Sunday, July 31, 2011

Today's Spiritual Message: Provident Living

The phrase "provident living," or living within our means (not spending more than we have) may sound like a joke to many in the world today, especially after we just went through an economic recession where people could simply "state" how much income they wanted to get a house, and our nation still teeters on the brink of default.

Personally, I'm so grateful that the Lord has called prophets and apostles in our day and age to warn us about avoiding excessive debt.

Here is a link that discuss living within our means and a message from President Thomas S. Monson, which discusses, in part, avoiding excessive debt (given in 2006).

Hope you enjoy both.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Scratchpad Gets a Makeover

I was hoping this day would come.  The Chromium team has given scratchpad a makeover.  Now all we need is offline Docs . . .

I'll give you a sprinkling of what I've seen and let the big guns give you the full run down.

Polished interface
I'm impressed with how slick the new interface looks.  Before, with the red, green, and blue dots, I felt like I was jamming on something a 1st grader put together.  Sorry, devs.  Also, the previous version just listed the given notes, while this release gives a date.  Nice.  See the turning throbber icon next to my NEW NOTE?  I was impressed with how fast notes would automatically sync up with my Google Docs.

Old v. New

More Old v. New
I like how the new version gives more formatting options, including font type, size, strikethrough, color, and highlighting.  Looks like the new version lacks a quick delete button . . .  I wonder if people were accidentally deleting their notes?

Scratchpad opened with new Panels flag turned on in dev chanel
I'm less than a huge fan of the new Panels flag, with the Scratchpad app, although I did see a comment or two in the app installation page that sang its praises.  Seemed pretty glitched out, to me.

Oh, three other awesome new features are the ability to search for notes, sort them, and open notes/list in full-tab view.  +1.

Hopefully, I'll avoid anyone hacking my system via this app:

Now if I could just get some keyboard shortcuts (other than ctrl+b for bold, e.g.) . . .

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Today's Spiritual Message: I Choose to be Pure

In an age where "anything goes" and, so many "call evil good" (Isaiah 5:20), I'm delighted to see six young people stand up and declare that they can control their sexual appetites and that they are happy because of that decision.

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Today's Spiritual Message: T-I-M-E Spells Love

Sometimes I struggle to remember one of the greatest gifts I can give my family is my time.  How often do we like to feel busy and important?  Yet, what could be more important than spending time with our family?  I love what President Dieter F. Uchtdorf said last October General Conference, “In family relationships love is really spelled t-i-m-e, time.”

What do we make our priorities?
"Let’s be honest; it’s rather easy to be busy. We all can think up a list of tasks that will overwhelm our schedules. Some might even think that their self-worth depends on the length of their to-do list. They flood the open spaces in their time with lists of meetings and minutia—even during times of stress and fatigue. Because they unnecessarily complicate their lives, they often feel increased frustration, diminished joy, and too little sense of meaning in their lives."
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
I invite you to read President Uchtdorf's message, "Of Things That Matter Most," along with a message from this month's Ensign (the official magazine of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), "T-I-M-E Spells Love."

Friday, July 15, 2011

Google Talk Launch App(?) and New Window Switcher on Chrome OS 14.0.751.0

Update:  Upon further discovery, it turns out the []]] button (next to the full-screen button) has been transformed from a window switcher (alt+tab) to a window maximizer (alt+spacebar+x on Windows).

Okay, as I've said, recently, I usually let these kind of posts go because someone's generally already covered them.  Maybe I've failed to see anything on this one (yet) because it's late on a Friday night . . .  Such is my geekdom.

When I saw on Jee Lee's blog feed that there was finally a new, 14.0 Chrome OS build, I had to try it out and test the waters.

Sure enough, I got what I wanted:  At least two new morsels.

1.  Google Talk Launch App(?)

A Second Google Talk App??
So far as I can tell, all this "new" app does is add another button, with the word "Launch," which does what the previous Talk app already did . . .  Someone want to let me in on the secret?

2.  New Window Switcher Icon and Functionality:  Multiple (Side-Side) Windows with New Keyboard Shortcuts, along with Extended Click for Window Switcher Icon

A new icon, double windows, and more clickable space, oh my!
That's right, folks, the Chrome team appears to have ditched the old window switcher icon in favor of what I consider a more svelte and attractive option.  To be candid, I just figured out it's functionality, so sit down for this one:  When the top-right icon has multiple windows, this means that clicking it will show me my other window(s), behind my current window.  Next, when the icon is solid, clicking it will maximize my current window, covering up the other one.

The Chrome team also (kind of) added some functionality I'd been hankering for, for a long time:  The ability to flick my mouse to the top-right of the screen, click, and have the window change back and forth.  What the Chrome team produced is actually different from what I was expecting -- the new icon switches between maximized and full-screen view, rather than flipping between windows.  I'm confident this new development will really please people who want to see multiple windows at once, and I can always use the alt+tab combo to get between various windows.  Something I'm a little bummed about is that if I want to just maximize a window, rather than making it totally full screen, I think I have to click the window switcher icon, which I dislike because it's a lot more time consuming to target than to simply flick my mouse to the corner or press alt+tab.  So, in other words, if I'm seeing things correctly, there is no keyboard shortcut to maximize a partially opened window.  :(  Ah, well.  I suppose I have a hard time getting everything I want in a new release . . .  ACTUALLY, upon snooping around a little, while Chrome decided if Blogger was going to crash or recover, I discovered a keyboard shortcut to re-size windows:  alt+. and alt+, Going all the way with alt+. is equivalent to maximizing the screen, although slower than one keystroke or single combination.  As I said, it can be hard to get everything we (geeks) want.  I do generally appreciate a friendly work-around, though, so thanks Chrome team.  :)

What else have you guys noticed in the 14.0 build?

P.S.  I seem to have my ctrl+(window switcher icon) screenshots showing up outside my screenshots folder in my File Shelf folder . . .

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Acer Wifi Chromebook Arrives (Finally)

Well, chromebook aficionados, it looks like Acer's wifi-only chromebook has finally arrived (just under a month after it was scheduled to join the party) and it comes in at $80 less than Samsung's wifi-only model, or a round $350.

Here are the specs of both available chromebooks, from Google.

The Cromia, as it's called, is a tad lighter than the Samsung Series 5 (2.95lbs v. 3.26), has a slightly smaller screen size (11.6" v. 12.1"), runs out of battery about 30% faster (6 hours v. 8.5), and is, some complain, less stylish.  Here is the Cromia on the left, with the Series 5 to the right.

Acer AC700-1099 Chromebook (Wi-Fi)Samsung Series 5 Chromebooks
Moreover, some believe the Series 5 has a better keyboard, which we'll actually find out, after we get some real hands-on reviews.

Finally, I believe the Cromia has a higher screen resolution and supports HDMI output, rather than the Series 5's VGA.

Cromia v. Series 5

My principal questions for comparison would be how much smaller do the screen and keyboard feel, and is there any difference in performance?  If any of these three factors is significantly poorer on the Cromia, I think I'd very well lean toward the Series 5.

Further on performance, the processor/RAM specs are, to my knowledge, identical.

Also, while the Series 5 battery life is notably better, I'm almost always right next to a power outlet, anyway, so that and other features, like a tiny difference in weight and video output, would hardly impact my personal decision.

In the final analysis, maybe the biggest difference between the two is the $80 (or about 18.5%) discount the Cromia offers over the Series 5(?).

What do you think?  Will you buy one over the other, or either one, at all?  Why?

Please sound off in the comments section or chime in on my Google+ post.

I first saw this announcement on Dinu's Chromestory.  Thanks for the news, Dinu!

(Updated at 12:21pm eastern, changing the Cromia weight, based on this eWeek article.)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Today's Spiritual Message: Watch Your Step

In today's world, so many of us want to justify our actions by saying, "It doesn't hurt anyone else."  I suggest we take a step back and ponder how accurate that defense really is, if ever.

Does any one of us live in a vacuum?  Who can doubt the verity that our actions affect others, our children, future generations, and the world.  Ever heard of the butterfly effect?

Friday, July 8, 2011

Blogger Gets a Facelift!

Just as I'm about to send this news to Alex Chitu and others, I see Alex already knows about it.  Sheesh!

New post editor.
New Interface
I suggest you check out Alex's review for a detailed look.

For now, I mainly really like how clean and newfangled (futuristic) it looks.  I'm sure I'll develop a deeper opinion, soon.  [After writing this, I also learned I can, finally, edit photos in Blogger.  Too bad Picnik's crazy slow (for me, anyway) and lacks a lot of common features that free screenshot tools have, like blur.]

As another tip (I'm in a tipping mood), if you hate having your blog load on your slow machine (hey, my Cr-48's got a pretty cheap processor) and you just want to get straight to a new post, open the New Post link and then bookmark it, and use the bookmark whenever you want to quickly get to a new post, bypassing your full, published blog.

What do you guys think?

How to Ctrl+End on a Chromebook

If you're like me, you live off keyboard shortcuts.  Also, if you're like me, you have a Cr-48 or other chromebook and have been irked that they lack a true way to get to the begging/end of a document, which can normally be done using ctrl+end/home.  The Chrome OS team knows about the issue and is working on it.

File:Google Docs - example document.png
Many of my docs are a lot longer than four words . . .
This morning, I stumbled upon a workaround:  Just press shift and click on the bottom/top of the scroll bar.

That's it!  I hope this tip helps those of you (if any?) who have been agonizing over this on your chromebook.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Chrome OS Stable on Cr-48 Has Arrived(?)

FINAL UPDATE;  Okay, I tried the stable build for like five minutes, yesterday, got annoyed with how slow Pandora made my Cr-48, coupled with the fact that both Chrome OS flash plugins failed to work with Google Music (ironic, for the stable build?), and I disliked how slow the build felt, in general.  Maybe these are some of the reasons why the 12.0.433.231 "stable" build is missing from

Update:  After downloading a new Chrome OS recovery image, and according to my chrome://settings/about page, I am indeed on the stable channel.

See where it says "stable-channel x86-Mario"
Funny thing is, I'm failing to see the build listed on the page.

I see a Samsung (Alex) stable channel, but where's the Mario (Cr-48) stable channel listing?
I'm curious to see how this turns out . . .

I mainly want to see if Chrome OS stability = increased speed/performance (while unstable Chrome OS = slow).  We'll see.  [Original post follows.]

Well, I'm confused on this one, folks.

Supposedly, a stable channel release of Chrome OS on the Cr-48 has been released.  From my experience (see my comment at Jay Lee's blog), it may be available only as a system restore image . . .

I'll try again, tomorrow.

Any thoughts?

Want a Google+ Invite? Let Me Know

FINAL UPDATE:  And they're gone again . . .  Rather than go through this update process every time, if you'd like an invite, please let me know, and I'll send you one, when I have the ability.  Thanks.

2d Update:  Looks like invites are back on.  We'll see how long it lasts.  Let me know if you'd like one.

Update:  The moment I went to start sending out invites, this image disappeared . . .  Either Google's really clamping down on the number of invites it gives out, or Google+ demand is as impressive as some believe.  To be candid, I'm more inclined to believe the former.  When will + be open to one and all?  (I've seen some speculation that it will happen by the end of the month.)
Taken from my + account . . .

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Today's Spiritual Message: And This Be Our Motto: "In God Is Our Trust"

Have you ever sang the second and fourth verses of The Star Spangled Banner?  I had that privilege at church, today, and really got choked up:
File:Flag of the United States (Pantone).svg
In God is our trust.

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
File:Flag funeral.jpg
To me, this photo says it all.

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

I'm really touched by the second verse's reference to the sacrifice and suffering of our heroes of war who gave their life to gain and protect our freedom.  I know a number of brave men who have served our country in war and were also willing to give their lives.  I honor them.

I'm also moved to think back to a time when the whole nation stood up together and "Praise[d] the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation."  How I wish we would have that same reverence and veneration, today!
Behold, this is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven, if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ, who hath been manifested by the things which we have written.
Ether 12: 2.  I hope and pray that we will, as a nation, return to praising the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.

Many of our forebears crossed the Atlantic in an outright
trust and general dependence on God.  How much can
the same be said about this nation, today?
While the storm clouds gather far across the sea,
Let us swear allegiance to a land that's free,
Let us all be grateful for a land so fair,
As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer.
God bless America,
Land that I love.
Stand beside her, and guide her
Through the night with a light from above.
From the mountains, to the prairies,
To the oceans, white with foam
God bless America, My home sweet home
God bless America, My home sweet home.

Friday, July 1, 2011

A Couple Chrome Tips: Open Multiple Bookmarks and Select Multiple Tabs

First of all, I imagine someone like Alex, Dinu, Daniel, or Nigel has already posted on these tips.  With that said, the other day, while I was reading my morning scriptures, I came across a few tricks I had either forgotten, never realized, or simply never read about:

Open multiple bookmarks.  Just about every morning, I have three pages I want to open up, and I can get annoyed with having to find the URLs or even with clicking on them in my most visited section.  For some reason, I had it finally click in for me that I could simply bookmark the three pages and then, perhaps, open them all at once.  It's possible.  Here's how.

I'd show you the right-click action with its accompanying menu . . . alas, Chrome OS forbids me.  Nooooo!! the naysayers were right, it can't do everything!!!
1. First of all, save your three bookmarks (or however many) into one folder.
2. Next, either place that folder on the bookmarks bar or find it via the "Other bookmarks" folder.
3. Finally, right click the folder and then choose whether to open all of them in the current window, a new window, or an incognito window.

For some reason, opening the bookmarks in the same window leaves the current tab in its current state, in addition to the newly minted tabs.  E.g., if I open the three bookmarks from my specified folder from the new tab page, I'll now have four tabs:  My three bookmarks, along with the new tab page (still open).  I suppose it is a struggle to try and win 'em all . . .

Select multiple tabs.  I'm unsure why I thought to try this one.  Sometimes, you might want to close/move/etc. multiple tabs that are not adjacent to one another.  Well, we can achieve this dearest wish of our heart by simply pressing the ctrl key, while clicking on the targeted tabs.  That's it.  Now we can move them wherever we want (within boundaries, of course, people, be reasonable), close them, pin them, etc.  Pretty straightforward.

Can you see how the three top-right tabs are selected?
As the emperor in Amadeus would say, "Well, there i'tis."  Translation:  That's it.

"And now," as Dumbledore would likely declare, "it really is time for bed."