• Is Microsoft the Next Google?

    If you have used any of Microsoft’s latest browsers, you’ve likely noticed Bing, the default search engine.  It is hard not to notice – the photography alone is jaw dropping.  Couple that with search results that tend to be spot on, an image searcher that shows previews you can see without squinting – one so good that it looks like Google upgraded theirs to compete with it – and a host of other features and you have to wonder if it is making Google a little nervous about its hold on the eyeballs of the world’s internet searchers.

    Bing is offering up some much needed competition.  Oh, don’t get me wrong.  Google is still in the lead and very likely will be for some time.  Still, Microsoft is doing a whole lot of things right with Bing – things it didn’t do right with its previous search engine, Live Search.  Microsoft is doing so much right with Bing these days that Google has actually resorted to advertizing itself – something it has not really had to do since it started.  Google has relied for years on simply being better than the competition.

    It has featured extremely clean interfaces, highly relevant results and as little intrusiveness as possible, and until now, that has worked.  It has bested Yahoo, Ask.com, and any other competitors and become the de facto powerhouse of the internet.  So much so that even Microsoft, with all its money and talent, is still the underdog here.  But even the underdog can come up ahead, and so Google is refining its search engine capabilities, improving the looks of the results and tweaking its supporting services to maintain its position at the top.  This means that, whether Bing dethrones Google or Google holds off the usurper, we consumers are the ones that win in the end!

  • Airbrush Your Photos in Picasa

    If you’re like many other people, you use Google Picasa to store, view, print and even order prints of your pictures.  You may use it to crop your photos and fix redeye and, if you are like me, you use the “I’m Feeling Lucky” fix religiously because it offers forgiveness to so many of my most egregious photographic sins.  However, you may not have noticed one of Picasa’s coolest tools for basic fixes – the “Retouch” tool.

    The retouch tool can get rid of things like spots, wrinkles and blemishes. It can be found in the same area as the other basic fixes. Once you have selected a picture, you will find it on the left hand side. Click on the “Retouch” tool, then use the zoom slide beneath the picture and the focus box on the right hand side to zoom in on the part of the picture you want to retouch.  Adjust the size of the brush to retouch just the area you want and click on the picture.

    Here, you have two ways to retouch your photo.  The first way is to click on the blemish, give the program a half second to analyze the area and, without moving your brush, click again.  This will smooth out wrinkles, hide spots and even blot out the stubble on a face that needs a shave.

    The other way is to click on the area you want to retouch, move your brush to an area you want your blemish to look like and click there.  This can lighten or darken areas by choosing lighter or darker points of reference.  This is especially useful to get rid of highlights or shadows.

  • Google’s Latest App – Mind Reading

    Google has had Auto complete for years.  If you have it turned on, you likely find that you seldom have to type to the end of your search phrase because Google has already filled it in as one of your choices.  If you haven’t turned it on yet, you might consider doing so.

    Google has put a huge amount of research into making its version of auto complete scarily accurate.  It bases its choice of terms to suggest on an amalgamation of all your search terms – whether for your current session or, if you signed on to them and have a history, for everything it has on you – and the search terms of the rest of the world.

    Granted, it’s not perfect.  Comedy sites like fail.com have begun regularly featuring some of Google’s more, um, colorful suggestions – whether this is a dig at the company or the sea of humanity that make these searches for Google to mine depends on your point of view.  Still, its suggestions are pretty good – good enough to feature an advertisements showcasing some of Google’s features.

    And it’s getting better.  Google has a dedicated team tweaking the results to make them more relevant to what you actually want to find.  Do you want to look up Obama?  He comes up as the second choice once you type in the letter “b” On the third letter, he takes up nine of the top ten spots and on the fourth, he owns the whole set of suggestions – each one relevant and useful.  And, if you are logged in to Google, it is very likely fine tuned to your particular views.  It’s almost as if Google is reading your mind.

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    The Best Place to Watch Movies is Netflix

    I always have a lot of fun when I spend time with my family. We do a lot of things together like go out to dinner and to the movies. But sometimes we like to just stay home and watch movies and shows on the couch. Though we initially decided to make one a night »more

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    Apple TV – A Great Alternative To Cable

    I don’t know about you but we have had about enough of cable television. It is never reliable and it always seems to shut off when you least expect it. When you have an issue with cable and you call to get support typically you get some dummy that has no idea what they are »more

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    Web TV Has Something For Everyone

    The invention of web TV has been a good thing for everyone who has come across it. I know that I am personally interested in the concept because I think it would be a way that my family and I can save some more money on our bills. There really is no need to pay »more

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    Web TV: Yes or No?

    I have actually been considering moving forward with the new revolution of Web TV myself so this is an interesting blog post for me to write. I don’t know if you are aware of this, but cable companies are currently hurting and are willing to give you really low prices to stay with them. At »more

  • Apple: Waiting To Exhale

    Apple released the new Macbook Pro with the new technology of retina display yesterday. This new Macbook is being marketed for its amazing graphics and new thin design. Some of the new features that make this Macbook so spectacular is the versatility, the user-friendly features, and this Macbook was made for media production and management. »more

  • Are You Considering Jail Breaking Your Phone?

    If you’re thinking about jail breaking your cell phone, it is a thought you should quell right now. Things won’t turn out the way you hope. It’s kind of like opening up Pandora’s box. The biggest problem with jail breaking your phone is not only does it void the warranty, but it also voids out »more

  • An Enlightening Assignment

    When my bosses told me that they wanted me to do a news piece about online pharmacies, I wasn’t very impressed. This was hardly the exciting subject matter I dreamed of covering when I became a journalist. Still, a job is a job and sometimes doing these boring ones led to other, more interesting stories »more

  • Must Have Computer Software

    Computers have come a long way. They have exceeded everything we ever thought they could do. We have been bombarded by their genius software and apps. Computers are full of memory, tools, applications, spreadsheets, folders, and everything else that a human mind is fully of capable of producing. The difference between a computer and a »more

  • A Favorite Among Women

    Finding the perfect social activity for a woman can be incredibly difficult.  As women, we are always busy and have very little time for ourselves.  Between work activities, children, responsibilities, housework and social obligations it is very hard to find a spare moment for ourselves, let alone time to get ready to enjoy free time. »more

  • Planning Your Website

    There are a lot of options when it comes to Wisconsin web designers and there are just as many choices to make when you are considering website design and layout.  You get to choose colors, backgrounds, music, content, shopping options and any number of varying web accessories or links that can be added to your »more

  • When Should You Use MS Access?

    Microsoft Access is one of those applications that gets mixed reviews. It is more complicated than a typical home user feels comfortable with, but it lacks the massive optimization and synchronization necessary for use in large corporations or businesses with heavy customer traffic that directly accesses their database. MS Access is best suited for a »more

  • Is Acrobat an Endangered Species?

    We’ve all had experience with pdf files – those documents that are designed to make it easy to be read in all sorts of devices with little worry about whether the format will be degraded or illegible.  Odds are, you have Adobe Acrobat Reader on your computer right now – partly because so many people »more