Google Desktop v2 beta adds a sidebar

It’s like a Yahoo! or MSN messenger that doesn’t suck.

Google Desktop (v2 beta) was released today and includes this fantastic sidebar that provides plug-in functionality such as gmail viewing, stock quotes, weather, photos, and more.

It’s similar, at least in intent if not form factor, to the widgets functionality of OS X Tiger, with developer-created plugins to provide unique functions, such as a ToDo list and an iTunes controller (finally!).

It even auto-adds RSS feeds from commonly viewed pages, although I have no idea how it knew to add the RSS feed from Ideoverse–I don’t believe I have ever visited that page from this PC.

googleweb.gif

Google Big Brother is watching…

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Abe is born

Read all about Abraham Hanks Dunford, born Sunday, 7 August 2005, at 5:40am in Salt Lake City, Utah.

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Give the gift of livestock

We were a little stumped this year in deciding what to give Wendi’s mom and her new husband for Christmas. They have no kids at home, their home itself is nicely furnished, and they were able to visit us a few months ago on their honeymoon. They frankly don’t really “need” anything.

So we (okay, Wendi, she’s the creative one) decided to give them a share of a sheep from Heifer International. What they do is use the money from donations to purchase anything from pigs to bees to goats (and of course cows) and then gives these animals to people throughout the world. This gift of livestock is designed to be self-sustaining, with the recipient managing the resource through milking, breeding, etc., thus providing long-term benefit to the receivers and their communities.

I’m not sure how they took it, but I guess we are pretty weird, so they may have just chalked it up to us crazy tree-hugging Vermonters (by way of Utah and Georgia).

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Alison walks

2 years. 1 month. 23 days. I cried my eyes out.

Ali Walks – Quicktime, 313kb

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passion and dedication = talent and money?

After a mighty fine partnership with Dan Rubin at SuperfluousBanter, Didier Hilhorst has gone off on his own with an even more excellent solo effort: Nundroo.

One of his first entries describes how he is going to be leaving the field of economics and going into interaction design, attending the exclusive Interaction Design Institute Ivrea in Italy.

While such a step seems pretty enormous, he obviously has talent to spare, so more power to him, right? What I find particularly interesting however is the point he makes that:

Follow your passion with dedication and talent and money will follow.

I would agree that for success (in this case, money), you need both dedication and talent. But what if I’m reading this wrong and Didier is trying to make a different point? Could it be said that talent and money follow passion and dedication, that so long as you have a desire, you can gain the talent necessary to be truly remarkable at something?

Take art, for instance. I enjoy drawing and at one time in my life it could have been called my passion, but I soon figured out that I didn’t have the innate talent and skill that others had, so it slowly lost its importance in my life. Did I just give up too early? Did I miss the dedication part and so lost out on a chance to become a “great artist”?

Or, more likely, Didier is saying that success requires both dedication and talent, and I’m just getting worked up over a compound sentence with ambiguous clauses.

No wonder people love Lynne Truss’s Eats, Shoots & Leaves, currently number 8 on Amazon’s Bestsellers List.

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My political leanings

In the current political season, I am decidedly undecided.

At first I thought I might not be really undecided, that I might be one of the persuadables, a group that just might be the real NASCAR dads and soccer moms of this election. But then I came upon some pretty thorough online quizzes, with the following results:

At Advocates for Self-Government, I came up as a Centrist, with a Personal Self-Government Score of 50% and an Economic Self-Government Score is 40%.

After a visit to Politopia “The Land of Really Pathetic Avatars” I found myself in the middle of Centerville (i.e. Squaresville).

At Political Compass, I was momentarily startled with the results that on the Economic Left/Right scale, I was a -2.00, putting me in Kucinich, in Gandhi, in Mahler territory—yes, I want to smash the machines of our industrial overlords and join with the proletariat! But then on the Social Libertarian/Authoritarian scale, I came back to the middle with a modest -0.46.

Armed with this knowledge of my centered-ness, I reached the only conclusion possible: I’m politically boring.

Sigh. Maybe if I move to a swing state…

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What to do with GMail?

I recently snagged a coveted invitation to become a GMail email account holder, and I excitedly signed on.

Umm…now what?

I have a new email account with all these really great potential features, but I have no incentive to use it. Let’s count how many emails i have:

  1. yahoo – my first web-based email, now almost completely unused because of spam
  2. ideoverse – my email for this site and my usual personal email
  3. e-utah.org – from when I worked at our Utah office
  4. neinetwork – for the Vermont office
  5. hotmail – which I have only for IM’ing
  6. byu – which I have for life and gets forwarded to my yahoo account

That’s 6 email accounts. 6! And that’s excluding the two email accounts which I administer at work! All of these accounts have access via the web and most have pretty good spam control, both of which GMail provides as well. And then some of my accounts are POP3, allowing me to download into a mail reader, which is something GMail doesn’t offer.

So my question is, what does GMail give me that nothing else does?

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a family update

My brother has been bugging me to update this site, and Alison’s site has been neglected for even longer. I am currently working on some modifications to both but in the meantime, I’m throwing up some eye-candy for all to enjoy.

The month of June in pictures – chronicling our trek west from Vermont and Alison’s birthday.

On an aside, that photo album was made using iPhoto. It took all of 1 minute to resize, thumbnail, and page-ify that. I’ve been looking at other photo album blogging packages but with something as quick and easy as iPhoto, I think it will be an uphill battle.

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Why I won’t see Passion

So I was talking with my friend Keith a few weeks ago about upcoming movies and he mentioned The Passion of the Christ. He asked whether I was going to see it, it being rated-R and all. I told him “no,” based on the rating, and he brought up the old “If the Book of Mormon were a movie, it would be rated-R” argument.

Now that the movie is out now, I have a bigger reason: it doesn’t sound like the Christ I believe in. Apparently the movie focuses on the last 12 hours, emphasizing his pain and suffering in all the glory of Dolby-surround and CGI-enhanced effects to the exclusion of anything else, with quite a few reviewers saying it is the most violent movie they have ever seen.

There’s no baptism, no 40 days in the wilderness, no temptation from Satan, no Sermon on the Mount, no calling of the apostles, no raising of Lazarus, no bread and fishes, no parables, no triumphal entry–just blood and guts and pain, pain, pain.

Christ suffered and died for me, but he also lived and loved for me too. His teachings bring me peace, and his resurrection gives me hope.

And it doesn’t sound like 2 hours in a movie theater to see this film will give me any of that.

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MS Conspiracy

Am I the only one who thinks that the leak of Windows NT/2000 source code was intentionally made by Microsoft to get paranoid CEO/CIO’s to upgrade all their legacy boxes? After all, don’t like 75% of corporations still run NT or 2000 rather than XP?

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