The OS Quest Trail Log #1

It’d time to introduce the “Trail” to the OS Quest blog. It seems like the type of thing that should be done on a weekend, or maybe just once a month, or maybe whenever I can fill a post. (I’ve really thought this through) I’ll recap the things I’ve been working on and the things I’m thinking of working on in my little world of personal computers. I’ll also throw in tidbits I’ve come across but don’t warrant their own post (or I don’t have time to do them justice).

Blog “Re-envisioning”

This is just a fancy way of saying I’ve been looking for a way to keep blogging and computers interesting by changing things up. So the Trail Log is one way to keep blogging regularly and to be able to move among different projects depending on what I feel like doing at the moment without feeling the need to finish up something so I can post about it.

And less face it. By keeping track of things as I move along, rather then at the end I’ll be able to answer the question “What the hell was a thinking?” six months later.

Google Apps (formerly known as Google Apps for Domains)

I started considering Google Apps mainly as a family email solution. For better or worse I decided to jump right in and committed to it. Bluehost does provide email and I’ve been using that primarily. But two things concerned me. The first was the lack of SSL or other secure connections (this can be remedied at added cost) and the second was that really didn’t really want to be my own email support if I added family members.

Naturally I made it a little more complicated than it had to be but I ended up where I wanted. I’ll provide more details in a future post.

While some of the things Google does creeps me out I basically trust them as much as my ISP (AT&T/Yahoo) and other email choices. Google shows me more respect using their free product than I get from AT&T/Yahoo as a paying customer. I took the Premiere free trial so I could use their email migration tool but I’ll probably go back to the free version. I have three domains pointed to Google apps for email (like I said, more complicated than it needed to be.)

WordPress.com

WordPress.com is the free blog hosting service offered by the WordPress people. My motivation here is two-fold:

  1. Due to the whole “blog re-envisioning” thing I’m considering doing another more general blog and I don’t think I want to make this one more general.
  2. Along with family email there may be some family blogs or websites in the future so I want to get familiar with it and the best way I can do that is use it.
  3. (yea, I know I said two-fold) A minor reason is I don’t want to add the full support for another website or blog at this time.

Photobucket/Flickr/Picasa

Keeping with the general trend of webs services that family can use but I don’t have a lot of support issues. At least not issues specific to keeping software going. In addition, WordPress.com seems to lend itself to hosting media on one of these sites.

I’m leaning to Photobucket but haven’t decided. Any suggestions or potholes?

Google Reader

I’ve also switched to Google Reader over the last month. When Google Reader first came out I didn’t like it and I guess just didn’t get it. I’d been using Yahoo’s web email client to read some feeds and then using the Mac specific Newsfire (received with Macheist bundle). I never really liked either one of those. I tried Google Reader since it was browser based and I could get to it from anywhere, unlike Yahoo (my company block web email so the built in RSS was collateral damage) and Newsfire. After a couple of weeks of forcing myself to use Google Reader my brain cells lined up and I got “it”. The “it” being the benefit of RSS over visiting the sites from my blogroll links. The couple of weeks time-line isn’t fair to Google Reader, I’d frequently just go to the website instead, especially the first week where it was more not using the old reader than using Google Reader. But now I’ve gone from a handful of subscriptions to 78 and I’m more efficient.

What RSS reader are you using? Any experience with Google Reader?

Yojimbo

I’ve started using Yojimbo (a Mac info organizer by Barebones Software). I was going to look at various options before picking one but I decided to save time and go with Yojimbo. It doesn’t have the longest feature list but it seems to be the easiest to use. I don’t make a living doing research, I’ll give up features for ease of use. I’m still in the trial period and only have a few records entered but unless I find a problem I’ll be buying it.

Bits and Pieces from the Web

Lately I’ve been reading a lot of articles that annoy me and find that AT&T is at the root. In another case of AT&T disrespecting their customers CrunchGear has an article about AT&T raising rates and cutting service to customers using legacy systems. Come on AT&T, wanting them off is fine, send them a letter saying the service is ending by XX/XX/XX. Maybe even show good faith and offer a special deal to upgrade. Instead you screw them.

During last Tuesday’s Apple event TUAW.COM posted an article about someone who noticed a new icon was on Steve Jobs PC and they speculated it was for Numbers. I realize Apple is the master of hype but is it really a scoop and all that important to try a “break” news during an event that will make the announcement?

Kudos to Talino.org for posting an article on how to delete the U3 partition from USB thumbdrives that have them. I had to do it once and I couldn’t do it from a Mac. The article tells us how to do it when the software’s been broken by a reformat attempt on a Mac. Guess I was lucky, windows was handy for me. U3 is such a bad idea, I avoid buying USB keys with it even if I pay a dollar or two more.

Since I’m bashing AT&T I’ll end with one more anti-AT&T mention. AT&T made news by saying no one wants $10 DSL. They say their not hiding it, although others say it’s hard to find, and even they admit it’s not shown as an option until a phone number is entered.

That’s all for the first Trail Log. What have been your experiences this week?