Type: Aside

Facebook invades your privacy again: Now giving out your home address

This past Friday night, Facebook pushed out a new update to the service which allows any developer to gain access to your contact info, including home address and cell phone number. They announced this after business hours, most likely so the vast majority of tech-savvy media outlets were home for the weekend.

Facebook ignoring your privacy concerns

Facebook pulls a fast one on users: gives away even more of your private information

I never entered my home address or phone number in my Facebook profile, but if you did, I would recommend you delete the info now before developers intent on spamming your phone and home mail box get a hold of it.

In Facebook’s defense, they DO ask you when an app requests this info. But Facebook also knows darn well that the average user isn’t going to understand what it means or how to deal with it. The fact that they announced this on their developer blog late on a Friday night just goes to show you that they know it’s sneaky and you probably wouldn’t agree to it if they put it right on your profile page as an announcement.

The intent of this is feature, I’m sure, is to allow you to log-in to other sites using your Facebook account and when you purchase something, you won’t have to enter that private information manually. But I don’t buy it. Not only does every browser on the market already have a basic auto-fill function, but there are numerous extensions and plugins that also accomplish this – such as 1Password.

Iconfactory to release Astronut for iPhone

Normally I wouldn’t post about upcoming software for the iPhone, but this is a special case. Iconfactory, makers of Twitterrific and CandyBar for the Mac, and two wildly popular iPhone games, Frenzic and RampChamp, have announced a new iPhone game arriving just in time for the holidays.

Astronut for iPhone

Astronut for iPhone blasts off just in time for the holidays

Not much is known about Astronut, but if Iconfactory’s previous apps are any indication, it’s going to be addictive, and a huge hit!

Flexible paper and payment options can save a bundle on your next print job

Commercial printing is expensive, but there are ways you can save money with little effort if you’re willing to be flexible and spend some time before the bidding process with your printer. The key is communication. Your printer’s sales rep should be most helpful in finding ways to save money on your job. After all, if you’re happy with his or her service, you’re more likely to give him repeat business.

Saving money on your next print job

Your paper selection can make a huge difference in the cost of your print job

Here are a few tips to help you save a little money on your next print job:

When requesting a bid from your preferred printer, and paper stock isn’t set in stone, be sure to ask your sales rep if they have access to any discontinued paper from the manufacturer. Many times, limited quantities of discontinued paper is available at a heavy discount. It’s a great way to save money on your print job if you’re willing to be flexible.

Consider printing multiple jobs at the same time, on the same paper stock. Many times, paper is only available in large sheet sizes and your job doesn’t quite fill the sheet. You can add a smaller print piece on the same sheet and save money on the print run.

Ask if your printer offers a cash in advance or upon delivery discount. Printers have to pay for the paper and print your job on their dime, then wait for you to pay them. By offering to pay for paper and ink costs, or even the whole job in advance, you may find the printer willing to offer a bit of a discount.

You can save a hefty amount on your print job by specifying a Grade 2 sheet. Premium (Grade 1) paper costs substantially more, and often times is really no better than 2nd grade sheets. When in doubt, ask for a sample from your print sales rep.

Fight spam: Get your free email alias

Email TempAliasIf you’ve been on the Internet for any amount of time, you’ve no doubt grown tired of handing out your personal email address in order to access a site – only to receive loads of spam in return. You could sign up for a free Gmail or Yahoo address, but that’s a little overboard.

Try TempAlias a try. The free service allows you to create a temporary email address that only lasts for a specified amount of time, or a message limit has been reached. The email alias you create forward to your real email address – so you’ll get that “password confirmation” email, but then you’re rid of all the other spam emails forever. This is a great way to protect your privacy!

Cool Web Site: Daily Design Advice

Daily Design AdviceDaily Design Advice (DDA) is a new service from Brandeluxe (the people who brought you Freelance Review) that delivers the web’s juiciest design advice and insights at the start of every working day (M-F).

Advice on the site is brief, bit-sized chunks that you can read in under a minute, which is one reason I like the site. Be sure to check it out, and subscribe to the RSS feed if you like it.

Alien Skin announces Bokeh 2 plug-in for Adobe Photoshop CS5

Bokeh 2 boxAlien Skin has released Bokeh2, thier easy to use tools for creative blurring, including spiral motion blur. New support for Adobe Photoshop CS5 64-bit and Lightroom is in the mix, as is an improved preview feature which is now much faster and more interactive, making experimentation easier.

Bokeh 2 gives photographers and designers a wide range of tools to focus attention where they want it. The focus region is easily placed over the subject and then the fun begins. Every aspect of the lens blur can be customized, from highlight intensity and shape to motion blur and vignette.

Bokeh 2 released

Focus attention where you want it with Bokeh 2

Bokeh 2 now works in Lightroom, including batch processing. The 64-bit version of Photoshop CS5 works great with Bokeh on both platforms. Bokeh provides multiple techniques for non-destructive editing in Photoshop, including Smart Filter support and rendering effects on a duplicate of the original layer.

Bokeh 2 sells for $199. Owners of Bokeh 1 may upgrade for $99. Online or physical delivery is available through the Alien Skin website. Free upgrades will be automatically sent to purchasers of Bokeh 1 who purchased in April 2010 or later.

Bokeh 2 is a plug-in and requires one of the following host applications:

  • Adobe Photoshop CS3 or later
  • Adobe Lightroom 2 or later
  • Adobe Photoshop Elements 7 or later

I’m a huge fan of Bokeh, and I plan on putting it through its paces and post a review as soon as I get my hands on it.

Photographing the perfect landscape

Rolling hills and vales, enchanting areas of woodland, rugged shorelines and a dappled spring meadow can all become the most obvious of subjects for the landscape shooter, often yielding strongly emotive and awe-inspiring results.

Photographing landscapes

Shooting landscapes is all about the setup (a little HDR treatment works sometimes, too!)

The recipe for success however is less obvious. Unless of course you read this great article at Digital Photography School on photographing the perfect landscape.

News portals for Mac users

Mac NewsKeeping up with Mac-related news can be a daunting task. Apple has never been so popular, so news portal sites that offer Apple/Mac-related news can be a great way to keep up with the latest goings-on.

Below are a few of the sites I tend to go to when I’m looking for news on any particular Apple/Mac related news. The Mac Observer is a daily visit for me, and MacNews is a favorite forum hangout.

Apple / Mac-related news portals

Apple / Mac-related news portals keep you up-to-date


Alltop is a site which allows you to view the latest topics on virtually any subject you wish with a customized MyAlltop page. Mac news is pulled from numerous sites, including some more obscure places that even I didn’t know about.

The Mac Observer

The Mac Observer, a site that’s been around for many, many years is one of the best Mac news portals out there. They have an extensive list of sites they pull news from. Generally speaking, if there’s news about Apple, The Mac Observer has you covered.


MacNews, part of the AppleCentral group of sites, brings together top headlines from a variety of RSS feeds. The site also offers a great group of discussion forums.


Addict-O-Matic provides the latest headlines on topics such as entertainment, politics, shopping, sports, and of course, Apple. You get all the feeds from the best sources in each category. And like your search results dashboard, you can personalize the layout of the headline boxes, delete ones you don’t like and bookmark your personalized page. I love the clean layout of this site.


MacDailyNews is great because you’re presented with a long list of headlines and one-line summaries of the articles, making it quite easy to find what you’re looking for.


MacNN offers a news portal page, collection all the latest headlines for you. I’m not a huge fan of the site, but it has been around for many years and offers plenty to read.


If you’re looking for volume, AppleLinks is the place to visit. Over 2,000 pages of Mac news awaits you. They also have an interesting way of presenting the news that you really have to see because it’s difficult to describe.


Techmeme pulls together tech news of all sorts, but features quite a bit of Apple news at any given time. I like the site because it gives a great overview of all the hottest geek news, regardless of what OS you prefer.

If you have a favorite Mac and Apple-related news site, feel free to share it in the comments.