PortableApps Delivers Better Look, Security in New Version 1.5

Recently, PortableApps released an overhauled version 1.5 of its PortableApps.com Suite.  I’ve written about PortableApps in previous versions, and several readers agreed that its suite is incredibly useful, especially if you like to carry around a USB thumb drive stocked with applications that you can use anytime, on any computer. You get herds of them–mostly open source offerings — in one download from the site. They’re all carefully selected as excellent applications, too.

Here is what’s under the hood in the upgraded suite, and other good cross-platform resources for those who want to carry useful applications on USB thumb drives.

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10 Minutes with Om, a Short Podcast on Netbooks, Android and VoIP

It’s been a while since I had a chance to chat with Om and it’s been even longer since he’s appeared in a video or audio podcast. Sounds like an opportunity to me, so we sat down and recorded a short podcast this weekend. In under 11 minutes, we quickly share thoughts on netbooks, Android and VoIP.

It’s great to see Om returning to non-writing venues and I think he had a good time. So much so, that he’s thinking of pulling in other GigaOM network editors for regular audio chats, which should be a treat. As I mentioned over on GigaOM, this first effort is plain and simple: no intro music and not too long, making it easy to digest. You can listen through the inline player above, or download the 9.9MB file directly here.

Blogo 1.2 Adds New Options

blogoA while back we looked at Blogo, a unified blogging and microblogging client. Now they’ve put out version 1.2, which extends Blogo to support new targets and adds some useful options as well. If you’re an OS X user who posts online frequently, it’s worth a look.

One of the big wins for those who really want to fine-tune their blog entries is the addition of an HTML source view to the already-strong visual editor. Combined with the ability to download your blog’s actual template for previews, this makes it possible to have a very good idea of what posts will look like before they’re uploaded. If you’re a WordPress user, you’ll also be happy to see the support for the new comments API.

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Learning From Apple, Part 1: Tutorials & Tips

Whether you’re new to the Mac or have been using one for some time, there’s usually always something new you can learn about it to make your workflow, personal projects, or fun time a little easier or more enjoyable. To that end, Apple makes plenty of resources available on their web site.

In part 1 of this I’ll look at what Apple makes available in the form of product tutorials and tips. In part 2 I’ll look at Apple’s resource listings and free online seminars.

Tutorials

Apple has a wealth of tutorials to make use of. Each tutorial is typically anywhere from a couple minutes to five minutes in length (longer for Pro apps), and presented in easily manageable snippets. 
First of all, you should check out Apple’s Find Out How page. By default you’ll be at the Mac Basics page; unless you’re a brand new Mac user this may of limited value. However, along the top you’ll see other categories that you can click on to see tutorials relating to Photos, Movies, the Web, etc. This page could be a “one-stop” site to find useful tutorials.
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App Store Deal of the Week: Effector

Nearly two months ago, we penned the sad news that Air-O-Matic’s “Pull My Finger” application was denied from entry to the App Store. Pull My Finger (if you couldn’t guess) was a fart noise machine for iPhone. It was one of those times in life when I realized I couldn’t have what I didn’t know I needed. Good news, fellow immature fart joke aficionados! Effector is in the App Store, and will fill that void in your life.

Effector is a sound machine. It comes loaded with noises like a machine gun, or car horn, or applause — you get the idea. It has a slider allowing you to play the sounds in a delayed loop. While it’s pretty basic on the surface, Effector has some neat tricks up its sleeve.
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Behind the Scenes of CollegeHumor’s Latest Hit

There’s something about web content that (profitable!) CollegeHumor just seems to understand and anticipate better than anyone else. To see how the site’s original video team works its magic, check out this behind-the-scenes look.

NTV New York 2.0 Recap

Thanks very much to all who joined us last night in New York City for our viral ads edition of the NewTeeVee Pier Screenings. After any number of snafus (including the NYU campus police denying us our beer!), the video line-up for the evening and the folks who came out were truly special.

We did this month’s event a bit differently from our others, in that we didn’t solicit submissions but rather worked with video analytics firm Visible Measures to find ten ads that had viral qualities but weren’t so overexposed as to be redundant for people. The ads were from all sorts of now-familiar viral categories, like “Is it real?” and PSAs and musical parody. Our judges — Ian Schafer, the CEO and founder of Deep Focus; Kate Cohen, the creative director of TBWA; and Ben Relles, the founder of BarelyPolitical.com, home of Obama Girl — used their with extensive experience in virality and advertising to add great qualitative comments and additional context. And then Matt Cutler of Visible Measures gave us the hard numbers on how each ad was doing in a number of categories, including number of views, number of comments, and number of placements by fans across the web.
Dynamite SurfingMore bloopers are a click away

The night’s winner by audience vote ended up being a PSA called “Chemical Party” from Marie Curie Actions that was funny and hip and unexpected. In second was “Dynamite Surfing” from Quicksilver — an “Is it real?” that was actually covered on Mythbusters recently — and in third place was “It’s Called epMotion,” an over-the-top R&B music video for an automated pipetting system (a product we clearly all need to run out and buy!).

Thanks again to our co-hosts at the New York Video 2.0 group and our sponsors, ON2 Technologies, G-Technology, Volomedia, Move Networks and DF Splash — and our great partners Threadless, Eventbrite and Mozes.

Skype Shutters Personal Broadcasting Service

Unobserved by mainstream journalists, Skype quietly closed its popular Skypecast personal broadcasting service late last month. The decision is setting off howls of protest from loyal users, who are ready to bolt to competitive services.

My Top 3 Pier Screening Machinima Entries

For today’s Pier Screening finalists we chose a single machinima selection, Robbie Dingo’s Watch the World(s), a beautiful tribute to the process of artistic creation. (I wrote on my Second Life blog about how Robbie created it.) We actually received several other strong machinima entries that, while they didn’t fit the Screening format for various reasons, are also worth a watch. Here are my three favorites:

The Labyrinth (O Labirinto) by Hugo Almeida is a gorgeous and dreamlike music video about lost love. It includes smooth and sumptuous camera work movingly merged to a Radiohead-esque single, performed by Portuguese musician Rui Gaio.
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Weebly challenges TypePad, WordPress

Weebly, a San Francisco-based web publishing start-up and a YCombinator alumnus, is throwing its hat in the hosted-blogging arena, challenging existing players’ SixApart’s TypePad and Automattic’s WordPress.com offerings.

The company also announced that it has raised $650,000 in angel funding by a group of angels that include Ron Conway, Steve Anderson, Paul Buchheit and Mike Maples.

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