CamTwist

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Yet another amazing piece of software in which I need to post early from. But trust me, I have a great reason. I found an amazing piece of software called CamTwist.
I tried CamTwist a long long time ago. I would try, and try, and I’d never quite understand it. I kept on trying and I was like, okay, there are a bunch of options here, but what the heck do they do? Nothing is happening! But I recently finally figured it out.
No, it doesn’t record or broadcast. it is like a virtual memory camera, that the computer will recognize as a real camera or webcam. The advantage here is that you can have the webcam do almost anything. It can be a view of the desktop, a movie, a slideshow, or even a set of flickr photos. Or at least that’s how it is with CamTwist. It is probably most useful for it’s desktop feature. It also has many cool effects that I can use, so that I can make it look like it’s matrix, on fire, or just plain weird. Now here’s the catch: You have to have your own recording tool that can recognize available webcams. Like the YouTube quick-capture. You can select a microphone and a webcam. Under the webcam if you have CamTwist running, will be a camera called CamTwist. That video camera will be whichever you select in the CamTwist application- your desktop, the actual webcam, a flickr set, a movie, or even a slideshow Hit the record button and you are recording whatever you want. and using CamTwist studio, you can get amazing transitions between different sources and effects (watch the video a the top of the post). The studio part of the application makes no sense at first, but it’s easy to get the hang of once you know it. And let me say that I found the application yesterday, and I’m already posting about it today. That’s FAR above my standard. This application does more than that, by doing nothing more. As you know Skype does video chats. You can select CamTwist as your webcam, then you can show your friend your desktop over Skype, add cool effects, and even show video and pictures to your friend without doing a file transfer and risking a virus. Or if you still want them to be able to see you in the webcam, there is still an advantage: effects. I know that a friend of mine that used a Logitech QuickCam with effects. In fact, I did too, and we’d both have fun with those effects. Then I got my Mac and he was bragging that I didn’t have any camera effects and that he could change it to look so cool. Not anymore! I also have FAR many more effects that all work, and I can show my desktop, play a movie, play a slideshow, even s flickr set. HA. I can even make me or my desktop look like matrix. I can show a rotating apple on my or my desktop wherever I want. I can put a halo on me or my desktop, I can even show what iTunes song is playing, and even a little icon and text that shows the weather conditions for my zip code. Even better, I can do all of them (and more) at the same time! It even also works like Skype on ustream.tv, so I can have me with special effects on ustream.tv, or my desktop the same. But you know what that means blog readers? You can watch me make my posts. All it takes is a little bit of popular twitter freeware, then just follow me on twitter, and I will post when I’m broadcasting my desktop of me writing a blog post. In fact, I did the same for this post. As I wrote this post, it was available to everyone else who had twitter and got my update with a link to the live broadcast page. Those lucky people got to see me type this blog post. And next time, you could be one of the lucky people to! you don’t need a twitter account to view my feed, but to know when I’m broadcasting you need to have twitter and follow me. Does this easy to use CamTwist sound interesting to you?

Carbon Copy Cloner

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When was the last time you backed up your hard drive? If you haven’t, start soon. Yank that hard drive from that old computer, stick it in a USb enclosure, and copy your important (or even not important) files over, you don’t need software to do that. Backing up is nice, and is what most people do. But what about your settings, wallpaper, wireless networks, bluetooth devices, and modded boot logos you put on there? When you back up, you only have files and maybe even applications. But to get the rest, you have to do something called cloning. It means exactly what it sounds like: clone your hard drive to a disk image or other hard drive. This means that you can boot off of the clone (only if it is a hard drive) and everything will be there: modded boot up, wireless networks, bluetooth devices, email, apps, wallpaper images, even monitor profiles. and if you have the right tool, cloning is free and as easy as 123. But that’s only if you have an awesome app called Carbon Copy Cloner. This is a REALLY easy to use freeware app for Mac, and is usually referred to as CCC. It really is as easy as 123.
1- Select source hard drive or file(s).
2- Select target hard drive or disk image
3- Click clone!
It will take a little while, and there is even a scheduler. Sadly, if you select the delete files on the target that aren’t on the source selection, you cannot save that as a scheduled task. But I just put a sticky note on my monitor and clone right before I go to sleep, and let it run overnight. My MacBook has a SATA drive, which is really easy because they make USB enclosures for those, and I have a 200GB SATA sitting around. So I have found that it is best like this for me:
1- Source as whole hard drive
2-Target as my 200 GB SATA in a USB enclosure, formatted as the default format for your Mac’s hard drive (for the Leopard computers like mine, Mac OS Extended (Journaled), which I would never change).
If you are running a desktop computer, get a other usb hard drive, or if you have one of the same kinds of hard drives you have in your computer sitting around, find a dock or usb enclosure for it to use as the target.
Now here is why you want the exact same kind of hard drive to clone to: If your computer crashes and you need your data immediately like you are in the middle of a conference call, just plug in and power on your hard drive through USB, and hold the option key while pressing the on button. You will see the hard drive of your computer, then with a USB icon (depending on how you connect your clone, it may vary) there is your backup. Click it/move with the arrow keys to select it and hit enter. Before you know it, you are booting your hard drive as it was when you hit the clone button in CCC at the speed of USB 2.0 which is 480 MBPS. Not the fastest ever, but loads almost as fast as the hard drive plugged in. now you are forgetting that you are running of of a clone. That is if you need your data right then. But if you have a little time, I recommend getting everything back to normal. In your computer, remove the crashed/ruined/wiped/whatever happened as long as it wasn’t destroyed physically drive and put in the backup. Then, put the crashed/ruined/wiped/whatever happened as long as it wasn’t destroyed physically drive in the USB enclosure. Boot from the backup that you put in the computer and open CCC. Then say clone to your original hard drive which is now classified as USB (or however you connected it). Then once it is finished cloning, switch the hard drive again. It will be like nothing ever happened. Now that is something that a backup can’t do. you can’t boot off of a backup, you can only boot off of a clone.
And to tell you the truth, I hated backing up. Backup applications were slow, time machine is a piece of crap (along with iCal: FIX IT APPLE!), and copying manually took to long. Finally, I get a nice interface, cloning, super quick cloning, and best of all, FREE!

Review: Wireless Keyboard

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“The best wireless keyboard out there”–Me.
Yup, I love this thing. There is an amazing responsiveness to the keys, and it is TINY, but the keys themselves are the same size as huger keyboards. The new wireless keyboard is a huge leap from older apple keyboards. Only one thing, that isn’t actually a bad thing: I hope I don’t crack it in half!
The first setup is REALLY easy, and actually kind of enjoyable. First, you take it out of the box and of course, put it on your desk to see how it looks. Wow. now that’s an improvement of desk space. But it wireless, so it’s a little different from just plugging it in. So of course, you take out the rest of the stuff. Hey, look! there are 3 Energizer batteries that are AA. So the first step is to take them out of the packaging and untwist the left knob of the keyboard
and put in the three AA batteries, like shown in the picture below.
Then press the on button on the right of the keyboard, it should look like the picture below

Then you will see a small green light appear.

 

Now it is time to hook it up with your computer. Easy. Now what you have to do is go up to the bluetooth icon in the top right and click Setup Bluetooth Device like shown in the picture below.
Select Keyboard in the window that appears.
It will look for keyboards that are there. I have already paired and named mine before, and I unpaired it to do this demo. So this is why it has the actual name of my keyboard there. Select the keyboard and click continue.
It will connect and tell you a passkey to put in followed by the return key to confirm that you are actually pairing it with your own keyboard, not someone Else’s somewhere else.
Tada!
Now in the Keyboard and Mouse preferences you can name your keyboard and change other settings for your new keyboard!
So there’s the setup. Using the keyboard is great. It has the perfect angle for typing. And it is SO much thinner than the older keyboards, as demonstrated in the pictures below.
And look at the size of it. The exact same size as my MacBook, and way way way smaller than those older keyboards!!!
And with the Wireless Mighty Mouse it makes the ultimate wireless workstation, way better compared to the old ones, as compared below.
BEFORE:
AFTER:

And I’m sure that it looks great on your desk. Interested? Go get one for yourself.
Get a Mighty Mouse Here
EDIT: The above link is no longer active, because the new mouse is the Magic Mouse. The review on that Can be found HERE.

Double Twammy!

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Yes, double whammy, but of twitter. twammy. Twitter is definitely one of the best services I have ever used. Of course it is free, and it is web-based. it is very simple: a free micro-blogging service. If you aren’t using it, then you are definitely missing out on a lot. On twitter’s homepage, this is how it describes twitter:

“Twitter is a service for friends, family, and co–workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?”
well if you are just to lazy to try and watch the video, I’ll explain:
Many people love to communicate with friends and family. But what are they doing? what are you doing? is one of the first questions asked by friends, family, and people you enjoy communicating with. Many times you can see what they are doing by blog posts, emails, and phone. But what about the things that people do and you never know about? you wouldn’t send, I’m mowing the lawn, and it is very tall, to someone in an email. they don’t really need to know that. But what about the people that are interested in you and do want to know that? this is where twitter comes in. You post what you are doing, and people that are “following” you see your update on their twitter homepage. You can post anything there though: just made a new blog post? post it on twitter so your followers know about it and go and visit. About to install hackintosh on your PC, and you are doing a live feed of it on ustream? post a tinyurl of the stream in a tweet to get some more viewers. Mowing the lawn? post it on twitter for your followers to know. You can follow other people you are interested in too. In fact, many celebrities have twitter such as Obama, Britanney Spears, and many others. Their “tweets” will show up on your homepage as well. Another sweet feature is replies. to reply to a tweet, just put @theirtwitterusername and it will show up as a reply. Another cool feature is that large companies setup what I like to call TweetBots because they look at every tweet looking for a keyord, usually their company name. Once when in Hawaii I tweeted, going out to dinner in lahaina somewhere, and don’t exactly know where, and guess what happened. I got a reply from Lahaina.com that said @maxswisher next time you need lahaina dinner suggestions, just come to Lahaina.com, and it appeared for me because it had the @maxswisher (my username) in front of it. All in your internet browser. But for you people that don’t like web-based much, there is something for you…
TWEETDECK!!!!
TweetDeck is by far the best twitter client for Macs and PC’s ever. On top of just tweeting, it now does many other cool things after an update: Now you can also post your facebook status! That part of it is a little bit on the buggy side given it is a brand new feature, but nonetheless it is AMAZING. You have a view in different columns, and each one can have something different. You can have one for replies to you in one, updates of your friend’s in another, and even make groups of different users for another. TweetDeck also has things like TweetShrink, which searches the words in an entered tweet and shortens them, like it will replace for with 4, etc.
It also has a URL shortener in it, so you can shorten URLs using bit.ly or tinyurl.com right in the client! You can also use TwitPic right there, and let me tell you: Wanting to find tweets with a specific word in them? easy! just click on the little magnifying glass on the top right, type in your term, and Voila! another column opens with all of the tweets for your search term. You can even have a column for Facebook friends’ status updates. Isn’t this thing amazing? Get it people!
TweetDeck Homepage*
Twitter Homepage

*Requires Adobe Air Application installer and Adobe Flash Player for download