Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Technology Lesson: How To Reset Your Home Page In Firefox

Your home page is the first page your browser loads when you open it. (Unless your browser is set to load the last page(s) you had open when you closed the browser. That is discussed below.)

Some browsers are pre-set to certain pages. Your browser may be set to Google, your Internet provider, or the developer of your browser. (For example, you would find Mozilla for the Firefox page.) But you might want a page that is more convenient for your needs. You might want to open with your inbox, a news page, your bank, or your blog's host.

To change your home page, open your browser. I used Firefox in this example. In Mac, I clicked FIREFOX:

In Window, you would click TOOLS. Click PREFERENCES... (in Windows, click OPTIONS).

Click the GENERAL tab (in Mac and Windows):

Under STARTUP you'll see "When Firefox starts:" There will be a pull down box. You'll see that mine says "Show my windows and tabs from last time." This allows me to continue the work I had when I closed the application previously. It lets the user continue to browse.

Another option is "SHOW A BLANK PAGE." If you want a BLANK PAGE when you open your browser, choose that.

If you want to open to the same page every time, choose "SHOW MY HOME PAGE" from the drop down menu.

Beneath the menu is "HOME PAGE." You can type the address in the box. If you are already on that page, click "USE CURRENT PAGE" (and save yourself some time!) If you click to RESTORE TO DEFAULT, the home page will be Mozilla's site.

You'll notice there is no SAVE or OK button for the Mac version of this lesson. The changes will save automatically. If you use Windows, click OK.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Technology Lesson: Vine

Vine is a newish app that allows users to share 6-second video clips. The clips include sound, and the video-sharing network was acquired by Twitter last year. (Clips and be embedded online almost anywhere, including Facebook.)

The app is free! It's very popular right now, and easy to use.

The clips play automatically on a continuous loop. Users sometimes make stop motion videos, like the one I've embedded below. (I really like toast.) You can see how the video plays, and loops, automatically. Note that the video has sound but, by default, is muted:

Vine is one of the most popular apps available right now. Because it is easy to use, I recommend you try it out and join in on the fun!

Additional Resources:
Twitter takes aim at video, acquires video clip service, Venture Beat
How To Make Great Vines, Business Insider

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Technology Lesson: Facebook's Other Folder

I think it's time we discussed Facebook's "Other" folder. Introduced in 2011, the folder holds your spam messages, or what Facebook determines is spam. Per Facebook, it is, "where you'll find messages and emails that have been filtered out of your inbox."

You can access the folder by going to your messages—either on its own page, or directly from your news feed in the taskbar—and clicking "other." It is next to the inbox title on both pages. You can change what gets through to your inbox, and what gets sorted into your other folder, by adjusting your filter preferences.

These are your options:

It's a good idea to keep an eye on your other folder. While messages that are sent to your Facebook inbox will likely come to your e-mail's inbox as well, your other messages will not. There will not be notifications, and the messages will be lonely and dormant.

This has also been, from my perspective, an opportunity for Facebook to plunder your dollars. Sending messages to the inbox of people who are not your friends will cost $1. Again: to send the messages to the non-friend's inbox, you'll have to pay $1. Sending the message for free will dump your missive into the other folder. Here is evidence, because I find the affair shocking:
Facebook tested this "feature" last year, and apparently deemed it successful.

Additional Resources:
What is the "Other" folder in my messages?, Facebook help Facebook tests $1 fee for messages for non-friends, Yahoo News
The "Other" Facebook inbox you didn't know you had, PC World

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Culture Lesson: Cinnamon Challenge

The Cinnamon Challenge is the semi-recent addition to the list of dumb, dangerous things Young People do. The challenge is not new, but it has been in the news in the last few weeks, and has more lasting power than soaking gummy bears in vodka, or drinking hand sanitizer.

To be fair, adults do this as well. Here, I'll have the grown-ups at Mythbusters attempt the phenomenon and explain the challenge (spoiler: swallow a spoonful of cinnamon in a minute without water) and its dangers:

No one has died, yet.  It does seem like a joke, or a farce, even following in the footsteps of the milk challenge (chug a gallon without puking) or the Saltine challenge (yep).

From The Los Angeles Times:
In the first three months of 2012, the nation's poison centers have had 139 calls -- close to three times as many as were received in all of 2011 -- seeking help and information about the intentional misuse of cinnamon. At least 122 of those calls arose from something called the "cinnamon challenge" -- a game growing in popularity among teens in which a child is dared to swallow a spoonful of ground or powdered cinnamon without drinking any water.
Of the 139 calls, 30 required medical attention. (So that's, good, but the pneumonia rish is not good.) By June 2012 there 178 calls.

An ER doctor weighed in for Forbes last month:
Parents need to have a serious discussion with their children about the dangers associated with this stunt to prevent them from ever attempting this.
Because, per this copy and paste job from The New York Times's Well blog:
A report published in the journal Pediatrics on Monday found that the stunt has led to a growing number of calls to poison control centers and visits to emergency rooms. Some teenagers have suffered collapsed lungs and ended up on ventilators. 
So don't take the challenge, Old People, and don't let your Young People, either!

Additional Information:
Teens' 'cinnamon challenge': pneumonia risk, The Los Angeles Times
An ER Doctor's Perspective on "The Cinnamon Challenge": Don't Even Think of Doing It, Forbes
Consequences of the Cinnamon Challenge, NYT