Personal KM : managing personal information in the Internet era
Updated: 6/26/2003; 10:05:17 AM.


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Thursday, June 26, 2003

I love that line in The Jerk when Steve Martin gets so excited about the arrival of the new phonebooks.  Well, I guess I'm a jerk when it comes to Google, which has now released a Beta 2.0 version of their toolbar (for Internet Explorer only).  Usually, I wouldn't recommend that you try a Beta version of software unless you are really comfortable with computers, but I've learned that the Google Toolbar is not harmful, and in fact is amazingly useful.

Basically, it just makes it so you have a Toolbar in your Internet Explorer browser from which you can launch a Google search immediately without having to leave the page you are on to go to the Google page.  That feature alone (which was available on the previous versions) makes this completely free tool absolutely indispensible.  But now the Google Toolbar also has an autofill feature for websites that require you to enter personal information.  It will store your credit card information in a secure form, along with your other personal information that you have to enter when you do online shopping.  This makes it really easy to complete your order, without having to worry about your poor typing skills.

And, finally, the Google Toolbar has a pop-up blocker that will let you block annoying ads.  If you are visiting a site and want to click on a link that is a pop-up that you want to see, you can temporarily disable the feature by holding down the CTRL key as you click on the link.  The toolbar also has a little icon that informs you of how many pop up ads you've blocked since you installed it.  That will be interesting to monitor.

Trust me, if you use Internet Explorer as your browser you need this plug-in. Just click on this link and follow all the instructions.  It's quick and easy and painless.  And it will make your life a lot easier.

10:02:14 AM    comment []

Friday, May 23, 2003

Gadgeteer review of the Digiana Wireless Audio Portable FM Linker from Audia X, which plugs into the headphone jack of any portable audio player and can broadcast the sound on an open FM channel so you can listen on your car or home stereo:

Some other FM audio linkers have the inherent problem of only allowing you a few pre-selected stations to choose from. While this might not be an issue in rural communities, it can be a huge problem in an urban setting, Fortunately, the Digiana does not suffer from this type of restriction. You can choose any station on the FM dial in tenth increments until you find a clear host.

From Gizmodo.

9:04:13 PM    comment []

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

Gizmodo reports on The NetDisk.

netdisk.jpg"A couple of new network attached storage devices from XiMeta. The NetDisk Portable and the NetDisk Removable are basically external hard drives with Ethernet ports that connect directly to a local area network rather than to a PC so that anyone on the network can access the files within. With home networks multiplying, network storage drives like these (and the wireless NetDrive from Martian) should prove to be pretty popular." Read

This is great in concept, but since it is a pure hard drive you wouldn't be able to load software on it that would "serve" files in the fashion that a lot of things like TiVo's Home Media Option require that the source storage be on a computer with an operating system.  So, this may not be as attractive a concept for storage of files that are being actively used on the network, such as MP3's and JPEGs and GIFs. 

10:40:51 AM    comment []

Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Google Answers is pretty cool.  For a minimum of $2 you can post a question on just about any topic and get a quick response.  I just came back from Paris and was wondering if the French word for heart ("couer") had any relation to the origins of the word "court" as used in the legal sense.  Sure, I could go try to find the Oxford English Dictionary, but I don't have time.  So I posted the question and got this answer (note the subsequent comment by another person who adds to the discussion with more useful information).  And from the answers I learned about the Online Etymological Dictionary.  It's not the OED, but it's a handy tool nevertheless. 

And learning all of this cost me only $2.50.  Not bad.  By the way, I learned about Google Answers from my new friend A.J. Levy.  He's a lawyer here in New Orleans and is gearing up to start a weblog, which will be a great thing for those of you who want to learn about "lateral thinking" as applied to the law.

Later: someone sent me this account of a person who worked for Google Answers.  Interesting.  But so is this.

2:55:47 PM    comment []

Sunday, February 02, 2003

Text Information made into audio - KiMformation asks Is audio the way to go? - has some amazing audio products, including TextAloud MP3 ($24.95/20-day free trial), NewsAloud (beta release, $19.95/15-day free trial), WeatherAloud ($19.95/15-day free trial), Stocks Aloud ($14.95/15-day free trial), and Groups Aloud for USENET newsgroups (beta release $19.95, later $29.95/15-day free trial).  Some of these products can also be purchased in bundles, at a savings.

So, in theory [one could use this this to] proofread my work (hear my own words) or read my email or snippets from web pages while doing other things, like running a Google search or opening snail-mail.  Hooray for multi-tasking!  We're a part of an information explosion, and our dilemma is too much information and too little time.  Could audio, then, be the way to go?  It remains to be seen whether any of these programs have a practical application for me that would warrant the expense, but the idea is definitely intriguing.  And, yeah, the speech needs to be a lot better, but I was impressed at how good it was and how many voice settings and options there are.  (These products also support AT&T Natural Voices, which is sold as an add-on for $25.00.)  [via KiMformation]

3:49:49 PM    comment []

Thursday, January 30, 2003

Amazon sale on Viking memory cards - 512compactflash.jpgAll Viking memory cards are on sale at Amazon. After rebate 128MB CompactFlash cards are $29.99, 128MB Secure Digital cards are $54.39, 256MB CompactFlash cards are $64.99, and 512MB CompactFlash cards are $154.99.  Amazon [via Gizmodo]
5:15:07 PM    comment []

Bluetooth GPS module for handhelds  - wireless_gps_01.jpgNew GPS module from Emtac that connects to a PDA over Bluetooth and comes with a year subscription to Mapopolis mapping software.  Read  [via Gizmodo]
5:14:29 PM    comment []

Wednesday, January 29, 2003

Inside Palm's new Graffiti 2

graffiti2.jpgBrighthand looks at Graffiti 2, the new handwriting text entry software for the Palm operating system that's based on CIC's Jot software, explaining the reasons for the switch and the advantages and disadvantages of the new software.
Read [via Gizmodo]

12:17:10 PM    comment []

© Copyright 2003 Ernest Svenson.

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