SXSW is just around the corner…

and we’re going to be there. Also, since Team Newman doesn’t know when to stop messing with stuff, we’ve set up a list of DC area folks to follow on Twitter who’ll be there in Austin too. If we missed you and you want to be on the DCxSW list, give us a shout via Twitter or just comment right here on this post. We haven’t left anyone off intentionally but Twitter didn’t like us doing all those random searches, so our progress was slowed quite a bit.

Hope to see you there!

WordPress Time Saver: Post Snippets

WordPress Goodies

Do you find yourself typing in the same small bits of code or a simple signature for many of your WordPress blog posts? I’ve been using this great plugin for over 5 years now and thought I’d share it now that it’s been updated to work seamlessly with WordPress 3.1. It’s called Post Snippets and it works like this: You create a new snippet by clicking “Add New Snippet” and creating a title for your snippet and pasting the content of that snippet in the appropriate text box.

Post Snippet WordPress plugin

Then, once you enter the Edit or Add Post (or Page) page, you have a new yellow post-it note looking button in your WYSIWYG toolbar.

Post Snippet Button

Even if you don’t use WYSIWYG, you have the option to use Post Snippets since there’s a button for it in the HTML screen toolbar as well.

HTML Post Snippet Button

What is a WordPress Shortcode or Post Snippet?

So what does this plugin really do? In essence, its creates easily customizable shortcodes that you can then use throughout your site. You just paste in the text created when you click the Post Snippet button and choose the appropriate snippet. In the above example, anywhere within WordPress that I paste [Without Baluster Calculator] will automatically be replaced with the code I’ve saved under that snippet.

Post Snippets is free and you can download it through your WordPress admin by searching for the term “Post Snippets” or download it straight from the WordPress site.

Simulated Flipping Book Animation without Flash

Moleskine Notebook with jQuery Booklet

Moleskine Notebook with jQuery Booklet

I was looking for a nice, realistic javascript only (no flash so it’s visible on mobile) script that would allow us to show the client’s old photos in a realistic book with flipping pages. This is by far the best I’ve seen: Moleskine Notebook with jQuery Booklet. There’s a beautiful demo to go along with the thorough tutorial as well.

That’s right. No Flash, just jQuery so it works just fine on iPhone and iPad.

Does the Android Herd Really Hurt iPhone?

Android Target Practice

Android Target PracticeAccording to Engadget, AT&T will launch 12 new Android devices this year. Assuming half of those are phones and there are about 30 other Android phones out there, doesn’t that make it easier for Apple to market the iPhone? Is there really someone out there waiting for that ultra-specific Android feature set that no one else has created yet? Lastly, is there an original pixel, menu, screen, or design for any Android product yet or are they all blatant ripoffs of something Apple did?

My opinion: The iPhone, being a classic, original Apple product, wins by default with anyone who has an ounce of creativity. Buying an Android is like buying fake Moleskines. What’s the point?

American Airlines Flights Removed from Expedia and Orbitz

Mind the gap

Here’s The New York Times‘ take on it: link

This is a clear case of one entity not understanding their value to the other. Users go to Expedia and Orbitz (among others) to find the lowest rates on airfare to where they want to travel. These users have no loyalty to an airline, they just want to get where they’re going as inexpensively as possible.

American Airlines wants to change the way their fares are offered so they can gouge charge customers additional fees for things like additional legroom and baggage and probably oxygen in the near future. With the way fares are sold on Expedia and Orbitz – in a customer-centric way – AA can’t charge these additional fees and feels they are missing out on additional revenue.

I think American Airlines can relax on this issue. If given a choice of comparable fares, I would only choose AA if they were no other carrier flying to that destination. The same can be said of Delta. These originators and perpetuators of the government bailout should have been extinct long ago if judged solely on their capacity to understand the term “customer service” and are in fact doing all of us non-business, non-corporate expense account fliers a great favor by removing their listings from the discount travel sites. We can now book our fares more quickly without sorting through these ancient, inferior carriers.

My only hope is that Expedia and Orbitz don’t bring Delta and American Airlines back to their sites. Leaving them off the discounted travel sites can only speed their demise and increase the profits of airlines that get it, like Southwest (which also doesn’t list on discount travel sites but has great customer service and excellent fares), Virgin, and JetBlue.

Blekko – The Solution to Google’s Loss of Functionality

blekko logo

If you use Safari on Mac OSX Snow Leopard, this will help you add Blekko to your list of default search engines. What is Blekko? A new search engine that recently got some attention from TechCrunch and others for the quality of it’s search queries and its lack of superfluous garbage (typical Google) results. I’ll let you check out the reviews on your own before you make the decision but here’s the gist of it if you choose to add Blekko to Safari:

Step 1: Install Glims. Glims is an add-on for Safari that allows you to do all sorts of custom and Firefox-like things to your browser window while still using Safari. I use the favicon thing so I can quickly see what sites are loaded in each open tab.

Step 2: Once Glims is installed, in Safari go the Preferences screen and click on the far right tab named “Glims”.

Step 3: Click on the menu item named “Search Engines List” in the right column. This will change your right column to show a list of current search engines available to you in the search box in Safari. See below.

Glims - Blekko Search added to Safari

Step 4: Click the “Add” button to add a search engine. This will load another pop-up window and here’s the content you’ll add: For name, add Blekko; For Type, leave as Search Engine; For Query URL, use http://blekko.com/ws/ and the default short-code #query# that’s already present in the text box. Click “Add” and it will now be included in your list in the top right corner of your browser window (with its nifty favicon and everything). You can also drag the new listing to the top of the list so it’s easier to find.

Blekko search engine added with search query

This post is based on Douglas Karr’s post here about changing search engines in Safari.

My First iPhone App: WhatTheVote 1.0

iPhone Screen shots from WhatTheVote iPhone App by GroovySoup

WhatTheVote iPhone App by GroovySoup

I went to the iPhone Voices That Matter conference recently in Philadelphia (highly recommended) and came away with the drive to finally push through an iPhone app. I have a more ambitious idea or two in the works but I needed something timely and time-constrained to force my focus and get something knocked out. The result is WhatTheVote.

At 99 cents, WhatTheVote is not loaded with numerous features or location-based services. It does only one thing (for now) and does it quickly and simply: it lists all elected Congressmen, Congresswomen, and Senators and when you touch on their names, it displays their party and how they voted on the Health Care Reform bill. Why this particular issue? It was stated on Mashable and a few other mainstream news sites that this would be the primary issue voters were concerned with this year when going to the polls. That is what it is, without opinion.

So, if you’re going to vote – as is your duty as an American citizen – and this is an important issue for you, download my app and take it with you to refer to while you wait in line. Once it’s installed, you don’t need an internet or cell connection to use it. All the data is stored within the app itself. Later versions of WhatTheVote will include the ability to email or phone your Representative’s office as well as making it easier to sort through the names.

Oh! The business side of things: If you’re looking to have your very own iPhone app built, drop us a line (email or phone) and let us know what you’re thinking. We can probably help or at least point you in the direction you need for your particular project.

Purchase WhatTheVote iPhone App by GroovySoup

New iPad? Quick tip to find those iPhone apps.

a

When you first set up your iPad most of the apps you have will be for iPhone size screens. Quick way to find those bigger-sized apps is to 1) Go to the iTunes store; 2) Click on the Genius icon at the bottom of the screen; 3) Once the Genius results load, at the top of the screen choose “iPad upgrades” and you’ll be presented with the list of apps that have iPad versions you’re missing.

This isn’t foolproof of course, since app makers may name the iPad versions differently, but it’s a good start.

Mac: Auto Import Images to Lightroom

Open Image Capture

I do a lot of photo importing from a memory card reader and I love to automate as much as I can about my photo process. Assuming you’re using Snow Leopard, here are the steps to take to have Lightroom open and import the photos from your card and save yourself a few steps:

  1. Open Image Capture with a memory card already loaded as a disc/plugged into your card reader (see image below). Where do you find Image Capture? Go to Applications > Image Capture.app
    Open Image Capture
  2. Click on the memory card name – in the case above “EOS_DIGITAL” – to make the memory card the active device.
  3. In the drop down directly below the Devices list there is a section that allows you to select what application should be opened when the “camera” is connected (see image below). If the dropdown menu isn’t displayed, click the little arrow in the very bottom left corner to reveal it.Connecting this camera opens:
  4. Change the dropdown menu by clicking on it and choosing “other” unless you prefer to use one of the applications already listed. If so, select one of them and you’re all set. If you prefer an application not in this list – like Lightroom -once you click “Other” it will open a browse/Finder window. Go to Applications > Adobe Lightroom (version number).app. Click on Adobe Lightroom (version number).app to highlight/select it and click the Choose button. Your device panel will look like the one below when you’ve selected correctly.
    Adobe Lightroom selected
  5. Now moving to Lightroom, open the program and select Lightroom > Preferences. In the Import Options section of the General panel, check the box titled “Show import dialog when a memory card is detected.” (See below)Import options for Lightroom
  6. That’s it. You still need to click the Import buttons and that sort of thing but this now cuts your import process down to keywording, pruning the images you actually want to import and just clicking the button.

Image Capture is also where you go to stop programs from automatically trying to import photos from your camera, iPhone, memory cards. Instead of selecting Lightroom or another program in the dropdown menu in step 4, select “none” and no programs will open to load your images. You’ll need to do this separately for each device that launches Image Capture.

iOS 4.2 Update

Xcode

In case you’re an iOS developer and you’re having issues getting either your iPhone 4 to upgrade to iOS 4.2 or your Mac Mail no longer works, here’s the order in which you need to install the latest round of Developer updates from Apple:

  1. Download and install the Xcode and iOS SDK 4.2 beta. There are changes to the firmware that are read from this new version by iTunes 10.
  2. Download and install Mac OS X Snow Leopard v10.6.5 Delta Update (10H542). If you’re running Snow Leopard already DO NOT run the reversioner. This will kill your Mail program. The reversioner is only for those not already on Snow Leopard (according to the dev forums).
  3. Download iOS 4.2 beta for your specific device and install as normal through iTunes 10.

If these are done out of order you have an exciting day (or two) ahead of you restoring your iPhone or reinstalling the Snow Leopard Delta to get back to a version number that plays nice with all of the betas. I learned this the hard way 🙂