Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Twitter: Do you.... tweet?

Calling all Twitter users – I’m going to be putting together a feature on getting the most out of Twitter early in the new year, and I’d like your help. This being Lifehacker, I want to take it beyond the simple functions available on the Twitter site and talk about the best browser extensions/add ons and how to get Twitter to interact with other social networking sites, and so forth. What tools do you use to increase Twitter’s functionality, accessibility and usability?So I’d like to invite you to submit your best Twitter tips – how do you get the most out of Twitter? If you send in a tip, please make sure you explain what you did, and what benefit you get out of it. Naturally you’ll get namechecked if I use your tip. Either leave ‘em in comments or email to [email protected] Thanks in advance!

Love,The Lifehacker AU Ed (stokely on Twitter) :)


Lifehacker's Gina Trapani makes Forbes internet celebrity list

We knew it already, but Forbes has confirmed it – Lifehacker US Editor Gina Trapani is a dead set Internet celebrity. She’s #7 on their list of this year’s top 25 web celebs, and is in some serious company including Tech Crunch’s Michael Arrington, Boing Boing’s Cory Doctorow and the baby faced founder of Facebook,Mark Zuckerburg.

Australia’s own Problogger, Darren Prowse made the list. Nice to see Harry from Ain’t it Cool News there too. There’s only one fictional character there, Fake Steve Jobs. What a shame that the top spot was grabbed by a celebrity gossip columnist. Hopefully next year we’ll see a tech head top the list. :)

The Web Celeb 25 [Forbes]


A tip for updating an unlocked iPhone in Australia

For the Aussies out there who have been brave enough to obtain an unlocked iPhone for use in Australia, I spotted a tip which might help you.WA-based Tech Crunch blogger Duncan Riley has blogged about his experience of upgrading his iPhone using iNdependence and the Revirginising Tool. He pointed out that Australian users may hit a stumbling block with the region setting, and offered up the fix he found: 

“… with my unlocked 1.1.2 iPhone the keypad for dialing numbers didn’t work. You’d dial one number then the screen would disappear. I looked everywhere for a solution and didn’t find one, aside from a guy on YouTube who solved it by hacking the country code on the iPhone. Turns out my iPhone was set to Australia on the International region screen, for what ever reason this causes the keypad to play up. Turn it back to United States and bingo: it works.”

Hopefully that tidbit will be useful to someone out there. Thanks, Duncan!

Upgrading an iPhone from 1.02 to 1.1.2 [Duncan Riley]


Apple update

Time to make sure your Mac is updated – Apple’s released a slew of 31 security-related fixes for both Tiger and Leopard.  The updates should be pushed out automatically by the Software Update function, but you can also download them from here. Note that Quicktime was also updated last week to fix a security vulnerability. More details from CNET here.


Turn Wikipedia articles into audio format

Pediaphon is a website which lets you convert Wikipedia articles into audio format. It lets you search for Wikipedia articles and uses text to speech technology to automatically generate audio files which can you listen to in your browser or download.It’s a very quick process to search and generate the results. It gives you an MP3, a playlist for Windows Media Player, a playlist for Winamp and a podcast (.xml) which you can drag and drop into iTunes. You can even request Wikipedia articles via your mobile phone, although at the moment that requires sending an SMS to Germany – plus you’d need to beware of data rates on your mobile phone. The other option is to download a WAP application to your phone which lets you search on the phone, and then get a download link for the converted MP3.For podcast and audio book fans, this sounds like an awesome way to be able to browse and learn from Wikipedia while on the go. For example, you could set up your own self education course by selecting a topic and putting together related Wikipedia articles.Say you’re travelling to Italy. You could set yourself up an Italy 101 course by listening to the entry on Italy, followed by the articles on Italy’s geography, government and politics and culture. You could add in information on the specific areas you plan to visit, like the Amalfi Coast or Rome.I downloaded the entry on Australian of the Year, Tim Flannery, and although the sound quality was good, the speech quality was disappointing. I expected a robotic voice, but at times it spoke a little too fast to be quite clear. It also sounded like a robot for whom English was a second language – it had a European accent which was fine except when pronouncing names or other words which it approached phonetically. With a more sophisticated speech to text program, this service could be a nice way to access Wikipedia on the go, but if you’re used to audio book quality, you might not enjoy it so much.Thanks for the tip, Aseem!

Convert Wikipedia Articles from Text to Speech MP3 podcasts [Online Tech Tips]


Take great Christmas photos

Christmas is a great time to take lots of photos – often it’s the only time that you get your extended family or friends together in the same room. The Digital Photography School blog has put together a list of tips for taking great Christmas photos. Along with some technical advice, it also had a couple of great ideas for setting up photo opportunities. For example – set the camera to ‘continuous shooting’ mode to capture the excitement of kids opening their presents. I also loved the idea of setting up your own ‘photo booth’. You can set up your booth anywhere (it may just be a chair or place to stand against in well lit position with a fairly plain background) and invite guests to pose for a photo when they arrive. But here’s the fun part – once your booth is set up, if you have a tripod, consider setting the camera to a short self timer and inviting guests to drop in and photograph themselves throughout the party.A slightly more sophisticated effort than just handing out disposable cameras and telling people to go for it, but you’d get better quality photos as a result.If you have any other Christmas photo tips, please leave them in comments.Thanks for the tip, Darren!

16 Digital Photography Tips for Christmas [Digital Photography School]


Get an Edge Over Other Air Travellers

Many of us will be boarding an airplane for holiday travel in the coming week or so, and web site Upgrade: Travel Better offers five tips for getting an edge on the rest of the poor slobs crowding the airport. For example, put your airline’s phone number in your mobile phone’s address book, and set up a reminder to check in online as early as possible. How else to you plan to get a leg up at the airport this holiday? Let us know in the comments.

Five ways to get an edge over other air travelers [Upgrade: Travel Better]


Bookmark Your Email with Gmail or Mail.app

Apple guy John Gruber uncovers an undocumented feature in Leopard: the ability to link any Mail.app email message from any other Mac application using the message: protocol. This feature is perfect for referencing a message in a to-do, or in your notes, and it’s available in the new version of Gmail, too. When you open any message in the new Gmail, its unique URL shows up in the address bar. Just copy and paste it to any document or other webapp and you’ve got a permalink to an email for quick reference later.

‘message:’ URLs in Leopard Mail [Daring Fireball via Ars Technica]


Mixed tape

Preserve those precious mix tapes from the ’80s: one year ago, we taught you how to digitise your cassette tapes.


Wrap Gifts with Household Leftovers

Crafty do-it-yourselfer John Boak uses anything and everything he’s got around the house to wrap holiday gifts: from those fake plastic credit cards you get in the mail (pictured), to packing foam to catalogs, newspapers and bag handles. Don’t miss the gallery of gorgeous gift-wrapped packages which will make you ditch your recycling bin and hold onto every bit of colorful paper that comes into your life next year.

Wrap Art [via Wise Bread]