Jim’s WebLetter for 3/17/12

Hi-ya friends and neighbors!

There is so much to write about this week, I am going to cut out the obvious and give you some things that you may or may not have heard. Meanwhile, happy St. Patrick’s Day! I’ll be a-wearin’ me finest green on this day, friends!

Google has been working in secret to create a new search engine. No, we’re not talking just a new algorithm, we’re talking a new computer system. A data center that is huge, and private. Now this isn’t the only one built. Facebook and Amazon have data centers that have been built to house information held in private. But what has been happening over the past few years is the heightened importance for protecting users’ information. It is those safeguards that prompts companies like Google to make it’s employees sign privacy agreements and hold them to it’s stipulations. http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2012/03/google-miner-helmet/

This week Encyclopaedia Britannica announced it has discontinued printing books. The 244 year old company will publish their compilation with the use of mobile apps. It’s all online now. In an in-depth article with Fast Company, CEO Jorge Cauz talks about the price point and the effort in making the EB a profitable enterprise. http://www.fastcompany.com/1824961/encyclopaedia-britannica-is-dead-long-live-encyclopaedia-britannica

Also this week, Firefox released the newest update, 11 for download. But, what’s that? Didn’t Mozilla just release FF 10 some six weeks ago? Now another full update? It’s true … and this one has several new toys for Developers including a new stylesheet editor (press Shift + F7), “Tilt” … a 3D page structure view (Ctrl+Shift+I), and a host of other Development features including, “Sync” to synchronize your add-ons across devices, migration of your bookmarks, history, and cookies from Google Chrome, HTML5 video controls that have been redesigned, and even when viewing a single image from a web address, the graphic is now centered on a gray background. You see where we’re going with this. Mozilla has made it’s browser to be more of a tool for people who work the Web while keeping things fast and easy for the non-developer. And now it’s optimized for Android tablets. http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/fx/

That brings me to my final point this week … I purchased and received by UPS the new Apple iPad. Those of you who know me, know I am not an Apple person. For more reasons than I have space, I prefer Android and Microsoft stuff to Apple, but I bought the new iPad because of the Apps. I now have GarageBand, iMovie and iPhoto in my tablet enabling me to shoot and edit video and photography, and create soundtracks for it and produce it all “on the fly”. Comparing the device to my wife’s iPad 2 (she has liked the tablet since the day she bought it), it’s faster, pictures have better color, it has a brighter and clearer screen (3 million pixels compressed into a 10 inch screen will do that) and … that’s about it. Honestly, if Google had these apps in their stable of feature-packed applications, I would have purchased something like the Galaxy Tab, or waited for the new set of quad-core tablets due in a few weeks.

Trying to set up the iPad to accommodate my Google material (Gmail, calendar, contacts, maps, documents, etc) was to say, and still is, a challenge. I had to research several times online using the Safari browser (not as good as Chrome or the aforementioned Firefox) until I could find a workaround to import my contacts. I still can’t get Calendar to work … I will have to consult some Apple users (and readers) to figure that out. To say the least, it’s gonna take some learning to fully utilize the tablet, but this is my year for learning new things so, here we go.

Bottom line, was it worth the money? I say yes. It is a tool that has a number of built in features like Facetime, a quick and easy way to video chat (love that), and the 5 megapixel camera is nice. I have Google Earth and Translate installed and that’s good. YouTube videos play beautifully, but you can’t watch standard Flash movies on the iPad … we need a workaround for that (that’s something else to work on).

We purchased an old home in northern New York State from two elderly sisters. Winter was fast approaching and I was concerned about the house’s lack of insulation.
“If they could live here all those years, so can we,” my husband confidently declared.
One November night, the temperature plunged to below zero and we woke up to find our interior walls covered with frost. My husband called the sisters to ask how they had kept the house warm.
After a rather brief conversation, he hung up. “For the past 30 years,” he announced, “they’ve gone to Florida for the winter.”
(thanks, John)
A wife returning from a fishing trip with her husband was telling her troubles to a neighbor.
“I did everything all wrong again today,” she said. “I talked too loud, I used the wrong bait, I reeled in too soon, and I caught more fish than he did.”
(thanks, Doc)
There you go, friends … have a great weekend and may God indeed bless you and keep you safe.

Jim’s WebLetter
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