Saturday, October 16, 2010

A week of ideas (and product trials)


Heading back on the road for ten days, first with a presentation at the Acute Care conference in Copenhagen, then back to the US before heading back to the Netherlands.  Well past the 100K airmiles threshold for the year, ‘wondering what delights await me if I hit Diamond Level (Free Lounge Access, promises the website.  I’d prefer transatlantic upgrades, a rarity since KLM merged into Delta).

While sitting in terminal 3 waiting for the Copenhagen call (above), I got my notes organized and found that I have a fair number of scribbles with ideas from various sources.  So, rather than write travel notes, I’m going to declare a week for ideas and explore a few thoughts that I’ve been reading and mulling when I could have been haunting the Duty Free . 


DSC00321A couple of technical notes for a Saturday before heading out into the city:

  • The new version of Windows Live Essentials has been released.  I tried the beta but it was very buggy.  I lost mail crashed applications as a result, and had advised people to avoid it.  The final version is much improved and well worth the download (especially Mail for organizing disparate accounts, Writer for blogging, and Photo for editing).
  • “If you don’t have a good RyanAir tale, maybe you didn’t really experience Europe.”  Vagabondish has a wonderful list capturing all the things that I’ve learned to love about the yellow and blue birds.
  • Mobile applications are in every tech product’s future, and I have been looking for a way to create an app just to learn how the systems work and what they can do,  Microsoft is releasing Windows Phone 7 next month, and has released a free developer toolkit.  It’s an easy way to play with the environment.
  • I am learning to like the emerging philosophy of keeping my data in the cloud and accessing it from anywhere: I’ve made the conversion on mail and contacts.  I tried two new services that promise to do the same for bookmarks ( and everyday notes (  Neither was very useful: there’s still too much manipulation to organize what should be a simple shove-and-search process.
  • Skype 5 is out, with (help me) better Facebook integration.  I depend a lot on Skype and Facebook (I suspect that most expats do), but it’s not a good combination.
  • I need to create two web sites later this month, and took a look at the newest all-in-one hosting sites: SquareSpace, Yahoo Sitebuilder, and Office Live.  I really struggled with each of them: templates are hard to find and to modify, controls don’t work, drag-and--drop editing is balky.  I used to be a FrontPage fanatic, and came across WYSIWYG Web Builder, which gives me a lot of the same capability to build a site to my own taste much as I would construct a PowerPoint slide. 
  • Finally, I am trying the Internet Explorer 9 beta.  It’s going to be a good upgrade from 8 but still has the bug that I can’t install Java or display Capcha pictures in it.  There are some odd features, there’s no progress bar for page loads and functions like Print are harder to access, but these may be smoothed over in the final release.

Disclaimer: The products I mention are products that I pay for and use: I do not accept commissions, gifts, or advertising.

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