April 2007


Click “more” to see a list of all of the interesting web sites I found this week. I keep track of my favorite sites using del.icio.us, a free web site where you can access your favorite links from any computer and share them with friends. You can also see all of my favorite links (not just the ones from this week).

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Charis turns two on May 3, and we had her birthday party today to celebrate. I can’t believe that she is already two years old. The time passes by so quickly!

We mostly had family over and then also a couple of Charis’s friends. Joy did a great job with all kinds of dog themed decorations and stuff. Charis loves dogs (well, all animals really, but both of her grandparents have dogs, so she gets to see dogs more often than other kinds of animals). Unfortunately, the weather did not hold out for us to have the party in our backyard as planned, but we all had a good time inside all the same. Thanks to everyone who came and helped us celebrate Charis!

I finally gave up and purchased a copy of full-blown Photoshop. I’ve been using Photoshop Elements for a while now, and it just got really frustrating when I would find a Photoshop tutorial on the web that I wanted to learn more about, and then I would discover that Elements had everything referenced in the tutorial except one feature that was only in full Photoshop. That happened enough times that I was starting to think about getting full Photoshop, and then with the forthcoming releaes of Photoshop CS3, Adobe sent me an email offering me the chance to upgrade from Elements to Photoshop CS2 at a significantly reduced price. That was just too hard to pass up. True, my copy of Photoshop is one version back from the absolute newest version, but it still has pretty much everything I was missing from Photoshop Elements, and if I ever decide I need something from CS3, I can get the newer version for the upgrade price instead of the full price for a new license.

I just got a flyer in the mail today that said Les Miserables is coming back to Atlanta in Fall 2008. Woo hoo! I am so going to be there! I told Joy we may have to get tickets for every night that it plays and just camp out in Atlanta for a week or two. :-) I totally love Les Miserables, and even though it is more than a year away, I’m already excited. Plus it’s playing at the Fox, which is a wonderful theater. It’s going to be great!

Charis loves to play kaboom. She likes me to pick her up and then drop her onto the cushions on the couch. For a long time I would have to count to three and then kaboom her, but lately she has started counting to three all by herself, which is pretty cute. The other day when we were playing, she started counting “one, two, five” and then laughing because she knows that three comes next. I kept holding onto her until she counted “one, two, three” and then she got her kaboom. Crazy kid.

For most of the last year and a half or so I used FeedDemon as my RSS feed reader. I started using it just about the time the product was purchased by NewsGator, so I was part of that transition. One of the key features for me was the ability to sync the read state for articles between multiple computers. But once I started using it on a regular basis, I discovered that the sync system didn’t work as well as I would have expected. Using the NewsGator system, the sync only matched read states for articles that were still in the active feed at the time the sync was performed. For sites that publish many articles per day, that basically meant that you had to keep FeedDemon running 24/7 on all of the machines you wanted to sync, which to me at least kind of defeated part of the purpose of syncing across machines. During some of the earlier days, there were also quite a few outages of the NewsGator service itself, and the way FeedDemon was written caused it to rely completely on the NewsGator service. It did not automatically fall back to checking the feed directly when the NewsGator service was down, which was pretty frustrating.

Anyway, the point of all of this is that I have now been using Google Reader for about 4 months. While I really like the speed and screen layout of FeedDemon (when things are running properly), I’ve adapted to the point where Google Reader is just a useful to me. It’s a little slower than FeedDemon, probably at least partly due to the fundamental differences between a web application and desktop application. The only thing that I really wish Google had was a tag for “save this to read later”. They do have the concept of “shared” and “favorite” articles, and both of those functions are great, but I’d really like them to add a folder for stuff I don’t have time to read right now, but I definitely want to read later. But at that point, I don’t know yet if it is worth sharing or if it really belongs in my favorites or not, so I need a third option.

So overall I am quite happy with Google Reader, and I’ve uninstalled FeedDemon from my machine and cancelled my NewsGator account. Yet another case of free software winning out for me over software that I have to pay for.

Click “more” to see a list of all of the interesting web sites I found this week. I keep track of my favorite sites using del.icio.us, a free web site where you can access your favorite links from any computer and share them with friends. You can also see all of my favorite links (not just the ones from this week).

(more…)

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