December 4, 2009
I use PushMail to get push notifications of e-mail on my iPhone. And because I have Google Voice send all my SMS and voicemails to my e-mail address, I get notified of those too. Here are some PushMail Custom Profiles that make it an even better experience:
Custom Profile 1 – Text Messages
Custom Profile 2 – Voicemails
- Pattern: email@example.com
- Sound: Ping (default)
- Action: URL: http://voice.google.com
- Notification Format: Subject
October 10, 2009
I just finally activated my Google Voice account today. I’m pretty happy with the setup right now. The bottom line is:
- I get a notification on my iPhone for all e-mails, voicemails (transcribed), text messages (free), IMs, and twitter replies and DMs
- I can e-mail, text message, IM, or tweet back from the iPhone
Here’s the setup:
- My personal e-mail address is a POP account with my ISP. I have it set up to forward to my gmail account, so I get IMAP support. But I also have a backup of the e-mails stored locally in case something goes wrong with gmail.
- My Google Voice account is set up to transcribe voicemails, and then send voicemail transcriptions and text messages to my gmail account. Gmail is set to filter these messages and automatically put them in a VM or SMS folder.
- My gmail account forwards all e-mails to my PushMail e-mail account – this is an iPhone app that will show push notifications on my iPhone with sender/subject/title/body etc. By contrast, using the iPhone mail app to do push only buzzes and updates the app’s icon – it doesn’t show a notification with the contents.
- Meanwhile, I use IM+ as an iPhone IM client. It supports most IM services, and also does push notifications when receiving IMs.
- I use Tweetie 2 as my iPhone twitter client. It’s great, but unfortunately it doesn’t support global push notifications for all mentions and DMs. So, instead, I use IM+’s Twitter push support – IM+ notifies me when I receive a mention or DM, and then I read/reply in Tweetie.
April 18, 2009
I just finished Fallout 3, and I’m starting a second playthrough in order to get some achievements I couldn’t get the first time. If you want to get them all in one playthrough, here are a few tips:
- Disarm the megaton bomb, so that you have a house right away to store stuff in
- Look up the list of custom weapons, and as you find components, store enough of them in your house to make all the weapons. Don’t make any of the weapons yet, as it can be hard to keep track of which you make and which you find. Wait until you have the all the components and all the schematics.
- Look up the list of bobbleheads, and make sure you get them all as you go. Note that two of them are irretrievable after a certain point in the game, so it’s best to get them ASAP: medicine and energy weapons.
- Keep your karma neutral. Each time you reach one of the level milestones that gets you an achievement, save before you get the level, then level up. Then load the save, get a positive karma, and level up again. Do the same with negative karma. This will get you all three achievements, one for each karma level. Keeping a neutral karma shouldn’t be too difficult: the butler in your megaton house will give you purified water, which you can give to the beggar outside to gain karma. And you can always steal things to lose karma.
October 27, 2008
I just had a great customer service experience at Target. Yesterday I bought the new Guitar Hero game, which includes mic and drums like Rock Band. But there was a certain very annoying problem with the drum pads. I didn’t want to pack everything back up in the box, and I wasn’t even sure if they’d have any more in stock. So I just took the drum pads and the receipt.
Not only was Target open at 8:45am; not only did they have another Guitar Hero in stock; not only did they allow me to exchange it without repacking the whole game; but they gave me the drum set from the last copy in stock. (Let me remind you that most Gamestops haven’t even gotten a single copy in stock other than preorders.) Target didn’t even make me wait for them to enter the return in their system – they just gave me the drum set and sent me on my way. Amazing!
Target’s also the best place to find hard-to-find popular items in stock. That’s where I got my Wii, and it’s the place that I most frequently saw Mario Kart in stock when it was extra-rare. So, in summary, Target’s a great place to shop for games, and I highly recommend it!
July 23, 2008
Has anyone already come up with this principle?
If I understand it correctly, the Qwerty keyboard layout was designed for mechanical typewriters to slow typers down, because fast typers would jam the typewriter. When computers came along and jamming was no longer an issue, everyone already knew qwerty, so the inefficient layout was preserved (in contrast to, for example, more efficient layouts like Dvorak that nobody knew).
So the Qwerty Principle would be, usability doesn’t happen in a vacuum. If people are already used to a paradigm that is “unusable,” that fact may itself make the paradigm actually more usable, as compared to alternatives which are theoretically more usable.
You can see this in OpenOffice. Because everyone is used to MS Office, OpenOffice mimics MS Office’s poor/confusing menus and dialogs. GIMP could probably benefit from this by more closely mimicing Photoshop’s keyboard shortcuts.
July 22, 2008
If you live in Atlanta, you’ve already probably heard of AMC Avenue Forsyth, the brand new theater off of Highway 400 Exit 13 with all digital projectors. You’ve heard about the clarity of the image – no scratches or dust here! You’ve heard about the high-def picture. But now there’s one more reason to make the trek up to Cumming:
Have you ever been in a movie where you couldn’t hear the dialogue over the soundtrack? Ever wonder why the sound engineers mix it that way? It might not be the film studio’s fault. When I watched the Dark Knight at Avenue, I could hear the dialogue just fine. But when I watched it again at Regal Medlock, quieter dialogue was completely lost.
So you can probably get away with seeing the next Will Ferrell movie at any-old-theater, but for the good movies, it may be worth your while to take a longer drive.
July 21, 2008
In a Starbucks bathroom this weekend, I saw an illustration of a bird that looked remarkably like the birds in the Twitter failwhale graphic. In discussing this with a friend, we determined that we were not familiar with any term for these birds.
That being the case, I’d like to officially propose that they be referred to as failquail.
July 15, 2008
Went to BB’s for lunch after church on Sunday for the first time. I wasn’t hungry, so I can’t say anything about the quality of the food one way or the other. But I noticed that they had a Rock Band drumset in the corner. When I asked about it, it turns out that they have a Rock Band night every Tuesday. I assumed it would be busy and difficult to get to play a song, so I asked as much. The guy responded that they had just started it, and that it was pretty slow so far – people seemed shy to try it.
This, of course, is all the invitation I need. When the Man vs. Wild series ends in August, I expect that I will be hitting this up at least occasionally, if not regularly =] Who’s with me??
July 14, 2008
Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow is probably the closest we’ve come to a true Symphony of the Night sequel, and even surpasses it in a few senses.
Let’s make it absolutely clear just how big a statement that is. There are few bigger SotN fans than me. I purchased a Japanese Sega Saturn off of eBay just to get the Saturn version with Maria as a playable character and the extra dungeons. I’ve contemplated doing a Maria speedrun since I couldn’t find one on Speed Demos Archive.
DoS’s graphics are on par with SotN. They seem to be more subtle and nuanced – the colors in the opening snowy area are great. Probably the most impressive improvement is Alastor’s 3D sword instead of a 2D one. As another plus, oh-my-goodness-I-just-realized-Alucard-is-playable-in-Julius-mode.
The big disappointment is the music – nobody except Guitar Hero has ever gotten anything like CD-quality out of a DoS, and it’s only after hearing this that I fully appreciate the score for SotN. As far as the gameplay, it seems that DoS is really encouraging you to use souls instead of regular weapons, and it just doesn’t have the same appeal to me as slicing through dudes with the Crissaegrim. Finally, unfortunately, Julius, when running, reminds me of Shaggy from Scooby Doo. There’s something about the animation that just isn’t quite right =]
July 11, 2008
Got a copy of Boom Blox for the Wii for my birthday. So far, it seems to be worth the high ratings it’s gotten. There are various kinds of games where you pull out, knock down, or blow up blocks in order to get points – think Jenga meets Die Hard. So far I’ve found two-player simultaneous and four-player turn-based modes.
The controls feel very natural – it feels like you’re actually throwing and grabbing, and couldn’t be done on anything but the Wii. The physics are fairly tight – force, angle, and weight all play a factor, and high stacks of blocks even bounce a bit, as though they have a little elasticity. There’s a surprising amount of strategy involved in figuring out how to use your turn to get the most points or prevent your oppents from getting points. And knocking around the little block animals has a twistedly funny feel reminiscient of Raving Rabbids – although they’re literally more on the periphery.