Saturday, September 13, 2008

More Chrome

Mercy Sakes! When I went on about my love of Chrome the other day I did not realize that my favorite search engine was about to come out with its very own browser. A browser named Chrome.

So I downloaded it.   After I read the service agreement.  I hate those things!  No one I know ever reads them, and I don't think they were even written by humans.  And they all have the little disclaimer that even though you are agreeing to these set terms, the other party has the right to change the terms if it strikes their fancy.  So why bother????  

At least the computer isn't impatient like mortgage brokers.  It  doesn't sigh heavily and say things like, "it's just a standard contract" or "don't worry about that part, in 27 years I've never seen that happen" or "Yeah, the contract says that but don't worry. . . . ."

Not that I have issues!  But think about this - the US Constitution, which is like a service agreement for our entire nation, is about forty four hundred words long.  The Google Chrome service agreement is four thousand plus words.   So downloading and using a free browser is almost as legally complex as setting up a governing body for a democracy?  

So back on topic. . . .

This isn't really a product review - for two reasons.  First and foremost; I am not the least bit qualified to review technology of any kind.  (I had not even realized until several days after I downloaded Chrome that I had done so on the very first day it was available.   I do not believe I have ever been so cutting edge before, and I doubt I ever will be again.)

The second reason is more obvious - no pink ribbon!  The only products we review here are Pink Ribbon Products!  Which I need to address in a later post - which will naturally refer back to this post.  

But I will share with you my experiences and opinions of Google Chrome.

After reading the service agreement (I think I read all of it, I suspect I dozed off at one point) I hit "download now".  I blinked and it was downloaded.  So far so good.

It is as clean and simple as Google, which would make a certain amount of sense.

It is so very much faster than IE and FireFox.  It has tabs, which seem to be behaving well.  In FireFox the first link/right click choice is "Open in New Window" and the second is "Open in New Tab".  In Chrome, "New Tab" is the first choice and "New Window" is the second.  I'm guessing a person with a more nimble brain than I would be able to make clicking the first option a habit in less than a week but that's about how long it took me!

Apparently one of the feature of Chrome is "Incognito Window."  I'll let Google themselves explain:

For times when you want to browse in stealth mode, for example, to plan surprises like gifts or birthdays, Google Chrome offers the incognito browsing mode. Webpages that you open and files downloaded while you are incognito won't be logged in your browsing and download histories; all new cookies are deleted after you close the incognito window. You can browse normally and in incognito mode at the same time by using separate windows.

I've heard people refer to this as the p0rn window.  Obviously they didn't know that it is only for good secrecy, like birthday gifts!

So Chrome seems to be a great product so far.  I'm a slow person in many ways but I like my Internet fast!  And Chrome is fast.  It is simple.  It is clean and uncluttered.  (Forgive me for obsessing on that point but right now Google Chrome is the only thing in my life not filled with clutter)

There are two things I miss that I am almost hesitant to mention - for reasons I will explain in next post that I referred to earlier. 

When searching I like the option  of the browser finding your search terms on the page you are on.  If there is a way to do this with Chrome I haven't found it.

My other disappointment is huge.  And serious.  If Chrome were not so fast and clean it would even be a deal breaker.  I would have uninstalled it and returned to MS, begging their forgiveness for dropping IE.

I want you to look at this picture of the chrome browser:

Notice anything? 

 Like maybe the color?  

It's not Chrome!  I repeat, IT'S NOT CHROME!  It's not even polished aluminum!  It's not even pewter for crying out loud!

Do they call the common MS headache the "Chrome Screen of Death"?  No, they call it a blue screen because it is blue.  As is the Google Chrome Browser.  C'mon Google guys - please, please, please, pretty please make Chrome chrome. 

Am I the only one distressed by this?

If you haven't downloaded Chrome yet I would recommend it - unless there is some tech reason against it that I don't know about.  

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Even though one has to read and agree to a four thousand word legal document in order to download Chrome, once you have it Google makes it easy for you.  They have videos to explain how to use it and a comic book explaining 'key engineering decisions'.  Here is a sample page from the comic book:

It's in black and white so I'm not sure what color the tie dye shirt being worn by the young lady is.  I can only hope that it is a Team H.O.P.E.  pink tie dye shirt!

Have a wonderful day free from the blues!


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Mr. Winchester

Up in Alaska there’s a grizzly bear huntin

Out on the mountain there’s a boy on the run

The grizzly be bad, but he’d be better off hidin

He aint no match for Mr. Winchesters gun


I do believe there’s a lion awaitin

Sleepin off lunch in the African sun

He may be bad, but he’d be better off runnin

He aint no match for Mr. Winchesters gun



No, this isn’t a post about the vastly talented Hoyt Axton, arguably the most underappreciated singer/songwriters of the 20th century.  And it is not a post about Winchester arms.  Or even about gun control. 


Our post today is about a young man named Mr. Winchester – but before we talk about him (and thank him profusely) we must back-story the post. 


(Yes, I know that randomly changing nouns into verbs is one of the things contributing to the downfall of western civilization; but sometimes I just can’t help myself!)


So. . . . . where to begin?  In the interest of time and space we will start right before the ending of the story.  We may return to the beginning and middle at a later time; there is fascinating sociological phenomena at work here. 


As you hopefully know, Team H.O.P.E. joined up with Simply the Breast to put on a golf tournament to raise money for the 3-Day Walk for Breast Cancer.  Simply the Breast had a pink ribbon/rose logo that they used the previous two years at their tournaments.  We wanted/needed a logo that reflected the merger of the two teams.  Although we are a creative group, none of us has any experience in graphic arts, and apparently none of us even have the rudimentary software one would need to design a simple logo. 


In one of those friend of a friend of a friend moments that make life so much fun we managed to secure the talents and time of a real live professional artist.  He is more than a graphic artist; I’m not sure what he would call himself.  We call him precious!  Here is a short list of his services:


• Art Direction and Concept Development
• Flash Animation
• Web Design
• Interactive Learning Objects
• Interface Design
• Multimedia Presentations
• Illustration
• Character Design
• Logo Design

 And he does this work for honest to goodness paying companies.  I was going to paste a few of the cooler logos he has designed here but they are copyrighted images.  You can visit his company, Art Escapes, by clicking here:


And the name of the young man who designed the professional graphic now gracing our site?  Mr. Shawn Winchester!  I probably should quit referring to him as a young man – as near as I can figure he is just three years younger than I, and I’m not exactly a rookie!  Nonetheless I bet he is younger at heart than I.  I bet he texts and has those blue teeth my cell phone company keeps trying to sell me! 


Mr. Winchesters company motto is “Listen, Understand, Design”  

We will put aside any snide jokes about a man who actually listens.  Especially since it isn’t just men who seem to have difficulty listening.  We’ve all had the experience of telling a professional what we want, only to have them give us a recommendation that is so far removed from our needs that we wonder if we were actually speaking out loud.   

When I tell a car salesperson that I don’t need or want a backseat DVD player because I feel strongly that we don’t need continuous entertainment in our lives and am assured that the unit not only plays DVDs, but also supports video game systems I contemplate vehicular assault.  

Finding a professional that listens is rare and deeply gratifying.  Having this professional donate his time and talent is just short of miraculous.  

Thank you Mr. Winchester, we love our new logo!

I know I said I wasn’t writing about Hoyt Axton but you will forgive me if I include a couple quick pics?   I would include a pic of Mr. Winchester but I have no idea what he looks like.  I bet he’s a cutie, just like Mr. Axton! 


Hoyt Axton 1960

Monday, September 8, 2008


Yes, this is the follow up post to Fake It Til You Make It!

 It In that episode we were knitting (albeit fake knitting or loom knitting) a pink scarf. We did manage to disengage the scarf from the loom. The finished size was 72 x 5 inches of soft cuddly warmth. I promised you then that I would explain in a later post why I was loom knitting and why I thought it was relevant to this blog.

In our sporadic, yet never ending, quest to bring you all the pink ribbon news that’s fit to print we offer occasional Pink Ribbon Product Reviews. This is one of them.

I was at the craft store getting soap making supplies and had to go through the knitting section to get there. One of the items caught my eye because it had a pink ribbon on it. (Once one is involved in the BC cause one can spot a pink ribbon a mile away!)

This is the product – the Lion brand “Knit for Life” learn to knit kit. 

The packaging is pink, the yarn is pink, the knitting needles are pink, the plastic needle is blue but we will forgive this small oversight. The package also includes laminated Breast Self-Exam card, printed in pink. So for use of pink we will have to give them a 9.9!

The other question we always ask is if the product benefits the cause. Because they include a self-exam card they get points for awareness and education.

On the label is the following statement next to the pink ribbon symbol: “Benefiting a Charitable Foundation for Breast Cancer Research”

Okay. I was unsure if Charitable Foundation for Breast Cancer Research was the specific name of an organization or not. The small ‘a’ seemed to signify otherwise but the capital ‘C’ in Charitable implies a proper name. (Or perhaps, like me, they just capitalize whatever word strikes them as important - proper grammar be damned!)

The website listed on the package,, would be the most logical place to check. Right? Not so much. Lion Brand has a very cool site but no mention of this product. Searching revealed nothing about this, or any mention of Breast Cancer. There was a whole section on Prayer Shawls that, if I understand correctly, you can knit for people with cancer or other life tragedies. Ah well. A google search turned up nothing pertinent either. So although Lion may very well have given scads of money to the cause, we can’t say with any certainty that any money derived from this product helps anyone.

So, pink ribbon notwithstanding, how did this product do? Well. . . . . The reason I bought the knifty knitter loom was so that before I tackled learning how to knit for real I would have some concept of the whole knitting thing. I knew that you have to apply even tension but beyond that I don’t know much about knitting. Because my general knot tying is so wretched (I can tie a perfect noose. I can make a perfect square knot – 50% of the time. Beyond that I am lost) and because previous attempts to knit have been tangled, to say the least, I figured I wasn’t the targeted consumer they were promising would “Learn to Knit!” After I finished the Knifty Knitter scarf I felt ready! I was confident! I was excited! I was fooling myself!

I tried. I tried again. I read the instructions over and over. 

I made glorious fluffy knots. I kept trying. I began to suspect that the fault was not my own but the yarn itself.

 Look at it! It has a very tiny main thread, and all these strands just flailing about. So I got the bright idea to wet down the yarn so the threads would lay (lie?) somewhat flat. I guess there is a reason you never see people knitting with wet yarn.

Plan B – I would trim all the little ‘eye-lash’ threads off the main thread, which would allow me to actually see what I was doing and be better able to follow directions. You wouldn’t think it would take so long to trim up a one yard long stretch of yarn! So I have my newly sheared piece of dry yarn and I try again. The needles are large and the thread is very tiny – which means even if I were doing it correctly, which I wasn’t, it still wouldn’t look anything like the directions!

So I come to the conclusion that the yarn and the needles are incompatible. I know it isn’t me because didn’t I just finish Knifty Knitting a long glorious scarf? True, at this point the scarf was still stranded on the loom, and I did have to use tools not normally found in a knitting basket, and previous real knitting attempts by me proved unsuccessful, but this wasn’t my fault – it was the yarn!!!!

You think I was able to find any real yarn in the house? I looked high and low. I scattered the contents of drawers and closets and boxes. I finally found some rope that was just a little thicker than big poufy yarn, and since my needles were so big I figured this would work. There is a reason that you may see a person macramé with rope but you won’t see them knit with it! Heavy Sigh.

So I went into my garage and actually found yarn! I was so excited. The price sticker on the yarn read TG&Y and .99 cents. TG&Y? The TG&Y went out of business here about 20 years ago. And I have moved six, maybe seven times since then. How did this skien of yarn manage to make it? And why was it not buried deep in a box? I dunno, but I’m not going to question such incredible good luck.

I would like to say that I instantly began knitting like a pro. (Have you ever seen a professional knitter? It’s a machine!) To be honest it took me several false starts and many many many times of having to pull everything apart and start over. Oh, and I had to go see Charli.

So to be completely truthful, in my case the Lion “Knit for Life” “Learn to Knit” kit was not a useful product. After learning to knit from Charli, and practicing for hours on end, I did return to the yarn provided in the kit and commenced to make a small scarf. 

Midway through I realized it actually wanted to be a hatband.

 I will not be giving this as a gift to anyone because this is what I read on the Lion website when I was looking for information about their Charitable Foundation for Breast Cancer Research:

Knitting will give you a lifetime of pleasure and relaxation. You can create handmade knits for yourself and people you love. When you give a lovingly knit gift, part of you goes into it. Your time, talent, the yarn and color you select -- even the thoughts and feelings you have as your work -- are part of your knitted gift!

My thoughts and feelings? Oh man. At one point I noticed that my size 15 needles are 10mm. which means if I were to plunge them into a person, they would leave holes slightly larger than an Uzi slug. I also got to thinking that this type of yarn is called eye-lash yarn, and that I have never in my life purchased mascara that made my eyes look the ones in the commercials, and that the mascara advertising people are probably the same people who thought eye-lash yarn would be good to learn on, and that as hopeless as I seem to be knitting- I do know how to make a noose. [play ominous music here]  I also got to thinking that I have heard more than once that women who knit are frustrated sexually; and that that is total BS – but that maybe, just maybe, women who are promiscuous are frustrated knitters because I would much rather be . . . . . .

Anyway, the point is that my next project will have nice thoughts and feelings that can be part of my knitted gift!

Think maybe we ought to have a conclusion at some point? Me too. I’m anxious to get back to my knitting!

I wanted to like this product, it had so much pink promise! And the yarn really is fun! But between the lack of any information on the charitable end of it and the confusing directions, and the choice of learning yarn I really cannot recommend this product.

But I can recommend their site as a great resource for patterns if you already know how to knit! And much of their yarn is gorgeous!