To Netshare or not?

Apparently Apple can’t decide whether or not they want to (or are allowed to) sell Nullriver Inc.’s very cool Netshare app for the iPhone. This app addresses the need to allow your laptop to surf the internet wirelessly via your iPhone’s 3G or EDGE data connection. In effect turning your iPhone into a Wi-Fi hotspot. Something I wrote about as a cool idea back in April. Apple pulled this app from the App store with no explanation to the developer. Then it was posted again and I bought it. I experimented with it yesterday and while it wasn’t perfect, it did work.

This app was somewhat controversial as it appears to violate AT&T’s agreement (I’m not a lawyer, so don’t ask?). Something to the effect that you can’t use an iPhone tethered to your laptop in this manner. That in and of itself is odd seeing that AT&T does allow this with other phones they sell.

Today I decided to add some new pictures to my iPhone so I sycn’d it with iTunes. Then I noticed the display in iTunes saying “removing Netshare app”. For a moment I just thought that “maybe it was replacing it with a new version or update.” Nope, it’s gone! Now this is kinda scary on a “big brother” level. Apple seems to have built-in the ability to remove apps from your iPhone without your consent (maybe you actually give consent in the iTunes license agreement that you accept, but um I haven’t read that thing – have you?).

Of course I expect a full credit for the purchase price (plus tax). After all, I didn’t do anything wrong. I bought the app from the App store fair and square. I’ve already reported it via the “Report a Problem” link through the account area of iTunes. I’ll keep you posted on what happens.

Update – Email I received from the iTunes App Store:

Dear Terry,

I’m sorry to hear that the item you purchased did not download properly. Unfortunately, the availability of this item has changed since the time of your purchase, so I’m not able to help you download it.

Please accept my sincere apologies for any frustration this experience has caused you. I have reversed the charge for this purchase. You will see a credit of $10.59, which includes any estimated applicable taxes, in three to five business days. If you used store credit to make the purchase, the credit will appear in your iTunes Store account.


iTunes Store Customer Support

Update #2

I’ve received a lot of comments from people that say, “well it’s still on my iPhone” and I say to you – GREAT! I’ve been thinking about the sequence of events and my guess is that I just suffered from bad timing. When I purchased the app directly on my iPhone last Saturday, it was obviously still on the App store. When I did my first sync after purchasing it (which was the next day on Sunday), my guess is that iTunes removed it because it was no longer on the App store and therefore figured it must have been a hack of some kind or other illegal app. Maybe that’s a feature built-in to iTunes to keep people from circumventing the App store and installing their own apps. In all the comments I’ve received, all of you say that it’s still on your computer in the Applications area of iTunes and that’s my point. It was either there because you bought the app using your computer OR it was put there because you sync’d your computer before it was removed from the App store. Again, I get it! You still have the app which is great. If I had sync’d my iPhone on Saturday, I’d probably still have it too. I have received my credit and all is good. If the app returns to the store, I’ll buy it again. In the meantime no worries.

Update #3

Check out this interesting find over at MacNN on how Apple may have built-in the ability to kill apps remotely. Again, I’m not suggesting that this was the case with me (more likely an issue of bad timing in my case), but curious nonetheless.

Blogging from the beach

I don’t really have anything to review today. I’m here in Myrtle Beach with family taking a little mini vacation. I just got a phone call and then I remembered the WordPress app on my iPhone and decided to give it a real world test right here and right now. Surprisingly the AT&T 3G coverage has been pretty good here. Here are a couple of shots. I’ll be back next week with some new reviews. Have a great rest of your weekend. 😉




Why is there no "Nearest Apple Store" app?

It seems like it would be a no brainer for Apple to develop a free app for the iPhone/iPod touch that would direct you to the nearest Apple Retail Store based upon your current location. Since I travel for a living, it’s always nice to know where the nearest Apple store is, just in case I want to pop in and grab an accessory or peripheral or worse, get technical support on my MacBook Pro. Now that there are 3rd party apps for the iPhone and they can be "location aware", it seems like it would be a piece of cake for Apple to do this. Sure, it could be argued that you can kinda do this already with the Maps app, but it’s not always as accurate as a dedicated app would be. For example, I did a search for "Apple Store Charleston south carolina" and got everything but the one store that is there. So Apple, how about it?

Lightroom 2 Has Shipped!

I couldn’t be happier that Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2.0 has shipped! As many of you know Lightroom 2 has been in public beta since early Spring. This new version boast several features that make Lightroom (LR) much more approachable and powerful. When the beta first came out I did a video on the NEW features. There have been a few new features and refinements added since the public beta. I just created a NEW video showing how you can now do some basic portrait retouching right in LR with the New Adjustment Brush! This brush allows you to do localized corrections (corrections on specific areas of the photo utilizing automasking). It’s really amazing! The good folks over at NAPP have launched a Lightroom 2 Learning Center! Be sure to check it out. It’s free!


What’s cool?

LR 2.0 remains a completely non-destructive editing app. You can work with JPEG, RAW, TIFF and PSDs. Speaking of RAW, there is (unoffcial) support for the hot new Nikon D700 which just shipped! How’s that for timing?

New in Lightroom 2.0

Library Module

Streamlined Organization and Worfklow

Layout: The entire Library layout has been revisited to provide a more intuitive image organization experience.  The left hand panel of the Library has been streamlined to include only the most relevant image sources: the folders the images are physically stored in and collections of images that the photographer creates.  

Photographers working across multiple hard drives will find that the enhanced volume and folder layout will make it a much more intuitive experience to manage images on one or many hard drives.  The volume indicators clearly indicate the hard drive that you’re working with and provide the option to show the online/offline status, the amount of space available, the number of photos you’re working with and there’s an indicator light that migrates from green to red as your hard drive fills up. Now it’s visually much easier to move your images from hard drive to hard drive and understand where your images are stored when a external hard drive is no longer connected.

The Collection panel has received significant attention with the addition of improved iconography and collection sets that allow photographers to create a hierarchy while maintaining collection-specific sort order. (Hierarchical collections have been removed in order to support the new organization model and will be migrated appropriately from 1.0 to 2.0 libraries)  There is also the ability to save output specific collections for Slideshow/Print/Web.  This can be accomplished by creating a new collection item while in the specific output module.  The subsequent icon in the collection panel will provide a quick reference and link to the images and output settings you created.  Collections still maintain their auto-save capabilities when it comes to on-the-fly output creations that don’t require a persistent entry in the Library.  

Smart Collections
are now available.  Specify the criteria for a smart collection and images will be automatically added to the collection if they meet the criteria. An expert user tip: Try alt/option clicking when adding a new search criterion.


Target Collection
functionality allows you to specify any Lightroom collection as the destination of the quick collection shortcut key, B.

Filter Bar:
 With the source location of the images clearly defined in the left hand panel, the top of the grid view provides a panel that will filter the content.  Use the ‘\’ key to hide or show the filter functionality and expand one section at a time to filter the content.  Each category below can be toggled on or off by clicking on the name and multiple filter categories can be shift-selected to provide additional control.
Text: Search across your images using text search field
Refine: Filter your grid view by flags, star ratings, color labels and the type of file, Master or Virtual Copy. This functionality was previously located only in the right hand side of the filmstrip.  It still remains in that location now labeled ‘Filter’ as a quick tool that can be used in any module.
Metadata: A wide range of metadata is now presented in easy to browse filter columns that can be added, removed and customized per your organization workflow.  Choose the field to filter on by clicking on the column header and select menu icon at the right side of each column to add or remove a column.   The column arrangement and selection can be stored as a preset that is defined in the upper right hand corner of the filter bar.  Note that the Date and Location fields contain the option to show hierarchical or flat representations of the data.  The Date field also includes the day of the week in addition to the numerical date.
The Keywording pane has a new Keyword Set called “Suggested Keywords.” Keywording is simplified through Lightroom’s ability to suggest keywords for the current image based on existing keywords applied to that image as well as keywords applied to images that are close neighbors in terms of capture time.  For example, if a number of images in a catalog contain the keywords dog and beach, an image assigned the keyword ‘beach’ will cause the suggested keyword panel to automatically update to show ‘dog’ as a suggested keyword. The Keywording panel also includes a dedicated keyword entry field below the larger box that displays all of the assigned keywords. The Keyword List provides a convenient filter to help find and manage your keywords. Checkboxes are available to quickly apply additional keywords to the selected images and arrows to the right of each keyword are a link to view all of the images tagged with that keyword.

Multiple Monitors:
Lightroom 2.0 beta offers a dual monitor solution that can adjust to fit your particular monitor set up.   The main Lightroom window that includes the Module picker can be positioned on either monitor and the following views can be provided on an additional monitor. To activate a multiple monitor environment, choose the monitor icon in the lower right hand side of Lightroom, just above the filmstrip.  If a second monitor is not attached, a second window will appear on a single display.

  • Grid: Place the grid on a secondary monitor for quick image selection while the develop module is displayed on the other monitor.  Or use the grid to reorder images while creating slideshow, print or web output.
  • Loupe:  Allows an image at a preferred zoom level display on an alternate monitor.  
    • In Normal mode, the image displayed on the alternate monitor is changed when the selection is changed in the primary Lightroom window.
    • Live mode is continually updated based on the image and area of an image the mouse is currently hovering or passing over.  Zooming to a 1:1 view allows for quick focus checking across a number of images displayed in a grid view on the primary monitor.
    • Locked mode fixes the image displayed on the alternate monitor until you wish to change the selection by selecting alt/option-Enter to make the current selection visible.
  • Compare: Offers the same powerful compare functionality previously in the Library but can now be used to compare images while selections are made in the grid view in the Library or while adjustments are made in the Develop module.
  • Survey:  View multiple images at once while organizing or adjusting in another display.

Photoshop Integration:  
Lightroom can now open images directly in Photoshop without writing out TIFF or PSD files first. The previous ‘write file to disk first’ behavior was inefficient and the new behavior enables a faster a more functional workflow that includes:

  • Open files in Photoshop as a Smart Object: Utilize the non-destructive smart object workflow by opening the image as a smart object directly into a Photoshop document.
  • Select multiple images to merge as a Panorama utilizing Photoshop CS3’s incredible new panorama functionality
  • Merge multiple exposures into a single Photoshop HDR image
  • Load multiple files or virtual copies into Photoshop as separate layers in a single document.
  • Important Note:  This integration is only available with Photoshop CS3 (10.0.1)

Export Functionality:
Managing and organizing exported images is much easier now with the following capabilities:

  • Export files automatically to the same folder as the original or a subfolder of the original
  • Add the exported images to the Lightroom catalog with the option of stacking the export file with the original
  • Sharpen images on export for Print or Screen usage utilizing an adaptive algorithm that takes into account the intended use and resolution.
  • Send exported images directly to another third party application selected in the export dialog

More notes on Library functionality:

  • The 10k pixel limit has been lifted and now images with up to 65,000 pixels per side or 512MP total may be imported into Lightroom.  This is particularly useful when utilizing the new Photoshop integration for panorama creation.

Develop Module

Localized Correction: The develop module now provides the ability to correct specific areas of an image without affecting other areas.  A common example of this in traditional photography would be the dodge and burn experience in the darkroom.  Lightroom provides brushes that a photographer can ‘load’ with different types of corrective techniques that were previously only available globally including exposure, brightness, clarity and saturation.  Images can also be tinted locally using specific hue and saturation values that can provide an excellent way of counteracting mixed lighting environments.
The tools previously available in the toolbar have been relocated to the right hand panel just below the histogram. (Crop, Clone/Heal, Red Eye and the new local correction brush)  Selecting a tool from the panel will reveal the options for that tool.  Click on it again to hide those options and return to the standard develop panel.

Adjustment Brush
The controls available for the local correction brush are segmented into three basic areas: Mask, Effect and Brush.  A quick walkthrough of the correction technique is below:

  • On entering the local correction panel the brush will become active.  
  • The type of desired correction should be selected from the Effect section.  A photographer can paint in a positive brightness effect for the shadows and a negative exposure effect for a bright sky.
  • Combinations of effects can be selected and saved as presets by showing the effects sliders. (Horizontal toggle in the upper right area of the effect panel)
  • The brush size, feather and opacity can be set before applying the correction.  An Auto Mask option is available to help confine the brush strokes and subsequent mask within an area of similar color.  The airbrush option provides a diffused correction application relative to the standard painting mode.  
  • Once a brush stroke is applied, a circular point or pin will appear on the image where you first applied the brush stroke.  Additional brush strokes can be applied that will add to the current correction area. To refine the area hold down the Alt or Option key to begin erasing with the brush.
  • To adjust the amount applied to the entire area click down on the circular marker or pin and move the cursor to the left or the right to decrease or increase the amount setting.
  • To refine the correction settings, click on the pin and detailed adjustments are available in the right panel and will be applied to the selected pin.  
  • Create a new correction mask or brush stroke by selecting the New option.
  • The pins can be hidden or shown with the H shortcut key.
  • Use one of the tint presets provided to apply a color tint or use the Lightroom color selection dialog by double-clicking on the rectangle to the right of the presets.  Change a preset by selecting a color in the dialog then click-and-hold on the preset box to be populated by that selection.
  • There are two brush presets represented by A and B in the brush section.  After modification of the brush controls, a preset can be updated by clicking and holding on the specific preset letter to be associated with the settings.

Graduated Filter
Recreating the effect of a graduated neutral density filter, this tool goes even further allowing the ability to modify all of the effect parameters in a single graduated effect.  Select the effect and click and drag the gradient onto the image.  Rotate and adjust as necessary. You can also return to the specific effect settings and modify them after the filter is applied.

Shortcut Keys
Local Adjustment Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Toggle Adjustment Brush – K
  • Toggle Graduated Filter – M
  • Graduated Filter Scale from Center – Alt/Option + Drag
  • Hide/Show Pins – H
  • Always Show – Shift + Command/Control + H
  • Show Selected/Never Show – Shift + H
  • New Adjustment Pin – Enter/Return
  • Switch Brush – /
  • Increase Amount – Right Arrow
  • Decrease Amount – Left Arrow
  • Erase – Alt/Option
  • Increase Brush Size – ]
  • Decrease Brush Size – [
  •  Increase Feather – Shift ]
  • Decrease Feather – Shift [
  • Set Flow Amount – Number Keys
  • Auto-Mask – A
  • Show/Hide Mask Overlay – O
  • Cycle Mask Overlay Colors – Shift + O
  • Constrain brush stroke to straight line – Shift
  • Invert Gradient – ‘

: The previous lens correction vignette effect was only applied to the entire image frame and as an artistic effect could be obscured after an image was cropped.  An additional framing vignette effect has been added that will apply a vignette to an image, respecting the cropped borders.
Basic Panel Keyboard Shortcuts:  Photographers who prefer to utilize their keyboards for basic image adjustments will find that the +/- keys are linked to the Exposure adjustment in the Develop module.  Adding the Shift key will boost the increment amount, the comma and period keys will cycle through the basic panel controls and the semi-colon will reset the control currently in focus.

Improved Auto Adjustment:  
The Auto adjustment has been modified in response to feedback that previous adjustments were too bright.
Improved profiles for Raw data:  An enhanced set of profiles has been released on Adobe Labs in order to provide an improved default rendering of raw data.  In addition to the improved Adobe default profile, there are additional profiles for each camera that emulate the results that would be obtained were those settings chosen in the camera manufacturers software or if the photographer chose to shoot JPEG.
Print Module
Picture Package: The print module now provides the ability to create multi i-page layouts for a single image arranged in multiple sizes. This allows photographers to quickly and easily print a package of images quickly and easily.  

  • Choose Picture Package from the Layout Engine in the top right corner of the print module and a blank page will be presented.
  • In the Cells panel click on one of the preset size to add an image cell to the page or use the drop down option to edit and create your own custom size.  Cells can be added to the page until the page is filled and a new page will be added to the layout automatically.  Up to six pages can be included in a layout.  
  • After all of the required cells have been added, choose Auto Layout to automatically create an efficient, easy to cut print layout or manually move the cells to your liking.
  • To move a cell, click on the image and move the cell to the desired location.  To delete an image cell, click on the image and choose delete.  A page can be deleted by mousing over the page and clicking on the ‘X’ in the red circle.
  • When an image aspect ration is much different than the cell aspect ratio, the image can be moved within the cell by holding the CMD/CTRL key down and clicking on the image and dragging it.

Print to JPEG:  Many photographers have asked for the ability to send their Lightroom print layouts directly to a lab that will print JPEG files.  Choose JPEG as the option in the Print Job dialog to specify your print output as a JPEG file for lab delivery. (Select a custom ICC profile for your lab in the color management area)
Print Sharpening:  Lightroom previously provided three levels of print sharpening.  Impressive new algorithms have been added to automatically determine the correct amount of print sharpening required based on the output media and resolution of the file.
Lightroom 2 SDK
The Lightroom SDK allows you to customize and extend certain Lightroom features by creating plug-ins. In the current release these features are extensible:
Export functionality: You can create an export plug-in, which customizes the behavior of Lightroom’s
Export dialog and export processing. You can add or remove items from the Export dialog, alter or augment the rendering process, and send images to locations other than files on the local computer.
Metadata: You can define customized public or private metadata fields for Lightroom. Public or
private metadata can be associated with individual photos.
Web engine functionality: You can create an HTML web-engine plug-in, which defines a new type of
HTML photo gallery. The engines you define appear in the Gallery panel at the upper right of the Web
A Lightroom plug-in consists of Lua-language files (scripts) that define the plug-in functionality, and an information or manifest file that describes the contents of the plug-in. The information file must have a specific name, and be placed in a folder with the Lua source files and resource files; the folders may need to be in specific locations.
Lightroom 2 beta vs. Lightroom 2
Changes from LR2 beta to LR2 below:

  • Hierarchical Dates and locations in the Library Filter. (Including days of the week for the date)
  • The Volume Browser in the folder panel. (Volume name plus several ” The volume indicators clearly indicate the hard drive that you’re working with and provide the option to show the online/offline status, the amount of space available, the number of photos you’re working with and there’s an indicator light that migrates from green to red as your hard drive fills up.  Now it’s visually much easier to move your images from hard drive to hard drive and understand where your images are stored when a external hard drive is no longer connected.”)
  •  Improved iconography for folders, collections, collection sets and output collections
  • Dedicated keyword input field in the keywording pane. (Always awkward to enter keywords when there are already a number in the field already)
  • Ability to add or remove metadata filter columns
  • Improved Keyword List interface. (Including filter by keyword to manage and organize keywords)
  • Repositioned and refined dual monitor support location and experience. (Moved from right to left and the ultimate dual monitor experience is much more polished in terms of performance and stability
  • Ability to set target collection for quick collection shortcut(b). (Target any collection as the target when you hit the B key)
  • Lightroom Web, Metadata and Export SDK available on the Adobe Dev Center
  • Local control improvements
  • Complete list of local controls including, Exposure, Brightness, Contrast, Saturation, Sharpness, Clarity and a color toning option available for the brush or gradient adjustment tool
  • Additional gradient adjustment tool
  • Improved auto-mask functionality
  • Improved brush performance
  • Additional post crop vignette options: roundness, feather
  • DNG Profiles Concept
  • DNG Profile Editor available on Labs
  • Profiles for our current raw support list available
  • Match camera JPEG looks in the Calibration tab by selection Camera Standard profile
  • Export to JPEG functionality in the Slideshow Module. (Intermediate format for additional authoring tools)
  • Enhanced output sharpening based on feedback
  • 64-bit memory handling improvements


A New Camera RAW for Photoshop CS3 and Elements 6

Camera Raw 4.5
Camera Raw has been updated to 4.5 at the same time to work with the new adjustments in Lightroom 2.  It will provide exactly the same rendering obtained in Lightroom 2.
CR/DNG Macintosh/Windows



  • Price: Lightroom 2 is priced at $299 with a $99 upgrade for 1.x users.
  • 30 Day Trial Available
  • Cross-Platform Mac/Win

Nikon D700: Quick First Impressions

This is NOT a "review" of the Nikon D700. It only just arrived this morning (thanks to my buddy Gabriel at B&H Photo) and I haven’t really had any time today to take it through its paces. So this is more of just a first look and some random thoughts. I guess the best way for me to describe the D700 is it’s the camera you would get if the insanely popular Nikon D3 and the Nikon D300 had a baby. This Full-Frame sensor body fits nicely right in-between those two great cameras.

I really wasn’t in the market for a new camera. Seriously, I wasn’t! However, I always wanted to have 2 camera bodies for shoots where I’m constantly switching lenses. Although I’d love to have bragging rights on a D3, I just couldn’t justify the $5K price for my "hobby." At some point I was probably going to get a second D300 and then the D700 came along and I said, "SOLD!" It’s like having the best features of the D3 in a D300 body. It has the great low level noise (which I haven’t tested yet) and Full Frame sensor of the D3 with ISO up to 6400, yet it has the sensor dust shaker, built-in Flash (Commander) and relatively small size of the D300. It’s also $2K less than the D3. This is my first Full-Frame DSLR and I’m pretty excited about it. I’ve been investing in good glass lately, so this new body comes in just at the right time.

Nikon D700 RAW shooters will be happy with the soon to be released Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2 upgrade :) (can’t say any more than that). So far I’ve tried it with my 18-200mm VR lens (DX cropped), and my Nikkor 28-70mm f/2.8 and my 70-200mm f/2.8 lenses and I’m very pleased! Most of the controls are the same as the D300. They made a couple of refinements to the things like the Compact Flash door. It just slides open without having to press a switch. Also the multi-selector wheel thingy has a better feel to it. I also noticed that the shutter has a more distinct (satisfying sound). Again, little things in the short few hours of initial play. It uses the same MB-D10 Battery Grip as the D300 and therefore will use the same L-Brackets (like my Kirk Photo one) for your tripod heads.

Nikon is definitely back in to the fight with a vengeance! More later, when I get a chance to do some real testing.


How Much Faster is the iPhone 3g?

One of the questions I’ve been getting a lot lately from friends and family is, "what’s different about the iPhone 3g?" I simply respond "faster data." That usually works and is sufficient. Sometimes I get blank stares. So I have to go into a little more detail. So if you just gave your computer a blank stare, let me explain. The original iPhone worked over AT&T’s EDGE data network. Speeds for things like web surfing, email, YouTube videos, etc. was faster than dial-up, but paled in comparison to DSL and Cable.

The iPhone supports Wi-Fi, so whenever you can be on a Wi-Fi network, the experience is MUCH better. One of my favorite speed test sites is, however, this site uses Flash to display the results, so it’s useless when it comes to testing the iPhone’s speed. Instead, I use

Apple claims that the iPhone 3g is twice as fast as the previous model. However, by most people’s estimates, Apple is being modest with this claim. I decided to put it to the test. So I used my iPhone 3g in all 3 modes. First I tested it by turning off Wi-Fi and 3g. After a few moments the iPhone connected to AT&T’s EDGE network and here’s what I got:


Then I turned 3g back on and restarted the iPhone so it would have a fresh start and here’s what I got:

Not too shabby! Clearly better than twice as fast. However, this is just raw speed. Your mileage may vary from site to site in Safari. This is probably why Apple says "twice as fast." It’s a safe claim that they can achieve 100% of the time.


Next I restarted the iPhone again and I turned Wi-Fi back on. The iPhone is connected to my Wi-Fi network (powered by cable modem). Here’s what I got:


The Bottom Line

Yep, the iPhone 3g is faster! Easily twice as fast if not more. Um, not much more to say. Have a nice day :)


My first blog post from my iPhone

I thought I would give the WordPress iPhone app a spin. It’s pretty cool so far and will enable me to blog on the go. I love the option to post photos from the built in iPhone camera or from one that’s in your library. Unfortunately it doesn’t allow you to position them where you’d like within your post.

I also don’t see a way to do hyperlinks.

It’s not perfect, but it gets the job done and it’s FREE!

The first shot was taken with my D300 and sent to the iPhone via email and then saved to the library. The shot was from the iPhone’s built-in camera and the last two were taken as iPhone screen shots of the WordPress app.

Click the images to see full size…





GarageSale makes Selling on eBay Fun!

As a gadget guy there always seems to be a pile of stuff that I look at and say, "I need to sell that stuff on eBay." However, if you’ve ever listed something on eBay you know how tedious the process can be. I feel that my auctions bring in top dollar and the best response because of the time I put into creating the listing. I try to take several good pictures. I try to be very thorough with the description and up until now I’ve taken the time to use Adobe GoLive to generate the HTML to spruce it up a bit. I also try to always include all the original items such as the box and user guides. So sometimes (read: most times) it’s just a chore getting everything ready to go.

I came across GarageSale after talking with some friends in my Mac Users Group. After I downloaded the trial and saw what it could do, I bought it on the spot. I almost forgot I had it. Last night I wanted to put one of my old iPhones up for sale on eBay and I decided that it was time to take GarageSale for a spin.


How does it work?

GarageSale is template driven. You have a wide range of templates to pick from. The templates are already HTML formatted and you can preview your listing in them. GarageSale is an approved eBay app. So it takes complete advantage of all the eBay listing features. What makes this app so easy and fun is that it’s "Mac like" (sorry, there isn’t a PC version). It integrates beautifully with the iLife apps with a built-in Media Browser as well as support for drag and drop.

I took pictures of my iPhone with my Nikon D300 in RAW. I processed them using Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and exported JPEGs to a folder. Then I was able to just drag them from the folder right into my GarageSale page using the built-in drop zones.

Using GarageSale I was able to specify:

  • a 99¢ starting price
  • a 3 day auction
  • a starting day and time (if I chose to) or use the built-in scheduler
  • the category for my listing
  • my shipping and payment options
  • a counter on my page
  • extras such as gallery picture, bold listing etc.

Once I was done with specifying what I wanted, I just hit the Start Auction button and my images were FTP’d to my server (an option) and my listing was posted right on eBay. GarageSale also tracks your items right in the same app. So no need to constantly go to the website.

The Bottom Line

If you’re a Mac user that regularly sales on eBay, you can’t go wrong with GarageSale. After using it last night I feel that it was definitely worth the $34.99 ($59.99 Family License) admission price. Maybe now I can get to that pile I’ve been meaning to get to.

Hey, if you’re looking to buy my iPhone 16GB, you better hurry. The beauty of this GarageSale generated auction has already gotten a lot of attention and bidders on eBay. Check out the auction here.

WordPress for iPhone Coming Soon!


One of the things that will make the iPhone even more useful for me is being able to update this blog of mine while on the go. Often there are times that I’m out and about and would love to blog about something right there and then. However, it’s not always convenient to whip out my digital camera and laptop. Having a WordPress compatible app on my iPhone will make all the difference in the world!

It’s coming soon!

MobileMe – still rough around the edges

Apple took a bold step and made a major claim with its new online service MobileMe (formerly known as .Mac). They billed it as “Exchange for the rest of us”. Now it seems that they have kinda backed off that claim. As a matter of fact I can no longer find the reference on the MobileMe site. Apple has also had to clarify that changes don’t happen on your Mac or PC instantly, they happen every 15 minutes at best. When Apple first showcased MobileMe at the WWDC, they lead the audience to believe that MobileMe was instantly updated everywhere (true “Push” technology) when you made a change in one place, the change happened moments later everywhere else. That’s just not the case, at least not on your desktop. That really doesn’t bother me. I can wait 15 minutes and chances are, if I’m out and about making changes to calendars and contacts on my iPhone, I’m not looking at my Mac anyway to see when the changes take place. No, I actually have other issues with MobileMe…


MobileMe – 2 steps forward and 3 steps backwards

I’m ok taking the bad with the good, but in this case there doesn’t seem to be any good reason to have the bad. With .Mac I already had syncing of Contacts, Calendars, Bookmarks, and other info between computers. With MobileMe I now get that, plus having data pushed out over the air to my iPhone 3g. Great! If I make a change on my Mac (or PC), the change automatically gets syncing up to the “Cloud” (MobileMe), where I can view it on the MobileMe website ( or moments later on my iPhone. If I make a change on the web or on my iPhone, within 15 minutes the change happens on my Mac. Cool! I welcome this kind of wireless connectivity with open arms.

However, as a former .Mac user I can’t help but wonder why Apple chose to eliminate a couple of things that were already in place. For example, on Monday I went to send a friend of mine an iCard for her birthday. That’s when I realized that iCards didn’t make the cut over to MobileMe. Granted Apple probably had to license the images for the iCards and hey, this is an expense that could be cut, but there isn’t even the ability to make an iCard using your own photos anymore. Sure, someone could argue that with Leopard Mail we now have Birthday Stationary and I could use my own image there (which is what I ended up doing two days later), but the point is there was really no reason to eliminate this ability from the website.

The next thing that got lost in the transition is the ability to view your Bookmarks on the MobileMe website. This one is way more puzzling than the loss of iCards because Bookmarks ARE sync’d up to MobileMe. So why not offer the ability to see them and use them on the MobileMe website? This was a very handy feature of .Mac. It saved my butt on more than one occasion. I remember being in my eye doctor’s office and telling him about a site that sold prescription swim goggles. I couldn’t remember the URL. So I asked if I could use his PC? I logged on to .Mac via his IE browser. I brought up my bookmarks and went straight to the site. Perfect! Yeah I know, I now would be able to just bring up the site on my iPhone, but again if the Bookmarks are already in the Cloud, why not offer the ability to see them?


Calendars, Calendars, Calendars!

Besides missing a couple of features of .Mac, there are some other fundamental problems I have with MobileMe and they revolve around calendars. It’s great to finally be able to see my iCals on the web without having to “publish” them. It’s also great to have them pushed out to my iPhone. However, what I want is more choices! As it stands right now, when you turn on syncing for iCal calendars to MobileMe, it’s an all or nothing proposition. I have a couple miscellaneous iCals that I DON’T need sync’d up to the “Cloud” or to my iPhone. More importantly, there are family member, holiday and non-profit organization calendars that I subscribe to that I DO want on my iPhone. As it stands today, subscribed iCals can NOT be sync’d to MobileMe and therefore are NOT pushed out to your iPhone. It even treats the built-in “Birthdays” iCal as a Subscribed calendar and therefore you don’t get your birthdays on your iPhone! The only way around this is to NOT use MobileMe for your iCals. However, then you lose the ability to have your calendars pushed out automatically and the only updates you would get would be when you physically connected your USB cable and did a sync (a step backwards). Also if you have a corporate Exchange account configured for your work calendar (which I do), you lose the ability to sync your iCals via iTunes/USB, so you have no choice but to use MobileMe if you want to keep your personal appointments separate. The service is too much about “me” at this point :)

There also still doesn’t appear to be a way to view files from your iDisk via your iPhone. For example, the iDisk would be a great place to store sensitive data that you don’t want on your actual devices. You could log in to your MobileMe account with your password via the Safari browser. It would be great to then be able to view PDFs and other compatible files via your iPhone.


The Bottom Line

MobileMe has promise. I believe that Apple will work out these issues in time. However, I would be hard pressed to recommend MobileMe at this time to anyone that has more than the most basic needs. MobileMe goes for $89.99 at Amazon ($99/year list price) or $129.99 for the Family Pack ($149/year list price).


Update: I just got this email from Apple:

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