A Small World

It’s simply amazing how small the internet makes this world. I’m in Poland for the next two weeks. To say the least I was not looking forward to this trip, but so far, all of my fears have gone unfounded and things have been going very smoothly.

Purdue was playing Notre Dame the day I arrived, at 2am local time on a Sunday. I happened to be up, so I scanned the TV channels here at the hotel and didn’t see the game. I then picked up my phone and headed over to Twitter, and there it was: commentary from the same people, all around the US, that I talk Purdue football with every weekend. An ocean, 4000 miles, 7 time zones, and a different language and I was still able to experience the Purdue game as it happened.

The internet has also made it incredibly easy and cheap to call home. Using my Google Voice number, a 30 minute call only cost $0.60. Not only that, but the call was crystal clear, and had no lag at all. This is something that 50 years ago would have cost several dollars per minute, required an operator to complete the call, and would require waiting for an open phone line across the Atlantic. 150 years ago it was absolutely impossible. You would have to write a letter, send it off, and wait for a response to come back in no less than a month.

The pace at which technology advances on the internet is astonishing. Being on the leading edge of that wave is a lot of fun, but you don’t realize just how incredible it is until you see just how small it can make the world feel when you’re in an unfamiliar place and it still allows you to connect with friends and family just as easily as if you were there.

Posted on September 26, 2009 at 4:00 pm by Matt Walsh · Permalink · Comments Closed
In: Blog

Google Docs

Google has an entire office suite online called Google Docs. You can create documents, spreadsheets and presentations completely within your web browser. I find this great for stuff that I need to have access to from many computers. All of the apps have nearly all of the features that you’ve come to expect from a desktop application, and a few that you just can’t get. For example, there’s a widget in the spreadsheet app that will mark up a Google map with a list of location’s that’s in your spreadsheet. This is a fun little toy to play with in my spreadsheet that tracks all of the traveling that I’ve done for work.

Bonus Tip: You can use Google Docs from your phone. Any phone can view documents, and some higher end phones can even make edits to documents.

Posted on May 19, 2009 at 11:00 am by Matt Walsh · Permalink · Comments Closed
In: Blog


TweetDeck is a Twitter client that helps you keep track of everything on your timeline. It’s core feature is a multi-column view that lets you group your tweets together however you’d like. You can add friends to groups, so their tweets will always show up in a particular column. A column can also be configured for search, so you’ll see any tweets with your search term in them. I often use search when watching a prime-time TV show live, to see what other people are saying about it, or to see if anyone picks up on some subtlety that I may have missed. It can make TV watching a very interactive experience.

Posted on May 18, 2009 at 11:00 am by Matt Walsh · Permalink · Comments Closed
In: Desktop App, M@'s Picks


Handbrake is a video transcoding application. Most people use it to shrink videos down to a size that their iPod/Phone can handle. For transcoding software, it’s very easy to use, with presets for a lot of common formats and handheld devices. Select the file and what you’re going to use it on and you’re ready to go. The software also has all of the nitty-gritty options that you could possibly need to fine tune the video output you get from it. Finally, it’s multi-threaded, meaning that it will use all of the available processors on your system which gives it a huge performance increase.

Posted on May 17, 2009 at 11:00 am by Matt Walsh · Permalink · Comments Closed
In: Desktop App, M@'s Picks

Google Mobile Sync

A few months ago Google rolled out Google Mobile Sync. This syncs your Google calendar and contacts to your mobile phone. On Windows Mobile, you don’t even need any software for it. It runs right through the built in Active Sync interface in Windows. Syncing happens very quickly, and it is very smart about resolving conflicts when both the mobile and on-line calendars change. I was surprised to see that Sync also pulled the photos from my phone that are associated with contacts and put them into GMail contacts as well.

Bonus Tip: When you’re using Google calendar, or a widget, use natural language to enter your events. “Lunch with Jim 12:30 Tuesday at Quiznos” Google will figure out and fill in the date, time, event and location and set up the appointment automatically.

Posted on May 16, 2009 at 8:46 pm by Matt Walsh · Permalink · Comments Closed
In: M@'s Picks, Mobile App