March 12, 2009

in Humor/Satire,Righteous Reviews

Tequila BottleThis week I’m explaining why I use certain Internet software and programs, and wondering why some people don’t.

For those of you hosting a drinking game where you take a shot of Jose Cuervo every time I say “I’m technically inept,” you may be excused at this point to go sing John a song while giving him a great big hug.

I’ll hold your hair back.

This is because I don’t know how Google Reader works, and I’ve barely figured out all that it can do. This goes for Google Documents too. I just know I like them, and I’m going to attempt to explain why. Get comfy and maybe try some coffee at this point.

Here’s the week’s schedule..

Monday – Twitter/Tweetdeck (I deleted this post because I don’t like Tweetdeck anymore, and I don’t know why I use Twitter but I do, so follow me if you want.)

Tuesday – Firefox

Wednesday – Gmail

Thursday – Google Reader/Google Docs

Friday – Skype

So, let’s continue with..


There’s a great big supermarket next to where we live. It’s called Ralph’s, and you may not have heard of it if you’re outside of California. How about Kroger, because it’s under that brand. Ah, yes.. you know Kroger! Okay, it’s essentially a Kroger.

But that’s not my point. My point is that when I walk over there I return with toothpaste, toilet paper and a lasagna. Or sometimes bananas, coffee and paper towels. I also get those little plastic forks and occasionally some frozen vegetables and batteries.

Google is a lot like this now, except the lasagna is Gmail, and the toilet paper and batteries are Google Reader and Google Documents. They’ve been very, very busy little bees over there at Google the past few years, developing all kinds of stuff to make your Internet experience a one-stop shopping place for everything you need.

Except Google Chrome. That’s their new web browser and, as previously stated, I prefer Firefox. So it’s not like I’m all a-google over everything they design.. just a lot of it.

I was talking with my mother-in-law last week, and telling her that she should use Google Reader for her internet perusing. She didn’t know what it was, so I told her I’d get back to her and explain it when I have some time. I have some time now, so I’ll just explain it to her here, and you all can listen in. Or read along. Whatever.

Hi Phyllis!

So, Phyllis.. you know how it is that you’re looking at a website or a blog and there’s a “subscribe” button on it? It looks like some variation of this..

Subscribe Button

..and when you click on it, you’ll be subscribed to whatever blog or website it is. Click on the one shown and you’ll be subscribed to MY blog, but you’ll need a READER to see it. There are several kinds.. Bloglines, ACME, Walmart, etc.. but I use Google’s because it’s simply the best one.

You don’t need to download and install the Google Reader on your computer, you just need to have an account. So if you already have Gmail and your address is phyllis@gmail.com, or hotmotherinlaw@gmail.com, you already have a Google account and you have a reader available without even knowing it.

Some people listening in here, or reading along.. whatever.. may have an email account they’re perfectly happy with, so they should know that they don’t have to use Gmail to use the Google Reader. They just need to have a Google account, which entitles them to all of the Google services, much like my Ralph’s card entitles me to save on artichokes AND lightbulbs.

So, you’re signed up on Google. It’s really easy to find the Google Reader, so go ahead and find it. Got it? Okay, so there’s nothing there just yet. Here, click on this again..

Subscribe Button

..it will probably ask you what service you want to use to subscribe to The RhodesTer Chronicles. Select GOOGLE and suddenly, POOF! All of my new blog posts will be dumped into your Google Reader from now on, much like they dump the expired vegetables over there at Ralph’s into a dumpster on the loading dock.

You can subscribe to other blogs too, Phyllis, and the point of the whole thing is that you only have to bookmark YOUR READER on your computer, and not all those blogs. When the blogs you’re subscribed to have new posts they’ll just suddenly show up in your reader, which checks them all for you like a thousand times a day. Your new reader is massively wired on triple espresso shots, and is the worst kind of addicted Internet geek there is. It never sleeps.

But it doesn’t end there.

No maam! Here’s some other cool things that your new Google Reader can do..

There are settings galore. Play around with it and find them all (this isn’t a tutorial.) When you’ve found the one that allows you to see only the updated posts or all posts, set it for “updated posts only” and you’ll be as happy as I am because it won’t show you everything.. it’ll just show you what you haven’t seen yet, and once you’ve seen it.. it disappears.

That’s so friggin’ COOL. Like the ice cream section over there at Ralph’s.

You can also put all the blogs you read into categories. You can have a section of art blogs, because I know you’re an artist and like that sort of stuff, and you can have a section of moronic blogs, where mine will go.

I subscribe to a lot of major news sites, which throw about 47,000 news stories a day in there. I don’t read them all, so if I want to clear it out I just click “mark all as read” and they get thrown in the dumpster out on the loading dock. But if planes land on the Hudson River or terrorists blow something up, I can count on those stories showing up in my reader within 15 minutes.

Speaking of that “mark all as read” function.. it will be the best friend you’ll ever have. Subscribers to The RhodesTer Chronicles swear by it.

Like all things Google, there are a lot of other settings and functions too, because Google programmers are either meth addicts or they get chained to chairs and ordered to produce ten new functions a day or their families swim with the fishes.

I like the part under each post where it allows me to “email this.” It’s not just an email link.. when I click on it, it brings up a little form under the post that allows me to send this pretty art post to hotmotherinlaw@gmail.com so that you can see the pretty art post too. It’s a good way to inundate friends and family with useless crap without having to actually tie up your email program.

There’s a “share” function that I use to send things to a widget on the side of this blog. If you’re looking at The RhodesTer Chronicles at the actual site and not in a reader, look over to the far right and you’ll see a widget called “Funny Business.” These are the items I’ve chosen to share by clicking that little “share” button every time something tickles my fancy. I use this in lieu of a “blogroll” on my blog, because it’s ever-changing and always has new stuff. If anyone wants to subscribe to my shared , go for it.

I’m not sure how you do though, so go ahead and have another shot of tequila.

Another thing the meth addicts at Google have recently added is “comments.” This is not the same as the comments on a blog, which can be seen by everyone who reads the blog at the blog site. These comments are seen only by people who are subscribed to the blog using Google Reader, or who subscribe to the person who posted the post. Or something.

It’s all so new, I just don’t know.

Go for it..


I’d best get moving on to Google Docs at this point, because I know that even though my mother-in-law Phyllis is a bright, articulate and attentive lady, most of my other readers have the attention span of an Albanian Yak.

To summarize, I like Google Reader because I can easily zip through the 14, 683 websites and blogs I’m subscribed to, and when I see something I like – if I haven’t clicked “mark all as read” out of sheer frustration – I can email it, share it in my widget and/or “star it” to read later. Apparently I can also now comment on each post, although I have no idea who reads those comments.



Remember Microsoft Word? HAHA, I say that like it’s dead or something. It’s not, but I don’t use it anymore. Not when all I have to do is fire up Google Documents.

Like all the other Google things it’s online, so if you’re still on a dial-up then you might as well stop reading at this point and go slay a Bison for tonight’s supper. For those of you who remain with us here in Tomorrow-Land, I’ll now give you a brief overview of Google Documents.

There are all kinds of nifty gadgets attached to it, because of that “chaining to a chair” thing Google does to its employees, so it’s not only a word processing program but it can make presentations too. Not to mention resumes, spreadsheets, legal forms, insurance forms, tax forms, letters to the editor, ransom notes, suicide notes and bright, happy birthday wishes with pretty balloons all over.

My writer friend James, who is a great gal guy but is very, very far away, once asked if I’d like to do some writing for him her.

James IS actually a woman, which was confusing at first but less so now.


She asked me to send her my completed work as an email attachment, so I said, “why not just use Google Docs?” She asked why we should use Google Docs and I told her to wait and see. Then, after finishing the assignment, I clicked “share with others” on the program and entered James’ email address.

I made her a “collaborator.”

She received an email notice and clicked the link to open the document. Then she notated “change this and make this shorter, and for God’s sake quit trying to be FUNNY on an advertisement for hearses.” So I did all she asked, right there on the document while she had it open on his computer very, very far away at the very same time.

That’s what I like about Google Docs.

You can also save anything you create as a Word document too, and send it as an attachment if you absolutely must. And yes, Zoho.com has the same thing and is better in some ways while not being as good in others.

And yes, you can collaborate online with other users who have Word installed. Yes yes yes..

..but I know what I like, and if I want to order the American Slam every darn time we come into this Denny’s, even if they’re running a special on Denver Omelets, then by golly I’m going to.

Tomorrow - Why I use Skype, which, believe it or not, is NOT owned by Google. But they’ll probably buy it next week.

Tell the WORLD..
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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 James Chartrand - Men with Pens March 12, 2009 at 6:41 am

Dude. You want to go meth with Google Reader? Greasemonkey to the rescue. Check out the AWESOME things you can make Reader do (and yes, even integrate it with your Gmail) right here:


James Chartrand – Men with Pens´s brilliant babbling..The Single Freelancer Policy that Saves Your Soul


2 Kim March 12, 2009 at 7:00 am

Dude – I just sent a blog entry by email to my husband thanks to your explanation of how to do it from my reader. And I sent myself a copy, so I could see how it worked. IT SENT MY COPY TO THE SPAM FOLDER OF GMAIL! Made me laugh!

Have a day!

Kim´s brilliant babbling..I had a day


3 Scott March 12, 2009 at 7:10 am

Google Reader/Docs are teh awesome.


4 RhodesTer March 12, 2009 at 8:01 am

James – I would have mentioned Greasemonkey, but I was talking to my mother-in-law and I didn’t want to bring unbathed simians into it.

Kim – “not spam” <– button you click to remedy that.

Scott – I konw!


5 darrell March 12, 2009 at 10:36 am

You suggested Google Reader to me some time ago and I’ve been grateful ever since. It’s by far my favorite web app. I now read more blog feeds and news feeds, I read them more easily and more quickly, and I see more of the kind of content I’m interested in.

The only downside is that I now read my favorite blogs almost exclusively in the Reader and rarely actually load the home pages unless I want to leave a comment. Therefore I don’t get to enjoy the layouts of the blogs themselves, which is a little tiny bummer, considering that so many people (like you) put a lot of work into crafting fun, pleasing blog layouts.


6 RhodesTer March 12, 2009 at 10:40 am

You know where James left a comment above and a link to Greasemonkey scripts? Somewhere in all that mayhem is something that will allow blogs and websites to show up in your reader as they look on their own site. I don’t use it so I’m not going to find it for you, but it’s there.. somewhere.

I think it’s a Firefox add-on or something. If you use Firefox for your reader, you’re set. Maybe. I dunno. Have a shot of Petrone.


7 Katherine March 12, 2009 at 11:17 am

Wow, Google Reader is cool. I had never thought to use a reader (though I have a few RSS feeds on my homepage, there’s not a lot of room to spare) before. It’s going to make keeping track of things so much easier! Goodness.


8 RhodesTer March 12, 2009 at 11:19 am

See what happens when you hang out with me?


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