Wednesday, June 22, 2011

HAPPY 450th POST!!! Picasa Icon Viewing Tip

Yes, CA faithful, it's time for a long-lost computing tip from the CA.

Screen shot 2011-06-22 at 10.35.31 PM.png

Do you use Picasa as your default picture viewer?  Well, I do.  This has nice little benefits like a fun slideshow effect, when viewing images from my file folder.  What's the downside I've grumbled to myself about for the past few years?  Image icons are displayed as a flippin brown hill with trees on it!!

Seriously, what's with the hill/trees graphic (rather than an actual preview of the images)?
Finally, the other day, I put my grumbling to rest and got out my search hat.  Ironically enough, I found the answer in about 10 seconds.

So here's the low down on how to fix this annoyance on a Windows machine:

Open your folder window and click on Tools>Folder options (as shown below)

Next, click on the view tab, as follows:  View>Always show icons, never thumbnails

You'll want to make sure the "Always show icons, never thumbnails box is unchecked (as shown below)

Finally, choose your image size (small, medium, large, JUMBO-large, etc.):

I recommend large or extra large, especially if the folder is a pictures folder (you can always change the display size, whenever you want)

VOILA!!  Now, I can finally see what picture "IMG_2948" actually is, absent opening it up in Picasa.

Ah, now visible memories.
For those of you who ever upload screenshots (or, frankly, any pictures at all), I imagine you'll really enjoy this change, if you're a Picasa user who's been agonizing over this wonkiness.

Please hit me with any questions or comments in the, well, comments section.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Today's Spiritual Message: Father's Day

This Father's Day, I want to share the lyrics to one of my favorite hymns:

O my Father, thou that dwellest
In the high and glorious place,
When shall I regain thy presence
And again behold thy face?
In thy holy habitation,
Did my spirit once reside?
In my first primeval childhood
Was I nurtured near thy side?

For a wise and glorious purpose
Thou hast placed me here on earth
And withheld the recollection
Of my former friends and birth;
Yet ofttimes a secret something
Whispered, "You're a stranger here,"
And I felt that I had wandered
From a more exalted sphere.

I had learned to call thee Father,
Thru thy Spirit from on high,
But, until the key of knowledge
Was restored, I knew not why.
In the heav'ns are parents single?
No, the thought makes reason stare!
Truth is reason; truth eternal
Tells me I've a mother there.

When I leave this frail existence,
When I lay this mortal by,
Father, Mother, may I meet you
In your royal courts on high?
Then, at length, when I've completed
All you sent me forth to do,
With your mutual approbation
Let me come and dwell with you.

(O My Father, LDS Hymn #292.)

Often, I feel like we've lost an appreciation for God, at all, let alone as our literal Father.  Today, I want to testify that we are, as Paul said, His "offspring" (Acts 17:29), His children.  I witness that His greatest achievement lies not in the creation of earths, universes, or cosmoses, but in aiding our progression to become as He is:
For behold, this is my work and my glory -- to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man (Moses 1:39).
Thus, like our Father-in-heaven, my greatest joy, here on earth (and next to being married to my wife) is to raise and love my sweet daughter and other future children, in some tiny degree, as He loves and raises you, me, and all of us.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Will You Wii U? Some Hardcores Might, I Probably Won't

First of all, let me say this could be one of the only "by-request" posts I've ever done, especially outside the wife-requested genre.

Next, let me disclose that the F-Word will likely chafe at anything I have to say in this post, as he revoked my video game man card many moons ago.  Rest assured, my head is still hanging in shame.

Now, to the subject at hand:  The Wii U.  Announced to hit the masses next year, the Wii's successor will arrive roughly six years after the original wooed the non-gaming public back in 2006.

Sorry, I failed to find a cool shot of the Wii U stacked on top of its predecessors.
On second thought, I'm unsure the ancestors would have the bulk to support it . . .

While I'm in disclosure mode, let me also confess that the extent of my knowledge on the Wii U extends basically to its Wikipedia page (that heavenly haven of all knowledge) and maybe one half an article from a usually computer tech site (I think it was CNET).

How large do the casual gamers loom?
My gut reaction on this one is that Nintendo's aiming to chip away at (or destroy) its casual/child gamer image.  While many have long caricatured the Nintendo gaming experience as built for children (Mario, Zelda, etc., seem much more child friendly than Grand Theft Auto, Halo, or Resident Evil), the Wii magnified this pronouncement to the nth degree:  Nintendo marketed, and people accepted, the Wii as the we device -- which is to say everyone can and will want to play it, rather than just the 30-something vampires, existing in their parents'/grandparents' basement.  While my general observation is that a lot of people enjoy playing the Wii, I imagine most of the casual Wii gamers were, and are, well, casual.  Nintendo, like MS, Sony, or any game company, is in it to win it, which is to say, make $.  Let's do the familiar Parreto analysis:  If just 20% of our customers actually buy 80% of our games (in terms of count sold), we just might want to please that lot most.  So who is this mythical 20%?  The hardcores (maligned above as parasitic vampires).

How does Nintendo lure back the hardcores?

What have hardcore gamers been screaming for ever since the Xbox and PlayStation 2 emerged from the labs?  To my knowledge, hardcore graphics, hardcore games, and hardcore everything.  Yes, I'm amused with how vague that proclamation sounds, myself.  On the other hand, I think it fits the mold of escaping the Wii's casual (non-hardcore) image.

Vg icon.svg
Get it, hardcore?  Thanks, Wikipedia!
HARDCORE:  Just looking at the machine (the Wii U), I think to myself:  Is this an Xbox 360 in Nintendo's clothing?  Will the new Jumbo-large controller play Halo 3000, in addition to Mario and Zelda?  With HD rendering and a newfangled controller, I assume Nintendo's gunning hardcore to get its core users back, who are always the hardcores (or lure some away from MS and Sony).

FAMILIAR:  As I heard about the new name, I asked myself, "Wii U"?  Based on what I've seen, my assumption is that Nintendo's trying to toe the line of keeping the "casual" gamers in tow ("Seriously, folks, it's still a console grandma and grandpa can enjoy, it's still a Wii!"), while tantalizing the hardcore.  Nintendo appears to have some success in store from the casual, thanks to its Wii-backward compatibility.  On the other hand, why just back to the Wii, rather than the Cube, as well?  Maybe the assumption here is that too few casual gamers have Cube memorabilia and too few hardcores would care enough to play Cube games, anyway.

SUCCESS?  While I'll leave a detailed analysis of the Wii U's detailed specs and chances at financial success, I'll give it a moderate shot of winning back (or gaining) some of the hardcore gamers, while likely keeping on board any casual gamers who actually care enough to plunk down the $ for another system.  I think much will depend on the $ tag and how the iPad, er, new controller sits with the masses.

PERSONAL REACTION:  While I've long been a Nintendo "fanboy," I've also long since been dead to video game counsels and, pretty much, gaming in general.  I imagine my current personal preference is  demonstrated by the image at the top of this blog, along with its (the blog's) regular content.  So what's my BOLD, F-WORD STYLE PREDICTION?  THIS IS THE LAST REASONABLY SUCCESSFUL CONSOLE GENERATION AND ALL PREDECESSORS WILL RUN OUT OF THE CLOUD.  See this article on how cloud computing is starting to throttle the console market, thanks to higher internet speeds, enhanced capability via HTML5, etc., and which more or less summarizes my newspaper-destiny forecast of the console market.
The future of gaming.
I hope you enjoyed this CA production.  Please vent any outrage or smug agreement in the comments section, below. Thanks.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Google Instant Pages on Chrome

If you think Google Instant is cool, check this out:

Other than the President Obama homage, I'm pretty darn impressed.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Today's Spiritual Message: Honesty: You Better Believe It!

We live in a world that increasingly turns a blind eye to lying, cheating, and deception.  Sometimes our deception may go unnoticed by others.  On the other had, we know what we have done, and God knows what we have done.  If we tell ourselves otherwise, we're deceiving only ourselves.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Apple Introduces iCloud, Sues Whole World for Rights to the Word "Cloud"

Okay, I'm writing this one as a favor to my Apple enthusiast friend who is a borderline Chrome OS convert.

First of all, let's disclose the obvious that I have adopted Steve Ballmer's "All in for the cloud" mantra and am virtually a paid Google employee.  Phew.  With that off my chest, I will continue.

Is that the Soundcloud logo in silver!!  Someone file suit, quick!
Mr. Jobs (to avoid contention, I'll refrain from using my favorite nick name for him) and company have released a new way to cut the USB/Firewire cords and still sync data across different devices.  What's new?  Rather than manually storing all my data on all my Apple branded products, I can now entrust all my data to Apple's online iCloud service, which will sync the data to my different devices for me.  Pretty cool.  What's the same?  Yes, you guessed I would say it: "walled garden."  If I want to sync my data across different devices, I'd better be wearing a turtleneck and jeans (sorry, I gave in to the temptation!).  In other words, I have to own an automagical Apple product, or I'm hosed.

As I commented on Chrome OS Site, I see this move as Apple essentially doing what Microsoft does best:  Tying users to its own products and services, except for Apple takes the magic one step further, decreeing that users must use its infallible products, or die (okay, just lose access to their data).

I'm glad to see things moving more and more toward the cloud -- wait, am I allowed to use that word, now? -- and my preference is for users to take their data where they want, when they want it (which many will argue Google fails at because ubiquitous internet has yet to arrive).

For those who chafe at using Chrome OS because, GASP, it stores everything in the cloud! how is iCloud any different?  In a lot of ways, I welcome Apple's pretended venture into the clouds (I say pretended because where do I access my data?  I presume on locally-installed programs, er, apps) because more and more people will realize that trusting our data to third parties (again, GASP) is inevitable.

iCloud is free
0 visible dollars (the cost is built into the products/services) does seem a lot better than MobileMe's $99 price tag.
Yes, iCloud may be free to those willing to don a turtleneck and jeans, day in and day out.  For those who want to slip into something else (use a non-Apple product), iCloud is, as I understand it, the antithesis of free.

I have a dream that one day my children and grandchildren will be able to access their data and apps wherever they go and on any machine, not because of the products they own, but because they will have universal access to it across any device.

I will hand it to Apple and assume this service will appease many fans, while allowing it to somewhat dip a toe into cloud computing.  On the other hand, I feel like Apple and Microsoft will eventually lose substantial ground to companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon, because the former two insist on maintaining their tired (did you like that snark?) and true business models.

In the early 2000s, Apple broke out of its customary PC/laptop shell and opened up to all things iPortable.  Is iCloud the beginning of Apple's transition to cloud computing?  I doubt it, but time will tell.

For more, Google iCloud.  ;)  Or, you could simply read what I consider an even-handed article from CNET.

You may now shower me with boos, hisses, weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth.  I have only one request: Do it in the comments section, for all to see. }:-)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Today's Spiritual Message: Teaching Youth about Chastity

Now that my wife's keyboard is officially fixed, I will leave you with a brief message about how the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches its youth about chastity.

Youth are encouraged to regularly review and live the values taught in the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet (the link includes many more resources than just the pamphlet).

We live in a world "that call[s] evil good, and good evil; that put[s] darkness for dlight, and light for darkness; that put[s] bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" (Isaiah 5:20).  As such, I am very grateful to have reminders about what really is good, especially when the world seems to have changed its mind.  (For example, things like sexting and outright promiscuity are now seen as "good" and healthy, when previously they were thought of as "evil" and "bitter.")

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The +1 Button Is Here! Spread the Love . . .

Can you see it, below, in the footer of this post, next to the Gmail, Blogger, Twitter, Facebook, and Buzz share buttons?

Well, it looks like this, except gray:

It means you agree/like something
Here's a fun little video that describes the +1 button's appeal:

Actually, I forced (okay, politely asked) my wife to search for a post I had +1'd, and, sure enough, we saw my +1 recommendation, right in her search results.  Very cool, in my view.

If you want to add a +1 button to your own blog posts, as I have, go to the +1 Webmaster site to get the code and then go to Design>Edit HTML on your blog and follow the instructions given on the webmaster site.

I imagine you'll find more simple/understandable instructions by Googling "place +1 blog" or something like that.  Happy +1ing and please +1 this post and other CA (my) posts you enjoy.  Cheers!