Thursday, September 11, 2014

Technology Lesson: Downloading U2's New Album

Unfortunately Labor Day has come and gone, and the regular posting schedule has not resumed as planned. I've been exceptionally busy. But I have a lesson today, because far be it from me to deny you the assistance to free music.

U2, one of the world's most popular bands, released a new album Tuesday! Titled Songs of Innocence (named after William Blake's collection of poetry, Songs of Innocence and of Experience), the LP will be available for physical purchase October 13. But as of Tuesday, the album was available for free on iTunes. (After October 13 the free album is no longer available.)

I had a deep, abiding love for U2 in my youth, and I have a deep, abiding interest in free things, so I set about getting my hands on the album before the free-window closed. (The group released a single in January, which was free for one hour.) As it happens, Apple set about providing the album for each user. To get the album, you access your cloud and download it.

This is a little disconcerting. (What if you don't want U2's album?) It can be confusing if you go to the band's page and see that you already "have" it. I realize not everyone understands "the cloud" so I'm here to help.

Let's get started. Turn on your computer (or iTouch/iPhone). Load iTunes. (Apple devices have the app, it's purple.) If you are accessing this the week of September 9, 2014, you'll see a banner for the album:


You can click this if you want to, or you can skip ahead to the instructions regarding your account and files in you cloud.

This is what the album page looks like:


You'll see that under the album artwork, it says PURCHASED instead of BUY. If you click on PURCHASED nothing will happen, because you already "own" the album.

This is what the page says: "Songs of Innocence is available from your Purchased page on iTunes now. And soon you can go to the Music app on your iOS device and your iTunes music library on your Mac or PC, and find Songs of Innocence under the artist or album tab. Your music is in iCloud, just tap the track listing to start listening, or tap the cloud icon to download."

So, let's get into your iCloud. Go back to the music page in iTunes. Click MUSIC or click the house icon. Look for the column on the right, under the circulating banners.

Click PURCHASED.

By default, the PURCHASED page will show what you have purchased and is NOT in your library. If it doesn't, there are two "buttons" on the right side of the page. Click "NOT IN MY LIBRARY."

My page shows items I have purchased through my iTouch but chosen not to download to my iTunes library.

You'll see the U2 album is there. In the top right corner of the album icon is a cloud with an arrow. Click that to download it. If you click the "X" on the top left corner it will hide the item (but not delete it). 

After you click the cloud, the download will begin.

To get the album directly to your device, open the iTunes app.

Press MORE. It is in the bottom right corner of the app, next to SEARCH.

Tap PURCHASED.

Tap MUSIC.

Now tap NOT ON THIS IPOD.

U2 should be an option. Tap the cloud with the arrow, and await the download.

Presumably this option will expire in October, and those of us burdened with unwanted music will feel some relief. (Particularly since I have no instructions to provide in that regard!)

Additional Resources:
Apple.com/U2

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Vocabulary Lesson: SFM

Am I getting Old? Several vocabulary lessons have been precipitated by my own ignorance. For shame!

So here I am. I didn't know what "SFM" meant. Thanks to the powers of Google... I do.

SFM means "So Freaking Much." (Or... "So Fucking Much.")

Here is the abbreviation, as used by a Young Person in the know:
You would probably only used this generally, when expressing genuine affection. You would not use it as a means of dislike. For example, you'd only use SFM as seen above, and not, say, "I do not love watching Glee SFM." (Mostly because that's not how a person should speak anyway!)

Gosh, it's hard keeping up with kids these days.

Additional Resources:
SFM, InternetSlang.com

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Technology Lesson: Unsubscribe From A Comment Thread On Facebook

Long ago, you wanted to Stop Notifications on a Facebook post, you could find the post on your feed and click STOP NOTIFICATIONS (or even UNFOLLOW) under the post's content. That "long ago" was a year ago, but with Facebook's ever changing interface, those days are in our past.

Oh, how I long for those days!

Why might you want to stop notifications? Well, if you're like me, you might have some very popular Facebook friends. Whereas I might receive one or two comments, my friends over receive as many as twenty (or more!) comments on every post. My Facebook friends have thousands of friends, whereas I have approximately 200. Received nearly 100 e-mails is my idea of irritating, and telling Facebook to stop notifications means I won't receive those e-mails.

Of course, if a comment has my name in it, I will receive the notification via e-mail.

To stop the barrage of e-mails, log into Facebook.

Find the post in question. (A shortcut to doing this is to click "SEE COMMENT" in the e-mail sent by Facebook.)

Click the arrow at the top right of the post. You're probably familiar with this and the menu it provides, as this is how you can unfollow a person, hide an add, or unfriend someone, all from your newsfeed.

Click STOP NOTIFICATIONS.


DONE! In my example you can see that I did this with a post from my dear cousin. After you've chosen STOP NOTIFICATIONS, you'll see above the post, "You will longer get notifications for this story." It's a confirmation that you were successful.

If you click STOP NOTIFICATIONS in error, the message is followed by a link titled GET NOTIFICATIONS, which will quickly undo your work. If you decide you want notifications sometime later, you can not repeat these steps and turn notifications "on" again.

All Facebook posts

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Technology Lesson: A Tour of Facebook's Message Center

Let's look around your message center in Facebook. Your message center is where you Facebook messages and chats are stored.

To access your messages, click MESSAGES. It's in the LEFT COLUMN next to your newsfeed. It is the second item in that column, under NEWS FEED.

You can also see messages by clicking on the conversation bubble icon at the top RIGHT of your screen. This will provide a preview for your inbox. (You can also view messages sent to your other folder. We'll discuss that folder in a moment.)

If you click a message from this preview it will open as a chat box at the bottom of your screen. That's because...
Chat and message histories are threaded together — you can think of them as one and the same. When you open a conversation, you’ll see a conversation that includes all your messages along with your entire chat history. If you send a chat message to a friend who has turned chat off, the chat message will be sent directly to their message inbox.
The default view in your messages is of your Inbox. You can search for a specific message by typing in the search bar on the top left, above your messages. You can also search by clicking the magnifying glass on the right.


You can view your Other messages by click OTHER, next to INBOX. You can see Archived, Unread, and Spam messages by clicking MORE.


You can start a new message by clicking + NEW MESSAGE in the center of your center. A blank message will appear. Type the name of your friend in the TO field. Your friends and friends of friends will appear as you type. So will previous messages.


You can send a message to anyone on Facebook. You might want to send a message because you are friends with someone but don't have his or her e-mail address. Or you might not be friends but want to contact the person. (To do that, find the person's page and click MESSAGE at the bottom right of his or her cover.)

If you are not friends with the person, the message may be sent to his or her Other box. If you send a message don't hear back, make this assumption. Most people don't check for Other messages. (It also makes you feel better!)

If you're messaging a stranger, Facebook may prompt you to pay the social media giant to ensure that the message is delivered to the inbox. Is that shady or what?! The fee is about $0.99.

If you're not friends with someone, but the person is in a group on a message (say, the message is sent to a group of people, or a Facebook group) or is a friend of a friend it may go to the inbox. Likewise, you may receive a message this way.

Messages are also sent to Other when they are pre-filtered. I think that's pretty rude of Facebook, personally. Whereas an inbox message will prompt Facebook to notify you via e-mail, an Other message will not. Per Facebook:
Your Other folder is where you'll find messages and emails that have been filtered out of your inbox. You can change your filter preference right from your inbox.
To get to your Other folder, click Messages on the left side of the homepage. At the top left of your main messages view, click Other.
I advise that you occasionally check your Other folder. If you're worried about missing out, you can manage your settings:
You can change your filter preferences right from your inbox:
  1. Go to your messages inbox
  2. In the upper-left corner of your messages, click Other
  3. Click Edit Preferences
  4. Select Basic or Strict filtering
  5. Click Save
Messages may end up in Other anyway.

Previously:
Facebook Lessons

Additional Resources:
Managing Messages, Facebook Help
Sending A Message, Facebook Help
What is the "Other" folder in my inbox?, Facebook help

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Vocabulary Lesson: IIRC

Today's lesson is yet another abbreviation I rarely remember: IIRC.

IIRC stands for If I Recall Correctly.

Like many abbreviations (TBH, TL;DR, BTW*), is is an Internet-created abbreviation. You will likely see it in forums and comments at the bottom of articles. In general, this abbreviation saves the typist and commenter time, and also lends an air of casualness to the conversation. It also covers the commenter's bases (albeit weakly) in the event that the person does not actually remember correctly.

*That's to be honest, too long; didn't read, and by the way.

Additional Resources:
IIRC, Urban Dictionary
IIRC, Internet Slang.com

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Technology Lesson: Shoot your video in landscape mode

If the Young People in your life had tried hard to instill the value of shooting photography in landscape (horizontal) or portrait (vertical), it can be hard to fight the urge not to shoot videos in portrait (vertical) mode.

But you really shouldn't. I'll show you two vertical videos, which will illustrate why you should shoot horizontally.


This video was shot with my iTouch. I didn't turn my device. Now the overall image is "smaller" than it would be if I had turned my iTouch. Unfortunately, those black bars are distracting. Remember that TV screens, laptop monitors, and YouTube videos are oriented to display horizontally. So your camera and cell phone screen should be turned that way, too.

I'll let Wired explain why that is:
Videos, unlike photos, are almost universally presented horizontally. There’s a reason for this: It’s how we’re built to view the world. Our vision allows us to see more to the left and right than top and bottom. So when you shoot a video on your smartphone in portrait mode, you’re violating not only the set video standard, but also the laws of nature as they pertain to human sight.
Gizmodo asks, "What would it be like if every time someone gave you a dollar to spend, you spent 33 cents and threw the other 67 cents in the trash? This is like that."

Even worse, the black bars indicate that I have no idea what I'm doing. Amateur hour!


This video is even worse. Because I didn't edit the video and have it rotated, there are no black bars—but the video is unwatchable.

So, before you fire up your phone or digital camera, visualize the finished product, streaming online for your friends and family, or playing on your living room television. Then proceed accordingly, so your finished product is supremely watchable, and able to be enjoyed.

Additional Resources:
That’s Not How You Use That: Shooting Video in Portrait Mode, Wired
Portrait video and other things cameras shouldn't let you do, The Verge
PSA: Please Turn Your Damn Cellphone Sideways When Recording Video, Gizmodo

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Vocabulary Lesson: N.B.

"N.B." is an abbreviated Latin phrase. It stands for nota bene and is commonly used at the end of lengthy blog posts.

Translated, nota bene means note well. In many articles, it serves as an editorial note or "p.s." at the end. From this Zagat FAQ:
In present-day English, it is used to draw the attention of the reader to a certain (side) aspect or detail of the subject on hand, translating it as "pay attention" or "take notice."
This Gothamist article is an example of N.B. in action. You'll see that Gothamist's Dobkin provides a long answer with additional notes at the end.

Additional Information:
Nota bene, Wikipedia
What does N.B. mean?, Zagat Help