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Archive for the ‘Software’ Category

Stop accidentally killing ALL Chrome browsers

20 Feb 2017

Stop accidentally killing ALL Chrome browsers | DaveTavres.comAs a keyboard nut, and an avid Google Chrome user, *THE* most frustrating and annoying thig Google has ever done is – the “Close all Chrome Browsers” keyboard shortcut – CTRL+SHIFT+Q – which you might think this could be useful – but it is NOT!

Over the years, I’ve accidentally killed every open tab and browser HUNDREDS of times. As it turns out, Google DID create a fantastic keyboard shortcut that would restore your recently closed tabs (one-by-one, or ALL of them if you accidentally hit the CTRL+SHIFT+Q shortcut), but hitting CTRL+SHIFT+T. It’s a VERY useful shortcut which I use dozens of times a day.

However. As a web developer, I also use one of Chromes other fantastic tools – “Incognito”. Incognito allows you to open a new browser window – CTRL+SHIFT+N – that has no cookies or cache, so you can test sites that you’re working on. Or, if you just need to check a different email account, or want to double check the Amazon Prime price as a Prime Member, or as a regular visitor. Then when you’re done with your test, close the Incognito browser, and the cookies, cache, memory for that user session is erased.

Well… the magic ‘Restore Tabs’ shortcut is great – unless you’re me, who uses InCognito A LOT. And sure enough, CTRL+SHIFT+T will NOT restore Incognito tabs. Uggh!

A FIX!

Yes… I found a fix while tweaking a Google extension.

  1. Go to chrome://extensions (or ALT+F, Settings, Extensions)
  2. Scroll to the bottom of your extensions, and click the “Keyboard shortcuts” link. This will open a settings box to control your installed Chrome extensions.
  3. Find one of the extension that doesn’t have a keyboard shortcut set, click in that field, and hit CTRL+SHIFT+Q.

Tada! Now when you accidentally hit that stupid keyboard shortcut – you won’t kill all your (Incognito) work. You’ll just activate one of your plugins.

 

Business card scanning

28 Sep 2016

Franklin Planner - DaveTavres.comLike many people, I’ve probably gotten thousands of business cards over the years. For at least 8 years I carried a Franklin Planner, but by 1998 I went digital. I’m also a bit of a contact-hoarder. I make notes for many of the contacts I make, because I like to go back to give business to people I’ve actually met in person, or when someone else says that they need someone for a particular service, I like to connect people.

Over the years I’ve tried entering all of these cards into my contact list, but now and then I get lazy and they get tossed into a box with dozens (or hundreds) of other cards. I’ve looked for solutions – and there are plenty out there – but I didn’t really want to buy a business card scanner, as scanners are kind of out-dated today. Smart phones can take photos at such high resolution, and OCR is pretty common.

Permissions - DaveTavres.comI’ve been looking for an mobile app-based option, or even a desktop application that would quickly take an image, read the edges of the card, crop it, then convert the characters to text and hopefully import the information into my contact list. (I use Google Contacts) Oh – and I’m somewhat paranoid / I don’t trust most app developers, so anything that was a mobile app needed to have REALLY limited permissions. What I found were LOTS of mobile apps that wanted WAY too much access to my device. What I really hoped for was something that would just create a vCard file that I could then import – which means the app doesn’t have (or need) access to my contact list. Most people install apps without checking the permissions, which is begging for a not-so-honest app developer to scrape a user’s information – and contact lists – for the purpose of spamming or phishing all their contacts. I’m not one of those people. At least now, the latest versions of Android give users much better control over their device, so they can disable access to each part of their phone, for each application.

Office Lens - DaveTavres.comSeveral apps on the store had some of the features I wanted, but they wanted way too much access. Then I found articles talking about how LinkedIn use to have a tool called “CardMunch”, but they shut it down and sent it to Evernote. I’m a OneNote guy, so I wasn’t too keen, but I downloaded the latest desktop and mobile version of Evernote, then went hunting for the ‘business card scanner’ feature. Guess what? Now it’s a paid feature. 10 seconds after I saw that, Revo was removing any trace of Evernote. Then I remembered that OneNote does OCR on images you add to pages, so I started reading up on that. It turns out, Microsoft has recently partnered with someone to release “Office Lens” for Android, iOS and Windows, and it integrates with OneNote – AND, it creates a vCard! Wow… they read my mind!

After playing with it for a few minutes, I setup my phone on the desk, connected to the phone via TeamViewer so I could go faster with the mouse and keyboard, and within 10 minutes, I had scanned over 40 cards that had stacked up on my desk. Wow. I was impressed. It isn’t the best solution out there, but for free and fairly easy to use, it’s a winner!

Step 1 – Lens ‘finds’ the card, and you snap the pic.
Office Lens OCR result - DaveTavres.comOffice Lens - Step 1 - DaveTavres.com

Step 2 – Check the image, save or delete it.Office Lens - Step 2 - DaveTavres.com

Step 3 – Choose where to save it to.
Office Lens - Step 3 - DaveTavres.com

 

Cruise ship app

04 Dec 2015

Carnival CruisesAlmost EVERYONE today carries a smartphone. Carnival should create an Android and iOS app that can connect to the ship’s WiFi but can only access the ship. This app can be a way for passengers to communicate with each other, look up show times and schedules, use maps of the ship, request or schedule services and even scan QR codes around the ship that would give them information about where they’re at or what they are seeing.

Carnival could also send messages and information to passengers, coordinate disembarking, and advertise up-sells for internet connectivity, discounts at certain on-board shops and offer specials to premium services when attendance is low.

This app could work on ALL Carnival Ships and could even be a tool for users before and after their trip. By installing the app weeks before, Carnival can communicate ideas, up-sell shore excursions or help people plan their Port visits ahead of time. And once they finish their vacation, the app could be a way to entice users back to Carnival for future trips by sending photos of ship upgrades or announcing new shows and acts.

 

Ship1

 

Will taxis match Uber’s quotes?

14 Jun 2015

Will taxis match Uber’s quotes? - DaveTavres.comThis week I’m planning on stopping by the E3 Expo​. Although I live and work pretty close to the LA Convention Center, the parking is the killer part… so, I thought – oh, Uber​! Then, as I often do, I think about the competing business – taxi companies. Then I thought, “I wonder if taxi companies – or taxi drivers – will match Uber pricing.”

If I pull up Uber on my phone, enter a starting point and destination, the Uber app will give me quote. On more than one occasion I’ve opted to drive myself, get a ride or take a taxi because of their surge pricing. Not a big deal. But, what about those non-surge times? If I go up to a cab driver and show him my phone with the Uber price, will they match it? Do they have enough power/control to do that? Can (will) a taxi driver even give me a quote for a taxi ride (that’s somewhat accurate)?

A Google search doesn’t come up with any answers to that question, but I’d like to know… perhaps I’ll try it the next time I’ve got the option.

 

Audio cues in podcasts

05 Feb 2015

When podcasts go mainstreamWith smartphones being a regular part of most people’s lives and podcasts becoming more popular as in-car entertainment, advertising needs to catch up with the technology a bit. I often hear ads that are interesting enough to want to look up, but if I’m driving I can’t pull up a website or even take a note, so I need to really want to remember what the ad was about to recall it later. So instead, what about an app that would listen for audio cues and pull up those websites for you?

CueCat - DaveTavres.comIn the 1990s there was this thing call the “CueCat”. It was a peripheral for the serious computer geeks that was really just a simple barcode scanner. You could scan barcodes in magazines or on the back of everyday products you bought form the store and their software would either search their database for the custom barcode or search the web for the product you scanned so you can get more information. A great idea that was literally 20 years ahead of its time. Today everyone should have a barcode scanner app on their mobile devices (Android | iOS).

Audio cue - DaveTavres.comFast forward to today… your smartphone is on the magnetic mount in your car, playing your favorite podcast and they read an ad or just talk about a product they like. If that content creator wants to get even more revenue (just like they do when they tell you to use a special code during checkout on one of their sponsor’s websites), they’ll add a quick audio cue that is hardly noticeable by the listener, but that is long enough for a mobile app to pickup. The app stores the cue so the next time you look at your phone, you can pull up the topics that had cues.

Something like this… notice the modem-like sound at the beginning:

Good podcast player apps could even incorporate this ‘listener’ into their app to help the user (and track clicks on ads that listeners pulled up later.)