Goodbye Outlook

I removed my shortcut to Outlook from my taskbar on my Windows machine today. It felt really good.

Our organization, Cru, is in the process of moving from Exchange to google apps. The list of reasons I need a computer running windows just got shorter. I think I’m down to 2 programs I still need that are win only and we may see changes that will make it possible to leave those behind as well soon. Then again – there is Netflix. Ah well – I may have one windows machine for a while but not needing it to get my full email client is super nice.

This also makes picking up a little chrome book much more doable. They are cheap enough that it might make sense just for taking to meetings. If I get more out of it, that’s all bonus.

Well – that’s it. Big day.

Search

I just did a new install on my primary work desktop. I went from Fedora 16 to Fedora 18. Some of the issues with this release of Fedora are pretty well documented so I’m not going to go into that.

There were some pretty fundamental changes between those two releases. So I did a full install rather than an upgrade. Plus I think going that route has some good side effects. Crud builds up in systems over time and this lets me get rid of some of it. I back up what I’ll need but then I just go ahead and reset things from scratch, pulling stuff out of the backup as I need it. Stuff that I don’t need doesn’t come back and the system is cleaner.

Today I ran into one thing I forgot about though and so I’m documenting it here. When I reinstall browsers and search from their search bars I get localized results. Google sees that I’m in Hungary and gives me stuff in Hungarian – which I can’t read. Then I had to look again to fix it. Here’s the url that makes life better

http://www.google.com/search?&q=%s

This is also handy when travelling. I will be in Thailand in March and search results in Thai don’t really help me either. It is possible to keep the normal search string and add the hl=e parameter – which will keep using the local search site but give English results (or whatever language you tell it to use).

Messing with App Inventor

I have been so busy I haven’t played with App Inventor in a long time. Yesterday I read an interesting article about MIT taking over the project. That got me wanting to get things set up again and see where it was at.

It was frustrating because I couldn’t get my phone to connect to the software. I was googling and wracking my brain to figure out the issue. I tried on multiple machines with multiple OS’s. After many hours a very simple solution to my problems finally crept into my brain. I went home, got another USB cable and all my problems went away. Annoying but I’m glad I got it figured out.

On a related note, the App Inventor software is run from the browser. One piece, the “Blocks Editor” is written in Java. So the browser downloads a jnlp file and it needs to be run. I was using Chrome. But when I told it to auto-open the file after downloading it wouldn’t give me a choice in what program did the opening. It was using the open-jdk (which the docs say not to use) and I couldn’t figure out how to get it to let me switch to the Oracle jdk. So I went to running it from Firefox, where I had no problem setting this up correctly. There is a lot I really like about Chrome, but when I want to get stuff done, I inevitably end up back on Firefox

Amazon App Store for Android

Looks like Amazon will be rolling out an app store for Android. This makes me happy. It’s two of my favorite things coming even closer together, sort of like chocolate and peanut butter I guess.

Which reminds me of something funny, that has nothing to do with Google, Android or Amazon. I was at a conference in Bangkok last week and we were doing this thing where we moved around to different tables to answer various questions with other attendees. Each move put me with different people from all over. There was candy on the tables. At one point I was at a table with a woman from South Africa and she mentioned she was on the look-out for the peanut-butter cups. I asked, “They eat peanut butter in South Africa?” (I know places that don’t.) She said, “Yes, but not with chocolate.” Wow – they’ve been missing out down there. Two great tastes that taste great together.

Android 2.0 is out

Android 2.0 is now available from Google. This puts to bed concerns about Google not releasing the sdk or perhaps being in some kind of exclusivity deal with Verizon around 2.0. The release notes give a nice overview of what is there. Those who already have the SDK can grab the updated tools as SDK components, everyone else will pick up everything when downloading the new SDK.

Google Calendar Sync

I have no idea when Google first released Google Calendar Sync or why I never noticed it before, but I’m really liking it. The install was painless and worked well. My google calendar is much more user friendly than my Outlook calendar. The simplicity of Google calendar really makes it obvious how bad the calendar functionality is in outlook.

I have Ingrid’s calendar and mine shared with one another, and set up syncing for her today as well. Now it is much easier for each of us to see what is going on with the other. I’ve also got sports schedules, holidays and weather stuff in my google calendar, none of which I have in outlook.