Category Archives: Google

Google TV

Though I’m sure there’ll be reservations about this development, I can hardly wait for it to be available. Having already connected my HDTV to my computer via HDMI cable, I already appreciate what the bigger, clearer screen means to using the computer. Being able to use the computer to find and watch TV shows with the power of Internet search technology is a far cry from the days when my father would tell my mother to “change the channel” — and she would do it compliantly.

I only hope I live long enough to see it and that it isn’t so expensive that I can’t afford it.

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Google Reader shortcut keys demoed

In this short video, I demonstrate a few of the shortcut keys I use in reading RSS feeds in Google Reader.

I’ve taken the video showing the entire screen, so trying to read detail will be difficult, but having you see the detail clearly wasn’t my purpose in recording it. The idea was to show the global view of what is happening when you press the various short cut keys. The keys illustrated in this video are in order of their appearance: G+A which displays All Unread Items, 2 which switches to List View (conversely 1 switches to Expanded View), U which toggles Full Screen Mode, J which displays the Next Item in the list (conversely, K displays the Previous Item), and V which opens the Current Item in a separate tab or window (depending upon your browser). As mentioned in my previous post, you can see the various shortcut keys by typing a question mark in Google Reader. Also illustrated in this video are some navigation keys in Firefox. For instance Ctrl-Tab moves among the open tabs and Ctrl-F4 closes the current tab.

Experiment with using the shortcut keys in Google Reader and you’ll be amazed how quickly you can get through a large number of items in the list of your feeds. I should note that much of the procedure shown here is just my personal preference and none of it is required to read the feeds in Google Reader, but this particular combination of keys work well for me. If you’d care to comment on your preferences in the comments, you are welcome to do so.

Mind-stretching

After seeing a link to this video of Bruce Sterling‘s presentation to Google’s Tech Talk on April 30, 2007 on the RSS feed for George Siemens’ always-interesting blog elearnspace, I decided to watch the 49+ minute presentation about spimes. It was one of those experiences that I have from time to time that I feel stretches my mind. I’ll admit I have no immediate practical use for the knowledge I gained from watching it, but I have no doubt it will make me a better Trivial Pursuit player at some point in the future.

If nothing else, I found Sterling’s speaking style to be interesting, a little over the top but interesting nonetheless. The idea he explores in this talk is the concept of what he calls “The Internet of Things” where he envisions a world in which objects have identifiers, in the form of RFID tags, that can be cataloged and searched, such that the ability to keep track of them in this way contributes to the sustainability of the planet. Sterling thinks of himself as essentially a science fiction writer rather than a technologist or designer, but those who conceive of the-not-yet-created sometimes lay the groundwork for those more practically-oriented people who convert fantasy into reality. Spending the better part of an hour in this kind of activity and focusing on the ideas he presented is one means, it seems to me, to keep my mind from atrophying and a good way to stay aware of that what may someday come to be. I found it to be far more entertaining than spending the same amount of time watching daytime television.

More about Google Calendar

Think layers, originally uploaded by CaptQuirk.

Since it was released a few days ago, I've been experimenting with Google Calendar and I've evolved a few "shoulds" about how I want to use it.

For instance as this graphic shows, I believe it is best to put some kinds of information into a separate calendar so that you can turn it on and off as you see fit. Therefore I've created a "Birthdays" calendar that I can share with family members who might also have an interest in the people whose birthdays are listed. I believe that I'll still be reminded about the birthday, even if that calendar isn't displayed (though I'm not sure about that). If so, I can have the benefit of having the information available without the distraction of having to see it displayed all the time.

After having taken that screen shot, I've also searched for a couple of other calendars that are, for me, useful. One is a calendar of US Holidays and another is the schedule for the Atlanta Braves. Since the Braves play almost every day throughout the season, that is one of those calendars that I want at my finger tips but don't want to have to look at it all the time. I can simply uncheck it until I need the information and then check it to refer to the schedule for the next several days. Fortunately, if the calendar is unchecked it doesn't show up in the agenda view so it doesn't clutter that view either.

I was pleased to learn that Google is rolling out a change to Gmail that will incorporate the so-called corner bookmarks so that there'll be links in Gmail to the Calendar. My Gmail account doesn't yet have that feature as I notice is also true for a number of others who posted comments to that blog entry. I suppose it will show up in everyone's Gmail account eventually, but for now, I must wait. That will be a welcomed addition though.

This morning I also saw an entry on a blog that explains how a doctor is making his calendar available to his patients so that they can see when he has free time for an appointment. I'm sure we'll see more creative uses of this tool as time goes on, and I look forward to its evolution.