We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Tuesday, May 28. 2013
I'm not one of those.
Similarly, I could give a hoot about a company's politics, as long as it has the program or web page or info I'm looking for.
Google is a perfect example of this. Politically, it's firmly in the liberal camp, but some of its programs are so good there's not even a second place.
Update: One of Google's main liberal offenses, not displaying a custom 'doodle' on their page on Memorial Day, has finally been resolved (see 'This day in history' post, below) and when a company displays such a magnificent tribute to our fallen soldiers as they did yesterday, well, I'd say all is forgiven.
Here's a roundup of the Google programs I use:
Given that there are currently something like 18.7 billion web sites out there, there are a handful of tricks you can employ to narrow down the search:
— Putting the searched-for item in quotes tells Google to only display pages with that exact phrase.
— Putting a plus sign directly in front of a word (no space between) tells Google that the word has to actually be on the web page, not just part of some 10,000-word keyword file.
— Putting a minus sign directly in front of a keyword will not display any page with that word on it. This is a particularly effective trick as you 'minus out' all of the web sites popping up with a different theme or subject than the one you're interested in.
— If you know which site the item you're looking for is on, use this format:
site:www.domain.com keyword keyword
But that's in great part because of...
The same Google Search tricks apply here. If you're looking for some dude who's said, "Hey, check out my collection of hot Japanese babes!" on his pictorial web site, put "hot japanese babes" in quotes to help narrow down this important search.
To save a pic, click on it, then right-click on the pic that pops up and 'Save Image'. If you want to make sure you're getting the highest quality, click on 'View original image', then do the right-click routine.
To refine your search even more, first do a search for anything, to activate the icons on the upper-right, then click on the icon with the little gear on it to open up the Options and select 'Advanced search'. If you're looking for something with real high quality, kick the 'image size' way up. If you're looking for clip art or line drawings, that's 'type of image'.
There's also a Google Video page which looks across the whole web, rather than the 'YouTube' link at the top of the page, which just goes to YouTube.
I tried out a 'video download' add-on for Firefox a while back and made an amazing discovery about YouTube. The add-on usually offers a full range of quality, from lo-res for the handheld to a hi-res MP4 for excellent clarity. The standard one that plays is a medium-quality FLV. More info here.
Before this baby hit the scene, I had three commercial translation programs on my system, all in a (usually in vain) attempt to get a decent translation. I used Google Translate once, uninstalled them all and threw the master discs away.
It's easy enough to use. Just type or paste in the English version and then select the language from the 'To:' box. Once it kicks into gear, it should stay up with you in real-time. Use proper capitalization and punctuation in the original version because sometimes it makes a real difference.
Translating "Thank you very much." into German:
thank you very much. = ich danke Ihnen sehr.
Thank you very much. = Vielen Dank.
Thank you very much. = Vielen Dank.
Thank you, very much. = Danke, sehr viel.
I also recently discovered a very neat trick. I'd just never read the fine print below the text box before. Not only does it translate words, but also entire web pages, retaining everything on the page like pics and ads. You simply paste in the URL rather than words.
I have a Cuban buddy who I occasionally send Cuba-related articles to, but he doesn't read English very well so his wife reads them aloud, translating into Spanish. Until this nifty little discovery. I used it just this morning, which inspired this post. Here's the before page, and here's the after. Note how not only all of the page text is in Spanish, even the sidebar blurbs, but even the links go to translated pages. You can then click the 'Home' button, bookmark the page or make a Desktop icon, and it'll act just like its normal self in the future albeit everything's translated. That's about as slick as it gets.
The one huge flaw this thing had for years — not having highway 'Exit' numbers — has finally been resolved, so it's now the undisputed king of the heap.
If you want to email a certain location to someone or link to it on a web page, click the little 'Link' button and copy/paste the address into the email program or web editor.
If you want to save it as a Desktop icon, paste the link address into the browser's address box and hit the Enter key. With IE, right-click on the page and 'Create shortcut'. If you're using Firefox, you'll need the Create Shortcut add-on, then do the right-click routine.
To print a page, hit the 'Print' button. If you're using Internet Explorer and the print-out looks weird, try Firefox.
This is an excellent free online email service. I've been using it for years and don't ever recall an incoming email getting lost or an outgoing one not arriving. If one did, I'd be tempted to blame it on a computer glitch or my ISP, not GMail.
If you use multiple email addresses, there's an option on the site that'll relay your email to the email program on your computer, which can then sort things out. I'm currently using Thunderbird.
This gives you all of your site's statistics for the past day/week/month/year. It'll do demographic stuff like where people are popping in from, which pages got how many hits, what browser and OS the readers are using, how they're accessing it (desktop, laptop, notebook, etc) and puts the daily/weekly/monthly/yearly stats on a timeline graph so you can spot peaks and valleys.
It does have some semi-serious limitations, though, like not being able to look back very far or combine years or go from one specific date to another, but it's free, so, hard to complain.
If you wanted all of the serious stuff, there are probably freeware programs out there that'll do a nice job. Try a search for something like "sourceforge web site statistics". SourceForge is one of the oldest and best freeware sites around.
This is the real feather in Google's cap. The only thing that even comes close is Bing Maps using Birdeye's View. I've never gotten into Birdseye because when I investigated it a few years ago, it was limited to only the U.S. I just now read an article comparing the two map sites (GoogleMaps with the Google Earth plugin, Bing Maps with the Birdseye plugin), and apparently Birdseye has gone world-wide (but probably mostly cities), so it'll be worth checking out at some point. Unlike Google Earth, it's not an actual program, just a plugin for their map site, so you can't make custom 'tours' and all that. From what I understand, its images are a bit sharper than GE and it gets closer to the ground.
The above header link goes to my Google Earth Project site. You might check out a few of the video tours. The 'Google Goofs' is hilarious and the 'Oddities' pages are a kick. There's some pretty weird stuff out there — albeit only noticed from far above.
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I've tried the other search engines, like Bing, Duck Duck Go, Ixquick, Shodan and Yandex, but I keep coming back to Google.
For easy searches, I use Ixquick, but when it comes to more precise searches, such as finding where a particular phrase is found on particular site, Google knocks out Ixquick in the first round. No contest.
Do you have a gallery of websites you have designed? Where is your website? What do you charge to be the webmaster for a small site?
May I contact you via email? I tried to contact you about a project last week (regarding your comment about the AIA's responsibility) but it came bouncing back.
My main site is here. Each of the entries (except for the first) goes to an entire new site. Some are purposefully somewhat staid, like 'VideoLab', some are 'funky', like 'Home Repairs, some are 'pro', like 'Doc's WP Guide', some are 'cool', like 'Doc's Secrets'... and then there's the Art Gallery, which somewhat defies any description.
The latest commercial site I did is here.
I don't have a contact link on my main site, but you can contact me from this page.
Bing Maps birds eye view is amazing, not all locations are thoroughly documented yet, but I've never seen the neighbor's livestock in any kind of detail on Google Maps or Google Earth. We're not talking major metro area, folks. More urban areas are better still.
Google's features do come at a fearsome price however. Would you care to address privacy and security in some future post?
I've addressed both a number of times in the past. The rules really haven't changed:
1. Don't open email attachments unless you're one hundred billion percent sure of its origin
2. Don't ever click on any box that opens on a web site unless you're one hundred billion percent confident the site's on the up-and-up
3. Use a quality anti-malware program that also monitors web sites in real-time.
About the only thing we've added to the list lately is "Disable Java", since a whole shitload of stuff is using it these days. You'll go to a cool web page, click on the "Candid video of Sophia Vergara wrestling Mila Kunis in the nude!" video and a box will pop up noting that your Flash video player needs to be updated. No biggie, you think, Flash is always upgrading their player.
Except that your system just became a 'bot' and Java was the program the malware used. You can keep it on your system in case there comes a time when you actually need it (maybe some important form you're filling out uses it), but it's kept disabled via the Control Panel.
As for Google and all the above, I don't see any connection. GMail is as spam-free as they come. The search engine will put up a big 'DANGER' sign if it sees anything amiss about a particular site, and nobody ever claimed search engines were responsible for weeding out malware sites, anyway, which is why the anti-malware program should be web-ready, which the free ones aren't.
OK, apparently you don't share my concerns about what Google does with search data, mapping, etc. that it ties to the user. And Gmail is forbidden as an option for many who have security clearances, even for personal use, for reasons too lengthy to go into here.
Well, no, why should I care what Google does with my search engine entries? There's nothing 'revealing' about a search for "you have received error code 9993fs33" or "pic of beautiful mountain lake" or "wordpress plugin sorts list by date modified". A search for "how do i make a dirty nuclear bomb in my kitchen" is different -- but I've never made that search, mainly because I don't like cooking or kitchens.
In fact, I'd be kinda hard-pressed to think of a (legitimate) search that would be actually 'revealing' by definition. Got any examples?
I live my life as I wish the world to see me. That includes my choice of a search engine and my searches. I do NOT agree with Google's use of my data.
"There's some pretty weird stuff out there"
What a freaking riot! I just watched the "Oddities - Europe" tour. Odd, indeed! I'm going to go watch the others but just had to say what a kick the program is. I knew there was some odd stuff out there could only be seen from above, but didn't know there was that much of it!
Yeah, that was my reaction when I got into it. The first time through, I made one 'Oddities' tour -- now there are three. Same with 'Designs'. The few musical instruments I had just got stuffed into the 'Designs' category -- now they have their own tour. Did you find any of the 'Specialty Tours' interesting?
For a search engine, I use Dogpile, which always has some kind of relevant and respectful display on holidays and other important dates.
Gmail is a spam and malware magnet. I have email through my website host and my IPS, and I use an offline reader.
My web host provides more-than-adequate site analytics.
The rest of the tools you list, I either find adequate substitutes or do without. I will not use Google if I can help it.
The question is, was the spam addressed to him specifically? If so, then that's certainly not GMail's fault.
Hi Doc: Can't find a "contact" for you on your webpage. Got any other suggestions?
Bing-Birds Eye vs Google Maps.
If you will look at a Google Map display, you will note that there is a "Traffic" drop down in the upper right corner below the Earth-Map-Satellite choice button. If you are zoomed in far enough when in the Satellite mode, the traffic drop down includes a 45° line that can be checked. Once checked the high-oblique satellite photos turn into birds eye pictures.
To me, the bing and google map displays now look the same.
What is interesting are the businesses that are not labelled under either bing or google maps.
I can't speak for Bing, but for GoogleMaps, you actually have to submit the entry by hand, which accounts for why so many shops (usually smaller) aren't listed. There's a fiberglas shop nearby that's not listed, and when I asked the guy, he merely shrugged and said "I hate computers". So, no GoogleMaps link (and customers) because of his obstinacy.
When they first fired it up, they probably included pretty much everybody who was already a bona fide business, but since then, it's up to the owners to add them. I take it Bing's the same way.
I don'tcare what google wishes to believe about theyselves. they are evil. Use scroogle or bing. much lesss evil.