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October 2008

Written By: Gary on October 30, 2008 One Comment

Thisisindexed-Card1882-380X228I usually enjoy Indexed, a site where Jessica creates simple Venn diagrams or graphs that are humorous and/or have double meanings.

Today’s was funny so I thought it was a good time to add them to my From My Feed Reader list (while slightly sticking to my list my political sites first theme).

She’s also released a book called Indexed with new “cards” and best of material in it.

Written By: Gary on October 29, 2008 No Comment

One of the oldest blogs and most political blogs I read is Dean’s World. Their tag line is “Defending the liberal tradition in history, science, and philosophy.” Lots of authors for posts so lots of different viewpoints are shown. They cover topics ranging from politics (mostly) to humor to Battlestar Galactica (and have an open comment post once a weekend where you can talk about anything).

I’m not very political so many times I don’t know what they’re talking about but that doesn’t stop me from coming back. But if you haven’t seen it, it’s worth checking out.

When I say “oldest blog” I mean they are one of the blogs I’ve been reading for the longest time. I’m not sure how I first found them – from a national story or something more local (Dean is in South-East Michigan). Check out some of the many times I’ve mentioned Dean’s World in my blog.

Unfortunately, you do have to register to comment, but they do make it pretty painless and it does count out a lot of the junk.

Written By: Gary on October 26, 2008 No Comment

Just a quick tip on winning: The easy way to remember which pieces are the winning game pieces for this year’s Monopoly game is they are the last piece alphabetically in their set; except in the case of Boardwalk (which is the major winning game piece).

Be sure to keep me in mind if you use this tip to win the big bucks ;)

I believe this is the same system they’ve used in the previous five years (possibly longer).

My problem with this is remembering the other pieces in the sequence to know if it’s the last one alphabetically…

Water Works – $50 – Odds 1 in 639,000
Mediterranean Avenue – $100 – Odds 1 in 5,701,000
Short Line Railroad – $500 – Odds 1 in 311,389,700
Vermont Avenue – $1,000 – Odds 1 in 106,921,400
Virginia Avenue – $2,000 – Odds 1 in 106,921,400
Tennessee Avenue – $5,000 – Odds 1 in 307,947,900
Kentucky Avenue – $10,000 – Odds 1 in 307,947,900
Ventnor Avenue – $25,000 – Odds 1 in 769,869,600
Pennsylvania Avenue – $50,000 – Odds 1 in 769,869,600
Golden Avenue – $100,000 – Odds 1 in 178,065,100
Boardwalk – $1,000,000 – Odds 1 in 591,287,650

Pretty slim odds, even for the low-end prizes.

* FYI – This is what I found out from looking around on-line and is the system I’m using. I don’t have any connection with the official game/rules.

Written By: Gary on October 24, 2008 One Comment

So I keep meaning to share what blogs I’ve been reading (187 different ones are in my feed reader as of today), this will be my first of my new category called From My Feed Reader.

I’m starting with Feministing because I’ve been enjoying their election political commentary and since it’s election time I thought I should start with them (instead of saving them for later). While it’s a lot more political than I am, I enjoy listening to many of their opinions (it’s a multi-person authored blog).
feministing

Young women are rarely given the opportunity to speak on their own behalf on issues that affect their lives and futures. Feministing provides a platform for us to comment, analyze, influence and connect.

from the Feministing Mission Statement

In addition to their main blog. they have:

  • A FaceBook group that you can be a fan of,
  • A variety of YouTube videos,
  • and a MySpace group page.If you already read it or it turns out you like it, leave a comment to try and encourage some others to try it (notice that I didn’t ask for comments if you don’t like it).

    And since it’s the season, I’ll probably choose my few other more political blogs to post over the next week; but only one other comes to mind (remember, I’m not that politically active).

  • Written By: Gary on October 23, 2008 2 Comments

    Candy CornSo I was thinking about Halloween and Candy Corn and here we are, with a new Halloween theme on my blog.

    I got the background tile from Fortune City.

    Written By: Gary on October 21, 2008 One Comment

    So I’ve never noticed one of these signs at a Burger King resturant before.

     

    Burger King Sign‘ uploaded by garylapointe

     

    I noticed it’s hard to see how big the sign actually is, so here’s the other photo I took to give you a frame of reference.

    Written By: Gary on October 20, 2008 No Comment

    This applies only to amounts above $8,950 (assuming the standard deduction of $5,450 plus one personal exemption of $3,500) for an individual. For example, a single individual without children pays:

    Single Filing Status (Tax Rate Schedule X)
    10% on income between $0 and $8,025
    15% on the income between $8,025 and $32,550; plus $802.50
    25% on the income between $32,550 and $78,850; plus $4,481.25
    28% on the income between $78,850 and $164,550; plus $16,056.25
    33% on the income between $164,550 and $357,700; plus $40,052.25
    35% on the income over $357,700; plus $103,791.75

    http://www.moneychimp.com/features/tax_brackets.htm

    http://taxes.about.com/od/2008taxes/qt/2008_tax_rates.htm

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tax_bracket#Tax_brackets_in_the_USA

    This table applies only to amounts above $8,950 (assuming the standard deduction of $5,450 plus one personal exemption of $3,500) for an individual. For example, a single individual without children pays:

    Late: Hmmm… Looks like I started to write a post on this and never finished it. I’m guessing it got published when I changed from MovableType to WordPress. This happened with a few posts. Sorry…

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    Written By: Gary on October 20, 2008 One Comment

    Yes, I know I’m always talking about Apple Laptops, especially the MacBook, but I really like the Apple laptops. So the new MacBook metal laptop itself looked really nice but what I really noticed was that it felt really really sturdy whether it was opened or closed. It’s got the black border around the display with i don’t like at first glance but people must have liked it on the iMac so I guess I’d get used to it. I’d trade up in a second (half-pound lighter, backlit keyboard, brighter lower power LCD Display, longer battery life) if I needed to have it replaced for some reason but without a significant speed upgrade I really can’t justify the cost (any cost really) especially since my memory won’t transfer, neither will my spare battery or my video adaptor.

    Two questions:

  • When you use the security port (Kensington lock slot), does it lock in the battery and the hard drive by stopping you from opening the back? (it was really close to the release latch)
  • If there is no firewire, is there no target disk mode or will it work via USB? (no reason that they couldn’t)I still think it was ridiculous that they removed the firewire port. It’d have been easy enough for them to say a year ago that they planned to phase Firewire out so make sure you purchase USB devices, that would remove the real valid complaints.
  • Written By: Gary on October 19, 2008 No Comment

    I’ve posted a photo album of various animals that I’ve taken here and there (Zoo, Costa Rica, London).

    Giraffe-Detroit-Zoo
    Some came out really nice and some are just okay (but I needed a few more to make an album). I uploaded them to my FaceBook photo album section, feel free to add me as a FaceBook Friend while you’re there.So is this photo too big for my blog page? Does it expand out of the center column too much? At all? Just right? It was bigger than I meant to upload but then I thought it looked nice…

    (I didn’t realize that these public links to Facebook photo albums expire, I’m not even sure how long they last. That’s annoying, I’m glad I only used them for a few albums…)

    Written By: Gary on October 18, 2008 One Comment

    So it’s nice and sunny today so I decided to go for a bike ride and go get lunch at Einstein Bagels. It’s sunny but it’s chilly so I bundled up; but the cold still made my eyes start to water a bit. I used to ride my bike in the winter when I was younger and I mean cold winter days with snow + ice. In particular I remember a few situations when I was riding in the winter:

  • Middle School – I used to ride it to school in the winter since it got me out of the cold faster (at least that was the logic). I think after having snow in the middle of the day and having to ride home in it I realized that didn’t work to bad either. The bonus of riding on the snow and ice is that if it’s icy enough for you to fall you’ll generally slide on the ice which hurts a lot less than falling off your bike on the cement.
  • Classes in the middle of the day – My senior year in college at Michigan State University I had a lot of classes in Holmes Hall (Lyman Briggs) and in the middle of winter I had a class down the road between a few other Holmes Hall classes. So I just kept my bicycle at Holmes Hall and drove it from there to my class and back again, it worked out pretty well except when the bike was buried deep in snow at the bike rack.
  • On the far side of campus – My first year at MSU I had a class on the far side of campus so I’d ride my bike out to class and as the fall went on it got colder and colder (and even colder) but I kept on riding my bike. Eventually it got so cold the wind made my eyes water to much (way more than today) so I had the bright idea of wearing my ski goggles. This worked great! An added bonus was since people couldn’t actually see my face they didn’t know who the dork on the bicycle was.

    In hindsight, the best investment I could have made in college was some kind of moped/scooter to get around. I’d recommend this to anyone with a kid going to college. The most useful thing my car was good for was getting me home when I needed to visit the folks (you had to park at a parking lot that was pretty far away). I probably couldn’t have seen this at the time since I’d had a car for ages it was just something I “needed”; I didn’t go away to college until I was 22(?) so this was pretty ingrained in my head as a necessity by this time.

    The car was great for getting groceries (I lived in a cook your own food dorm) but the expense of the car (insurance/etc.) far exceeded a few cab rides a month to get groceries. My car didn’t really become ultra useful until graduate school when I had a permit to park on campus (actually I could only park on the south side of campus but that was almost perfect for where I needed to be) which then allowed me to live a little farther off campus.

    So I’ve gone from bike riding on a nice day to riding in the winter to not needing a car in college. I guess I’m done with this posting for now. I’m heading back out in the 50° sun to ride back home….

  • Written By: Gary on October 18, 2008 No Comment

    I’ve never understood how technology seems to trap some people and when I say “technology” I’m talking about mostly low-tech. The most common thing that I can’t understand is the phone.

    Gotta Get It – Some people have to get the phone when it rings no matter what they are doing. It doesn’t matter what is happening they have to go answer the phone if it rings. They already have an answering machine so they aren’t going to miss any information.

    Gotta Check It – Other’s have to know who it is even if they aren’t going to answer, they have to check the Caller ID to see who they aren’t going to talk to. These are the people in the past who would have monitored their answering machine to get the same information.

    Gotta Be More Important – If the call waiting is going off they have to switch over, doesn’t matter if they know who it is or not, they’ve got to switch over to the other call. I can see this a little bit if they don’t have voice mail at home, but if they’ve got Caller ID they can call them back. The need to put someone off for a few minutes so that they can talk to someone else first compared to just calling the second caller back a few minutes later doesn’t make any sense to me.

    Voice Mail Inconsistencies – What’s confusing (to me) is some people have to also check their voice mail as soon as they see they have a message, but others can let it sit for a while or not even check to see if there is a message on their answering machine. My experience is the more that a person have a “Gotta” issue (see above) the more likely that they have the ability to let messages rest on a machine somewhere.

    The Phone Victim is the worst of most technologies, maybe because it’s such a simple technology it doesn’t seem to be hindered by age it affects both the young and old.

    If it’s important – they will leave a message, they will call back and they’ve got other ways to contact you (other phones, e-mail, etc.).

    My issues – I’d completely disable the call-waiting on my phone but it’s the only phone I have so if someone is trying to reach me they can’t call another number (but they could leave a voice mail). Personally, I try to only switch over to an incoming call when it’s someone I’m meeting shortly in case something is changing our plans. I’ll also switch over if I’m expecting some info from someone that requires some quick interactivity but I’ll warn the call I’m on at the start of the conversation. I’m also more likely to switch over on long-time friends that I talk to all the time but that’s the benefit of

    Tags: []
    Written By: Gary on October 17, 2008 No Comment

    So I stopped at Kinko’s to fax something, unfortunately I had to fax it twice since I forgot a page (duh!). But I was looking at their computer area and I see they want $12 an hour to use a computer. One person here just looks like they are just checking their fantasy football and that’s got to get pricey after a while; others are just surfing and one guy is working on a Word document. They could probably lease/rent a computer for less than $24 a month (that’s the going price for an iBook with Apple’s credit) and subscribe to a T-Mobile WiFi for $30 a month and could sit at the same Kinko’s and recoup their costs in less than 5 hours. Plus, you’d have a laptop for anywhere use and you can use it at free WiFi spots and most other T-Mobile spots.

    You’d have to pass a credit check to get the computer but other than that it seems like the way to go to me. It’s a decent neighborhood where I am and none of these folks look homeless so I can’t think of any reasons not to go this route. Any one have any thoughts on this?

    Looks like they have some new print on-line service that you can print and ship via FedEx (it’s actually called FedEx Kinko’s now) from home or remote.

    Written By: Gary on October 16, 2008 One Comment

    So the new 13-inch MacBooks look nice, but nothing to run out and ditch your current model unless you’ve been waiting for a new one. They have two new metal models and the lower-end white plastic model but still really nice white-plastic model for $999. The processor still tops out at 2.4 GHz on the fastest model (but they upped the bus speed about 33% so that’ll help). The important parts (IMHO) are:

  • LED Screen – Brighter and lower power (I think this is only on the metal models).
  • Backlit keyboard on the fastest model.
  • New NVIDIA graphic chips (only on the metal models) – These should make the graphics faster (but they still use shared memory) and as a result make your computer faster.
  • The metal models weigh a 1/2 pound less and should be more durable.
  • No firewire on the metal models and they did not increase the number of USB ports (if you need an external drive you’re short one port now).
  • On the metal models: They changed the video connector, battery and they come standard with 2 GB of DDR3 memory now (so don’t plan on moving that from your old machine to the new).
  • New bigger glass trackpad about the size of an iPhone (only on metal models)
  • No combo drives! The low-end model has a Super-Drive DVD-Burner now; previously it’s always had a DVD Reader / CD burner combo drive.
  • Smaller packaging and the computers are supposed to be more ecological to dispose of.

    All in all, nice new machines. I’d probably wait until the next speed refresh when they might have some of the bugs out (as many new models have). $1599 for the high end model (plus $150 for a total of 4 GB of memory and $100 for a 320 GB hard drive).

    I’d really like the LED display, the backlit keyboard and the metal case (if it is stronger); I’m pretty rough on my machine and my current plastic MacBook just isn’t holding up as well as my old 12 inch iBook.

    I’m assuming when they run out of old parts the plastic version will get the same display, new trackpad and same graphic chips (and lose the firewire); or possibly become a metal model, it’s gotta cost them a lot to tool the low end machine completely differently.Later:
    Looking at the MacWorld speed tests, comparing 2.4 GHz models (13 inch new, 13 inch last Feb. (mine), and 15 inch), the speed differences are negligible when it comes to plan old processing (even with the 33% bus increase) it’s the PhotoShop (still minor) and Quake (WOW!) where the differences are. Similar results were found by Primate Labs with a 3% overall difference in the 2.4 GHz machines.

  • Written By: Gary on October 14, 2008 One Comment

    Current has a post up called “Candidates as…” and this shows one of the many images of the candidates compared to different types of objects with visual analogies. Yes, this does pick on the candidates, avert your eyes if especially sensitive.

    Candidates-As-Writing-Technology

    They also have other ones with the candidates based on money, trains, Star Trek characters (and The Matrix and The Simpsons), airplanes, watches and more. Almost Edward Tufte-ian in their simplicity to get their point across with very few images.

    Found at The Fire Wire (with Google Reader).Since I’m bringing up election politics again (not my normal thing). I was just listening to this Jay Leno interview with Rachel Maddow, I had know idea who she was before listening (has a show on MSNBC) and listened for the whole eight minutes; that’s pretty long for my attention span, especially if it’s about politics…

    Odd coincidence:
    And at the end Leno mentioned Rachel Yamagata was on next which was really weird since I had just finished listening to the preview of Elephants…Teeth Sinking Into Heart just moments before and debating a purchase. I’m off to see if YouTube has a video of her performance now…

    Written By: Gary on October 14, 2008 One Comment

    Pict2734.ThumbIt was a beautiful day yesterday! The forecast was supposed to be great so I went to Kensington Metro Park (still only $4 to get in). I think it got up to about 79° F so it was a great day for wandering around the paths. Never did find the one observation platform, must have walked the long way around it.

    Can anyone identify the bird in the photo? (Comment below)

    Here’s a bunch of photos I took at the park (8 photos).

    A lot of my photos from my nice Canon Digital Rebel XT got a little washed out but I can’t figure out why. The best ones came out from my old pocket camera (Minolta Dimage XT).

    Park was quiet and lots of stuff was closed (boat rental, etc.) but it is kind of late in the season. But it sure didn’t feel like it :)

    I’ve just starting playing with 12Seconds.tv so here’s a test from my phone at the park. It’s abruptly cut off but that’s because videos can only be (you guessed it) 12 seconds long.

    Kensington Metro Park on 12seconds.tv

    Written By: Gary on October 12, 2008 2 Comments

    I really don’t care what my laptop physically looks like (I want my display to look nice though). I want it functional and preferably small, light and durable. I want features at a good price. If it’s sexy too, that’s a bonus.

    I’m dying to see the specs on the new Apple MacBooks next Tuesday (Oct. 14, 2008) but I’m really hoping for more features at a great price (we need more converts). I’m not even in the market for a new laptop but I can’t wait to see. A twelve or eleven inch MacBook might change my mind though; the same goes for a touchscreen (but I’m not expecting that).Personally I like the plastic cases better than the metal, the metal slips out of my hands plus it dents more easily…

    Here’s My Dream MacLaptop:

  • 12 or 11 inch display (doesn’t need to be full height).
  • Small solid state drive and a big hard drive. All the system stuff goes on the solid state drive.
  • Lots of memory.
  • Blu-Ray DVD drive would be nice (it’s that time).
  • Non-powered audio jack (so I can use any mic/headset).
  • Security – can’t power on or wake up without a password.
  • Backlit keyboard.
  • A spot to plug in an external WiFi antenna (I’m tired of weak reception areas).
  • Internal spot for Sprint 3G cellular card (or other brand equivalent).
  • Maybe GPS (it’d go well with the mobile cellular).
  • and if we’ve got GPS and cellular we might as well as be able to run iPhone and iPod Touch apps.

    Or for something way smaller: Take a current Macbook, chop off everything below the keyboard (the trackpad area) and shrink the screen to be the same size. Somehow a track pad would have to pop out or something would visually watch your fingers gesture on the table where the trackpad would be. Obviously a DVD drive would not fit in such a machine.

  • Written By: Gary on October 12, 2008 No Comment

    I’ve made minor changes to my Atom, RSS 1.0 and RSS 2.0 feeds so please me know if you have any problems with it. I’ve also made the RSS feeds be extended entry feeds so let me know how that is working.

    Thank you.

    Tags: [, , ]
    Written By: Gary on October 11, 2008 One Comment

    Dollar rent-a-car needs some cars moved so they’ll rent you a car for $1 a day (max 10 days) for a one-way delivery. Lots of pickups all over the place with specific destinations all over (especially Florida). Ends October 25th, 2008.

    Not so useful if you don’t need it, but if you need to go to one of these places…

    Written By: Gary on October 11, 2008 2 Comments

    These are my new rules for campaigning:

    • You can’t talk about your opponent.

    That’s it. I’m tired of them answering a question by talking about their opponent. It doesn’t tell me what they are thinking. It’s a waste of time if I want to hear what a politician is thinking and planning if they are wasting half their time talking about what their opponent is (or isn’t) doing.

    Politics for Dummies Ann DeLaneyThey need to sell themselves! Show us what they can do. Convince me to like you not to dislike the “other guy”…Imagine if you were trying to get a job and you spent half your time talking about (and bad mouthing) the competition. Or if you were trying to get a date and badmouthing the other guy trying to win her heart. Or telling the police office who pulled you over that guy in the other lane was driving faster. You’re not going to get very far.

    Speaking the competitions name over and over and over again can’t be great marketing either. How often do you see Coke or Pepsi mention their competitor in an ad?

    Written By: Gary on October 7, 2008 No Comment

    These words, “To Be Continued”, make my top list phrases that I don’t enjoy. It’s usually a good episode of the show that ends with these words, why make a cliff-hanger of a bad episode(?). This week I was watching “The Sarah Jane Adventures”, it’s a children’s show offshoot of the new Doctor Who series; not exactly the same but enough to give me a Doctor Who fix in the off season. I haven’t mentioned much about the show but I like the Sarah Jane character (played by Elisabeth Sladen), she’s made a few cameo’s on the new Doctor Who series (that started 4 years ago) and while she was a regular on the series in the 1970’s (although I never watched it then). Actually, “regular” isn’t the proper word, I think she’s the longest running character on the series traveled with two different doctors, met more doctors and companions than probably anyone else; she’s had her own audio drama series now this TV series and recently appeared again on the Doctor Who series (saving the world and more, of course).

    “The Sarah Jane Adventures” is the story of Sara Jane Smith, years ago she used to travel through time and space with The Doctor, but now on Earth still protecting the earth from Aliens. But she has an entourage of children, the girl across the street (who discovered her secret), the boy she adopted (super smart grown child rescued from aliens) and Clive their best friend (but mostly a side-kick). And they all work together to save the world (or sometimes just London itself).

    Most of the stories for this series are two-part episodes, but when they started this season last week they ran the first two as one hour long episode, so I forgot. Was sorely disappointed while eating dinner that when the tensions started to run high on the show and as I started to recall this fact, the phrase “To Be Continued” popped up on my screen ending my show…Side-bar – This half-hour to be continued complaint is in contrast to other new hour long shows I’ve watched, such as the new The Ex List and Valentine, that about 5 minutes into the show you realize it needs to only be a 1/2 hour episode instead of a full hour…

    Written By: Gary on October 6, 2008 No Comment

    So I’ve been looking for some high quality footage of the Spaghetti Harvest footage for years, this still isn’t that great but it’s completely watchable (previously all I could find was some really crummy footage on the BBC site).

    I saw it as a child, a local theater generally ran mini-documentaries (skiing, skateboarding, car building, etc.) instead of cartoons before a movie, and I’ve always remembered it. I knew it was a joke but it was totally deadpan; I’m sure to this day some people think that spaghetti grows on trees. Most people don’t even believe me when I say that there is a such a mini-documentary.

    It wasn’t until years later I learned it was part of a (normally serious) BBC show they showed on April 1st, 1957 (which upset some people). It’s believed to be one of the first times television was used for a April Fools Joke. A lot detailed history, including the text of the narration, from the Hoaxapedia Article Swiss “Spaghetti Harvest”.

    Direct link to the Spaghetti Harvest YouTube video (in case my imbedded footage doesn’t work). I finally found this since I saw someone stumble onto my site looking for info on it and decided to Google it again. But I’m still looking for a higher quality copy if anyone finds one on-line or knows where I can purchase it.

    Written By: Gary on October 4, 2008 No Comment

     Images PrplribcrpOctober is Domestic Violence month. They say one in four of us are affected some way by it and it’s why you’re seeing the purple ribbons this month. Every 15 seconds a woman is battered (it’ll probably take you twice that time to read this blog entry). October is kind of an everything month (there are only 12 months to share) and breast cancer seems to get a lot of the attention and sometimes DV gets overlooked. (Related news.)

    FirststepFirst Step is a local shelter in Wayne County and they are celebrating their thirtieth anniversary this year. Over 14,000 crisis calls, 7,000 nights of shelter and 20,000 hours of counseling are provided almost every year. I’ve volunteered with First Step, generally I’d be on call a few times a month (8-12 hour shift) and get called to hospitals (police stations, etc.) and talk to people and their families after they’ve been assaulted, I’ve also done things with the kids such as day care, field trips, etc. I originally started doing this at a shelter in Lansing; taking the kids on field trips and watching them while the Mother’s were in meetings/sessions. Field trips were just the older kids (ones who walk on their own), but when were were just watching the kids it was from infants on up.

    First Step always having fund raising events so keep your eyes out for those, it’s a way to donate and have fun at the same time (sometimes it’s a movie night with auctions, shopping at department stores [you get a discount and they get a cut]). Shelters are always looking for donations, please don’t just think of them around the holidays, they need donations all year round. They always need volunteers to help. My links here just point to First Step, please search around for services in your area.

    Written By: Gary on October 2, 2008 No Comment

    So getting user updates about other users on FaceBook is interesting, but I always think ones like this are strange:

    facebook married
    It just strikes me as odd. I suppose it’s not any odder than changing your profile to stating that you’re married, but one generates congratulations and the other doesn’t.

    UPDATE: In addition you can change your profile (this is the same person’s info whom actually made this change today) to read:

    Jane Doe Picture 5
    So it’s an strange system. It might as well as have a category labeled “confused”.Sorry for the crappy image edit but I guess I never installed graphic programs on this laptop (I’ve got something but I’ve never understood layers properly).

    BTW – Feel free to add me to your FaceBook profile if you use FaceBook.

    Written By: Gary on October 2, 2008 No Comment

    Don’t watch this video! Lots of stars in it (telling you what not to do).


    I thought it was a fun video, but it gets a little long at the end. Watch at least the first 90 seconds and pass it on to a few (5) friends.

    And don’t forget to register! Depending on where you live you have to do it in the next few days…

    I spotted this video over at Eclecticism + It’s like I’m Magic and thought I’d pass it along…

    Written By: Gary on October 1, 2008 One Comment

     Xhtml Images Icons 48 48 ReaderI just haven’t been able to keep up with all the blogs and web sites I read. I’ve never gotten into using the RSS feed readers very much. I like using the sites the way people have decorated their layout, what they chose to do tells me something about the person, not seeing it makes me feel like I’m missing something. But if I’m not actually getting to their site and reading, I’m really missing something, right?

    So I thought I’d try Google Reader out, I choose Google for several reasons:

  • It’s all via the web so it’s multi-platform; most web readers are multi-platform, but Google apps are pretty Macintosh friendly.
  • If I’m in need of a fix they’ve got a mobile interface for mobile phone browsing (actually you can do most things Google on your phone at http://m.google.com/.
  • No matter where I read the feeds it coordinates them all so you know which feeds have been read.
  • They’ve got an off-line version using Google Gears, this is what motivated me to do do this with Google. This means if I plan before I don’t have a internet connection I can sync my feeds to the computer and read the feeds off line but when I sync the computer back up, it marks the feeds as read (or stars them or what ever other things I do to the feeds).
  • I thought there was a Java version of Google Reader that I could put on my Palm Treo 755p phone, but I can’t find it. That would make this even more useful. Does this exist? Can someone point me to it if it does?
  • ADDED LATER: I guess it doesn’t cache the images for off-line viewing(?), disappointing, but I can live with it.

    So I took an hour or two the other day and put all my sites in my blog roll into Google Reader. This took some time, but I think it was worth it. I think I’ll add some of my news sites in there also (those weren’t in my BlogRoll). There were several thousand posts marked as unread since it doesn’t know what I actually have looked at, so I had to bite the bullet and mark them all as read. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a way to mark “all posts older than 1 week as read” (or something like that) so I had to mark them all.

    WOW! I can can get through all my feeds pretty quickly now. It’s so easy it almost makes me feel like I’m rushing, I need to slow down and chew my food enjoy the reading. Read the help for the key shortcuts! I’ve got it so when the reader starts up, it defaults to all the posts I haven’t read and I can just hit the space bar to scroll through them all, as I space through them it marks them as read and scrolls through them.

    Downsides:

  • I really miss the feel of the site though. Sometimes I’m reading something and I’m like who the heck is this? and I check and realize that I know the person but it’s out of context so it’s hard to tell. Makes me want to figure out a way to brand my feed.
  • They have feed recommendations, but they could be a little better and a few more of them.

    They’ve got some other features like “Shared Items” and “notes” but I haven’t used them yet. Any tips?

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