I decided to live up to the “dabbler” part of my profile found throughout the interwebs and up my internet web 2.0 game (Warning: this will be off tangent, off the cuff and without any real focus). I started off by finally getting my Google Music Beta invite. As soon as I got that invite, I downloaded the application and did the long process of uploading my entire library of 10K+ songs. Found out about Google+, the new social network by Google and signed up for that (somebody who got in also tried to invite me but to no avail).
Mozilla updated both Firefox and Thunderbird and I upgraded and downloaded them respectively. I like checking my email on the web but there is something about a powerful tool like an email client that I can’t help but want to try out , every so often (as I type this, I know Claudia is face palming herself). One of the appeals of email clients, for me anyway, is that it steers me away from the distractions of the internet and I just focus on my emails. When I use my browsers I have more than one window open and my attention-span deteriorates to that of a goldfish. With Thunderbird, and a few extensions (G-Hub Lite and Thunderbird Conversations), I can still simulate most of my Gmail experience and not be distracted by shiny sites on the browser.
G-Hub Lite seems to do ok with Google Reader (which is great for me so I can get all my reading done at once), but you can’t really use it to create or edit Google Docs or any the other Google apps. Which is fine, because again, I’m trying to maintain my focus. I can still use Google Docs on Firefox and always have it up and running with their new App tab function. I also was trying to use MobileMe a little more, but since that’s going to be replaced with iCloud and I want to get back to using Google Calendar, I found a way to incorporate my Google Calendar account on Apple’s iCal App. You would think having more than one app might be counter productive, but I find it helps me prioritize what I want to do first instead of being overwhelmed by a bunch of browser tabs.
One browser extension I thought I would miss was WiseStamp, that is, until I got it in my head that I could create my own Rich Text signature. Plus, I didn’t like that the Free version of WS limited me to one signature and I have more than one email account that I use. So tonight, I uploaded some social media icons on Photobucket, copied the IMG code, linked it to the corresponding url links (Twitter, Facebook, WordPress, etc), saved the html file and then attached the file to the corresponding email account. It worked like a charm. I then thought to myself that if WiseStamp does this to Gmail via the browser, there has to be a way to do it in Gmail directly, sans WS extension. I quickly learned that Gmail doesn’t allow HTML for your signature under the mail settings. But it does allow Rich text. No problem. I copied my HTML code, used the HTML editor at w3schools.com, pasted my results under the signature setting in Gmail and voila it worked like a cinch.
Lastly, I signed up for the ex.fm social network and am trying it out. Not quite sure if I’ll be using it that much. If I could incorporate my Pandora listening habits, maybe. This site is interesting, as it seems to only work via a mobile app (my iPhone) and through a Google Chrome extension. No word if they’ll be making an extension for Firefox anytime soon. Speaking of which, it seems that Chrome is starting to get first dibs on extensions nowadays, right? First, there’s word that Ubuntu will be replacing Firefox with Chrome as it’s default browser and now this.
I admit that I was leaning towards Google Chrome for most of my web surfing (especially when dealing with Google products like Gmail, Docs, Reader, etc), but I still find it a little glitchy with heavy-duty sites that I use, such as WordPress, Facebook and others. With sites like those, I always fall back to old reliable Firefox. And with the new version, 5.0, running much faster than before, Chrome dropped back down to No. 2 for my purposes (especially now that I’m doing email and blogs through Thunderbird). Though, ironically, now that I’m leaning towards Mozilla stuff more, the new interface on the Google line of products seem to act a little funny on non-Chrome browsers. Makes you wonder (well not really).
So that’s what I’ve been dabbling with this week. Did I miss anything? I don’t think– Oh wait! I finally installed CS4 into my computer, registered it and am taking courses at Lynda to up my Photoshop and Illustrator game. I haven’t used those programs since ’98, when I was in college, and I’m realizing how much of a handicap that has become to me as of late. That pretty much wraps up this week. Have any of you tried to up your digital lifestyle? Do tell.Follow @juliofromny