I Photowalked on Haight Street [en]

[fr] Je suis allée faire un "photowalk", c'est-à-dire une promenade-réunion dont l'objectif est de se balader en prenant des photos. Voici quelques photos que j'ai prises et que j'aime bien. Je crois qu'il faut qu'on organise quelque chose de similaire à Lausanne. Qui est partant?

Friday evening I met up with a bunch of people to go [photowalking in Haight Street](http://upcoming.yahoo.com/event/208307/). A photowalk is simply an occasion to stroll around and [take photos in the company of other nice people](http://flickr.com/photos/bunny/sets/72157600450567468/). I think we need to start organizing things like this in Lausanne — anybody interested?

Here are some of the photos I took.

Photowalking 11 in Haight 80

Photowalking 11 in Haight 77

Photowalking 11 in Haight 63

Photowalking 11 in Haight 46

Photowalking 11 in Haight 61

Photowalking 11 in Haight 34

Photowalking 11 in Haight 22

Photowalking 11 in Haight 8

Photowalking 11 in Haight 43

Photowalking 11 in Haight 10

Photowalking 11 in Haight 17

Photowalking 11 in Haight 87

Photowalking 11 in Haight 91

Search for photos from this photowalk [on Flickr](http://flickr.com/photos/tags/photowalking11) and [on Zooomr](http://beta.zooomr.com/search/photos/?q=photowalking11).

I might add links to other participants’ sets/photos/blogs later, if I have the courage.

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MindMeister: Google Docs-Style Mind Mapping [en]

[fr] MindMeister est un logiciel de mind-mapping (comme FreeMind ou Mind Manager) en ligne, à la Google Docs. J'ai des invitations si vous désirez essayer. On peut collaborer sur des documents à plusieurs et les publier sur le web.

A quickie before I head out to write more hopefully useful stuff for teenagers: my friend [Gabriel](http://iblog.ch) sent me an invitation to [MindMeister](http://www.mindmeister.com/), an [online mind-mapping service](http://www.mindmeister.com/home/about). Actually, I almost spammed it, but luckily had a closer look just in time.

Sign up is nice and easy, I was able to import a mindmap from [Freemind](http://freemind.sourceforge.net/wiki/index.php/Main_Page) in three effortless clicks, and the whole interface is very Google Docs-like. If you like Google Docs and have use for mind mapping (you should!), then you’ll probably like MindMeister. It’s still a little green, of course, but trust me — this is screaming for an acquisition 🙂

You can of course collaborate on mind maps and share them with the public (I just did that with the [very ugly brainstorming](http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=ddcrwvm8_16d3fhsz) related to [my reboot talk proposal](http://www.reboot.dk/artefact-773-en.html)). They autosave, so you don’t have to worry about losing your work (like I almost did — [again!](http://twitter.com/stephtara/statuses/9602221) — with this blog post). You can also [export to Mind Manager or FreeMind](http://mindmeister.com/home/show_news/5), of course (guys, you need to make your permalinks more visible in the blog; I had to go through the RSS feed to find that one).

Interested? It’s a closed beta, but I have invites. Just ask!

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Nokia 6280 Shortcomings [en]

[fr] Au début, j'étais réjouie du fait que mon Nokia 6280 était compatible mac. Maintenant, j'ai un peu la gueule de bois, même si j'aime toujours autant le toucher du clavier.

Appareil photo de vraiment mauvaise qualité, synchronisation capricieuse, dictionnaire t9 à la mémoire courte, impossibilité de marquer comme lus tous les SMS pas lus, volume d'alerte de SMS trop fort par rapport à la sonnerie (impossible à régler séparément), réveil qu'il faut réenclencher chaque jour, et lien vers Sunrise Live (qui n'est pas mon opérateur) gravé pour l'éternité dans le menu rapide que l'on peut soi-disant configurer entièrement.

I’ve had a Nokia 6280 since September, and unfortunately the initial excitement of managing to make it sync with my Mac has worn down. Here’s a round-up of what works, and doesn’t work.

The phone is pretty, it’s the right size to fit in my hand, and the keyboard has a very nice touch (particularly important to me as I have RSI). The sliding mechanism is fun to play with (specially to answer calls or hang up), and it overall behaves quite correctly as a device to call other people and be called.

However. Not all is well.

One of the reasons I bought this phone was the 2Mpx camera. Well, to put it simply, it’s crap. Too much compression, artefacts, patchy colors, and an overall impression of digital zoom.

As I said, the phone works over iSync to sync contacts and calendars. When it works, that is. Half the time computer and phone are unable to recognize each other. (Yes, it could have something to do with the computer, but for the sake of this post, I’m going to blame it on the phone.)

The T9 dictionary works fine until you want to teach it new words. It remembers them for a little while, and then forgets about them. Obviously, instead of being permanently added to the dictionary, they are kept in some kind of short-term memory of very limited capacity.

Flooded with many unread SMS, maybe because you use Twitter on your mobile and forgot to turn it off? Fear not, you will be given the chance to trudge through those 30 messages one by one to mark them as read. You can “mark” them individually and then delete them all in one go, but you can’t “mark as read” in a batch.

There also seems to be no way to set the volume for SMS reception and incoming calls separately. This means that the “beep-beep” announcing the arrival of text messages is way too loud, and the ringing for incoming calls is still not loud enough.

The alarm has to be reset each day. Learning this involved quite a bit of oversleeping, until I understood that just checking the alarm time was right and then exiting was not sufficient. The “OK” button needs to be pressed each day to reactivate the alarm.

The icing on the cake? The customizable “Go to” menu (for easy access to frequently requested functions) sports a shiny shortcut to the web portal homepage of a carrier which happens to not be mine. Hard-coded. First position. Unmovable.

Crossposted to hate.my.phone.

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Why I Got Lost in LeWeb3 Videos [en]

[fr] Petit tour des problèmes d'ergonomie qui ont été la source de mon billet précédent concernant vpod.tv.

Right, I’ve somewhat figured out how I managed to [get lost in the LeWeb3 videos](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/01/20/videos-leweb3/) and not find things like permalinks or slider bars.

When you’re on the [fullscreen page](http://my.vpod.tv/channel.html), no controls are clearly visible. Where is the pause button? There is “launch your TV” (tried that, but never go the answer to what it does, too slow to load for me) but that’s about it. When you click on individual videos, the URL never varies from http://my.vpod.tv/channel.html. Well, I poked around as I could, and gave up.

One thing I had overlooked was the four little icons near the bottom of the video which is playing (you can click on all the photos I’m showing here to access notes and extra info):


Which one would you click on? Well, after I really started to suspect there must be a way out, I tried them all. The third one was the most interesting to me:


To be fair, when you mouseover the buttons, some text is displayed. For example, text for the four buttons in the first photograph is “Sound”, “Video Greeting”, “Menu”, “ShowHide”. Unfortunately, you **do** have to mouseover to get to that information, as the icons themselves are not all self-explanatory. I definitely do not expect to find a menu listing of useful stuff I might want to do under the vpod.tv logo.

One shouldn’t expect a site user to drag his mouse over every portion of the screen which might be clickable to see what it is. Scanning available options is a job meant for the eye, not the hand. To make matters worse here, the mouseover text takes roughly twice the time a normal “title” tooltip would take to appear (on my system). A good two seconds. Who knows — I might even have mouseovered those icons and come to the conclusion there were no tooltips, when they didn’t appear after the expected delay.

The problem repeats itself. Look at the vertical bar of icons in the screenshot above. Have a guess. What do you expect them to do? Well, here is what the tooltips say, from top to bottom: “Share”, “Get link”, “RSS feed”, “Info”, “Flag it”, “Help”, and “About us…” — you’ll notice that the same vpod.tv logo is used for the “About us…” link as for the “Menu” one. It makes much more sense for “About us…”

In short, [rather poor usability](http://www.webpagesthatsuck.com/mysterymeatnavigation.html) for essential navigation items and functionalities on a page like this.

Now, I’m still hunting for a permalink to the video I’m watching, remember? “Get link” sounds like a good one, though “Info” is tempting too (chances I’d click on that directly if I start mouseovering from the bottom, which would be logical as that is where my cursor was).


Bingo! There’s my permalink. Let’s click on it.


Well, that worked as expected. I get to see the video, I can display useful information about it, and I can even download it. Nice. The only sad part is that the URL in the address bar has changed from http://portal.vpod.tv/leweb3/69391 to http://portal.vpod.tv/#page:player. What a pity!

A slider bar appears when I put my mouse over the video, and there is a pause/play button. I’m still not sure if such features are available in the [fullscreen version](http://my.vpod.tv/) and I couldn’t find them, or simply not available. The slider works, but unfortunately doesn’t tell me which moment of the video I’m aiming for, so it’s a bit hit-and-miss if, say, you want to jump to minute 8 of my video to hear me try to talk (hint, hint).

So, I started watching [my panel](http://portal.vpod.tv/leweb3/69391). The sound is good, and that’s pretty cool (as I heard that it was almost unintelligable during the conference for people who were listening in on the stream). Unfortunately, somebody must have been a little overenthusiastic about compression and the small amount of key frames, because LeWeb3 speakers seem to all have contracted a really horrible skin disease which makes unsightly blemishes appear on their skin at regular intervals:

20070121-vpod-compression-illness 20070121-vpod-compression-illness-scott

Seems like [Scott Rafer](http://rafer.wirelessink.com/) and I should both go and see a dermatologist pretty quickly, doesn’t it?

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Miglia Dialog+ Cordless Skype Phone [en]

[fr] Test et critique du téléphone Skype sans fil (pas wifi!) Dialog+ de Miglia. Franchement sympa et abordable, en plus!

***If you want the [review without the whole chatty story](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/01/14/miglia-dialog-cordless-skype-phone/#dialogplus), scroll down.***

As is now public knowledge, my visit to San Francisco coincided with [MacWorld](http://macworldexpo.com/live/20/). (“Oh, you’re going to SF for MacWorld?” — “Mac-what? MacWorld? What’s that? Oooh…”) This was nice, because it gave me the occasion to join the geekfest, discover [lynda.com](http://lynda.com), watch the [Leopard](http://www.apple.com/macosx/leopard/index.html) and [iPhone](http://www.apple.com/iphone/) demos, buy a pink “Mac Chick” cap, and last and lot least, hang around my IRC friend Victor’s booth, which quite unexpectedly led to me walking off with a [Dialog+ cordless Skype/iChat handset](http://miglia.com/products/communication/dialogplus/index.html).

That booth was very obviously the most busy one in the row, and for a reason: [Miglia](http://miglia.com/) (drop the “g” when saying it, Italian-style) is a hardware company which make [a bunch of pretty cool toys](http://miglia.com/products/index.html) for Mac (and Windows!) users.

They have [digital TV stuff](http://miglia.com/products/video/digitaltv.html), which I’m unfortunately a bit deaf to these days, as wireless digital TV doesn’t really work in Lausanne, and the way Swiss TV does “bicanal” (the thing that allows you to choose between dreadful dubbed versions and original versions) seems to be somewhat non-standard. At least it didn’t work with [EyeTV](http://www.elgato.com/index.php?file=products_eyetvhybridna), which I tried and brought back to the store a few months back.

**Much more exciting for me: [cordless VOIP handsets](http://www.macworld.com/news/2007/01/12/migliavoip/index.php), and in particular the [Dialog+](http://miglia.com/products/communication/dialogplus/index.html). It’s a Skype/iChat cordless handset.** I’m [using Skype more and more](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2006/11/18/skype-mon-ordinateur-comme-centrale-telephonique/), and next best to a WiFi Skype phone (the geeky toy [I said I wanted for Christmas here](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2006/12/13/ce-soir-scenes-de-menage/)) is a cordless one. Unfortunately, most (if not all) of the cordless handsets I’ve looked at (see the [Skype Shop](http://us.accessories.skype.com/direct/skypeusa/accessoriesList.jsp?acctype=8) for example) have big nasty clunky non-laptop-friendly base stations. Not this one. Have a look at how laptop-friendly this is:

Miglia DialogPlus and dongle

And the price was nice too: $80 MacWorld price, $100 normal price.

Well, I was tempted. Very tempted. So tempted that I decided to buy it, after dragging Victor upstairs in the lobby where we could find wifi to try it out (I’m a bit picky about audio quality). On the way, we bumped into one of their PR (?) people, and a few seconds later I was eagerly saying “I’ll blog it, I’ll blog it!” at the prospect of being *given* the handset. Here for the disclaimer, then — but I would have bought it anyway 🙂

For the trouble, here’s a nicely [hReview-formatted](http://microformats.org/wiki/hreview) review of the phone, after 24 hours or so of ownership and a couple of outgoing Skype calls. People who didn’t care for the backdrop story should start here.

Miglia Dialog+ (DialogPlus) Skype/iChat Handset


Laptop-friendly Skype/iChat phone, light, nice sound quality and affordable price. Small USB dongle and recharges through USB too.

The first thing that stood out when I was shown this 100$ phone (80$ at MacWorld) is that instead of having an untransportable base-station, it has a USB key-like dongle which is easy to carry around with the handset. The handset itself is light, has good autonomy, and is recharged (3AAA batteries) with a pretty much standard USB cable, as shown in the picture. It’s something I can imagine carrying around all the time in my computer bag. Charging the DialogPlus

You can scroll through your Skype and iChat contacts on the phone easily, and even scroll through the Skype contact list which is displayed on your computer from the phone (it’s a bit eerie, as if the phone were a remote mouse or something). At first I wondered what the purpose of this feature was, but actually, even though the LCD display on the phone is very nice, it’s still even nicer to go through your contacts on your computer screen.

Besides the up/down, green-red, and normal number keys you’d expect on a phone, the Dialog+ has only three “special” keys: one to display call history (you can use it to toggle between received, outgoing, and missed calls), one to display your contact list (use it to toggle between all contacts and online contacts), and a third button (clear/backspace) which allows you to take control of the Skype contact list on your computer. It’s pretty easy to figure out what each button does and memorize it.

I personally don’t use iChat much, particularly for voice (I use Adium for instant messaging, and unfortunately it doesn’t do voice over IM), but I placed a couple of Skype calls to check the sound quality. My hearing is slightly impaired and I sometimes find that volume settings on phones don’t allow me to listen at a comfortable level. Not the case here, I could hear the person I was speaking with very clearly. However, people on the other end do hear an echo if the volume is set too high, and have complained a bit about the audio quality they receive. This can be due to the quality of the Skype connection, but I’ll try lending my phone to somebody and have them call me to hear for myself.

Setting up the phone was rather simple: close Skype, install the driver from the CD, pair the phone with the dongle by pressing the little square button on top of it. At first my phone said there was “No contact list”, so I tried reinstalling the driver and re-opening/closing Skype, and it worked. Not quite sure what went wrong, but it fixed itself quite nicely. The instructions booklet is just the right thickness and contains clear explanations. I would, however, call this a “cordless” phone rather than “wire-free” — when I read that on the back of the phone, I went “wi-fi phone?!”, which of course, is incorrect.

So, to sum it up: very happy about the toy and its design. I’ll certainly be using it. I just unwittingly gave it its first crash test by kicking it off the sofa as I was writing this post, and it survived. According to the booklet, it has good autonomy. I still need to dig into the audio quality a little, and see how it works when I start walking about my flat with it (upto 25 meters range).

I was disappointed at first that I couldn’t send text messages from it, but actually, that’s not too bad: if I have the Dialog+, I have my computer nearby — and anyway, Skype text messages aren’t always very reliable (for example, depending on the carrier, they don’t give your own phone number as the “reply” number, and messages get lost).

Great job, Miglia — oh, and I nearly forgot: Miglia’s interest being hardware sales, the phone comes with free software upgrades. For life. Neat!

My rating: 4.0 stars

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Flock Sync Issue Solved! [en]

[fr] Problème de synchro de bookmarks avec Flock réglé!

Yay! The really [exasperating](http://twitter.com/stephtara/statuses/1711993) behavior Flock was putting up by [refusing to sync my favorites unless I restarted the browser](http://steph.wordpress.com/2006/12/13/when-does-flock-synchronize-my-favorites/) has now come to an end.

It seems that a file named flock_fq_default_in.rdf (in Library, Flock stuff, profile, you’ll find it if you need to) was corrupted. So I shut down Flock a couple of times, made sure my bookmarks were in sync, and deleted the file.

Now everything seems to be running smoothly! Thanks to [Mike](http://flock.com/about/5545) for being my liaison in the resolution of this problem — and for the information to drop into the offices [when I’m in San Francisco](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2006/12/29/usa-coming-soon-san-francisco/). I might very well do so!

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Tonight in London Blogger's Evening [en]

I’ll be there if you want to meet up. It’s the Friday Project thing. More details in time on [Suw’s twitter](http://twitter.com/suw).

See you there!

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Rafraîchissez les idées à votre Macbook [fr]

[en] Is your Macbook warming your lap a bit too much? whirring its fans noisily when you want to enjoy the calm? Help it cool down with Coolbook.

It will make your Macbook even cooler.

Votre Macbook vous chauffe les genoux de manière excessive? Il ventile bruyamment alors que vous désirez jouir du calme de votre salon? Rafraîchissez-lui les idées avec [Coolbook](http://www.coolbook.se/CoolBook.html).

De quoi vraiment rendre votre Macbook encore plus cool.

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Premiers pas parallèles [fr]

[en] First steps with Parallels. Works great, it's fast. Discovered the joys of dual display by the same occasion. Stay tuned for news about getting the Dragon to work.

Je n’en suis pas encore à [dicter avec Dragon sur mon MacBook](http://forum.parallels.com/thread2721.html), mais je m’en rapproche. J’ai téléchargé et installé la version d’évaluation (15 jours, mais je vais acheter, ça marche trop bien) de [Parallels](http://www.parallels.com/en/products/desktop/). Parallels permet, en deux mots, de faire tourner une machine virtuelle Windows (ou Linux) sur votre Mac. Oui, tout un ordinateur Windows dans une fenêtre de votre MacBook.

Ce fut facile, en suivant les instructions du guide de démarrage. C’est rapide (les 256Mb de RAM qu’ils proposent par défaut sont à mon avis amplement suffisants) — je crois bien que ma machine virtuelle Windows sous Parallels est plus rapide que mon vrai ordinateur Windows.

Double Trouble

En plus, j’ai découvert aujourd’hui les joies du double écran. J’ai simplement raccordé mon écran plat à mon MacBook. Dans les réglages, j’ai placé le deuxième écran “au-dessus” de mon écran principal: comme ça, je “sors de mon écran” avec ma souris par le haut, et je me retrouve sur mon deuxième écran. Dans la photo que je montre ici, j’ai mis Parallels en plein écran sur mon deuxième écran. On dirait deux ordinateurs, hein! Eh ben non. Un seul.

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Google Reader: I'm Officially Pissed Off [en]

[fr] Trouvé la source des pubs pop-up: les extraits de ma page de "diffusion de billets" Google Reader. Je suppose qu'il y a des trous et que les pubs s'y glissent.

***Update 28.10.06:** [Fixed.](http://googlereader.blogspot.com/2006/10/bug-swatting.html)*

First, excuse the strong language. Second, note that I’ve removed my latest [shared items](http://www.google.com/reader/shared/09081754150283874260) from the sidebar.

Why did I do such a thing, if [I love the sharing feature of Google Reader](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2006/10/13/i-might-be-switching-to-google-reader/) so much?

I did it because I finally identified the culprit in the [mystery of the pop-up ads on CTTS](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2006/10/21/pop-up-window-on-ctts-totally-weird/). Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen: the little piece of code I had added to [display the headlines of my latest shared posts](http://www.google.com/help/reader/sharing.html#clip).

Now, I suspect this isn’t something Google did by design. I mean, I don’t suspect Google of wanting to display pop-up ads on any page which uses this kind of “clip” (that’s what they call it). However, I do suspect that there is a hole in their code somewhere that allows ads to creep in.

Google Reader people: this would probably be worth fixing.

Thanks again to [LLoyd](http://foolswisdom.com/~lloyd/wordpress/) who drew my attention to the pop-up and [Chris](http://zumbrunn.com/mochazone/) who assisted me in narrowing down the problem.

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