Google Plus not dead yet

Google Plus is not dead, although I thought so for months. Maybe you gave up on Google Plus as well.

Then I read an article by Dave Llorens about the future of Google Plus and decided to stir the waters of my account again.

I know, one more social connection to try to maintain.

But the Google Authorship aspect caught my attention. When my name is googled, I want people to find my blog and other connections. Google Authorship ties my photo to my writings and I like that.

The core of the ability to do that is Google Plus.

So I’m giving it a run. I wish WordPress  could automatically post blogs to Google Plus like it can to Facebook and Twitter but I suspect that’ll come soon. In the meantime, I have to remember to copy the url from my blogs and paste them in my Google Plus account.

Unlike Facebook, Google Plus members are more focused on business, art, technology and ideas rather than complaints about the boss and the stale coffee. I like that. There are less photos of grandkids but I go to Facebook for those connections.

I scored an information find that I’ll share with you. The chart below came from a Google Plus community, Christian Authors, which is packed with intelligent interaction about writing. As you can see, there’s a lot of help with technology in that community.

If you’re a Google Plus member already, consider adding me to your circle. I’m listed as Kathy Brasby. And if you’re a Christian writer, check out the Christian Writer community.

Now, take a look at the chart about website design and see some content available on Google Plus. Thanks to Tim Young on Christian Authors at Google Plus:




Connecting with Google Easter eggs

Once the joke was that if you needed your VCR/TV/voicemail set up, adopt a 12-year-old to do it for you.

As I watched my grandson at 18 months slide his fingers over my smartphone screen, I think the age requirement may have dropped.

American Easter eggs from Washington

American Easter eggs from Washington (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But what’s with children grasping technology faster than the more mature among us?

My theory is they play with technology like they play with toy trucks and blocks. They have fun with the medium and, in the process, discover how it works.

So I have some fun for you that just might also give you a foot in the door with the younger generation.

First, you need to know the term “Easter egg.” Forget about the pastel plastic eggs stuffed with candy. These Easter eggs are surprises waiting on the internet for the frisky explorer.

Here’s your first Easter egg: direct your browser to Google Images and type in “Atari Breakout.” Wait for it…. A little fun nostalgia for many of us awaits. Enjoy the screen but don’t forget to come back because I have more.

Here are a few more Easter eggs to explore. Remember, the point is fun so don’t get all serious wondering just what these programmers could have been doing to save the world.

In each of these, navigate to the Google search page. You’ll see the search window there. Type what’s between the quotation marks but leave off the quotation marks:

  • Type “Google pond” into the search window. Then press the “I’m feeling lucky” button and watch your screen.
  • Type “tilt” and press the search button. Use this to annoy your OCD friends – well, maybe former friends.
  • Try “Barrel roll” in the search window and select the search button. Buckle your seat belt.
  • Type “elgoog” and press the “I’m feeling lucky” button. Think about Alice in the mirror.
  • Having a gray day? Try “Google rainbow” and press “I’m feeling lucky.”
  • “Google guitar” lets you play Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star or Forest Gump. Your choice.
  • Also try “Google underwater” for a cool effect.

Remember that the point is to have some fun and maybe to connect with someone under age 18. The key is to offer the Easter egg as though you’ve always known this stuff. And then laugh together.

A great use for technology.

(Thanks to my techie teen for his help on this.)

Barna and the Bible

Information today is so easy to grab. “Google it” has now a verb and if Google fails, well, there’s Siri. Sometimes.

So if I want to study wisdom, where would I go except Google? I do have other ideas in mind but I gave Google a run.

Bible Study 2

Bible Study 2 (Photo credit: DrGBB)

What did I learn? I know wisdom is valuable. And that many don’t have much.

Wisdom might be the ability to judge correctly, followed up by appropriate actions. You might long for the super-size fast food but wisdom says that’s an indulgence better done in small doses.

So, how do we get wisdom?

My Google search revealed that some scientists think wisdom is wired, that it’s some sort of neurological function that just, well, happens. Others describe it as compassion, self understanding, morality, emotional stability.

Some are exploring the connection between intelligence, wisdom and spirituality.

I think wisdom comes primarily from experience. Make a mistake, learn from it, and grow in wisdom.

But who wants to make every mistake, fall into every black hole, experience every addiction?

So we also learn from others’ wisdom. Their advice can save us from pain. Wise advice from those who know more than we do, who have seen more than we’ve seen, who have connected action and consequence is invaluable.

Wise people and wise books dot the path of wisdom.

The Barna Group did a survey on how Americans view the Bible. They were surprised by how Millennials (the generation Barna defines as being born from 1983-2002) are intrigued by the Bible’s wisdom. These young people are curious about ancient truths.

Maybe they don’t want to experience every mistake. You can save a lot of time and lot of bruises if you can piggy-back on someone else’s wisdom.

Here’s my bottom line on wisdom, and one I want to explore in coming Fridays: Google can help pose the question but wisdom that transcends the ages and goes deep into the human condition is found in the Bible.

Next Friday we’ll explore. The Bible is meant to be read, studied, and pondered. Questions are OK.  Simplistic cliches, no so much. I will be posting some of my observations on Fridays. I’m interested in God’s wisdom and how he communicates that to the readers of the Bible.

First, we’ll take a look at the Bible as literature and how the mastery of words creates depth of meaning.

If you’d like to read Barna’s survey, here’s the link: What Do Americans Think of the Bible.

Match trees, the g-ball and YouTube

Google really does have something over my hometown newspaper. Although both love their April Fool’s jokes, Google has outlasted the local newspaper.

My hometown daily shut down the pranks after the outrage of an April 1 story that featured the suicide of what everyone assumed was an fictitious columnist. This columnist had a weekly running commentary on events in the community and the extensive story of his suicide was more than people could bear. End of the pranks.

The best one I remember, though, was the discovery of a match farm outside of town. Readers were given close-ups of bushes bearing matches and a lengthy interview with the match farmer. I don’t know how long it took the reporter to tie the matches onto those bushes.

Google, on the other hand, keeps chucking out the jokes.

Here are a few from their archives:

  • Google Australia announced the development of the “g-ball,” a soccer-type ball with GPS technology.  The ball could measure the location, force, and torque of a kick, and “vibrate if player agents or talent scouts want to speak to you.” Google claimed that the ball will cost $10 with a cost-per-kick set of payments in addition to the basic fee.
  • Users were told that Google Docs could upload anything, including things easily lost such as your car keys and remote controls. Using control-F would allow you to search the world and download your item for a small fee.
  • Google proposed a keyboard with a single key for each Japanese character.
  • Scratch and Sniff books were added to Google Book Search. Users were instructed to please place their noses near the monitor and press “Go” which would then load odors.
  • Google Mobile offered Brain Indexing. Users could put phone to their forehead for brain indexing and then simply think their search query.
  • Google became Topeka for a day. Apparently town fathers in Topeka, Kansas had changed the name of their town to “Google” for a day in hopes of capturing a spot on a broadband/fiber optics project. Google returned the honor, replacing their logo with “Topeka” for the day.
  • Google users were offered an option to print life-size cardboard cutouts of all their photos.

But this year may top them all. Google and YouTube have joined together to announce that YouTube has really been a contest and it will disappear for the next decade while judges sort through all the entries. Check out the video:

A cheat sheet for social media pix

Participating in social media means pictures. Photos. Readers are very visual and a post with a picture is better.

I ran across this cheat sheet for social media photos and thought I would share with you. I have a lot of work to do on my social media. Maybe you, too?

Check it out:

The Ultimate Complete Final Social Media Sizing Cheat Sheet LunaMetrics

Brought to you by the LunaMetrics blog.

Writing on the cloud

My first computer was an Apple II and I sprung for the newest innovation: two disk drives. In those days, there were no hard drives and, in a sense, saving data was simpler.

Your program was one disk and the data on the second. It was easy to save a file to yet a third data disk because we all understood that a document stored on a sheet of plastic was less secure than one saved in a file folder beside one’s desk.

1411719_31336857Saving documents has not gotten easier with the addition of hard drives and flash drives. They can fail, too, and we’re forced to do multiple backups to secure valuable files.

Backups have gotten easier now that many of us use multiple devices to write. I am writing this post on an iMac but could be composing on my laptop instead. Or even my smartphone.  I’m writing in Evernote, which means this document will be synchronized to the Evernote site on the internet so that I can read it on my desktop, my laptop or my smartphone.

Even if my hard drive crashes, this document is secure.

There are a number of synchronization programs available which, although they are designed to allow me to access documents from different devices, also archive the files on the internet as well.

I’ve discussed some of them before in this post but let me review them:

Evernote – I can set up any number of notebooks (think folders) and then place notes within the notebook. Not only does Evernote contain my own writings, but I can clip articles on the internet and save them in Evernote. I can even forward emails with pertinent information to Evernote. This is a nice synchronization tool and one which also backs up my information on the internet. I can access it there from any computer simply by signing in to my account.

Dropbox – Dropbox appears in a folder on my desktop and I save files to the sub-folders. I can check out those folders from any device that’s signed into my Dropbox account.

Sugar Synch – similar to Dropbox and I haven’t used it as much but it also allows synchronization and access from many devices.

Google Drive – this is a new player and an interesting one, since Google Drive accesses Google docs if you have a Google account. Not only can you store documents, you can create them through Google Drive.  Google offers word processing and a spreadsheet as well as email address. Google Drive, when installed on my desktop, looks just like a another storage unit.

There are more of these but the key is to consider both synchronization and backup. The synchronization across devices only works when the device can access the internet but that gets easier and easier as wi-fi is more common at many businesses.

Do you use a synchronization program? Have you written on the cloud?