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iGoogle Going Away

The world is changing again!

My comfortable iGoogle homepage has served me well for quite a long time (I moved to Google from Yahoo a few years ago…).  I use Chrome (fast, reliable, etc) and have almost totally moved to the Google universe…and I am very happy here.  But….

Now I see a banner on my iGoogle home page that says iGoogle is going away.  Yikes!

After clicking on the information link, and pondering what this meant….not one to let grass grow under my feet…..I moved on and downloaded separate apps that give me quick access to the Google features I use the most:  Mail, Docs (Drive), Chat, Voice, News, YouTube, etc.

As I work, I will add more….Ah….Calendar…see…the more I work, the more I add…how funny.  🙂

My new Chrome homepage looks like this:

Alternatively, I can have this page showing my most visited sites show up:

Google Chat and Voice show up in the top right hand corner of Chrome:

Using the NEW WAY

I moved very quickly to using the separate apps to access my Google universe.  I suspect since I was already doing this on my smartphone, the move to this way of navigating on my computer was virtually painless.

Time marches on….keep up or fall behind…



Google+ Hangout Video Conferencing Meeting, Part 2

Google+ Hangout is the PERFECT way for ANYONE, ANYTIME, ANYPLACE  to video conference.  It is FREE, you can meet with up to 10 friends, and the quality is awesome (for a free service).  The technology behind this is from Vidyo.

I will shut-up and let the video do the talking….

AWESOME!!!!!!!!  Sorry, I had to do it.

Join us in the next Hangout!  Watch this blog, Telepresence Options, or Linkedin for dates and topics!

Also…as we learned in this meeting (from Robert..), Google+ Hangout can be a stepping stone to the more advanced video conferencing systems.  A small business can try Google+ Hangout to get a feel of video conferencing then decide if they need to upgrade to a full video conferencing system.

Very cool!

Google+ Hangout Video Conferencing Meeting, Part 1

Before any good, errrr…..AWESOME meeting, there is preparation.   That is especially the case with a video conference.  The initiators of the video conference must work diligently to make sure the meeting goes off without a hitch.

No joking around….deadly serious business.  If you want to get involved in video conferencing and put on an AWESOME meeting (watch for Part 2 of the “Hangout Meeting” here later today)…throw your sense of humor out the window….. and get to work!

Here is a video clip of our Pre-Google+ Hangout Preparations.  We learned from the BEST….kidding around is for losers!  SERIOUS is the only way to make it in this business.

Now watch the video!  Do it!  😐


David Maldow, Telepresence Options

Mike Pihlman….you are here!


Google+ Hangout

This Thursday!!!!  A Google+ Hangout for video conferencing types like you! Join the conversation…..

Join David Maldow, Telepresence Options, and myself for a Google+ Hangout this Thursday!  Go here to see David’s article on Telepresence Options, or continue reading my copied version below.  Add me to your circles…….if you dare!  🙂

Telepresence Options has joined the Google+ community. Go ahead and circle us to get all the latest telepresence related news right in your Google+ feed.

While many people have yet to add Google+ to their social media stable, the tech community has embraced it whole-heartedly and the discussions there can be incredibly educational and fun. Google+ is the fastest social media network to reach 50 million users and does not appear to be slowing down (despite a few high profile predictions of its demise).

Photo Credit: 
Google has learned a lot from the failure of Buzz, its previous shot at social networking, and it appears to have gotten a lot right with Google+. The privacy controls were a serious shot across the Facebook bow, where it often feels like nothing is private. In essence, sharing through Google+ circles isn’t much different than sharing through Facebook lists, but it is all in the implementation. No one ever really seemed to like using Facebook lists, but creating and using Google+ circles just makes sense from the get go.
Google+ is also getting a lot of kudos for its excellent photo sharing capabilities. As a result, there is a fantastic community of photographers, videophiles, and artists there. Even if you are purely using Google+ for business, we recommend circling some of these people to add a little beauty to your stream.
Google Hangouts

Telepresence Options is particularly excited about Google Hangouts. Powered by Vidyo technology, it provides an excellent multipoint videoconferencing experience. Telepresence Options analysts have been unabashed fans of the Hangouts, using them to chat with old friends, and to discuss technology with other Google+ users.
In fact, this Thursday at 3:00 pm EST (12:00 pm PST) David Maldow from Telepresence Options, along with videoconferencing veteran Mike Pihlman from TelBitConsulting will be hosting a Hangout open to anyone interested in telepresence and videoconferencing.
The topic of the Hangout will be “Multipoint Meeting Creation Options: Calling Devices, Joining Rooms, or Calling People.” The topic is a loose starting point and we expect it to shift based on the interests of the people in the hangout. The only rule is no blatant sales pitches please.
So please follow us on Google+ and make sure to check our feed on Thursday for instructions on joining our first official Google+ Hangout!
See you Thursday!  🙂

Google Flight Search

Surfing the Internet yesterday I found this interesting tidbit.

Google is now offering a “Flight Search” service where you can, in one place, find your flights!  Since I hardly ever fly (someday I will tell you why) I hope never to use it, but, you might find it helpful!


Well it is pretty limited:

1. It does not have Stockton, CA listed as an airport departure point, so I assume other smaller airports may not be listed either.

2. I can’t find out what kind of plane I will be on (YES..that matters a lot!).  I will not step foot on a smallish plane.  737 / 757 and bigger or it will be driving or training.  🙂

3. I did a search for a flight from San Francisco to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. Apparently, “Flight Search” is only good in the U.S. (see pic below)

I wonder if they will expand to international routes?  I can’t imagine them NOT…the next time I get on a plane it may be to Vietnam to visit the old Buddhist Temples my friend Chau sends me pictures of.

Microsoft Office 365 To The Cloud

Checking the news on the Internet this morning, I spotted this article from SF Gate describing the official announcement today(!) that Microsoft Office is moving to the cloud with Microsoft Office 365 (I suppose that means it is available 365 days a year?).

The article explains that small to medium businesses that can’t afford to buy, install, run, and maintain the servers can now, for a fee, off-load all that hard work to the Microsoft cloud.

They also explain that it is good that Google set up Google apps.  That helped Microsoft get off their butts (my words not theirs….I think appropriate, actually) and move to the cloud.  Here is an interesting history lesson by the folks at that kinda supports what I am saying…

Here is the original Microsoft announcement way back in October.  I don’t deal with pricing on this blog, but, companies appear to be able to sign up for between $2 per user per month to $27 per user per month depending on features.

My thoughts?

To Microsoft:  Good idea….’bout time.  But you needed someone (Google) to push you…not a good sign looking forward.

Google Changes Search Algorithm

A few days ago Google changed it’s search algorithm.

Surfing the web today, I see that that change has had an impact on “content farm” traffic to the point where some have even started laying off people.

But…..I’m not complaining…in the past few days…this blog, and, have both seen INCREASED views.

If I calculated correctly (and I tutor Math…how funny), looking at the average views the past 4 days, and the 4 days prior to that:

Views for TracyReaderDad have increased a whopping 159%, and the views for TelBitconsulting (this blog)  have increased a more modest 91%.  Very great numbers as far as I am concerned.

Of course, anything could be causing this increase (the economy, more searches, more people online, better weather, people finally realizing I am great, etc. etc.) but, I will not complain for as long as the trend continues.  Hopefully, it will be long term…but, no matter what, I will continue to plod away trying to inform and educate while remaining honest and truthful.

If I say “I love Google” does that help?  🙂



Google Keywords-A Quick Introduction

Before you read my drivel, watch this guy explain Google Keywords.  Very nice, very clear…

Full-time AltamontCowork member, Joleen is researching how to attract more readers to her blog.

During her research, she found this Google keyword site that ranks the keywords according to how often people search for stuff with using those keywords.


You can sign into Google using your Google account or you can do it anonymously.  Lets do it in stealth mode and see what happens.

You can see below that there are are many advanced settings you can choose from.  I’ll keep it on United States and English, well….hmmm, just because.

I’ll search for the keywords that mean the most to this blog: “video conferencing” (there, see, just doing that will get me millions of hits…haha).

I put in the “I’m a real person” ID word and the screen below popped up.

You can see that “video conferencing” has 110,000 local monthly searches and 246,000 global searches but that the competition for that combination of words is high.

That is cool, but, a lot of the searches for video conferencing (more hits!) will end up at Wainhouse Research or somewhere other than this blog…competition.

It would be nice if I could find a keyword combination that has LOTS of searches and LOW competition. THAT would ensure a higher number of people hitting this site. Lets scroll down…and look for low competition and a good number of searches.

Here is the list from low to high competition.

You can bet that within the next few seconds, I will be adding a tag for “video call” (billions of hits coming my way!) and adding “video call” (billions more!) to many of my blog entries!  Done, I added it.

Next Day

Joleen told me to check the box “Exact” in the left hand column. Lets see what changes.

There is a difference….but it beats the hell out of me which is best to use.  I guess practice will tell.  Or maybe I should just listen to Joleen.  🙂


Anyway….This was a real quick introduction to the Google Keyword site….play with it and see how YOU can get more readers on your blog or web site!

Cool tool.

Google Chrome Web Store

Cloud Cool

Another day, another cool new technology thingy from Google.

If you ever wondered how you could live in the cloud, today’s introduction of the “chrome web store” may provide the beginnings of an answer.

But only the beginnings…

Using Chrome (the only browser that works) you can go here and download any number of free (or fee) apps.

Very cool.

These apps cover communications to games to utilities and almost everything in-between.  So now, theoretically, I can trash Microsoft Office, Open Office, Photoshop, Print Shop and several other programs that reside on my computer and do the same tasks using cloud based, mostly free, apps.


Not Yet

Note the key word in the preceding paragraph:  “Theoretically”.

Being me, I gave one app a try….and it did not work the way I needed it to work. Granted, it might be much harder to use than I hoped it would be, forcing me to spend a lot more time trying to figure out what went wrong.  I will, but, for now….this stuff should be super easy.  Like it is on my HTC Aria android based smart phone.

Gripe #1

Aviary is an advanced photo editing app and all I need are two very basic features to make me happy (at least for now):

  1. The ability to compress an image for web display.
  2. The ability to make a banner or logo with pictures, photos, and words.

Easy peasey, right?  Wrong!

After waiting and waiting for my JPEG to upload….this is the error message I got:

Ooops…what the heck does it say?  🙂

I could not upload a 150 k JPEG image to even start a new logo for  This should be easy.  Oh well….my trip to the cloud will be delayed.   😦

Gripe #2

I know the apps are loaded, but, from my normal iGoogle home page…I CAN’T find them!

I looked everywhere (granted I did not spend a whole lot of time looking since I felt that it should be apparent).  Arrrghhh.  I’ll keep looking, but, it should be easy peasey to find them like it was when I first installed them (see pic).

UPDATE: I found out how to find the apps once they are installed.  Click on the + (new tab) sign.  You will then get the page shown above.  Here is where the + sign is located in Chrome:


I will put my cloud computing hopes and dreams on hold for awhile.  Some of the bugs / issues need to be ironed out (and I need to ramp up the learning curve), but, I am pretty sure we will get there…..eventually.

I sure hope so…

I also hope in the new year that software developers will test, debug, evaluate, modify, test, etc……a bit more carefully and thoughtfully…like the old days.  I do like finding bugs / issues, but, geeez…give me a challenge.  🙂

I will be trying more apps in the next week or so….I’m pretty sure I’ll find some gems.