Feb 24

How to Set Hootsuite as Desktop App in Chrome

Recently Hootsuite changed so that they show you a splash page when going to the Hootsuite app even when you logged in, this bypasses you going straight to your dashboard so you didn’t have the ability to have a working Hootsuite Chrome Desktop Application.  This is easily fixed however as Hootsuite Support gave a directly URL to use for Hootsuite desktop applications.

First, in case you didn’t setup Hootsuite as a Desktop App you can do that now.

  • In Chrome visit Hootsuite.com and sign in
  • When you see your Dashboard, click on the Tools Button or Customize and Control Button

  • Click down on More tools
  • Click on Create Application Shortcuts…

  • Now you will see a Black Owl icon appear on your desktop
  • Right Click on Your Hootsuite Desktop App Shortcut

Your target line will probably look something like this:

“C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe” –app=https://hootsuite.com

  • All you want to do is change the –app=https://hootsuite.com portion and make it look like this

–app=https://hootsuite.com/dashboard?hootPostID=f0ed3d0358c1b568caea6746abec0736

  • Then click OK

Now double click on your Hootsuite Desktop Application shortcut and you should show up in the Dashboard right away if you are already signed in.

Enjoy!

Feb 23

The Kindle Fire HD 6 for $99

Few tablets impress me as much as the Kindle Fire HD and HDX line of tablets, the price/performance ratio is just fantastic and the Kindle Fire HD 6.  This is a $99 tablet (8GB Model) that has amazing performance for the price, so much that they stand by that no other sub $100 tablet can even touch the performance.  I wanted to put this to the test, so I bought one for one of my writers so he can do a review and a series of articles showing off the Kindle Fire HD 6.

With Amazon now developing it’s own games, they recently released a Fantasy based puzzle game called Saber’s Edge which is free to play and looks pretty good.  Both of my kids have the Kindle Fire HDX and my oldest plays Hearthstone on it, I am not 100% sure if the Kindle Fire HD 6 can play Hearthstone  yet but will make sure our readers over at DragonBlogger.com know if it can after my writer receives his unit and starts his testing and review.

The Kindle Fire HD 6 really is the ultimate family tablet, especially if you have kids because the free time, multiple user profiles are fantastic, combining it with Prime and family sharing and you can get 1 free book per month, free unlimited music, videos and so much more.

Feb 04

EasyAzon Tables aka TableZon Plugin Review

So you know how much I love EasyAzon for inserting Amazon affiliate images, info boxes and links into posts and EasyAzon 4 has even more localization options than previous versions.  Well there is a few sub plugins for EasyAzon and one of those is called EasyAzon Tables which this review is focused on.

So with EasyAzon Tables aka TableZon you add an extra element when you click on your EasyAzon button which is the “add to table” and once you add 1 product to a table, you can search and continue adding other products to  a table.

A quick search for headsets for example and I can quickly and easily build a table selecting the headsets that I like and think are a good fit for this table.

After you add the products to the table and are done, click on finish table button, then you get to customize the attributes that list in your table.  First you get to rename any of the products so that the text matches what you want to say, typically though most product names are fine unless the company tries to shove every keyword possible into the product name where you may want to trim it down.

You then select which attributes you want in your table by checking them, once you select the attributes you want you can re-order them in how you want them to display.

Now, there are some limitations of the EasyAzon Tables plugin, one is that you can’t select a product image as an attribute, I SO WISH that a little thumbnail (smallest size pic) was an option as an attribute, because a picture tells a thousand words and just having a link and text is fine (hover over it and it will show more product details like below if configured).

But it would have been nice to have that little thumbnail image next to the product name that was also a clickable image.  Second it is hard to know exactly which attributes you really want the first time around, in this case Brand, Manufacturer, Publisher were all pretty much same thing so I really only needed Brand.  Sizing was blank for 1/2 the products, and Feature is nice but can be long winded on some products and short winded or not really list features but shipping info on other products.

The other issue is once you insert the table, there is no easy way to back in and edit it, like add or remove existing attributes (well you can modify the shortcode directly but only if you know exactly what attributes to add.

It would have been ideal to list the star rating with stars for each product too, I think seeing 4+ star rating for products in a table would be an incentive to click, but that isn’t an attribute option.  I also find release date would be awesome if it was accurately filled out for each product, but as you can see on the EazyAzon Table below it isn’t always filled out.

So I think EasyAzon Table can help build tables of information, but product name, brand and list price are about the most useful fields, the rest of the fields seemed unreliable and I wish current price, thumbnail image and star rating of the product listed in the table were listed.

Here is sample output of an EasyAzon Table below:

ProductBrandModelFeatureRelease DateList Price
SADES SA-708 Stereo Gaming Headphone Headset with Microphone (Blue) Sades SA-708 Primary kind of gaming headset
Unique style of shape, as well as hidden microphone for stylish display
Premier SADES-AFV volume control with extra Mic-muted function
Standard 40mm Hi-Fi driver, well-defined trebles
Soft PU leather cushion head-pad and ear-pad for wearing comfort
N/A $30.56
EACH G4000 Professional 3.5mm PC Gaming Stereo Noise Canelling Headset Headphone Earphones with Volume Control Microphone HiFi Driver For Laptop Computer VersionTech N/A Primary kind of gaming headset, perfect for playing games, listening music, etc.
Soft cushion head-pad and ear-pad, as well as adjustable length hinges guarantee hours of gaming comfort.
Delivers clear sound and Deep Bass for Real Game. Little smart in-line Remote Control for sound and Mic.
Flexible microphone for exact positioning, and mic with great sensitivity at picking up sounds, your partner can hear your words clearly.
LED lights are designed on the earcups, make it look more fashionable and stunning.
N/A $69.99
Logitech G230 Stereo Gaming Headset Logitech 981-000541 Game-quality stereo sound: 40mm neodymium drivers deliver high-quality stereo sound for a more immersive gaming experience
Built for comfort: Lightweight design and soft sport cloth ear cups with 90-degree swivel for maximum comfort and a personalized fit
Folding, noise-cancelling boom mic: Reduces background noise for clear voice pick up and rotates up and out of the way
On-cable sound controls: Volume dial and mute switch are close at hand for quick audio adjustments
Compatibility: Windows 8, Windows 7, or Linux Operating Systems
N/A $59.99
SADES SA-708 Stereo Headset Gaming Headset with Microphone (Green) Sades SA-708 Style: 3.5mm Games Gaming Headset for PC Laptop
Primary kind of gaming headset
Unique style of shape, as well as hidden microphone for stylish display
Standard 40mm Hi-Fi driver, well-defined trebles
Soft PU leather cushion head-pad and ear-pad for wearing comfort
N/A $30.00
HyperX Cloud II Gaming Headset for PC/PS4/Mobile - Gun Metal (KHX-HSCP-GM) Kingston KHX-HSCP-GM USB Audio Sound Card with 7.1 Virtual Surround Sound
53mm Drivers Neodymium Magnets
Noise Cancelling Microphone via Inline Sound Card
Echo Cancelling via Inline Sound Card
15-25kKhz Frequency Response
Memory foam ear pads with extra set of Velour ear pads and Detachable Microphone
TeamSpeak Certified - Voice Chat Optimized
Compatibility - USB 7.1 Connectivity for PC & Mac. Stereo compatible with PS4, Xbox One (Xbox One Stereo Adapter Required, not included)
2015-02-09 $149.99
Sades Stereo 7.1 Surround Pro USB Gaming Headset with Mic Headband Headphone (White) Sades N/A Stylish, brand new and high quality.
Style:USB Games Gaming Headset for PC Laptop.
7.1 USB sound card delivers thrilling surround sound with separately adjustable levels.
Little smart in-line Remote Control for sound and Mic.
Soft PU leather cushion head-pad and ear-pad for wearing comfort.
N/A $166.99

Overall though, if you want to list multiple products in a table, I think the EasyAzon Tables or TableZon  plugin has potential, maybe it should also give you a “custom field” where you can enter your own data (name the column and add your own details) like if you want to give your short 1 or 2 sentence summary of the product.

It is more efficient to buy EasyAzon 4 with the TableZon extension than buying it separately but if you already have EasyAzon 4 you can buy TableZon separately for $27.

Jan 31

All Hail Prince Lestat

It had been a while since I had dove in with the Anne Rice vampire series which was one of my favorite series over the past few decades since I first read Interview with the Vampire and The Vampire Lestat as a teenager in the late 80’s and early 90’s.

I have been an avid admirer of her works and more importantly her incredibly creative set of structure and rules on vampires, their creation and definition on their abilities and how they were acquired both by age, gaining power by sharing the blood of elder vampires or simply being brought into the blood by an elder Vampire which could give a fledgling powers far beyond those they should have for their years.

I am an avid audiobook lover and most of my books I listen to lately on long car rides or plane flights when I am flying, so Prince Lestat which is Anne Rice’s most recent novel about the famous Brat Prince was one I listened to and my review will be not just about the material but how it was presented audibly to me.  I did purchase the book on Audible which is a service that I tried for the first time with the purchase of this book and I have to say I am quite happy with the service, particularly in that you can download the books and listen to them offline without having to maintain an Internet connection just to listen to your audiobooks, but also the pause, rewind and continue features are excellent and adapt well to picking up where you left off, or just going back a little bit to catch up and remember where you left off.

In Prince Lestat you find yourself divided between the points of view of multiple different vampires throughout the book as each one has their own take and perception on a new and growing threat that is facing them all.  The threat comes in the form of “The Voice” which is heard by the most powerful vampires first and eventually starts driving those who were brought into the blood to slay each other, particularly reducing the vampires who are younger.  This threat is far greater than Akasha was to the vampires of the modern world and we learn a lot on the origins of vampires, who the voice is and where the vampires are heading as a “tribe” throughout the course of the book.  The book is simply brilliant, from Lestat doing his while dreary moping in the shadows trying to find a reason to exist and continue to him taunting, mocking the voice and other vampires all looking for him to become their leader which is a title he never wanted from the start.

You are introduced to the more powerful vampires and the originals created in the first years and the conflict between vampires is palpable, you feel their misery over the centuries, feel the struggle and conflict within each one drawn into this tale and the weaving of spirits and the Talamasca into the works is done very well.  I cared about each and every one of them, their world and the struggles and the whole concept of how the undead seek purpose, love, art, beauty, redemption each one with their own struggle as an immortal is so compelling to me that I had trouble stopping the audiobook when I had arrived at my destinations.

Simon Vance is the narrator and does a great job voicing Lestat and the other vampires from their perspectives, I found his voice full of proper inflection with compelling under and overtones with the content and again I was really enthralled from start to finish.  If you are a fan of the Anne Rice Vampire Chronicles this book will not disappoint, whether you want glimpses of Armand, Marius, Pandora, Louie or many of the other vampires introduced over the various volumes you pretty much have moments in which you are with your favorite characters from time to time.  The final scenes and showdown was among the most tense and exciting as any book I have ever read or listened to and Lestat himself who was always one of the most compelling anti-hero characters rises to the top as one of my all time favorites once again in this book.  Though on a personal note, for me when I visualize Lestat I forever picture him looking like Tom Cruise in the movie Interview with the Vampire even though I know his appearance was inspired by Rutger Hauer and Bon Jovi when Anne Rice wrote the character.

For me the Vampire Chronicles and Prince Lestat especially gives true depth to vampires not as undead monsters that just prey and feed on human beings but what challenges, thoughts and implications there would be for a creature to have true immortality and the affliction that they must drink blood to continue their existence and keep up their strength as well as rest when sunlight rises on the world.  For those who don’t know me that well, in my Dungeons and Dragons world I had based an entire character class to the principles and foundation of the Anne Rice vampire ethos and powers chart, and even Lestat in my gaming worlds was the god of mischief much like a Loki god equivalent in my worlds.

I follow Anne Rice on Facebook and see how Prince Lestat ends with it being a setup for another novel coming and so look forward to continuing the adventure and the journey.  Seriously I could go into 5000 words worth of spoilers, I cannot express to you enough how much of a fan I am of the series and the Prince Lestat book.  For those who thought previous Anne Rice vampire novels were a little to graphic I will say this one tones down the intimacy between vampires much more than previous novels and is a much easier and more fluid read if you had any particular issues or dislike about those elements of previous books.  While it still maintains the core passion and affection that vampires have when embraced sharing in the blood, it is just graphically tone down to be a bit less explicit than some of her former works.

For me Prince Lestat is 5 out of 5 stars and is a highly recommended read or “listen” if you enjoy audiobooks as much as I do.

 

 

 

 

Jan 30

The Polaroid XS80 Waterproof Action Camera

So recently I saw the Amazon special sale of the Polaroid XS80 Waterproof Action camera and though about how awesome this camera would be now that I live within walking distance of the beach. If I had one I would live record me jumping into waves, waves spashing over the camera as well as when I explore the Jetties for sea life like starfish, slipper lobsters and more.

 

This is camera has some great specs and is a 16MP camera that works well in low light vision and records in 1080p and 720p.  You can find full specs below.

Main Specs
1 /2.5” CMOS Image Sensor
F2.8 Fixed Focus Ultra Sharp Glass Lens
Light Sensitivity: >1.4 V/lux-sec
White Balance, ISO, Scene: Auto
Exposure Auto Control: Auto
120 Degree Ultra Wide Angle Lens
File Format: Video- H2.64 MPEG4, PHOTO- JPEG

HD Resolutions
1080p: 1920x1080p / 30FPS / 16:9
720p: 1280×720 / 30FPS/ 16:9
Photo:
Resolutions 16MP, 5MP, 3MP, VGA
Photo Mode: Single / Burst (x3) / Time Lapse (5,10,30,60)

Micro SD – Up To 128GB
1050MAH Built In Battery (Approx. 2.5 hrs of Use)
G-Sensor (Auto Rotation): Yes
Auto Power Off: off/1min / 3min
Vibrates: Yes
Anti-Shake: Yes
USB 2.0, HDMI

Windows 7/XP SP3 /Vista and later, Mac 10.5 or above
Size: 96.3*40*45.8mm
Weight: 3.9oz

Included In Box
Camera
USB Cable
Mount-Lock
Mount-Lock Key
Secure string
Carrying pouch
Helmet Mount
Manual

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