Blogs

Next Monthly Monday Movie: July 16, 7:00 P.M.

For July's Monthly Monday Movie we'll cool off with an Academy Award-winning film about the heartwarming (and sometimes heartbreaking) breeding cycle of the emperor penguins of Antarctica. Approx. 80 minutes. Register here or call (440) 250-5462.

Astronomer: Beautiful twilight alignment

Those enjoying Sunday's warm twilight June 17 saw a beautiful alignment in the western sky. Starting with the crescent Moon a string of star-like lights led the eye up and into the southwestern sky. Starting with the Moon and working up and to the left were the brilliant planet Venus, then the golden planet Saturn, and finally the bright star Regulus.

The alignment will continue to be visible during the next-to-last week of June but the Moon's position will change within the string. On June 18 the Moon will be seen between Venus, to its right, and Saturn, higher and to the left. On June 19 the Moon and Regulus will appear next to each other at the left end of the line with Saturn in the middle and Venus punctuating the right end.

Free document-related Websites

There are some useful and free tools on the Web for creating, modifying and exchanging documents, and here are a few.

I have two sites For PDFs (Portable Document Format). The first site is KoolWire.com, which automatically converts Word (.doc), Powerpoint (.ppt), Excel (.xls), Jpeg, GIF, Rich Text Format (.rtf),and Text (.txt) files to PDFs. You attach your files, email them to the site, and they are immediately returned to your email as PDFs. Couldn't be easier.

Astronomer: What time is it in Melbourne?

Ever wonder what time it is in a distant city? Confused by world time zones and standard vs. daylight saving (or "summer") time? Here's a quick way to find out what time it is in a long list of cities around the globe:

Visit www.TimeAndDate.com

In addition to time and day of week information, the site provides each listed city's weather conditions, forecast, sun- and moon-rise times, telephone dialing information, and more!

Computer Classes

Sign up now for these computer classes in June and July:

  • Computers for Beginners
  • Introduction to Windows and Toolbars
  • Introduction to Microsoft Word I and II
  • Introduction to Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Introduction to Microsoft Excel

Registration for Internet classes in June and July starts on June 11 for Westlake residents and opens to everyone on June 12.

Free Online TV: "Democracy"

Here is a new name in Web video, Democracy, which is an open-source, free platform for Internet TV.

This site functions as an RSS aggregator, a technology that allows you to subscribe to video blogs or other video feeds. You can create your own TV channel of videos you find, and make it available to the rest of the world.

There is even a channel guide for the more than 1,000 Internet channels and "vlogs" that are available.

Google REALLY wants to get personal:

Today, I'm not discussing a cool new search tool. Instead, here's an article in the The Financial Times. Google wants more and more information about you.

The company's CEO Eric Schmidt, talking to reporters in London, said, "We cannot even answer the most basic questions because we don’t know enough about you. That is the most important aspect of Google’s expansion."

Astronomer: Fun with GPS

I've been having fun with a new "toy." A nice little handheld GPS (global positioning system) receiver bought at a bargain price at a local big box store. Following my progress on the scrolling map image during a morning commute made the trip a lot more fun.
Photo: Magellan eXplorist 210 product shot.

Surprising to me was how quickly the GPS was able to update and display my travel speed as I drove. After all, the little palm-sized unit was receiving signals from several orbiting satellites a little more than 12,000 miles high, comparing their time signals, calculating my position in three dimensions and its rate of change, and displaying it on a little LCD screen, all with only a couple of seconds lag time! And, optimally, to within about 10 feet of my exact location. Following travel progress on the unit's built-in map was fun (for map geeks like me) but a little too distracting if you're driving. I'm looking forward to my next stint as a passenger!

World War II digital library

Historic Government Publications from World War II is a digital library that contains scanned images of actual documents from World War II.

The images can be viewed on the site, or downloaded.

One can browse through the collection, or search by keyword.

Click here to see a digitized booklet on 4-H.

Rollyo--"Roll Your Own Search Engine"

Rollyo enables you to build your own search engine.

How it works:
Build a "searchroll."
A searchroll is a list of sites that you trust. Add all of the Websites on a given topic that you want to the roll. You can assign a general category for the roll, and apply "tags" to describe the topic.

Share searchrolls with others
Other people can search your searchrolls, and you can search theirs to discover new Websites about topics that are important to you.