Archive for the ‘Computers’ Category

Google Map Previews in Gmail

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

Editor’s note: This new feature in Gmail seems made to order for fastball player and fans. Instead of copying the address to your next tournament, opening google maps, and then pasting the address in, Gmail gives you a map link/preview right inside Gmail.

To activate, go to “Settings”, then “Labs”, then “Enable” the map preview feature. It works well.

From the Google Blog:

Google Maps previews in Gmail
Posted by Mark Knichel, Software Engineer

I often receive emails containing addresses in them — where to meet for dinner, the location of my friend’s new apartment, etc. To find out where these places actually are, I have to copy the address, open up Google Maps, and paste it in. Today, we’re making it easier to see maps of all the addresses you receive in Gmail and Google Buzz.

Enable “Google Maps previews in mail” from the Gmail Labs tab under Settings, and any time you receive an address or a Google Maps link in an email, a preview will appear containing an interactive Google Map of that location. Any Google Maps URL will work, but we currently only extract US addresses (we’re working on making addresses around the world work).

Fast, Free PDF Viewer

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

For PDF viewing, we’ve touted Foxit as a faster loadinng replacement for the notoriously slow-loading Adobe Reader. Here’s one that’s even faster (and also free), Sumatra PDF. Small footprint, so good for that thumb drive too.

Click here for free download.

Gmail’s PDF Reader

Saturday, December 13th, 2008

The Google boys have come up with some new tech that makes reading PDF files quicker and easier, in Gmail, right inside your browser, without “opening” the file. Great for opening that tournament notice, or bracket sheet, on the fly:


Gmail Makes Viewing PDF Files In-Browser Easier

Next time you receive a PDF file attachment in Gmail, hit the View link next to it. Instead of the hardly-ever-looked-good HTML view, you’ll get Google Docs’ full-on PDF viewer right in your browser, with thumbnails for navigating the PDF’s multiple page the way your desktop PDF viewer works.

(click link above for complete story)

With PDFs so commonplace nowadays, my old article from Los Angeles Lawyer magazine seems a bit dated: “The Emergence of PDFs as the New Standard for eDocuments

Google’s Chrome Browser out of beta

Thursday, December 11th, 2008

We wrote previously about Google’s new, FAST Chrome Browser. It’s out of beta now, and can be downloaded for free.

If you downloaded the browser previously, you can update to the newest version, just click the “wrench” in the upper right hand corner (for tools), and then “About Chrome” and it will check for, and run the update.

Even if you’re partial to Firefox, Internet Explorer or some other browser, this is a great option to just get to the ‘net quickly, to google something or catch the latest post at Morning Brief at Fastpitchwest !

Did I say FAST?

Google Chrome Browser

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008

For those of you dissatisfied with Internet Explorer, or those just wanting to take a new browser for a spin, Google has released their new “Chrome” browser, in beta form. Yes, even this longtime Firefox user tried it out, and have to say I am impressed with what I see so far. It is the fastest loading browser you have ever tried. Great for those times when you just want to get online and check your email or get the latest news right here at the Morning Brief.

Click the icon above for the free download.

Darcy Walushka – Canadian Junior in the News

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

Reprinted with permission from the Times Colonist

Team Canada juniors come calling on Langford softball star
Brian Drewry, Times Colonist
Published: Tuesday, June 10, 2008

He was barely out of the womb, and Darcy Walushka was already thinking softball.

Or so his mom likes to think.

“She told me when I was four days old I went to my first fastball game so she likes to take credit for my success,” laughed the 18-year-old Walushka, who was recently named one of 17 players who will represent Canada at the ISF Junior Men’s World Championship June 20-29 in Whitehorse.

Bruce Stotesbury, Times Colonist
Walushka, a Langford resident who’s just finishing up his Grade 12 at Belmont

Secondary, has had plenty of reason to smile when it comes to his softball career in recent years. The upcoming trip to the world juniors is just the ultimate way to cap off an impressive year that has seen him be part of a national midget championship last season with his club team, the Sooke Smoke.

“It has been quite a year, that’s for sure,” said Walushka, who is just one of two B.C. players on the Canadian roster. Jessin Potskin of Prince George is the other.

“I’ve just been real fortunate to play on a great team which really helped me get noticed.”

The modest Walushka was named a tournament all-star at last year’s midget nationals in Saskatoon where the Smoke beat the defending champion FSIN Chiefs in the championship game. Walushka played his usual stellar defence in centre field, swung a hot bat and used his blazing speed on the base paths to generate even more offence for the Smoke. (more…)

Tech Tip – Service Pack 3 for XP? Maybe not….

Thursday, May 8th, 2008

While we’re on the topic of tech tips, we pass along a caution to those Windows XP users contemplating running the new update from Microsoft, “Service Pack 3 for XP”. While it’s usually a good idea to use Windows Update and download the latest security patches, it appears that a number of people are having problems on their computers after installing Service Pack 3. Me? I’m going to wait a while before going down that road.

Read on.


Tech Tip – Free Anti-Virus AVG 8.0

Thursday, May 8th, 2008

While we usually cover “tech tips” in our forum section of that name, some items bear wider coverage, winding up here in the morning brief. The latest new version of FREE anti-virus program AVG is “blog-worthy”. The latest version, 8.0 was just released and contains a number of improvements over the prior versions, and is easier to use than ever.

Click here for the free download.

Once you click the link above, follow the links for the FREE version. Download, install, schedule a daily scan for the wee hours of the morning while you sleep. You know the routine.

MS Office 2007 for $60 (Students)

Wednesday, September 12th, 2007

Since Excel and Word get a lot of use among fastpitch afficionados, we thought we’d share this one with you.

Microsoft’s software can be a little pricey, but this looks to be their best deal in a long while: Office 2007 for Students for $60. You have to be an eligible college student to get this price (and show proof of enrollment and all that), but it’s a great deal if you qualify. The new version is, IMHO, a big improvement over the old, especially Word.

From Wired Magazine:

Students: Grab Office Ultimate 2007 For $60
By Scott Gilbertson

msoffice.jpgMicrosoft is running a new student promotion, dubbed The Ultimate Steal, which allows eligible college students to purchase Microsoft Office Ultimate 2007 at the discounted price of $60. Office Ultimate includes Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Access, InfoPath, Groove, OneNote, Outlook and Publisher. Office Ultimate 2007 carries a list price of $680, though a quick Google search turned up offers as low as $240.

The offer comes with a 30 day free trial (which is also available to non-students via the Office website) and the deal expires April 30 2008. The offer is available to students in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. Microsoft recently ran a similar promotion (now expired) in Australia, and, judging by the way that one worked, the new deals will likely be limited to select schools and you’ll need access to your university .edu e-mail account.

If you’d like to know what all is new in Office 2007, have a look at Wired’s review from earlier this year.

Microsoft’s offer may seem a little extreme, selling Office Ultimate at over 90% off, but given the amount of piracy among college students, this is probably a good move for the company. At least they’ll potentially generate some revenue.

I received a few emails about the free, MS-look-a-like software, including this one from Lukas Kamps, our resident computer whiz (Lukas is the one that tweaked our forum to match the design of the rest of the site):

I just saw the post on MS Office for students. I think you should mention that OpenOffice is also available to users at a great price! It is free and open source. There are many reviews on the web stating OpenOffice ( is very comparable to MS Office, and even better in some aspects. In fact, with the new design of Office 2007 many people are finding it difficult to use and are switching to OpenOffice!


Lukas Kamps
Ageus Solutions Inc

And here is the last paragraph from the Wired article that got left out of the earlier post:

While Office Ultimate 2007 for $60 is a pretty good deal, we can’t help but think that OpenOffice, which is an even better deal at $0, would probably fill the needs of most students. OpenOffice can even handle documents saved in Office 2007’s OOXML format, so you shouldn’t have any trouble collaborating with your classmates.

Tech Time at FPW

Tuesday, April 24th, 2007

Some tech developments that might be of interest to all fastpitch players, coaches and fans as the 2007 season gets into swing:

GOOGLE 411800-GOOG-411 (800-466-4411) – a FREE telelephone 411 (yellow pages) service from Google. It will connect you, give you details, or even text you if you say “text me”. Having trouble finding that hotel or restaurant while on a road trip? Let Google 411 connect you for free. Did I mention it’s FREE?>.

GOOGLE APPS – while they are not new, they have added some new ones and some bells and whistles on the others. Best of all, they are FREE.

Need to open that tournament bracket that’s in excel, but don’t have excel on your computer? Try Google Spreadsheets.

Ditto a Word doc – Use Google Docs to open it.

MAPS – Is there a better map app than Google’s? Tell me you haven’t burned company time using the “satellite photo” mode to find cities or ballparks you’re headed to, or trying to see what your house looked like the day they took the pic 😉 Use Google Maps to “find businesses” (e.g. hotels, etc.) the next time your team hits the road.

– add the feeds for Al’s Fastball, ISCfastpitch, Morning Brief and the Deuce to your Google home page, or to their RSS Reader. RSS (news feeds) have never been easier.

And if you’re using Firefox browser, download the free Google Firefox Toolbar and you can highlight an address on screen, and it will automatically open a google map.

JOTT – Free voice to email service. Great for those times when you can’t get to a computer, but have to get a quick email out to someone. For the low, low price of FREE.

ONLINE AIRLINE TIX – Getting ready to plunk down that hard earned cash for airline tickets? Be sure to check here:

Fare Chase

Have tech tip that you think is useful to the fastpitch community ? Drop us a line: feedback (at)