Friday, February 18, 2005

Putting Google on the Map 

Google has made a beta version of their new mapping program available: Google Maps. It's quite a bit different from other mapping programs out there (such as Yahoo or Mapquest) in that the maps are dynamic, interactive and draggable. For example, with other mapping programs, to view an adjacent part of a map you usually have to click on a directional arrow and then wait for the map graphic to reload. With Google Maps you just click and drag on the map in the direction you want to go and the map is instantly repositioned. Google Maps also let you search on the name of a region or a neighborhood.

The directions it gives are very clear, too. Clicking on a numbered step in the directions shows you a cut-out up-close view on the map -- perfect if you are not sure about certain turns and want to see them up-close. You have to give it a try to understand what I mean...it's just plain better.
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Tuesday, February 15, 2005

As Predicted: A Firefox Explosion 

The Firefox Explosion, by Josh McHugh echoes my sentiments from a few months ago. From the article:
Firefox the browser is an impressive piece of software. It's easy to use, easy on the eyes, and safer than IE - partly because it's too new to have amassed a following of evil hackers. Firefox the phenomenon is something much bigger. It's a combination of innovations in engineering, developer politics, and consumer marketing.
If you haven't switched yet, what are you waiting for?
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Saturday, February 05, 2005

2 Kewl Firefox Extensions 

You already know I am a fan of Firefox. I recently came across two useful extensions that can be added to Firefox. (An extension is a small program that enhances a program. )

ScrapBook lets you collect web pages as "clippings" -- an excellent tool for those who do a lot of research on the 'net. It organizes the clippings and saves them to disk along with your own comments and annotations. The clipping's original web page address is stored so you can easily revisit the page for more info. Notes and clippings are able to be searched (especially useful).

Tabbrowser Preferences gives you more control over Firefox's tabbed window interface. (Tools > Options > Tabbed Browsing) Tabs can be positioned at the top OR bottom of a browser window and if you want all clicked links to open in a new tab, you can lock them. New tabs will alow you to open URLs from within the URL Bar and do a search from the Search Bar. You can even make every new tab that opens automatically display your default homepage.

Extensions are easy to download and install -- just follow the instrux.
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Thursday, February 03, 2005

Trusty Clusty 

There's a new search tool out there that I am starting to like more and more: Clusty.

Clusty (owned and operated by VivĂ­simo) uses a Clustering Engine to organize search results into folders that group similar items together. Searching for "golden retriever," for example, will result in the top 250-500 results being organized into subject folders such as Rescue, Puppies, Pets, Clubs/Events, and Kennels.

I especially like their News search page. By default, when you first go to the news page, the top stories are clustered into Stories folders. You can change the clustering method to Sources (such as AP, New York Times, etc) or Section (categories such as sports, technology, etc.).

If you are using Firefox, they even have a downloadable Firefox toolbar. (They also have one for Internet Explorer, but you know how I feel about that browser if you've been reading this blog for a while.)

Clusty is still in Beta testing right now -- but I recommend bookmarking it and trying it on your next few searches.
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Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Google's Picture Perfect Picasa, Part 1 

My February column is up at the Suite101 Digital Photography & Editing site:

Google's Picture Perfect Picasa

Google recently released Picasa 2. It's a free program that helps you find, organize, edit, and share your photographs. This article covers importing and organizing pictures using Picasa. Next month I will cover the program's editing features and the month after that, the sharing features.

Be sure to subscribe to my topic if you want to receive an e-mail when each new article comes out. (Click on the Subscribe link near the top of the page in the box). If you subscribe you can also rate the articles to let me know which topics you like best.
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