iPhone App of the Week – MyWeather Mobile

The iPhone has a built-in weather app. So why would anyone pay $9.99 for another one? I was very hesitant at first to try MyWeather Mobile. After all $9.99 is on the high end of iPhone app prices. Although the built-in weather app does a good job of letting you know the current conditions and the highs and lows, it does nothing for showing you forecasts, trends or precipitation. 


Is it going to rain/snow today?

If you live somewhere that has mild climates or weather that doesn’t change much, then you can probably be quite content with the built-in app. However, if you live in the North or Midwest, then you know weather can change at the drop of a hat. Here in Michigan it could be 70° and sunny, raining and cloudy, snowing with sleet and hail all in the same day. As a frequent traveler, I want to know what I’m heading into. Will there be a chance that my flights could be delayed or cancelled due to weather?


MyWeather Mobile

This is where MyWeather Mobile comes in. This app goes way beyond the features of the built-in weather app. The big feature for me is forecasts! Not just what it’s doing outside now. Like the built-in app, you can add multiple cities. However, in addition to enter the city, you can actually use your contacts list.

So for example, rather than putting in Scott’s city, I can just use his Contact info as a location and it will show me the weather where he lives. Also instead of having to put your current city in all the time, it’s location based and will always show you the weather of where you currently are located.

The graphics are great in this app. Very detailed and well done. It also supports a widescreen view of the trends screen. Just rotate your iPhone or iPod touch.

The bottom line

If the built-in weather app leaves you wanting more, then MyWeather mobile is worth a look. Do I think it should cost less, absolutely. However, if you need/want these features, then $9.99 is worth it. Otherwise, keep looking. After having it now for a few weeks, I don’t regret spending $9.99 on it. Works with the iPhone and iPod touch. You can check it out here on the App Store.

Why no 8″x12″ photo paper?

Everyone I know shoots digitally now! While I’m sure there are some folks out there that are perfectly content using film, I would dare say that there are more people shooting with digital cameras these days. I don’t do much photo printing, but when I do I always wonder why I end up having to crop my photo to fit the “traditional” sizes of 5×7, 8×10, etc. While visiting another photographer friend of mine, I happen to notice that she had tons of prints that were slightly larger than 8″x10″, they were 8″x12″. The beauty of this size is that your digital file will need little to no cropping. When I asked her where she got them printed, her response was Costco! I was stunned! While I had heard that lots of photographers use Costco with much success, I just didn’t believe it. 


Putting Costco to the test

I decided to give it a try. I took one of my recent shots and exported it from Lightroom 2.1 as a high res JPEG and uploaded it to the Costco Photo Center site. A few days later, the print came back and I was very impressed with the quality. The color seemed dead on (I’m not a color fanatic, so Y.M.M.V.) and there was very little if any cropping. At $1.49 for an 8″x12″ print (membership required), I also couldn’t complain about the price! Most services charge roughly $3 for an 8″x10″. The shipping prices were also very reasonable (there is a pickup option too, but I don’t have time for that). By the way, the 8×12 print was on Kodak paper!


Same photo with an 8x10 crop

Same photo with an 8×10 crop




So why can’t I do it myself?

After my very positive experience with Costco, I wondered if I could just order some 8″x12″ inch paper for my Epson printer? Like I said, I don’t do very many prints, but it’s always nice to be able to print a photo on the spot in a pinch. Nope! Nada! The Epson store doesn’t carry this size. Then I just did a quick Google search for 8″x12″ photo paper and basically got nothing!!! I was shocked. I read a few stories about how paper is made and that “odd” sizes are more costly to produce. While that may be true, it would seem that there would be a market for this size even if the price was more. Yes, I’m sure that there is a company out there that either sells this size or will custom cut it for you, but the point is why isn’t it more main stream?


What about frames?

Of course this also begs the question, “what about picture frames?” Sure, there are some 8″x12″ frames out there, but the selection is slim. I also doubt that the average store is going to carry them on the shelf. Why would they if no one really carries the paper? Costco isn’t the only one that prints in this size. I also noticed that Mpix also does 8″x12″s ($2.99). They will also frame them for you and ship them ready to hang. It’s not cheap, but it is very good quality. I recently got some 20″x30″ images done by them, framed and I was very pleased with the results.


When will the industry change?

Why is the industry still stuck on these “old” formats (8×10, 5×7, 4×6, etc.)? When will we see it change? Your guess is as good as mine. However, I’m not going to wait for it to happen. When I need a print from now on it will be with a service that prints the sizes I want without losing part of my image. Perhaps Epson, Canon, HP, etc. will read this and start offering paper/print drivers in digital friendly sizes.

I can dream, can’t I?

How do you recycle your old gear?

Usually when I upgrade to a new piece of gear, there is a family member, friend or eBay customer that benefits from my old gear. However, sometimes I hold on to stuff so long that it’s just not really worth the effort of trying to sell or pass down. I’ve been guilty in the past of just tossing old outdated electronics in the trash. However, this year I wanted to start doing the right thing by recycling my ancient stuff. Luckily someone posted a message on my user group’s bulletin board about a “recycling event” nearby where you could just drive up with all your unwanted gear and they would take it off your hands. Although I had a million things going on that weekend, I said to myself “when am I going to get another chance like this to dump all this stuff that’s just taking up space?” So I loaded up the back of the SUV and headed over to the lot on a rainy Saturday morning. 

There was a semi truck and a team of people unloading people’s cars. The whole process was painless! I left with a warm fuzzy green feeling about the whole thing and vowed never to just toss electronics again. From here on out I would dispose of my gear properly. If you’re looking for your local electronics recycling place, here’s a good site to start with.


The scary truth about the electronics and computers we discard

In a perfect world our old gear is recycled responsibly. However, where there is a buck to be made, there will be corruption and laws broken. Check out this scary video about the reality of the recycling underworld:

Also check out this Popular Mechanics article: Recycling Myths Debunked – Interest Recycling Facts.

I made Amazon’s “Top 10 Must-Have Books”

Once again I’m honored to have one of my books on one of Amazon’s “Top Lists”! Last year I had the distinct honor of having the #1 spot on their editor’s picks for the 2007 Best Computer Book. Well this year, I’m thrilled once again to be on their list. This time my iPhone Book 2nd Edition, co-authored with my buddy Scott Kelby, has made Amazon’s “Top 10 Must-Have Books” for the 2008 holiday season. What makes it even more special this year is that their Top 10 Must-Have Books list is of ALL BOOKS, not just computer books. It was just last week that I published my own 2008 Holiday Gadget Gift Guide, but now to be on Amazon’s list just makes my freakin’ day! What a great start to a very busy week. Happy Monday! :)

Also I’d like to congratulate both Scott Kelby and Joe McNally for making Amazon’s Best Books of 2008 list!

iPhone App of the Week – Sportacular

Admittedly I’m not a huge sports fan. In other words unless it’s something special, I don’t plan to watch sports on TV. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have favorite teams and like to engage in conversations with friends about who’s winning and who’s losing. Speaking of losing, no cracks about the Detroit Lions. Enough said.

Sportacular gets it right

Sportacular is a FREE app for the iPhone and iPod touch that allows you to keep track of your favorite teams. The interface is brilliant. You simply select your favorite teams across national and college leagues and Sportactular will give you up to the minute scores, schedules of upcoming games, and stats.

Just last weekend I was in a workshop and someone mentioned that the Lions were playing. So I pulled out my iPhone and tapped Sportacular and in a few seconds I had the score (they were winning by the way at the point). Scores are updated every 30 seconds as long as the app is running. Every year my buddy who graduated from Ohio State likes to come over and watch the Ohio vs. Michigan game. I have no vested interest in either team, but it’s fun watching him get all worked up. With Sportacular I can keep track of Michigan’s college games too including the schedule of upcoming games.

Sportacular is another example of a well thought out app that just works! That’s why it’s my pick for the iPhone App of the Week. It’s free and has minimal ads. Download it from the App Store.


Congratulations to the winners of the iPhone Photo Contest

I want to take a moment to congratulate and thank the Winners of the iPhone Photo Contest. Lot’s of great entries and it was certainly hard to pick winners. Luckily the public helped out in a big way by voting!

My 2008 Holiday Gadget Gift Guide is here!

It’s that time of year already! I’ve just completed my annual “Terry White’s 2008 Holiday Gadget Gift Guide”. That’s right it’s my guide to help you with you holiday shopping for the gadget lover (freak) on your list. The way this thing started was last year towards the holiday season all my friends started asking me and emailing about what my picks were in various categories and of course the answers were the same. So I decided to compile a list and just email it to the folks that asked. This year I start the guide off with a (humorous) look at gifts WE DON’T WANT!

The guide is broken out by product category and lists my picks from the lowest dollar amount to the highest. So there are products in just about every price range. The guide is interactive with links to each of the products (just click on the price) on sites that I trust to make online purchases from and have dealt with in the past. Each of the products are either products that I use or products that come highly recommended by friends whose opinions I trust.

So check it out today!


PS. As you might have guessed the entire guide was built in Adobe InDesign CS4 and Adobe Acrobat 9 Professional.

Adobe CS4 Wallpapers and Screen Saver

Back by popular demand!

You’ve asked for them and now they’re here. Adobe has made available Creative Suite 4 themed wallpapers and screen savers and you can download them here. Adobe CS4 Wallpapers Adobe CS4 Screen Saver – Mac Adobe CS4 Screen Saver – Windows

Get out and VOTE TODAY!

If you are a US citizen, registered voter and haven’t participated in early voting, TODAY is the the day that you need to GET OUT AND VOTE! This is by far the most important election in our history. Be a part of it. If you don’t go vote, then don’t complain about what happens!


If you’re still undecided, then perhaps these videos will push you over the edge:

Netflix Streaming Coming to a TiVo HD Near You!

My TiVo HD seems to be the gadget that just keeps on giving. The newness hasn’t even worn off my New LG BD300 Blu-ray player that streams Netflix, and bam TiVo announces a partnership with Netflix to bring streaming to the boxes I already own. Am I mad? No. I simply returned the LG to Bestbuy and bought another Sony instead. The LG does cost about $100 more than the Sony BDP-S350 (which has dropped down to $253.99) that I like so much, so It was a no-brainer to return it and just wait for the TiVo software update.

I’m very happy to see Netflix expand their service to more players. They also announced that they will be streaming HD movies to the Xbox 360. While I’m not in the market for an Xbox, I’m hoping that that HD streaming also makes its way to the TiVo HD as well! 

As soon as the TiVo gets updated with Netflix streaming I’ll report back on how it works. If you have a TiVo Series 3, TiVo HD or TiVo HD XL there is nothing you have to do. You’ll get this new feature via a software update that will automatically download to your TiVo. Also there will be no additional cost to your TiVo or Netflix service. Stay tuned for more…


In the meantime…

Netflix has finally made it’s movie streaming service compatible with Macs. Check it out here.

iPhone App of the Week – SuperBall 2

Time to have some fun! 

While I certainly love picking from the hundreds if not thousands of iPhone apps (there are now over 5,000 apps on the App Store) that increase my productivity, I do like to have fun every now and then. That leads me to my new addiction: SuperBall 2! This game is like crack. Once you start playing it, you just won’t be able to stop. This game is like a mix between the old pong games and Breakout. You control it using the built-in iPhone (or iPod touch) accelerometer. So you move the paddle side-to-side by tilting the device.

I started with the FREE version: SuperBall 2 Lite. This free version has 10 levels. Not bad at all for a free game. I must say that I absolutely SUCKED at this game at first. It took me a long time to even get pass the first level. Then I finally got the hang of it. After I got the hang of it, I wanted MORE! So I didn’t hesitate to head over to the App Store and buy the full version which sports 300 LEVELS plus a dozen two player levels! I was also pleased to see it on sale for only $1.99. Game play is good and the variety of activities/levels is also good. The sound effects are well done. Also no crashes. 

With an iPhone, you never have any reason to be bored. Now I won’t mind waiting in long lines on November 4th to cast my vote in the general election. I’ll have something make the time fly. I better start reviewing some of those external batteries :)

You can download the FREE version of SuperBall 2 Lite or the full version of SuperBall 2 for $1.99. These work on the iPhone or the iPod touch.

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