Thursday, March 14, 2013

Google Reader to Be Retired

Just a heads up to anyone still reading this blog, other than the spammers. Google is retiring Google Reader this summer. I started using it when Bloglines folded. I'll miss it and am now looking for another online feed reader to replace it. A friend suggested Feedly, so I'll probably give it a try.


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Link RoundUp

Most of the time these days, I share links on Facebook and/or Google+ and forget all about this poor, lonely blog. So I'm going to try to regularly share them here, too. My goal is to do monthly link posts, so we'll see how this goes.

In the wake of the Aurora shooting, words of wisdom from Jay DeDapper.

Jon Stewart is tied with Stephen Colbert for pointing out hypocrisy in today's US political realm. Here he tackles the subjective editing of broadcast speeches, presidential campaign variety.

New York City's unique High Line Park, built on an old, elevated railroad, is nearing completion. The last segment is now ready for development.

Google Mobile and Tablet will let you handwrite your Google searches.

Paul Begala, the only columnist I read these days in Newsweek (where have all my favorite columnists gone?!) -- print edition -- on how the swing voters are the only ones who count anymore in US elections.

I took this science quiz andI got more than half correct, barely. A lot I guessed, correctly, but some of my guesses were wrong. I wouldn't call a lot of these questions basic. And it's been decades since I studied science in school. Still, I'm happy with more than half right. Care to see how much you know/remember?

And finally, though it's a bit on the old news side now, this teen who got Seventeen Magazine to stop photoshopping photos of girls in the mag is awesome.


Friday, July 06, 2012

The Latest Announcement from Google

In a year or so, iGoogle is going away. Google has seen the future and it's all about apps, mobile and otherwise, so what iGoogle provided on a Google search page, Google figures you can get via your browser, in my case Google's own Chrome, or whatever else you use to access apps: desktop, smartphone, other portals. In Chrome, I can get them in a navbar or on a New Tab page, depending on the app, so I've started adding to Chrome the ones I use via iGoogle. I'm going to miss iGoogle. I've loved seeing everything there while I searched. Ah well. The internet is about change and this sure is one of them. Let's hope this change is about progress and not losing something we'll really miss.


Good Advice

Yeah, I know. It's been too long since I've posted here. I've been too busy enjoying retirement to have deep thoughts to share.

But I do want to share this post from The Bitchy Waiter, one of my favorite blogs. He has a lot of good advice, especially this:
"A smile will get you far in life. When someone sits in my station and has a sour-puss look on their face and then tells me they want the happy hour price for their beer even though happy hour ended five minutes ago, I am not going to do it. In contrast, if someone is friendly and smiling and asks nicely, it is very possible that I will simply hit the happy hour beer price for them. A smile makes a huge difference."
That, I must admit, was something that I did when I worked. I wouldn't go against library policy, but I was more inclined to be extra helpful or do a favor for someone who was pleasant, polite, and just plain nice. I would never do anything extra because someone demanded special treatment, was rude, or worse, obnoxious. Be rude to me and you got only the service I was required to perform. Be nice to me and I'd double check with colleagues, look in the back to see if anyone had returned the book and it hadn't been shelved yet, do a longer computer search even if I was supposed to do no more than a quick search before making a referral, and so on. And I'd do it with a smile.

I'm not sure when people got it into their heads that being demanding and rude was the best way to get what they want -- and it's not just kids; I've encountered this behavior in the last decade from teens through septuagenarians (people in their 80s and 90s tended to be nicer) -- but the only time it works is when the person providing the service is fearful. Fearful the rude person will complain about them and cost them their job. Fearful of confrontations. Fearful of the exchange growing nastier. Fearful the rude person will get violent. There's a way to deal with these sorts of people, but not everyone gets that training.

Clearly, enough rude folks have learned rudeness works for them because they continue to engage in it. But really, it's the nice people who get the real respect, the real service with a smile. Sometimes, the service provider can't do what you want because it simply isn't possible and no amount of intimidation will work. So, wouldn't it be better to have a pleasant encounter than an unpleasant one?


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Future of Search

Google plans to make it unnecessary to leave the search results page, unless you really want to. I have to admit that when I'm in a hurry for simple answers, this would be ideal. I already use the website descriptions on the search results page to see if the info I want appears there.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

More Changes at Google

Google+ is getting a new, streamlined design. I had to reload the page to see the changes and not everyone will have them for a few days, but it looks pretty good.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Oh Noes, Pinterest

Anyone thinking of using Pinterest should read this post about copyright violations and licensing on Direct Match Media. I'd been thinking of trying it, but now, I won't.

The concept of Pinterest -- an online pinboard -- is a cool one, and I know a number of people using it. It can get unwieldy to keep adding links to browser favorites, especially if you use more than one device to browse. Link sites like delicious are just that, lists of links, though their redesign has gotten jazzy with stacks and images.

Reblogging or reposting is a big thing these days. Tumblr excels at it. But Pinterest, with its policy of claiming the license for what you pin of your own creation and putting copyright infringement on the user for any violation of what you pin is going too far, in my opinion.

It should be no surprise that in social media, the user is also the content provider. I've read discussions of this all over the web -- and no, sorry, can't cite sources because I hadn't planned on posting about it, so therefore, didn't keep track -- and it's been clear to me for a while. We users upload photos to photo sharing sites like flickr. We post prose, poetry, photos, drawings, etc. to our blogs. We write about our passions and we converse with others who share our passions on blogs and message boards and on our social media pages. We swap recipes and craft tips, share family photos, play games, post links, and so much more on sites like Facebook. We share videos we like and even ones we make on YouTube. We need the sites for their software to allow us to upload and organize all our creative efforts and they, in turn, often reward us for using them by showing us paid ads that we can opt out of by buying a "gold" or "pro" or "enhanced" or whatever they call it account, while others simply use our content to interest investors. Not all sites shower us with ads. Blogger doesn't, but Google has other places where they do, using AdSense for example, where the user can also benefit. But if we users didn't provide content, these sites would cease to be.

AOL never really got this concept. They destroyed the community they had on all their various message boards til few remained. They didn't keep up with innovations in blogging, so their journals community died, helped along by having ads rammed down the users' collective throat. To recover market share, they moved to other sources of content, official sources like studios, providing news, weather, entertainment, sports, not dissimilar to what Yahoo! does. And Yahoo! too, needs to keep evolving to stay relevant. Because there are so many ways today to get that official content, including people who blog it or reblog it, post it or repost it, sharing it with strangers via blogs and friends via Facebook.

See a trend here? We're back to user-provided content, even if a LOT of it is repostings (and often of old material!).

So, be wary of what you post. You have no idea where it may end up. If you worry about your copyright, keep your work offline. But I also believe in a free, vital, unhindered, uninhibited internet. It's going to be years still until things sort out re: the internet and copyright, so for now, pay attention and don't assume everyone else is playing fair. Read the Terms of Service before using a new service. And don't be surprised if your precious photo or story ends up somewhere else, no credit back to you. You did release it into the wild, after all.