True Shocking Smartphone Confessions
By Alex KIDMAN
I have a shameful confession to make regarding smartphones.
A really, really shameful one. You see, the fate of most smartphones is sealed, and I'm not just talking batteries here. They end up down the toilet, or dropped under taxis, or left on train station seats, or simply just dropped on the ground. They shatter, they die, and they're replaced, although that's often when people realise that the phone they've got on a $59 or more "contract" isn't exactly "free" when they want a second one.
Still, that's the fate of most mobile phones. Phones don't kill phones -- people do.
Except that this seems to be something I'm notably deficient in.
Over my entire history of owning mobile phones, I've lost precisely one -- and that was during a hyper-stressful time when my daughter was born and spent six weeks in hospital, so I wasn't exactly thinking straight at the time. That aside, I've dropped one phone (it survived) and tested a few hardcore cases meant to protect phones -- and they worked. I've used mobile muster and similar schemes to get rid of the really old models, repurposed a few into devices for my kids… and even they haven't killed the iPhone 3G I gave them as an effective "iPod", so possibly this is a genetic defect.
Meanwhile, I know scores of people (not just tech journalists) who have lost, smashed, scratched, drowned, shorted out, had stolen and otherwise made their way through scores of phones.
What's wrong with me?
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So you want to write a movie script?
By David HAGUE
One thing that I haven’t touched on very much in the process of filmmaking production is the art and practice of putting together a script.
I personally use a product called Final Draft to create scripts as this is especially designed for the purpose of scriptwriting (www.finaldraft.com) and this also the world’s highest selling scripting product, but at USD$249 its not cheap.
Other options available include Celtix (http://studio.celtix.com, Fivesporockets, BPC Screenplay, Movie Magic and Trelby. Some of these are free or at best with nominal fees associated, but wait a minute, if you have Microsoft Word, why not spend a little time to learn about the Outlining and Styles functionality and “roll your own”?
If you need to figure out how scriptwriting software works, a good way is to download the demo version of Final Draft and get a feel for it. As a bonus they’ll also send you a bunch of case studies on scriptwriting.
Everyone seems to have a story to tell, so why not give it a go?
And then of course shoot it!
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WD TV Live early adopters miss out on ABC's iView
By Adam TURNER
The ABC's Catch Up TV service is only coming to current WD TV Live models.
Western Digital's move to add the ABC's iView to the WD TV Live media player was an exciting step for Australian online video fans. This tiny set-top box was already one of Australia's most impressive Swiss Army Knife media players, alongside D-Link's more expensive Boxee Box.
For many WD TV Live owners iView would be the icing on the cake, letting them enjoy the ABC's online catch up service on their TV without the need to shell out for a new television, Blu-ray player or other lounge room gadget. Unfortunately earlier adopters have been left in the lurch.
The original version of the WD TV Live, the one with built-in Ethernet but not built-in wi-fi, won't get a firmware update to add iView. Nor will the old WD TV HD. According to Western Digital's local PR team, only these two current wi-fi-enabled models will get a taste of iView goodness;
WD TV Live (model: WDBGXT0000NBK-AESN)
WD TV Live Hub (model: WDBACA0010BBK-AESN)
In Western Digital's defence, the models which missed out are a few years old. But the company still could have made the situation clearer when announcing that iView was coming. According to reports from readers, some retailers don't realise that the new firmware update offers iView. Even Western Digital's own tech support line is telling some callers that the WD TV Live does not support online video.
There's clearly been a communications breakdown, but the official word from Western Digital's Australian PR team is that iView is available on those two players now if you do a firmware update.
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Keeping in contact
By Stephen WITHERS
A Samsung Galaxy S III has come into my life, so I wanted to sync contact data between it and my Mac. That task wasn't as easy as I'd hoped, but I got there in the end.
Mac OS X supports contact synchronisation with Google accounts, so that was a good start. The problem is that most of my contact information was stored in Outlook 2011, not Address Book. Somewhere along the line (I think it was the arrival of Leopard) the software I'd been using to sync selected Entourage contacts with my old phone had stopped working, so I had turned off Sync Services and the two lists gradually got out of whack. Yes, it was my fault - though I probably wouldn't have got into that situation if that developer hadn't reneged on a Leopard-compatible update.
Anyway, like Entourage, Outlook does support Sync Services, but simply turning it on didn't unify the two sets of data. If I created a new contact in one, it would show up in the other, but existing contacts in Outlook didn't find their way into Address Book. Resetting Sync Services didn't help.
What follows isn't a 'how to', it's just me relating a not very smooth process. In fact, there was so much trial and error involved, I can't even promise that the tale is 100% accurate.
My early attempts to sort out the situation kept resulting in duplicate contacts, but I fixed that by turning off iCloud contacts sync. A script written for me by AppleScript master Shane Stanley (using his ASObjC Runner to keep the code simple) identified contacts that existed in Outlook but not Address Book (or, with a slight change, vice versa), and that helped me manually reconcile the two lists.
Once I had a single list (in Address Book, as it happened), I exported all my contacts from Outlook so I had a backup, and then deleted them. Turing on Sync Services in Outlook didn't repopulate its contacts list, so I manually imported the data from Address Book. That meant the two lists were the same, and I then found that when I added or edited an entry in one program, the change propagated to the other.
Something I did notice was that the delay was quite variable - just because sync doesn't occur immediately, that doesn't mean it isn't working at all!
I then enabled contact syncing with Google in Address Book's preferences, and discovered that the Sync menu extra had gained a Sync Now command which, when selected, seemed to trigger the synchronisation of all three contacts lists (Address Book, Outlook and Google Apps).
Multiple sync operations were necessary before all three lists really were in sync. Part of the problem seemed to be that notes fields are stored slightly differently by Address Book and Outlook: Address Book allows multiple 'paragraphs' but Outlook concatenates them, and then Sync Services decides they are different. And where I'd stored a photo for a contact, it seemed necessary to accept the Google version of the image as the truth or a sync conflict kept occurring.
Eventually I got there: a common contact list across Outlook, Address Book, Google Apps and Android, and any changes on one flowed to the others.
So it was time to extend that to Outlook on Windows. I downloaded and installed Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook (NB: requires a paid edition of Google Apps), and yes, it delivered contact synchronisation. But there was a downside: it creates a new Outlook profile, and also makes a MAPI rather than IMAP connection between Outlook and Gmail. For various reasons, I had that copy of Outlook set to only download email headers until messages are opened, and that doesn't seem to be an option with MAPI so Google Apps Sync downloaded around a gigabyte of emails into Outlook. If you know how to get just the headers, please tell me in a comment.
There's a looming problem.
Sync Services is a deprecated feature of (Mac) OS X. When it goes away, we'll probably lose the ability to sync Outlook and Address Book, as iCloud synchronisation is (as I understand it) only available to software sold through the Mac App Store and there's no sign of Microsoft taking that route.
Given the apparent falling out between Apple and Google, there must be a chance that Google sync will disappear from a future version of Address Book. The good news is that Mountain Lion reportedly supports simultaneous contacts syncing with Google and iCloud, so that scenario is at least a year away.
There's no indication that Google or Microsoft will provide direct support for contact sync between Outlook for Mac and Gmail/Google Apps, so where does that leave us?
The answer seems to be either to accept that it is an an increasingly balkanised world (OS X and iOS, or Windows 7/8 and Windows Phone, or Google Apps and Android), or to rely on third-party developers to provide connectivity. But my experience suggests such reliance could be misplaced.
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Carry On Down The Road
By Alex KIDMAN
When I was but a wee nipper, we used to make the trek over the plains from New South Wales to South Australia on quite a regular basis -- and it was boring. Dead boring, with hour after hour of driving, hour after hour of relentless bush heat and only the sounds of complaining to break up the tedium. When, as a kid, I started counting the number of roadside markers and re-setting my count after every thousand, I realised I was truly desperate.
As an adult -- and having this week just done the same trek, something I do with my own kids on a fairly regular basis, I've come to a startling realisation.
It's still pretty darned boring, because, outside of developing warp drive, or speeding -- which isn't recommended, because if you did blow a tyre out there in the middle of nowhere, help is a solid distance away, and the flocks of birds that live out there only do so in order to feast on your tasty pink innards -- there's no way to make an eighteen hour drive any shorter.
That's if you're driving, though. From the back seat view, things are much better than they used to be.
Back when I had much shorter stature and much longer hair, the best we could muster was a portable tape deck that chewed through both tapes and D-cell batteries at a fair rate, and, a little later, an Octopus Game & Watch to keep us happy. I could read (and I did), but books only last so long, and one of my siblings was (and I think still is) prone to terrible carsickness if they read at all. Car trips were therefore long and largely tedious, and I suspect that's what informs my attitudes to long road trips to this day. I'm all about being at point A or point B -- the business of getting between the two really doesn't engage me.
I don't drive a fancy car -- back when my current sedan was brand spanking new, most PCs still ran Windows 3.11 if they were lucky -- but my kids still benefit from all sorts of technology in the car to keep them entertained, and packing it all is part of the routine these days. A handful of iPods, iPads, an in-car DVD player, along with an assortment of books, pencils, and a willingness to play twenty questions, because staring at just a screen will send you a little loopy (and may encourage carsickness). Oh, and at least one Nintendo DS with the Game & Watch Classics cartridge, just so that Octopus still gets played from time to time.
It means the kids are happier with what is still a long and boring drive, and so am I -- it's still long, and it's still boring, but that beats boring along with a hefty dose of "are we there yet" and "I'm bored" from the back seat, which would make it both boring and extremely annoying. Quite how my parents managed this feat on a regular basis without going insane eludes me.
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