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: M@'s Picks, Web Site

TweetDeck

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

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

Vista 64-Bit, The First 24 Hours

My new computer with Vista-64 arrived yesterday, and now that I’ve got the majority of my data copied over and programs installed, I’m compiling my thoughts on both Vista and the 64-bit environment.

The first thing that I noticed is that you need to be careful to look for the 64-bit downloads for the software that you’re installing. I ended up downloading and re-installing things several times after I ran a program and realized that it was running in 32-bit mode.

How can you tell if something is running in 32-bit mode? Open up task manager and look at the processes tab, in the image name column look for a *32 after the name of the file. If it’s there, then it is running in 32-bit mode. I’ve also noticed that programs that run as services, such as backup and AV programs, run their configuration applications in 32-bit mode, but if you look at the all process tab, I’ve found that the underlying engine that actually does the scanning or backing up runs in 64-bit mode.

Here are some of the programs that I use regularly and their 64-bit status.

As for drivers, I was able to locate 64-bit drivers for my printer, scanner, bluetooth adapter and video card from their manufacturers’ without any problems. All of this hardware is under 3 years old. I would expect some problems finding updated drivers for hardware that is older.

Although it got a bad rap to start, I’m quite impressed with Vista overall. Some of my favorite features that I’ve found so far include:

Posted on March 14, 2009 at 6:14 pm by Matt Walsh · Permalink · Comments Closed
In: Desktop App, M@'s Picks