For about 4 years now I’ve been posting images onto my website. It’s really not that hard to do, and I really love having access to photos anywhere in the world! It’s really pretty easy to set up too so here’s some tips on how to get started.

Personally, I’d recommend checking out Google’s Picasa. It’s really easy to use program for simple photo editing such as red eye, contrast, or brightness adjustments. It’s also the easiest way I’ve found to manages my albums, & it can export smaller versions of photos. When necessary I use Photoshop to make more complex image edits. Once the images have been shrunk, I run them trough jAlbum to create the web album. (It’s not as hard as it all might sound.) I just tell jAlbum where my photos are located and where I want the finished product to go. I specify what skin I want to use, hit go. Then I get up and go make a sandwich. By the time I get back to the computer, everything’s done. I may actually over-complicate the process, because jAlbum might actually have a feature to automatically shrink your images down, I’ve just never looked.

Once everything is created it is all output into a new directory on your computer. You can simply take the contents of that folder and upload them to your website. Most web space providers will tell your ftp address, but it usually “”. Input your ftp address into the destination and set the source as your newly created album folder, and start the transfer. There’s tons of free ftp programs out there to make this easy. If you can’t find one you can even use internet explorer. just navigate to “”, and drag the files from your new album folder to the internet explorer window.

Here’s how it all looks when your done. I’ve used an XP theme so it looks like you’re browsing through a folder on a Windows PC. I know It’s not the most visually appealing look, but it accomplishes what I want it to. jAlbum does have a number of skins available to customize how it looks of your website.

People always seem to ask me for help fixing their computers. Most of the time these “fixes” aren’t much more then simple scans of your system or a de-fragmentation of you hard drive. There’s a lot of programs out there for de-fragmenting your computer, but I don’t really recommend any because window does come with a default de-fragmentation tool. Here’s a little more information on that in case you need it.

There’s a lots of software out there which you can use to clean up your computer, but who knows which you need and which ones are the best. The short answer to that question is… me. At least for today’s purposes. So I hope this helps. I’ve made a short list of programs that I think all people should keep on their computers and make a point to run at least once a month. It’s not that I’m an authority on this topic, but I figure enough people ask me what I use, that I can now just as easily direct people to this site to read and be linked for themselves. It seems in my opinion, that these programs seem to be the industry’s standard for the most part.

Link: How to Defrag in Windows XP
Link: Eric’s Recommended Software for Computer Repair

Google earth might possibly be my favorite program on the internet. For all that it does it receives not nearly enough praise. It is possible to spend an entire day jumping from place to place and exploring almost as if you are on vacation there. What a cool program. You would think that once you released Google Earth there’s not much more you could add. Sure enough there are tons and tons of add ons that are available in the newer versions of the program. You can see points of interest, snapshots taken around a particular point, and even outlines of park boundaries. There’s even ways to import files into Google earth so outside interests can you Google Earth’s interface in displaying locations (such as is the case in geocaching.)

In the most recent version of Google Earth there are two notable big additions to the program. One being Sky view, and the other the hidden flight simulator. Sky view mode is impressive and awesome, but what really stole my attention was the flight simulator. Flight simulator mode is a hidden feature so it can only be accessed by pressing Ctrl + Alt + A (Command + Option + A on the Mac.) Once you have the flight simulator open you can fly anywhere in the world. if you’ve every played a flight simulator before you’ll notice that the controls are very smiler. Check it out, it’s a ton of fun, and can also be quite challenging. If you don’t have Google Earth yet, get it! If you have it already, update! this is one of the coolest things I’ve played with yet especially in the realm of cartography.

Link: More information on the Google Earth Flight Simulator

At this point I have had a chance to take a closer look at Joost, the IPTV program from the makers of Skype & Kazaa. As I said in my initial review, I am very impressed. I think that once more companies buy into their technology Joost will definitely be a major contender in the industry.

The interesting thing about the timing of Joost’s release is that there is increasingly fewer and fewer networks out there who are giving us our television. The big three with Networks with easy to remember acronyms come to mind; ABC, CBS, & NBC. Joost could just be the equalizer that allows more people to get in the shrinking door. The scary thing about the direction that the television industry has been going is that there are less and less options available to the viewers. Sure, it may seem that more and more stations are being added, but in reality there is major consolidations going on at higher levels. This means that the opinions we are seeing are coming from fewer and fewer places.

Joost hits the scene bringing an eclectic collection of programming that you can only imagine will continue to grow. It uses a sleek, stylish design that I think looks really sharp. The video quality is as good or better then I was expecting, and for the most part it keeps right up with the rather monumental task of streaming high quality video. Coupled with a TV output card this is a really wild experience.!

Joost is marketing themselves using street buzz & viral marketing. Joost is available by invite only. So, who wants a Joost invite? Here’s an offer to get yours easily. I will pick three people who will get Joost judging by the comments you leave here. Explain to me why you want to try Joost, and what you think of this marketing strategy, as well as any others you might have noticed recently. Please make sure you include your email address. Good Luck!

So I received my long sought after Joost invite yesterday. I quickly dropped everything and downloaded the program. After the install was complete I ran the program. What I saw was not what I was expecting, but was really impressive. Joost is like nothing I have ever seen before. The interface at first glance appears to be very intuitive. and the video quality is as good or better then I was expecting. My computer is tied into my TV and watching video on demand on my TV is truly impressive. Of course ParPerView and OnDemand have been available for years, but getting content over the Internet is truly impressive. you get the feeling that you are more in control when this is coming from the Internet to your TV rather then a cable provider’s closed, private network. I have only taken a brief look at the program and will offer a more in depth review in the coming weeks.

For weeks I had been intending to make a post about the future of the television industry, but Joost may have just changed some of my opinions or predictions.

For those people who only surfed here because of the words Joost invite. I will be offering Joost beta test invites in the coming weeks as well, once I receive them.

So lately I have been on a big recycling kick. I’ve seen too many documentaries, and scary statistics to ignore the fact that it’s super important, not to mention economically wise to recycle. Something that I have realized since I started recycling (paper at least) is that the recycle bin actually helps me organizationally. Yes, I do need to have an additional bin near my trash can that takes up more space, but there many are benefits as well. Think about the recycle bin on your computer. Have you ever deleted something then thought later; “Damn, why did I delete that file!” Well I find a physical recycle bin offers the same solution as the recycle bin on a computer does. Using a recycling bin not only allows you to help the environment, but also helps you in the case you discard something prematurely. I have also found that using a recycling bin has helped me to get rid of some of the things that I am not sure if I should keep or get rid of, as well as things that I have a difficult time putting in the trash (ie. greeting cards.) So there you have it, a tip that is both helpful for you and for our planet. Now just think, I am that much closer to 100% digital filing & 0 paper waste (my resolution for next New Years.)

Greed, say it out loud. GREED. It kind of sounds funny. It’s almost a taboo word in our culture. Why? I guess because we all are somewhat greedy in the United States. It’s ok, I don’t blame you, the average citizen. It’s large companies that portray materialism as happiness. One company that I have really seen as stepping up to the plate and hitting a real “Greed-Slam” is Apple. Today I am going to talk about them a little bit.

Apple is really no different then most tech companies. In our culture we crave the latest and greatest technology. I’m no exception (*brief pause to check this incoming email on my Treo 700w.*) The thing that I feel really separates Apple from the the rest of the pack however is how they like to keep their new products a complete secret until the day they release. I could go out today and buy a new iPod and tomorrow it could be yesterday’s big thing, and I consider myself somewhat on the pulse of new technology.

The thing which really possessed me to make this post however was this. Last night, while trying to set up my girlfriend’s new iPod, I ran into the following string of events:

-When Trying to hook up her iPod nano, I was told to update to iTunes 7.0.2.
-After downloading iTunes 7.0.2, I was told it couldn’t be installed without upgrading to mac OS x 10.3.9
-After downloading 10.3.9 I was told that I could not update unless I upgraded OS X from 10.2.8 to 10.3.x

Now, I’ve run into this before, and here’s the issue. Let’s say I bite the bullet and get this upgrade, it is often the case that after upgrading, some other program doesn’t work and you are forced to upgrade that. You find yourself stuck in this spiral, and the biggest spiral is the money spiraling out of your bank account.

So I guess my final thought is this. When it comes to those Apple ads with the 2 guys standing in front of the white wall (a PC guy & a mac guy,) don’t necessarily think that it comes down to good, and bad. Think of it rather as bad and worse, and I am not even going to say which is which.

So all you laptop people who stuck around even though that last post really didn’t apply to you, well now is when I will speak to you as well. In my previous post I ended up calling the procedure we performed an “emergency backup”. Just as with all things in life we should really try and avoid these emergencies, and “It is always good to be prepared for an emergency.” That said; here are some simple things we can do to stay ahead of the game, and be prepared for that dreaded day we hope never comes.

I am going to start from right out of the box, fresh install. Personally I like to keep a record of all the things I install, at least when I just start out. Use notepad and make a text file right on the desktop. Doing this when installing new programs allows us to see what changes were made at the time of the issue. Once we know what might have caused a problem to occur we can uninstall that program or otherwise address the issue. It is also important to install things carefully, and in a smart order. Decide what programs you like, write them down on paper or in a text file. Once you have created a list, put the items into order. My list usually includes; utilities, (such as virus scanners, spyware/adware scanners, and other tools like this) internet tools, (browsers, Instant messaging programs) handy windows tools (sticky notes, hot corners, etc.) Office programs, Overlookables, (winzip, flash, java) & any other programs you feel are really important.

The most important item you will install, I left off the list, because it is last on the list. This is a program so important that it gets its own paragraph. You NEED to have a backup (ghosting) program. There a ton out there and I won’t endorse any particular one. Search for one you like and make a backup after you get your list of programs that you like in your work space installed. Keep your install log on your desktop and include it in your backup. Make you back up to DVD(s) It shouldn’t be any more then 4 discs which isn’t bad because 4$ will save a lot of headaches. After you have created these discs, you have created your own “personal restore discs.” They will bring your computer back to what you would want it to be like out of the box. You will save your self a lot of space if you backup your data early, and try and keep your “my documents” folder as small as possible until after this back up.

Once your backup is done go ahead and fill up your “my documents” folder. Do what you want with installing other programs. Now is also a good time to set up automatic backups or schedule a time to make a back up of you system for the future. You know how often you use your computer, so you know how frequent to make these back ups. Generally you will only be referring to the “personal restore discs” if you need to recover from a situation like I mentioned above.

Now, since you have that handy external hard drive I mentioned in my last post, think about using it for a place to store you back ups. Your back up program can write to this drive. I also like to make a weekly back up of “my documents” to this drive as well. Some back up programs allow you to navigate through a backup file and pick out files. Mine does, but I like to make a back up of this myself, for a couple reasons. One, I don’t trust the back up, and two, I like having all of my documents available at work or on any other computer.

So that’s it. I hope that these two posts have helped you prepare for a situation that could be really really bad. It is great to be prepared for this, because it gives you more freedom to experiment with your computer, knowing that you have something to fall back on

Imagine this, you turn on your computer and let it start booting.It’s going through its standard boot order finding all of its components and reading the startup information off the hard drives.All of a sudden you hear a beep, and the process starts over from the beginning.You’re stuck outside your operating system.All of your precious documents and settings are still inside the operating system, and you can’t get in, (that’s if they also haven’t been destroyed.) So what could we have done to make this situation hurt less?

This is the exact situation I found myself in after trying to make a simple upgrade.Suddenly I found myself replacing the motherboard.I wont get into the specifics, as they are available a few posts back.But long story short, with my new hardware, suddenly my computer realized it had a boot sector virus.

Today I am going to tell you a few things that can help you survive when this does happen, and more importantly in part two of this post I am going to tell you what measures you can take to protect yourself.

[Before I get too deep into explaining this I should point out that I am speaking in terms of desktops here, this project gets a lot harder if doing all of this using laptops, it it definitely voids any warranty. So do any of this at your own risk.]

Luckily we live today in a world of portable storage.Pretty much everyone has one of those little thumb drives (jump drives etc.)They are a great way to move files quickly and easily between locations.What I would recommend for this project however is to go out and get an external hard drive at least 40 gigabits, but you know what size to get, it should be at least the size of all the documents on your computer.These are available at most electronics retailers; I recently got one at BestBuy.Over the next few days of recovering your files this is going to be your vessel that you hold them in.The main reason that we have so much portable storage brings me to my next point.We also live in a world where a lot of households have more then one computer.You’re going to need to use one of these other computers as well.

Once you have all of these parts together you can start recovering your data.Take your hard drive and put it into the working machine (computer 2) Make sure you make the necessary changes to the hard drive so the computer 2 will recognize the new drive as a slave and not the master.Once this drive is in computer 2, boot up computer 2.Once the computer is done booting you can attach the external hard drive.Once computer 2 sees both of these new drives your are ready to begin.

If you go into “my computer” you will see all of the computers drives listed there.Open you computer’s (computer 1’s) original drive and drag that window to one side of the screen.Next open my computer again, but this time open the external hard drive, and drag that window to the other side of the screen

Now you can start to copy the files right from your hard drive to the external hard drive until your original hard drive is ready to work again.Be selective. Now is probably a good time start weeding out some of the junk you will not need.A good place to start with this process is the “documents and settings folder” this will probably have most of your documents inside it.Often time files you want to keep do end up elsewhere on your hard drive (i.e. file sharing directories.)These are usually somewhere else on the drive usually right of the base level “C:whatever”.Remember that your drive is no longer C: though, as long as your drive is in computer 2 is will be something else, this could be any other letter.

Once your files have been copied, you can take a breath.You have just performed an emergency backup.You are now free to make any changes to your computer that you need to make.

In my next post I will explain how we could have been better prepared for this situation.

Well I had a big headache with the final mile of the computer restoration project. Specifically the program I use to encode the video you see on this website. It is up and running now, and ther eis a new program posted. Check out “SWAT” in the work section. It’s a piece I shot last month about the special weapons and tactics training program, held throughout the metro Boston area.

I do still have 3 programs to install before I am totally done with my big project, but it should all be smooth sailing from here. Count on my promised post regarding protecting yourself from that computer catastrophe by the end of this week.