Digital life insights and info from someone who remembers the world before cell phones and the Internet.

Tracking the Mighty Brontosaurus

A Guided Tour of the Google Trends Explore Tool

In the last post, we looked at how you can explore Google's search data back to 2004. Now let's track the mighty brontosaurus. You can't go back 150 million years to the time of the brontosaurus. But you can track human interest in it back to 2004.

Time Travelling with Google Trends

In the last post, we visited Google Trends to see what's going on with people around the world. Google also provides tools to explore the data.

Trending with Google

Google provides free access to enormous amounts of data gathered through the years. You're probably familiar with Google Maps and maybe even Google Earth. But have you spent much time on Google Trends? Here's the URL: https://trends.google.com/trends

Google does promote Google Trends at the end of every year. It's particularly relevant then as it gives a retrospective on topics of interest around the world for the past year.

The Disappearing Manual

Used to be, when you bought a computer, you'd get huge manuals explaining how to use the thing. Software used to come with manuals, too. These days, you usually get a quick start guide and a booklet full of warnings and required legal verbiage, You might get some documentation on disc or an additional booklet, but nothing like the tomes of the past.

Several factors seem to be behind this. One, of course, is cost. It's far less expensive to put a book on disc than to print it on paper. Cheaper still is making it available on the web - virtually free.

How to Use an Accordion

No, I'm not going to teach you how to play a musical instrument. On the Web, an accordion is a kind of widget, a piece of functionality that helps a website display information.

Just like the musical instrument, an accordion widget can expand and contract. The glossary on this site is presented using an accordion widget. Clicking a title reveals the definition. Clicking it again closes it.

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What Happened to Windows Vista?

In the last post, I discussed the perception problems with Windows 8. Something similar happened to Windows Vista.

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What Happened to Windows 8?

Microsoft Windows 8 got a bad rap. It's been working well for me for the last few years. Windows 8 seems to have suffered from a tendency in the digital industries to expect users to find their way around without explanation or documentation.

Why I Use Windows

I'm a long-time user of Microsoft Windows and Office. Windows will generally be the assumed operating system in my posts, unless the subject is cell phones. (I won't likely post about website hosting, but of course, that's almost always Linux.)

Microsoft Windows has grown over the years into an excellent operating system. Even for developers, it offers tools to do just about anything.

The New Simplicity of ReCAPTCHA

If you've ever filled out a form on the Web, you've probably had to negotiate a CAPTCHA. It's that box with letters and numbers you have to type, usually from a distorted image, to prove you are a human being. The Web is so full of robot spammers, that sites must prevent as much spam as possible or be swamped.

CAPTCHA ("Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart") can be a pain for users. But Google has turned its version of CAPTCHA, called reCAPTCHA, into a very effective and simple solution.

Fiber Phone with Two Landline Numbers

The wrinkle in our transition to Fiber Phone was having 2 landline numbers. One was the original number we've had for decades. The other was a distinctive ring we've also had for a long time.

As it turns out, transferring both numbers can be done, but it's easier if you do it a certain way. We transferred the distinctive ring number first - piece of cake.

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