All posts by Tony Price

Tony A. Price is a Nutrition and Dietetics Student from Louisiana in the United States. He has a deep passion for high end technology, mobile devices and applications, Mac hardware and software, and video gaming. His website is Tony's Brain, his Twitter handle is @TonyAllenPrice and you can follow him on Google+.

Moom: Make OS X’s Green Plus Button More Useful [Review]

As a recent convert from Windows to Mac, there are some aspects of OS X that seem counter intuitive. Some of them I love, like the simple application installation process. Others I down right hate. Specifically, I hate the native function of the Green Plus button on windows.

For my Windows readers, I will give you an idea of what I mean. In Windows, you have the ability to maximize a window using a simple mouse click. Then, if you decide that you don’t want that window to be so big anymore, you can click again and it shrinks back down. In OS X, the Green Plus button serves a similar function. It will make a window big enough to fit all its contents.

My issues with the Green Plus are pretty simple. First, I want the ability to take some apps full screen. Second, I would really like the be able to undo the size change as I see fit. It serves neither of these purposes. I have a solution however, and its an app called Moom.

Moom is aan  extremely  powerful app that extends the functionality of the Green Plus without taking away is original purpose. Moom solves most of my problems with window sizing in OS X, and gives me another feature I missed from Windows 7: Window Snapping.

If you use Windows 7, then you probably know by now that you can snap a window to an edge of your screen, and it will resize to take up exactly half. As a student, I used that feature all the time when writing papers. OS X contains no such feature, but Moom does.

To access any of Moom’s features, you simply hover your mouse pointer over the Green Plus. As you can see, there are pictures to help you understand what functions are available. To fit the window to the contents (original Green Plus), simply click the button itself.  Moom also gives you a full set of keyboard controls, and even a grid mode. You can select any or all of the features you want through the application preferences.

As far as I am concerned, Moom is the best 5 dollars I have spent on my Mac. It gives me features that I wished OS X had built in, and it does it in a non-obtrusive way. I recommend that you head over to the Mac App Store and buy it right now.

App Name: Moom by Many Tricks
Price: $4.99 in the Mac App Store
Score: 5/5, Techie Buzz Approved

 

YouTube Shows Off Their New “Cosmic Panda” Design

With the launch of Google+, it seems that Google is looking to make their products prettier. The launch of the new Google search layout, the Gmail update, and the black navigation bar for Plus have all happened in the past week.We previously reported on a small change to YouTube’s video playback, but it looks like we can add all of YouTube to the list.

A post on the official YouTube blog announced that there is a new interface design in the works for YouTube. The update, which YouTube is calling “Cosmic Panda”, brings a complete redesign to the video site. It is officially part of the TestTube feature set, meaning that it isn’t going official quite yet.

What’s Different in Cosmic Panda?

Cosmic Panda brings a new look to every part of YouTube. The general idea appears to be the clean up the user interface. They have cleaned up the white space on the pages, changed the look a video page, and even altered the channel pages. Rather than trying to fully explain all of the changes, I will just give a few screenshots with captions.

Here you see the changed YouTube homepage. The biggest changes I see are the new search bar at the top, the cleaner labeling, and the Feedback tab. If you click that Feedback tab, you get the same feedback system that is available in Google+. I am happy to see that on other Google service, and hope it will penetrate into more services soon.

This is a video being played through YouTube’s new design. As you can see, the video is now more prominently featured on the page. You also get multiple sizes which can be sleeted on the right hand side. Comments are pushed further down the page. I also like the darker background around the video.

This last screenshot is of a YouTube channel. As you can see, these have changed a lot as well. You can still include a background on your channel, but it won’t be as distracting as it was previously. I really like the prominent statistics displayed on the page, including views and the last time the channel operator signed in.

Cosmic Panda: A Better Experience

As far as I am concerned, I think that YouTube has got something special with Cosmic Panda. I really like the changes they have made. I hope that this gets rolled out as an official change soon. However, I know that not everyone will like it. You can decide for yourself by hitting up the Cosmic Panda site and clicking “Try It Out!”

If you decide you hate the new look, you can go back the Cosmic Panda site and revert the changes. If you do, be sure to send them a feedback message telling them why. Let’s help make YouTube better.

 

 

Apple Never Bringing Final Cut Pro 6/7 Import to FCP X

In late June we reported that Apple has released a new version of its video editing powerhouse known as Final Cut. Final Cut Pro X was released to mixed reviews, with many professional editors claiming it was useless for their work. It seems as though Apple has heard their cries, and is choosing to ignore them.

Apple held a private briefing for enterprise contact in London about Final Cut Pro X. They addressed a number of concerns, but not really to anyone’s satisfaction. A summary of the briefing was posted to Twitter by @aPostEngineer. Here are the major points:

1. FCP XML in/out is coming via 3rd party soon…no FCP 6/7 support project support coming ever it seems…
2. Ability to buy ADDITIONAL FCP7 licenses for EXISTING enterprise deployments  coming in the next few weeks… 

3. FCPX EDL import/export coming soon…
4. FCPX AJA application coming soon for tape capture and layback…capture straight into FCPX [events].
5. XSAN support for FCPX coming in the next few weeks…
6. FCPX Broadcast video output via #Blackmagic & @AJAVideo coming soon…
7. Additional codec support for FCPX via 3rd Parties coming soon…
8. Customizable sequence TC in FCPX for master exports coming soon…
9. Some FCPX updates will be free some will cost…

Basically, the most desired features are not going to happen. If you want XML import of export, you can only get it through a third-party add-on. As for importing Final Cut Pro 6 or 7 files: It’s never happening. Looks like Apple is officially moving on.

On a positive note, Apple is going to allow current enterprise users to buy additional Final Cut Pro 7 licenses. This should give professional users the ability to wait for FCP X to get the plug-ins needed to make it useful. Then again, it’s possible that will never happen.

 

 

Facebook Announces New Group Chat, Buddy Lists, and Video Calling

In what Mark Zuckerberg called the start to “Launching Season 2011″, Facebook has announced that they are launching a number of products over the coming months. Zuckerberg said that the goal of Social Networking has shifted from connecting people to building apps for people to use. He claimed that the future of internet use is based on social infrastructure.

During his announcement, Zuckerberg confirmed that Facebook has reached 750 million users. At the same time, he emphasized that this is not the metric that Facebook wants to watch. Their goal now is to improve the way that people share.

To that end, Facebook is launching a handful of new products today. The first major announcement was a new form group chat. If you use Facebook groups, then you know you can already chat with whole groups. You can create an ad-hoc group by adding more than one Facebook friend in the Facebook chat interface. They claim that ‘a lot of people requested’ this service.

The next feature announced was the ability to find people to chat with easier. Given that you have the available screen space, you can now see a ‘buddy list’ of Facebook friends. This will allow you more easily find the people you want to chat with. The new sidebar will adjust to fit the size of your screen.

The last announcement was Skype integration. This was rumored to be the most likely announcement, and it came true. If you want to initiate a Video chat on Facebook, you simply click the video call button in your Facebook chat window. If the person who you are trying to call doesn’t have the plugin installed, they will be automatically prompted to do so. There is also a video call button on profile pages.

All three of these features will be rolling out automatically over the next few weeks. If you don’t want to wait for these products, you can get it now.

 

Google to Drop Picasa and Blogger Brands in Wake of Google+

If you are an active user of Google’s Picasa photo management tools or their Blogger blogging platform, you should prepare yourself for a change. News has broken that Google intends to drop those names from the products. This move is part of the Google+ service, which seems to be leading to a rebranding of Google’s web based tools.

Blogger and Picasa will not be shut down, however. The two service are among the most popular for the internet giant. They will simply be renamed to “Google Blogs” and “Google Photos” respectively. It is rumored that these two are the first of many services to get the Google rebranding treatment. Sources indicate that YouTube will not be changed.

The total rebranding is due to take place over the next six weeks. This time table will likely align with the full public roll out of Google+, which is rumored to be by the end of this month. Its important to keep that date in mind, as it will be the day when private Google profiles are deleted.

The combination of these service with Google+ makes sense. While Google+ has a photo service already, it is easy to notice that it is integrated with Picasa and Picasa’s technology. The Instant Upload feature of the Google+ Android application uploads to Google+ and Picasa simultaneously. It would make sense to drop the branding and combine the two parts officially.

If you want some sort of proof for this pending rebranding, simply look at the screenshot above. Across the top navigation bar, you will see a link that reads Photos. Clicking it takes you to Picasa Web, the web based portal for Picasa. If that doesn’t convince you, then I don’t know what will.

 

Skype releases Version 5.2 for Mac

The ever popular text and video chatting service Skype has released an update for their OS X client. Version 5.2 brings a few new features to the main silent that have been part of the beta version since 5.0. These include group screen sharing as well as group video calling. Unfortunately, in order to take advantage of either, you will need to be a Skype Premium subscriber.

OS X Skype Client Screen Sharing

For the non-premium users, there are a few improvements that make the upgrade from 5.1 seem like a good idea. For instinct, the new client seems to have fewer bugs than its predecessor. There are also small changes to the UI, like the ability to hide the sidebar to focus on your conversation. You also have the ability to pop-out the cider controls for video calls.

The changes in version 5.2 should appeal to power-users, especially the Premium users who use Skype for video conferencing. The new screen-sharing options (which are Mac exclusive for the time being) will make the Skype a better productivity tool. It is good to see that, in the wake of Microsoft’s acquisition of Skype, the other platforms aren’t being totally ignored.

The downside to 5.2 is that the UI that Skype introduced in 5.0 is largely unchanged. The popular opinion is that it is too bulky of an app. A simple Google search will result in a downloadable copy of Skype 2.8, that last “good” version of Skype for the Mac. If you aren’t a premium user, then the upgrade isn’t really worth your time. However, the new feature sonly require one premium user to activate, you may want to pick up 5.2 incase a request comes your way.

 

 

Everything+: How Google+ Changes (And Will Change) The Social Landscape [Editorial]

A couple of days ago, Google released one of the most amazing products I have ever seen into the world of limited Beta. After much anticipation, a colleague of mine gave me an invitation to Google’s newest attempt at a social service. After using it for a couple of days, I think I am ready to express my thoughts on what Google+ means now, and what I think it will mean in the near and not-so-near future.

Amit, one of the other authors here at Techie Buzz, has posted the technical aspects of what Google+ is and how it works already. As such, I won’t be covering that. If you are looking for any sort of help getting started with Google+, I recommend that you read Amit’s other article, Google+ For Dummies.

Within this post, I will be sharing what I think makes Google+ a real game changer in the social space. I will talk about the features that make it, in my opinion, the best social network available. I will cover that I think makes Google+ great, from the sharing to the feedback. After all that, I will make my predications for the future as it pertains to Google+.

Google+: Circles Changes Everything

As long as I have been using social networks, I have run into one consistent complaint. With every network I have joined, they have told me who I could share with. Twitter made everything I tweeted publicly available. While that’s fine, I wasn’t ever completely satisfied.  With Facebook, they told me I could limit it, but if I did, then only the people who were my friends would see it. There was no going back to Public. While I understood the idea, I still wasn’t satisfied.

Then came Google+, with its fantastic management tool known as Circles. Thanks to Circles, G+ has given me what I have been wishing for: the ability to selectively share. What I mean is that I can choose to share certain things with certain circles. If I have a piece of family related news, I can share that with only my family. If I have a great piece of public news, then everyone can see it.

I feel like the beauty of circles works both ways. If people use it as it was intended, we will create a social space where over sharing is less of a problem. We won’t be put off by people telling us about their doctor’s appointment like they do on Twitter. Thanks to the selective Streams, you can catch up with your family and friends without having to read every update from active users like Chris Pirillo or Robert Scoble.

Reeder Is A Fantastic RSS Reader For Mac OS X [Review]

As a Blogger, I am constantly trying new ways to read blogs and news. I have gone through all the typical solutions. I tired reading every blog individually, and that was obviously a poor choice. I tried to use various forms of RSS feeds, and while it was more convent, it wasn’t elegant. I think I have found the solution I have been searching for.

Reeder, the incredibly popular feed reader for iOS, has been released for Mac OS X. While the idea of porting an app from iOS to the Mac may sound like a terrible idea, this one really works. The feature set of Reeder is fantastic, the interface is beautiful, and the whole experience is worth the price. Let’s take a deeper look at Reeder.

Reeder’s Beautiful UI

Reeder Mac OS X RSS ReaderAs RSS readers go, Reeder has to be the most beautiful one I have ever used. In the past, I have used RSS readers that tried to be more function than form, and it didn’t make me want to keep using that program. Reeder has achieved something special with their balance between art and usability.

One really good example of the form and function balance in Reeder is the dock icon. NetNewsWire, the RSS reader I was using before Reeder, had a less than pleasing system for handling unread story notifications. When you had stories to read, NNW would give you an iOS style icon notification. Reeder, on the other hand, does a much better job of blending the notification with the icon.

Reeder’s Features Make It Great

Another aspect of Reeder that separates it from its competition are the additional features that it offers. At the top of the Reeder window, there is a row of icons that will allow you to interact with the current story in various ways. You can link your Twitter account and share stories, you can add them to Pinboard, or you can send them to ReadItLater or Instapaper.

Reeder Readability On Off

At the bottom of the window is the toggle button for one of my favorite Reeder features. As many of us are aware, there are certain websites that only give partial RSS feeds. While I understand why they may do that, it interrupts my workflow. Reeder offers a “Readability” button that will give you the full story within the app. The screenshot above will show you more of what I mean.

Reeder Gestures OS XAnother great set of features that Reeder comes with is its use of the multi-touch ability of MacBooks and Magic Trackpads. There are various features and things you can access using the gestures. My favorite are the ‘pinch’ gestures. An outward pinch will switch a story to Readability mode, and an inward pinch will disable Readability again.

Reeder: The Best of The Best

As you can see, Reeder is one of the best looking and feature rich RSS readers available today. After spending a few days with it, I have decided that i will be getting it for all my devices. Some may say that $9.99 is expensive for an RSS reader. When you consider all that Reeder does, as well as the great interface, its actually quite a steal.

Score: 5/5 – Techie Buzz Approved
Price: $9.99 in the Mac App Store

Google+ Early Users Given Invites To Hand Out, Get Yours Here

As we are all aware at this point, Google launched their newest project revolving around social interaction yesterday. Google+ is already one of the most talked about things on the internet. It has caught Twitter by storm, and people are raving about both the web interface and mobile app , which is currently only for Android Phones.

Google Plus Invites Screen

The biggest complaint among users up to this point was the inability to invite anyone new to the service, beyond an initial 10 or 15 people. Google recently changed that policy, giving all existing users (myself included) a currently unknown number of new invites. They warn that these invitations are not unlimited, however.

It seems that Google recognizes that the biggest issue they will have with Google+ is getting people to use it. I felt that not letting users send out invitations was a poor choice for Google. It would appear that they heard all of our cries for Google+, and have given us what we really wanted.

While a full review is coming in the next day or so, let me give you a few of my early thoughts on Google+ right now. To put it simply: It’s awesome. I think that the full integration with their mobile platform, the beautiful linking of social and search, and the great web interface all make Google+ a defiant player in the social space.

As I said, there will be a full review of Google+ as a product and a service coming soon. Keep your eyes peeled for that. If you have any questions about Google+, feel free to post them in the comments below.

Comment and Get a Google Plus Invite
Update: Google has closed Google+ invites for now. We will send out more when they open back up. Thanks for your patience.

Update 2: Google+ is now open to everyone with a Google+ account, please visit https://plus.google.com and sign in with your Gmail account to get access to Google+.

Update 3:  Don’t miss out on some really good articles on using Google+ along with several other editorials we have written for you.

How To Get Ready To Upgrade To OS X Lion

As June comes to a close, we begin to look into July. If you are a Mac user like me, then you know that July will bring something very exciting. It was rumored, and then revealed at WWDC. I am talking about OS X Lion.

Many Mac users are looking at the impending release of Lion and asking the same question. “Is my Mac ready to upgrade?” While that question may seem simple at first, there are a few crucial steps that need to be accounted for. The breakdown is simple, but lets look at each one individually.

Get Up-To-Date

OS X Software Update Logo

If you are running OS X 10.5 (Leopard), then you will have to get a copy of Snow Leopard and install it. This is due to there being things in Snow Leopard that you need to upgrade to Lion. The main thing is the Mac App Store.

Also, Apple just recently released an update for OS X Snow Leopard which updated it to version 10.6.8. Within that update, it was noted that there were changes made to the Mac App Store that would be needed to get Lion. If you haven’t gotten that update yet, I would start by doing that. It also contains some security updates that are pretty important.

Get Gesture Ready

At the Lion reveal, Apple showed off a large number of multitouch gestures that are part of Lion. If you want to take full advantage of the new version of OS X, then you will need a multitouch touch pad. If you run a MacBook of any kind, then you are probably good to go. If you are on a desktop, then you may want to consider a Magic TrackPad from Apple. You can pick one up from Apple for $69.h

Get Compatible Apps

This is probably the biggest unknown at this point. App Compatibility is a two fold problem. The first people to blame are the developers at Apple. They work very hard to make sure that you can use your apps most of the time, but Lion is special. They are removing some much loved compatibility features (read: Rosetta) from the system.

RoaringApps

The second problem is the app developers. In the end, it is their responsibility to make sure their apps run on Lion. If you want to know if your app is compatible, at least with the developer previews that have been released, then I recommend you check out RoaringApps. This database has a large number of Mac Apps and current DP compatibility ratings.

Be Patient

The last things you need to upgrade to Lion is $30, an internet connection, and patience. The new version of OS X won’t be out until sometime in July, so you will just have to wait. When it comes out, I assure you that i will be upgrading.