My New Chromebook isn't a Chromebook, at all.

When my son started at his new school, he needed a conventional PC. After finding him a 2015 MacBook Air in perfect condition for a veritable steal on eBay, I adopted his Chromebook - a Dell Inspiron 3180 with an 11.6 inch screen, Intel Celeron processor, 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of eMMC… Continue reading My New Chromebook isn't a Chromebook, at all.

A few weeks with Coin

As one of the original backers of Coin, I had completely given up on it. 

I figured it was an experiment in crowdfunding, one where I was the butt of the joke.

Imagine my surprise when, after almost two years, I received an email asking me to confirm the shipping address for my Coin. ("Wow. Is it *really* going to ship this time?")

A week later, I was finally holding the impressively engineered device in my hand.

Sparrow for iPhone: No Push? No Problem.

Sparrow for iPhone was released yesterday and by all counts (including my own) it's great.

The one complaint that some people seem to have is that it doesn't support Push Email. I've rarely used the Push Email feature in the iPhone mail client due to the major suckage of power from the battery.

However, that doesn't mean that I don't want to be notified of new email.

I use Google Apps Mail (Gmail with my own domain name) and the connection to that service is plain ol' IMAP. Built into the technical standard for IMAP is something called IMAP IDLE mode.

Basically, if your mail client supports this feature of IMAP, you'll receive notifications when you have new mail. Of course, the iPhone Mail app doesn't offer this (and neither does Sparrow) but that's OK: for a couple of bucks, you can purchase a third-party app that can do this for you.

How to Get Five Bars on Your iPhone All Over Your House

If you have an iPhone in the U.S., you won't be surprised to hear this: I love my iPhone but I'm not exactly happy with the AT&T Wireless network.

While it's an inconvenience to be out-and-about in New York City or San Francisco and not have cellular service, it's actually more of an inconvenience to be unable to receive calls when I'm in my home or office. I'm tired of the dropped calls and continually asking folks if I can call them right back from a landline (though the "landline" is usually Skype).

I finally decided to bite the proverbial bullet and go to my local AT&T Wireless Store to investigate the 3G Microcell. This is a device that you connect to your broadband internet connection and it acts like a mini cell tower in your home. According to the documentation it covers approximately 5,000 square feet.

I'd heard there was some special offer that mitigated a lot of the discomfort of paying for hardware to improve the service I already pay for. You can't learn about those offers online, though. For whatever reason, AT&T wants you to visit a retail store to learn more and complete the transaction.

Sure enough, the Microcell ended up costing me only $50 while my monthly bill remains the same. Here's the deal. 

How to Accept Meeting Requests on the iPhone

Lots of folks rely on their mobile devices to help manage their schedule throughout the day. You're probably one of them. I know that I couldn't manage without my iPhone, MacBook and iPad.

The one piece of my workflow that's been bugging me ever since I stopped using Microsoft Exchange and migrated over to Google Apps (Gmail, Google Calendar) is the ability to manage my calendar on my iPhone.

Sure, I can create events on my calendar and even invite people to those events. However, when someone accepts one of those meeting requests, I'm not explicitly notified via email or on my iPhone - I have to check the calendar to see if someone has accepted. It's not ideal, but I can live with it.

The flip side to that equation is what's been driving me nuts: accepting meeting requests on my iPhone. If you're not using Exchange, meeting requests show up as an attachment, usually with the name "meeting.ics", indicating that it's an iCalendar file.

Tapping the icon results in...nothing. I can't open it in the iPhone Calendar app. I have to quickly respond to this person with a message like "Confirmed" just to make sure that we lock down the time and date of the meeting, then officially accept the request and put it on my calendar when I get back to my Mac.

Given that the iCalendar format is a standard used by Apple within iCal on the Mac and on the iPhone, it seems ridiculous to me that I'm unable to respond to meeting requests.

A quick Google search proves that I'm not alone. The last time I performed this search I found a mention of an app buried at the end of a forum thread that was released that very day to solve this problem.

It's called Calendar Happy and yes, it makes me very happy. 😉

I just can’t quit you, iPhone.

As I've mentioned in the past, I have a love/hate relationship with my iPhone. I love the usability, the applications, the ease in which it connects to Gmail, Google Calendar, Exchange and even the way it feels in my hand. But I'm intensely frustrated by the short battery life. It sucks and I'm not the… Continue reading I just can’t quit you, iPhone.

Achieving Goals, Two at a Time

At the start of 2009, I committed to reading two books each week with the premise being that if I could do it for one full year, it would become an ongoing habit. Fuggedaboutit. I've just been too busy to keep up that pace. Even with the help of my Kindle, I've only been able… Continue reading Achieving Goals, Two at a Time

But how do you Google them?

Merlin Mann commented (via Jason Kottke) about a designer who integrated notebooks into his workflow - 85 notebooks throughout 26 years of work. I save all of my notebooks, too. Since I began integrating journals into my workflow (probably about 10 years ago) I have a library of about 20 of them. My biggest complaint… Continue reading But how do you Google them?