Google Tip No. 4

Google Tip No. 4 - Calculator
Did you know Google Search can do calculations? I didn't until I tried it one day. In the search bar, just type the equation which can be in mathematical format, eg: 4 * 142, or in natural language, eg: 4 times 142. It will actually pull up a calculator in the browser for you to use.

 

It will also do conversions, so if you wanted to know what 5 foot 11 inches is in centimeters, just type in "5'11" to CM" or once again in natural language, "five feet 11 inches in centimeters"

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Google Tip No. 3

Google Tip No. 3 - Search by Site:
Some sites have a search function and some don't but it doesn't really matter. If you just wanted to search in a single site, all you have to do is type what you want to search for then add to the search "site:********" where the **** is the url of the site without the www part. So in this example I want to search for Kapa Haka on the NZ Herald website so my search will be
"kapa haka" site:nzherald.co.nz
These are the results

Jasmine Jenke recognised for her counter-story telling

original article from Stuff.co.nz

original article from Stuff.co.nz

For the past few years, local South Auckland teacher and reporter, Jasmine Jenke, has been highlighting the stories of ordinary people in South Auckland through her Humans of South Auckland Facebook page, and then the HoSA website. Jasmine and the small team she works with have been following a world wide trend for counter-stories, that is stories that often counter the common view. Google South Auckland and you wont have to try hard to find the overwhealming negative narative this area of New Zealand is painted with by mainstream media. Inspirational, open, and honest, Humans of South Auckland manages to share the perspective of those of us who live and work in this wonderful part of the world. It also highlights a personal belief of mine. That is the way to combat negativity, is with positivity, love and whanaungatanga, and those, after all, are the best examples of our humanity.

Kia Kaha Jasmine. 

Read the original article from Stuff.co.nz

Is There Any Hope for Humanity?

I've been watching Simon Cade's videos for some time now. As a budding film maker, I think he has an innate understanding of the indigenous idea of sharing your knowledge as a part of the process of learning. He also employs a style that I really like, that is cut back and honest. After watching his latest video, I feel compelled to share it. I'll leave it to the video to say anything more, but I would love to hear your thoughts.

My first Wipster Blog

My first Wipster Blog

You might be surprised to learn, that Google is not the most popular search engine in the world, but in fact YouTube is. OK, it’s a bit of a stretch to call YouTube a Search Engine, but according to internetlivestats.com, every second there are over 54,000 Google searches performed, but over twice that number of YouTube videos are watched at more than 122,000. In fact, online viewing has now overtaken traditional TV for the 13-25 year age range, and on YouTube at least, it’s been amateurs that have been leading the way.

We are all connected

A few years back I had the pleasure of attending talks by Jeff Duncane-Andrade and Manulani Meyer. One common theme in both of their talks was the advancement of science, and how it is starting to catch up with indigenous knowledge. Things like how we are actually all connected. Today I came across a short video that explains these connections through the science of DNA analysis. 

 

I loved the comment by the lady who said, (paraphrased) "This should be compulsory. How could anyone war with another knowing that we are all connected" It's not that we as people have never known of our connection, it's that we have forgotten, and I believe one of the ways we can truly change the world, is by rediscovering our connection to each other, and the power we have as people, when we unite.

I recommend watching the awesome documentary I Am by Tom Shadyac which speaks to this idea as well. 

Why we use Technology

I get asked quite a lot by friends, family and acquaintances "I'm thinking of doing a course in computers. Do you know any good ones?" to which I usually answer "Would you take a course in how to use a pencil?". I'm not trying to be facetious with them, but more so, trying to get them to think of a computer just like they would a pencil, or a pen, or a chisel, or paintbrush. Yes you can learn how to use a tool, but unless you have a reason for using it, then why? Unless you want to paint portraits, why learn how to use a paint brush? This concept is one of the things that people who call themselves "technology challenged" find hard to grasp, so let's look at how we can change our thinking. 

What put me in the mind to white this piece was a video I watched this morning on YouTube. Linus Sebastian is pretty famous as far as YouTube technology journalists goes. In fact he has built up a business around reviewing and challenging technology. This video however really caught my attention, because it shows beautifully what technology can do for us on a human level. It's still not perfect at making everything super easy for everyone, but the more we develop and the more modern technology becomes ubiquitous, the more accessible it becomes. You can see Linus's grandfather light up at some of the possibilities shown to him. Will he remember or use them all? Probably not, but I have no doubt, given the right support, he would learn to use the tools that he saw had value, such as video chat.

The video also reminds me of my own grandfather, who at 80 years of age, taught himself how to use word. Why did he do this? Because he wanted to write his life story. He saw value in creating something, so he learned the tools he needed to accomplish his vision. Why do apps like Snapchat or services like Uber become so prevalent in such a short space of time? Because people find value in them. It's what has made email such a huge part of our lives, while at the same time has killed the fax machine, and is making postal services world-wide struggle. 

The point here is that it's not how you use technology, it's about what you want to do. Technology only baffles us because we often forget that simple question, "what do I want to do". Answer that, and then ask "how do I do it". Do that, and suddenly things become easier, because technology is no different from any other tasks. You do it step by step, you try things, you mess up, but you have a reason for pushing on until you get it right. 

Google Play Books - Pretty useful actually

Google Play Books

Google Play Books

OK, a disclaimer first. Yes I'm an Android and Google user. Yes I know Google uses my information, but this is the cost of using their services which are pretty damn good actually. But in saying that, I don't really mind what others use, as long as you get what you want out of the systems you use. In this particular case, I want to share a specific Google service and app, and how it can be useful to you.

Google Play Books has been around for a while as an alternative to the popular Kindle and iBooks services. One area where it excels over both services is in its ease of getting books or documents you already own, across multiple devices and platforms. All you need is a google account. 

So like Kindle and Apple alternatives, you can buy and download books through the Google Play Store, and find free books on the Store as well. In fact, there are quite a lot of public domain books available for free. Like Kindle it will sync your books and progress across devices and you can also read your books on your PC or Mac from the web browser. This is something you can't do with Kindle (you need a programme) or iBooks, and this is where Play Books starts to show its strengths, because you can also upload books in PDF or ePUB format from your computer, and they will sync along with anything you have purchased. By the way, they don't have to be books, or magazines, they could be anything in this format.

To do this, go to the Play Store and click on Books on the left hand side. In the example below, my account doesn't have any books yet, but there's a button at the top right to Upload files. 

Clicking on the Upload Files button opens a window that allows you to drag files onto it, or select them from your computer or ones that are sitting in your Google Drive folder. In this example I have downloaded Treasure Island (a public domain book) from Feedbooks.com as an ePub file. 

After a short period where the book is processed, it appears in your uploads list, ready to sync to your phone or tablet. OK, yes you can get other documents on your Kindle or your Ipad, but it usually requires you plugging in your device, and it doesn't mean it's available across all devices. This is why I'm using Google Play Books more and more. I'm finding it really useful for PDF manuals, papers I'm studying, and yes, for books and magazines as well. 

You can download the Android App from the Play Store and for iOS from the App Store

 

 

 

Adobe Launches #Spark

Over the past 2 years or so, Adobe has been moving more and more into the space of providing free tools that are really useful. Today they took a couple of tools, joined them together and added some new features to create Adobe Spark.

Spark combines Adobe voice, which is an iOS only app, with Adobe Slate, a web application, and adds a new simple photo creation tool. It's available free to use, online. All you need is an Adobe ID (free to sign up). You also can take advantage of music, icons and royalty free images built into the platform to create media that really stands out. It will also post to your favorite social media sites for you. 

Keep an eye out here as I will be developing some tools to help you use Adobe Spark and as a teaser, here's an image I created in about a minute. 

Why everyone should have a domain name

What? Domain names are for businesses aren't they? Traditionally they were, as businesses were the only ones in need of a domain name. And if you're not sure what a domain name is, it's the web adress that comes after the www or email address that comes after the @. It signifies where you are, or where an email has come from. It is not just useful for businesses and organisations, but essential in today's online environment. But it's fast becoming a hugely handy thing to have for ordinary people as well. Here, we're going to look at reasons why you should have a domain name. 

Image credit to © SEO Link Building

Image credit to © SEO Link Building

1. Taking control of your email.

How many people do we know with bizarre email addresses, like joeblogs1234@hotmail.com? You know instantly that the name they tried first was already taken. This is becoming more and more common as the number of people on the internet increases. In 2005 there were 1 billion internet users world wide or ~16% of the worlds population. in 2016 it's estimated that over 46% of the world is on the internet, nearly 3.5 billion people. It's remarkable growth, but there's another 4 billion people to go. Having your own domain name means you don't have to get lost in the billions of other users using the most popular mail services, gmail, hotmail / live etc. You can still use the services, but you will have your own, unique domain to identify your mail with.

2. Don't be tied down to your ISP (Internet Service Provider)

I have family who's email is still provided by their service provider. The most common here in New Zealand being Xtra, the original Telecom NZ ISP. That was fine when they were about the only ones offering internet, but now there are many more ISPs with different rates, plans, and services. There's a lot of competition, and they all offer their own email service. Why? Because it's hard to change your email address when all your friends and family know it, and so you're less likely to jump to another ISP who might be offering a great deal. It doesn't matter with your own domain name. It's independent of your ISP. You take it everywhere. 

3. Online identity

Traditionally for Maori (NZ indigenous people), we were identified firstly by where we were from, and then by our family name. Our home tied us to our family, our ancestors and our tribe. It's why the first question from elders would often be "No hea koe?" "Where are you from?" , not "What's your name?". In an online world however, it's domain names that identify us. In the early days of the internet, there were only a few domain name extensions available. That's the ".com" or ".co.nz" part. .COM was for COMercial, .ORG for ORGanisations, but today you can choose from a ton of domain name extensions. You can have .business, .actor, .coach, .family. It really does allow you to customise how your online identity is first seen. First impressions count online too. 

4. Provide a connection for your family

One huge advantage of having your domain name, is that you can provide that domain name, and therefor email addresses, for your family. When your kids are ready for an email address, they can get one that you provide and there's also an aspect of safety around that. With some of the spam and filtering tools in the likes of Gmail, you can also teach your kids how to deal with unwanted or unsolicited email, and if necessary take control yourself. This can become an email address for life.

5. Future-proofing

As our online presence becomes more and more important, the web will become more important for connecting us. In the future, if you wanted to tie in some services to a website, such as family photo albums, a wedding site, your hobby or passions, a domain name makes it easier to group those services under a single banner. Having your own website is becoming easier all the time. You no longer need to be a designer, or coder. 

How do you get a domain name? 

It's really easy. There are a ton of places online that provide domain names. When you buy a domain, you own it, but it is a yearly charge. Different domain extensions have different prices, but you can often find promotional codes online to get you a discount. Here are a couple of things to consider though. 

  • While you can get very cheap domains from the likes of GoDaddy and other US based sites, going through a company in your country is often worth the small extra expense should you need any support. I use 1stdomains in New Zealand.
  • Getting a domain doesn't give you an automatic email. You still need an email service, and that will likely be a cost too, just to have your domain name tied to your email. The domain register will often be able to supply this, and may even provide a certain number of mail boxes for free, but also check the likes of Google Apps. For US$5 per user per month, you can have google handle your domain email, as well as taking advantage of all the other services Google provides, including Google Sites. So you can have a number of websites free, all using your domain name.
  • If you want to know more, or want help getting your domain, feel free to contact me