Sunday, June 27, 2010

DropBox and My Documents

I've spent a big chunk of the day setting up a new Windows 7 laptop. Primarily to be used by my wife, Beth, but needing also to be accessible by me and our 3 kids. I thought I would take time to set up Dropbox, something I have read about but never actually used. I think I have it up and running, but there was a key modification I had to make. I really want Dropbox to be the default, like MyDocuments. But for the most part, Dropbox acts just like a folder in the file system; the key is that any file or folder placed within it will be synched to the cloud.

So what I really wanted to do was replace "My Documents" with "My Dropbox". Fortunately, in Windows "My Documents" is really just a label, that is applied by default to a folder User/Documents. So if you go into the Users list in Windows Explorer, and right-click on My Documents, you get a dialog which includes a Location tab. Within that Location tab, you can specify any arbitrary folder you want. So, change it to User/My Dropbox, and you are all set. (Note: This also requires not letting Dropbox default the location of My Dropbox--you have to tell it to put it as an immediate child of User.)

08/25/13 UPDATE: Unfortunately, this seems to break the built-in 1Password-Dropbox integration. 1Password is essentially "hard-coded" to expect Dropbox to be in the default location. Or at least it did a few months ago--I haven't checked since then.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Software and Consulting Vendors Are All the Same

They start by telling you about their company origin, its core values, its locations. Like I care. I know what they are doing. They are following the rule that the first and last things in a presentation tend to be what people remember. So, naturally, they want their commercial to be first. The problem is, they put the commercial before the content. The result is that people just tune out, right from the beginning. This is even worse with webinars, where people can multi-task at will.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Google TV

I am not paying much attention to Google TV announcements at the moment. However, given Directv's wretched useability and search, I would advise them to watch out. Ignoring the basics in those areas was the opening that M$, Yahoo and others gave to Google in the first place.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Student Debt Trap

Good article in this subject. To me this is a sad commentary on the decay of institutional ethics. Viewed in this light, colleges look no better than any profit-hungry, self-interested enterprise, and worse than many.

She recently received a raise and now makes $22 an hour working for a photographer. It’s the highest salary she’s earned since graduating with an interdisciplinary degree in religious and women’s studies...She may finally be earning enough to barely scrape by while still making the payments for the first time since she graduated, at least until interest rates rise and the payments on her loans with variable rates spiral up. And while her job requires her to work nights and weekends sometimes, she probably should find a flexible second job to try to bring in a few extra hundred dollars a month.
Ms. Munna understands this tough love, buck up, buckle-down advice. But she also badly wants to call a do-over on the last decade. “I don’t want to spend the rest of my life slaving away to pay for an education I got for four years and would happily give back,” she said. “It feels wrong to me.”
I think this phenomenon will likely have some significant reverberations. People will have fewer kids, and people will have kids later in life. The latter is not such a great trend, in my opinion.

(Aside--the article didn't even comment on the dubious degree choice--religious and women's studies?!)

Grabber/Dragger Functionality

Canonical example is the "hand" cursor in PDF fiiles. Why isn't this universal in apps where you use more than the full screen? And why aren't there more ways to change w/o accessing the menu? e.g., CTRL-Click, ALT-Click.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Readability Bookmarklet

I just installed the Readability Bookmarklet. Quick review--I like it. Now how about an Android version? :)

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Tool Needed to Diagnose Android Apps Causing Laggy-ness

For the most part I like my MT3G Android phone, but I have occasionally experienced some problems with laggy-ness. After months of no major problems, it cropped up big-time recently. Really big-time--so much that even a re-boot only cured it for a few minutes. I could not think ot any obvious cause, but I figured it must correlate it to an app installation event--either a new app, or perhaps an update. The problem was, I couldn't think of any likely suspects.

This persisted for several days. I was very, very close to doing a master re-set, out of desperation. But then I had some time on my hands today, and I was poking around with Wing Tseng's terriffic Task Manager app, and I think I may have found the offending application (no naming names, at least not yet, because I'm not sure).

So anyway, that got me is really a showstopper when your phone gets hit with that degree of lagginess. We really need a tool to help troubleshoot where the lag may be coming from. This is what I have in mind--an app that:
  1. Keeps a log of date/time for all installs and updates of apps.
  2. Tool also monitors CPU usage, and reports by date/time.
These 2 pieces of information could be very helpful in diagnosing the likely offending application. Extra credit if the app itself provides suggestions.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Benefits of Exercise: Exercise Correlates with Higher GPA

researchers at Saginaw State University in Michigan tracked the grades and exercise habits of 266 undergraduates. They found that students who regularly participated in vigorous physical activity had higher G.P.A.’s.

Yet another example of the many-fold benefits of exercise. Note the emphasis on vigorous.