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Keyword: ‘tool’

Google’s Photovine App Now Open for All

September 20th, 2011 David No comments

photovine712 Google’s Photovine App Now Open for All
Back in July we covered the release of Photovine for iPhone, an image sharing app developed by Google’s internal Slide team that, among other things, is also responsible for Disco, a group messaging app, and Pool Party. Powered by a slick design and attention to detail, the Photovine app that was released last month didn’t allow everyone to sign up and start sharing photos as the system was invite-only without an open sign-up. With an update pushed last night on the App Store, Photovine has revamped Facebook and Twitter integration from within the app and finally opened registrations without the need of a beta invite.

Unlike the popular photo sharing app and iPhone-based social network Instagram, Photovine doesn’t revolve around the simple concept of photos uploaded to a user stream and shared with followers. Rather, Photovine is based on “vines” — photos connected by a caption and contributed by you, your friends, and other people using Photovine. So, for example, say you’d like to share a photo about your newly acquired MacBook Air, you can start a vine called “My new MacBook” and your friends will be able to let the vine “grow” with new photos related to the caption, and the photo you originally posted. This is best explained by Photovine’s promo video, which we’ve embedded after the break.

Photos in a vine can obviously be liked and commented on, each user has its own dedicated page with a profile picture and followers/following/likes counts, and an Inbox tab in the bottom toolbar allows you to check on messages you’ve received from other users, or notifications such as new followers, comments, and likes. This is not too dissimilar from Instagram’s implementation of “activity”. Users can add new photos to an existing vine (or even “watch” a vine if they’re interested in it) or create a new one from scratch — Photovine comes with a beautiful custom camera interface that lets you snap your own photo, or pick one from the Camera roll. Indeed the whole app sports a gorgeous and clean design that makes it easy to jump through vines, user profiles, and comment on photos shared by others.

Photovine for iPhone is an interesting concept with a good-looking interface and additional social functionalities to forward photos to Twitter and Facebook, and find friends on those social networks as well. You can download Photovine for free on the App Store.


Categories: Apps, Cool, iPhone Tags:

Gerber Steady

August 31st, 2011 David No comments

gerber steady Gerber Steady

Oh hell yes. We’ve seen multi-tools with a multitude of different components, but there’s one in the new Gerber Steady ($65; Spring 2012) that’s going to have us carrying it everywhere we can: a tripod. That’s right, among the 12 total components you can find in the Steady are fold out legs and a standard tripod screw, making it the perfect companion for photographers on the go. [Thanks Uncrate]

Categories: Gadgets, Gear, Other, Tech Tags:

Apple offers Find My Mac for beta testing, wants to play Cops and Robbers

August 18th, 2011 David No comments
By writer rss Apple offers Find My Mac for beta testing, wants to play Cops and Robbers posted Aug 3rd 2011 at 11:03PM
find my mac beta test Apple offers Find My Mac for beta testing, wants to play Cops and Robbers

Ever misplaced your hard earned MacBook Air or had an entire project vanish at the hands of a dirty thief, only to be gone forever? Well friends, the time is coming soon for the Find My Mac feature to provide a highly sought after sigh of relief, Find My iPhone-style. Apple has released the software into the wild for registered iOS devs, with the only other requirements being OS X Lion and an iCloud subscription. Using WiFi networks to locate your missing appendage via a web browser or iOS device, the location tool offers you a number of anti-theft options — send a threatening message, lock down the machine remotely, or even wipe the machine’s drive clean. Perhaps we will see this security detail launch with iCloud in fall, which was also released in beta form earlier this week.

Categories: Apple, Apps Tags:

Trash Can Smoker

August 12th, 2011 David No comments

moz screenshot Trash Can Smokermoz screenshot 1 Trash Can Smokermoz screenshot 2 Trash Can Smoker

trash can smoker Trash Can Smoker

Sometimes you don’t need super-expensive tools to get the job done — as evidenced by this Trash Can Smoker ($175). Built from a — thankfully brand-new — 100% stainless steel trash can, it’s fully functional, with three racks — one for the coals, one for a water pan, and one for the food — a 22.5-inch diameter cooking suface, and integrated vents on the top and side. [Scouted by Blizzardo- through uncrate]

Categories: food, Gadgets, Gear Tags:

GL1 Vehicle Diagnostic Tool for iPhone

August 2nd, 2011 David No comments

gl1 diagnostic iphone GL1 Vehicle Diagnostic Tool for iPhone

The Check Engine light: the bane of many a car owner’s existence, who’ve helplessly forked over hundreds of dollars only to find out that there was a $5 sensor that needed replaced. Well, enough of that. The GL1 Vehicle Diagnostic Tool for iPhone ($100) plugs simply and easily into your car’s On Board Diagnostics (OBD-II) port, letting you run an app to find out what your car’s actually up to. As a bonus, it will charge your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch at the same time, although you might look a little dorky with your phone permanently attached to a cord emerging from your dash.

Categories: Apps, Cars, Gadgets, Gear, iPhone Tags:

Making of the Gucci Loafer for ACL Made in Italy Tour

July 22nd, 2011 David No comments

gucci loafer factory tour made in italy acl Making of the Gucci Loafer for ACL Made in Italy Tour

Michael over at A Continuous Lean has started a new segment titled “The ACL Made in Italy Tour” and the first piece covers the Gucci loafer, one of the most iconic shoes known to man. MW goes to the outskirts of Florence to the factory where it all takes place, giving us a look into the loafer-making process. The inside is opposite of what you’d expect and Michael puts it best — “It is the perfect marriage of technology and traditional craft with a seasoned group of shoemakers, sewers and cutters all under one roof.” The tools are old school but the space is so well-organized and the process, well, it’s as efficient as can be for a shoe so timeless.

Head over to ACL to read the full story.

Categories: Style Tags:


July 11th, 2011 David No comments

obol Obol

We’ve all faced it: the dilemma of dousing your favorite cereal in milk, only to battle against the inevitability of sogginess. The Obol ($20) is here to help. Offering trademarked features like the “Swoop n Scoop,” this partitioned breakfast tool keeps your cereal happily separated from your white, questionably healthy animal fluid, letting you crunch away at your own pace.

Categories: food, Gadgets, Home Tags:

Clean Up and Revive your Mac

July 10th, 2011 David No comments

Clean Up and Revive Your Bloated, Sluggish Mac

1003 32 Clean Up and Revive your Mac Gina Trapanisadmac hed Clean Up and Revive your Mac A few years back you dropped significant cash to switch over from the virus-laden world of Windows to a shiny new Mac, but over time it’s gotten slow and crufty. Let’s clean it up.


Before you get started uninstalling this and deleting that, do yourself a favor: hook up an external drive to your Mac and back everything up with Time Machine or any other free alternative. The last thing you want is for your “clean up” to turn into “holy crap where did all my Documents go.”

Ready? Let’s get started. (PC user? You want this article.)

Find the CPU and Memory Hogs in the Activity Monitor

First things first. If your Mac is acting like a petulant three-year-old, dragging its feet, crossing its arms, and refusing to do what you ask in any reasonable amount of time, it’s time to fire up the Activity Monitor (in Applications > Utilities). Here you’ll see a list of running applications and processes. Sort the columns shown in the screenshot to find out what apps are hogging the most CPU time (Firefox, in this case), what apps are for Intel or PowerPC (it’s a good idea to use Intel-only apps on Intel Macs), and what apps are running at all. If there are processes running for software you don’t need, note them down. Also, if an app is a runaway CPU and memory hog, quit it and restart for immediate relief.

Clean Up Your Startup

startupitems Clean Up and Revive your Mac Whether or not the Activity Monitor is showing processes you don’t recognize, it’s a good idea to audit what programs start up automatically when you log onto your Mac. In System Preferences, Accounts (I know, unintuitive placement), click on the Login Items tab. From there, make sure each and every app listed is something you need and use. If it isn’t? Just select it and click the minus (-) sign. (Rule of thumb: Generally you want to keep things called “SomethingHelper” where Something is an app you use, like iTunes or Growl, as shown.)


Uninstall Unneeded Apps (and Related Files)

Just like your Login Items, you want to cruise through your Applications folder and trash anything you don’t need or use any more. To be clear, this won’t speed up your Mac, but it will reclaim hard drive space.

Before you get to dragging and dropping unneeded applications to the trash, though, it’s a good idea to install a, well, uninstaller program. Strangely Apple still hasn’t shipped a proper uninstaller with Mac OS X, but a few free and pay-for apps will clear out related files when you send an application to the Trash. While the irony of having to install something in order to uninstall something isn’t lost on us, keep in mind: your Mac will be fine if an extra plist file gets left behind by an app you once used.

hazeluninstall Clean Up and Revive your MacBut, in case you’re a neat freak, you want to check out the likes of AppTrap (free, our review), AppDelete (used to be free, now requires a minimum payment of $5 after a few uses, our review), or AppZapper ($13, our review).

Personally I prefer Hazel, which will set you back $22 for a license—however, in addition to clearing away application files on uninstall, Hazel can make your Mac self-cleaning, too, which makes it worth the cost.


Do Some Maintenance

Now it’s time to make sure your disks are in tip-top shape, and luckily, you can do this without any extra software. Simply run Disk Utility (in Applications > Utilities) to verify and repair disk permissions (which determine what apps can do what with what files on your Mac) and verify and repair the disk itself. These operations take some time, and you can’t do them while other applications are running, so set ‘em in motion before you head out to lunch or to grab coffee. 

onyx Clean Up and Revive your Mac To run some more hardcore and detailed maintenance tasks, download the free OnyX (our review). While OnyX does lots of fun Mac customization (see the Parameters tab for that stuff), you want the Maintenance and Cleaning tabs. There you can do things like manually run your Mac’s daily, weekly, and monthly maintenance scripts (which don’t on their own if you shut down your Mac at night), and clear out log files and system caches. You can also fix system application-specific issues, by rebuilding Spotlight’s or Mail’s index, if those apps are acting particularly wonky.

Reclaim Hard Drive Space

While you’re on a cleaning spree, figure out exactly what’s taking up all that space on your Mac with a visual tool that maps what’s what. Disk Inventory X (free, our review), is your best bet in this area: it creates what’s called a “tree map” of your hard drive usage that will unearth things like 10 gigabytes of video files you just don’t need any more.To get down to the unneeded-megabyte level, Macworld has some detailed advice for where to find redundant system files and Dashboard widgets. You can also reclaim space taken up by unneeded language files using the free Monolingual (our review).

Care for and Troubleshoot Your Battery and Memory

If you’ve got a Mac notebook and you’re having trouble with your battery, a few troubleshooting techniques might help. First, to get the longest life out of your battery, calibrate it to make sure your life-o-meter is giving you the right readings.

If your Mac’s battery is cutting out before issuing the “You’re running out of power” warning, you want to reset the SMC or PMU, which cleared up that very problem on my MacBook.

Finally, some problems can be resolved by resetting your Mac’s PRAM and NVRAM—but this is generally a last-resort just-short-of-the-Genius-Bar troubleshooting technique for that inexplicable problem your Mac’s having.


Beef Up Your Memory and Get the Latest System Updates

macosxupdate Clean Up and Revive your Mac This should go without saying, but the more memory your Mac has, the snappier it will be. If you’re thinking about an upgrade and you’ve got a MacBook, check out Adam’s guide to adding RAM to your Mac.

Also, it’s generally a good idea to stay up-to-date with OS X patches and versions—and normally Software Update runs on its own and does just that. (Note: Yesterday the 10.5.7 update came out, and while I had no problems with it, Gizmodo reports that some people are having issues. As always, back up your stuff continuously to avoid disaster.)

Got any tales of victory or defeat when it comes to cleaning up and speeding up your Mac? Tell ‘em in the comments.

Gina Trapani, Lifehacker’s founding editor, has a MacBook Pro that’s a bit snappier today than it was yesterday. Her weekly feature, Smarterware, appears every Wednesday on Lifehacker. Subscribe to the Smarterware tag feed to get new installments in your newsreader.

Categories: Apps, Mac Tags:

Five Best Journaling Tools

July 6th, 2011 David 1 comment

1421 32 Five Best Journaling Tools Jason Fitzpatrick2009 05 09 214112 Five Best Journaling ToolsPublic declarations and diatribes have their place, but sometimes you need a private space for your thoughts, dreams, and ramblings. Whether you crave a digital or analog tool, you’ll find it in this Hive Five.

Photo by Barnaby.

Earlier this week we asked you to share your favorite journaling tool. We’ve tallied the nominations and now we’re back to share the top five journaling tools. This week’s Hive Five is a mix of online and off, digital and analog, and a rather interesting sample of how Lifehacker readers like to record their thoughts for future reflection and posterity.

Microsoft Word (Windows/Mac, $99)

2009 05 09 222832 Five Best Journaling ToolsMany a person has started journaling by simply opening up the default word processor on their computer and setting to work. Microsoft Word is a fixture on hundreds of thousands of personal computers, and many Lifehacker readers found it more than adequate for their journaling endeavors. On top of creating documents in a commonly used format, most of us use Word at work and at home and are already quite familiar with the interface, formatting, and shortcuts. Being comfortable with your journaling tool of choice goes a long way towards encouraging you keep at it.

Pen and Paper (Analog, Variable Cost)

2009 05 09 224759 Five Best Journaling ToolsLong before people were pecking out their missives on typewriters, let alone keyboards, they were quietly scribbling them onto paper. In an age of instant sharing and easy digitization, many of you showed a strong affinity for recording your most private moments with the solidly analog and difficult to share medium: pen and paper. For many Lifehacker readers there is no substitute for the privacy and ease of use that comes with keeping an old fashioned paper-based journal. Among the variations of the pen and paper motif you submitted, readers showed a distinct passion for high-quality pens and Moleskine notebooks. Rich paper and smooth flowing ink is apparently the icing on the cake of analog journaling. Photo by MShades.

Microsoft OneNote (Windows, $99)

2009 05 09 230731 01 Five Best Journaling ToolsDesigned as a sophisticated note taking tool, Microsoft OneNote can easily do double duty as a journaling tool. If you like to drop photos, music, and other media into your journal entries, the file integration of OneNote makes such journal keeping tricks a cinch. The app can also easily link together your journal entries by text links and tags. OneNote’s Windows Mobile client and hand-writing recognition make it easy to record your thoughts during the day and dump them into your journal when you return home. If you’re unfamiliar with OneNote, our review of OneNote 2007 is worth a peek.

Evernote (Windows/Mac, Free-to-$5/month)

2009 05 09 231833 Five Best Journaling ToolsEvernote is a wildly popular application for capturing and organizing all manner of information thanks to its trifecta of desktop application, web-based interface, and mobile client. For many readers, it makes sense to simply work their daily reflections into the tool they already have at their fingertips. If you’re using Evernote as your personal journal, you can leverage the text recognition and tagging to make your journal entries available and easily search friendly. If you’ve avoided journaling because you consider it antiquated and hardly something a busy modern person takes the time for, Evernote makes it easy to write when you have the time, since it’s almost always with you thanks to a web and mobile phone presence. The free account can easily handle basic journaling, but if you find yourself needing more storage or use of the multimedia functions, there is a $5 a month premium account.


WordPress (Web Based, Free)

2009 05 09 235616 Five Best Journaling ToolsWhile blogging is usually intended for a larger audience, many of you used blogging software to maintain a personal journal. Among the blogging tools used, WordPress was a clear favorite thanks to its ease of use, ability to keep entires completely private, and a free-as-in-beer price tag. Using blog software as your journal tool has several benefits: You can log into your journal from anywhere, tag your entries, use text and calendar-based search, and take advantage of WordPress’s vast extensibility to customize and tweak your journal to include all the tools and information you desire. WordPress will run on your own web server (including your personal home web server), or you can sign up at for a basic account.

Now that you’ve had a chance to check out how your fellow readers journal, it’s time to cast your vote to determine who will be quill-wielding king of the self reflection castle.

If you’re aghast that your favorite method of journaling—cuneiform tablets anyone?—didn’t make the Hive Five, or you’ve just got a great journaling tip burning a hole in your pocket, share your thoughts in the comments below.

Categories: Apple, Apps, ipad, iPhone, Tech, windows Tags:

Top 10 Skills to Master Your Grill

July 4th, 2011 David No comments

77363 32 Top 10 Skills to Master Your Grill Kevin Purdygrilling splash Top 10 Skills to Master Your GrillThere’s something about grilling food outdoors that’s both exhilarating and terrifying. It’s great to commune with your food in such a straight-up way, but what if it goes wrong? We’re here to help overcome your fear of the flame, or step up your grilling game, with these 10 techniques.

Photo by adactio.

10. DIY marinades

Learn the Basic Chemistry of Marinades Top 10 Skills to Master Your GrillNot every cut can be filet mignon, and some meats, like pork, almost always deserve a lengthy dip in some flavor-infusing sweet and salty stuff. Your grocery store wants to sell you a 12 oz. bottle of sickly-sweet stuff for a hefty markup. But you’ve got oil, acids, and flavoring agents at home, so learn to make a basic marinade, and open up your grill to a whole cabinet of ideas. You won’t turn super-tough meat into tender tournadoes, but you’ll learn a lot about how to impart flavor to big, seemingly impenetrable cuts of the good stuff.

9. Steak improvement through salt

Salt and Cheap Steak Top 10 Skills to Master Your GrillIt makes your grandmother cry, but totally covering cheap, firm meat with salt, especially cheaper cuts of steak, just an hour before grilling or otherwise cooking is like giving it a really, really deep Shiatsu rubdown. The salt you cover the surface with—and then wipe off, rinse, and pat dry—denaturizes the long protein strands and mixes up the moisture spread in your steak. That turns them, in the Steamy Kitchen blog’s words, from cheap “choice” steak into Gucci “Prime” steak.

8. Chill soda, beer, or wine in two minutes

Waiting for meat to cook leaves you with a good amount of time to stand around and, well, drink something. But what if you forgot to drop your Coke/Sam Adams/Pinot grigio in the cooler or fridge before you cranked up the coals? Mythbuster Adam Savage, one of our favorite interviewees, explains a last-minute chilling technique at Metafilter: Spin it around in some heavily salted ice water. Savage claims it’s based in science instead of backyard lore, and I believe him—it’s amazed many a dinner party host with a “I forgot to” dilemma.

7. Easy grill cleaning

Clean Your Grill with an Onion Top 10 Skills to Master Your GrillMaybe you’re pulling out the grilling can for the first time this weekend, and … eee-yuck. Here’s what you do. Swipe off whatever big, grungy stuff you can with a stiff (preferably wire) brush and then toss it in your oven on self-clean. Now that a majority of the tough stuff is off, or at least loosened, you probably won’t have to swing for any specialty tools—a wad of aluminum foil can suffice. For light, between-meal cleaning, rubbing a face-down half onion on a heated grill is an eco-friendly way to get in and around the bars without burning your hands or leaving non-compatible scents for your food.

6. Use your broiler as a backup

nytimes chicken Top 10 Skills to Master Your GrillUnless you live in Hawaii, you really can’t count on the weather to hold for your grilling just because you bought buns and paper plates. If it’s just a drizzle and you can make do with the garage door open, go to it. If the weather or temperature really put a crimp in your style, or you just lack for grill space, consider braising and browning with your broiler. Slow-cooking the food in liquid, then crisping the exterior with a quick broil, gives you surprisingly grill-like results. For big groups or days when it just doesn’t seem like standing outside is feasible, consider the tiny grill your already own in your kitchen.

5. Get started with smoking

kettle smoker Top 10 Skills to Master Your GrillThere exists a comfortable middle ground between having spent a summer working for the barbecue kings of Kansas City and just wanting a little hickory flavor in your food. Hank Shaw, who’s one serious meat fan, knows exactly where that sweet spot. Using just two grocery-store-standard aluminum pans and some wood chips, he turns a kettle grill into a smoker, one that turns out certifiably tasty ribs with real smoke flavor. Like any barbecue exercise, the real secret ingredients are time, patience, and a tasty rub or sauce.

4. Make your own BBQ sauce

diy bbq sauce Top 10 Skills to Master Your GrillYou’ve already put the time and care into tending to your flame, your meat, and your sides, so why settle for a bottle of stuff found next to the ketchup, laced with corn syrup? The BBQ Recipe Secrets blog runs down three basic sauces, covering the traditional tomato sauce, a Carolina-esque vinegar version, and a basic mustard variant. We’ve made this tomato sauce template and been happy to tweak it in different ways, which you can, too. Photo by INeedCoffee / CoffeeHero.

3. Use a cheat sheet

cheat sheet Top 10 Skills to Master Your GrillWe like Real Simple’s grid-style grilling cheat sheet, as it provides both basic, reassuring timings for a standard grill that won’t leave anyone with undercooked food, and won’t turn out dried-out cinders or hockey pucks, either. It also helps you arrange items across your cooking surface, as you move items from direct flame heat to indirect, ambient cooking. Got another favorite, printable guide? Link it for everyone in the comments.

2. Know when meat is done

Five Finger Palm Steak Technique Top 10 Skills to Master Your GrillUnless you’ve got a serious instant-read thermometer, it’s a pain to keep stabbing your meal-to-be, or, even worse, cut it open, to determine just when it’s just at the edge of safe to eat. Skip the torture and use your hands. By touching your thumb to each of your fingers, and then pressing on your thumb muscle as it changes firmness, you’ll get an idea of how your steak should feel, moving from rare to well done as your thumb muscle moves from your index to your pinky finger. Whole chickens are a similar matter of intuitive touch, or, actually, a twist of the chicken leg. If the leg won’t move, it’s not quite ready—you want there to be a slight amount of tension, and then feel the joints release as you apply soft pressure.

1. Perfect burgers

How to grill a perfect burger Top 10 Skills to Master Your GrillWe asked and our commenters responded about what makes the perfect grilled burger: Good meat, preferably ground while you watch, kept at room temperature right before grilling, and not pressed and overly handled. We’d just add that you shouldn’t try to compress your homemade patties into chain-restaurant-style discs, and that seasoning your patties with salt and pepper right before they hit the heat makes a big difference.

Our list covers a lot of what the average griller would cook up for their friends or family, but we’re certainly open to suggestions—especially vegetarian ideas and technique suggestions. And be sure to check out last year’s guide to becoming the memorial day grill master for more techniques and basic starter tips.

Categories: food Tags:
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