Search This Blog

Sunday, February 28, 2010

By this point, just about everyone has heard of Google. You know, it's that minimalist website you use to search the internet. Just a single window, no ads. Enter the topic you're looking for and poof! Instant results, and a lot of 'em.

But, what you might not know is Google is so much more than search.

Google owns YouTube, a massive video site with billions (yes- billions) upons billions of video clips covering every topic imaginable. Other google created sites include:

- Google Documents- a free site that many consider to be Microsoft Word on the web. All of the documents are kept "in the cloud" (a term that means it's stored remotely on Google's computers) and available from any computer with internet access.

- Google Chrome- A web browser of Google's design that operates exactly like "Internet Explorer", but with Google's own twist on the approach.

- Google Books- Millions of out-of-print books have been scanned and are available for reading via your computer, complete and unabridged. For free.

- Picasa- a free (there's that nice word again) program that allows you to download, store, organize, edit (like Photoshop), share all of your photos and videos. A very popular program.

So, why does Google do this all for free? It's simple, really. Google makes their money- a lot of it- by selling ads to companies who want internet readers to see their products or services. The more people who see the ads, the more money Google makes. So, if Google can attract more people to the internet, more money for them, so Google creates and acquires and makes available these products and services to attract more internet visitors.

Who benefits? Google. And you and me. To find out all of the 45+ services that Google offers, go here.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Everything you wanted to know about movies...literally any movie.

I like movies. Just about any movie. From silent to 3D, movies have been an escape, thrill, joy and part of most of our lives.

For those of use interested in more than just watching them, there's a website dedicated to exploring nearly every detail about nearly every American movie made. The Internet Movie Data Base ( contains information about cinema that your can search via title, actor, director, writer, etc.

Not sure of the title of a certain movie, but you're sure that John Wayne was in it? Type in his name, and you'll be able to access data on all 170 movies he appeared in from 1926 to 1976. You'll also get his bio, films, producer credits, TV appearances and so much more. All this information is available by typing a few words into a single box at the top of the page , i.e., John Wayne, Liberty Valance, Who shot_____, etc.

Each movie also contains interesting selections like a cast and crew listing, trivia, reviews, how much money was made, interesting or memorable quotes, goofs (microphone in the shot) and several more.

I've gone to this site nearly every week and I'm never disappointed with the breadth and volume of information for movie buffs like me. Premiere it for yourself here.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Lights, camera, action!

Video is tech too. No, really. Just take apart your video camera and see. On second thought, don't.

Video cameras these days are far more than just point and shoot. Tapes are gone (didn't know that did you?) and even recordable DVDs are on the wrong side of old- in video terms anyway. Plus, editing is as close as your computer as both Apple and Windows come standard with video editing software (didn't know that either?).  We'll address that little hidden nugget another time.

Well, my friends, there is hope and is here to help. Long America's #1 video production for hobbyists, Videomaker has been around for decades, teaching newbies the basics, plus some slightly more advanced techniques when the time comes to move ahead in your cinematic ambitions.

Cutting edge equipment reviews, tips and tricks, how to make a little money even- check out the Videomaker website. Click here to make the jump.

Disclaimer: I'm a regular contributor to this magazine.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Find cheaper programs that do as good (or better) job than the big-buck software choices!

Got a ton of money burning a hole in your pocket? Me neither. Seems like it takes a bunch of cash to buy some of the programs we want most. Video editing programs can reach into the hundreds of dollars while a photo program like Photoshop can be nearly as pricey.

Turns out, folks in the tech world think the same way and have created their own version of popular software programs that do things like photo manipulation, video editing, spreadsheets, word processing, data back up programs and hundreds more- all for nothing!

The website has compiled an enormous collection of these off-the-beaten path programs and allowed users to use, review and rate them and has provided an easy and convenient way for you to download them safely. Try them out and if you don't like them, you aren't out anything but a bit of your time.

Click here to start.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

It's all geek to me. Learn to speak geek!

What? You don't know what a "cube farm" is? Shame on you!

As part of your tech education, go right now to the "42 terms to boost your geek vocabulary" website right now.  I'm not saying it will make you any smarter. But, I am saying it will give you insight into the Star Trek filled world of the pocket-protecting, horn-rimmed glasses minds of those folks we look to understand and hopefully, someday emulate- at least when it comes to understanding technology and we can use it as a force for good. Or, at least, a force for making our lives easier.

If you think about it, it's because we're not geeks that you and I need sites like this one. Remember, the richest man in America, Bill Gates, is a geek. And so are most of the better off people I know. Geek is good.

Thousands of free games.

It's time for a bit o' fun!

I found this website for simple games called Indeed, some of them are addicting and some of them are just plain boring. But, they can't be accused of having a limited selection. I didn't count them, but there must be thousands of games with topics like sports, shooters, fantasy, puzzles, etc.. You have the option of choosing from the most popular games on the site and this is usually the best place to begin order to have maximum fun right away. There's nothing to download (except for one thing you may already have, see below), simply click n' play.

Playing is always free and you don't have to register. The games are Flash based (Flash is a small bit of software virtually all Windows PC have in order to play video or simple games like these) , so you may have to update to the latest version , but don't worry, any game that needs the latest version will offer you the option of downloading it or you can find it here.

The best security software...for free!

Recently, Microsoft debuted Microsoft Security Essentials, a free software down load for most versions of Windows. Formally costing as much as $100 or more, this suite of security products protects your computer from spyware, malware and other internet nasties.

Developed by the same folks who developed the software that 90% of the world uses, MSE is just as full-featured, just as secure and completely updatable (is that a word?) as any commercial product out there now and it has the pay-for-protection industry very worried, as they should be. This software download has been reviewed ten ways from Sunday and has emerged the winner in all comparisions. The best feature of all? Absolutely no cost to anyone who chooses to download it.

You can find it here.

I strongly encourage you to get it now and protect yourself from a potentially expensive and nefarious infection to your computer.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Leo Laporte, The Tech Guy!

One of my favorite people to explain how all things tech works is Leo Laporte. His radio show, The Tech Guy,  has spent the past two decades explaining things to folks like you and me who just want to turn the darn thing on and have it work!

He had a vast knowledge of computers, gadgets, tech news and products that is astounding. He also produces dozens of podcasts on tpoics ranging from computer security to food and wine. His style is easy, funny, approachable and casual. Leo knows technology and he knows how to explain it.

Go see (or hear) for yourself!

What the heck is an iPad?

Recently, Apple debuted the iPad. To me, it looks like an iPod Touch on steriods. So, what's the big deal, right? Apparently, plenty. With the ability to do everything a smaller iPod can do, the iPad (was that really the best name they could come up with?) is so much more. After sifting through a bunch of websites detailing the advantages in geek-speak, I found one that explains exactly what the iPad is, what it can do and why the Apple fan base is ga-ga over it.

Me? I'm still not so sure. It can't play back Flash video (for instance, all of YouTube uses flash to play their videos- at least for now), doesn't have a camera for stills or video chat (talking to and seeing each other over an internet connection) and it truly seems to me like a huge iPod Touch.

Click on the link and decide for yourself.