Are you ever at a loss for words? Whether you're writing an essay, a letter, a business proposal, or even a novel, there are inevitably times when the right word is just out of your mind's reach. In the old days, you might pick up a dictionary or thesaurus to find a specific word, but now most people know that resources on the Internet are only a couple of clicks away. There's one program I like to use, however, that's even easier than opening your Web browser.
WordPress.com is the latest Web service to get Google Gears support. Now users who log in to their dashboard will notice a new button in the top right-hand corner called "turbo." Clicking it will make use of Google's Gears (which is currently Firefox and IE-only), offloading some of the data from the cloud into your browser cache. In this case, it's the latest 200 files from your WordPress media library, the same files you access to stick into blog posts.
In a comment on my last post, cdotspace asked about how to keep Microsoft Word 2007 from crashing. When I had this problem, I solved it by starting Word with no add-ons, and then enabling the add-ons one at a time until the problem recurred. I removed the troublemaker, which was actually a macro of my own poor devising, and no more crashes.
That got me thinking about how difficult it is to figure out the cause of application crashes. Back in March, I described ways to diagnose applications that won't close properly. But when it comes to finding … Read more
Google announced on Friday the release of a number of updates to its Blogger publishing platform--well, sort of. The updates have gone into Blogger in Draft, the service's beta platform, with the expectation that they'll eventually become full features.
The updates will seem a bit humdrum for people who don't use Blogger, but for those who do, it's a set of important baby steps toward shaping the service to fit customer feedback. That's especially important for Google, as this is one niche of the Web where Mountain View doesn't have a huge lead: there … Read more
Here's an oldie but a goodie. Confounded by trying to track down fancy-looking WordPress themes? Check out this Web-based theme editor that lets you tweak every nook and cranny of a theme then spit it back to your server to go live. You can add columns, change fonts and backgrounds, even throw in a customizable tag cloud--all with no coding experience required. All you need is a little creativity and some working knowledge of drop-down menus.
While some WordPress themes have excellent built-in support for doing this right from the WordPress dashboard, many more don't, and trying to … Read more
Google on Wednesday added a new factor, Web page loading speed, to the criteria by which it judges which text ads to place next to search results.
The search company, which makes almost all its revenue from the text ads, gives a boost to advertisers with better ad quality. Google announced Wednesday that quality now includes a measurement of the loading speed of the Web page users see when they click on an ad.
It's tough to stay on top of Google, but I thought I'd draw some attention to some developments involving the search powerhouse.
More Street View with more privacy: One year into Google's launch of the Google Maps feature to show a driver's-eye view of the world, Google added 37 new cities, including Atlanta, Buffalo, N.Y., Ann Arbor, Mich., Fresno, Calif., and Cincinnati. It effectively doubles the coverage of Street View, engineer Jiajun Zhu said in a Google LatLong blog posting.
This excellent freeware program will stop you from ever fretting over a definition or antonym again. WordWeb offers hot-key lookup and offline resources in a smart package.
In addition to displaying definitions, synonyms, and antonyms, WordWeb can find sets of related words. The database has more than 150,000 root words and 120,000 synonym sets, and plenty of proper nouns, pronunciations, and usage tags. It can't tell you when you've split your infinitives or garbled your gerunds, but it gives great word accuracy on the fly.
I'm not kidding when I say Penzu is the most realistic re-creation of paper I've seen on the Web. The service has a serious leg up on its pulp-born competition with a slick looking college-rule that holds all your thoughts (intelligent or not) and saves them to the cloud. When it comes time to print them, they'll come out just like they look like on the page, sans rulings of course.
One thing Penzu does a little better than other Web-based note takers is structure your docs like a diary, and stack each entry as its own … Read more
One of my pet peeves with Google Docs has just been remedied. The company quietly released a new view that users can see when editing documents. It's called "fixed width page view," which is a somewhat verbose way of saying print preview.
The view gets rid of the often annoying occurence of writing and editing documents in Google Docs that would stretch the writing canvas across the maximum width of your browser window. On wide-screen displays, this often meant viewing entire paragraphs on just a line or two of the display--something that wouldn't be noticed until … Read more