Category Archives: Internet

Happy Birthday From Google

Happy birthday to me from Google. This was the Google Doodle on my Google Chrome homepage on my birthday. Thank you, Google. (I think...)

Happy birthday to me from Google. This was the Google Doodle on my Google Chrome homepage on my birthday. Thank you, Google. (I think…)

The Google Doodle changes every day.  Yesterday, when I opened my Google Chrome home page I saw that the Google Doodle was composed of birthday cakes. I thought “Well, isn’t that a coincidence, today’s my birthday.”  Well, there are no coincidences with Google. When my mouse passed over the Doodle, I got a birthday greeting.

Of course, Google knows my birthday. And pretty much everything else about me. Yikes!  I can’t complain, because I’ve willingly given Google my information so that I can use its services.  I haven’t told Google my cell phone number, yet. I’m sure Google knows that, too, though.

I checked my husband’s Google home page yesterday, and his Google Doodle was different from mine, the one for the ordinary non-birthday people.

Usually, I don’t pay that much attention to the Doodle except when there’s a fuss over the Doodle subject. Google sometimes features obscure and controversial figures rather than major events and holidays. I guess that’s a way to keep things interesting. It got my attention!

Next year, when I’m expecting a birthday greeting from Google, Google may ignore me!

To learn more about Google Doodles, check out this blog post from my friend Planetjan.

About Google Doodles from Planetjan.

9 Comments

Filed under Commerce, Communication, Humor, Internet, Life, Technology

Picasa, Farewell

Google is replacing the multi-talented desktop based Picasa (left) with the minimalist cloud-based Google Photos (right.)

Google is replacing the multi-talented desktop-based Picasa (left) with the minimalist cloud-based Google Photos (right.)

Changes in technology come with breakneck speed. Some we embrace, some we don’t. At least when WordPress streamlined its format, it allowed us the opportunity to use the more beefy original administrator. (Thank you, WordPress.)

One change I’m dreading is the loss of the Picasa photo editing website.  Google is retiring it in spring 2016.  Google has every right to do so, especially since Picasa users pay nothing for its use, but it’s still a bitter blow.  A lot of Picasa users don’t even know it’s going bye-bye yet, although apparently people knew it was coming a while ago. Google is focusing on Google Photos, which is quite different from Picasa and not as useful for my needs. Supposedly, we’ll still be able to use Picasa, if we already have it installed on our desktops, until it dies out from bugs and glitches. We’ll see.

Google Photos is a nice photo storage system, but not a good replacement as an editing and design tool.  In Google Photos, you can upload all of your photos to the cloud for free in a small version, which is probably large enough for most uses, and pay if you need to upload large files when you exceed your large-size quota. I’m transferring all of my large-sized photos to external hard drives.

My son gave me the heads up on Friday night on Picasa’s impending demise, and I was shocked. I was working on my taxes, so I was already in a foul mood, and I quickly went into mourning.  I taped a black ribbon to my monitor. I searched the web (using the damnable Google) to find an alternative.  I use Photoshop a lot, but Picasa is just so darned easy and could do so much. It has lots of design and editing tools and is great for  organizing my photos into files and albums. It will still be usable on your desktop, if you already have it, but won’t be getting any support from Google.

I used Picasa to edit this photograph that I took of Harvest, a cat available for adoption at Wayside Waifs in Kansas City, Missouri. Using Picasa, I could easy crop this photo to the pixel size and aspect required for uploading to the website. Also using Picasa, I could add my initials so that the shelter administrators would know who took the photo if they needed a larger size. Auto contrast, auto color, straightening and sharpening were Picasa tools I often used.

I used Picasa to edit this photograph that I took of Harvest, a cat that was available for adoption at Wayside Waifs in Kansas City, Missouri. Using Picasa, I could easy crop this photo to the pixel size and aspect required for uploading to the website. Also using Picasa, I could add my initials so that the shelter administrators would know who took the photo if they needed a larger size. Auto contrast, auto color, straightening and sharpening were Picasa tools I often used.

For more than five years, I’ve been using Picasa to edit the photographs I take of adoptable cats for an animal shelter’s website in Kansas City, Missouri. It makes it so easy to tag the photo with the cat’s name, attach a watermark and be able to find the photos later.  As far as I can tell, you can’t tag photos in Google Photos. Face recognition will not work with cats.  Because of the ease of use and because it was free, Picasa has been a godsend for other volunteer cat photographers who aren’t photo editors. Now, we’re scrambling to find an alternative.

Here’s a Hibiscus poster (below) that I created using Picasa. I used the posterize function to transform my hibiscus photograph, I used the add a border function to add the initial two-toned border, created a wider border with the collage tool, then added another two-tone border. I added the text of Hibiscus waimeae above the flower and added a band of an hibiscus font that I uploaded, which automatically transferred into Picasa when I downloaded it. Picasa allowed color matching so that I could match the greens and reds of the hibiscus photo to the font and background colors. Though there were many steps, it was easy. I don’t relish learning a new program to do these functions.

If you know of an easy, inexpensive alternative for downloading, editing and organizing photos, let me know in the comments.  I’m checking into FastStone.org.  Anyone have any experience with that program?

Hibiscus Waimeae Square Canvas Print

R.I.P Picasa: Google shutters aging photo service

23 Comments

Filed under Internet, Photography, Technology

2014 in review

Thank you all for stopping by.  Happy New Year!  Hope to see you in 2015! The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 32,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 12 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

20 Comments

Filed under Internet, Writing

Scientists Discover Google

Facebook and Google “know” too much about me already, yet I can’t let go. I promise to post my writing soon. It’s in the works. But Shouts from the Abyss always has something intriguing to say, so I’m happy to share. Google, are you listening?

Shouts from the Abyss

In the spirit of Don’t Be Evil, I’ve got something to say.

View original post 1,025 more words

1 Comment

Filed under Internet

Spammy Christmas

I'm not sending Christmas cards this year. I'm sending spam! Isn't that better than a one-size-fits-all Christmas letter or a family photo in which we all wear matching sweaters including the cats and dog! I awoke this morning to find three pages of returned mail in my inbox of people whose mail programs rejected the spam hijacked in my name for Viagra sales. Plenty more people got the email.

One of the first things I do each day is check my email, cheerfully hoping for a few personal emails in my inbox. I got some personal emails, all right, from people telling me that I’d been the victim of a spammer who had hijacked my address book to contact EVERYONE on it with a link to Viagra sales.

I checked the returned mail, and the faux address on each link was different. Many sounded harmless, such as “How to remove pet stains,” which is exactly the sort of link I would send. Others were a bit racier, including the word jerk or similar, and these weren’t recipes for jerk chicken. No matter what the link said, apparently they were all for Viagra sales.

On the bright side, I heard from people I hadn’t heard from in years, which was delightful. I emailed as many people as I could to warn them not to open the link. I realized that there were many people in my address book I didn’t even realize were there, such as people who were on other people’s mailing lists who emailed me. There were city councilmen, customer service addresses, people I freelanced for (now I look super duper professional sending out that spam crap, eh?)

Anyway, I hope I didn’t do any damage. I’m grateful for everyone’s understanding, and I’m even fortunate to have touched base with some old friends! Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy New Year.

5 Comments

Filed under Internet

2010 in Review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 88,000 times in 2010. If it were an exhibit at The Louvre Museum, it would take 4 days for that many people to see it.

In 2010, there were 42 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 200 posts. There were 132 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 128mb. That’s about 3 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was July 1st with 2,049 views. The most popular post that day was Wayside Waifs.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were wordpress.com, search.aol.com, facebook.com, WordPress Dashboard, and shoutsfromtheabyss.wordpress.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for hummingbirds, skin cancer, hunter s thompson, robert plant, and robert plant children.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Wayside Waifs July 2010
95 comments and 27 Likes on WordPress.com

2

Generation Tattoo September 2008
12 comments

3

Skin Cancer February 2010
8 comments

4

Robert Plant receives Commander of the British Empire Honor July 2009
6 comments

5

A Flock of Hummingbirds August 2008
9 comments and 1 Like on WordPress.com,

3 Comments

Filed under Internet, Life, Writing

Relax!

Hammock on the Veranda Postcard postcard

Here’s a photograph I took on a recent visit to South Carolina. Can’t you just imagine yourself relaxing in this hammock with a cool drink and a book? I didn’t try it myself, because I probably would have spilled my drink on my book. But it’s a lovely fantasy.

When bloggers start posting just a photo or two or a YouTube video once or twice a month, you know they are on the downhill slide to quitting. It’s true that I’m blogging less and less often. But I’m not giving up, I swear.

Soon after I started blogging here in the Spring of 2008, I read that the average blogger lasts about two years. I don’t know where those statistics came from, but that seems about right. When I make the rounds of my fellow bloggers, I find they are posting less, too. Sadly, some of my favorite bloggers have stopped posting, apparently forever or so rarely that their infrequent posts are merely the sputters of a dying blog. Blogs take time and commitment. They sure as heck don’t make any money.

I know the world isn’t begging for my thoughts, but I do like to post about interesting subjects I find, usually about nature, travel, music and history topics. Lately, though, I’ve been enjoying a rest in my “mental” hammock. What I really want to write about is politics, but I’ve sworn not to. Wouldn’t be polite.

One fellow blogger, Shouts from the Abyss, has kept up the good fight by blogging EVERY day (sometimes twice) for more than a year!

Planetjan has slowed, too. She has a very full schedule, but she’s also dedicated to posting. She’s hilarious, so I’m always happy to read one of her posts. Her latest is Hands On Learning.

8 Comments

Filed under Communication, Friendship, Internet, Life, Personal, Writing