Category Archives: Technology

I Heart Snagit for Chrome

Over the weekend, I learned that TechSmith, the company that makes Snagit, a screen capture program, and Jing (another screen capture program and one I use often) has now released a Chrome extension and app for Snagit. Yeah!

Why am I so excited? Because I operate, as much as possible, in the cloud.  Though I have a few programs I locally install, I try to avoid them in favor of apps and Chrome extensions as the latter provides much greater flexibility.  Using apps and Chrome extensions makes it easy for me to do my work in a manner independent of a specific device.  So far, I have not been thrilled by the various ways in which I do screen capture as I end up bouncing back and forth between 3 different tools – Awesome Screenshot, Windows Snipping Tool, and Jing.

But this week, Snagit for Chrome was released and I have installed it and so far, so good!

What I like about it?

  • duh! it’s a chrome extension
  • when you capture, the image is automatically saved to a Google Drive folder that gets newly created – so, I don’t have to take the extra step to hit a “save” button
  • b/c the images are in my Google Drive – I have that folder linked to my Picasa Web and so I can manage photos in Picasa
  • just like Jing, screen capture dimensions are shown as you take the capture
  • just like Jing, there are tools to add text, shapes, and lines of different colors
  • u can quickly get a URL for easy sharing and the url is automatically sent to  your clipboard (thus, avoiding the need to hit Ctrl+C) – they get bonus points for using goo.gl URL shortner :-)
  • once you take the capture, if you start typing, your cursor is automatically in the title field to edit the image title
  • the “app” part of it allows you to quickly access your image library in Google Chrome

What I would like next?

  • the ability to crop images
  • ability to save the image to clipboard (in case I want to quickly import in a presentation — the Windows Snipping Tool does this)
  • ability to capture whole screen (below the fold) — Awesome Screenshot does this
  • the ability to screencast
  • would be nice to have a way to send to my Google online photo gallery (selecting a specific folder for it to go into)

Great job to the TechSmith team for making this available! So far so good and I eagerly look forward to future updates that will hopefully add extra functionality.

Our Digital Music Strategy

After several years of indecision and just trying to see how the industry is unfolding, I have finally committed to a firm digital music strategy. Kalonji and I own a lot of CDs.  To date, I have not digitized them as I had not found a system that I felt would work for us.  However, this weekend, I chose to start using Amazon Cloud Player as our digital online music locker storage of choice.

Here are the requirements of what we needed:

  • lots of space
  • cheap
  • easy upload of our mp3 files
  • stream over the web or via Android device
  • playlists so we can segment according to family member
  • company stability, something that I know will be around for awhile

Why not iTunes?  ITunes is great for ripping CDs. I really like how managing music is easily done with the iTunes interface. Their iTunes in the Cloud service met all the criteria except two – no web streaming, and we can’t use it on Android devices.  Not being able to stream on Android devices is a deal-breaker. I am an Android fan gal, not an Apple one. :-) 

Why not Google Music? I, a self-proclaimed Google freak, was very excited with the launch of Google Music about a year-and-a-half ago. Google Music meets all the criteria. However, the process to upload mp3 files to the online library is horrendously slow. I could not sacrifice the time it would take to get our music library imported to the web account.  I have been waiting on the process to get better, but I have waited over a year and after trying again this weekend, it doesn’t look like it is getting any better. I also do not like their online navigation through the music library; it lacks options that are important for me. 

Google Drive? I do use G Drive extensively, and wondered if I could find convenient way to play music files stored in my account. It too meets the criteria above with the exception of playlists. Though, if I could find a player for music files in G Drive, surely the player would facilitate playlist creation. So far, no luck there either. All the options I have been exploring were insufficient in functionality.

Amazon Cloud Player to the Rescue!   Last week, I received a notice that my free cloud subscription would be ending soon, so I took this as an opportunity to check out Amazon again. I already am a heavy Kindle book user via the apps, and liked what I’d seen during my trial for the cloud service. Yet, I never committed because I was waiting around for Google. Well, I decided to wait no longer and I am enjoying adding our files to Amazon Cloud Player. Especially since not all files have to physically be uploaded.  Just a few months ago, they added a “match” feature where your files are run against their catalog and songs that are present are added w/o you having to upload the file. The upload speed for files that do need to be physically added is great and I’ve had no troubles. In just 24 hours now, I’ve ripped and uploaded around 1,000 songs. I am putting everything under my account, and then using playlists so that each of us can quickly get to our own music of choice on our individual devices. This rocks!  


Updated Website

New year, new look!

Updated the website today to use a new theme.  The old one used the theme New Balance of Blue and my header image had pictures of the kids from about 4 years ago.

The new on uses a theme called Picolight and I updated our family images. I added Social Media stream icons for Kalonji and I, along with a graphic for our Family Genealogy and for Kalonji’s store.

I’m quite pleased with the change. :-)

We Love Our Kindle Fire

Our Kindle Fire arrived a couple of weeks ago soon after it was released and so far, so good! It is such a cute device!

The Kindle Fire launched to much hype and for us it has very much lived up to it’s reputation.  As with all things technological, whether or not you like it really depends on personal preference.  But, we like it, use it daily, and I predict at least one more in our near future. :-)

What I really like:

  • the size – it’s smaller than an iPad; bigger than my smartphone. I think this is a perfect in-between size.  It can be held with one hand or two, and though a little on the heavy side, I got used to the weight quickly.
  • access to Amazon digital content – nuff said!  We are Amazon Prime members and thus are able to take advantage of the movies and shows provided as part of that membership.
  • Kindle — of course you can read the Kindle books. Having another device to read them on is handy.  I have been reading Kindle books for a couple of years now so now I have a perfect-sized screen to do it on
  • no fear in letting the kids play with it – it’s right up their alley too. Can you say Angry Birds?
And, of course I can access most of the Android apps I am used to – making it easy to keep up with my social media accounts and such.
What I don’t like?
  • not having a native app for gmail. But, you know what? I have that on my phone anyway, so I can deal.
We traveled with it over the Thanksgiving holiday and it is great for on-the-go. The Kindle Fire is just too handy to pass up! I’m so glad we have one. :-)

Smartphone #3

Earlier this summer, I received notification from Verizon that I was eligible for a discount on a phone upgrade.  I decided to wait since I was not exactly sure what I wanted.  Well, yesterday I went ahead and went in and did the upgrade and life is sweet for I have a Droid again! And not just an “Android” droid, but a Droid droid :-) — I got the brand new Droid Razr.

Sweetness!! There are all kinds of goodies about this phone:

  • it is the thinnest smartphone on the market. I kid you not, this thing is thin!
  • a camera on the front of the phone (1.3 megapixel) and on the back (8 megapixel & 1080 HD video)
  • 4G – so I am finally on the 4G network
  • multitasking! i can be on the phone and on the internet at the same time
  • 4.3 inch screen – nice and big
  • a dual-core 1.2. GHz processor -stuff runs fast on it
  • currently runs the Gingerbread OS, but will get upgraded to Ice Cream Sandwich in 2012.
  • has an HDMI jack so when we do get a new TV next year, I’ll be able to port my phone to it

My 1st smartphone was the original Droid, which I got in November 2009 on the day it came out.  In Sept 2010, I got the hubby and I matching Samsung Fascinates.   I am so pleased to have another Droid though — there is just something cool about hearing that “Droid” sound play with new notifications; besides, the kids get a kick out of it too :-)

I’m Fascinated

A couple of weeks ago, I finally brought my dear hubby into the smartphone era :-).   A visit to Verizon to check out our options led me to get us matching Samsung Fascinate Android phones.  Oh my!

I myself joined the smartphone bandwagon last November with my Motorola Droid.  I got the phone the day it came out and immediately fell in love with it and how connected I’d become by using it.  Having access to my email accounts and many other apps and features was excellent.   While I had not planned on getting a Fascinate, Verizon had a promotion of buy one, get one free, so how could I resist? I needed to get a phone for Kalonji anyway.

So, I succumbed.  And, I’m glad too.  I truly did love my Droid, but the Samsung is much lighter.  I thought I would miss not having the physical keyboard the Droid offers, but so far I don’t.   I like  the camera on the Fascinate better and the feature that has me most in love? The mobile 3G hotspot.  For $20 month I can get up to 5GB online usage by turning my 3G signal into a wi-fi signal.  This is perfect for me when I’m on the go.  Absolutely perfect!

My DROID is now in the hands of my father and he too is quickly becoming addicted.  I love spreading the love.  :-)

We Have a New WebHost

After what has taken me way too many hours over the past couple of days, I have finally transferred my website to a new webhost.  I was actually not happy to have to do this, but over the past couple of  years I have been experiencing increasing dissatisfaction with my webhost over a myriad of technical issues & poor customer service for my website.  I’d been with my webhost for the past 6 years at least, so you can’t say I’m not loyal!

So, in the wee hours on Friday morning I purchased an account with BlueHost and began to transfer my files.  I’d been familiar with BlueHost since this summer in my role as webmaster for the NCGenWeb project and in that time I have seen the high level of customer service they offer.  They also have a more flexible back-end when it comes to my multiple WordPress-driven sites and I am thrilled.  In all honesty, for the past year, I’ve hated the thought of  posting to this blog and my genealogy blog b/c the administrative panels were ever-so-slow on my previous webhost and I could never get the issue resolved.   Also, their server permissions were set as such in a way that has not allowed me to take advantage of some of the features WordPress has added over the past few upgrades.

Thus,  48 hours later, my many files, databases and WordPress installations are all getting settled in their new home.  I do have one last portion of my site to transfer over, my genealogy site powered by TNG, but I am sure I shall have that completed by tomorrow morning.   Not everything went perfectly during the migration, but I have workable solutions for two portions of my site that didn’t quite work right and I will revisit them this summer for further customization.

Here’s to more blogging!

My New Toy: Sansa Fuze

Several months ago, I lost my iPod shuffle and when I recently found it, the plugin to charge it was broken.  So, I’ve been entertaining the thought of getting a replacement for awhile now.   Today, I went to Best Buy and bought one – an 8GB Sansa Fuze, and unlike me, I bought it without doing any research.  I was looking for one that was not an iPOD; nothing against iPod, but I knew part of the cost is the name and I just need a basic mp3 player.  I also wanted one with a lot of space. 

sansafuze

My Sansa is a grey color, but this is what they look like.  It holds songs, videos,  and pictures.  When I got home with it, I was VERY much delighted to find out a couple of other benefits of the Sansa Fuze

  • it is a voice recorder — this means I can record conversations and interviews I may have with family members for genealogy purposes. perfect! I can record the kids talking and share that with family.  I am very excited about this. 
  • It is compatible with Rhapsody!  A couple of years ago, I signed up for a Rhapsody account, but have not lately had a paid membership.  I liked the variety of music, but felt stifled being limited to listening to it online only. Now w/ the Fuze,  w/ a monthly membership, I can transfer any song on Rhapsody to the Fuze and listen to it while disconnected. Sweet!!!!!!!  I’ve spent this evening going thru my physical CD collection and grabbing them from Rhapsody to add to my computer library.   Now, if a CD comes out and I’m not sure if I want to buy it, I can also most likely get it from Rhapsody to listen to, and then purchase it if I like it.  And, w/ a Rhapsody membership, this means too that from any computer that I’m connected to online, I can listen to my favorite songs that I have as part of my Rhapsody playlists. 

So, excuse me while I go play…..