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Information about Google or it’s services.

Written By: Gary on July 8, 2011 6 Comments

Sign up for Google+ now! Availability for Google Plus comes and goes, but it’s going right now so give it a try.

_comics_googleplus-xkcd.png

I’m not sure what to do with it yet. But at least I’ve got an account :)

Actually, the only reason that I wanted to hop on was to get “garylapointe” but it doesn’t look like your user id ever shows up in the web address, so not a big deal…

Written By: Gary on December 19, 2010 No Comment

Just testing out the Free WiFI on my plane! I shot this with my iPhone 4 and uploaded it and now I’m blogging it from my McBook.

And you can even watch it in HD!

The world of technology is an amazing place!

FYI: The WiFi is free because of a promotion Google Chrome is doing through the holidays.

Written By: Gary on January 3, 2009 One Comment

I can’t believe I’m still doing this with 2,000 posts all over the last 5 years! Never would have thought it grow on me so much!

I was trying to come up with something monumental to blog about for this post, but that didn’t happen so I’ll give you a quick update on some tech (the new blog site) and a few personal things:

  • I’m averaging more than a post a day, but sometimes I skip more than a few days, so I’m going to try and post more consistently (and more images with posts).
  • I’m really liking WordPress, I’ve completely migrated all my old posts (from MovableType) to WordPress 2.7 (at least I think I’ve got all 4,000-ish archive/category/single pages) and mostly updated the “about“-type pages. I’ve been playing around with WP for a year and this interface on 2.7 version beats the interface for the previous six months (it was actually better previous to six months ago, IMHO). I’ll be posting more about my WordPress transition over the next few weeks (I’ve been making notes).
  • Google has done an amazing job reindexing the updated site. It’s grabbed a good chunk of the pages and about 80% of the old pages have disappeared been replaced in the search engine. I’ll be posting more about this too.
  • And I just saw they picked the new Doctor Who, but I’ll make that my 2001st post :)
  • I’m still sick from when I mentioned it last week. The (medical) doctor thinks it’s some lower lung pneumonia on the right side so I’ve just been staying close to home and taking it easy (I’ll get x-ray results next week). Sleep has been the worse, I think maybe the drugs are keeping me up, or I’m just bored. Hopefully I won’t be posting more about this!
  • Even being sick, the holidays were nice and relaxing, exactly what I needed after the last year, I’d have liked some more snow consistently on the ground, just enough to cover the grass. I wasn’t sick sick until Christmas so I made it through everything.

That’s it for now, I gotta go read up more on the new Doctor Who

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?

  • Written By: Gary on July 26, 2008 No Comment

    Google hits One Trilion unique URLs!!! That’s huge! They have an intersting article titled “We knew the web was big.

    I’m proud to supply 0.0000002 percent of those pages! (At least I think I did the math right).

    Written By: Gary on May 30, 2008 No Comment

    Have you used Google’s Free phone information service at 1-800-GOOG-411 or 1-800-4664-411? It’s voice activated directory service! They’ll even connect you for free if you’d like!

    If you’re on a cell phone Say “text message” or “map it” and they’ll text you the information with phone, address with web and map links (with driving directions too).

    It’s not new but I’ve never gotten around to mentioning it. Here’s direct YouTube link to Google’s Free phone information.

    Written By: Gary on March 15, 2008 No Comment

    I’m a huge fan of SpamArrest, a mail program that uses challenge/response CAPTCHAs to only allow mail from humans, instead of from spammers. It works great but the price has gone up from $60 for two years to $90, so I’m checking for other options. It’s only an additional $30 but if the price jump is $30 (or worse, 50%) every 2 years, it’s gonna get kinda pricey in the next few renewal cycles. The price jump is kind of large after a few years especially since I know many of their costs should have gone down (disk space, servers and bandwidth); the software is already written and has had minimal user changes over the last two years.

    Honestly, I’m sure it saves me more way than $45 a year worth of time. But can something save me more time, I know in the past MailBlocks saved me more time. So I’m looking for suggestions for some other Challenge/Responce mail system.

    There is one thing I really dislike about SpamArrest, while I can use any mail client to read my mail, to check and approve spam I have to go to their web site and that takes a lot of time (and this is a feature I miss from the now deceased MailBlocks). The reason I have to check it is for mailings from new companies that I deal with and for people who don’t pay attention to the e-mail that gets mail back to them immediately to ask them to confirm they are human (I even have info about me and a picture of me in the e-mail so they know it’s really me).

    In the meantime, I’m using my free gMail account. I want to see how well that works, they give me all sorts of space for free and it’s pretty fast and it works well on cellphones (their client, their web interface and should work with phone clients). They’ve got a fancy web interface and plain web interface so it works pretty well everywhere. Although, with my client I can’t see the spam folder there either. Google lets you create additional addresses for the same account and have decent filters. Plus, they will let you use your own domain if you’d like to; so if it really works out, I’ll attach my GaryLaPointe.com domain to it and use it for my mail (as long as that supports IMAP). And if it works as well for me, it’s free! There’s some weird mapping between GMail and the Mac Mail.app (I think by default you get duplicates of the mailboxes) but there’s some work arounds, or maybe the new Mail.app in Panther fixes it…

    Also, I figure after trying it for a few months, SpamArrest might send me a promo to lure me back. If that’s the case I’ll know I’ve done due diligence to try another option and I’ll have possibly saved a few bucks in the mean time.Actually, I have one other minor complaint about SpamArrest, the interface could be faster. There’s something about the web interface that slows things down. I notice when I travel, it’s unbearably slow and I’m not sure why. But it’s a huge minus when I travel…

    I do get some referral dollar$ from SpamArrest (maybe $8.75 a year?), so I figure if I’m sending clients to them, so are others (therefore, they’re likely growing).

    Written By: Gary on April 6, 2007 No Comment

    So PC World has a story on the Best 50 Tech products. Considering a few of the items in the list, I think few things are missing: Skype, one of the early pieces of ZIP/StuffIt software, maybe a Palm (or even Windows) cell phone, a TRS-80, the Sony WalkMan set standards for portable (choose your own) music players and I’m sure I’ll think of a few more later. Half of the software “tools” seem to be things to fix parts/utilities missing from the Windows OS. And there isn’t any software for creating web pages / FTPing files (from the era of Netscape and Eudora) or blocking spam. Should flickr or Google be considered a product? Amazon or eBay? Okay, so I’m getting ahead of myself, lets show the list.

    Of the 50 I’ve bolded items owned/used (some were free or work owned for my use) and added comments to many items (even ones I don’t use):

    1. Netscape Navigator (1994) – Netscape and NCSA made the Internet (and Eudora), thanks!
    2. Apple II (1977) – I never owned one until years later when I got a deal on one.
    3. TiVo HDR110 (1999) – Early adoptor and I’ve added many converts
    4. Napster (1999)
    5. Lotus 1-2-3 for DOS (1983) – More of a VisaCalc/Excell user but they’re all great.
    6. Apple iPod (2001) – I waited for a color one with a big hard drive and spent the early adopter prices for it (now better ones are 1/2 the price).
    7. Hayes Smartmodem (1981) – I can’t be sure I actually had a Hayes, but I had one of the first generics if I didn’t (I’ve had so many modems, I can’t recall). Hayes changed computer communications IMHO.
    8. Motorola StarTAC (1996) – Several of these from several carriers and they were all awesome.
    9. WordPerfect 5.1 (1989) – I used it but I’m not proud, I think it’s awful
    10. Tetris (1985)
    11. Adobe Photoshop 3.0 (1994) – This has almost always been too complicated for any needs I’ve ever had.
    12. IBM ThinkPad 700C (1992)
    13. Atari VCS/2600 (1977) – I always wanted one of these (even years later) but I never had one.
    14. Apple Macintosh Plus (1986) – I was a late apple adaptor but I loved it. I still love Apple and I think I always will…
    15. RIM BlackBerry 857 (2000) – no interest in one of these ever
    16. 3dfx Voodoo3 (1999) – I don’t think I’ve ever had a machine with this card.
    17. Canon Digital Elph S100 (2000)
    18. Palm Pilot 1000 (1996) – I jumped on the palm bandwagon late but now I’m a fan
    19. id Software Doom (1993)
    20. Microsoft Windows 95 (1995) – I’m sure one of my work Machines ran this, I’m not sure if I ever owned a machine with it. I think I jumped from Windows 3.1 back to DOS and then to ME or 98 at home.
    21. Apple iTunes 4 (2003) – THE best/easiest way to shop for music on-line
    22. Nintendo Game Boy (1989)
    23. Iomega Zip Drive (1994) – These folks dominated the market. Everyone I know had one of these drives and then they just faded away…
    24. Spybot Search & Destroy (2000)
    25. Compaq Deskpro 386 (1986) – We sold these and I’ll always remember the customer that pronounced it Comp-A-Que and we had no idea what they were asking for.
    26. CompuServe (1982) – Had an account for a while, this was pre-Internet…
    27. Blizzard World of Warcraft (2004)
    28. Aldus PageMaker (1985) – I have never been a PageMaker fan.
    29. HP LaserJet 4L (1993)
    30. Apple Mac OS X (2001) – It just works! (generally)
    31. Nintendo Entertainment System (1985)
    32. Eudora (1988) – Probably one of the best e-mail clients ever, way way way before it’s time.
    33. Sony Handycam DCR-VX1000 (1995)
    34. Apple Airport Base Station (1999)
    35. Brøderbund The Print Shop (1984) – This was why people never wanted to get rid of their dot matrix printers (the pinfeed paper for banners).
    36. McAfee VirusScan (1990)
    37. Commodore Amiga 1000 (1985) – I always wanted one of these!
    38. ChipSoft TurboTax (1985) – I love tax software, it’s so worth the money
    39. Mirabilis ICQ (1996)
    40. Creative Labs Sound Blaster 16 (1992) – This was the standard for audio cards forever.
    41. Apple HyperCard (1987) – Best software ever! This was the premiere application using hyperlinks and (almost) had plug-ins and supported multimedia. Think linking and interactive pages (cards) of information and graphics all running on your computer (pre-internet)
    42. Epson MX-80 (1980) – These were one of the most durable dot matix printers ever.
    43. Central Point Software PC Tools (1985)
    44. Canon EOS Digital Rebel (2003) – I love this it feels like a real camera in my hands. It works like one too.
    45. Red Hat Linux (1994) – Awesome easy to use/maintain version of a free OS.
    46. Adaptec Easy CD Creator (1996) – I have/use various versions of it, but I’ll always love toast.
    47. PC-Talk (1982)
    48. Sony Mavica MVC-FD5 (1997) – The floppy disk cameras made it easy for everyone to get their photos off the camera. This was always my favorite camera to have schools use.
    49. Microsoft Excel (1985) – Excel is an awesome spreadsheet.
    50. Northgate OmniKey Ultra (1987)

    Here’s a complete list for “printing” but I’m not sure if it’ll link properly (at the bottom of the page are just the items).

    Written By: Gary on April 4, 2007 No Comment

    So they released Google Desktop for Macintosh, they mentioned this at the Google Blog and the Google Mac Blog (did you know they had a Mac Blog?). It’s the main Google application for desktops and since they’re supporting Macs with this, what’s next (they just started offering free virus protection for Windows from Norton)? I will be trying it especially since I’ve disliked the new search (Spotlight) in Mac OS X for a while now. I’ll try it when I get home, I’m on the go and don’t like to install things when I’m on cell phone dial up (EVDO).

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    Written By: Gary on April 1, 2007 4 Comments

    So this is a great idea, some have e-mail (gMail) accounts but don’t have printers. They access at internet cafes, off their cell phone or at work (where it’s not appropriate to print personal mail). But how do you get a hardcopy of your messages? This was a problem the first week or two when my Mom got her computer, she didn’t have any way to print.

    GpaperSolution: gMail paper. You click the “paper archive” button and they’ll mail you copies of the messages. “You can read it, sort it, search it, touch it. Or even move it to the trash—the real trash. (Recycling is encouraged)”. Of course it’s free, it’s from Google but I don’t see how they can afford the postage, they say that “The cost of postage is offset with the help of relevant, targeted, unobtrusive advertisements, which will appear on the back of your Gmail Paper prints”. Here’s the FAQs. Obviously I haven’t seen printouts yet (I wish they had some in the FAQ) but I’ll be ordering a few samples later and I’ll post what they look like (although printing an e-mail, then scanning it back in to post it electronically seems a little absurd).

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    Written By: Gary on January 28, 2007 No Comment

    So search engines are tricky to understand, especially if you want the search engines to find your site and people to find your site via the search engines. One of the things you may want to do is restrict pages that the search engines find, that might seem silly to exclude yourself but I don’t want people inadvertently finding my site.

    Here’s an example, I don’t let* the search engines search my monthly archives. Because on the page of 20-50 unrelated posts the information on that page is pretty much unrelated by the end of the month. In December 2006 the mention of “iPods” on the 3rd, has nothing to do with any of the mentions of “family” or “Christmas” but if some searched for “iPods” & “family” or “iPods” & “Christmas” they may come upon that page and while I want traffic I’m not trying to lure people here under false pretenses. This is why I have categories like “Apple” and “Friends + Family” that will have related posts in one location (and even then it’s still kinda a wide range of articles).

    So far I’ve just told you why you want a ROBOTS.TXT file but I haven’t told you how and I’m not planning on it, because Google just put together on “Controlling how search engines access and index your website with ROBOTS.TXT”. It’s got a lot of links that take you all over the place but there’s lots of good info there.If you’re just getting started don’t get confused with all the “User-Agent:” rules, just use “User-Agent: *” for now and that will apply to all search engines (that’s all I still use although I’m going to start working on getting some of my pages more mobile-ish).

    For another example, I don’t index my Search Results page, this page lists what search words people have used to find my site. Because it those pages were indexed it would just kind of create a self-fulfilling loop of search results.

    While on the other hand I do allow my “Talked About” page to be indexed since it doesn’t seem to give a lot of false positives to the search engines. plus once someone gets there they’ll quickly see that it’s probably not the page they’re looking for. But if they did put in some eclectic words that they see I mention often, they might hang around a bit.

    * Please note that no search engine is obligated to find your rules, but it they want good results, they’ll probably want to follow your suggestions in your ROBOTS.TXT file. People wanting to steal content from your pages (text or images) will still traverse all the links on your site.

    Written By: Gary on October 12, 2006 No Comment

    GooglemapstreoSo they finally released Google Maps for Treo so I can run it on my SPrint Treo 700p. With this application I can pull up Google Maps from an application, not just via the web! This means I can zoom, get directions, see satellite views, get very cool driving directions, find local businesses, see traffic patterns (this is a little hard to decipher) all while dragging the map around with my stylus. Very cool!

    It’s been out for some other handhelds but it never ran on mine. It’s pretty zippy with the Sprint EVDO speed. It’s pretty big, it weighs in at 423k. It seems to do a good job caching the maps, I wonder how it runs on the slower models and slower networks…


    You can down load it directly to your Palm (and other handhelds) from http://www.google.com/gmm

    It’s missing two features:

  • The ability to look an address up from your address book.
  • The ability to add a local business that you find to your address book.
  • It’d be nice if I could look up the longitude and latitude for an address/location. (Just because)

    From the Google Blog.

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    Written By: Gary on August 19, 2006 No Comment

    Whats Your Google PageRank?I know we’ve talked about Google Page Rank before but I saw a new widget on Omni’s page and I thought I’d throw it over here. The nice thing about this one is that it’s supposed to show the main site’s rank even if you have it on a different page (say when it moves to the archives).

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    Written By: Gary on July 2, 2006 No Comment

    So speaking of free products for your computer there is Open Source (this means free) Word Processing, Spreadsheet and Presentation sotware called OpenOffice and it’s no where near as daunting to install as Linux is. OpenOffice is available for Windows and Linux the latest Alpha of the Macintosh version was just released yesterday. The Macintosh version is called NeoOffice 2.0 Alpha 4 (for OS X 10.3 or better) (Alpha means it’s still in testing).


    By default it’s in English but 53 other language packs are available. It’s still an Alpha release (testing) but you can still get version 1.22 (but 1.22 doesn’t work on the Intel Macs). There is an actual version of generic Open Office for Mac but it requires X11 installed (which makes the process way more complicated) and it’s not as seamless IMHO. I’ve used this and recommend it to most of my Mac friends.

    Written By: Gary on June 5, 2006 4 Comments

    We were talking about Google PageRank the other day when we all got together in Chicago so I thought I’m bring it up here. Check Page RankingThis icon shows my rank and should change automagically if/when my rank changes (archived pages do not necessarily rank the same, see below). Today it’s a five, the scale goes up to ten, but it’s a huge jump for a page/site to grow. You can check you PageRank at PRchecker.info. Or include it on your site with the little piece of code that they list on the bottom of their page


    So I can see I have different ranks on my archived pages, as of today:

  • Blog archive ranks 4
  • Web sites ranks 4
  • Individual Archive ranks 0
  • Today ranks 0
  • June 2003 ranks 0 (these usually take a 4-5 months to grow, I think most of my recent month archives rank 3, most older rank 4).
  • Written By: Gary on July 23, 2005 No Comment

    GooglemoonlogoHave you seen the interactive maps of the Earth that Google has done? They recently added a new hybrid feature.

    More importantly: In commemoration of the Moon landing 36 years ago Google has put together some Interactive Maps of The Moon! It goes best horizontally (with minor vertical options) and don’t zoom in too far, you never know what might happen…


    This ties in with their hiring opportunities at their lunar hosting and research center in 2007.

    Found at Population Statistic.

    Written By: Gary on July 1, 2005 4 Comments

    free Yahoo 360 gmailSo I’ve still got accounts to give away. Yahoo 360° and 2GB Gmail accounts. Just leave your e-mail in the comments (be sure to tell me which one you want).

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    Written By: Gary on April 22, 2005 10 Comments

    Yahoo 360-Beta 1-1I finally got a Yahoo 360° invite. Here’s why you care, I’ve got invites to give out already. Leave a post in the comments (with your e-mail) and I’ll send you an invite. In case you didn’t know it’s a new on-line community, photo sharing, blog and more. What’s interesting is you can make certain kinds of info available only to friends or friends of friends or everyone.

    Thanks to Bane for getting me an account!

    I also still have gMail accounts to give out…

    Written By: Gary on April 16, 2005 4 Comments

    Yahoo 360-Beta 1-1I’d love just one Yahoo 360° invite, can anyone hook me up?!? I’ve given out over 100 gMail invites (and I have more, just ask), isn’t there anyone who can help me? FYI, gMail is 2GB of free storage now!

    I’m all hooked up now! Thanks Bane!

    Written By: Gary on March 26, 2005 32 Comments

    If you’ve been wanting a Gmail account (1 GB of storage), I’ve got accounts to give out, it’s your last chance to try and get yourname@gmail.com (they’re slowly opening it up to the public). No charge. No cost.

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    Written By: Gary on February 8, 2005 24 Comments

    I know I’ve offered before but I’ve got free gmail accounts (1 GB of storage!) from Google. The must be getting ready to open it up to the public since I now have 10 times the amount of invites I’ve had before. So if you’ve been considering it, leave me a comment so that you can get the name of your choice before they’re all gone…

    UPDATE: Late Feb 2005 – I still have lots of invites…


    They’ve got good spam catching and lots of storage and it’s pretty zippy. They’ve also added POP mail and auto forwarding (but I think it still keeps a copy).

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    Written By: Gary on September 14, 2004 4 Comments

    If anyone needs a garyMail Google gMail account, leave me a comment and I’ll hook you up. I’ve got 65… 4…

    UPDATE: Late Feb 2005 – I have more (lots) invites…

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    Written By: Gary on June 2, 2004 No Comment

    Macintosh specific google search page! With a fancy Google logo. Very nice.

    Speaking of Apple, have you seen Steve Jobs’ web log? And speaking of Google and blogs they have a blog too!

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    Written By: Gary on March 5, 2004 One Comment

    So I found another cool site. it visually maps out how your site is related to others. The site is http://touchgraph.com/TGGoogleBrowser.html

    It links me to _Heather’s Blog, some sites related to things I’ve mentioned (Kalamazoo), some sites that I use their plug-ins and more. You can zoom in and out or limit the links, It’s very interesting.

    UPDATE: Clicking the image takes you to an image I snapped when I wrote this post (when the site had a different address) click here to see sites related to Gary Said as of today; I don’t think it’s as useful as it used to be, at least not for my site…

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