Category Archives: technology

The future of eReaders

I found the video below through a tweet from @newspaperman and it got me thinking of the advance of technology. I recently bought a Sony Reader (PRS 505) and have been following the reviews and critiques. I’ve been reading eboks for years, started on a Palm Pilot black and white, then a Zire71 and just graduated to the Sony Reader. I love it, I love the portability of ebooks, and am fascinated with the technology. There is, and always has been, a segment of readers, writers, reviewers, who say that ebooks and the readers will never take a significant, important place in people’s world. I disagree. To wit, I offer this video on cell phones. They said it would never take. Too clunky. Too difficult to use. Ha.

I love the geeky-looking computer user at the end. Those either weren’t supposed to take.

The new cell phone

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Life After Firefox

No, Firefox is not a new kind of genetically enhanced animal. It’s a free browser that lets you surf the internet in a completely new way. It’s sturdier, less sensitive to attacks by viruses and worms, it has tons of features, and it’s fast. Firefox has several basic advantages: first, it’s completely free. Firefox is a product in the Mozilla suite that has been developed as Open Source, a concept where people develop applications and enhancement and provide them free to individuals (organizations must pay a modest fee for its use). The Open Source concept developed as a reaction to monopolies such as Microsoft who not only imposed their own restrictions of what the product was and how to use it but also created an interdependence that is difficult to break from. Here’s what so neat about Firefox:

  1. It includes protection from active scams, viruses and worms; this browser is considered one of the most sturdy in existence, which means you seriously decrease your chances of attack.
  2. It completely eliminates pop-ups; my dad was going nearly insane with pop-ups he wasn’t able to eliminate with Internet Explorer. Since he’s using Firefox, he hasn’t had one pop-up — and he’s going to the same sites he used to.
  3. It takes less than five minutes to install and it’s free
  4. It has hundreds of additional tools and add-ons that change the functionality, usage and look of your browser.

What do I mean by tools and add-ons? These are features that lets you use your browser for more than surfing the internet. Let’s look at a few of the more popular ones (my favorites have a star beside them):

  • Firefox Companion for Kodak EasyShare Gallery: Organizing and sharing your pictures is easier than ever with Firefox Companion for Kodak EasyShare Gallery. Upload photos directly to your Kodak EasyShare Gallery, all within your browser. Drag, drop and arrange pictures adding photo titles, etc.
  • Firefox Companion for eBay 1.5:: Keep an eye on your eBay trading wherever you are on the web when you install the eBay Companion for Firefox. It’s a free tool built with eBay users in mind that will help you get more out of your buying and selling.
  • Interclue 1.5.2: Interclue tooltip windows display content previews, useful extra information and relevant next actions for almost any link on the web. A truly user-centric design, “Clueview” tooltips show you only the most relevant content from linked pages, and can provide embedded viewing for images, mp3s and YouTube videos.
  • *PDF Download 1.0.1.: PDF Download relieves the pain experienced when encountering PDF files on the Web. Whenever you click on a PDF file, PDF Download lets you know before trying to open it, and then offers you choices such as downloading, opening, or converting it straight to HTML.
  • Download Statusbar: View and manage downloads from a tidy statusbar – without the download window getting in the way of your web browsing.
  • Piclens: *PicLens instantly transforms your browser into a full-screen 3D experience for viewing images across the web. Our new interactive “3D Wall” and built-in search function lets you effortlessly drag, click, zoom, and zip your way around a wall of pictures for an extraordinary viewing experience.
  • *Foxmarks Bookmark Synchronizer: If you use Firefox on more than one computer, you’ll want Foxmarks. Install Foxmarks on each computer, and it will work silently in the background to keep your bookmarks synchronized. You can also log in to my.foxmarks.com to manage your bookmarks from any computer.
  • *FireFTP: FireFTP is a free, secure, cross-platform FTP client for Mozilla Firefox which provides easy and intuitive access to FTP servers.
  • *Cooliris Previews: Cooliris Previews gives you the power to browse and share Web links and rich media faster. Just mouse over any link, and the Cooliris preview window immediately appears to show you the content. To email it, just click.
  • *ColorfulTabs: The most beautiful yet the simplest add-on that makes a strong colorful appeal. Colors every tab in a different color and makes them easy to distinguish while beautifying the overall appearance of the interface.
  • Delicious Bookmarks: The Official Delicious Add-on seamlessly integrates your browser with del.icio.us, the leading social bookmarking service on the Web.
  • Scribefire: ScribeFire (previously Performancing for Firefox) is a full-featured blog editor that integrates with your browser and lets you easily post to your blog.
  • *Dictionaries and Language Packs: From Afrikaans to Zulu, if you use your browser to write (emails, blogs, etc.) Firefox will highlight your spelling mistakes. You can install more than one language pack and switch between them, as well as add new words to each dictionary.

These are only a very few add-ons from the thousands you can choose from (all free!) to personalize or streamline your browsing experience. Firefox has add-ons in the following categories:

* Alerts & Updates
* Bookmarks
* Download Management
* Feeds, News & Blogging
* Language Support
* Photos, Music & Videos
* Privacy & Security
* Search Tools
* Social & Communication
* Tabs
* Themes & Appearance
* Toolbars
* Web Development

You can also change the look of your browser through the hundreds of themes (from cute to gloomy to businesslike).

The beauty of it? Any and all of these add-on and themes are one download click away (any download takes between two and ten seconds), they are all tested and work, and they are as easy to uninstall if you decide you don’t want them. Firefox is compatible for both Windows and Mac.

See the light. Switch to Firefox. Your Internet time will be greatly enhanced.

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Popgadget: Personal Tech for Women

While surfing for something completely unrelated to this post, I found this nifty webzine (it probably exists also on paper):Popgadget.

The zine, which is more blog-like than zine-like, touts itself as a technology magazine for women:

Technology magazines ignore women and women’s magazines ignore technology. Popgadget is a lifestyle magazine that embraces technology as a regular and essential part of women’s lives. We cover topics traditionally seen in women’s magazines, such as health and fitness, beauty and fashion, home, family, and entertainment, but with a unique focus on the products and people that bring exciting innovations to those aspects of our lives. But if you’re looking for a bikini-clad model straddling a Power Mac G5, you won’t see it here.

Yay! Gotta love it, even though some of those technological finds can be silly, like the purse with a flexible solar panel that can, it avers, recharge your cell phone. I really needed one of those, especially at $383US.

But there are also great posts such as how technology is “sold” differently to men and women, or this Holiday Gift Guide for Technophobes. I want one of those microwavable teddy bears.

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Technical problems, travelling, et al.

For those who visit my blog regularly, many apologies. It appears that it wasn’t accessible for a whole month. There’s an explanation for it, I promise.

On 8 September, I left for Rome (Italy, not the US, where there are actually 10 States who have a town called Rome) for a month. Came back last Sunday.

During that time, I made it a point not to access the internet, except for basic email to parents and friends, and the odd online reservation to museums. Big mistake.

A few days before I left, I had to change my server’s username; I thought everything was fine, but it appears the changes took only after I left for Europe. Hence disabling my blog.

Well, it’s fine now, and I’m back. I had a wonderful holiday and over the next weeks will discuss my experiences and of course add pertinent photos. Rome is an incredible place, where ancient times compete with 21st century technology. It was exhilarating, humbling, and sometimes disappointing. I was able to experience some of the culture since I was there a month and we rented an apartment, much more I think than if we had traveled through the country. The apartment was in a less “touristy” place than the center of Rome and gave us a glimpse of how people lived day-to-day. I’ll be talking about that.

I’ll also be talking about the incredible sights, the mix of ancient, old, and new, and how conflicting it looked for the Romans. Again, those are only impressions and they stem from my own culture. I may be way off base.

If any of you, my readers, are Italian or of Italian background, I’d love your opinions and rebuttals on what I’ll write. The only way you can learn about another culture is through exchange of ideas.

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