Technology

The Youngest Now Has Email
Published by Toronto Mike on February 14, 2010 @ 10:40 in Family, Technology

EmailMy youngest child just got her first email account. She now knows how to login to her Gmail account and send emails and gchats to her parents, brother, grandmother and uncles.

My oldest child got his first account when he was five, and it really helped him learn to type, spell and successfully navigate web apps. Today, it was Michelle's turn to enter the digital fray. We fleshed out her contacts (the only people she's allowed to email are those I bless in her contacts), gave her a cool profile picture, changed her Gmail theme to "tea party" and taught her how to compose emails and send instant messages.

Nothing's cooler than getting an email from your 5-year old daughter, even when it's just a heart icon. Especially when it's just a heart icon.

Comments 4 comments
Don't Forget Canada, Google
Published by Toronto Mike on February 11, 2010 @ 08:54 in Technology

canadaGoogle has announced they're going to build and test ultra high-speed broadband networks in a small number of trial locations across the United States.

We'll deliver Internet speeds more than 100 times faster than what most Americans have access to today with 1 gigabit per second, fiber-to-the-home connections. We plan to offer service at a competitive price to at least 50,000 and potentially up to 500,000 people.

1 gigabit per second... take a moment to absorb that. Remember how excited we were when we could get 5mbps at home?

Google's experimental fiber network is meant as a strong message to the FCC that American's deserve better broadband. I hope this message isn't lost on the CRTC here in Canada, a true digital ghetto.

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Farewell Odeo, iMeem and Houndbite, Hello SoundCloud
Published by Toronto Mike on February 8, 2010 @ 16:15 in Podcasting, Technology

soundcloudI've been searching for the YouTube of audio for years. I'm just looking for a place where I can upload an MP3 and embed the player on my site. I used to like Odeo for this, and then Odeo dropped the ability to upload. Then I started using iMeem, until iMeem was bought by MySpace and disappeared completely. Then, I discovered Houndbite, but it too has bit the dust.

Once more, I was on the hunt for the YouTube of audio. That's when I discovered SoundCloud. SoundCloud only gives you two hours of space for free, but it's exactly what I need to share old Blue Jays songs and Tom Cheek calls.

To demonstrate this new discovery, here's Lloyd Moseby's Shaker's Rap.

Here's hoping SoundCloud sticks around for a while. And if you liked the sample above, you'd love this page.

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The Google Chrome Extensions Challenge
Published by Toronto Mike on February 7, 2010 @ 13:02 in Google Chrome, Technology

ChromeYesterday, I wrote about web browsers. I've been a Firefox user for as long as the Mozilla browser has had that name, and part of the reason I've resisted the switch to Google Chrome is my reliance on the Firefox add-ons. The fact is, Chrome extensions have come a long way over the past six months, and Elvis convinced me it was time to give Chrome another shot.

This entry is about how I configured Chrome to give it a fair shot against my trusty ol' Firefox. I'll concede that Chrome is faster, and that's what has me rooting for this test to be successful.

The most important extension as far as I'm concerned is Adblock+. I simply can't search the web without it. Thankfully, Adblock+ is available in Chrome, so the test may begin.

The other significant change I had to make is how I manage my Twitter account. I love Twitter, and I've been reading and tweeting from a Firefox extension from Echofon. Echofon doesn't make this extension for Chrome, and I hated every Twitter extension for Chrome I tried last night. As a result, I'm giving TweetDeck another shot.

Now let's look at the Google Chrome extensions I installed and why.

AdBlock+ Element Hiding Helper - This is a must have extension. Use it for one day and you won't be able to live without out.

Bit.ly (shorten, share, and track your links) - When I tweet URLS, I shorten them with Bit.ly. It lets me measure clicks.

Copy Without Formatting - Sometimes I need to copy text from the web, but I just want plain text without markup. This extension does the trick.

Docs PDF/PowerPoint Viewer (by Google) - I hate it when I click a link on the web to a PDF and it opens in the browser.

Facebook for Google Chrome - Just a nice way to check my FB news feed and wall without going to Facebook.

Forecastfox Weather - I liked this extension in Firefox and I'm glad it's available in Chrome.

Google Calendar Checker (by Google) - I live by my Google Calendar.

Google Mail Checker - This is the heartbeat of my digital world.

Google Reader Checker - Like Calendar and Gmail above, I read all my RSS feeds in Google Reader.

IE Tab - Some sites require IE. It's nice to be able to see them without changing browsers.

Pendule - This was my find of the day. I love this extension. It does a number of the things the developer toolbar in Firefox would do, and more. It handles pixel measurement, colour picking, CSS viewing and so much more. Many of the Firefox add-ons I needed for work are satisfied by this single Chrome extension. If you're in web development or management, you have to try Pendule.

Picnik Extension for Chrome - A nice extension for taking and editing screen caps.

Now I just need a way to better handle my bookmarks. I've exported them from Firefox and imported them into Chrome, but I don't love the way Chrome handles them. There's gotta be an extension that'll make me happy.

The great Google Chrome extensions challenge begins!

Comments 8 comments
What Your Web Browser Says About You
Published by Toronto Mike on February 6, 2010 @ 15:14 in Google Chrome, Technology

firefoxUsing data in Google Analytics, here are the browsers visitors to this site are using. This data was collected over the past 30 days.

browser

Internet Explorer is used by the majority of you, Firefox is a strong second and Safari is a decent third place with a little over 10%. Chrome is the new kid on the block and comes in fourth. No other browser is used by 1% of you.

Here's what your browser says about you.

Chrome - You're a speed freak, looking to get from A to B in as few parsecs as possible. Add-ons be damned, faster is better.

Safari - You're a Mac user and that makes you feel superior to the other 90% of us. Your arrogance is astounding.

Firefox - You hate IE, and that led you to discover Firefox back in 2004. By now you're so dependent on Firefox add-ons you'll never switch, no matter how fast Chrome gets. Your web standards sensibilities and loyalty to the Mozilla Foundation makes you rather endearing.

Internet Explorer - You use the browser that came by default with Windows, and you don't try another browser because you're lazy, disinterested in excellence and without a soul. Yes, I just called 52.39% of you soulless.

The other 1.78% of you using browsers like Camino or Blazer, you're anti-establishment and you frighten me. CSIS has already been notified.

Comments 28 comments
iPad Ad From Apple
Published by Toronto Mike on January 27, 2010 @ 14:04 in Technology

technologyI actually resisted the iPod for years. I preferred my iRiver because it actually had a built in FM receiver. Sometimes I want to listen to MP3s, other times I want to listen to the radio.

I eventually bought a Shuffle for running and a couple of years ago I got a Touch for my birthday. The Touch won me over. I love the interface, the apps, the browser - and it even plays MP3s!

Today, unless you're living under a rock, you've heard that Apple has unveiled their new iPad. It's more than just a bigger Touch, but it's not for me. When I need a pocket device I have my Touch and when I need something bigger I have my trusty laptop. I don't feel compelled to drop $1000 hundreds of dollars on an iPad.

Here, hot off the press, is the new ad from Apple for the iPad. This is a Toronto Mike exclusive.

And here's the iPad itself. This is not a Toronto Mike exclusive.

ipad

Comments 10 comments
No Hulu in Canada? Pity...
Published by Toronto Mike on December 21, 2009 @ 09:31 in Technology, Television

tvI'm bumping into embedded Hulu clips more often in the blogosphere. Hulu is a website that offers ad-supported streaming video of TV shows and movies from NBC, FOX and many other networks and studios. The quality is great, and because it's a legal channel, you never have to worry that the SNL skit you embedded in your blog might be pulled by the end of the day thanks to a copyright claim by NBC.

When Brittany Murphy died yesterday, several American bloggers posted a recent parody of her that aired on Saturday Night Live. Here in Canada, this is what we see:

hulu

That's right, Hulu isn't available in Canada. Apparently, the licensing issues were so complex they couldn't get a deal done. So we're out of the loop.

I see ad-supported high quality tv show and news streaming as the future of television. Hulu seems to be getting it right. I just wish I could see what all the fuss is about.

Comments 9 comments
Wireless Network Connections at the ACC
Published by Toronto Mike on December 15, 2009 @ 14:15 in Technology, Toronto Maple Leafs

wifiThere are several wireless networks inside the Air Canada Centre. Yesterday, while in the media press box, I was given the username and password for the connection known as ACCWifi.

Here are the connections my laptop detected.

acc-wifi

Prior to my visit, Elliotte Friedman warned me that the ACC wifi was a little wonky.

ef

I'm happy to report my connection didn't drop once and ACCWifi was as fast as an Al Iafrate slap shot.

Comments 2 comments
imeem Dies, My Search for YouTube of Audio Continues
Published by Toronto Mike on December 14, 2009 @ 08:42 in Technology

audioWhen Odeo stopped allowing audio uploads, I started looking for a replacement. Essentially, I was looking for the YouTube of audio.

I discovered imeem would pretty much do what I wanted. I could upload an audio clip, usually one of Tom Cheek's calls of Blue Jays baseball or a Humble and Fred bumper, and embed the player on this site. Although not perfect (sometimes it would only play 30 seconds on the site and would force a click to imeem.com to hear the rest), imeem did the job nicely and all was well.

Last week, all imeem players embedded on this site disappeared. Literally. Maybe Humble and Fred bits and sports calls are AWOL. MySpace bought imeem and is redirecting imeem.com to music.myspace.com. It would be easy to say MySpace killed imeem, but I understand imeem was dead before the ship even sank. MySpace gets a free pass on this one...

But now I'm looking for the YouTube of audio again. It might be Hound Bite, but maybe it's something else? Maybe it's YouTube, as ridiculous as that sounds.

Do I need to roll my own or is there a decent free audio sharing service a'la YouTube?

Comments 6 comments
I'm Giving Away 38 Google Wave Invitations Today
Published by Toronto Mike on November 28, 2009 @ 15:23 in Technology

googleI've got 38 invitations to Google Wave.

If you want to use Google Wave, leave a comment and I'll hook you up. The first 38 commenters get one.

For realz.

google_wave_invitation

Comments 53 comments


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