that the site does, I wouldn't be posting about it. A better way to describe Lala is as an online music repository. What does this mean? Two things really:
  1. Lala is a place where you can purchase and accumalate music to which you have a right to listen to as if it were your own. Purchase? Yeah, purchase. Songs cost $.10 and you get the right to listen to the purchased track as much as you want, whenever you want. You do not get to download it to your own computer unless you pay the usual, iTunes standard $.99. So what is so special about that? Basically, you buy music online AND you get to store the music online AND download it to your computer. A lot of people buy music from the iTunes store. I would argue that this method allows you to back up your entire music collection for FREE. Further, this method allows you to access your files online, anytime. I think thats pretty fantastic.
  2. Lala is a place where you can store music that you ALREADY OWN and accumulate music that you purchase. Thats right! You can upload your entire music library to Lala for free - have access to it from anywhere in the world with internet access. That is a unique concept that makes Lala worth trying out.
How does it work: When you set up an online account, the site gives you 50 free music credits. These are credits that you can use to go out and "purchase" any song. I use the term purchase loosely in this context because there are two types of purchase of a song on Lala: a strictly online purchase and an online purchase that allows you to download and keep the file. So you can accumulate music in two ways, strictly online (less expensive) or online and on your computer (normal cost of music).

Music Mover: Lala has its own software that searches your computer for music and uploads it to Lala. Basically, the site matches your music with online music and then automatically gives you the right to those songs which you already own. Honestly, this is what makes Lala one of the most amazing onlines services on the web becuase of the possibilities. Think about it:
  • Do you have a large music collection on your home computer but don't want it to take up all the space on your laptop? Or is your laptop a work laptop? Or do you just want to access your music from a public computer or from someone else's computer. Lala makes it so you can access your music library without storing it on your computer at all! Better yet - you can do this from anywhere with access to the internet.
  • Own an iPhone or iPod touch but hate that you can't fit your whole collection on it? Get the Lala app and connect to your music on the interweb. This App is forthcoming but check out the amazingness of the concept.

Music Mover in action - you know, just doin' its thang

My music collection post Music Mover upload - after it did its thang.

More About Music Mover: Music Mover is a small program you download. To use it, you simply specify the source location of your music library and begin the upload process to Lala. Music Mover will go through a rather time consuming process of uploading all your music (unless it is unrecognizable) to Lala. Depending on the size of your music library, this process can take a long time or a short time. I have around 6000 songs and it is taking hours and hours and hours. Right now I have access to around half of my music and it took the program about 3 hours to accomplish. In my opinion, that is a small price to pay for having access to your music anywhere, anytime!

More About the Site: The site's interface is clean, straightforward, and very easy to use. Searching for music is very simple. Once your library is uploaded, your view of your music is similar to what iTunes used to look like when it wasn't so album art-based. The music player streams music with ease and maintains a position on the top of your screen while you browse their site.

That is the Lala homepage for my account

This is what the Queue looks like - You can also make playlists - even on iTunes then upload them.

Lala has a very simple "share" app allowing you to share any song on your own site, facebook, or whatever. Here is another great tune.

Things I think will improve the site: the site will benefit from a better interface for music collections. Right now, its a little old looking and difficult to use when there are a lot of songs in the library. Also, I think a pop-out music player would be awesome. Right now, you can't navigate away from that page (which isn't so bad) and that makes it difficult to see what you are listening to or change a track while looking at a different site.

A BONUS: If you want to check out Lala without going through the uploading process, just leave a comment on this post and I will hook you up with access to my collection. Obviously, I will only give access to people I know and trust...