Tools and Resources

iGoogle has a new look

iGoogle new look

iGoogle has a new look, and I like it. I use iGoogle as my home page, as as you can see I have customised it to the way I like it. I also use Google+, and I appreciate the clean design it uses. iGoogle has been brought in line with Google+.

This is how it looked a couple of days ago.

iGoogle old look

This is how it looks today.

iGoogle new look

The changes are subtle but make a big difference. The most obvious difference is that side column. It’s not gone, it can be brought back at any time. You can see a little arrow on the top left above Weather. I’ve hidden it because 99.99% of the time I don’t need it.

Clicking on an item in Google reader gives a cleaner look as well.

Well done Google!

 

I don’t love my new Toshiba netbook any more

Early last year I bought a Toshiba NB200 notebook. It was just what I wanted. I bumped up the RAM to 2GB and installed Dropbox, and I never looked back. I could take my work with me and have it synchronise with my main laptop at home.

About a month ago it became unreliable as to starting up. Now it won’t start up at all. Not happy.

I’ve checked forums and so on. If I press F2 or F12 while it’s trying to boot up – nothing happens.

If I press 0 (zero) while it’s booting up to restore it to its factory condition – nothing happens.

If I do nothing when it’s trying to boot up, I either get a black screen or the Toshiba splash screen, and there it stays.

The forums also say to use my system restore disk. I have no system restore disk, and I don’t have a portable disk drive to run it on, so to buy these things will cost more money. I thought that’s what the space being taken up on the hard disk by the factory system restore was for.

I know we’re supposed to be replacing our netbooks with iPads or other tablets these days, but I use mine to work. I need a keyboard all the time. I don’t want to have to mess with a virtual keyboard, and I don’t want to have to carry a portable keyboard around and have to connect everything up when I get to the place where I am researching. I just want to open up my netbook and go.

I can’t afford to buy a new netbook every year and then upgrade the memory, and then spend the time loading everything back on it that I need. I would pay more for a netbook with a longer guarantee, but it seems that netbooks are on the way out, in favour of tablets.

OK, I’ve had my rant, thank you for your attention!

By the way, if you are interested in Dropbox, and I can’t recommend it highly enough, you will do me a favour if you sign up using my recommendation. That way I get more space, and when you are as hooked as I am you can recommend it to your friends and get more space above the first free 2GB.

Picasa Face Recognition can be moved to a new computer

Picasa face recognitionA few months ago my laptop spent days going through all my photos and tagging the faces, and then I spent a few more days (on and off) giving them names. It was a lot of fun, and I wrote about it here.

When my laptop ran out of space I had to move all my photos onto an external hard drive. I was nervous about losing all of that work so I wasn’t brave enough to open Picasa.

Now I have a new laptop, with plenty of space for all my photos, and so I have moved them back. The question was, did I have to do all that face recognition all over again?

The answer, I’m happy to say, is no.

Picasa keeps all of that information in a separate database. As long as you can access those files from your old computer you can use them to replace the new ones when you install Picasa on it.

Basically you need to back up:

"C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Local\Google\Picasa2"

and

"C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Local\Google\Picasa2Albums"

The first one holds face recognition data and probably much more, and the second holds your albums. I didn’t have these files backed up, but they were still on the hard drive of my old computer, and today, with the help of my new hard drive enclosure that arrived in the mail, I was able to copy them over.

I have also added everything under AppData to my Mozy backups so I don’t have this problem in the future if my hard drive fails.

Do you have your AppData backed up?