Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Checking out Google Chrome Browser

For several years I've been a devotee of the Firefox browser (can't actually remember when I last used IE regularly, but I think it was back on version 6!). But lately Firefox has been a little sluggish at times, so I decided to give Google Chrome a try. I've been using it for about a week and the bottom line is .... I really like it! I had heard that it is fast, but since there are so many factors affecting web surfing speed, I was skeptical that a browser could make that much of a difference. I have to admit I was wrong. Chrome is actually noticeably faster. It's also very intuitive and easy to use.

The biggest drawback at this point is that doesn't have nearly as many add-ons as Firefox. One that I really miss is an integrated ftp tool like Fireftp. While I do have a stand-alone ftp program (Filezilla), when I'm making quick changes to my genealogy website it has been really convenient just open Fireftp as a tab within Firefox. Unfortunately, as far as I can tell, Chrome doesn't have an equivalent add-on. The other main drawback (and this is a big one for me) is that the enhanced image viewer at Ancestry.com doesn't work with Chrome. For that reason alone, I'll definitely still use Firefox when I need to do research at Ancestry.

On the other hand, I did find at least one amazing Chrome add-on called "Awesome Screenshot: Capture and Annotate" -- and it fully lives up to its name!! I was using it in combination with google newspaper archive search for my genealogy research. I was able to digitally snip out articles of interest (like old obituaries) from the browser (Chrome) window, annotate them with the newspaper name and date and save the annotated clips on my computer. Awesome!! I just know I'll be using that feature a lot!!

Anyway, just thought I'd write this quick post on Chrome. Bottom line -- give it a try!

Friday, January 14, 2011

I love my Nook!!

I have really been ignoring this blog for a while now, so I thought I would write a quick post about one of my favorite "toys."

Last July, shortly before we left for a week's vacation, I bought a Barnes and Noble Nook. This was right after they announced the WiFi-only nook and dropped the price on the original. I went to the store fully prepared to buy the WiFi only, but wound up going for the original with both WiFi and 3G. (This, of course, was long before the ColorNook became available.) I decided to buy it because I generally like to take several paperbacks on vacation and this seemed like a good, space-saving alternative.

Well, in the last six months or so since I got it, it has become on of my favorite toys! The e-ink is very easy on the eyes and I find it much easier to hold, flip pages, etc than a regular paper book. I have also taken advantage of the free books available at Barnes & Noble and downloaded virtually all of them. Hence I have read genres that I have never bothered with before. Some of it is barely worth reading, but some of the free books are real gems! I have also downloaded books from other sites like smashwords, google books, internet archive and others. And I have borrowed ebooks from our local library as well. And did I mention there is also a web browser....

Bottom line, if you like to read, you should definitely consider a Nook. Best of all, you can go to your neighborhood Barnes and Noble store and give it a try before you buy!!