Tips & Tricks

Use Google Docs with MS Office

Today I am working with Google Apps collaboration using MS Office tools on the front end: multi-person, simultaneous editing to the Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint application.  I have some large legacy work that I can’t simply convert to Google Docs but need the benefits of web-powered collaboration: online backup, view only web sharing, file revision history and it supports tools prior to Office 2010 which I can’t bring myself to upgrade to.

Cool Tool

Chrome Extension: Highlight to Search

Everyone has a list and a love of AddOns and Extensions for Firefox and Google.  I am no different.  And I have gone through the period of time when I have a lot of them, and when I have less of them.  What made the largest difference in my use was when Google made it so Chrome syncs, which ends up auto-installing in new Chrome installations easily, although not the settings inside each extension.  And with Firefox I mastered FEBE with Box.Net to install profiles on new installations of Firefox.

Some extensions/addons are complete tools in themselves and some simply provide something that was missing and augments the actual browsing experience.  Highlight to Search which allows you to search keywords by highlighting instead of typing them into a search box is one of the latter.

I am enjoying this extension and it is setup in all my browers as they sync.  I am having minor issues getting i to work for https pages, despite setting the options for this function.  But it is so nice, try it out.

Tips & Tricks

The Google Map Buddy

This tool, from Augmented Reality Software, allows you to do the following:

  • Capture your Google Maps offline and store them as images on your hard drive
  • Print out maps of entire cities at zoom levels that would take hours to put together with the current Google facility
Best of all, this tool is completely FREE!

If you have ever spent hours print screening your Google maps into Paint and stitching them together you NEED this program!


In The Shop: storytlr

Image representing Storytlr as depicted in Cru...
Image via CrunchBase

XBMC was a bust for me to use.  It simply had too many issues with configuring my graphics for very little payback.  I continue to use my HPMediaVault with extra software.

This week I am installing Fedora 12 and Storytlr In The Shop.

From the Storytlr Site:

Storytlr is an open source lifestreaming and micro blogging platform. You can use it for a single user or it can act as a host for many people all from the same installation.

What we offer to user
What does Storytlr offer to its users?
Bring your content together:
* Import your web 2.0 life: Pick your sources and they will appear as a lifestream directly on your site. We currently support the following services: Delicious, Digg, Disqus, Flickr, Google Reader, /, favorites, Picasa, Qik, RSS Feeds, Seesmic, StumbleUpon, Tumblr, Twitpic pictures in Twitter tweets, Twitter, Vimeo, Youtube Favorites
* Post anything you want: In just a few simple steps you can update your status, share a song you liked, give your opinion or link to an interesting site.

Mashup your data into stories

Tell your stories in a new way: Photo albums are old school! Pick your sources, start and end date and your story is good to go. If necessary you can tweak it for a better flow.

Reinvent your homepage

Choose your own style: Pick from a range of compelling templates that are easy to customize.
No prominent service branding: It is all about you, so you will not find big logos or fixed brand colors on storytlr.
Pick or use your own domain name: You are free to use any domain you want.


What did others think of Storytlr:

“They’ve done a fantastic job with both concept and implementation.” – ReadWriteWeb
“Put it all together, and you?ve got a serious competitor to Tumblr and other lifestreaming applications.” – Mashable
“Storytlr remains a unique service among so much social media noise.” – Ars Technica
“This is a cool and different visual approach to lifestreams.” – TheNextWeb

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Tips & Tricks

Introducing Google Public DNS: A new DNS resolver from Google

Introducing Google Public DNS: A new DNS resolver from Google

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Today, as part of our efforts to make the web faster, we are announcing Google Public DNS, a new experimental public DNS resolver.

The DNS protocol is an important part of the web’s infrastructure, serving as the Internet’s “phone book”. Every time you visit a website, your computer performs a DNS lookup. Complex pages often require multiple DNS lookups before they complete loading. As a result, the average Internet user performs hundreds of DNS lookups each day, that collectively can slow down his or her browsing experience.

We believe that a faster DNS infrastructure could significantly improve the browsing experience for all web users. To enhance DNS speed but to also improve security and validity of results, Google Public DNS is trying a few different approaches that we are sharing with the broader web community through our documentation:

  • Speed: Resolver-side cache misses are one of the primary contributors to sluggish DNS responses. Clever caching techniques can help increase the speed of these responses. Google Public DNS implements prefetching: before the TTL on a record expires, we refresh the record continuously, asychronously and independently of user requests for a large number of popular domains. This allows Google Public DNS to serve many DNS requests in the round trip time it takes a packet to travel to our servers and back.
  • Security: DNS is vulnerable to spoofing attacks that can poison the cache of a nameserver and can route all its users to a malicious website. Until new protocols like DNSSEC get widely adopted, resolvers need to take additional measures to keep their caches secure. Google Public DNS makes it more difficult for attackers to spoof valid responses by randomizing the case of query names and including additional data in its DNS messages.
  • Validity: Google Public DNS complies with the DNS standards and gives the user the exact response his or her computer expects without performing any blocking, filtering, or redirection that may hamper a user’s browsing experience.

We hope that you will help us test these improvements by using the Google Public DNS service today, from wherever you are in the world. We plan to share what we learn from this experimental rollout of Google Public DNS with the broader web community and other DNS providers, to improve the browsing experience for Internet users globally.

To get more information on Google Public DNS you can visit our site, read our documentation, and our logging policies. We also look forward to receiving your feedback in our discussion group.