Saturday, November 27, 2010

How To Add Special FX Photos to Your Address Book Cards

Hand-Made Mac Tip No. 14
How To Add Special FX Photos to Your Address Book Cards
I discovered some funky, new photo editing features in Snow Leopard's version of Address Book!
When you edit a contact card, you can also assign a photo to that individual by double-clicking on the photo icon.
Below that, there are two buttons. The camera button is for taking a photo using the built in webcam. The button to the right of that is for adding special effects. I can't remember off the top of my head if these were present in Leopard, but I'm just discovering them now.
There are six different choices. Try on a few for yourself!
You know, it's soon time to get those holiday cards out in the mail. Next time you're digging around in your Address Book, pruning and gardening your contacts database, you might want to have some fun with a few of the faces in there.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Nosillacast Tucson Tweetup

Lucian and Keagan with Allison Sheridan. Does she look charmed or what?
On 20101020, a bunch of us gathered together at the Cheesecake Factory in Tucson to hang out with Allison Sheridan of the Nosillacast podcast hosted over on! We all had an EVER so slight Macintosh bias which we blended with cheesecake, beer, burgers, salads, other great food and even better company.

In attendance: Myself, Nate, Lucian, Keagan, Allison, Karell, Wayde and David of the Tucson NosillaCastaways! Pat Mahon was there in spirit but unfortunately the Bandwidth Gods were not smiling on us. I think we forgot to saccrifice some cheesecake brownies or something. Next time we'll choose more wisely when it comes to wifi location. Must have wifi with food when it's a Tweetup!

@Podfeet the flesh...with cheesecake. It doesn't get much better than this.
(Photo by Lucian. Not bad for a 4 year old!)
Wayde and David enjoying c&c: company & cheesecake!

David took this photo of me, Karell, and Allison with my camera.
All of our forks are in perfect alignment. How did you do that!??

Here is a slideshow of the rest of the photos including some more Lucian took by himself.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

For Those About To Rock October, We Salute You

Are you thinking pink?
This past month, a few of my friends and relatives have given birth to baby girls. You know who you are: Congratulations!! (now stop reading my blog and get back to resting!) A few more are waiting to find out if they'll be registering for pink things. It's all very exciting. It's also reminding me of something very important.

I'm thinking about pink lately, not only for my own good, but for their little futures that are just beginning. You see, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In honor of this, I'm making my personal blog pink and posting some links that will hopefully bring about awareness for this horrific disease that affects too many people we know, love and care about.

I'm also posting this photo of my rack

because it rocks and I hope it's a reminder to you and your loved ones to do your self-breast exams each month! Have you checked today?

Stop reading and do it now. Go ahead. I'll wait.

Good. Thanks.

These knockers have now fed two handsome little boys over the past 4 years and counting. I'm pretty proud of that. I worked very hard at it and I deserve to be proud. Breasts are amazing body parts and they should be respected, protected and revered. Breasts are fabulous and functional! Don't let breast cancer jeopardize them — not mine, yours, hers or his! (Men can get breast cancer too. So you dudes need to stop gawking enough to pay attention to your own health!)

Lilypie Breastfeeding tickers

It would be devastating if I ever lost these to breast cancer, so I'm constantly checking and trying to be self-aware. I have a few family members who have had different types of cancer so my risk is a bit elevated.

Do you know if you're at risk?
I urge you to visit the National Breast Cancer site and register for an Early Detection Plan. I did it. It's fast and easy. It's also a good way to set up some reminders to do your exams.

Click to Donate
I'm serious. All it takes is a click, or two or seven. Tell your friends.

Donate & Get Involved @

Thanks for taking the time to remember and remind. Go tell your friends!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Facepaint Fun

Yesterday I took the boys to the Tucson Reptile Show where Lucian got his face painted. This time last year I tried to paint his face for a Halloween costume and he wanted no parts of it. My how much changes in a year!!

Funny how life has a way of changing things up on you. I always envisioned playing makeup and dressup with a little girl someday.

Up till now I was kind of struggling with what to do when my sons ask if they can wear makeup. Now that he digs facepainting, I have a new way to repurpose old makeup.

Next, Lucian is going to paint a snake on my leg while Keagan is napping. I'm so glad he's enjoying this craft. It's great for fine motor skills and creativity.

Do you think the moms of Mötley Crüe members thought the same?

[Editor's Note: Blogger Mobile FAIL - I tried using the mobile email version of Blogger to post this entry a few days ago and it screwed it up and only posted a portion. Posterous seems to hand mobile blogging via email so much better!]

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Mac Voices Interview with Chuck Joiner

Listen to this episode of MacVoices #10108

While I don't always like to blow my own horn, perhaps you wouldn't mind pressing this play button to hear an interview where I was the featured guest! It was an honor and a privilege to be interviewed by Chuck Joiner for MacVoices.

I know I tend to ramble but it's just so stimulating when I get to talk shop with another adult! I mean, Lucian is starting to understand more and more, but Keagan just drools when I explain why it's so important to run backups and repair permissions. Ok, so that's not a stretch compared to some other adults in my life, but it was extremely refreshing talking to Chuck Joiner. He's been podcasting since the dawn of this new media and it shows in his smooth interviewing skills. Chuck is very easy to talk to and made me feel right at home. Well, I mean, I was at home in my pajamas at the time — I think you know what I mean.

In the future, I look forward to being summoned for jury duty! The MacJury is a fun panel to be on where we will weigh in on a topic about current events in the industry surrounding Apple and related technologies. Tune in to that show and catch me on a future episode!

If you haven't done so already, check out Chuck's family of shows which includes: MacVoicesMacNotablesThe MacJury, and MacVoicesTV. You can subscribe for free in iTunes. It's a great way to get to know people in the Mac community, make friends and learn something new. Whether you're a newcomer or an old pro, there is a show for you.

I did some name-dropping during the interview. I'd like to list some links for reference. If there is someone I missed, please drop me a comment and I'll edit this post.

Allison Sheridan - Nosillacast
Pat Fauquet - MacMousecalls
Mike Rose - TUAW
John F Braun - The Mac Observer
Backpacking Dad
and of course, my other project:
Moms Gone Geek

Friday, September 24, 2010

What's Better than Betty White?

Betty White WITH Abed and Troy.

This put a smile on my face and an ohrwurm in my head.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

To Imagination and Beyond

Lucian has finally watched Toy Story 1 and 2.
He loves to pretend he's Buzz Lightyear and "gracefully fall" off the couch.

This is Lucian's home-made Buzz Lightyear costume.

Forget the game. The box is always the best part!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Mark Your Calendar for Humanity

Monday, October 4, 2010

A little about Habitat for Humanity from their website: "...Habitat for Humanity was founded in 1976. As a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry, the organization seeks to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness from the world and to make decent shelter a matter of conscience and action. To accomplish these goals, Habitat for Humanity invites people of all backgrounds, races and religions to build houses together through volunteer labor and donations in partnership with families in need. Today, they have built over 350,000 houses worldwide and have provided more than 1.75 million people in 3,000 communities with safe, decent, affordable shelter."

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Combo Updater

I improvised: changing table/iMac computer cart/music box/nightlight/learning center
Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Think Different

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Wrong Date or Time Stamps on Photos & Videos & How To Archive Them

Hand-Made Mac Tip No. 13
Wrong Date or Time Stamps on Photos & Videos & How To Archive Them 

I was archiving some audio files today and discovered some of them had the wrong date stamp in the Finder's list view when sorted by "Date Created" so I thought I'd share this tip.

You just never know when the OS is going to bork your time/date stamp. It happens periodically and sometimes the time stamp does not transfer properly when burning files onto a disk or transferring to an external hard drive. Sometimes some of the data has become corrupted but is still perfectly useable. You can view the photo or video just fine, but the metadata – or time stamp – is wrong — REALLY wrong, like Y2K wonky! Sometimes it's the operating system, sometimes devices are not properly configured by the user, for example, in the case of a digital camera.

I discovered this when my mother-in-law got a brand new digital camera last year. She was so excited about it and started using it right away and was trying to learn about all the features as she went along. That's how I do it — manuals??! we don't need no stinking manuals!!

In our family, we always swap our camera chips/SD cards so that we all have the same collection of photos taken by each other when we get together for special occasions where all the cameras are out snapping away. This way there's a backup of everyone's precious memories all over the place — and at different ends of the country sometimes. Most all of us have a MacBook of some flavor with iPhoto so it's very quick and easy to download the photos and videos off the chips and be on our separate ways.

Right around the holidays, my mother-in-law and I were exchanging files from our camera chips. She had captured some really cute video footage of Lucian at his preschool holiday party. After I finished importing the files, I went to go view the photos and video in iPhoto but couldn't find them! I thought I was losing it. I could swear they imported properly! Usually, the newest photos and videos show up at the top because I've specified that I want it to view that way. I looked up and down, but these recent imports were no where to be found.

Luckily, I do not store my video files in iPhoto permanently. After some time I usually go back through my iPhoto library and move all of the videos to my Movies folder into the appropriate year folder. Then, I go through and manually rename the file names to the date and use a short description of what the movie clip is about. If it's a clip about the same thing, I add 01, 02, 03, etc. to the end. It's also much easier to navigate and locate clips in Front Row because they list nicely in a hierarchy by date and description. I use iPhoto to view & present photos and Front Row to view and present video.

When I archive the videos, I copy them twice. Once onto an external drive partition separate from my Time Machine backup partition. I repeat this process on another drive partitioned the same way located off site. Once I label them green, that means they've been archived twice on two separate drives and it's safe to remove them from my local hard drive on my laptop if I choose to do so to save space.

I don't bother to rename most all of my photos because I feel iPhoto does a decent job of managing everything for me and I can usually find what I'm looking for quickly by scrubbing through my Events. I'm fairly anal about it. There are some times where I may need to rename a file and for that I can use the batch feature in iPhoto or export them and do it manually in the Finder.

Now, in the case of the missing import from my mother-in-law's camera, the search feature in iPhoto is what saved the day. I was able to just type "movie" as the search term and this way it narrowed the results because I only keep a small amount of movie files in iPhoto before they get archived. I was able to locate the few movies that had been recently imported and that's when I discovered the date stamp was wrong which is what caused them to become buried in the 2009 files when I was expecting to see something in the January 2010 section at the top. It turns out, her camera was not properly formatted for the correct date nor time zone! Sometimes new cameras are formatted with the current date and time, but most times, you must set it up yourself. If you leave the date stamp on your photos where it shows up in the lower right corner, you might notice this, but that's not always on by default either.

You might not think this is a big deal, but when you're swapping digital files between family members, it helps when your camera's are synched up. Imagine five years from now, you're trying to view a collection of photos and videos of a family member's birth — or wedding and reception. You're scrolling through a beautiful slideshow but it gets confusing because the photos are out of order! The first couple of photos are in order — there's the baby getting weighed, there's the baby in grandma's arms, there's the baby — wait....why are these photos next ??— that's from the baby shower? Huh? The next few photos jump back to the hospital and then another few are from a different time. This is particularly annoying when looking through wedding photos that are out of order.

Now, imagine there are three different cameras being used on that special day. The first camera is set to the current date and time zone because the user went through the camera settings and configured it properly. The second camera was taken out of the box and never tinkered with. The third camera belongs to a family member visiting from the other side of the country where the time zone is three hours different and that camera has been configured to their local time.

Do you see what's happening here?

Many times it's just not convenient or even proper to school your 78-year-old Aunt Henrietta who barely speaks English about her fancy new gadget. You're lucky she even handed you her camera to pop out the chip so you could download it and you were able to convince her that you didn't just break her camera and no, there really isn't any film inside of it.

I have no idea why these voice memos from my iPhone did not save the correct date in the Finder listing but it's not helpful when I go looking for something and my search criteria or sorting is by date and time. Luckily the default file naming nomenclature IS date/time, albeit an ugly version of it that uses punctuation, which is why I clean up my file names removing the special characters. It's a habit from my days as a pre-press technician when I used to preflight files for printing service bureaus. Either way, I had no idea what these voice memos were about without listening to them. Now that I've renamed them, I'll know what to look for when searching later on.

This is why I take it upon myself to manually name my movie files using date format soon after the event because you never know if the data will reflect the true time stamp. I also try my best to name, tag, and comment on photos in iPhoto as much as I can and back up my iPhoto library on a regular basis. It's a practice I'd encourage you to try. It's best to try and manage the data right away rather than discovering problems with it years down the road when you no longer remember what happened and when. Maybe you won't even care, but maybe, just maybe, you or someone else will.

So now, my mother-in-law's camera is set to the correct date and time. When we swap chips, our photos are in the correct order. I can tell which ones she took versus mine because hers is a Kodak and mine is a Canon and they prefix the filenames differently. I can use the batch comment feature in iPhoto to make a note of which photos she took because I believe credit where credit is due.

I hope this may have cleared up a little bit of the mystery surrounding time and date stamps on media files and what you can do about it.

Be a thinker. Don't be afraid to tinker!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sometimes I Think I Would Blog More if I Didn't Have to Come Up with A Fancy Title Each Time

Do you know what I mean?

Blog posts SHOULD have a title.

Emails SHOULD have a subject line.

Neither of them HAVE to, but I'd feel like I didn't brush my teeth after eating tuna fish if I didn't do it.

I think Twitter has spoiled me.

I think Twitter has conditioned me.

I think Twitter and Facebook have programmed me to post in shorter bursts and I like it.

It's like burning your bra.

Sometimes, I cheat on Twitter with Facebook. They say size doesn't matter, but sometimes I just need a few more characters.

What the hell is Twitter? It's still a best-kept secret to many. When people ask, I change the subject and wish my answer could be, "If you have to ask, you wouldn't understand." Reason being, I still believe in "ask three before asking me" in that; if you really want to know about something — go check it out for crying out loud! If you sincerely tried it, you might better understand it.

A lot of things in life are like this when you think about it. We always condemn what we don't understand. I try NOT to do that. I'm not always successful, but I do try. I wish more people would.

I think this might be why Facebook is easier to use than a "traditional" (if there is such a thing by now) blog. I just wish there were less pillow fights, farms, and fishbowls. I suppose it's all relative. People complain that there is no substitution for talking with people face to face, in the flesh. I maintain that time wasted on Farmville would be better spent planing a REAL garden. I don't see how "time wasted" socializing with people all over the world using social networking tools like Skype is wasted at all. I only see what there is to gain. I suppose if you're shooting up heroin, smoking and drinking yourself to death while doing it, then it's a waste. Perhaps you can sell your farm before you OD? I don't know.

I miss "traditional blogging," but many times it feels like no one cares, has time, been there, done that.

I don't like feeling like I've reinvented the wheels I'm spinning.

I do like original thought, but so many of my thoughts right now are fleeting.

My best blog posts, the ones that would get the most traffic, happen while I'm in the shower, on the toilette, driving, nursing, changing diapers, feeding the baby, waiting for the school bus, during sex, while listening to podcasts, while reading other blogs....


while listening to podcasts?!!!!

err, I, not during sex. I was just kidding.

I don't have sex, silly.

Well, ok, if I DO start having more sex, it will mean that my husband has read this.

If my husband reads this and I DON'T have more sex, well, then, I guess I'll have twenty more minutes to myself to blog more often.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Some People Collect Cats. I Collect Macs.

At least it won't pee on my carpet or knock up any other strays.

Don't judge me, yo.

Spay and neuter your pets.

Just another gizmo to tinker around with. Someday it will have a good home in a classroom. Keagan currently enjoys opening and closing the lid. I swear this thing encouraged him to really start crawling!

Thanks to my Fairy Geekmother, Pat :)

Friday, August 20, 2010

From Monsters vs Aliens to Boys vs Girls

Lucian is starting to make observations about boys vs girls.

L: "Mommy, do you have a penis?"

Me: "No, I don't have a penis."

L: "What!? You mean you just have a butt?!!"

And then, the Kindergarten Cop movie script presented itself.

Ahhh the new challenges of parenting a preschooler: where anything you say can and will be used against you in the court of preschool.

I can just hear it now in the morning potty routine: "I pee with my penis but my mommy has a Volvo."

Babies come from hospitals, right?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, July 16, 2010

My Photo Was Chosen to Appear on Schmap!!

A photo I took with my iPhone was chosen for an online publication called "Schmap!!" and I'm proud to share this email and screenshot. Here is a link to the online resource in case you're interested. This is a link to the image on Flickr of the baby zebra.

Hi TheMacMommy!

46887123@N05.jpg?1264401828#46887123@N05" border="0" height="24" width="24" />has sent you a message on Flickr.
Subject: Schmap Tucson Twelfth Edition: Photo Inclusion
Date: 25th June, 2010

Hi Melissa,

I am delighted to let you know that your submitted photo has been selected for inclusion in the newly released twelfth edition of our Schmap Tucson Guide:

Reid Park Zoo

If you use an iPhone or iPod touch, then this same link will take you directly to your photo in the iPhone version of our guide. On a desktop computer, you can still see exactly how your photo is displayed and credited in the iPhone version of our guide at:

Reid Park Zoo

Thanks so much for letting us include your photo - please enjoy the guide!

Best regards,

Fiona S. Hughes
Editor, Schmap Guides

Posted via email from TheMacMommy

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Happy 4th Birthday to The Boy of My Dreams!

Dear Lucian,
You are the little boy of my dreams. I'm so blessed and lucky to be your Mommy. My life is so much better and I'm a happier, stronger, and more patient person since you were born. When I found out you were growing inside me, it was a dream come true. It wasn't easy getting you here. Feeding you and caring for you was a tough challenge, but I learned a lot from you even though you are a small child.

Your Daddy and I love you so much, we made another little boy to share with you. You are the one that made us a family. I thank God each day for you, my special gift.

Happy 4th Birthday!
Mommy, Daddy & Keagan

May all your wishes come true!

Posted via email from TheMacMommy

Sunday, June 13, 2010

My Funny Valentines

I was just looking through my iPhoto library and showing my Dad some photos of the kids. I snapped this one of Keagan just a few weeks ago so he is around 6 months old.

The photo below it is of Lucian when he is about 5 months old.

We make some goofy kids.
Above is Keagan's "Make my day, Punk!" photo.

This is Lucian's "Who farted?!" photo.
See the resemblance?

Posted via email from TheMacMommy

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Maker of Things You Can Only Imagine

Who needs real toys? I mean seriously. Wish I'd known we could have more fun with cardboard diaper boxes, card stock, masking tape and a lazy susan. Countless parents have warned me about this, so now I'm warning you.

Don't buy toys. (or, in our case, accept hand-me-downs for free)

Make them.

The less realistic, the better.

I give you Exhibit A

Remember when I made this for Lucian?

He lost interest in it after a while, so I was about to put it into recycling when he discovered something new he could do with it. It's no longer a stove. Now it's a spaceship. Oh, and he also now has a co-pilot!

Exhibit B

Enjoy your kids.

Brought to you by Davis & Co.
Makers of Things You Can Only Imagine

Posted via email from TheMacMommy

Monday, March 29, 2010

Spring Cleaning for Your Mac

Even a neat freak, Type-A personality like me is guilty of letting my Mac get a little messy from time to time. I came across this video recently that I think will really help a lot of Mac users. Chris Breen, Senior Editor of Macworld, gives a wonderful tutorial with explanations that make sense on how to do some simple cleaning methods to tidy up and even speed up your Mac. It echoes many of the tips I've previously written about. Great minds think alike! I really hope this helps you out!


Posted via email from TheMacMommy

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Keagan's First Laugh

Caught by my iPhone - Keagan's first real laugh. One of the absolute best sounds in the world! Too bad I have to make a silly noise to provoke him, but he really likes the noise I make for some weird reason!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Laundry Folding Day

Melissa Davis
Created using GoSnapLite on my iPhone

Posted via email from TheMacMommy

All Those Years of Watching CSI Finally Paid Off

If you were a pair of prescription glasses belonging to a 3 year old and went missing, where would you hide out?

That's the question I've been asking myself for the past day and a half.

The answer is -- behind our headboard under OUR bed, of course!!

Thanks to our handy-dandy laser flash light (married to a science teacher, remember?) I (Daddy helped) went super sleuthing all over the house pretending I was Catherine Willows because she's the ex- stripper on CSI Las Vegas processing a house in a crime scene. I even used the blacklight setting. I EVEN DUG THROUGH OUR TRASH CANS!!

Ewww! Why? Because my darling, sweet little Lucian told me he put his glasses in the trash "because they were dirty." Yes. The child has a warped sense of humor.

(Thanks, Mom. Hope you're happy now.)

This is the very reason kids are cute: so they live into their teenage years.

I've been told that next, they start to smell and then I'm not sure what Darwin says is the reason they make it into adulthood.

What's still an unsolved mystery is: Why do we bother with actual toys?


Sent from my iPhone

Posted via email from TheMacMommy

Tuesday, March 2, 2010