Thursday, April 13, 2006

Effective Organization for Lazy Ass Slobs

I'm writing this post today, a Thursday, because on last weeks "Insomnia" post I mentioned that I'd gotten into the habit of posting only on Tuesday and Friday and that more posts were in order. It would be rather hypocritical of me not to follow through, although I'll let you know that I'm taking valuable time out of my lunch break to type this up. So... appreciate it, damnit.

Because there's nothing new or exciting going on in my life at the moment, today's post is going to be one of those "Eric's Excellent Exhortation's" type deals. Or, in simpler terms, it's going to read like an advertisement for two things that I think are really neat. Actually, I think one of these things is really neat. The other I haven't played around with much but it definitely has potential, which is where we might as well start off.

Have I mentioned how much I love Google? I love Google. They steal other peoples ideas, make them web based, tweak them a little, usually improve upon them (although that's debatable), throw a big bright "Google" stamp on it and then stick it in Beta mode for the next eight years or so, and in doing so, make you feel like you're King Shit because you're allowed to use it. I mean, after all, only the select few can/will use a "beta." They did this with Gmail, which in my mind happens to be the best web based email out there at the moment (and which I'm going to consolidate all my emails to in the near future, so get ready friends and family, the "My E-Mail address has changed! Please make a note of it!" email will be coming fairly soon. Don't you go ignoring it now, slacker.) They did it with Google Maps. Now they're doing it with Google Calendar.

Although I haven't used this thing all that much it looks pretty nifty. The layout is much like you would see in any calendar application (ie. Microsoft Outlook) except it's entirely web based. Users are allowed to add events from within the program or through Web sites that use the feature. So in the future, you may be searching your local "events and happenings" section online and if you see an event that you'd like to go to, you can merely click "Add to my Google Calendar" and have it show up (assuming of course, the designers of the site you're visiting allow for that function. Google has made it very easy for them to do so.) It can also import calendar items from other programs, such as Outlook or iCal, and it allows you to share your calendar (or just specific events) with other users of the service. Lastly, you can create event reminders and invitations (a la Evite) and send them to anyone with an email address. Even the usual bitching about privacy whenever Google releases a new tool seems to be minimal, as the default settings for Calendar are all set to private unless otherwise changed. However, don't blame me if the token "federal, state and local authorities" bust down your door and haul you away for crimes against the state because you happened to schedule a date with a known traffic violator. I said it was neat, not safe (although there's no reason to think that it isn't - at least not yet.) Anyway, there's lots more and if you're interested you can read about it here - or just click the link above and try it for yourself. Pretty neat. Lots of nice little pop up balloons. Whee!

My second neato item is something I'm admittedly about a year late on, but it still no less remarkable. Because my roommate and I both have laptops we have a wireless network at home. While a fantastic setup, we were limited by the fact that the router (which disperses the wireless signal to our laptops) was old technology so we were neither getting the speed, nor the reliability that we could have been. While bored at work the other day, I was surfing the Apple "special deals" website (scroll all the way to the bottom) and ran into some great prices on refurbished models of their latest router, the Airport Express. Don't let the cheesy name fool you. This device is the coolest thing since... well shit, I don't know... the coolest thing since pickles. Not only does it act as a 802.11(g) router (that means really fast for those of you unfamiliar with the jargon), but it also will hook up to my home stereo and (wirelessly, of course) play over the stereo speakers anything I can play in Itunes, whether that be something in my music library, a podcast, an online radio station, you name it. If Itunes can play it, the Airport Express will play it over my home stereo system. Ah... but that's not all. It ALSO has a USB printer port on it, so that I can take any printer, hook it up to the airport, and my roommate and I (and anyone else using our network) can print wirelessly to that printer. Oh, and the thing is only slightly bigger than an iPod. In short, we have a wireless router, print server and digital music server that's about the size of a walkman and just about $100. Yowzas.

And there's my latest techie review post thingie. I'd imagine these types of posts induce massive yawns from the majority of you, but too bad. I happen to work with this shit for a living, so you'll get stuck with this from time to time. Just be thankful you got something to read on a Thursday, pal. And... hey that's a decent idea... Maybe I'll start scheduling my blog posts in the calendar...

Whoa - what am I thinking? That means I'd actually have to write. We know what to say to Jose about that, don't we? Thought so. See you folks.


Blogger Sean said...

That's awesome! I might just have to do the same. Been wanting one of these for a long time now. Good deal. Save that extra $30 for some music...

10:13 PM  

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