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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Cool Game: Light-Bot

A great way to introduce folks to the concept of programming wrapped up in and interesting and challenging game.


Link: http://www.kongregate.com/games/Cooli...

A Flash game in which you program a cute lil robot to maneuver around a grid and light up certain squares.

(Via BuzzFeed Latest.)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Noted: Convert .docx, .xlsx, .pptx files in the cloud for Google Docs, Zoho

Noted items are interesting finds from my daily RSS reading -- Douglas

I am seeing issues with these new file formats from the latest version of Microsoft Office. While this always happens during the initial stages of a new software release, it doesn't make it any less annoying when someone sends you a file you can't read. It is nice to see there are a few solutions available other than asking the person to re-send a more compatible file.

Convert .docx, .xlsx, .pptx files in the cloud for Google Docs, Zoho

Wow, what a difference one single letter can make. Take the letter "x" for example. It can take one sip and make it six. Or it can turn a kind hey into an evil hex. Worst of all, it can twist the ubiquitous .doc format into a cloud-hating .docx file. When I use Google Docs, I can't import .docx documents and I get cranky because my current solution defeats the purpose of using the cloud in the first place. I generally end up opening Microsoft Office to save the file over to .doc format. Sometimes I simply ignore the darn .docx file completely, but it never solves the problem. Zoho Writer actually does support .docx files as does Adobe's Buzzword, but you're out of luck for .xlsx or .pptx files on both platforms.

The Apple Blog notes that the on-line file conversion service, Zamzar, converts .docx files. You just upload them and Zamzar spits out a .doc file for you; the service also works for .xlsx and .pptx formats. Windows users could always install the Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack SP1, but Zamzar offers a nice web function for those that want less, not more software.

(Via jkOnTheRun.)

Noted: Access your files in the cloud with the iPhone

Noted items are interesting finds from my daily RSS reading -- Douglas

Access your files in the cloud with the iPhone

So you're an iPhone user who embraced the MobileMe cloud, at least when it would let you embrace it.  Now all your files and documents are floating around in the cloud and you'd like to be able to put your fingertips on them from your iPhone, right?  Well now you can and for free.  The folks from Quickoffice have produced a free iPhone app, MobileFiles, that should be available soon that lets you get at those files from your iPhone or iPod Touch.  Finger-touching good.

(via Intomobile)

(Via jkOnTheRun.)

Friday, September 19, 2008

TechIQ: Apple Recalls iPhone 3G wall charger

Just in via Tweet from the MacCast and web at Arstechnica.com.

Replacements are available after October 10, but you are warned to stop using these adapters immediately. Request an exchange via this web page at Apple or at the Apple store.

For more info and links, visit http://welchwrite.com/techiq/

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Friday, September 05, 2008

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Stormpulse - Amazing Storm tracker site

It is stuff like this that makes me LOVE the Internet. This amazing site, Stormpulse, is one of the most comprehensive (and beautiful) sites I have seen in a long time. Whether you are trying to protect yourself or property or simple geeking out on Mother Nature, this has more information than you could ever possibly use. (Hint: Look along the right side for a long list of options including historical storm tracks, clouds, predictions and more.)

Click to visit Stormpulse

Many thanks to Crispin Bailey for tweeting about this great site!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Audio: LIVE from the Library - August 8, 2008

Listen to the audio from my twice-monthly Internet Seminar.

Listen: Live from the Library - August 28, 2008

Send your questions and comments to techiq@welchwrite.com or call the Listener Line at 818-804-5049.

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Tip: 4 Reasons to Consolidate all your email addresses

I was working with a friend the other night when it came to light that they were checking multiple email addresses every day in order to get all their mail. They had mail on a personal account, mail at their ISP, mail at their office, mail on the Blackberry and more. One important change to make in your digital life is to consolidate all your email in one, easy-to-access, place.

Gmail to the rescue

Over 6 months ago I decided to forego using any desktop computer-based email program like Outlook, Outlook Express or Entourage to manage my email. While I was able to consolidate my accounts so that all email flowed into one Inbox, Entourage was getting progressively slower as I stored more and more email. I was also needing to access my email while on the road far more frequently than before. I had heard that some of my fellow Friends in Tech members had switched over to Gmail for all their mail needs, so I figured I would try. So far, I have never looked back.

Gmail offers many advantages to me over a typical email program:

  1. Access to the current state of my email from any device

    I can access my Gmail account from my home computer, a client's computer, a public workstation and my iPhone and my Inbox always looks the same. If I have deleted something, it is deleted everywhere. If I have archived an email, it is archived everywhere. If I reply, that reply is stored on Gmail and accessible anywhere, not just the machine I from which it was sent.

  2. Easy sending of mail when connected to public/private networks

    One big problem my clients often face is the inability to send email when on the road. Due to various SPAM-blocking setups on some networks, typical email programs cannot contact their main outgoing mail server. Usually they then have to resort to loading up the web mail interface to their email in order to reply to messages. Since Gmail is already a web-based email, replies and other outgoing mail go out with ease. There is no need to go through the hassle of reconfiguring your email settings, which in some cases, still won't work.

  3. Easily pull mail from existing email accounts

    If you have multiple email accounts, you can pull the email from those accounts right into your Gmail Inbox. I have many email accounts, some which are actual email boxes and others which are simply aliases (sometimes called forwarding accounts or re-directs) Now, all my mail is either pulled or re-directed into my Gmail Inbox. Don't worry though. Each email is still labelled with the original account is was received from and when I reply, it the message appears to come from that original email address.

  4. Easy email searching with threading

    Since Gmail uses the Google Search Engine to search your email, finding the proverbial "needle in a haystack" is easier than ever. I can find every email sent to me from my bank, my buddy or my Boy Scout troop amazingly fast. Message threading also means that all parts of the conversation are held together and I can review the conversation at a glance to see exactly what was discussed over time.

Don't spend time rummaging through countless email systems looking for your mail. Use the technology we have to consolidate your email into one location so you can spend more time responding to your email than searching for it.

For more information on Gmail and how to use it to improve your productivity, listen to the Gmail Podcast by fellow Friends in Tech member, Chuck Tomasi.