Monday, February 28, 2011

Back up your Gmail

Over the weekend, several hundred thousand Gmail users saw their accounts reset, which is the technical term for “losing everything that was in your Gmail account prior to Feb. 27.” This follows on last week’s news of Google calender mysteriously deleting appointments and events. At the time of this writing, at least 150,000 Gmail users are still without data, an improvement over the 500,000 or so that were wiped out on Sunday, and Google promises the remainder will eventually get their data back.

Fortunately, there are several services out there that can help prevent you from losing that dissertation you e-mailed yourself.

One of these services, Backupify, is offering free backup service for a year. That's pretty great. Backupify for Gmail archives your complete Gmail history — all the messages, attachments, contacts, labels and communication history that makes your account indispensable. The next time Gmail goes down, your Backupify account has your data at the ready — and you can restore it with one click.

Friday, February 25, 2011

iPad 2.0

Thinking about buying an iPad? Do yourself a favor and wait a week. March 2nd looks to be the date that Apple will unveil their latest version of the iPad. That's when you'll get to choose whether the new updates are worth the money, or if you want to grab up one of the older models at a (most likely) discounted rate. Will it have a camera? Will it have new features we haven't even fathomed? Who's to say...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

New MacBooks out! Old ones now cheaper!

The new Mac Books are out today, and they've got some impressive new specs! The Computer Connection should have the new models in stock later this afternoon, but more importantly, the old models are being discounted, so if you're in the market for a new Mac, this is the time to buy one. (I just bought one myself at a hefty $300 discount, and I convinced a co-worker to do the same) Head on over to the Computer Connection at the back of the Penn Bookstore and ask about the discounted MacBooks.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Photoshop: Before and After

I'm posting this especially for the folks who take my Photoshop classes. I always tell them that every magazine ad they've ever seen has been HEAVILY photoshopped. That the people in those ads don't really look like that in real life. Well, here's the proof. Check out the before and after by rolling over each photograph.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Ivory Tower and the Open Web

Dan Cohen will share insights from his new book The Ivory Tower and the Open Web. The Web is now over twenty years old, and there is no doubt that the academy has taken advantage of its tremendous potential for disseminating resources and scholarship. But a full accounting of the academic approach to the Web shows that compared to the innovative vernacular forms that have flourished over the past two decades, we have been relatively meek in our use of the medium, often preferring to impose traditional ivory tower genres on the Web rather than import the open web's most successful models. For instance, we would rather digitize the journal we know than explore how blogs and social media might supplement or change our scholarly research and communication. In this talk, Dan explores what might happen if we reversed that flow and more wholeheartedly embraced the genres of the open Web.

Friday, February 25, 2011, 10:30 to 11:30 am, Class of '55 Conference Room, Van Pelt Library, 2nd Floor

Virtual Presentation: A live web broadcast will be shown here in the lab with twitter hashtag #dancohen for Q&A. The video recording will be posted on the WIC website after the event.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Penn Fund Video

Check out this great video for the Penn Fund, created by self-described "resident awesome lab attendant" Rico Moorer for UTv. Shot on a Canon 60D and edited in Adobe Premiere Pro. Want something equally as awesome for YOUR student group? It's a FREE service provided by UTv for Penn Student groups. Email

When Do You Condone Piracy?

Over at Lifehacker, someone posed the question, "When you condone piracy?" Are there times that it's morally acceptable? We're not fans of piracy here at the media lab, but it has become so prevalent in our society that it seems ridiculous not to at least have the conversation. Check out the original post, and more importantly the comments, at:!5760625/when-do-you-condone-piracy

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Missing Track Names

It doesn't happen a lot, but when it does, it is SUCH a royal pain. You stick a CD into your computer to import mp3s into iTunes, and iTunes doesn't know the names of the songs on your CD. So you've got to type them all. ugh.

Well, I can't solve your problem, but you can prevent someone else from experiencing the same frustration. iTunes actually uses a service called Gracenote (also known as CDDB), which is essentially just a massive archive of every CD ever made (Well, every CD except the one you just tried to import.) And you can submit the information about the CD to Gracenote on your own, and then everyone else who pops that CD into iTunes (or Winamp, or QMP, etc.) will be reading the information that YOU entered.

Check out the instructions from Gracenote here:

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Hate Facebook's New Pop-out Image Viewer?

Me too. 'Cause you can't right-click on the photo and save it to your computer. Turns out all you need to do is reload/refresh your browser (CMD-R, CTRL-R, or F5 depending on your browser and computer) and you're back in the classic view where you can download photos again.

Friday, February 18, 2011

When should I buy a new computer?

Did you finally decide you're going to buy a Mac
With every possible add-on?
Did you save up for a very long time?
Did you agonize over parting with all of these dollars at the store?

Did you then read that Apple announces it's new line of Mac Book Pros? Coming out next month?

Here's a handy site that keeps tabs on when you should buy and when you should wait. It covers most Mac products including iPhones, iPods, and computers.

Posters are Back

Our poster printer was cleaned and serviced this morning, and it's up and running again.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

2TB External Hard Drive, Great Price

This 2TB baby is only $79.99 after mail-in rebate. Hard to beat that price. I already bought one before posting this to make sure y'all didn't buy out the stock before I had the chance.

Also, just a heads up that this is the type of drive you need to plug into a wall socket.

No Posters Today :(

Our poster printer is down today. We're hoping to have it up and running again sometime tomorrow.

Penn's Biomedical Library offers a poster printing service similar to ours (with the same pricing, but with additional payment options), available to UPenn faculty, students, staff, UPHS staff, and affiliates by appointment only. See their FAQ ( for more details.

Also, both FedEx Office (formerly Kinko's) (3535 Market Street, 215-386-5679) and Campus Copy (3907 Walnut Street, 215-386-6410) provide poster printing services.

Finding Study Spots

The DP had an article yesterday on a new app/website that allows students to find and reserve study spaces on campus:

"Students may obtain a list of suggested and available study spaces through the online database. Study spots are narrowed down based on the number of people, location, time and facilities needed, such as white boards, projectors and computers."

StudySpaces@Penn attempts to centralize the huge pool of study rooms around campus, which is no mean feat in a decentalized environment like Penn. Try it out (and send feedback to them!) at:

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Mash "UP!"

This is a "Pre-Make" of the Pixar movie "UP!" created by Ivan Guerrero. He has a series of videos on Youtube where he recreates modern movies, as if they were shot in the 40's, 50's, and 60's. You can visit his Youtube channel to check out his versions of The Empire Strikes Back, Ghostbusters, and The Avengers.

Our WIC MashUp Contest is right around the corner if you'd like to create your own little masterpiece. Check out the MashUp page for more info.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

iMovie 2011 Training

We seldom switch versions of software in the middle of an academic year--and this year is no exception. However, those of you with newer Macs most likely have iLife 2011 installed on your machines, while we've stuck with the 2009 version for the time being. Until we start offering workshops on the new version (most likely starting in September), you can watch some excellent training videos free of charge here in the lab.

iMovie 2011:
iPhoto 2011:

Friday, February 11, 2011

Computer Culture

Last week, Google unveiled a Street View-esque project that brings viewers face to face with some of the greatest art on earth.

Known as Google Art Project, the initiative will give users remote access to the priceless paintings, sculptures, and other artifacts from 17 of the world's most famous museums, including New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art and Museum of Modern Art, London's National Gallery and Tate Britain, the Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid, the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, the Philadelphia Art Museum, etc.

This means you no longer have to leave the lab to attend a class field trip.

In a blog post announcing the effort, Amit Sood, head of the Google Art Project, explained that users will have initial access to at least 1,000 works from the 17 museums, including one from each institution that will be presented in high-resolution using "'gigapixel' photo-capturing technology."

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Microsoft 2011 Demonstration

We'll be showing a live online meeting/demonstration (by Microsoft) on Office 2011 for MacOS today from 11:30-12:30 on the big screen in the lab. Feel free to drop by to watch and learn.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

InDesign Gig

Faculty in the Romance Languages Department is looking for a student familiar with Adobe In Design CS5 to work on a Grant project. The project consists of building an interactive multimedia PDF document. The hourly rate is $15.

If interested, please contact Mélanie Péron

Is Your Hard Drive Dying?

I don't know about you, but my hard drive sometimes makes strange sounds, and I always wonder if I should be worried about it. Well, wonder no more. Now you can listen to what a bad hard drive DOES sound like, and see if it your own drive sounds the same. Check out this great database of dying hard drive sounds, arranged by brand name. Click the triangle next to each line to hear the sound.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Alan Moore Loves Libraries

Alan Moore (author of Watchmen, From Hell, and V For Vendetta) visited the St. James Library in Northampton, England on Save Our Libraries Day. Here is what he had to share about libraries influencing him.

Via Boingboing

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Back Up Your Stuff!

Backing up files becomes more important when you rely on your laptop and also when you use several computers. You can lose your data to theft, hardware failure or human error. Time Machine, built-in to every Mac computer, provides a simple backup process to secure valuable information and provide easy restore options.

Apple Systems Engineer, Mike Wolk will be on campus this Friday, February 4 to present “Back Up My Stuff” at the Van Pelt Library, Weigle Information Commons’ Technically Speaking Series from noon to 1 PM in the WIC Seminar Room.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

What is the Internet?

Great clip from the Today Show in 1994, back when people didn't know what the internet, an email address, or the @ sign was. Thanks to my mom for sending me this. :)