Saturday, March 6, 2010

Using Google Chrome Extensions

Google announced in late January that the latest version of their Chrome browser would now handle extensions. Truth be told I have stayed away from using a lot of extensions in Firefox because I did not like the way it slowed down the browser. Since the main reason I use Chrome is to have a quick way of doing basic browsing, I was hesitant to start jumping into a bunch of extensions in this product either. But Google seems to emphasize speed over all else, so I decided to try a couple of the new extensions out.

Once you have the latest version downloaded, the extensions that can be installed are located at or by going to "Extensions" in the customize and control menu. I had recently started using "LastPass" for password management for web sites, so I was eager to install that in Chrome as well. During the past month, I have also installed "Chromed Bird", "Blog This!", "Remember the Milk for Gmail", and "RSS Subscription Extension Plus." After all of this I have not noticed any slowness in the browser or it locking up on me.

One curious thing is that the applications do not always tend to work immediately. Even with a restart to the browser or the computer, there are times where I am waiting for it to start working correctly. I have not found any information on line about this problem. In face, I installed the "Blog It" extension earlier today and still do not have access to the "Options" for this extension in the controls.

I am most pleased with the Remember the Milk extension. I am totally in Gmail now, but miss the convenience of tasks in Outlook. This gave me the ability to have my tasks in the same view as my email, which I find very useful.

Also I have gravitated to Chromed Bird as my most used Twitter client. I rebuilt my main computer during the past few weeks and have not felt a need to reinstall TweetDeck since the Chrome extension has worked so well.

Finally, I have found the RSS Subscription Extender is pretty useful to loading an RSS feed in to Google Reader. Though there are times when I need to look at actual RSS feed and I am not able to because the extension takes over and reformats things differently.

I am pleased with Google chrome and the extensions now available make the experience even better!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ash Wednesday

Today is Ash Wednesday. It is an awesome day for reflection over where you are at in your spiritual walk with Jesus Christ. It is the beginning of a journey to Easter Sunday.

An excellent daily devotion for this journey has been produced by Lutheran Hour Ministries. The journey to Mount Calvary can be found at the Lenten Devotions website.

Prince of Peace had an Ash Wednesday service this morning for the middle school and high school students. It was a blessing to be a part of. In this picture, Pastor Landon is doing the traditional practice of the imposition of ashes.

Blessings on your Lenten journey!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Suggested Contacts in Outlook 2010

So I realized today that I still have the Windows 7 Release Candidate installed on my main workstation at church. I got the friendly little two week warning. I have been meaning to do a fresh install of the actual production build, but never quite got to it!

The next step is to pull any data off the computer that needs to be saved before I wipe it clean. A crucial piece is the pesky NK2 file in Outlook that saves the auto-complete for email addresses that I type in the TO line of a new message. This important data is synonymous with Contacts for most users. I learned long ago to grab it during every computer transition if I want to avoid an irritated customer. Every time I move that file I secretly wish that it could some how be saved server side since it is such a crucial piece for the user.

I was confused when I could not find a current NK2 file in the usual path for Vista and Windows 7 (C:\Users\Home\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Outlook). Luckily I had a relatively new copy backed up from when I did the Office 2010 beta install a month ago. But it got me thinking that maybe there was a new location for it in Office 2010. A short search and I discovered a really nice surprise!

Office 2010 has a new feature called Outlook called "Suggested Contacts". Apparently during the upgrade, Outlook read my NK2 file and turned all the data into contact entries in Outlook. It put them in a new Contact folder in my mailbox. Better yet, they are saved on the server so now they will follow me around and be available if I install on a new workstation. A very nice addition.

There is a downside for some, however. The "suggested contacts" folder shows up in your mobile phone if you sync with Exchange. Here is one user who didn't like the extra clutter. I still use a Blackberry, but have an iPod touch that I do email on. I was wondering where all those addresses were coming from. Seems handy to me.

Thanks, Microsoft!