By Ron | September 15, 2014 - 11:40 am - Posted in WSVA Show Notes

The September show is up now.  Not many links today but some good talk and calls.  You can listen to the show here.  Have a great week!

Tech News
MakerBot chief believes self-driving cars will spur a need for 3D-printed organs
Self-driving cars are safer by their very nature, since they avoid the mistakes of human drivers. However, that improved safety may create some new problems — at least, according to MakerBot founder Bre Pettis. He tells Fortune that scientists will likely have to step up work on 3D-printed organs if and when robotic vehicles take off, since a significant chunk of organ donations (which are already scarce) come from car accident victims.

Pettis isn’t disputing the value of reducing road fatalities, of course. The issue is more that hospitals have to be ready for possible shortfalls in natural transplants.


You’ve Got Hidden Facebook Messages: Check the Other Folder in Your Inbox
The writer’s "Other" folder, whose messages, by the time he discovered them, were ancient and outdated.

Ordinarily, I try to choose blog topics that might be useful to almost everybody. Today, however, I’d like to offer two tips whose appeal is limited exclusively to one group: the 1.1 billion users of Facebook.

A couple of weeks ago, one of my Facebook friends posted an alarming note. He had discovered a secret folder full of Facebook messages that he’d never seen, called Other. He was shocked to find that it contained important messages from important friends, going back years, with long-since expired offers and condolences and congratulations. He urged his friends to inspect their own Other folders.

Well, I checked mine, and found the same thing: it was teeming with messages, many of them now ancient and irrelevant, that would have been very important to me if I’d known they existed. Potential speaking engagements. Social invitations. Congratulations. Old bosses. School friends from 20 and 40 years ago.

The Times’s technology columnist, David Pogue, keeps you on top of the industry in his free, weekly e-mail newsletter.

If you have no time to read further, here’s the bottom line: Go to your Facebook page. In the left-side panel, click Messages. There, next to the boldfaced word “Inbox,” you see a light gray word “Other.” Click it to see your hidden stash of messages. You might be surprised at how much important stuff has been waiting for you there. Really surprised.


Screenshot from FlightRadar24.comFlight Radar
flightradar24.com
Flightradar24 is a flight tracking service that provides you with real-time info about thousands of aircraft around the world. Our service is currently available online and for your iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch) or Android device plus for Windows 8 and your Mac OS computer.

There is a free and paid app. The difference being getting info on any flight costs you, i.e., speed, altitude, destination, etc.


I hope you enjoyed the show, see you next month, please make posts here if you wish and tune in next month, Monday, October 20th.

Please feel free to post this site all over the cyber-world.

Ron

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By Ron Doyle | March 19, 2013 - 4:14 am - Posted in Columns

I have always been a big fan, supporter, promoter, etc. of Google.  That is until recently and here is why they are starting to work their way off of my radar. 

Google is performing what is termed "Spring Cleaning" on several of their products.  They shut down services/apps which they do not believe are being supported by users.  Two that were announced last year were Google Calendar Sync which basically ended December 14, 2012 and iGoogle which is scheduled to shut down on November 1, 2013.

Google Calendar Sync Option ScreenPersonally, I used those two extensively, especially Calendar Sync.  Calendar Sync performed an extremely important function for me.  It matched up my Outlook calendar at work to my personal Google calendar online.  Using this syncing process then allowed me to share my Google calendar with my wife so she could keep up with when I was going on trips, meetings after work, etc.  I could also choose to share it with anyone else I chose. 

It was a painless process since you set it up once and never look back.  It automatically "synced" the two calendars immediately when changes were made.  Since the Google calendar is online you can get to it anywhere you have a computer.

It was a very good application for the seven or eight years I had it Google.  Of course, they do say if you are currently using it you may continue…on that computer.  I conclude that means, "Once you have a new computer Calendar Sync is kaput!"

iGoogle was bad news to many people, too.  This was basically a Google home page you could use on your browser.  You could arrange "widgets" to show weather, local movie listings, news articles from specific sites, maps/directions, games, etc.  It essentially served as a geek’s morning paper where you could get the news you really wanted to read. 

Now this week Google made another announcement concerning spring cleaning.  Another of my beloved apps and many other peoples’… (According to the uproar online) Google Reader bites the dust.  Google Reader will be gone as of July 1, 2013.  Gee, Google, thanks for the big advance notice!  If you want to sign a petition to keep GR around visit: http://chn.ge/ZeVrkp and cast your vote.  You may join the other over 114, 500 people who had signed up within four days after the announcement was made.

Google Reader is and was in my opinion one of the best RSS Feed readers around.  We have talked before about RSS (Real Simple Syndication) so I will not belabor it.  Nevertheless, here it is in a nutshell.  It allows you to link to sites which offer RSS feeds (most sties) and get updates whenever they add comments or any content to the site. 

Google Reader logoGoogle Reader is simple to set up, is easy to use and has a very clean and user friendly interface.  I just recommended it to a group I spoke to a couple of weeks ago because it is so easy to use.

There are many other readers out there which have been recommended to be good replacements for Reader.  I have tried numerous quantities of them.  I will not mention those which failed my examination totally; however, there are two which are OK.  I need to state: they are still not as clean as Google Reader.  I would say the first runner-up is "feedly" (feedly.com) and at this point in my research, the closest one is "Newsblur" (newsblur.com).  Let me know as you continue the hunt for the best replacement.

Thanks, Google.

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By Ron Doyle, Administrator | June 15, 2010 - 3:02 am - Posted in Columns

I received many emails asking me more about Firefox Add-ons after last week’s column.  So today we are going to look at a few more.  Keep those emails coming since I want to write about what interests you!

If you have any questions about basic Firefox Add-ons you need to read last week’s column about "Invisible Hand" and "Tabloc" online at the DNR or at the DoubleClicks.info site.   

"Forecastbar Enhanced" is another helpful add-on.  It allows you to set your location, via zip code, to get your local weather forecasts.  The forecasts are from Accuweather.com.  Other than the current weather forecasts, radar images, etc., you can display it in different locations in FF.  I keep mine in the status bar at the bottom of the Firefox window, which is the default.  You can also set it up to show forecasts for several days in the future. 

The next one I would like to share with you is called, "FoxTab".  "FoxTab" will allow you to set the sites you most often visit.  It will allow you to add any site to your top site "list" and quickly go to it at another time.  It enables a screen preview of "My Top Sites" in several great GUIs (Graphical User Interfaces) which you can pick from.  Not only is it useful, it also looks good.  Once you bring your top site window up by clicking a button on your toolbar, you click on the site you want to go to and it pops right up.  Yes, this is like your favorites but in a slick new format.

The last one I will mention today is for you Gmail users.  It is called, "Gmail Manager".  This add-on allows you to set your Gmail account to be visible in your status bar, showing your unread emails.  By clicking on the account it will open your Gmail account in Firefox as if you had logged into Gmail.com yourself.  Then you can deal with your emails as you normally would.  It is set to a default of checking for new emails every 15 minutes but you can adjust that, along with other settings in the options for this add-on.  It will also allow you to keep track of multiple Gmail accounts at the same time.  Of course, that is for you geeks who, like me have more than one Gmail account.

Have fun trying these out and remember they are all free.  If you don’t like them you can easily uninstall them. 

Let me know if you would like to see some more next week…I have about 20 add-ons that I use in Firefox.

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