Saturday, August 20, 2011

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Beefing Up Your Google+ Profile's Privacy

Here are some tips on beefing up your Google+ profile's privacy.

The coolest thing about Google+ is that it offers much more in terms of privacy than Facebook does. In fact, the "Circles" which the entire service revolves around exist because Google knows that you may not want to share everything you post with all 1,000 of your friends. Privacy is essentially the number one priority of G+.

That doesn't mean much if you don't know how to utilize it, so let's run through a few key items.

Creating your circles

This is the key to the social network that will destroy FB. Or at least, the social network that is really making FB sweat.

From your Google+ home screen, you will see four tabs at the top (to the left of the "Find People" search bar). These are Stream, Photos, Profile, and Circles. Click on the fourth one, "Circles."

This will take you to a list of all of your friends with several pre-defined circles at the bottom. You can keep the default circles or create new ones that better reflect your preferences.

Just go through your friends and drag them into different circles, based on how much you think you will be sharing with them. Close friends and family will likely be receiving more regular and more personal updates than your coworkers. You can also have one person in multiple circles. Be as meticulous as you want, because having good, accurate circles is important for beefing up your profile in the next step.

Editing your profile

Now, from the four tabs next to the search bar, click the third one, "Profile."

This is your hub. This is what everyone else sees when they click on your name. From your profile, they can see all of the information you have chosen to let them see, all of your G+ posts which you have allowed them to see, any photos you have made visible to them, among a few other things.

On this screen, there is a blue button that says "Edit Profile." Click that and you will be able to select every individual section of your profile and edit who can see that section. By everything, I mean everything. Well, except for your gender. And your name. And your profile picture. So, yeah, everything but those things.

Go ahead and click around your profile and select which circles can see them. For example, everyone in my "Family" circle can see my phone number and home address. However, this information is very personal, so other circles cannot see this info. This same level of micromanaging can be done with all other fields such as "Bragging rights" and "Employment."

You may choose that only your "Family" and "Church Family" can see all of your information. Everyone else may only be able to see your name and gender. Or, you may be comfortable with the whole world seeing your job title and work history. You may want everyone in all of your circles to see who your friends are, but you don't want a complete stranger to see. You get the point. It's all up to you.

While you are still in "edit" mode on your profile, go ahead and click around to the different pages of your profile, such as "photos". You can also control whether these pages even show up when other people view your profile.

When you are done with all of this, click "Done Editing" to submit your changes. Then click "View profile as..." This allows you to view your profile as it would look to someone who is outside of your circles. Make sure it reflects the settings you just submitted.

Google+ settings

One of the things I hate about Facebook is that when someone tags me in a photo, it links the photo to my profile and places the photos in my albums. There may be a way to change it, but that means I have to do the other thing I hate about Facebook - crawling through the dark labyrinth of their settings. So I haven't done it.

Anywho, click on the image of the gear in the upper right-hand corner of the screen and then "Google+ settings" toward the bottom, you can choose which circles are allowed to link to your profile if they tag you in a photo. Awesome!

Well, there you have it. You have now tweaked your profile and Google+ is now ready and able to completely replace FB as soon as you convince your friends to make the switch. What are you waiting for?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Netflix Instant Additions July

July 1st begins an exciting month for Netflix Instant Watch users. Here are the additions I have deemed noteworthy.

Star Trek
Star Trek TNG
Star Trek Voyager
Star Trek DS9
Xmen (1992 cartoon)
Modern Marvels

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Planting My Own Tobacco: The Transplant

The hundreds of ground-black-pepper-sized seeds grew into hundreds of tiny tobacco sprouts. Eventually, when they were all about a centimeter tall, Amy moved them over into individual trays. Since there were so many in a small space and since they were so small, it was a fairly tedious process. She used a plastic fork to help break up the dirt around the roots and to scoop each plant out without damaging it.

The plants did not require much sun to sprout - only soil that is always moist - however, once placed in individual trays they need a nice sunny window sill to grow. I placed all of the plants on a tray and would pour water into the bottom of the tray each day.

They are tough plants and don't need the amount of attention and care that I have given them. You can pretty much water them and forget about them. Once they are about 4 inches tall, they are ready to move outside. I made sure to dig a pretty deep hole. I filled it back in with dirt to make sure the roots would be able to spread out more easily.  It is recommended that you leave about 2 feet of space between the plants. Once they are in the ground, just make sure they get sufficient water and give them some plant food. They should take off.

I believe field mice have been nibbling on my plants during the night, but they haven't caused any major damage. Only the leaves that are laying on the ground get messed with. Other than that, bright leaf Virginia is a darn tough plant and thrives in harsh soil, so I'm sure it will do quite well the rich soil around my house.

Friday, May 6, 2011

The MANtage

The celebration of masculinity is an underlying theme that we frequently revisit on the blog. When I came across this video featuring a compilation of manly activities, I had to share it. Although I have never wrestled a bear at night, I did kill a bear single handedly.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Last Exile

It's not often that an anime will have me hooked in the first couple episodes. Even my favorite anime took up to five episodes before they really had me intrigued. Last Exile is unusual in that the fantasy world portrayed in the story had me wanting to learn more about it from episode one. The two main characters, Claus and Lavie, are very likable. Immediately, I was interested in their fate and how the story would unfold. The animation is top notch and the supporting cast is fantastic. Toward the end, I was actually more interested in Lord Dio's story than the main characters'. The series has all of the components necessary for an excellent anime.

However, Last Exile is also unusual in that, as hooked as I was, I almost completely lost interest in the show halfway through the story. True, the characters were all likable, including the supporting cast. The story was grand and intriguing. It's odd that a series having so much going for it would be such a flop for me. The chief reason for this is that Last Exile should have been at least a 36 episode anime. With such a large, excellent cast and a deep, epic story Last Exile tried to do way too much in 26 episodes. Thus, I was left feeling like I was robbed of a show that could have been one of my favorites.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Google TV in family worship

A great use I have found for Google TV is practicing singing psalms in parts in the living room. I have an elder email me a recording of each part for the psalms that will be sung on the upcoming Sunday and just check my email on Google TV. From there I play the mp3 over the surround sound. If no hymnal is available, I could easily display the lyrics on the TV screen.

What a cool way to use the TV to do something constructive.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Great Place to Buy Seeds

I bought some Virginia Bright tobacco seeds from here. The seeds were shipped promptly and arrived safely in my mail box within the expected time period.

I was expecting to have a rough time finding some tobacco seeds and was prepared for a difficult search. However I was pointed to Victory Seeds and they turned out the be my first and only stop.

From my experience, the site appears be a courteous, customer-centered business interested selling quality plants to their customers with no hassle. I had no trouble ordering or receiving them and was even greeted with a kind follow-up email after my seeds arrived.

in reference to: Tobacco Seeds - Rare and Heirloom Seed Varieties from Victory Seeds® (view on Google Sidewiki)

Switching Back to Blogger

I recently switched to Tumblr due to Blogger's lack of flashy designs. With the new dynamic views, plus the fact that Blogger is linked to my Google profile, may have me switching back.

in reference to: All about Dynamic Views for Readers - Blogger Help (view on Google Sidewiki)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Coming Soon to Instant Watch

Here are what I think to be the most notable additions to instant watch coming in the next 30 days.

March 15
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood Seasons 1 & 2
Shin Chan
Three Kingdoms
Eden of the East

April 1

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Planting My Own Tobacco: The Beginning

My seeds have arrived from Victory Seeds and its time to start growing my tobacco. If all goes well I will harvest some yellow Virginia tobacco for pipe and cigar smoking this fall.

The seeds arrived in a little bag with what looks like hundreds of tiny seeds inside. I sprinkled the entire batch onto damp soil and will keep the soil damp and warm on my sunny back porch for two weeks until, hopefully, I will see some sprouts pop up. I will thin them out and continue to grow them until about 4 inches tall. I'll report from that point if all goes well!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Symbolism in Tron Legacy

I saw Tron Legacy tonight and here are some thoughts on the symbolism that I noticed in no particular order.

Flynn is creator of the grid and is also the spiritual hero/christ figure. He is creator, yet sacrifices himself to save both the real world and his creation.

The creation of the grid was done by a three people, Flynn, Clue and Tron - a trinity.

Clue was created in Flynn's own image, but fell into corruption.

Clue picked up an apple in Flynn's headquarter's. The apple reminded him of his fall.

The apple also represents knowledge of good and evil - the ability to make correct and just judgments. Flynn, after all this time, now realizes that he did not aspire true perfection. He realizes now that true perfection would have been to sacrifice his own interests for his loved ones - namely his son.

Flynn sacrificed himself to preserve a new and improved humanity - he ensured the last remaining ISO, Quorra, would live. 

Finally, Sam, the action hero, was a true super user (I'm sure this Linux joke has already been made).

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Unlimited Storage on Picasa, Kinda

Google Operating System reports that Picasa Web Albums has received an update. Pictures that are 800 x 600 pixels or less no longer count toward the storage limit. Great news for Picasa users who lament having to carefully choose which pictures to upload due to the old storage limit.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Glenn Beck vs. Google

Glenn Beck recently constructed a conspiracy that portrays Google as a biased harlot secretly tied to the Obama administration.

If I didn't know who Glenn Beck or Bill O'Reilly was, I would think this video was a parody of Fox News.

Google's Social Initiative Part 1

Earlier I posted on Google Search being an important and exciting part of their new social strategy. Well, Social Search is officially leaving beta and rolling out to everyone.

With social search, what your friends say about the topic you search for shows up on the first page of results. If you search for IT Crowd, you may see a tweet from your friend raving about how hilarious he thinks the show is. Facebook, Twitter, Buzz, etc now will now appear in your results. And why not? My friends carry more weight in my opinions than a blogger whom I've never met.

This also confirms that Facebook is not a threat to Google, but makes its social strategy even more robust.

I'll share more when I see Social Search integrated into my search results.