Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Today, A GREAT DAY in History For The Web

20 years ago today, April 30, 1993, is the day the World Wide Web became Public Domain. It could  be said that today is the birthday of the public web. The Internet had been around prior to that and has quite a history but not like the history to follow this historic date in April, 1993.

Thank you CERN,  Sir Tim Berners-Lee, and all those who had something to do with this.

If you have an interest here is alink to the Verge and the First ever website brought back to life at its original URL. Just going back to that URL is a trip. Life was simple then and so were the pages.

I find it amazing that 20 years ago today most people did not know of, or could have cared less about, the World Wide Web. Today they can't live without it. 20 years! Kids in high school today have always known the web and most use it like we did the bus. It's part of their life, they have always known it.

Over that 20 years just look at the way technology has moved us. Connection is almost ubiquitous. For most of us (I know not everyone lives in the city) a connection to the World Wide Web is a couple of blocks away. Some have something in our pocket, phone, mobile hotspot, which connects us immediately. I am blessed that way.

I go off into the woods, or a park, pull out my phone and connect. I take a picture on my phone, or camera, and immediately post it to Facebook. I can check in from anywhere and find out what friends are doing. I can go to a conference, take a class, watch a movie, or laugh at something on YouTube.

At the moment I am writing this I am in a Starbucks, drinking coffee, and using a wireless device to write this and will publish when I am through.

Now if people could only grow and learn to accept others at the same pace that our technology has grown. WOW, what a world this would be. 

Monday, April 29, 2013

Monday Update

OK it's 8:10 EST (or EDT - I get confused). I have been up since 5:30, showered, meditated, had breakfast and on my second cup of coffee. I have answered email, sent email, reviewed news via newsletters (GigaOM, NY Times, Feedly, and a few other resources) and I am now into the latest issue of Inc Magazine on my iPad.

I have to chase down the latest version of AirDroid2 from Google Play for my phone so I can connect to my phone from my desktop over the air. Although the article in GigaOM mentioned AirDroid2 I can only find AirDroid - which I already have. More research needed as I understand it is a significant upgrade.

I  have also learned about Feast, (article in GigaOM) an online cooking school which one can subscribe to.  I have always wanted to take lessons in cooking. Perhaps this is the excuse needed to add a TV/Monitor in the kitchen.

I  have also discovered that I can grab snippets from Inc Magazine and send them to Facebook, Twitter and other connections including email. I remember when I used to snip articles from newspapers and magazines and the mail (with stamp) these to business clients or associates. Now I can do that from right within the Inc Magazine. I  have tried this to email and it works great.

Try as I may I cannot seem to add a picture from my iPad to this blog post and I think I know why? I am using the Blogger tool online at Blogger to write this and it doesn't relate. It would if the picture was in Picasa or on my phone. Have to work on that.

Well it is now 9:15 and I need to wrap this up and go do some research. Have to get my glass shop and tools out and start cutting glass again. I am feeling very creative. 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Difficult Technology Lessons

I decided this morning to just bring my iPad to breakfast and do my morning reading. One of my favorite email's that I get every morning is from the New York Times.

This morning there was an article "How Big Data Is Playing Recruiter For Specialized Workers" that I found rather interesting. After reading the article I decided to click the Google+ button and share the article on Google+ - a common thing for me to do.

Now the trouble starts.

I write as I think or speak (that's dangerous) so thoughts come and go. I type then edit, add some more, edit some more and once it is the way I want it I hit the "Share" or "Publish" button and away it goes. I do the same thing here at Blogger. I make sure it is what I want to say. Sometimes I miss a typo however I am getting better at finding those before I publish.

Now the issue: Working here at Blogger or on Windows Live Writer, if something happens whatever I am doing is saved as a draft. Not so when clicking on the Google+ button. In some cases, in working on my computer, if what I am writing disappears I can go back and click the Google+ plus button again and what I had been writing reappears - wonderful.

Not so on the iPad. If, for whatever reason, the Google+ window goes away you have lost whatever you have written. Now someone may have figured out how to prevent this but I have not. This morning that hurt. I can remember the premise of what I was saying/writing however the writing and multiple editing just disappeared. Very frustrating - and I don't believe in frustration.

Now I have to write it in a notepad, copy and paste it into a Google+ window and if I lose it I can go back to the notepad and bring it back. Not quite spontaneous but I guess it will work in the future but not for that post.

Read the article, it is quite interesting. I have been following education and it's many ways of creating more human robots rather than supporting the highly creative individual. You can watch Sir Ken Robinson on TED or YouTube to get the idea.

A little history; I have been getting the New York Times email every morning since 1997(?) when I first signed up to get their newsletter. I would subscribe to the NY Times however I still believe their monthly firewall fee is too big for someone who only has a few interests. Today I can get all the Word/U.S. headlines from almost anywhere to know 'what's happening'. I have very little interest in Wall Street so business headlines are a curiosity, but tech news is where it is at for me. I read digital magazines like Wired and Inc. with my Kindle app.  I do like the "Bit's  Blog" at the NY Times and the writers/journalists that appear there. I follow Nick Bilton and have read his book, "I Live In The Future & Heres How It Works". All good stuff. Who knows, one of these days I just might subscribe and get all the other good news also.  Hmm... I will have to look into that I just wish they had one subscription plan that would allow me to get it on my iPad, my Nexus 7, my laptop, and my Android phone and not have to pay for each - that is obscene.

No Trial Offers please - I gave up on that with Record Clubs. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Using Online Blogger App vs. Windows Live Writer

Yesterday when I wrote the post about using the Blogger app I stated that I was on my Nexus 7, well today I am writing from my notebook computer. I guess I really like my Windows Live Writer software the best. It actually stores links and allows greater control over the input of images. If I had to choose a second best application for connecting with Blogger it would have to be the online tool at Blogger.

I really like tools that work for me. Remembering previously logged links is a big thing. Within in Blogger for my writing to be properly annotated I have to research the links for each writing.

Like everything else in this world I guess there are tools for getting the job done quickly and succinctly and there are tools for attempting to finesse the work. I like the tools that allow me to be as quick and literal as I want to be while at the same time I can put out as much effort as I want to, or have time to, at the moment of writing.

I am sure one of these day someone will have a competitive product for Windows Live Writer however at the moment I do not see any. Now if I could just get Microsoft to build Windows Live Writer into a cross platform app. I guess I will have to wait unit whatever freezes over. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Using Blogger on the Web

After posting the blog on Swype I decided to try using the Blogger posting tool on the web site and that appears to be working very
well. It also appears that I have more tools here than in the app. It will also allow me to add an online graphic and that is useful for me.

Perhaps I will be using the online tool more often.

One interesting note; I hit something and everything went away. I signed back into Blogger and Blogger had saved my work as as draft which is good.

One thing I found fascinating is the picture insert tool picked up pictures from my phone as well as Picasa. Have to keep working with this. Now to post and review.

Swype keyboard on the Nexus 7

OK just installed the Swype keyboard on my Nexus 7 and I am very happy with it. It is to bad that it is not available for the iPad, it would make typing so much easier.

I have said the Nexus 7 would be a great note taking device and with this keyboard this is proving to be a fact. The only requirement is that you know the keyboard and since it is the same keyboard that I have been using for 61 years that is not a problem.

The Nexus 7 is light weight and fits the hand (at least mine) very well.

The only real issue is the Blogger app for this device, it's not relevant for me. Guy Kawasaki states that you should always have a picture well this app (and others) is not compatible with that thought. It will allow a picture (or graphic) but only as an attachment, not inline as one might like. Reference the graphic if it should be there.

RefreshMe App for Android And Another App Suggestion

refreshmeJust installed the RefreshMe app for my Samsung Galaxy S3 (play.google.com and then apps) and I really do think this is good app to have for tracking calls. It is for Android so I suspect if you had some other Android phone this would work. Check it out,.

RefreshMe will give you a list of your past calls and any notes you may have made regarding the call. Per the app description; when the caller calls back the note will tell you why. I will write more about that when someone returns my call (see app suggestion below). I do know that while in the call you can make notes and that when you hang up there is a short time to add a note of your choice to the call.

There is an ad-free version (upgrade) for .99. I upgraded, not because I did not want the ad’s but because I wanted the Premium version – whatever else that means.

App suggestion: Wouldn’t it be great to have an app that would log email sent; time, date, and to whom. When someone replied it would log the date and time as well as the email address of the reply. If that app were designed for Gmail as an example, it could monitor all your email from you computer, your phone, and your tablet, then give you a report daily.

The upshot would be to note the time difference between sending the original email and a reply(s), It would have to keep the thread as well as the email address of the person replying at any given time. This would fall under the guise of record keeping at a glance. Perhaps use a spreadsheet format.

It is easy to pull the email and follow the thread however I would like to see at a glance who responds quickly and who does not. It is a frustration to send an email looking for a response within a specific period of time and not get an answer for 3 days – if ever. You know the individual in question has been on Facebook or some other Social Medium between getting your email and responding.

Quickly you can determine where you stand with certain individuals and how important you email is to that individual. It just might allow me to decide just how fast I want to respond to specific people. I know intuitively however I want my intuition to be verified.

Perhaps this could also be used by marketing to see who is responding to your email. I know there are tools out there for this purpose but we need one for the individual.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Dilemma of A Road Warrior

Now I may not be the ultimate road warrior however I an always out teaching Excel, Word, PowerPoiint, or something and I want to be connected. Since I am not sure of the available wireless connections I love my cell phone and today I use the Samsung Galaxy S3 on the Verizon network and connect from anywhere. I am never without an Internet connection.

This morning I forgot my phone! Oh no…what to do?

Fortunately I am in Northern Kentucky today so my wife and I carpooled and I got to drive the really nice Sonata that Pat has. Half way to downtown Cincinnati I discovered my problem and my wife volunteered her phone. So I borrowed my wife’s Samsung Galaxy S3 and here I am.

The confusion I faced was interesting. What to do? I am without a connection! I am thinking maybe one day that might be a good practice however not today.

Now to teach Excel 2010 and still be able get news, email, oh and check Facebook.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Strongly Agree! Strongly Disagree! Microsoft Going Away?

Richi Jennings writing in IT Blogwatch at Computerworld links to several stories which used the Gartner research that I commented on yesterday. The article by Richi Jennings; “Gartner: Microsoft is dead, Windows has expired, Office has ceased to be” is compilation of some of those links. I don’t really think that Gartner said it quite that way however I suspect one could call that ‘Journalistic License’.

Confusion001Although I have always disagreed with the anti-Windows 8 comments I have to admit that unless Microsoft realizes the PC industry is changing, and their tablet is not gaining ground, Office could lose. I don’t believe that it will go away as “some” are promoting. There is nothing out there yet to replace Microsoft Office, specifically Office 2013. Those “some” have other axes to grind so not really worth listening to.

On the other hand with the advancement of tablets, Android appearing to lead the pack, Microsoft Office could slip in its impact. Microsoft needs to re-evaluate its stance on developing for Android and iOS. It is possible that one day they could wake up and find that their market has moved on, somewhat like Kodak did.

They, Microsoft, have a chance however they are also prone to; 1) be late to the plate, and 2) have to go through 3 or 4 at bat’s before they get a hit. That will not help them here. A bad app is as good as a loss.

Hmm…. think phone lag.

With regard to other journalists; When the language gets inflammatory or demeaning the writer is a Microsoft (Apple, Google) basher and I really dismiss right off most of what they have to say. Some do not even present a reasonable argument against Windows 8, just some personal inability to comprehend the change. Actually Windows 8 is quite well done. Hatred is a nasty thing. Too often the tech journalist also ignores the fact that the bigger market is not the techie world but the ‘normal’ consumer who does want it easy.

People said that Grandma and Grandpa would never learn to program the VCR – they did, and they will love Windows 8.

Disparaging Office 2013 says that you have never even looked at it.

So there it goes for Friday.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Future of Productivity

In TechCrunch this morning there was an interesting post on a Gartner survey. The report; “Gartner: Tablet Shipments To Grow 69.8% YoY To 197M Units in 2013, As PCs/Laptops Decline 7.3% To 315M Units”. shows where we are headed (per Gartner). I do believe that after the last year this is the trend and the numbers could be right on.

Another opinion (or review) at Computerworld with “2.4B computing devices to ship this year, Gartner says”.

What does this mean for software and app’s developers? Growth, growth, growth! Developers you can make money. These tables and smartphones of today have a long way to go to be a highly productive, graphic for blogpersonal devices. We can do some things like read email and documents, send text messages, and perhaps catch up on the news, even watch a movie, however serious development of documents or editing is not at our fingertips. Creating new documents, editing spreadsheets, or updating websites (I did not say create websites), are out of reach at the present time.

I use both Android and Apple devices and the closest thing to a productive piece of office software is Pages and or Numbers on iOS. Although good neither are that powerful and I have to retreat to my laptop.  Google Docs is nice but limited to a power user and a good number of road warriors are Power Users! I used Google Docs for note taking however with Evernote I do not go to Google Docs as much.

Apps like Evernote are highly productive but I still want to create documents and edit sophisticated spreadsheets.

I happen to be a power Microsoft Word user and this is one tool that is not reproduced (or replicated) anywhere on any of the major tablet or smartphone devices. Windows phone, or the Surface may be able to access Microsoft Online but if you read the survey mentioned above (in the first paragraph) you will find that these devices are not leading the list. In any care Surface Pro is out of my league cost wise, might as well buy a laptop computer. Just so you know; I am using Windows 8 and love it, just not on a Surface device.

Note: This morning, on my laptop, I went to Skydrive online and tried to create a Word document to re-experience the online connection. I quit after 10 minutes. The website lost connection, I could not upload an image to the document, lost connection again. I quit. This also happens when uploading documents to Skydrive. This is not being productive either. My wireless connection was good as I was able to access and use other services.

Someone somewhere will build a competitor to Microsoft Office in an App form and the rest will be history. I am waiting.

Just sayin’……..

Monday, April 1, 2013

Google's New Compose Window - More Productive???

If you use Google Gmail you have probably run into the NEW Compose window. I, for one, have to reconsider using Gmail.  This morning has really brought this home as I tried to explain something in a brief email using graphics. It just doesn’t work.

RIP GmailIs Google trying to get rid of Gmail next?

As I see it the new compose window is going to be really great for those who 1) do not like using email, 2) don't have much to say (like "yes", "no", or "OK"), and 3) rarely send detailed information with the use of bullets, graphics, and such. Yes bullets and all the other formatting is available however you have to make extra steps to get to it. I have done this and it is a pain. Adding graphics is a bit out of the question.

In some cases I have found all that some people need is the subject line. This could be done with SMS or text messaging of one kind or another, perhaps even Twitter. Perhaps Google wants us all to use some other SMS service./

More Productive? Only if you do not use email. Sorry, not going to happen any time soon.

I often use Gmail to send out detailed instructions on how to accomplish something with software. I guess I could develop the instruction in Microsoft Word and attach it however I do not believe that this is either efficient or productive. I send links to others and use bullets to separate information or suggestions. This morning I tried to add an image and although I could it was a disaster. I could use Outlook it has the ability to do all this with Microsoft Word as the text editor. Google Docs is not that easy to work with either.

I had tried the new compose window when Google first announced it sometime back and I went back to the original immediately. I am always willing to try something right away but then I have a decision to make. Now the compose window appears to be changed for good. 

It also appears to me that Google is doing a couple of things. One might be that these products, like Gmail, are being used for the best interest of Google internally and the rest of the world can change or move, after all it is free. At the same time some of these changes appear to be change for the sake of changing - time to try something new. Others, like Google Reader, were just unimportant to Google Management so be gone. Where do you fit in?

Perhaps Google does not approve of email; “You should be using chat”.

Google is not necessarily consumer oriented, as we once thought it was, Google is now responding more like Apple. “This is what is good for you, trust me.”   Hmm…… “This is what we do inside the Google Plex, you should be thinking the same way.” I don’t need you, Apple, or Microsoft to be my Daddy (Dictator?).

I would say that Google is going through some upheaval and those (like Apple Fan Boys) who love their Google go right with it. I for one am into what is most productive for ME!! I am the most important person here (as you are in your environment). I like change that advances my abilities, I don't see that here. When Microsoft went to the Ribbon in 2007 the power of the tools increased. Word and Excel are constantly becoming more powerful as tools. Excel in Office 2013 is fantastic. Was there a change? Yes! And Change is Good!

With the change in Gmail I do not see a change for the better, I see only a change with a loss. It didn't get better, it did not add more tools, it is not more efficient. It just changed because someone thought it was time.  “Look it’s cool, it pops up in the bottom right of the window.” You could have always used the pop-out button to take the message away from the Inbox – did it frequently.  

Now the conundrum. Do I go back to Outlook, which I used for many years? Cumbersome on the Android phone so maybe I need to consider a Windows Phone, and then a Windows Tablet to replace the Nexus 7. Or do I move over to Hotmail Outlook on the web (?) which is getting better however it has issues along the same line. Do I jump over to Yahoo? Follow Marissa.  I will be checking this out as the day moves along.

I also use an iPad and although I am not enamored with Apple email I may have to give it a second chance. There are others that is for sure. I left CompuServe for AOL, then to Yahoo. Left Yahoo for Outlook and left Outlook for Gmail. Perhaps Microsoft saw this coming with there “Don’t get Scrogoogled” campaign. 

I would be considering it funny (or ironic) to be getting all my Gmail at Yahoo.

Hmmm.....I wonder what else is out there that can make me more productive?