Surprising things

Google books NGram Viewer. One of the power houses of book digitizing, Google, has made a fun and instructive tool available. NGram does nothing more than show you how a particular word or phrase has changed in usage popularity over time. Simple sounding but it can lead to a party game of trying to find four words that have similar rising graphs, for example. It is at books.google.com/ngrams/

Some Windows 8 programs come in both app and desktop versions, Skype being a good example. In Windows 8 desktop programs are those with file menus and that familiar red X to quit. So, for the desktop version of Skype, you need to find it lower down on Skype’s downloads page. Or, get used to the Windows 8 app version.

Notifications in Windows 8 and Mountain Lion can be adapted to your needs. Both Windows 8 and in Mountain Lion on the Mac have a centralized notification system that you should learn how to manage. For example, to change how Mail alerts you on the Mac, go into System Preferences, then Notifications, scroll down the left hand list of items to find Mail and change its alert style to none. In Windows 8, only for apps but not desktop programs (which still use the desktop system tray to display alerts), you need to get into PC settings by swiping from the right, click or tap on Settings, then Change PC settings, and finally get into Notifications. Now you can go down the list and turn off or back on notifications for particular Windows 8 apps.

Whose comments are you going to trust? It may not be a surprise but recent research is showing that positive comments made at a review site influence subsequent comments to be more positive. However, negative comments don’t show a similar effect to make following comments to be more negative. This is apart from any gamming of the comment system that may be going on.

Finally, a funny bug in the “internet of things.”  Japanese toilets from Satis can be controlled from an Android phone using Bluetooth and, oops, they used the same hard coded Bluetooth PIN in all their toilets, making it very easy for any Android phone with their app to control any of their “smart” toilets within phone range.

If you have a Google account, and you haven’t tried some of the new map-making features, sign in and check them out at maps.google.com.

And, now I have a question for you, what computer problem or question have you been hoping I would answer? Let me know at bill@scobie.net

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