February 17, 2008

Services and Apps

Posted in Commentary, OSX Technical at 9:08 am by Michael Sweeney Media

For the past few months I have been using a new (to me) DNS service called “OpenDNS” which gives me the ability to block and manage some stuff that I dont want the family to stumble over by mistake now that my small ones are surfing on their own a bit. The service is a freebie and gives nice stats and a good way to break out unwanted sites. For example, you can filter on adult sites, or just bikini sites or offensive sites because they divide the content into small parts of an overall group. If you want to see the bikinis but not offensive(horror, shocking etc) sites, you can do that. You can also customize the splash page saying it’s been blocked and they actively court businesses that would like to do this type of blocking without yet another appliance in the racks to learn.

In this same thought, I had my Time Warner cable go belly up for two days. Lost data and VoIP but kept the video so I knew it was a data problem. I have business class service here from TW which gives me a way to by pass the idiots on first tier with their scripts. Not that it did much good, something major had failed and there was not any ETA to when it would be back.

A few months ago I had bough AT/T DSL for both backing up data online and to backup my day to day usage. So I rolled over to the DSL full time without too much pain. It works well enough but I soon found out that they are blocking port 25 outbound. So no mail to speak of. But I did find out that Dot Mac listens to port 587 for SMPT per spec and sure enough, that port was NOT blocked. “You’ve got mail” !!

My DNS was tied to my static IP but I changed it to DHCP and enabled a service called “DNS-O-Matic” and installed an Applescipt called “DNS-O-Matic” updater which talks to OpenDNS and sends them the latest IP address. I decided to keep this in place even though I have a static since I may be rolling back to DSL in the near future since it’s a 6meg download stream vs the 2 meg on cable.

(For Windows users reading this, I know you are there.. go to another service I use call DynDNS for a windows client)

So I was back in business for Saturday with only a minor amount of pain and a few “to do” things to cut even that down in the near future.

I spent bit of time yesterday at a site for templates for making web galleries in Lightroom. This is not a trival undertaking and these4 guys have done a nice at Lightroomgalleries.com. I am using one of their galleries for showing some pictures on my site and because it offers a paypal integration. The downside is their documentation just plain sucks.

I spent the better part of 3 hours working out how to use the template correctly and their website did not offer much in help. In fact, there were several calls for better (some?) documentation. In a few days, I think I will post some details here but not today. I will also post a link once I get my galleries up and running with the correct pictures in place instead of test images.

I installed and tried the new Aperture 2.0 from Apple. Major improvement overall. It’s faster, easier to use and overall just a nicer feel to it. But the printing sucks compared to Lightroom and I personally find the menus easier on Lightroom. But I might just use Aperture in conjunction with Lightroom because of the books that you can make from within Aperture. They look to be more professional then iPhoto but I need to really look closer later.

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