Plain Cloud Gives You App-Free Access to All Documents in iCloud [Mac]

plain cloud iconWhen you use an iCloud-enabled app on your Mac, it may appear that you can only access that app’s documents from within the app itself. Actually, there is a folder structure on your Mac reflecting the location of your iCloud files, with a folder for each iCloud-enabled app that you use. You can find those folders and files outside of their native apps with a bit of effort, or you can make it easy with a free app called Plain Cloud.

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Easy Access to US, UK Streaming Services From Anywhere

Netflix Canada, Hulu Canada, iPlayer Canada, iPlayer US, Spotify Canada | UnoDNS

I love being from Canada — but due to licensing issues and the imaginary line I live on the wrong side of, I’m blocked from or limited in using streaming media services that my global neighbours rave about. Fortunately for those of us so geographically challenged (or those of you travelling outside the US or UK and missing your favourite music and video streams), there are services out there that try to solve this problem.

The best one I’ve come across so far, in terms of ease of use and quality of delivery, is UnoDNS. READ MORE

Felicia Day Has Seen The (Online) Future Of Television With Geek & Sundry

Felicia Day Has Seen The (Online) Future Of Television With Geek & Sundry | 40Tech

We have come one step closer to Nerdvana. Felicia Day — creator of the incredibly funny and successful web-series about gamers, The Guild — has rolled her success and her understanding of the web and television mediums into a brand new online TV channel just for you and me called Geek & Sundry.

I can’t begin to describe what level of awesome this reaches. Geek & Sundry is, essentially, a niche-focused, online television channel that contains all original, independent programming. FGBG — for geeks, by geeks. But these are geeks with an understanding of what makes a TV series work, not to mention how to extend their brand into as many mediums as possible (comics, games, books, music, merchandise, etc., etc., etc.), and create a cultural movement around their passions and products.

Felicia Day has seen the future of TV — and she is not alone. Some of the greatest cultural icons in geekdom are playing too. Wil Wheaton — the ultimate geek celebrity – has his own show on the network (see below), and guest appearances on The Guild run the gambit from Nathan Fillion to Neil Gaiman. Let’s not forget that Felicia is chummy with the Whedon clan, as well – which never hurts when you are into creating a fan-base that is both loyal and passionate. Geek & Sundry promises to be a regular go-to for geeks of all ages and around the world.

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The Guild will be on Geek & Sundry, of course — and if you haven’t watched it and you like giggles, you should get on that — as will six new shows:

The Flog is Felicia Day’s weekly video blog. In the first episode, she talks about many a thing that interests her — and endeavours to become a blacksmith. Or maybe just steal his hammer — you decide.

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Wil Wheaton has a show called Table Top, wherein celebrities do not play poker — they play geeky table top games of yore (and possibly now). The first episode has some prominent online personalities and a Mythbuster in a battle for world domination. Fantasy world domination, that is: Small World.

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The Swords & Laser podcast will also be bringing its sci-fi/fantasy book-clubbiness to Geek & Sundry, along with Dark Horse Motion Comics, Paul & Storm’s Learning Town, and Written By A Kid, which will feature sci-fi/fantasy/horror stories written by 5-10 year old children brought to life as short films by some cool director-types. Good, quirky fun, that!

Geek & Sundry lives on YouTube, so it’s easy to subscribe to what you like and share it with your friends, family, and the world at large. Doo eeeet!!!

Rock Anthem for Nerds

As a parting gift, I leave you with this awesome rock anthem featuring the cast of The Guild — I’m The One That’s Cool, directed by Jed Whedon. Down with asshats! Up with geeks!

Word.

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First Netflix Original Series, Lilyhammer: Fun and Worth a Look

First Netflix Original Series, Lilyhammer: Fun and Worth a Look | 40Tech

Netflix has been making big moves lately, spreading its goodness to countries around the world, making television networks nervous, and generally growing its subscriber-base despite annoying a large portion of its American users. One of its most intriguing steps forward has been to launch its own original series, Lilyhammer, starring Steven Van Zandt of Sopranos and Bruce Springsteen Fame. The series is quirky, fun, and well-written enough to keep you coming back for all eight episodes — which Netflix smartly released all at once. None of this “wait a week or month” business! That’s a thing of the past! We’re all about marathons, now, baby.

Lilyhammer takes place in Lilehammer, Norway, where mobster Frankie “The Fixer” Tagliano decides to go when he winds up in the witness protection program. Why Norway, you ask? Because Frankie has a romantic side, and fell in love with the place when he happened to catch the ’94 Winter Olympics. “Clean air, gorgeous broads…” — hey, why not, right? The ensuing culture shock, combined with Frankie’s base nature and… er… life experience, make for some interesting plot lines that I found really enjoyable. Those of you expecting a return to the Sopranos are expecting too much. This is a mobster show, and it has its dark moments, for certain, but the vibe lends itself more to black comedy than hardcore HBO. That said, there’s not a lot of censorship going on, and its definitely not something you want to watch with the little ones.

There are a lot of subtitles in Lilyhammer, but they flow in and out without distracting or annoying the viewer. There is also has some great music, which is unsurprising considering Steven Van Zandt is also the Music Director (and executive producer and sometime writer). Springsteen fans may recognize him as a member of the E-Street Band, and he uses his talent to great effect on the Netflix series.

Lilyhammer Trailer

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Netflix also has a a remake of House of Cards on the docket, as well as the much anticipated Arrested Development Season Four (which my wife is simply giddy about). Personally, I find their move into original — and quality — productions to be a fantastic one. It’s another one of those ever-increasing moments in which new technology sets old media companies on its ear and potentially signifies something new and better. Well, unless the old media companies get it in their heads to destroy them, of course. That’s never pretty.

What do you think of Netflix’s move into original programming?

What’s The Deal With Pinterest? Even My Wife Likes (Obsesses Over) It!

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So, Pinterest… It’s received a lot of coverage in the past year — it’s even received in the realm of 37 million in funding — but I had trouble seeing the appeal. I wasn’t sure the world needed another social bookmarking site. I wasn’t sure the world needed another way to share, well… anything. I admit, most of this feeling had nothing to do with Pinterest, per se, it was really more about social media overwhelm. I’ve seen a ton of social sharing services go up and down over the past few years, and, as much as I love Google+, I think it maxed me out. Besides, you can do things similar to Pinterest using tools like Evernote and Springpad, right? Right?

Then my lovely wife — a person who has no real interest in tech, barely any interest in social networking, and who only got a smartphone because it was free and I “was bugging her about it” — was somehow inspired to try it out. No prompting from me, or anyone else — she came to it entirely on her own. Now… she’s obsessed. Seriously. For example, I see her awake at 3AM and think that she’s feeding the baby, or something — but no. What’s she’s doing is maniacally pinning and re-pinning things to her boards, and often giggling like mad as she does it. There is apparently a lot of funny on Pinterest…

Title Image clipped from Pinterest Comic

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Recently, she’s taken to sharing some of that funny with me, and I’ve discovered that a good portion of it is Star Wars based. This confused the hell out of me (though I still shared some of it with you here and here). My wife has no interest in Star Wars. She’s one of the few people who has never even seen the films, and (horrifyingly) will actually say things like “What’s a hansolo?” I still love her, though. She’s that awesome. She’s beginning to make me see value in Pinterest, too. Anything that could inspire my wife to share seriously awesome Star Wars stuffs with me has got to be pretty powerful.

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I checked it out a little more thoroughly. I wanted to know what the deal was. Was there a secret sauce? How did it hook her? What I discovered was four things:

Pinterest is incredibly simple.

Pinterest is to sharing fun and useful images what Evernote is to easy, accessible note-taking. It focuses on that one thing, and makes sure that it is the absolute best at it. It doesn’t overwhelm the user.

 

Pinterest is visual — and good at it.

Everyone loves a good picture and everyone loves a good photo gallery. Funny and beautiful pics have been making the rounds since the internet was able to support them. People like to look at the images they like again and again.  And share them, re-share them, and re-share them again, as well. Pinterest makes this easy, but it also makes it beautiful. The designers have done a fantastic job of taking something that could be overwhelming, both in general and visually, and making it joy to experience.

My Wife's Pinterest Categories

 

Like crafty things? This is your home.

There are a ton of cool things to discover on Pinterest, but it really seems to have taken off with the crafty and DIY crowd. This is what ultimately hooked my wife. She loves to see things that people have made, especially if it involves baking or making something cool out of something else. She knows I like that sort of thing as well, and has not only shared some cool Star Wars crafts with me, but also a lot of DIY upcycling and repurposing projects. It’s how I came across Homestyler, actually, which was the topic of my previous post. There is some very cool stuff on Pinterest, and more is pinned every day.

Some of My Wife’s Pins

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It connects to the real world. It useful.

Pinterest is more than just a place to store and share images. The images link back to the site you found them on — and if we follow the crafty and DIY point from above, you end up with well-organized, very visual bookmarks back to sites that contain information that you might actually use in your real-world life. This makes Pinterest more than just a random bookmarking service, and more than just an image-sharing service. It makes it a tool that is useful to you both on and offline. It helps you to find, share, save and use things that are of interest to you.

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We’ve all heard that “<insert service> makes it easy to collect and organize what interests you on the web.” Pinterest actually does it. My wife is living proof. Anything tech-based that can make her go gaga is definitely worth taking a look at. It’s still in beta, but getting an account happens pretty quickly. I recommend giving Pinterest a try. You’ll probably love it.

What do you think of Pinterest? How do you use it?

Crazy Things That Happen Every 60 Seconds On The Web

Crazy Things That Happen Every 60 Seconds On The Web | 40Tech

Did you know that, every 60 seconds on the internet, there are over 695,000 Facebook updates, 168 million emails (which, frankly, shakes the whole “email is dead” theory), 219,000 PayPal payments, over 12,000 new Craigslist ads, and about 2 million people watching porn? That’s every single minute, according to the pretty infographics put together by Go-Globe.com. There are also 925 iPhone 4S sales, 11 million IM conversations, 232 computers that got infected with malware, and some 38 tons of e-waste generated.

These are only a few of the highlights of the 40 items listed across the two infographics. Many of the entries are eye-widening, especially when the timeframe is considered, but — maybe because I practically live online — not surprising when considered in the grand scheme of things. In fact, I thought some were a little low. Only 694,445 search queries per minute on Google? Only 416 website hacking attempts? Only 13,000 (plus) iPhone apps downloaded? I wouldn’t have been surprised if there were more.

Check out the infographics below — what stats stand out to you?

Incredible Things That Happen On The Internet Every 60 Seconds Part 1 | Go-Globe.comIncredible Things That Happen On The Internet Every 60 Seconds Part 1 | Go-Globe.com

Incredible Things That Happen Every 60 Seconds On The Internet | Business Insider

The Big iCloud Disappointment for Mac Users

ICloud does not sync Pages documents on the Mac

Consider this post to be a gripe. The gripe is about iCloud, the Apple voodoo that will keep all of your documents, photographs, and music magically in sync between your iOS and OS X devices. Just turn it on and it works, without any further effort on your part. Edit a document on your iPad, and there it is waiting for you when you pick up your Mac. Except that it doesn’t quite work that way if you’re a Mac user.

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Get 50GB in Your Box.net Account Just for Logging In to the Mobile App

Get 50GB in Your Box.net Account Just for Logging in to the Mobile App | 40Tech

We give cloud storage a lot of love here. And why not? Having access to, and the ability to share, your files wherever you are is peachy keen — and convenient too. It’s a competitive world, though, and the main contenders — Dropbox, Box.net, and SugarSync — have been battling it out via pricing, free storage offerings, and promotions to ensure they get a solid chunk of the target market that is you. The latest play has come from Box.net — and it’s a doozie: 50GB of free storage just for logging in to their iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch app.

Before you ask, there’s no catch. You don’t have to sell the idea to your friends, you don’t have to buy anything after so many days of use, and you don’t have to give them your first-born child. All you have to do is log in and the 50GB is yours! The promotion started October 12th, 2011 and runs until December 2nd, 2011 (50 days). Just make sure you have the most recent version of the iOS app, and away you go.

For those who take advantage of the promotion, Box.net has also increased the maximum file-size upload to 100MB — it’s usually 25MB for free accounts. That doesn’t beat out Dropbox, for me, but there’s a lot you can do with 50GB of 100MB files, and Box has cool collaboration features that most of the competitor services don’t match. The only other thing to watch for is the 10GB bandwidth limit.

If you’re already paying for an account with Box.net, don’t fret. You can get the 50GB, too, if you downgrade to a free account. You lose out on the more advanced security and collaboration features and the like, as well as your 1GB+ upload limit, but you will still be able to share your files quickly and easily.

If you’re on Android, you might be feeling a bit of “What the hell! Can I haz…???” For Android users in general, at the moment it appears you’re out of luck. However, if you have a Sony Tablet S — which uses Android — there’s a similar promotion running. BlackBerry Playbook and HP TouchPad users are on as well. But don’t get too upset, Android Army (or those with other devices), according to the Box.net blog, they have some more promotions up their sleeves just for you guys.

What will you do with your 50GB of free storage?

Springpad Mobile Clipper is the (Near) Seamless Content Clipper You’ve Been Waiting For

Springpad Mobile Clipper is the (Near) Seamless Content Clipper You've Been Waiting For | 40Tech

It’s been a long time coming. Since I got myself an iPhone, and especially since the iPad, I’ve joined the ranks of the millions of users out there who have been waiting for a simple and easy way to clip web content on my mobile device. I’ve used Read It Later and Instapaper, I’ve copied things into email and sent them to Evernote, Springpad, Producteev, and myself. I’ve even used the desktop clipper bookmarklets with reasonable — if time-consuming — success. That’s all in the past now: Springpad has hooked up the mobile world with a new and improved web clipper that is near to seamless.

The new Springpad mobile clipper doesn’t have the fancy bells and whistles of the Chrome extension, of course, but the updated bookmarklet is straightforward and easy on the eyes, and it works just as well in Mobile Safari and Atomic Web Browser as it does on desktop browsers. I used to use the old Springpad bookmarklet, and sometimes the Evernote and Memonic ones as well, but more often than not, they would load or function slowly — if they loaded at all. I’m presented with or stumble across a plethora of juicy things I want to follow upon in any given day – and most of it happens while I’m not at my computer. Now I can grab a bookmark for later, organize it, and move on within seconds. No fuss, no later processing, and no clutter in my email inbox.

 

Clipping Content is Great on iPad, a Bit Neutered on iPhone

Clipping bits of content from an article or page is a bit of a problem, though, at least on the iPhone. When using the iPad, I had no issues at all. Select a bit of the text or an entire article, fire the clipper, and it appears in the bookmark’s description area, complete with formatting — unless you want to edit it, of course. That strips the HTML. On the iPhone, however, no amount of selecting or even copying text to the clipboard will get the content you want to clip to show up. All you will get is the description write-up. I’m not sure why this is, and it definitely limits the iPhone to a quick link-grabber as opposed to a full-fledged clipper.

If you really want to clip that bit of content or entire article for later reading while on the iPhone, you can copy the text and edit it into the description field by doing a select-all-and-paste maneuver. Once again, though, you will lose all formatting, including any links and images.

The iPhone issue aside, the clipper rocks for getting those bookmarks into Springpad and organized in your notebooks and tag structure. Notebooks are an easy drop down, and tags auto-complete as you type. You can also change the type of save you want it to be. Bookmark is the default, but you can change it to Business, Restaurant, Recipe, Product, and all the rest with just a few touches. Almost all the rest, that is — Note is missing, and so is Task. Not a huge loss, I suppose, unless you want to save a bookmark to a task or a note, which could happen. If you really need that functionality, you can always go into Springpad and add a reminder or a note directly to the bookmark.

Springpad Mobile Web Clipper for Mobile Safari in Atomic Web Browser | 40Tech   Springpad Mobile Safari Web Clipper | 40Tech

Selecting Post Type in Mobile Safari Web Clipper, Springpad | 40Tech   Tagging Bookmarks in Springpad Web Clipper for iPad, iPhone | 40Tech

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Installation is Easy

Springpad has made it easy to install the bookmarklet to Mobile Safari. They provide step-by-step instructions in the Settings area of the most recent versions of their iPhone and iPad apps. If you use another browser, just follow the instructions and let Springpad load up Mobile Safari, as it will automatically add the JavaScript to your clipboard. After that, open up your browser of choice and add a bookmark, pasting the JavaScript into the URL field. There is no guarantee your browser will work, but I can tell you that Atomic Web Browser does just fine.

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Springpad Has a Few More Tricks Up Their Sleeves

The new mobile clipper isn’t the only thing Springpad’s been up to lately. They also released a Quick Add bookmark for your home screen that makes it faster for you to load up the Springpad app to add a note, photo, or whatever else you choose. This is nice for those of us without widgets like those Android folks.

I also have received word from Springpad CEO, Jeff Janer, that they have some big moves in the works that will differentiate them even more from Evernote. Having a mobile clipper that consistently works and works well is a good start though. They just need to fix that pesky iPhone issue…

What are your thoughts on the Springpad Mobile Clipper?