Google Earth for iPhone

October 28, 2008 – 8:03 am by Gabe Anderson | No Comments »

I haven’t really written much about the iPhone or any apps since I finally got one (iPhone 3G) on July 22 — 11 days after it was released.

Since then, I’ve downloaded lots of free apps and have even bought a few (Scrabble, TriCalc, Election ’08). Some are must-have apps (Facebook, Pandora) and some are silly and just for fun (Lightsaber, More Cowbell, Jared).

Yesterday Google released the long-awaited  Google Earth for iPhone (iTunes link) and I downloaded it immediately after reading about it in TechCrunch.

Google Earth for iPhone

It’s truly stunning and really fast (at least via wifi). After installing it, I fired it up (which takes a minute or so, but isn’t so bad) and clicked the locate button in the lower left-hand corner. Seeing the Earth from space, courtesy of NASA satellite imagery, then watching it zoom down on the map right to my house was pretty incredible. I mean, sure, we’ve all seen a similar thing on the desktop version of Google Earth or on Google Maps, but to watch this on my iPhone was pretty sweet.

I started dragging around the map, zooming in and out, and the redraw rate was pretty quick. I took a cross-country trip to the Golden Gate Bridge and marveled at the level of detail — it was like I was flying right above the towers of the bridge and looking down at the cars. I then zoomed over to our old home on Treasure Island and looked down on it with incredible detail.

All this imagery and it’s integrated with Google Local search, so it’s fun, educational, and practical.

This is one must-have app in any iPhone’s arsenal. And even if you don’t have an iPhone, this app alone is one more reason to get one.

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Articulate Studio ’09 Launches!

September 30, 2008 – 11:37 pm by Gabe Anderson | 1 Comment »

When you work for the company that holds the #1 market share for rapid elearning tools among privately-held companies, the expectations are pretty high when you get ready to launch a new version. So you really want to make your products awesome and you want to get things right.

My colleagues and I have been working like crazy the past few days, weeks, and months to launch our new suite of elearning tools today, and after a 5-hour go-live conference to bring our revamped website and award-winning support site online, I’m pleased to say that Articulate Rapid E-Learning Studio ’09 is now live!

Articulate Studio ‘09

I’m too exhausted to go into much detail, but our relaunched website has all the details, and you can download free 30-day trials of all our products — all of which launched with lots of support resources, Knowledge Bases, and tutorials.Let’s just say that you can do some pretty amazing things with our software, and that Quizmaker ’09 in particular is going to change the way people create elearning and Flash content for the Web. Quizmaker ’09 has a freeform quiz editor (what we call slide view), so you can build Flash-based quizzes, surveys, and assessments that include media, animations, and timelines — as easily as you can use PowerPoint but with the power of a Flash developer.

Here’s the press release.

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Google’s New Browser: Chrome

September 8, 2008 – 9:00 am by Gabe Anderson | No Comments »

Last week Google continued its march in Internet domination by releasing its very own Web browser, Chrome. I downloaded it the day it came out and have been really impressed. It’s incredibly fast, not cluttered with unnecessary features, and has some great under-the-hood performance.

Google Chrome

I’ve long been a huge fan of Firefox and it will likely continue to be my primary browser, but already I’ve caught myself with both browsers open since Chrome is just so fast.

Some of my favorite Chrome features include the following:

  • Speed, speed, speed — it’s incredibly fast (both app launching and Web browsing) and TechCrunch has also raved  about it
  • Optimized speed of using Google apps like Gmail, Docs, etc. (who knows their apps better than Google itself?)
  •  The home tab, which shows your most-visited sites
  • The single-search toolbar (type in your searches and URLs in the same field)
  • The separate-process tabs (this is a huge deal since if one site/tab crashes, it does so in isolation vs. locking up your entire browser, as Firefox and Internet Explorer do)
  • The ability to drag a tab outside the primary browser and drop it anywhere on your screen (too cool!)

I also really like the easy-to-understand comic book that Google launched with Chrome to explain the underlying technology (as a support professional, I especially appreciate this unique approach to documentation):

Google Chrome Comic

If Chrome offered support for the following, using it as my primary browser would be even more compelling:

There was some early controversy about a sentence in the EULA that suggested Google was going to claim the right to use any content you produced in Chrome (email, blog entries, etc.), but Google was quick to respond to the outcry and updated its terms.

Many of us spend so much of our time using Internet applications that it makes sense to rethink the browser as its own operating system — exactly what Google is doing, of course, and taking aim at Microsoft and Windows.

Chrome is currently only available for Windows Vista and XP SP2, but there will likely be a Mac version before too long (and no doubt a mobile version for your cell phone).

Finally, here’s a helpful tip on how to integrate Internet Download Manager for use with Chrome.

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LogMeIn: Access Your Computer From Anywhere

August 27, 2008 – 7:43 am by Gabe Anderson | 5 Comments »

Going on vacation? Visiting a friend across the country or across town? Or just going down the street to work from the local coffee shop for the day? Sure, you brought your laptop, but what if you need to access that important file or document sitting on your home workstation?

If you haven’t configured FolderShare (see blog entry) or DropBox (see blog entry), or simply forgot to sync a particular folder or file, then why not just access your computer remotely?

Enter LogMeIn.

logmein.gif

LogMeIn is incredibly simple and secure to use — and it’s free. Here’s all you do:

  1. Create a free account (note that they do offer premium services, too).
  2. Click the option to Add Computer to your account for each computer you’d like to access remotely (a small app runs in your system tray). You must do this from the computer you’re configuring for remote access.
  3. From your laptop or any other computer in the world, go to the LogMeIn site, sign in, and connect to any of your online computers:

LogMeIn screenshot

And that’s it! Right in your Web browser, you’ll be remotely controlling your computer as if you were sitting right in front of it. If you have multiple monitors on the computer you’re accessing, that’s no problem, either – you can toggle between them with ease. You can even leverage LogMeIn to add additional virtual displays to your laptop or remote machine — the ultimate in multitasking. That is, I can work on one project or window on my local laptop, then switch to my remote machine for another two screens of productivity.

GoToMyPC is a competitive product from tech giant Citrix, but it’s not free. You have to pay $19.95 per month, but it’s virtually identical to LogMeIn. I used to use GoToMyPC, but switched to LogMeIn years ago and haven’t looked back. One key difference: GoToMyPC gives you access to file management and a transfer utility, which is a feature only available in the LogMeIn Pro version ($12.95/month), but with other file transfer utilties and the ability to email yourself anything while you’re logged in, there are certainly ways around that feature.

My company uses GoToMyPC’s sister product, GoToMeeting, which is invaluable both for sales demos and supporting customers when email just won’t cut it. GoToMeeting offers screen sharing, remote desktop control, and more, but that’s a topic for another day.

In the meantime, set up LogMeIn and you’ll never leave home without your computer again.

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Dropbox: File Syncing, Revisions, Photo Albums

August 7, 2008 – 9:06 am by Gabe Anderson | 6 Comments »

Similar to FolderShare, which I wrote about yesterday, Dropbox also allows you to sync files in a folder between computers and access them online. Unlike FolderShare, though, Dropbox has some cool added features:

  • Public link sharing to share any file with anyone
  • 2 GB of free online storage space for public shares
  • Photo album sharing & viewing

Dropbox

Dropbox is a great way to quickly share any file — small or large — with anyone. Let’s say I want to share the downloadable Articulate Presenter help documentation with you. Here’s what I’d do:

  1. Copy (or move) the file from my computer into my Dropbox -> Public folder (on my Vista machine, the path is C:\Users\gabe\Documents\My Dropbox\Public).
  2. Once I drop the file in my public Dropbox, I’ll see a blue icon indicating that it’s syncing to the Dropbox servers:

    dropbox syncing

  3. When the icon changes to a green checkbox, I’ll know the file is on the server and ready for sharing:

    dropbox done syncing

  4. Next, I right-click the file and select Dropbox -> Copy public link to copy the link to my clipboard:

    dropbox copy public link

  5. Finally, I give you the link (here on my blog, via email, or in an IM). The link looks like this:

http://dl.getdropbox.com/u/64503/AP5_Help_Documentation.pdf

And there you have it: An easy way to share big files — that might be too big for email — with friends  or colleagues!

The revision feature of Dropbox is great, too — so that if you accidentally overwrite a file on your computer or decide you want to rollback changes, you can restore an older revision via Dropbox.

You can currently sign up for the Dropbox beta (and watch their intro video) on the Dropbox site, but you’ll get in right away if I invite you, so let me know if you want an invite.

(Thanks, Tom, for the Dropbox heads-up and invitation!)

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Use FolderShare to Share & Sync Files

August 6, 2008 – 7:51 am by Gabe Anderson | 3 Comments »

One of the must-have apps that’s installed on all my Windows machines (plus there’s also a Mac version) is Windows Live FolderShare, which enables you to automatically share and synchronize files and folders across the Internet (and access them from anywhere).

FolderShare

FolderShare is free, peer-to-peer file sharing — or self-to-self file sharing, as the case may be. I use it both ways.

As noted on the FolderShare Web site, use the app to do the following:

  • Keep files in sync across your computers.
  • Share folders with friends.
  • Access your files from any computer.

In fact, the concept is so simple, the learn more page is incredibly concise. Additionally, FolderShare is a simple way to ensure that your most important files are always backed up on at least one other machine.

Getting FolderShare set up is super-easy. Here’s all you have to do:

  1. Install the small app (it’ll always run in the background).
  2. Create an account.
  3. Specify a folder whose contents you want to synchronize.
  4. Repeat on other computers.

Here are some ways I use FolderShare for both work and personal stuff:

Work:

  • Group shares for files we want to share with everyone (doubles as backup on colleagues’ machines since if your machine crashes, files are still on the machines of others)
  • Project notes and documentation
  • Articulate Presenter project share (see Method 2 of my Word of Mouth blog entry on the topic)
  • Screenshots (I take lots of screenshots for blog entries, supporting customers, etc., so I like to have access to my screenshots across all machines)
  • Daily software builds (so that our dev, QA, and support teams always have access to latest versions of products in development)

Personal:

  • Private share (for a quick and dirty way to share files between laptop & desktop)
  • My RoboForm Data (sync your RoboForm data folder so you always have latest logins,SafeNotes, etc. on all of your computers)
  • Quicken (ensure my latest financial data is always present and backed up on all of my computers)

FolderShare screenshot

All that and once you install it, it just works — automatically in the background.

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Wakerupper: Automated Call Reminders

July 22, 2008 – 10:53 pm by Gabe Anderson | No Comments »

Isn’t one of the joys of staying in a hotel the fact that you don’t have to set an alarm? Isn’t it luxurious to be able to schedule a wake-up call?

Thanks to Wakerupper, now every day is a hotel day.

Wakerupper

snag-1601.png

It’s simple:

  1. Go to the site.
  2. Enter your desired date and call time.
  3. Input your phone number.
  4. Optionally, type some text to be transcribed (reverse-Jott style, as Tom pointed out).
  5. Get a wake-up call (or any reminder call, for that matter) — you can even snooze your call.

(Thanks for the recommendation, Tom!)

Between this and my new iPhone 3G, I’m surrounded by a sea of techno-euphoria tonight.

Oh yeah, and my favorite bullet point from the Wakerupper site: “Escape from a boring date or meeting.”

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Garmin Forerunner 305

July 10, 2008 – 8:40 am by Gabe Anderson | 1 Comment »

I started running this year and bought an iPod with Nike+ early on to track my mileage. I had some initial frustration with it, subsequently learned how to hack it to recover my run data, but for the most part, really love it.

Then I became a bit more serious about my running — I’ve logged about 640 miles so far this year, have begun training for my second marathon, and recently ran my 6th race — so I started to get frustrated with the fact that the iPod with Nike+ wasn’t totally accurate in terms of distance and pace (I was calibrating often and it always seemed like it was either telling me I was running too far or not far enough; the accelerometer technology is cool, but not without fault).

It was time for GPS — on my wrist:

garmin-forerunner-305-gabe-wrist.jpg

So I started doing some research and knew pretty quickly that I wanted a Garmin Forerunner. My buddy Alex, with whom I trained for the Rock ‘n Roll Marathon in San Diego, picked up the Forerunner 205 during our training, and loved it. Given that it’s GPS and all, we always used his watch to track our distance and pace vs. my iPod, which was pretty accurate, but not exact.

The 205 is an older model and doesn’t have a heartrate monitor, which is something I was also curious about doing: Monitoring my heartrate while I run. So that narrowed it down to the Forerunner 305 or the Forerunner 405.

The 405 is the newer, smaller model, just released this summer, and which is getting all the hype. I read lots of reviews that compared the two and ultimately decided to go for the 305 for a number of reasons:

  • Money: I saved about $150 (I bought my 305 on Amazon for about $210 vs. the $350 it would’ve been for the 405 with heartrate monitor).
  • Display: The 305 has a bigger display (I love data and the 305 can display 4 data fields at once).
  • Features: From everything I read, the 305 and 405 are virtually identical besides the design (405 is much smaller and sleeker, but I wouldn’t have worn it when I wasn’t running anyway) and the fact that the 405 has iPod-like “touch bezel.”

I’ve only run with my 305 a couple times this week so far, but already I’m loving it. There are so many features that I haven’t really leveraged anything but the basics yet.

snag-1578.png

Some features that are really cool about the watch:

  • GPS tracking precision
  • Accurate pace
  • Heartrate monitoring
  • Race against a virtual running partner
  • Map courses & compare past results with current
  • Create quick, interval, or advanced workouts
  • Download data
  • Follow on map and graph what my current pace & heartrate were at any point

snag-1579.png

Some things I don’t like about the 305 so far:

  • Connecting to the satellites can take a while
  • It is a bit on the big side (but doesn’t bother me too much)
  • Every time I download my data & close the Garmin Training Center, the data seems to go away (so I have to download again)

Overall, it’s a great investment and I’m excited to leverage it to help me take my running to the next level.

snag-1580.png

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Firefox 3 Download Day

June 18, 2008 – 8:53 am by Gabe Anderson | No Comments »

If you’re still not using Firefox, now’s a great time to start. Yesterday was the official release of Firefox 3, and it’s better than ever. I downloaded it yesterday as part of Firefox Download Day — an attempt to set a Guinness World Record for the most downloads in a single day — and started using it. I must say it’s pretty awesome so far.

Download Day

Some nice improvements I’ve noticed:

  • Faster load time
  • Faster browsing (Gmail is incredibly fast)
  • Improved user interface (new icons, polished look)
  • Sliding tabs as you open & close
  • Auto-URL completion with favicons (those little browser icons you see when you bookmark)
  • More stable
  • Google Desktop searches actually open my default browser (Firefox) now instead of IE7 (woohoo!)

Review the top new features.

I’ve downloaded Firefox 3 on two machines now and have helped contribute to the record-breaking attempt. As of now, Firefox 3 has already been downloaded 6,424,790 times since early yesterday afternoon — blowing away the 5 million goal that was set by Mozilla.

Download your FF3 today and be part of this world record (download by 2:16 p.m. EDT to be part of the record attempt)!

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10 Years of gabeanderson.com

June 10, 2008 – 9:33 am by Gabe Anderson | No Comments »

As I wrote in the welcome post when I relaunched this blog as gabeanderson.com 6.0, I registered this domain name 10 years ago today:

Domain Name: GABEANDERSON.COM
Created on: 10-Jun-98
Expires on: 08-Jun-09
Last Updated on: 30-May-08

In 1996, my Netscape 2.0-optimized Web site looked a little something like the below, and proudly declared that “this is my little contribution to one of the fastest-growing communities in the world: the Internet:”

The Gabe Zone 1996

In 1998 when I registered this domain, I relaunched it to look like this (this is the about section):

gabeanderson.com 1998

Ten years might not seem like a long time, but in Internet time, that’s pretty much an eternity. Recall that the Web as we know it didn’t really exist. Netscape 1.0 (which I vividly recall using on my PowerBook 520c) was only launched 4 years prior, in 1994. Amazon.com was still a new company (launched in 1995). Ethernet, wifi, and broadband connections weren’t really prevalent; it was during my years in college that my campus made the switch from AppleTalk to Ethernet (circa 1997 or 1998). A 500 MB hard drive was considered huge and no one could imagine ever filling one up. My foray into the e-elearning industry in 1999 was with an employer (e-learning pioneer Headlight.com) whose original Web servers were connected to the Internet via two 56k modems (remember those?).

So just how long ago was 1998? Let’s reflect a bit on some of the other events from that year:

  • Blogs didn’t really exist (nor did any blogging software)
  • Smoking is banned in California
  • The Unabomber pleads guilty
  • President Bill Clinton is in office
  • Monica Lewinsky captures the public eye
  • Titanic sweeps the Oscars
  • Apple launches the first iMac
  • Microsoft releases Windows 98
  • Google is founded (yes, youngins, there was a time before Google!)
  • A professional wrestler (Jesse Ventura) is elected governor of Minnesota
  • AOL rules the Internet & acquires Netscape for $4.2 billion
  • Gabe enters his senior year of college
  • gabeanderson.com is registered & goes live for the first time

It’s hard to imagine what the Internet will be in another 10 years. Yesterday Apple announced the second-generation iPhone (iPhone 3G), which includes broadband-like speeds on your phone, GPS-enabled mapping, and, of course, photos, music, video, and lots more. No one could’ve imagined such a device in 1998.

What will technology look like in 2018?

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