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Written By: Gary on July 10, 2013 No Comment

So Google retired Google Reader on July 1st, I still can’t believe this. They announced it until March but it took me until the last minute to switch, because I really didn’t want to. I did export my data from Google Takeout which you can still do until July 15th, so go get your data! But I’m really glad that I tried Feedly in advance because they didn’t even need my exported data, they just sucked it out of Google Reader and I was ready to go.

feedlylogo.jpgFeedly works an awful lot like Google Reader, it stores my items in categories/folders and they make it really easy to navigate from folder to folder. What is REALLY nice about the folders/categories is you can configure the look and it remembers it for just that folder/category. So if that folder has photo blogs or cartoons, I can configure it to show me the whole thing. If it’s just a news folder, I can show all the headlines. Regardless of how you configure it, it remember it the night time you’re in that category.

Here’s the three reading modes:

Feedly Title Text View
Feedly Title Text View.
You would see more text if you window was wider, but I wanted to show the date.

Feedly Magazine View.
You’d see much more text if your window is wider.

Feedly Cards View
Feedly Cards View.
You’d get three columns of these in full screen and it appears a little larger, I had to shrink it 20% to make it fit my column width.

They actually have a full feed mode (which I wasn’t going to put above), which is how I used it in Google Reader, but I like these other modes much better!

Plus, it’s super fast. I think it’s great. I don’t like that it always starts in the “All” folder, I’d rather it start in my first folder with unread items. The only other suggestion is that if I’m in a folder with a hundred items and I’ve only read halfway down, I’d like a way to mark everything from there and up as read.

It integrates with multiple apps (and they have their own Feedly Reader). Reeder is my favorite iPhone RSS reader (which is temporarily free, so go get Reeder). They haven’t updated the iPad Reeder yet, but the iPhone app is just as good and works great in 2x more.

So I give it two thumbs up. Regardless of what you want to use, you only have five days to get your data out of Google Reader so go do it!

Written By: Gary on March 13, 2013 One Comment

Seriously, Google is retiring Google Reader? I feel like they’re trying to get into every corner of the internet and they’re giving this up? I thought they had the market on this, maybe I wrong and there is something better. But many many feed readers (clients) support this program and they’re giving it up…

Am I expressing my disbelief enough? I’m not even sure what I’d chose as an alternative. I think bloglines is still around (wasn’t it supposed to go away?) but do they support third party APIs? I need to do it on the desktop via the web (and/or a client) and I need to also be able to do it on my iPhone and iPad while keeping all the feeds synced so that I’m not rereading them.


I gotta tell you, personally, I think this is going to affect me more than if I heard that gmail would be shut down. I can get and set up and support other e-mail accounts, there are standards there, I don’t think there are standards for syncing feeds and unread feed data, is there? It’s not the only service Google is shutting down.

That said: I’m clearly looking for suggestions for a feed reader that I can use on the web and have client software (apps) on my iDevices that will keep them all in sync. To be clear, I need the feeds themselves to sync but then items I read need to be marked as read on all devices. And I’ve got to figure it out before July 1, 2013!

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Written By: Gary on December 22, 2012 No Comment

Flickr will extend your Flickr pro account for 3 months for free but I’m not sure how long the offer will last (it’s a “holiday” offer). flickr-present.png

The way I read it, I think it will give you a pro account for free, but as my account was already pro, I can’t really try it out.

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Written By: Gary on June 8, 2012 No Comment

I’ve gotten more spam and phishing messages in the last 24 hours than in a really really long time. In case you don’t know the specifics:

  • Spam – is junk mail. Porn, dating and penis enlargements are in some of the common ones.
  • Phishing is “fishing”, they’re just throwing a line out there to see what they catch. THey send something list looks like it’s from a bank or credit card (“there is a problem with your account”) or from YouTube (“you h ave a new video in your favors” or “your video has been denied”) and then they redirect you to a site that looks like that site and hope you type in your password!
  • spamfish.jpeg

    I got one from FourSquare today, “Peter has sent you a message” and as I was thinking, “I didn’t know I could get messages on FourSquare”, I clicked on it. I could see it was bogus before it even loaded from the site it was taking me to. It was a messy address (http://sfjisdkf.ru or something crazy like that, sometimes they tray to trick with something like http://YouTubeMessages.FakeSite.com/ ) but it looks like a FourSquare address before I clicked it. This is a type of Social Engineering, they don’t hack into your computer they just trick you into giving them the password (it’s like the guy hanging out in front of a restaurant acting like he’s valet parking, he doesn’t even need to say anything, you just hand him the keys and walk away).

    The downside of me clicking on the link is that sometimes they put trackers in them, so they might now now that the guy at my address does actually click sometimes, and then target me for me.

    So I was just sharing some warning since I know I’ve seen more the last day, so you be careful out there…

    Written By: Gary on May 9, 2012 No Comment

    Selling on-line through eBay is easy and (at the same time) challenging. It’s slightly addicting and euphoric when people bid and you make a sale. I was at a comic convention and some stuff I had I couldn’t sell (my target audience is right there) no matter how low I made the price, but on eBay I’ve sold more than a few for more that the same price at the convention. Setting it on a table with a sticker is way easier than photographing it a posting it on-line and then wrapping it and shipping it (and collectables are harder to wrap).

    eBay For Dummies (For Dummies (Computers)) Marsha CollierI sold some used 5 Finger shoes for close to what I paid for them (originally on sale), they were in great shape (almost new) but I just didn’t like the way they felt compared to my four other pairs; I sold a well worn pair too, much more than I thought I’d get for them. Stuff I think should sell high, sells low (or not at all), stuff I think won’t sell get snatched up in ten minutes some times (wished I’d made that buy it now price higher). If possible I post extra pictures (if free) and tell why I’m selling it.

    If you’ve never shopped on eBay, go buy something, anything; get a spare charging cable for your iDevice or cell phone. Then come back here. Why? Because you need to understand the buyers end of the transaction. Plus, to buy something you need an eBay account and a PayPal account and if you have those set up then I don’t need to explain that part…

    It’s easy to sell:

    1. Take a picture, make the item take up most of the photo (or crop it if you know how). Some items let you post more than one picture for free (generally collectables?).
    2. Write a single line title (mot categories charge you for more than one line).
    3. Pick a starting price. Most people say start at a penny, and I understand the logic (more bids makes an object look more desirable) but if it’s an odd item and no one is looking for it…
    4. Pick a buy it now price. If they don’t want to bid they can buy it now for this price (FYI, you pay a slightly higher price if they chose buy it now).
    5. How long is the auction for? Pick 7 days (10 usually costs more).
    6. Write a short description. I say make it a bigger font and center it and use a few colors. Presentation is everything!
    7. Pick a price for shipping, for your first few: if it’s heavy (up to 6 pounds put $8-$10), if it’s light (less than a pound) put $4-6; you’re learning if you lose a few dollars on the first few, not a big deal, right?
    8. Pick where you’ll ship to. This is important, who knows what shipping costs to Timbuktu (yes, it’s a real place), narrow it to the continental 48 states for the few few.
    9. Make sure your additional charges are $0.00 then submit it (then submit again not he next page).
    10. Wait.

    It seems like until someone bids on it you can revise it. Sometimes (maybe if people are “watching” it) you can’t revise the title. Even if someone bids on it, you can revise it, but it appears appended at the end of your description.

    An eBay item end time is set the instant you publish it (for the number of days you select). If it’s an auction, don’t end it at 3 AM, a lot of the bidding happens in the end few hours. I try to end my auctions during the work days (3 or 4 PM Eastern) or in the evenings on the weekend (Sunday evening seems to be a big time) or even on a week night (I seem to sell a lot of buy it now items on weeknights). But I like to make the ending time be when a good portion of the country is at home or still at work, not during that travel time. For 10 cents you can delay the publish time to be a time of your choosing (I use this occasionally, it’s 2 am and I’m ambitious, I’ll post these to not go up until the afternoon of the next day.

    eBay 101: Selling on eBay For Part-time or Full-time Income Steve WeberIf after a few days no one is bidding, consider lowering the start bidding price and the buy it now price. Or look around and see what other people selling are charging or what they’re saying in the description.

    What does it cost to sell on eBay? If it’s an auction, it’s 9%. If it’s a fixed price (or buy it now?) it depends on the category, they take 7%-13%. eBay motors is probably different, but you’re not going to sell a car as your first item are you? You also get charged around 3% for the credit card transaction via PayPal. So 10%-16%. If you sell more than 50 items in a month, there might be some small fees just to list an item with buy it now, but you haven’t sold anything yet, so don’t worry about that.

    Every so often they have (1-3 day) specials for listing fixed price for free or adding buy it now to auctions for free. It seems like it’s towards the end of the month, but not always.

    And I think there is a limit of 100 items per month to sell (or $5000) but what you do to expand that, I’m not sure. I haven’t had that “problem” yet.

    Books, DVDs and CDs are a whole different animal, I’ve sold a few, but it’s barely worth it. There are a million people selling these exact items and there really isn’t much of a difference between them. I think the people who are making money on these have thousands of items for sale and make their money by quantity. I’ve made more money on a used pair of $50 shoes than on a half-dozen new (still shrink wrapped) DVDs. I’m not saying don’t try it, I’m just saying don’t make it your first item.

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    Written By: Gary on May 9, 2012 No Comment

    I love learning. I also like talking (sharing) about things that (I hope) other people are interested in. Today xkcd talks about how many people each day learn something that everybody knows.

    Ten Thousand

    At their site, if you hover your mouse over the comic you always get an extra thought/punchline/jab. Today’s extra was “Saying 'what kind of an idiot doesn't know about the Yellowstone supervolcano' is so much more boring than telling someone about the Yellowstone supervolcano for the first time.”

    xkcd is an excellent comic that talks about life, love, tech, math, science and more. Sometimes it’s just a few frames, sometimes it’s dozens. Sometimes it’s really tall and you have to scroll and once in a while it’s got a little bit of color in it. Sometimes it’s funny and sometimes it’s serious.

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    Written By: Gary on March 15, 2012 No Comment

    I don’t like sitting at the computer all the time, so why do I do it? Because that’s where all the information is at! With KindleFeeder.com I get my information sent wirelessly to my Kindle (I have the Kindle Keyboard 3G) automatically twice a day and I can read it anywhere! It’s in a magazine format that makes it really easy to navigate around. It looks pretty good on the iPhone and iPad Kindle readers too, not exactly the same format but still very easy to navigate.

    So I’ve got 38 FULL feeds that I removed from my Google Reader: kindlefeeder.gifNYT, BBC, Economist categories I like (science, tech, most e-mailed), a few other (long post) blogs, some finance (Get Rich Slowly and The Simple Dollar), and a few learning Spanish sites (that I’ve never read before). Then I added a dozen feeds that were popular at KindleFeeder. I took those feeds were on my Google Reader and I put them in a KindleFeeder category, so I’ll know that I don’t really need to look in there for those articles (unless looking for something particular) and eventually I deleted them. These are my longest, most interesting blog sites (that aren’t very colorful) that I can read on the go, very comfortably, even in the sun.

    Bottom line: I think KindleFeeder.com is well worth the $20 a year! Convenience and time is everything. So try it out!

    You can generate some sample issues (10 feeds with up to 512 MB of images) without paying anything to try it out (but you need to try it for a few days in a row, it’s a little overwhelming the first time you run it on a few sites since you get everything).

    Kindle Keyboard 3G, Free 3G + Wi-Fi, 6Warning! The downside is that it doesn’t work easily on the newer (late 2011) B&W Kindles unless you transfer the files via USB (super inconvenient, IMHO). You can read the articles fine, but it’s not in the easy to use navigation.

    Geeky stuff you really don’t need to know: I was worried about the number of images (4 MB max per delivery), but the first time you add a feed it adds all the past articles, once you’re past that (issue) I think it’ll be okay; some feeds only update a few times a week, but they’ve still got a history. Two feeds each had a history of 20 items were both each over 3.5 megabytes, so they looked bad the first time, with twice daily deliveries it’s rare I miss an image; I put the few sites that I don’t care about images last, so if any turn up missing, it’s those.

    It has a clips feature that will let me easily mark something on the web (via the Kindle) to save it and thenI can delete that “issue” from my Kindle, so that’s good (but I don’t know if I can “un-clip” them later). From the Kindle (if you’re a paying subscriber) you can even request the delivery of another issue at any time (and if you have a 3G model, you can pull it down free over the 3G network).

    Written By: Gary on January 3, 2012 No Comment

    I’ve got too much stuff. So I’m cleaning, trashing and selling 500 pounds of “stuff”. I hope to do this in a month, but we’ll see how that goes.

    I’m also reading (as one of many changes) in an attempt to keep my place cleaner neater.

    I’m starting with books. I’ve got a lot of them, I’m listing a few on half.com (eBay’s sister site) and I’ll see what I can get for some old ones and some newer ones. For the old ones, I’ll have to see if it’s worth the effort to actually sell something for a dollar or two (plus shipping). I think if I can do a dozen books, CDs or DVDs, I’ll be able to get a better feel on selling these smaller things. I might just be better off donating them to Goodwill or the Salvation Army (but I’ve got no clue what to estimate the value at) which would be minimal effort to do compared to labeling and shipping items out.

    Also, Amazon has a buyback program which gives you gift card credit (click the book above and you’ll see an image similar to the left). That might be significantly easier for newer items (but I have less of those to get rid of), but I’ll try that too (maybe).

    I guess I should actually put some in the Amazon used section too…

    Written By: Gary on August 1, 2011 No Comment

    So I’m going to try this, one photo a day for every day. It’s not to late to start! Well, it is too late, but you can still post your photos!


    31 Photos in 31 Days has begun for August 2011, so don’t forget to take 1 photo today, post it up on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, blog or anywhere else you share your photos, and then post your link by clicking the ‘Click here to enter’ (on their page).

    I was trying to come up with a theme, but I couldn’t come up with something. So I’ll do a photo each day and talk about it and theirfore I’ll be getting some blog posts done at the same time!!

    This my newest pair of Vibram Five-Fingers Shoes

    So I got a new pair of Vibram Five Fingered Shoes, I got the ones like my first pair of Vibram Shoes called “Sprint”. I was googling all over trying to find a good price but I know there are a bunch of fakes out there. What I ended up getting was a pair from someone on eBay who had the wrong size. They look brand new, the soles felt a little thicker than my current pair (but my old pair is definitely broken in) but when looking up information on fake Vibram’s everything seems to pass. The color is off a little, just check out my big toe! But otherwise everything seems to be okay.

    Except, my tan line at the top of my foot doesn’t line up at all. I’ve got a similar casual pair that is like the Sprint (but without the strap and it’s not made out of the same waterproof material) and the tan line doesn’t stand out like this. Anyone out there have a few different pairs of Vibram Sprints that don’t line up the same?

    So until they really break in, I’m really not sure if I’ll purchase them again like this.

    Written By: Gary on July 29, 2011 No Comment

    I started reading FreakAngels a few months ago, I thought Neil Gaiman mentioned it somewhere (but at this point I can’t find the reference), and if Neil mentions it, I’ve at least got to take a look at it. It’s a good series, it’s from the UK and feels like it. Lots of pages with just artwork, no people and no dialog, and it’s not just that the artwork is great (it is great!) but the pictures tell a story to. It makes me want more, so I’m always left wanting. Freakangels, Vol. 1 Warren Ellis

    The whole series, all five volumes (so far) is on line, they release about six pages a week on Friday (about every 3 or 4 weeks it seems like they skip a week) and you can read the whole series from the beginning on-line. I found it a when I was home sick for a few days in a row and read most of it. Just make sure you read Freak Angels from the beginning, if you just go to the main site http://www.freakangels.com/ you start with this weeks’s story.

    It’s the story of a bunch of kids, born at the same time on the same day and they’re “connected” but it’s more of a (present day?) post-apocalyptical society where they are trying to make things better; they have abilities / powers to help, but that’s not the only ways they help (they’ve takes a group of regular people to take care of and defend). It’s more complicated than that, but I don’t want to give anything away (there are a few flashbacks and I don’t want to speak out of order).

    Sidebar: Reading this series made me think the UK series Misfits, they’re very different story-lines, but the buildings and the accents made me go back and watch both seasons of that series again (they only do six episodes a season).

    Freakangels Volume 1 Hardcover Warren Ellis, Paul DuffieldBut I’ve liked the series and sometimes Friday mornings it’s the first thing that I do, see this week’s episode, I’m pretty bummed when it turns out to be a skip week.

    They’re winding the last story down, I’m not sure if there is only a week left or only a week left in this volume (I’m going to guess former). I have so many books, I wish there was a universal way of buying these digitally that would always be forward compatible. I think I’ll buy one of the shirts (I just never wear t-shits very often, but it’s the same ones some of the characters wear) or just see if there is a donate button.

    I did order a graphic novel that one of the artists colorists did called “Fish and Chocolate” by Kate Brown, I’m enjoying that story so far; I’m savoring it slowly since it was pretty pricey shipped from the UK and was self-published.

    So it’s an interesting story, but it’s post-disaster, it’s not a happy-go-lucky story, but there is a nice moment or two. The characters are interesting, but sometimes I got them confused with each other. Otherwise, it’s one of the better graphic novels I’ve read in a long time.

    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.


    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 November 5, 2010 No Comment

    So I guess I shouldn’t complain about life too much. Things could certainly be worse.


    Although, that’s not really true, one of the things I learned from volunteering at the shelter (and/or the crisis hotline) is that if you’ve got problems, it doesn’t matter if someone else has it worse, they’re still your problems (and you’ve got to work them out). Although, sometimes, diagrams like the above sometimes help to put them into perspective…Indexed Jessica Hagy

    Jessica Nagy does these great diagrams on index cards on a great site called “Indexed” and she’s got a book or two (or three) out with similar types of content.

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    Written By: Gary on July 10, 2010 One Comment

    I like using a NewsReader on my iPhone (or iPod Touch) and one of my favorites is Doppler. It’s easy to use and it synchronizes with Google Reader so it makes off-line reading easy to do. So this means that when you read an article it marks it as read on Google so you don’t end up reading it again.

    doppler.175x175-75.jpgIt caches all your RSS feeds for off-line reading so it’s pretty fast when you’re going through the news since it cached it in advance; but this means you do click to click on the link a minute before you’re ready to read since it doesn’t download in the background. I usually tap it before I leave the house since it’s faster on the WiFi, even if I don’t read it soon, it’s cached most of the recent articles so that when I do sync over 3G it’s already got most of the new news…

    TIP: When configuring to sync with Google it lists all your individual feeds at the top of the list, but if you scroll to the bottom of the list you can choose your “folders” as defined in Google Ready

    I’m mentioning this software today because it’s free for download until July 20th, 2010. It’s worth the money, but free is better, isn’t it?

    Written By: Gary on May 5, 2010 No Comment

    I remember how excited I was when I managed to get an invite for the service. Back then we actually called it Google gmail (or was it just Google mail?).


    Looks like I gave away about over a hundred invites back when they were “closed” for accounts (maybe more if I deleted some, but if I did, I don’t know why all the others would still be in my sent box). Towards the end, they pretty much had unlimited invites but you still had to know someone to have them send you one.

    Little did we know we’d have all the Google applications that now come along with it.

    It’s the number one e-mail that I recommend to anyone these days, even though it may not be the address I always use as my return address, it’s generally where the mail gets forwarded to.

    PS – I always tell people to not use the e-mail your internet provider (cable or DSL company) gives you for free, you’ll lose that when you want to switch providers. If you use that address for important things you won’t want to switch since you’ll lose that address. That’s why some people are still hanging onto AOL addresses after all these years…

    Written By: Gary on October 12, 2009 One Comment

    One of the best parts of How I Met Your Mother is when they mention a web site in the show, such as
    It was the best night ever dot com“, they’ve actually gone and got the site ItWasTheBestNightEver.com

    How I Met Your Mother: Season Four Michael Shea, Pamela Fryman, Rob GreenbergAnd the site actually has some photos and a video of Marshall singing the song with Nuno Bettencourt.

    It’s just one of those silly things that I enjoy when TV shows go the extra mile.

    (Although, I thought the episode was a little slow otherwise)

    Written By: Gary on October 9, 2009 3 Comments

    Are you friends with your coworkers on Facebook? Have you found this to be beneficial (fun) or detrimental (annoying)? From Friday Question #83 at ilaxSTUDIO.

    I think that generally when someone at work has friended me on social networks that I have accepted. I don’t really blog/complain about work, so this isn’t too much of a problem for me; I try not to put things that future employers would find unappealing; it’s not perfect, but I think the acceptable stuff vs. (what might be) unacceptable is so overwhelming, it’d be irrelevant. Those co-workers have chosen to be a part of my social network and need to behave properly; if they reveal something of me, they’ve probably put more inappropriate stuff on-line. And keep in mind, on-line I stay pretty mellow.

    facebook-dummies-51Xc1yYSzDL._SL160_.jpgIn the end it hasn’t been beneficial or a problem. I guess if I do something cool or fun they might share it with someone else, but since I don’t post too much stuff I would care about, it’s not really detrimental.

    When I travel I’ll post blog posts but things on-line for coworkers to see. But I’ll post it separate from my blog. For example, while for my trip I sent this link to co-workers for my Costa Rica 2007 trip, it’s virtually the same as my blog category of the same name. The co-worker link doesn’t include links back to my blog or (sadly) allow comments (couldn’t get it to work without the rest of the blog). The stories are all the same, but if I would have has something no so work safe, partying at a bar or pictures of a something like a bikini contest (but you get the idea), I’d not have added them to the “work category” and you’d only have seen them if you went to the main blog and not on the page for co-workers. Actually, I don’t really post it separate (it just shows up separate), the blog software does it for me; I haven’t figured this special category out for WordPress yet, not sure how to generate a category page without all the other junk, in MovableType I knew how (any tips?).

    I know co-workers have found my blog, but it’s not what I gave them as an address, so it’s not what I shared with them, it’s what they found on their own. Since they found it and I didn’t invite them, it’s more like them running into them at the bar or on vacation or something.

    I’m rethinking what get’s reposted to my Facebook page automatically though. I think I have a few co-workers and a few college students that I’ve taught. But the Facebook page and my blog intermingles so much, it’s hard to separate it…

    Written By: Gary on September 25, 2009 2 Comments

    Playing around with the new MMS on your iPhone? You can use text4free.net to send yourself a MMS text to test it out. Actually, it’s not just for texting to yourself, it will let you send texts around the world for free!

    textforfree.net.jpgIt’ll send a picture or audio file. I sent a few, some went quick, some took a few minutes. It says it’ll send video too, but I haven’t tried video yet.

    There is a maximum file size of 1 MB and allowed file types are .jpg, .png, .jpeg, .wbmp, .mid, .midi, .mp3, .mp4, .wav, .wma, .3gp, .mp4

    This will work with phones other than an iPhone, I just brought up the IPhone since MMS got turned on for all the US AT&T users today.

    Written By: Gary on September 21, 2009 No Comment

    The OpenInternet.gov site is kind of boring so far, but the here’s the intro video (the first 60 seconds of the below intro probably says all you need).

    Here’s the direct link.

    The speech given this morning is different (video not available yet) and has some actual content and the speech is pretty good, so be sure to read it, it’s an interesting mini-history of the Internet. They talk of their six principals of transparency but they don’t mention Net Neutrality.

    openinternet.gov.pngI think some people think OpenInternet.gov opening as the governments response to support Net Neutrality. Search Google for Net Neutrality OpenInternet.gov or Net Neutrality (at least results as of this moment) and it’s practically treating the OpenInternet.gov and Net Neutrality as the same thing.

    The point that I’m bringing up is that they specifically don’t say the phrase on the site. And not in the speech, if anything they seem to be avoiding the phrase “Net Neutrality”. As a matter of fact they I can only find the word “neutral” once, in the last line of this mornings speech:

    Our work now is to preserve the brilliance of what they contributed to our country and the world. It’s to make sure that, in the 21st century, the garage, the basement, and the dorm room remain places where innovators can not only dream but bring their dreams to life. And no one should be neutral about that.

    I even had Google search OpenInternet.gov for “neutral” and it only found the same phrase (no hits for “net neutrality”).

    I’m not saying they’re not going to support Net Neutrality concepts, I just think it’s interesting they went out of their way not to say Net Neutrality or even to say that they’re support concepts of it. And that so many places are reporting the phrase Net Neutrality in the headlines in regards to the this site and speech.

    I’d like to read more, but they don’t have an RSS feed to use. They mislead you with some Twitter, Facebook and RSS icons, but those are just for the FCC site.

    Written By: Gary on August 29, 2009 One Comment

    Wow! Did you realize how much information about yourself (and friends) gets shared when you take a quiz on Facebook?!?

    facebook-dummies-51Xc1yYSzDL._SL160_.jpgDid you realize how much information of yours gets shared when a friend takes a quiz on FaceBook?!?

    The ACLU has a FaceBook quiz that shows you how much quizzes can find out about you. It actually pulls some data (it takes a minute) and then shows you what it can get. Their quiz is only three questions long. At the end they have a link for going into FaceBook and adjusting your privacy settings for quizzes.

    Even if you haven’t taken a Facebook quiz, you probably have a friend who spends all day doing so. But did you know that every quiz your friend takes gives quite a bit of information from your profile?!? I’m assuming the same information is given away to applications that you run?

    PS – While you’re in FaceBook be sure to add me as a friend!

    Tags: [, ]
    Written By: Gary on August 10, 2009 No Comment

    Interesting. Mostly because: I blog, I twitter and I try to keep my FriendFeed up-to-date, but there is so much overlap I never know what to how to separate these things and I’ve really been thinking about it lately.

    FriendFeed accepts Facebook friend request
    We are happy to announce that Facebook has acquired FriendFeed.


    As my mom explained to me, when two companies love each other very much, they form a structured investment vehicle…

    [From FriendFeed Blog: FriendFeed accepts Facebook friend request]

    I’d recently decided that my blog is my real site, my main personal identity on-line. FaceBook was for my non-geeky friends (I look around comments, repost blogs there and I think it grabs my YouTube stuff). My Twitter was for tweets and I’d also auto-magically repost blog posts (including video blogs from Seesmic and 12Seconds. FriendFeed just kind of has everything aggregate there (blogs, photos, YouTube, Amazon favorites, Flickr).

    What I really really don’t like is when have a blog post show up at my blog, Twitter, FriendFeed and FaceBook and I get comments from all four areas that unless someone goes to all four areas you don’t see the comments. I really want the comments at my home, not at some other site; I want my comments in just one location.

    So I’m really more than okay if it goes away, I think. I’ve been auto-posting the last few days my blog posts with images trying to make FriendFeed a little more useful to the people who subscribe. But I’m not sure if I want people there, or if I just want them at my Gary Said… blog.

    Written By: Gary on June 16, 2009 One Comment

    tweetdeckiphone.gifSo in my attempt to start using Twitter more I installed TweetDeck today. Coincidentally, later on today they also released a free iPhone/Touch version of TweetDeck today which will sync with your columns (you need to download the new desktop version for the syncing). Syncs with multiple desktop clients too.

    It seems like a great iPhone/Touch client even on it’s own: Take photos and immediately post to Twitter (via TwitPic etc.), shake to refresh, reorder columns.

    tweetdeck.pngAnd TweetDeck appears to support multiple Twitter accounts (I don’t think that feature was in there earlier today).

    Later: Looks like it only syncs columns you create after installing the new version. At least that’s the only way I can get it to work. And I manually had to sync, it doesn’t seem to be persistent, but I’m not changing my columns that often so no problem for me. (I relaunched to test but still no joy, maybe I just need to wait?)Not getting any syncing between my “columns”. I think I’m doing something wrong(?).

    Even Later: So the iPhone version is syncing when it loads today (it was not doing this yesterday); it actually asks before adding a column. But the desktop version (for Mac) isn’t asking me to do this.

    Written By: Gary on June 15, 2009 2 Comments

    feed-icon.pngDoes anyone really care if their feed is RSS 2.0 or RSS 0.92 or Atom 0.3?

    I’m assuming most people’s concern is full feed or partial feed? (I like full feeds with images).

    I’m also assuming most feed readers handle all types these days?

    My experience is most Atom feeds are full feeds, does anyone use partial feeds with atom?

    Just looking for some opinions. Deep feedback / technical feedback is optional :)

    Tags: [, , ]
    Written By: Gary on June 12, 2009 No Comment

    Starting tonight (at 9PM Pacific) you can reserve your own Facebook vanity id. This means (hopefully) I’ll be “http://facebook.com/GaryLaPointe ” instead of “http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=736138968“.

    You should be able to just go to http://www.facebook.com/username/ to get your name.

    As always, you’re welcome to add me as a friend…

    SUCCESS! I did manage to get my name (as above). It’s not case sensitive but I like the caps capitalized. And there is no trailing slash (“/”), it causes an error.

    Written By: Gary on June 10, 2009 One Comment

    So I’ve got a new theme. I figure I have to mention it because if you just read the RSS feed, you’ll never see it.

    themejune2009.pngIt’s pretty much the Simple Indy theme by India Fascinates. It really reminds me of a few other themes out there, but it handles my long categories, works well on Mac, was easy to modify, it’s zippy and it works really well.

    I’ve modified it a bit here and there to fit my needs but it’s pretty close to the original code. I like titles on all my archive pages and added my header image. I also changed the way it marked posts with the tags and categories. I also like full posts, if it’s the main page, archive or search results. And I like error messages to come with a search box. So other than that a few other minor changes it’s 99% the original theme. I still need to integrate my old logo into it…

    If you see any problems, please let me know.

    The photo will probably be changed soon, but it was one of the first ones I tried that fit okay. Currently it’s a view of the Pacific from Quepos, Costa Rica. I think maybe December of 2006 (New Years Eve,I think). If it’s not a picture of the coast with two tree trunks (like the thumbnail), then I changed it to something else ;)

    I liked my old theme but it just loaded too slow and it had been bugging me for a while.

    Written By: Gary on June 7, 2009 3 Comments

    twitter.pngTwitter is neat but I’ve never gotten into to it enough. I just don’t have the time to watch it 24/7, or even close (not like some people), to get the full benefit. I do have a few things I really don’t like that cross my mind every time I use it.

    1) Twitter used to have the ability to send you a text message based on keywords and at some point that went away. I can understand that some people abused that. But I just want it to alert me when someone tweets a “@GaryLaPointe” so I don’t miss some feedback on something I said. Seems like it’d been simple to have kept that as a simple feature.

    If someone knows if that’s back or a different site I can use, it’d be great.

    2) When I view someone’s profile, it says if I’m following them but it doesn’t say if they are following me. Since I can’t DM (Direct Message) someone unless they are following me, it’s kind of important. It really seems like that should be easier to check. The same goes for the my followers page and the who I’m following pages.

    I think if I could do these two things, it’d motivate me to tweet a little more…

    Written By: Gary on May 12, 2009 One Comment

    I got way overwhelmed with my RSS feeds, I’ve got gobs of them (almost 300). Many of those feeds don’t get updated more that once a month (if ever) so they really don’t impact the list, but a dozen or so update 2-4 times a day. Plus, I recently added everyone coming to WordCamp Chicago (list of attendees) another 100 or so feeds; I’ll prune that down later.

    I’ve been over a 1000+ unread items for ages and even when it gets back to 700-800 it just jumps back up! Lately , no matter what I do, I can’t even get it under 1000, so I cleared out all my posts. And started over…

    THey really need a way to click a button to ‘mark all posts older than __ days as read’ and that would help with when it gets full.

    Hopefully I’ll do better catching up in the future.

    I’ve got the feeds syncing with my iPod Touch (but if I’m not of WiFi there are no images, which makes some feeds useless) so maybe that will help. I use Doppler (you can try Doppler Lite for free).

    I’m really looking for an off-line Google Reader the includes the images for off-line viewing, any tips? Other than storage space, once you’ve written the reader the image caching doesn’t seem too hard, but it still eludes me….

    Written By: Gary on March 16, 2009 4 Comments

    pennyblossoms.pngUnlike when they mentioned WalletNook.com, tonight on The Big Bang Theory they did create a site for PennyBlossoms.com.

    “Every Penny Blossom is unique and special – just like you”

    But they don’t actually have a product to purchase. They really need to work on this a little more, they could be promoting something else or selling something…

    The Big Bang Theory - The Complete First Season Warner Home VideoMaybe the season two DVDs should come with a few free “Penny Blossom” flowers in the box!






    Written By: Gary on February 23, 2009 No Comment

    When did we get a Simple Wikipedia project. It says it “Use(s) easy words and shorter sentences. This lets people who know little English read them.”

    Here’s a sample of the first paragraph from the regular Wikipedia on the word Sniper.

    A sniper is usually a highly trained marksman that shoots targets from concealed positions or distances exceeding the capabilities of regular personnel. Snipers typically have specialized training and distinct high-precision rifles. In addition to marksmanship, military snipers are also trained in camouflage, field craft, infiltration, reconnaissance and observation techniques.

    Here’s a sample of the first paragraph from the Simple Wikipedia on the word Sniper.

    A sniper is a soldier in an army. They are given special training with sniper rifles. Snipers are able to shoot at targets very far away, or that are very small, and hit them accurately using a sniper scope. They are also specially trained to be stealthy and hard for the enemy to see when they are hiding, by using camouflage.

    It’s interesting. I’ll be checking it out when I look up extra-geeky science stuff, but I just can’t believe I haven’t heard a peep about it.

    I only found out about it when I saw this cartoon (and I almost thought it was a joke).


    (I chose the word sniper since it was on the simple wikipedia main page as a selected article.)

    Written By: Gary on February 2, 2009 No Comment

    Another great venn diagram from indexed.

    Indexed Jessica Hagy
    And be sure to check out Jessica’s Indexed Book.



    Tags: [, ]
    Written By: Gary on January 26, 2009 One Comment

    mcrib-locator.pngSo I’m heading up north and thought I’d check the McRib Locater Map to make sure I didn’t miss an opportunity. I haven’t had one in years.

    But as you can see by the map (click it a live map) that Michigan is completely bare. Please note that these points are put in by people, not McDonald’s so don’t be disappointed if there isn’t actually a McRib there…

    Written By: Gary on January 23, 2009 No Comment

    Give Website Grader a try. It looks at a bunch of things for your site (mostly from a search engine standpoint). You only have to give it your website and e-mail (and you don’t even need to give them your real e-mail).

    websitegrader97.pngIt makes a few recommendations base on the length of your meta-tags and a variety of other things. It’s not perfect. I’ve noticed some case sensitivity in terms of 301 redirects and I had some issue in the past with it noticing my WordPress feed but as I retest it today that seems to be fine now. They also give you a variety of page ranks and inbound links. And mention if you’re in the major search engines.

    It’s nice and easy to use. And one time it did find out something important for me, I had accidentally deleted something and it pointed it out. You have nothing to lose…

    Written By: Gary on January 23, 2009 No Comment

    So I just found a new video podcast called TMI Weekly, three women (life, tech, style) just doing a talk show type show. I watched about 5 episodes and I thought they were entertaining and informational. I actually found this because I saw it in the TiVo somewhere and all I had to do was click and I was subscribed on my TiVo.

    I’m mentioning two non-similar episodes, both embedded below. One is the CES episode which held my interest and even the non-tech women seemed to have a blast.

    Visit their site for the CES 2009 episode.

    The other episode was dealing with drinking (eating?) a lot of juices. Way more than I think I could handle. But they made it sound appealing.

    Visit their site for the Got Juice? episode.

    I’ll check them out for a few more episodes. Or maybe dig through their past episodes. Their show is everywhere: iTunes, YouTube, MySpace, Twitter, etc…

    On one episode they were wearing NonSociety T-shirts and when I went to that link the site (click on their personal blogs) it looked familiar, I know I’ve visited there at some time in the past, but I don’t remember when/what. It was before they started doing this show…

    Written By: Gary on January 22, 2009 One Comment

    I used to have a list of blogs that I read on the side of my page. It’s that actual list that I used to use to visit these sites. I did it through blogrolling and it generally marked them in bold when they had fresh data (but lots of sites didn’t seem to update properly). And when I clicked on the link from my site, I probably end up on their referrer list (if they pay attention to those things) so they might check out my site in return.

    Now I’m using Google Reader, which I love! And while I miss going to the actual sites, it’s much easier to catch up and stay caught up (and not miss information). Since moving to WordPress I never moved that blogroll over (it was way out of date) and I was needing something new. So I finally figured out how to get that information out of Google Reader and put it on my site (I’ll tell you how at the end).

    So now I’ve got my Read Roll (it’s not just blogs) on-line. You can see the lists and the categories that I put them in. If you click the “Read more…” it’ll actually let you read the recent posts in that category.

    It’s pretty easy to create this list: when in Google Reader go to Manage Subscriptions (lower left). Put the blogs in the “folder” that you want by selecting Change Folders (on the right side of the screen); you can create folders while you are there. Then click the Folders and Tags tab and share that folder. Then click “add a blogroll to your site” and it’ll give you the JavaScript to add to your site.

    I’ve got five folders: Read Roll (sites I read), On-Line Deals (shopping deal sites), WordPress Info (Sites for WordPress tips), People I’ve Met (this is people I’ve known for years, met because of the Internet or people I’ve met and it turns out they blog) and Non-Shared (sites I don’t share). I only share the first four, the last one is junk you don’t care about like: some results of searches I’m tracking, WordPress tracking of certain help tickets, some Technorati searches, some friend’s kids on-line and some other stuff.

    The People I’ve Met group is way at the bottom. If I’ve met you and you’re not on the list let me know (most people on this list are also on the read roll). I know there are people that I’ve met (because of the internet) that don’t blog any more (or never blogged) and I’m sure there are people I know (in real life) that I don’t even know blog.

    I’m expecting this list to grow after WordCamp Chicago (June 6/7, 2009) will you be on it?!?

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