Jim’s WebLetter for 2/7/09

Hi-ya Webfriends!

Sometimes when I sit to write the week’s JWL, I feel like I could spend the entire WebLetter talking about Google. Yes, I am a fan of Gmail, Calendar, Documents and some of the applications that go with them (the new multiple Inbox feature in Gmail is cool, but more than I want to deal with. Wiki the how-to of the feature here … http://howto.wired.com/wiki/Organize_Multiple_Inboxes_in_Gmail).

The new Google Earth 5.0 includes ocean depths and even Mars. And it seems that all their features comes with the idea, “let’s make it work, then we’ll worry about making money with it later”, a good business decision that for the most part has worked for them.

Now the latest I am reading is how they have created a method of tracking what you look at when you visit a page, and they have printed the results on their blog. This harkens back to the television’s tracking of what people watch in commericals. Their report describes what you might already know (we look at the page top first), but there are a few things we didn’t know (the eyes work faster than the mouse … huh?). Interesting reading tho’ … http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/02/eye-tracking-studies-more-than-meets.html

There are other things to report this week that have little or nothing to do with the big “G”. Here’s my take on them …

Ever since President Obama was seen using a BlackBerry phone, the nation has been buying them as tho’ they were the new status symbol. My hesitation has always been “never buy the first version of any hardware/software because a newer version is sure to come along that fixes the problems of the older one”. Well, sure enough, RIM, the makers of the smart phone have improved the device and have a new version of the software coming in mid-March. In addition, they have teamed up with the primary carrier and are having a “Verizon Wireless BlackBerry BOGO sale”, where you can buy one and get one free! Now through the end of March when you purchase a BlackBerry ($199 along with a two year commitment) you get the second one free. Looks like my household is about to upgrade.

Speaking of upgrades, this Tuesday, expect to get updates from Windows to patch more security flaws in it’s IE 7. Even with Internet Explorer 8 in beta, MS is still trying to clean up the mess of the current browser. http://blogs.zdnet.com/security/?p=2505

Meanwhile, my Firefox browser received an update this week as the new 3.06 went into affect. No grand hurrah’s or newsmaking notices, it just quietly downloaded and installed over my previous version. When it did, it addressed some 69 bugs and enhancements. Why do I like FF over IE? Reason number 265 … updates without fanfare. http://blogs.zdnet.com/Burnette/?p=728

Finally, this Sunday, the Web site of First Baptist Church in Fernandina Beach is moving to another level with beta testing the streaming of it’s services live on the Web. Everything seems to be in place to provide live viewing of the morning and evening services. The new feature will come to be used in showing other events at First Baptist including weddings and UPWARD basketball going on in the new facility on 8th street. With the large number of visitors coming to the site from all over the States and more than 28 countries around the world, this should prove to be a feature worth watching. Again, it’s being beta tested … and you know that can mean a few glitches to begin with … http://www.FBFirst.net

After eight days of backpacking, my wife and I were looking pretty scruffy. She came to breakfast in a baseball cap, her hair sticking out at odd angles.
She asked, “does my hair make me look like a water buffalo?”
I thought for a moment, then said, “If I tell you the truth, do you promise not to charge?”
(thanks, Dan)
Visiting St Patrick’s Cathedral on a tour of New York City , my daughter and her children were awed by the sight. The kids were especially curious about the votive candles, so my daughter asked if they’d each like to light one. She explained that is it customary to say a prayer of petition or thanks, and she was careful to tell them that these are not like birthday candles. “Do you have any questions?” she asked.
“No,” said the five-year-old, “but if there’s a pony outside, it’s mine.”
(thanks, Rob)
I teach fourth grade in Ventura County, California. As a fun assignment, I gave the students the beginning of a list of famous sayings and asked them to provide original endings for each one. Here are some examples of what my students submitted.

A rolling stone plays the guitar.
The grass is always greener when you remember to water it.
A bird in the hand is a real mess.
No news is no newspaper.
It’s better to light one candle than to waste electricity.
It’s always darkest just before I open my eyes.
You have nothing to fear but homework.
If you can’t stand the heat, don’t start the fireplace.
A penny saved is nothing in the real world.
The squeaking wheel gets annoying.
We have nothing to fear but our principal.
I think, therefore I get a headache.
Laugh and the world laughs with you. Cry, and someone yells, “Shut up!”
Better to light a candle than to light an explosive.
It’s always darkest before 9:30 p.m.
Early to bed and early to rise is first in the bathroom.
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a blister.
There is nothing new under the bed.
The grass is always greener when you put manure on it.
Don’t count your chickens — it takes too long.
(thanks, Keith)
During a county-wide drive to round up all unlicensed dogs, a patrolman signaled a car to pull over to the curb.
When the driver asked why he had been stopped, the officer pointed to the big dog sitting on the seat beside him and asked, “Does your dog have a license?”
“No,” the man said, “He doesn’t need one.”
“Yes, he does,” answered the officer.
“But,” said the driver, “I always do all the driving.”
(thanks, Bernard … you’re such a saint!)
OK, so that’s what I saw this week while working on the Web, friends. Have a great weekend and, as I used to close on my radio show years ago, “may God continue to bless you and keep you safe”.

Jim’s WebLetter
Discover the best of the Web
C-my-site at http://www.jimonline.com


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