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Written By: Gary on January 20, 2009 No Comment

So I’ve never been happy with most digital calendars. I’ve used them for years, but never been completely satisfied with them, they’re just always missing a few things. Usually I use what’s on my Palm Pilot, a slightly modified version of their calendar with a week view. Sadly, this is virtually the same datebook they’ve had for years and never had a decent weekly view (handspring had a version for a while) so you have to add a program on to do this. FYI, if you don’t have a Mac or don’t use a calendar this post might get pretty boring (even if you do it’s probably not the most exciting) but if you are on a Mac and use Google Calendar and/or a Palm it might be useful.

jan20ical.pngI don’t like more of the desktop software that I’ve tried. If I find something I really like, generally the one thing that puts me off is the view of the days (either one day or a week) they generally show me a 8 or 12 hour block, this is useless to me when I have something outside that block of time, when I glance a the week view, I can’t see appointments that I have in the evening (and those are probably the fun things!). I have so few things on my calendar, I’m not booked for something different every 15 minutes, it’s easy enough to squish things together. It’s computer software, they should be able to do it.

What I’m currently doing is syncing iCal with Google Calendar. It’s pretty quick and has worked well with all the testing I’ve done today (I’ll tell you how at the end).

calendar_goog.gifGoogle’s calendar shows me about 12 hours so I have to scroll to see if I have anything going on. iCal for the Macintosh gives me a nice 24 hour view, but they could easily compress the 1 am-6am section to something even smaller to give the rest more space (I’ve got nothing going on all week at those times) and even the on-line version does shows you all 24 hours. Another minus is that iCal doesn’t have a way to set a default calendar, I want it to chose the one I’m syncing with Google, I can sort of cheat for that but I see that not sticking all the time, but a option to set a default seems simple enough.

iCal and Google lets you subscribe to other calendars; kind of like a live feed that it’s updating to your calendar. When on-line it generally seems easier to add other items to my Google calendar (like when a site lists their upcoming events). While iCal doesn’t make it easy to copy from one category to another (it’s main category to my Google category specifically).

My end result is getting the Google Calendar synced with iCal and then syncing iCal with my Palm, thus having my appointments everywhere (preferably on the Palm and on the Laptop). And then I can use the desktop application for entering info.

If I just sync in iCal I guess they’d be on the web (in MobileMe), but I’d rather have them in Google Calendar. I can do more with Google while I’m on-line and easily add others events to it and subscribe to other calendars but with iCal I can’t see my subscribed calendars in the MobileMe web interface. I could just always use Google Calendar all the time, but not if I’m off-line, I guess that’s why I need iCal. If I got an iPhone this would be less of an issue, I’d just sync iCal with an iPhone and be done with it. Hmm…

FYI to get Google Calendars to talk to iCal I used Calabortion (from Google). I don’t know if you actually need it (I think you can type everything in by hand) but it’s a tiny application that makes configuring a breeze (just need your Google address and password). It’ll even add your subscriptions (go to preferences) but since it’s read-only it’ll yell at you when you sync.

Written By: Gary on January 9, 2009 No Comment

I’m guest posting over at We Like Money today.

My post is about using your bank’s Christmas accounts not only for the holidays but other large yearly bills too. So go over and read my post and also check out how Tiffanie and Dave have been working to get out of debt for the last six months.

If you’re visiting Gary Said… for the first time then let me say “Welcome to my home on the internet” and please leave a comment today and mention how you got here. And don’t miss the free Suze Orman finance book download that I mentioned yesterday.

Written By: Gary on January 8, 2009 No Comment

So I found this web site for Calling America that lets you make free phone calls to the United States. It seems to be fully supported by advertisements on the screen. You just type in the number and then you get a pop-up asking if it can use your microphone. You also have to wait 10-seconds before it dials (time to read the ads).

Not the best quality, but if you’re over your minutes it’ll work. My most likely use is when I’ve misplaced my cell phone, since it’s my only phone I don’t have a way to call it and have it ring…

I’ve tried a few calls on it so go check it out. You’re limited if you don’t sign up for their free service (numbers of calls and time length).

Written By: Gary on January 6, 2009 No Comment

So YouTube has three different qualities that I see quite often: Normal Quality, High Quality and High Definition (HD). Every video seems to be available in Normal Quality. Also, High Quality appears to generally be the same size as Normal and those can ben standard format (TV shaped) or wide screen formatted. But I think recently (towards the end of 2008?) the normal became wider to suit more widescreen video, as a result you get black bars on the sides for standard video instead of the tops and bottoms for the widescreen.

But the High Def video shows up as standard size video but the HD video shows up huge on the screen (about 864×480). I remember it being large before, but not that large, maybe it takes longer to convert or they approve it or something or did I just never notice before?

For example, this is the same fire dancing video I posted before and I don’t ever remember it being so big on the screen let alone so clear. Be sure to toggle between “Watch in Normal Quality” and “Watch in HD” to see the difference.

Later: Now I’ve read another article on this at and you can see there is a just as large (it might just be that medium size blown up) but lower quality version (but still HD-ish).

Written By: Gary on January 5, 2009 No Comment

I love Indexed! It took me a second to get this one…

indexed-com-card2004-380x230.jpg

Yesterday’s was good too, she drew the graph and had the readers label the data points!

Jessica has a whole book of these called indexed (of course).

Written By: Gary on December 24, 2008 No Comment

So I only thought the Santa Radar Tracker was only semi-interesting. But I brought it up for my cousins kids when I was over there tonight and they went nuts over it (from little kids to a sixth grader). They kept running in to check out where he was in the world. The fact that they give you a countdown to the next update even made it more enticing.

They’ve got photos from various sites around the world and some locations have a video such as this one from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (which includes some very mild educational bullet points in the audio).

THEY PULLED THE VIDEOS (MADE THEM PRIVATE), I’VE REPLACED THE VIDEO WITH A PROMO WITH SEVERAL CLIPS IN IT.

Here’s the direct link to NORAD Tracks Santa – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (and there is a High quality link on that page).

Here’s a little background at the Google Lat Long Blog about the Santa Tracker (and the regular Google Blog).

UPDATE: At 11:11 PM he made it to the United States. I like the video from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Written By: Gary on December 13, 2008 No Comment

So after 5 years of using MovableType, and talking about sticking with things yesterday, I’m planning on switching this blog to WordPress. As I said a few months backWordpress-Logo

I think WordPress is easier to setup and it’s also easier for beginners to do quite advanced things with WP than Movable Type. From the other perspective, I think that doing really super advanced things is easier with Movable Type, while doing ultra-advanced things are probably equal between the two.

I’ve slightly modified that a bit to make it more accurate in what I’ve learned since then. I’m also going to add that

Upgrades appear to be much easier to do in WordPress, they’ve all been pretty painless for me. (I never even liked doing incremental upgrades with MT)

Maybe as I customize things more this won’t be as true but for now it’s been pretty easy. And it’s an educational thing for me too, I’ve really enjoyed learning about it…

So for the next month(?) I’ll be changing and testing things. I’ll be running both in tandem stating soon, I’ll want some posts/archives once the switch is made. I’ll probably switch back and forth a few times as I’m testing so be patient with me as I make changes. The worst tests might be for the people using RSS readers, but I’ll try to keep those disasters minimal. If you see things broken for more than a day it means I didn’t notice, so please e-mail me and let me know.I don’t think I’ll be able to ever import everything the way I want to: keeping all my old permalinks and everything else so that I don’t break a million back-links to my site (and throughout my site). So I think when I do the final cut over everything 2008 and before will stay on MovableType and everything 2009 and after will be on WordPress.

I’ll be documenting this since I’m sure I’ll have to do some interesting things for category archives (I think I’ll fudge the last entry of each category to include the old posts) and searching the archives (this may require two searches, but I’m not sure yet).

If I can’t integrate them very well, I’ll just have a prominent button that says “click here for 2008 and earlier”. And I’ll modify a lot of the old templates to say ‘click here for the new stuff’. I’d just hate to have to do that for all the category stuff.

Any tips on the migration from anyone? Any resources?

Written By: Gary on December 13, 2008 One Comment

I cannot believe how much gas has dropped in the last few months. It’s really insane, but in a good way.

Ch.Gaschart
I got this graph from DetroitGasPrices.com. Looks like they shot back up 10 cents in the last few days, but still. Compared to gas prices from 5 years ago, we’re right around the same area but pretty much since then it’s a much better deal.

I was talking two years ago about “how low” prices had dropped but it almost peaked at a dollar less these past few weeks.

FYI, when I buy my gas I try to check DetroitGasPrices.com (I think it’s an offshoot of GasBuddy.com). I’m not going to drive way out of my way for a few cents, but if I’m driving through an area that’s cheap, I’ll wait until I get to the cheaper place…

Written By: Gary on December 11, 2008 No Comment

oldgarylapointe.com.jpgSo I’ve had some pretty crappy pages up at GaryLaPointe.com and I was just planning on putting up WordPress as a CMS for it. Coincidentally, when I went to download one of the betas of WordPress 2.7, it turns out they had just released the final version of WordPress 2.7 so I used that! So far it’s working really great and I’m really liking the 2.7 admin interface (I really didn’t like the 2.6 interface) I think I originally started with 2.3.x.

Now GaryLaPointe.com looks nice. Although if you frequent this site there probably isn’t much there that you haven’t seen here (maybe some photos or something).

It’s got some great new features. I especially like the clickable installation of plug-ins and widgets (but it really needs a much much better search to find them). It’s supposed to run with GoogleGears, but I’m not really sure what it’s actually supposed to be saving me.

Here’s a video showing off some of the new features. Notice the HD link in the upper right corner for some great quality and try it full screen, you’ll love it.

I’ll be using it more and I hope to discover more features as time goes on (and as I wait for the Second Edition of WordPress for Dummies).FYI, If you’re reading this site there isn’t really anything you’re missing at GaryLaPointe.com, it’s mostly just reruns and stripped down versions of what I post here and on some of the social networks. It’s where I point other people for things about my travels without pointing them to all the other stuff I blog about here; I just feel that’s more professional with co-workers and such…

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Written By: Gary on November 25, 2008 No Comment

So one of the many sites I read is the Costa Rica Blogger. It’s humorous, has great tips and interesting reads. In particular, today I read a post titled Legal Ages in Costa Rica which lets you know the legal age is for drinking alcohol, buying cigarettes, etc. And related to that he talks about the issue of him trying to get his son into see the latest Batman movie.

In general it’s a blog about Costa Rica covering all sorts of useful information and humorous anecdotes. For example recently they’ve talked about pricing for a dental cleaning, trips to the national park, cost of living and more…

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Written By: Gary on November 4, 2008 2 Comments

Results for the election are interesting. They’ve got Michigan listed as won by Obama, but only 20% of the precincts have reported. Now most of those being waited for are smaller precincts but there is less than a 50,000 vote difference. Does that even count all the mailed in absentee votes?

A few years ago (in the early days of the Internet) the first time the Michigan government put detailed election results on-line I was the person who put them on-line so I needed to know what time I needed to be available for the uploads. I’m not going to get into particulars (and I’m sure many have changed now) but if I recall correctly, it was way way after the news shows posted their results and after the newspapers printed the results before real tallies were even started. And (if I recall correctly) two of the bigger counties didn’t even get in their totals until the next afternoon.

And pay attention on sites where you see election results they say things like “Results are based on projections and unofficial returns. Candidates listed in bold indicate projected winner”.

But these early “results” are generally correct so I guess I can’t complain. But you generally don’t call a sports game until it’s over unless it’s a landslide. From what I’ve been watching (and it’s not much) just in the last 90 minutes McCain has gained about 38 electoral votes (with 7 states still voting and 9 states that haven’t been called yet) so it’s still got a ways to go.

But if it goes the way Dori predicted we don’t even need the other states votes we just need all the tallies from the precincts that closed by 9PM EST. Just so you know Dori is a computer person, not a political blogger and generally just blogs life and tech (who does occasionally blog political things). FYI – As of 10:30 PM her chart matches all the states we have tallies for so far.

Written By: Gary on November 1, 2008 One Comment

ImagesI see websites and blog posts picking on McCain (and Palin) and Obama. I see lots supporting Obama. But I don’t see many supporting McCain…

Maybe it’s just the (digital) places that I hang out? Or maybe that just says more about me…

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 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 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.

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    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 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 September 19, 2008 One Comment

    S736138968 1404800 7915
    I uploaded a album of sunsets to FaceBook. These are from my last two trips to Costa Rica. There are a few dozen and I think all of them are labeled where and when they are from.

    If you are a member of FaceBook be sure to add me as a friend while you’re there. Just click on “Gary’s Profile” at the top and then “Add as a Friend”.

    (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 September 5, 2008 No Comment

    Biorhythm-Sept2008So you can see, I’m pretty much at my low peak for things under my control. The problem is most of the things that have gone wrong haven’t been much under my control. As long as things start to get better I don’t care how the chart looks, but I’m really looking forward to working my way up to the 20th!

    I used a desktop widget for my Mac to generate this, I like this one since it shows six cycles. If you’d like you can try an on-line Biorhythm generator but it’s only got 3 of the more traditional lines (I ran mine on-line for fun and the three do match up pretty good).

    Later: I just found this web site that calculates the primary and secondary biorhythms.

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    Written By: Gary on August 17, 2008 No Comment

    The Tico Times is the english weekly paper from Costa Rica. For the last eight months I’ve been subscribing to the paper edition of The Tico Times. I’ve mentioned my Tico Times delivery issues before, it usually takes a while to get to Michigan but it’s much easier to read on paper than on the screen (they also offer a PDF subscription).

    I’ve wanted to see what’s going on in the country when I’m not visiting. I’ve been paying attention to opinion pages, letters to the editor, classifieds and more local ads. Of the five times I’ve been there it’s all been in April or between the end of November and beginning of January (and really only covering half-a-dozen different weeks) so I’ve really only seen a portion of the year while there. So I’ve been paying more attention to the non-tourist type articles; when I’m there traveling I’m generally looking more for what’s going on there at that time.

    Written By: Gary on August 17, 2008 One Comment

    I’m about 17 days from needing to complete my 101 in 1001 list, I haven’t been working on it much so it’s time to revisit and cross a few things off. I’ve only completed 52 of my items. Looks like I’ll complete about 6 more. As resolutions go I’m still above average as I’ll have done more than 18 items a year :)

    So I love my 101 list but some things just didn’t get done. I thought I’d have done better. Things I could have done to ensure I accomplished more:

  • Don’t pick bands to make an effort to go see if they might not actually tour.
  • Don’t pick a location to travel to when your interests might change (instead say “visit a country overseas that you haven’t been to before”)
  • Don’t pick something to go to (like SXSW or Burning Man) that doesn’t ever fit the schedule of the job you have.
  • Some items should really be two or three items.
  • Don’t have too many items dependent on other items.
  • Don’t make them too much work and not fun (I think I created some to just fill the list)
  • Don’t pick so many vacation items, you might want to go somewhere else (especially when you consider I’ve gone to Costa Rica 4 times in the same period).
  • Don’t pick such complicated items (do ______ once a year) that should have been separate items

    If I would avoided the above I probably could have easily accomplished anther 20. Some were just are impossible to do based on the items I picked.

    A few items I’ve just recently finally crossed off (but I might have actually done them months ago)
    Take Mom to England
    Get something for my car to integrate my iPod better
    Move somewhere else local?
    Go one week without using any cash
    Change all exterior bulbs in my car

    I’ve got a few that I did make some progress in the right direction so I’ll credit myself a few points. But I’ve got a bunch that didn’t get touched.

  • Written By: Gary on August 11, 2008 One Comment

    This is kinda cool, I like the map with the Olympic Medal winners marked on it.

    You can click the little tab Picture 10 at the top to just show the map.

    Written By: Gary on July 26, 2008 2 Comments

    So I’m tempted to migrate to WordPress (from Movable Type) I think I’ve got it all figured out on how to even retain my current URLs (as crummy as they are) so that I don’t have a bunch of broken links.

    One of my worries is right now a lot of my pages score pretty good in Google searches, amazingly good sometimes, especially since my site doesn’t rank super high anyways, and I’m afraid of losing that rank. I’m not sure if it’s just that I built my pages well? or maybe my meta tags or if the structure of the page helps? or what? It’s just always done pretty good so I don’t mess with it.

    What will I lose if I convert? What might I gain?The other thought is to leave my Movable Type site alone, delete the index page and use WordPress from now on but have links to the old pages. I’d need to keep the MT software so that comments and search would still work (I’d modify the WP search pages to say “you only searched the new site, click here to search for old stuff”). But I’d still have to maintain updates and such on the old site and check for spam and more….

    Hmmm…. I’m either talking myself out of keeping the old one separate or possibly not migrating at all. I’m not sure which…

    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 July 24, 2008 4 Comments

    Have you seen my news coverage yet?!? I’m so excited!!!

    If the video doesn’t start, click the image once the video finishes loading.

    Or go straight to http://GaryForPresident.com/

    Written By: Gary on July 20, 2008 No Comment

    So I’ve always enjoyed the Waiter Rant but now he’s got a book called Waiter Rant: Thanks for the Tip–Confessions of a Cynical Waiter. Most of the stories are pretty good, but probably a bit embellished. Spend a few minutes at the site if you think you might like it but go back a few week to before he starts talking about the book.

    I think the cover is a little boring, they’re a little more open overseas, here’s a picture of the UK cover of Waiter Rant

    Written By: Gary on April 9, 2008 No Comment

    I thought this word cloud from what I’ve been tweeting was kinda cool. I created it at TweetCloud.com. These whow the most common words I’ve tweeted, bigger means I’ve tweeted more.
    Picture 1-2I’m on vacation right now, and I do miss Twitter a little bit. I want that constant stream of information. I also have been thinking of things to tweet and I can’t.

    I can compose a full blog post when I don’t have ‘net access (and I can even backdate it) but I can’t with twitter. I probably won’t use twitter at all while I’m out of the country. I’m not going to use what little internet access I have on that, we’ll see, maybe I’d find it useful in a different way.

    Written By: Gary on April 6, 2008 One Comment

    twwetstats interfaceSo I’ve been trying to use Twitter more and I found TweetStats to show me how much.

    To give some background: Picture 4TwitterFeed is actually how my blog posts get cross-posted to Twitter so those really don’t count much (started using this Oct 15, 2007). And I just discovered FriendFeed recently. But you can see that tweeting with Twitterific (w/phone and web) I’ve far surpassed that. Significant if you look at the below chart and see most of it’s in the last month. And by looking at my blog post counts (to the left) for the last few months, you can see blogging has declined. But I’ll blame the low blogging on 3 things: Twitter (but I am micro-blogging), busier at work (to tired at night to blog) and being sick this season.

    monthtweetstats

    Thanks to Julia Roy for pointing it out to me (via Twitter).

    Written By: Gary on April 6, 2008 3 Comments

    Argh! I’m annoyed with creating user accounts. Everyone has their own damn process for passwords:

  • all numbers
  • must contain one upper-case character, one number, and be at least 8 characters (but ONLY 1 uppercase letter)
  • no characters other than letters or numbers
  • must be 8 characters

    But no, I can’t use 12 characters with letters, numbers and punctuation because it’s more than 8 or because it doesn’t have a capital letter.

    An the real pain is when you go to log in, they won’t remind you of this “rule”. And I really like it when it says “username” when what they really want is my “e-mail address”.

    My absolute favorite stupid rule is the hint to get your password must be at least 8 characters. Sorry, my hometown, mother’s maiden name, first pet and street aren’t that long! How am I supposed to remember this.

    And all these companies need to have the ability to handle multiple e-mail addresses. It’s such a hassle when I need to change something (for something I signed up for 5 years ago) and I can’t remember their rule and the e-mail address I signed up with doesn’t exist any more.

  • Written By: Gary on March 30, 2008 2 Comments

    Can you suggest some Detroit-area people to follow on Twitter? I’m looking for something that has a local geographic flavor, like Dearborn (or Detroit) Michigan.

    I’m always looking for more people to follow, but today I’m soliciting suggestions for the Detroit area just to get a slightly less global feel for this Twittery goodness/chaos. I’ve got a lot of great people that I follow, but I’d love to see some tweets about local restaurants, bars and music.

    So send me a message @GaryLaPointe with suggestions or tell someone you know to follow me and I’ll find them or just leave a comment. Thanks!

    Written By: Gary on March 28, 2008 2 Comments

    So I’m using some Costa Rica photos to test the new free on-line edition of PhotoShop. It’s very cool, does more than what most desktop packages do, but while limited, I don’t need much more. They give you 2 GB of free storage. It’s got cool slideshows (full-scren if you like) but I’m sure it breaks some browsers…


    Costa Rica Dec 2007

    These photos are from when I was in Costa Rica in December 2007 and left Montezuma and took the ferry from the Lower Nicoya Peninsula (Paquera?) to Puntarenaas.

    Looks like you can even download your photos in their original size. They’re still in beta so who knows what they’ll charge for more storage (or features?).

    They do give you a way to put thumbnails and links to photos with having to use their viewer. Although it seems to be a 2 step process (thumbnail then link) for each photo. But it’s cheap, high-res and the flash interface is great.

    If you love PhotoShop, I’m sure you’ll hate it. It’s pretty as spplications, but since I don’t use any features past version 1, it’s very nice and easy to use. Here’s a link to the palette with all the main options on it. It’s even easier to use than I need it to be (and it has more features to use too). It e-mails a really nice graphical html link to your friends too.

    Written By: Gary on March 16, 2008 3 Comments

    So I’ve really been trying to use Twitter more. I read and tweet more at my computer than when I’m out. When I’m out I tweet some but don’t generally read. I do have it set to get a text message on my phone automagically if someone tweets my name. If you don’t know what Twitter is:

  • You can see what I tweet. All my personal blog posts get tweeted automatically.
  • You can see who I follow with twitter.
  • You can “follow me” (but you have to set up a free account with them) and get all my tweets sent to your cell phone so you can see what I’m thinking about an blogging about.
  • There is a nice mobile interface and you can even subscribe via RSS.

    I really got on the blogging boat late because I didn’t get it, but once I started I was hooked immediately. This isn’t working for me yet, but I’m still trying. On GeekBrief I saw the folks at CommonCraft created a video called Twitter in Plain English and it’s a pretty good explanation with interesting animation.

    But it still feels like Instant Messenger (IM) to me, but only 140 characters. It’s definitely more than IM, but it really just feels like the next step in its evolution. The clients feel like IM, and using the web interface at Twitter fells more and more like a web chat client.

    The biggest difference is that you direct your message to everyone in your group, not to a specific person. So occasionally you see a comment directed to someone else that you never saw the preceding comment, so then you can go see what they said and see if it’s someone else that interests you. You can send direct messages, but I don’t think that’s very common and I can never remember the command (it’s “D TwitterUserName TheText“).

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