Keeping the Internet safe, one browser at a time

Microsoft’s Inter­net Explorer browser hasn’t been my daily work browser for many years, and I can’t see that chan­ging any­time soon. There are many reas­ons that I’m not going to go into, but these days it’s mostly about what I’m famil­i­ar with. From the sat­is­fac­tion num­bers I’ve seen, IE is still quite the power­house browser-of-choice for a large major­ity of Inter­net users, but it’s not my cup of tea.

But this post isn’t really about my selec­tion of browser. Rather, it’s about an inter­est­ing online ini­ti­at­ive focus­ing on Kinsa, the Kid’s Inter­net Safety Alli­ance.

The cam­paign, dubbed Browse with Con­fid­ence is a new online des­tin­a­tion designed to pro­mote safe brows­ing using Microsoft’s IE 8 browser and fea­tures links to product inform­a­tion, and down­loads.

But that’s not all
The really cool part about this is the way the Browse with Con­fid­ence ini­ti­at­ive is gen­er­at­ing funds for Kinsa. As you can see in this image, Microsoft Canada is donat­ing $2.00 when you ‘post your sup­port’ on your Face­book Wall. The more people post, the more Kinsa gets. Simple.

So, yeah, Microsoft gets a little PR bump out of this, but in my mind, the big bene­fit is to Kinsa, who:

…helps to find, res­cue and heal child vic­tims of abuse whos images are shared on the Inter­net.”

For more inform­a­tion, check out the video, or hit Kinsa’s web­site. And con­sider giv­ing your sup­port to Kinsa.

Oth­er Resources:
Microsoft’s Browse with Con­fid­ence news release

Some of my better photos from 2009

I’ve taken a look back at some of the shots I’ve been for­tu­nate enough to cap­ture this year. flickr has a cool fea­ture called ‘sets’, so I made one — then noticed that I can share the set as a slideshow — embed­ded below. Enjoy! And happy new year!

A great tool if you’re writing on a deadline

All righty then. Just fin­ished up a cool con­ver­sa­tion with a dude that I have to meet with later to fig­ure out some stuff.

Now, I guess I’ll keep plug­ging away at writ­ing, nay, test­ing Write or Die, a tim­ing and word­count inter­face that helps focus your writ­ing by impos­ing lim­it­a­tions and con­sequences on your writ­ing.

I’ve not bumped into the con­sequences yet, but I have bumped into the lim­it­a­tions.

- it’s hard to spellcheck.
— no oth­er format­ting com­mands, it’s all about get­ting the words out of your head and on the screen
— Oh, hey, the screen turned red when I paused for thought. Cool.. Just to let me know that I shouldn’t do that, I guess.

Now then, this test is only a 200 word­count test, and I set a time lim­it of 10 minutes to write it.

At this point, includ­ing the 3 minutes of con­ver­sa­tion that occured after I launched the app, but before I star­ted actu­al writ­ing, I’m at 159 words and about 4 minutes remain­ing. I should be able to make the deadline…maybe.

Wow, one thing I do notice; all this con­cen­trated writ­ing is caus­ing me to notice my wrists. Usu­ally my writ­ing style is more thought­ful and cas­u­al, but right now I’m just spewing…oh, hey, I just made 200 words, with about 3 minutes to spare.

Well, I won’t edit this too much; I’ll just paste it in as is, and let it be an example of work cre­ated with Write or Die.

After writ­ing using this tool, here’re some thoughts:
— Yes, I’d use it again
— My wrist is kinda sore right now
— It could use some addi­tion­al edit­ing / lay­out fea­tures
— Any­thing writ­ten using Write or Die *must* be edited…typing spew is not good read­ing

26 seconds left — copy to clip­board just in case 🙂 Sav­ing now.

Cool! Online lighting diagram creator — photography

The fol­low­ing post is a Quick­Hit™ — an art­icle or post I found online and thought was import­ant enough to share dir­ectly with you. Of course, you’ll see my thoughts or opin­ions pre­pen­ded or appen­ded to this post, oth­er­wise I’m just scrap­ing con­tent, and that’s not the intent.

I’m look­ing for tools to help me set up this year’s Christ­mas dog photo ses­sion, and I came across this nifty online applic­a­tion:
“Pho­to­graphy light­ing dia­grams made easy with this online tool: use the drop down menus, select objects, drag them, rotate them, change their lay­ers then export your dia­gram to JPEG or save its URL.”



You’ve just read a Quick­Hit™. Thanks! And don’t for­get to leave your thoughts in the com­ments.

How to easily install essential applications on a new Windows 7 computer

It doesn’t mat­ter if you’ve upgraded from Vista or XP, or if you’ve bought a new Win­dows 7 based com­puter, you’re going to need to install some basic and essen­tial applic­a­tions on your new baby.

And this awe­some web­site makes it so, SO easy. 4 easy steps:

  • Vis­it the site
  • Select which applic­a­tions you want
  • Press the but­ton to start a down­load
  • Run the down­loaded applic­a­tion

Vis­it the site is a very cool web app with a single func­tion: to make a cus­tom down­load­er and installer that will save you time and mouse­clicks to install com­monly used open-source and free applic­a­tions.

The page looks like this, a long list of applic­a­tions and util­it­ies, divided into sec­tions by applic­a­tion type.

Nin­ite includes everything from office suite applic­a­tions (Open Office, MS Office tri­al), image and  audio edit­ors, to sys­tem main­ten­ance util­it­ies, vir­us scan­ners, and media burn­ing tools.

Get your applic­a­tions
This couldn’t be sim­pler. Click on the apps or util­it­ies you want. Unfor­tu­nately there’s no link to a product over­view so if you’re not famil­i­ar with the applic­a­tion you will need to Google it.

Press the but­ton
This ini­ti­ates a bit of back-end magic at the site. A cus­tom download/installer applic­a­tion is built and sent to your com­puter. It con­tains all the inform­a­tion neces­sary to, when run, down­load and install (in back­ground) the applic­a­tions you selec­ted in the pre­vi­ous step.

Make it so
When  you run the installer, a win­dow opens show­ing you the pro­gress of the pro­cess. If you’re curi­ous, you can ‘show the details’ and each phase of the install can be viewed.

The big bene­fit for me is the time sav­ing and the click sav­ing. What would nor­mally take over an hour for a new install, basic­ally takes 2–5 minutes of my time, the rest hap­pens in back­ground while I do some­thing else. To quote from the developers:

Nin­ite runs on Win­dows XP/Vista/7 and works
in the back­ground 100% hands-free.

We install apps with default set­tings and
say “no” to browser tool­bars and oth­er junk.

All we do is install the latest ver­sions of the apps
you choose. Not even Nin­ite is installed.

How can that not be cool?