Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Bye, Bye Google 411...

Last time I placed a call using Google's free directory assistance, I was informed by the automated recording that Google will suspend the service on November 12th this year. Boo hoo. Seriously, I know that Google wasn't offering this free service out of the kindness it's big cooperate heart...They had ulterior motives.

I enjoyed free 411 service so much I figured I needed to find another one. I found this list of free 411 services. Some even have live operators (if you find humans helpful as opposed to computers)! It's too early for me to test them and decide which one is going to get programed into my phone, but it's a start. The list is a big dated, written back in 2008... but, like I said, it's a start. I'll be giving them a try.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Learning Web Design

I have had this crazy interest in learning to design web pages (probably cuz mine stinks). It's not like I have oodles of free time, but I decided I'd start at my own pace and maybe someday I'll like how my website looks... Plus, I figure web design would be a great skill to have.

So, right now I'm taking a free XHTML class from about.com. It's got 10 lessons that I can do at my own pace. At the end there is a test that if I pass, I'll feel happy about. It's not like a college degree or anything, but really if someone wants you to design their web page, I think they care more about whether or not you can do it, not that you went to Harvard to learn how to do it.

Next I plan on going to Google Code University (free too) to learn more about programming languages for web design: JAVA, CSS...

And this is the beauty of the internet: Information at your fingertips!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Get Your Sample Ballot Now

I think a lot of people don't bother voting because they feel like it's a test that they don't get to see in full until they are in the voting booth. Then, you're standing there reading all the wordy political mumbo-jumbo, feeling like the world depends on your "right" answer, but you don't have the resources available in that booth to make the best decision. But, it doesn't have to be that way. Make your vote an open book test. Get a sample ballot.

How? For most places, you can Google your county's name along with "sample ballot." And, if your county is tech savvy enough (I sure hope so) they have it available from the clerk and recorder's website for download. If not, call your clerk and recorder's office and request one. Many newspapers also put out an election issue which sometimes includes a sample ballot as well. But who subscribes to those anymore? (I'm joking here. I know a lot of people still do, but I don't.)

I like to print off a sample ballot a couple of weeks before an election and fill it in as I research anything I'm not sure about. The internet is a great way to help me find in formation for and against different proposals. After I fill in the ballot, I take my cheat sheet with me on election day and use it to fill in the real ballot. No more walking out of the election booth feeling unsure about my "answers."

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Oil, a Goo-Gone Alternative

I like Goo-Gone. But it's pretty flammable. And since I ran out of it and haven't bothered to buy more, I started using olive oil instead. Back when I was reading up on the many uses of olive oil, I learned that you can use it to clean sticky residue off many surfaces. I've tried it quite a few times and have found that it does quite well. The only draw back is the oily residue you are left with. But to remedy that, I just spritz the area with some 50/50 vinegar water solution (handy cleaning solution) and wipe it off. You can use other cooking oils for this purpose as well.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Block Ads in Google Chrome

I have three different web browsers on my computer. I use all three. In order of preference, they are: Firefox, Chrome, and Explorer (I only use the last one when I am forced to). Since I use Firefox the most, I have the AdBlock Plus add-on installed. I love it because I hate ads and it just does such an excellent job blocking them. That's my plug for Adblock Plus.

But we're talking about Chrome. I'm starting to like Chrome more and more (it's fast, fast, fast), hence I'm using it more and more. For Chrome, the ad block add-on of choice is Adsweep. (But it also works for Firefox and Opera browsers, though I haven't bothered installing it on my Firefox.) It's super-simple to install. Open your Chrome web browser and follow this link.

Now, my blog has text ads on it. So I'm sure I sound like a hypocrite. But close to no one reads this blog anyway (been blogging for 1.5 years and have made a measly $9)... so it's not like I care. I just like to get out useful information. But, hey, Google lives off of ads and they are allowing Adsweep. So, I'm not that crazy.