Monthly Archives: November 2008

Calendar – Google Account – Use it for A LOT of things, not just email

The free Google Calendar is an awesome way to keep track of your events online.  Yeah, I know; having a physical calendar (in lieu of a PDA or PDA phone) is more convenient.  However, if you want to share calendar information, with someone else, it’s a really neat way of doing it.  I’ve started putting my information, out in my calendar, because it helps me keep track of my [slowly increasing] social events, such as coffee with my coffee buddy, once-per-year coffee with my brother, more coffee with my coffee buddy, three-times-per-year movie with my neighbor, coffee with my coffee buddy, twice per year movie with a friend of mine, coffee with my coffee buddy, etc.  I also use it to schedule my “night out”, and my wife uses it to schedule her nights out, and we control conflicts that way.

There are numerous public calendars that one can also access, overlaying their information onto your own, via choosing to view one calendar’s data or multiple calendars.  For instance, I have football schedules, DVD release dates, and local events on mine; I had Disney World daily events but removed it after our trip.

 
The trick, with sharing one’s calendar, is to not divulge information, to anyone, that you do not wish divulged.  Thus, it is best to a) only share calendars with super close friends, and b) only share that information which you deem appropriate, even with those with whom you share calendars.
 
For example, in Google Calendars, one can choose to allow individuals to see the following information:
 
  • See only Free/Busy Information (Hide Details) – This is the lowest access setting, best for allowing folks to plan events with you.  They can see if you’re available, and when you’re not available, but they cannot see what you’re DOING in your events.  They cannot see the name of the events either.  This is cool, but note that, if you’re on vacation for two weeks, it’ll be pretty obvious that the item is a vacation item.
  • See All Event Details – This shows the entire event name and its details inside.
  • Make Changes to Events – This is as it says, and allows sharers to change event items.  This is really useful for a group calendar — or a calendar in someone’s personal account that folks use as a group calendar — but has little usefulness for one’s own account.  Personally, I wouldn’t want anyone mucking around changing my events.  Even if I had a secretary (passe) I wouldn’t let them do it.
  • Make Changes to Events and Manage Sharing — Like the above item, useful for group calendars.
You can grant ‘See All Event Details’, to those in need, so they can monitor your calendar.  If they login to their Google Account, and go to ‘Calendar’, along the top, they can see your calendar as an option along their left-frame.

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Using GMail instead of One’s ISP’s Email

Periodically people ask me why I use GMail.  I have posted here before, with tips about how to set up one’s emailer application to use it, but I haven’t posted much about why to use it instead of one’s ISP’s email account.  Below are some thoughts, taken from my other writings.

Email Account – Another Change – Tips from an opinionated S.O.B. (to my niece, May 19, 2008)

To me, your question is two-fold, Melissa.  I’ll deal with the “How do I change the email address associated with the Yahoo! group?” question second, as the first question, the core question, really is more important.  That is, “What email address should I switch to using?”.  I know you didn’t ask that, but you should have.  Why?  Because you said it yourself:  “… What a pain, I hate it when people change their emails”.

Free Email (GoogleMail, Yahoo!, AOL, Hotmail, MSN Mail, etc.) versus ISP (ATT, Road Runner, Charter, whatever)
I’m going to go out on a limb here and make a blanket statement; no one should ever distribute their ISP-given address for use in their friends’ address books.  Instead, one should use a non ISP-based address that one can have for life, such as G(oogle)Mail  (best), Yahoo! (second best), or MSN, AOL, or Hotmail (crap, crap, crap).  If you do that, you a) never have to publish an address book change, and b) have access to your online email cache anywhere, at any time.

Gmail has free POP access (Yahoo! charges for theirs).  This means you can tie your email application (Outlook, Outlook Express, Thunderbird, Eudora, WindowsMail…whatever) to it and send and receive messages to your heart’s content.  Or, simply use the web interface with the free 1 GB storage.

For my blog posting about how to configure your email application, for GMail, see http://waukeshawestside.blogspot.com/2007/03/googlemail-gmail-configuring-pop-email.html.  For a quick note about Gmail and BACN  (which is spam one actually WANTS), see http://waukeshawestside.blogspot.com/2007/09/official-gmail-blog-gmail-eats-your.html.

Note that having a GMail account is not just having an email account.  Like Yahoo! Mail, it also plugs you into their system.  But with Google, there’s more fun stuff, like the ability to create Word docs, Excel files, and other files, in the system, and work on them out on your account…and then choose to share them with others.  It’s a very neat way to collaborate on documents among friends and colleagues, all for free.

Clean your Windows Registry, Delete the Temp files, Anti-Virus, etc. – Glary and AVG

Since my laptop is over four years old and running like crap, and it'd been years since I used a registry cleaner (finds orphaned files and entries and deletes them) or \Temp folder cleaner, I spent a little time last night working on it.  I found “Glary Utilities”, at CNet (at http://www.download.com/Glary-Utilities/3000-2094_4-10508531.html?tag=mncol&cdlPid=10901284), and it sped up my old dog quite a lot.  You no doubt do not need to run it yet on your new laptop, but if your other PC is more than a year old, you might benefit from it.  You can have it run a scan before it changes anything, and it'll back out changes if something goes wrong.

That, coupled with the free AVG Anti-Virus, another download (http://www.download.com/AVG-Anti-Virus-Free-Edition/3000-2239_4-10320142.html?tag=mncol&cdlPid=10891365) and you're ready to go.  AVG found spyware that my McAfee and SpyBot hadn't even found.  Cool.

Gears of War 2 on SciFi Channel and a note about Resistance 2

Sci-Fi Channel aired an HD ‘Sci Vs. Fi: Gears of War 2’, and all the hype reeled me in…and then I realized it’s a Microsoft game.  Dammit.  I’ve only got a PS3, PS2, PC, and a Wii.  I’m outta luck.  This simply means I’ll have to put Resistance 2 on my Christmas Gift list.

Anyway, GOW2 it looks fantastic.  Aisha Tyler, the actor formerly on “Ghost Whisperer” (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0878768/ , age 38) loves it, as does “Chuck” himself, Zachary Levi (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1157048/).  Not that celebrity endorsements are all that important to me, but it’s fun to watch them rave about video games.  The show is funny and really cranks one up for the game.

Some links for ya:

Gears of War 2 vs. Resistance 2: A Scifi.com review:  http://fidgit.com/archives/2008/11/-resistance-2-and-gears.php Fair and balanced I’d say.

Preview of the show: http://www.aeropause.com/2008/11/gears-of-war-sci-fi-channel-tv-preview/

Another preview: http://video.aol.com/video-detail/sci-fi-channel-presents-sci-vs-fi-gears-of-war-2/1794923802/?icid=VIDURVENT06

I couldn’t find the complete episode available as a download or stream, but here’s SciFi’s Near Future Airings of the show:

DATE
TIME
PROGRAM
TITLE
STEREO
CC
11/09/2008
02:30 AM
GEARS OF WAR 2: SCI VS. FI
GEARS OF WAR 2: SCI VS. FI
 
11/10/2008
01:00 AM
GEARS OF WAR 2: SCI VS. FI
GEARS OF WAR 2: SCI VS. FI
 
11/11/2008
01:00 AM
GEARS OF WAR 2: SCI VS. FI
GEARS OF WAR 2: SCI VS. FI
 
11/13/2008
08:00 AM
GEARS OF WAR 2: SCI VS. FI
GEARS OF WAR 2: SCI VS. FI
 
11/13/2008
01:30 AM
GEARS OF WAR 2: SCI VS. FI
GEARS OF WAR 2: SCI VS. FI