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Showing posts from July, 2010

The times they are a changing

Usually you don't see two signs of changing times within a few minute of one another, but I did just now.  I looked over my Twitter feed for the past hour and saw Mashable's report that Amazon thinks sales of e-books in their Kindle Store will overtake paperbacks by the end of 2011.  Amazon recently announced that e-books had over taken hardback sales last quarter.  And Amazon expects e-books to overtake paper and hardback combined some time after that.  Jeff Bezo's of Amazon marvels that the Kindle is only 33 months old.

And according to the Digital Future Project from the USC Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism and reported by Editor and Publisher, 56% Internet users ranked newspapers as  important or very important sources of information while the internet is at 78% and television is at 68%.

The internet continues to rock the world, and disrupt old ways of doing things.  We have to make sure the information continues to flow freely, and as unfettered as pos…

Smart Shopping

An experience last week with a tire salesman who seemed oblivious to the concept his prices were online, prompted me to write this week's Family Tech.  Consumers have a lot of tools now for smarter shopping.  And retailers need to be ready for smarter, better informed consumers and willing to work with them if they want to survive.

Another E-Mail to Dropbox Solution

In May I blogged about a need to e-mail files to Dropbox.  It was a capability I wanted since getting an iPad.  Files would arrive via e-mail attachments and I would want to save them to Dropbox so I could view them or edit them on the iPad using Docs2Go.

The solution I found then, MailDrop, was an application that ran on my PC and watched my Gmail for incoming files and then moved them to Dropbox.

It worked well for a while, then for some reason the app started crashing on startup; probably something I  am doing or could easily fix if I took them time.

Last night I ran across a reference to a new free service, Send-To_Dropbox.  You create an account, link it to your Dropbox account, and it provides a private e-mail address for you.  Anything sent to that address ends up in the Attachments folder of your Dropbox account.

It works very much like Evernote's e-mail capability.

I applaud who ever setup this service.  I hope you don't begin charging for it.  And I suspect Dropbox w…

The Millennials

Having grown up with computers and the web, the young generation today has new ideas about work, citizenship, collaboration, sharing, privacy and life in general.  In this week's Family Tech I delve into that, warning if you are parenting, hiring, selling to, trying to influence, or seeking the votes of this generation,  you need to consider how they are different.

Here's an iPhone 4 case that would solve the problem.

I put this on my Facebook page and my friends thought it funny.

If this were a iPhone 4 case, it would solve the antenna/reception issue.
But it would give Steve Jobs and his sense of design an aneurysm.

It's all perspective

A 3.6 earthquake hit Virginia at 5 AM today, waking some and doing absolutely no damage, at least that I can find reported.

It has received a lot of attention.  I slept through it.  I did feel a 4.5 that hit in 2003.   Having watched a building collapse during the 7.1 Loma Prieta quake, it is all a matter of perspective.

To be fair,a 3.6 is a big quake for this part of the country.  The biggest was a 5.8 in 1897.  Just goes to show, no place is immune, even from big ones.  It's just a matter of frequency.

And to balance those getting excited in Virginia, in San Francisco they would get excited about a thunderstorm.  There was only one or two in the twenty years I lived there.  There have been two this week in Virginia.

Transcribe your voice notes and send to Evernote

Evernote announced their new sort-of-an-app store today, calling it The Trunk.  It will be a  good way to keep up-to-date with all the various tools, add-ons, integrations and hardware set to work with Evernote.

One product they featured in the press briefing this morning was Dial2Go's  Dial2Note.  It allows you to dial a phone number, record a message and the first 30 seconds is transcribed and the text put into your Evernote account so it is searchable.

The free service allows five messages a month, while the unlimited service is $30 a year. could get a free Google Voice account and similar capability for free.

First, you have to setup your Google Voice for to record messages when you call it from your own cell phone.  I have covered that before in this post.

Then you have to setup your Google Voice to send the transcriptions to your Evernote e-mail address. Google Voice can be set to email me the transcription or text it to me. I have it do both.

The text alerts me quicker …

My iPad Apps

It seems everyone and their brother are writing posts listing the apps they have on their iPad.  I read everyone one I come across and have found several new programs I didn't know about.

In honor of my sister receiving an iPad for her birthday today, I thought I'd do my own list.

Unless otherwise noted, all apps mentioned are free.

E-Mail and Calendar

Oddly, the built-in Calendar and E-mail apps don't do much for me.  Since I share the iPad with my wife, I tend to use the web versions of Gmail and Google Calendar.  I do have my e-mail credentials in the e-mail app so I can e-mail out pages from applications.


The #1 need here is to add Amazon's Kindle app.  Amazon currently has more books available for Kindle then Apple does in the iBook store.  More importantly, the Kindle is cross platform.  You can only read iBooks on the iPad and iPhone.  You can read Kindle on those and Android phones and many other platforms, including of course, the hardware Kindles Amazon s…

Gmail Signatures Improve

Google announced today rich text signatures for Gmail.  I know some people hate e-mail signatures.  I think small, easily ignored if you desire, and most importantly useful signatures are ok.  Mine has my name, my Google Voice number, and small links to this blog, my public bookmarks, my Twitter account and a list of my Family Tech columns.

I've used WiseStamp  for years to do this.  I hate to disable them, but I always look to minimize my Chrome extensions when I can, so I disabled them today and will likely remove them once Google Signatures prove their mettle to me.

Wisestamp can still do many things Google signatures cannot, at least as easily.  They have easy links to many popular social networking, and even the ability to have RSS feeds in your signature.  For example, my signature could have the last few items from this blog in it.

Does your e-mail have Verizon or Comcast in it?

Does your e-mail have Verizon or Comcast in it?  Do you find yourself enticed to move from one provider to another but pass up savings just to keep your e-mail address everyone already knows?

Then this week's Family Tech is for you.  Have one e-mail address, forever!

And as a bonus, how to have one phone number forever, even if you change cell phone carriers, or move, or lose your cell phone.

And all for free.

Read about it now at

Motivate Google to release Google Voice client

New Evernote Web Clipper helps avoid duplicate URL gathering

Quite a while ago, I imported all my Delicious bookmarks into Evernote.  I loved having all my information in one place, and did not want my bookmarks to be in a different place.

I gave up two things when I imported my bookmarks: Delicious' social aspects and Delicious' ability to warn that I'd already saved that URL.

I'm sure my Evernote now has many duplicate URL's captured in it.

I'd been hoping someone would write an app that would scan my Evernote database and identify duplicate URL's, or that I'd find the time and talent to create one.  I'm still waiting.

Evernote themselves has made things a bit easier going forward.  Their latest Web Clipper for Chrome shows you all the times you've captured URL's from the site you are currently on.  At least if take a moment to review those before committing to the Clip, I can avoid adding duplicates in the future.

Unfortunately, if you haven't imported your Delicious bookmarks into Evernote, y…

Pray for a Google Voice Desktop App

One of Google Voice's many cool features, was its ability to call the Gizmo5 soft phone.  Using Gizmo5 I could take calls on my computer much as you can with Skype.  With the calls originating from Google Voice, there was no cost for incoming or outgoing calls.  Technically, they were all incoming calls since Google Voice called Gizmo5.
When Google bought Gizmo we all started the wait for a Google branded Gizmo soft phone.  TechCurnch reported a while back that Google was testing one internally (Google calls it dogfooding, as in to eat your own dog food).
With it, you can type in the number or choose your contact on the app and it invoked Google Voice to place the call.
TechCrunch also reported that the project was on hold, and maybe even likely to be killed.  Apparently Google Founders do not want them developing software that runs outside the browser.  Hello!  Google distributes Google Earth, Picasa, and SketchUp.  All apps that run outside the browser.
Please Google, go one more an…