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Monday
Jun132011

Mac Tip: Managing your iPhone's Camera Roll

Since the best camera is always the one you have with you, I tend to shoot a good number of photos with my iPhone 4.  Many of those photos end up on Facebook or shared via E-mail.  In most cases that's the reason I took the photo in the first place (to share).  Once I've shared them I really don't have any further use for them.  Yet, I find I don't take the time to use the iPhone's Photo app to delete the photos once I'm done with them.  Before I know it, I've got hundreds of photos in the iPhone's Camera Roll taking up precious memory.  Deleting a large number of photos using the iPhone's Photo app is a pain.

Of course, I could use iPhoto or Aperture to import the photos and have the software delete them from the iPhone's Camera Roll after the import.  But, as I said, I really don't have any further use for most of these photos.  What I really need is a way to quickly and easily delete a selected group of photos from the iPhone's Camera Roll without having to import them.  Once the unimportant photos are gone, then I can get down to the business of copying the few that I want to save.

If you've faced this situation before and you are a Mac user, there is an easy solution and it's free!

Apple's Image Capture App For The Mac

Image Capture is one of those "I forgot I had it" apps.  Apple provides the Image Capture application with every Macintosh.  You'll find it in your Applications folder.  Image Capture has a fast, simple interface that makes it child's play to manage your iPhone's Camera Roll (or any supported camera for that matter).

Connect your iPhone to your Mac via USB and, after it's finished syncing with iTunes, run the Image Capture program.  Image Capture has two views, list view and icon view.

Image Capture List View (click image to expand)

Image Capture Icon View (click image to expand)The list view shows you quite a bit of information about your photos.  For the purposes of this tutorial I'll use the icon view.

Deleting Numerous Photos Is Easy

To delete any number of photos from your iPhone's Camera Roll (without importing them), simply use your mouse to lasso the photos or use the Shift-Click or Command-Click shortcuts to select the photos.  Then click the delete button.

Image Capture's Delete Button (click image to expand)That's all there is to it! A dialog box will ask you to verify the deletion.

Image Capture's Delete VerificationClick delete and the photos will be removed from your iPhone's Camera Roll a lot faster than deleting them one at a time using the Photo app on the iPhone.

Importing Too

If you've got some photos you'd like to save to your Mac, Image Capture will handle that too.  And Image Capture lets you control exactly where you'd like to save those photos on your Mac's hard drive!

Select the images you'd like to import and use the Import To menu to select the destination.

Image Capture Import (click image to expand)You will be presented with a number of presets, including your Documents and Desktop folders, as well as iPhoto, Aperture, Mail, etc.  If you want to specify your own destination (new folder, different drive, etc.), select Other.

Image Capture Import Destinations

After you've selected the destination, click Import (for selected number of photos) or Import All.

Image Capture Import (click image to expand)

Again, that's all there is to it.  If you'd like to have Image Capture delete the photos from your iPhone's Camera Roll after you've imported them, check the appropriate box before you start the import.

Image Capture Delete After Import (click image to expand)Image Capture Makes It Easy

If you use your iPhone to take a lot of photos that you don't plan to save, the Image Capture app is a quick and easy way to delete those photos from the iPhone's Camera Roll.  Likewise, if you prefer to import your iPhone photos without using iPhoto or Aperture, Image Capture to the rescue.  And, best of all, Image Capture is free with every Mac!

One More Thing!

As a bonus tip and reminder, the Image Capture application is also the tool you use to control which photo application launches (automatically) when you connect your iPhone (or other camera) to your Mac.

Image Capture Auto-Launch Selection (click image to expand)Happily, you can set it so no photo application gets auto-launched.

Wednesday
Jun082011

Apple's Plans for New Campus in Cupertino

At the June 7, 2011 Cupertino city council meeting, Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs gave a presentation detailing Apple's plans for a new Apple campus.  Apple long ago outgrew its current campus at 1 Infinite Loop.  That 14-year old campus now houses less than 30% of the Apple employees based in Cupertino.  The ever-growing Apple needs a larger facility.

Circular Design

Apple is well known for its creative, industry-leading, eye-pleasing designs.  Not only the products they produce but the design of their retail stores too.  In keeping with that history, the design of their proposed new campus is just as innovative and striking.

Artist's Rendering of Apple's Proposed New Campus in Cupertino

Jobs commented that there won't be a single piece of straight glass in the building.

Dedicated Power Plant

During the presentation, Jobs mentioned Apple's plan to include their own power plant.   The plant will convert clean natural gas to electricity and will be the campus' primary source of power (with the conventional power grid used as backup).

Green Space Considerations

Apple's proposal includes a number of design choices that dramatically improve the esthetic footprint of the property.  The majority of the parking will be moved underground, eliminated large expanses of existing asphalt parking.  Apple also plans to increase the number of trees to more than 6,000 from the current number of about 3,700.

Video of Jobs' Presentation

Cupertino has its own city channel on YouTube and they've already posted Jobs' 21-minute presentation.  Many more details and tidbits are revealed by Jobs.  There's even a bit of humor from Jobs when city council member Kris Wang asks about Apple possibly providing free WiFi to the citizens of Cupertino.  I encourage all of my readers to take the time to watch the video.

 

Saturday
Jun042011

Route 66: Bob's Gasoline Alley

First, My Apologies

Our Route 66 road trip was truly the trip of a lifetime.  We experienced about a year's worth of fun and excitement, all crammed into a couple of weeks.  Most of the days were about ten to twelve hours long, even when we only traveled about 100 miles.  We still didn't have the time to see and do everything.  Happily, that gives us an excuse to visit The Mother Road again.  And we will.

Our nights were busy too.  Once our group of Route 66 adventurers arrived at our stop for the night, more often than not we'd find ourselves sitting together on the "stoop" enjoying a beer or other beverage and reminiscing about the day.  Before we knew it, it was time to get some sleep for the next day's adventures. 

Unfortunately, our busy days and nights also meant that I simply didn't have the time to post blog updates and photos as I had planned.  It didn't help that we didn't have decent WiFi in some of the motels.  Before I knew it, I was hopelessly behind.  Rather than stress over trying to catch up, I decided to wait until we got home.

Please accept my apologies for the delay.  I am hoping that I'll be able to make up for the wait by having the time to do a better job of sharing the stories and experiences from the trip.  As a way of thanking everyone for their patience, I'm going to start with one of the coolest things we experienced during the trip.

Bob's Gasoline Alley

On our third day on Route 66 we stopped in Cuba, Missouri for the night.  Cuba is famous for their many murals to be found around the city.

Amelia Earhart Mural in Cuba, MO (click image to expand)While out photographing the murals, a man and woman in an SUV approached our group of Miatas and struck up a conversation with me and Cathy.  They had noticed our custom San Diego Miata Club Route 66 magnetics and asked if we were enjoying our trip on Route 66 and our stay in Cuba.  We answered affirmatively to both questions.  They introduced themselves (Bob and Darlene Mullen) and made a recommendation for a mural a few streets over.  We thanked them for their friendly suggestion and our group headed to the mural they had recommended.

While at the mural a few streets over, Bob and Darlene approached our group of Miatas again.  Now, I will admit that I was starting to feel (just a bit) like we were being stalked.  But that didn't prevent me from walking over to their SUV to continue the conversation.  That's when Bob mentioned that they had a collection of automotive and roadside memorabilia.  They asked if we'd be interested in driving out to take a look.  I told them I'd have to check with the group.  Bob said he understood.  If the group wanted to do it, we were more than welcome.  He explained they lived about three miles south on Route 66 and told me he'd put out his sign for 'Bob's Gasoline Alley'.   He instructed me to turn right at the sign and drive until we came upon their place.  He said we wouldn't have any trouble finding the place.

When Bob and Darlene drove off, I used the CB radio to explain what had just transpired.  Everyone was game for a visit so, after a few more pictures, we were heading south on Route 66.  Along the way, the jokes were flying over the CB about hightailing it out of there if we spotted a barber pole or heard certain banjo music.  :)  (I mean no offense to Bob and Darlene.  They were nothing but gracious and friendly and did nothing to give us an uneasy feeling.  The situation was, well, just a little "weird".  In fact, even Bob later mentioned that we were probably wondering what we were getting ourselves into as we drove toward their home.)

A Collection Far Beyond All Expectations

Just as Bob promised, we came upon a portable folding sign with 'Bob's Gasoline Alley' on it.  We turned right and followed the road for a bit.  I kept wondering how we'd know when we found the place.  We passed several homes and I was busy looking for Bob and Darlene's SUV parked in a driveway.  It never occurred to me to look for the memorabilia collection outside of their house.  I think it is fair to say that nobody in our group was expecting to see what we saw when we cleared the rise and got our first glimpse of their collection.  Multiple full-size gas station signs—mounted to their original poles—all in pristine condition.

Just a few of the gas station signs at Bob's Gasoline Alley (click image to expand)

To put it mildly, those gas station signs were just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.  Bob and Darlene aren't just casual automotive memorabilia collectors, they are very serious about it.

Bob's Gasoline Alley (click image to expand)

Bob and Darlene welcomed us to their home and treated us like we were family.  They proceeded to show us multiple barns that were filled to the brim with every sort of motoring or roadside memorabilia.  All of it nicely displayed and in pristine condition.  There was so much to see it was overwhelming.   You could spend a couple of hours in each room and still not see every individual piece.  I walked around in stunned disbelief muttering 'This is absolutely incredible!" to myself.

A small sample of the interior at Bob's Gasoline Alley (click image to expand)

Thank You Bob and Darlene!

This is one of those times where being in the right place at the right time really paid off.  Although Bob and Darlene host car clubs and Route 66 association meetings at Bob's Gasoline Alley, their collection is not open to the public.  Visits are by invitation only.  How amazingly lucky we were to have Bob and Darlene approach us in downtown Cuba!  I'm convinced it was our custom San Diego Miata Club Route 66 magnetics that caught Bob and Darlene's eye and caused them to take the time to strike up a conversation.  As a token of our appreciation, we presented Bob and Darlene with one of the logo magnetics.

Bob and Darlene Mullen (click image to expand)

Night had fallen so Bob and Darlene invited us to come back the next morning so we could take additional photos.  When we got there we found our custom logo magnetic in a prominent spot on the refrigerator in Darlene's Diner.

SDMC Route 66 magnetic on display in Darlene's Diner (click image to expand)

My heartfelt thanks to Bob and Darlene for thoughtfully inviting us to visit their wonderful collection!  It was a real pleasure to get to know them, even if for just a little bit.  They were the epitome of the warmhearted friendliness we experienced throughout our adventure along The Mother Road.

More Photos at The Photo Booth

The story isn't complete until you view the rest of the photos!  Be prepared to be blown away!  I've created a separate gallery just for photos of Bob and Darlene's amazing collection.  Here's the link:

Bob's Gasoline Alley Photo Gallery

Friday
May202011

Route 66: Chicago to L.A. - Day 1

Chicago, IL to Springfield, IL

After more than a year of planning, Cathy and I and a group of our friends are living a dream by driving Route 66 from Chicago to Los Angeles.  We left San Diego on May 14 and drove to Chicago over four days.  We spent two nights in Chicago where we enjoyed fabulous deep-dish pizza and a genuine Chicago dog. Then, on May 19, 2011, we began our adventure back to California.

Our first day on The Mother Road was an outstanding one.  To beat the crazy Chicago traffic we left town at 5:30 a.m.  It was amazing just how many other vehicles were already on the road at that early hour.  And, as it turned out, we needed the extra time because, as we pulled into Springfield, it was already dinnertime.

While there were a lot of great sights to see, the thing that made the biggest impression on me was the friendliness of the people we encountered along the Route.  Everyone seemed genuinely interested in sharing their experiences and listening to ours.  Vernette at the Wilmington House Family Restaurant and Betty and Alice at the Atlanta Museum made particularly strong impressions.  I hope this trend continues over the coming two weeks.

Starting at the Beginning

Westbound Route 66 starts at Lake Shore Drive and Jackson Boulevard, right next to Lake Michigan.  However, for whatever reason, the "Begin" Route 66 sign is located on Adams Avenue a couple of blocks from the actual start point.

The Westbound Start of Route 66 in Downtown Chicago (click image to expand)

Blog and Photo Site for the Full Story

I originally planned to post all of my Route 66 road trip photos here in my blog.  But it's very time consuming to insert the photos one at a time and write a story about each one.  Instead, I am going to use a mix of my blog and my photo site.  That will allow me to share more photos and do it in a more time-efficient manner.

Click >>HERE<< for the Day 1 Photos!

Tuesday
May172011

Field of Dreams

I successfully checked an item off of my bucket list today.  On our way to Chicago (and Route 66) our contingent of San Diego Miata Club members took a side trip to the Field of Dreams Movie Site in Dyersville, Iowa.

Field of Dreams Movie Site (click image to expand)Field of Dreams (the movie) was released in 1989.  I thoroughly enjoyed its imaginative story and it has been on my list of favorite movies ever since.

Field of Dreams Movie Site (click image to expand)I have been waiting for the opportunity to visit the site and we were blessed with a gorgeous top-down Miata day!

The San Diego Miata Club at Field of Dreams (click image to expand)

Shorty after our arrival, everyone took to the bleachers to watch "the game".

Field of Dreams Bleacher (click image to expand)

The family that owned the property when the movie was made in 1989 are still the owners.  However, the property is up for sale if anyone is interested in owning this bit of movie history.

Field of Dreams Home (click image to expand)It was a real thrill to visit the Field of Dreams Movie Site.  I only wish we had thought to bring along some equipment so we could hit a few balls and have a game of catch.

Miatas at the Field of Dreams (click image to expand)

Who am I kidding?  We couldn't wedge a domino into our already-packed Miatas, let alone a baseball bat.

Thursday
May122011

Apple Limits HD Upgrade Options on New iMacs

Today we have news from Other World Computing regarding the new iMac design Apple released last week.  Apple is using a new proprietary SATA power connector and the factory hard drive has custom temperature control firmware.

For the main 3.5″ SATA hard drive bay in the new 2011 machines, Apple has altered the SATA power connector itself from a standard 4-pin power configuration to a 7-pin configuration. Hard drive temperature control is regulated by a combination of this cable and Apple proprietary firmware on the hard drive itself. From our testing, we’ve found that removing this drive from the system, or even from that bay itself, causes the machine’s hard drive fans to spin at maximum speed and replacing the drive with any non-Apple original drive will result in the iMac failing the Apple Hardware Test (AHT).

In examining the 2011 27″ iMac’s viability for our Turnkey Upgrade Service, every workaround we’ve tried thus far to allow us to upgrade the main bay factory hard drive still resulted in spinning fans and an Apple Hardware Test failure. We swapped the main drive out (in this case a Western Digital Black WD1001FALS) with the exact same model drive from our inventory which resulted in a failure. We’ve installed our Mercury Pro 6G SSD in that bay, it too results in ludicrous speed engaged fans and an AHT failure. In short, the Apple-branded main hard drive cannot be moved, removed or replaced.

Granted, upgrading or replacing the hard drive on an iMac is not a job for the timid.  But this wrong-headed decision is probably the stupidest move Apple has made since the board of directors fired Steve Jobs in 1984.

This is the sort of crap the old Apple would pull.  In fact, it was when Apple started doing a better job of following industry standards that the company finally realized better adoption of the Mac platform.  If your hard drive failed, you just headed down to the local Fry's or Best Buy and you were all set.

Major fail, Apple!  But thank you for saving me the money I might have spent "upgrading" to a new iMac.

Thursday
May122011

Roll Your Own Toolkit for the Miata

One of the most important things you should take with you on a road trip is an Auto Club membership card.  And don't go for the standard membership, which gives you just seven miles of free towing per incident.  It's a much better idea to upgrade to the Plus membership (at minimum), which gives you 100 miles of free towing per incident.  If you ever need to have your car towed more than ten miles you'll be very glad you paid for the Plus membership.  Those extra miles could cost as much as $25 per mile.

That said, it is also important to be prepared for mechanical problems that you might be able to deal with yourself.  You need a toolkit.  Some manufacturers include a basic toolkit with their cars.  But it's better to roll your own.

Literally.

Bucket Boss Tool Roll (click image to expand)That's the Bucket Boss Duckwear Tool Roll model #07004.  As it turns out, it's just the right size to fit in a convenient (hidden) storage spot in the Miata's trunk.  But first, take a look at all the tools it can hold.

Custom Toolkit for the Miata (click image to expand)

No Need to Give Up Trunk Space

As I mentioned, there is a very convenient storage spot in the Miata's trunk.  It's a little tunnel that runs down the right side of the trunk toward the passenger seat.  On a NA Miata (1990 - 1997) you'll need to remove the spare tire.  On a NB Miata (1999 - 2005) you'll need to remove a couple of plastic rivets to pull back the trunk liner.

I wrap a medium-sized towel around the tool roll before shoving it in the tunnel.  The towel helps prevent rattles, plus it might come in handy during roadside repairs.

Convenient Tunnel Storage in Miata Trunk (click image to expand)

The beauty of using the hidden tunnel is that you don't have to give up any of your precious trunk space.  With the trunk liner back in place the toolkit is barely visible.

Carry a Toolkit Without Giving Up Trunk Space (click image to expand)Tire Repair Kit

It's also a good idea to carry a tire repair kit.  Granted, many times a blowout will result in damage to the sidewall and that's why carrying a spare tire is always the best plan.  But it is also fairly common to pick up a nail or screw in the tread that creates a slow leak.  You might wake up the next morning to find a flat tire.  Minor damage like that can be repaired fairly quickly and quite effectively with a tire plug.

Important:  Tire plugs are intended for temporary repairs.  The first chance you get, you should take the tire to a tire store and have a proper patch applied.

I put together a tire repair kit that fits in a small camera bag.  It contains a small 12-volt air compressor, tire plugs, tire plug installation tools, rubber cement and a tire pressure gauge.

Home-brew Tire Repair Kit (click image to expand)On my 2001 Miata, the tire repair kit fits nicely into the recess on the right side of the trunk.  That's a small first aid kit behind it in the photo below.

Tire Repair Kit & First Aid Kit (click image to expand)

OBD II Scanner

I also carry an inexpensive OBD II Code Reader in the trunk of my Miata.

OBD II Scanner Tool (click image to expand)

If your Miata's check engine light comes on, the OBD II scanner could prove to be the most useful tool you carry.  I printed a slip of paper with some common Miata engine codes and keep it with the scanner. 

  • P0134 - O2 Sensor (No Activity)
  • P0300 - Coil Pack (Misfire)
  • P0301 - Random Misfire Cylinder 1
  • P0302 - Random Misfire Cylinder 2
  • P0303 - Random Misfire Cylinder 3
  • P0304 - Random Misfire Cylinder 4
  • P0325 - Knock Sensor 1
  • P0339 - Crankshaft Position Sensor
  • P0402 - Dirty Intake Manifold
  • P0420 - Catalytic Converter / Front O2 Sensor
  • P0421 - Warm-up Catalytic Converter Efficiency Below Threshold Bank 1
  • P0455 - Possible Loose Gas Cap
  • P1170 - Fuel Air Metering
  • P1345 - Cam Position Sensor
  • P1518 - Intake Manifold Runner Control ('99-'00), Intake Manifold Shutter Valve ('01+) 

Of course, it's helpful to have something like a smartphone or other device with internet access to look up the codes.  Once you have the code, simply plug it into the search feature at Miata.net forum.  At Miata.net, you'll not only figure out why your check engine light came on, but you're virtually guaranteed to find a few answers on how to deal with fixing it.

On road trips, I've needed the OBD II scanner more often than I've needed a screwdriver.  So far, it's always been something simple like a loose gas cap that throws a check engine light code.  One time the code indicated a problem with my mass air flow sensor.  I had used a pressure washer to clean the bugs off the front of the Miata the night before and I managed to splash water up onto the mass air flow sensor's electrical connector.  Thanks to the OBD II scanner, I knew to turn my attention to the MAF.  I separated the electrical connector, dried it out, and reset the check engine light.  It's been fine since.

Be Prepared

No, I wasn't a Boy Scout.  It's just common sense to be as prepared as you can for roadside emergencies.  Hopefully, you'll never need any of the tools.  But you'll sure be glad you have them if you do end up needing them.

Tuesday
May102011

Older iOS Devices Outselling Newer Android Devices

John Paczkowski at All Things D posted an interesting article today.  It seems Apple's older iOS devices are outselling newer Android devices.

Canaccord Genuity analyst Michael Walkley says his retail checks show continued strong demand for the iPhone 3GS at AT&T and iPad 1 at Verizon, even as the iPhone 4 and iPad 2 continue to fly off the shelves. At AT&T, for example, the iPhone 3GS is outselling newer Android phones like the HTC Inspire and Motorola Atrix.

The article speculates that—just as Apple is already the winner at the high end of the market—they are poised to possibly be the winner at the low end of the market too.

Tuesday
May102011

Touchscreen Recreates Tactile Sensations

Kajimoto Labs at Tokyo's University of Electro-Communications demonstrates a prototype LCD touchscreen that converts finger touches on the screen to a touching sensation felt in the palm of the hand holding the touchscreen.

Interesting!

Monday
May092011

iFixIt Tears Down FBI Tracking Device

The cool folks at iFixIt got their hands on an FBI car-tracking device.  What did they do?  Tore it down and documented it, of course.

Tracking Device Teardown

The long tube is the battery pack. It holds four lithium-thionyl chloride D-cell batteries.  The service life is rated at 10 to 20 years!  You won't find those batteries at your local Radio Shack!