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#735: NH Grand Opening Giveaways, Tech Tails TV: Live Edition, TotW: Application Switcher

 
     
 

Happy Tuesday,

Well, I’m finally in Manchester, NH at our new store to make final preparations for our grand opening this Saturday. There’s still a ton of work to get done, but I know that the group we assembled will have everything finished on time and done properly.

I interviewed another candidate for the last open position, and made my choice. I sure am looking forward to having the whole team together! Over the past few months I’ve done dozens of interviews, and turned away plenty of candidates who weren’t the perfect match.

Working as many hours as we have been over the past several months, I just couldn’t leave Owen at home for these long work days. In fact, he’s come to work almost every single day since he was nine weeks old. My mother deserves huge thanks for watching Owen with her own two golden retrievers Grace and Hamilton. Thanks, mom!

As always, thanks for reading, and keep in touch.

Matt
matt@smalldog.com

 
   
     
  Tech Tails TV: Live Edition  
   
 

Greetings, Tech Tails readers! A few months ago we dabbled with broadcasting live streams of our Tech Tails TV program. Our last broadcast was on Justin.tv and it was a demonstration on how we perform invasive diagnostics on a MacBook with liquid damage. If you’re curious to check out the process and see some nasty liquid damage, check out the links below!

Justin.tv offers support to send videos from its site to YouTube. This seemed like a great option for us until we ran into the problem that it’s unable to split the video up into parts. Since YouTube only accepts up to 10 minutes of video at a time (unless one has a paid account) and the Justin.tv stream was 30 minutes, it was impossible to send to YouTube as a whole. Also, since we were using a free account with Justin.tv, we were unable to download the video directly and it was set to be automatically deleted after a certain date. Now, how the heck could we get our video?

Using Download Helper, a Firefox extension, I was able to download the .flv file from Justin.tv. This easy-to-use extension is able to download video from many popular sites. The next step was to get the file into iMovie, which doesn’t read .flv files, so it could be split up into smaller segments for YouTube. Luckily, my favorite open-source solution for video conversion, Handbrake, was able to efficiently convert from a .flv to an .mp4 using one of the built-in Apple workflows. From there, I imported it into iMovie, split it up, added some title screens and, voila, I was good to go!

Want to see the finished product? Check it out:
Tech Tails TV: Live Edition Part 1 of 3
Tech Tails TV: Live Edition Part 2 of 3
Tech Tails TV: Live Edition Part 3 of 3

 
   
     
  Tip of the Week: Application Switcher  
   
 

I find myself using the Application Switcher function of Mac OS X dozens of times each hour during the work day. If you haven’t tried it yet, you can view it by holding down the Command key while repeatedly pressing the Tab key.

There’s more to the Application Switcher than just switching applications. You can quit open applications by selecting the program in the Switcher and pressing the Q key. If that application is frozen, Application Switcher will instead force quit it (most of the time at least), saving you a trip to the Apple menu.

You can also drag a file to a running application in the Application Switcher. Say you have an Excel spreadsheet that you want to open in Numbers instead of Excel. Because Excel files open in Excel by default, simply double-clicking on the file will launch Excel. With Numbers running, begin dragging the document and then press Command-Tab. Drag the file to the Numbers icon and the file will open up in that program instead of Excel.

You can use the keystroke Command-~ to go backwards in the application switcher. The Command-~ convention works elsewhere on the Mac, like cycling through open windows in most programs. If you have a bunch of Safari windows open and don’t want to cycle through them all, you can use Command-~ to cycle backwards.

Of course, you can mouse over the desired application to select it in the Application Switcher.

This is one of the more basic tips out there, and is known quite widely. I trust that you will find yourself more efficient and satisfied if you work this one into your daily routine.

 
   
     
  Smarter Data Center Location  
   
 

Companies like Google, Yahoo, Verizon, Apple and countless others have massive data centers scattered around the globe. There are reports of new data center installations in the southern United States, and I find the idea just crazy. It’s bad enough that data centers exist in Silicon Valley.

Buffalo, NY is becoming a hotspot of data center construction. Why Northern New York State? The bitter cold winters and moderate summers provide limitless cubic feet of chilly air. A principle concern in constructing any facility housing tens of hundreds of thousands of heat-producing massively-powerful computers and storage devices is temperature control.

Small Dog installed a Freeaire system in our own server room which, at the time, housed about a dozen Xserve G5s and several Xserve RAIDs—not to mention Power Macs, Mac Pros, and networking gear. Its simplicity is staggering: bring in cold air to cool your server room. In our small server room, we achieved savings of almost $2,000 annually. Imagine the savings on something 100 or even 1,000 times the size.

This system is not perfect: cold, moist air can condense inside, but the system is perfectly scalable with dehumidification. I’d really love to see data centers move northward to take advantage of this limitless, free, renewable resource. Cheers to Yahoo for making this move!

 
   
     
  iPod nano (and More!) Giveaways at our Grand Opening!  
   
 

You probably know that when you RSVP on Facebook to the Grand Opening of our new store at the Mall of New Hampshire in Manchester, NH on October 9th, you’ll also be entered to win one of five iPod nanos.

What you probably didn’t know is that we’re also giving away a new touch screen iPod nano every other hour at the new store on Grand Opening weekend! That’s 14 chances to win a brand new iPod nano! All you have to do is visit the store during Saturday and Sunday of Grand Opening weekend to enter your name in person for your chance to win.

Click here to RSVP on Facebook.

Click here to learn about the new store!

Good luck, and we hope to see you at the Grand Opening celebration!

 
   
     
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