Goggle Tracking

Most likely you are aware that Google tracks your activities on the internet. How much tracking, you might ask? Well, read this article:

I must admit I have mixed emotions about Google tracking. I use Google's wares a lot -- from the Chrome Browser to Gmail to Google Drive to Google Photos to Ask Google, and perhaps others as well. All free, I might add. I realize that Google needs to make money somehow to support these activities. 

So, what do I -- and you -- think about the article? Meh! So far, none of Google's tracking has hurt me, so I'll continue to march with Google and see what happens.

Jim Hamm

Google Photos

While I certainly enjoy looking at photos -- and I often receive interesting ones in an email --  I'm not one to actually take many photos. While I have several personal photos stored in my devices, the bulk of my photos are of interesting scenes -- such as an ominous tornado, or a spectacular waterfall, etc. --  that I've saved and use as desktop screens on my computers. 

If you've got a lot of photos stored and would like to get them off your device to free up space, you might take a look at Google Drive, which I haven't tried yet -- at least that I remember. If you might have an interest, here is a review of Google Drive that explains the features:,2817,2484832,00.asp

I'm presently logged into Google's Gmail account and tried something that just flabbergasted me. The article mentioned about going to on the web. I just did this (for the first time, ever) In my Chrome browser (I'm on Linux Mint right now in a PC) and couldn't believe what I saw -- all my stored photos were displayed, with the first one showing a date of 2004 -- 14 years ago!

Even though I am logged into Google from my Gmail account, how did Google get into my computer to access my photos, I wondered? And on my Linux computer I don't have any photos stored. Then it dawned on me. I guess sometime in the past I must have used Google Photos, and my photos are obviously stored in the 'cloud' somewhere. Out of curiosity, I just tried this on my iPhone X in the Chrome browser, and lo and behold, all my photos came rolling up again. Amazing.

If you're looking for a place to store your photos, you might take a look at Google Photos.

Jim Hamm 

Google's New HQ

Take a look here at Google's soon-to-be new headquarters. And Google is really "Going Green". Just read about all the energy-saving features to be incorporated in the building and campus. Be sure to click through the picture slide show of the building and campus.

If I were young again, and much smarter than I am, I'd sure like working for Google -- as probably every college graduate today wants to. I bet Google has the pick of the litter, so to speak.

So, surf the net frequently, click often, and help Google pay for this new headquarters.

Jim Hamm

Google May Have Won the Cloud Wars

        Here's that word FREE.  "For the storage of your photos, Google Photos is free, has unlimited storage, and is available on iOS devices.  What's not to like about this scenario?" asks Jim Hamm.    See    and take a look at this article, dated 5-28-15: 

Prediction About Gmail

        "I like Gmail and have used it for years. But here is an article that was written a few months ago, and which I just now read, that predicts Google will drop Gmail down the road. The author explains why he thinks this is so, and his premise sounds very realistic to me. It seems Gmail doesn't directly generate income for Google, and I hadn't really thought about this, but I'm sure Google has."  And here Jim Hamm grins.         "Recently Google offered another email client called 'Inbox.' I took a look at it, and didn't like what I saw. I hope the author is wrong in his prognostication, as I'd sure be disappointed if Gmail disappears."

Are You at Risk From This?

        A very serious warning comes from John Carter.  "GIGAOAM, CNN Money, BBC News, and others have released a notice that there is a bug called 'Freak' that was found in software used to encrypt data passing between web servers and web users. 
        "Browsers so far noted to be affected are Safari, Google Chrome, and Windows Internet Explorer. Initially, the flaw was thought only to affect some users of Android and Blackberry phones and Apple’s web browser. For sure, every version of Internet Explorer is at risk.

        "What is at risk is personal and financial data open to attackers. This bug only allows attackers to capture data, but that includes passwords which then opens up the possibility of the attacker stealing all your money and your identity.
        "The horror part of the story is that this bug is the result of the government insisting on 'weak' encryption so that it could break in wherever it wanted."
        Of course you will want to read the full story yourself.  See  herehere and here.
        John closes with these final remarks, "It might be wise to limit Internet browsing using only Firefox until things settle down.  The news broke as early as March 4, 2015."

Why Your Smartphone Records Everything You Say to It

        A friend sent this to us, and it deserves our attention.  The article starts out, "After controversy earlier this month over televisions recording owners and sending the clips to third parties, smartphone owners are now discovering that companies like Google, Apple and Microsoft are also recording voice commands and storing them for up to two years."  This article from the UK dated 2-25-15 also declares, ". . . and you agreed to it via the terms and conditions."
See   and notice the comments that are posted.  

The Future of Gmail

        Jim Hamm takes a look at Gmail. "I like and have used Google's web-based Gmail for my email client for several years. Here is an article that postulates that Google will drop Gmail within five years, and explains why the author thinks so.

        "Although I don't like this thought, the author does mention some good reasons why Google might drop Gmail. In a word or so: no revenue for Google in Gmail." 

Yosemite is HERE!

        You've heard about it, but John Carter has done it!  Here's his report on updating his operating system to Yosemite 10.10. (Remember to click on each illustration to enlarge it, then click to go back to this report. And if this whole thing is hard to read do Command and the + to enlarge the page.) John says, "Everything changes appearances.  Here's what my HOME page in Safari looks like: 

"I have set it that way because I don't want to see ANYTHING on my homepage.  You might have your home page to see something like this:  

"The address bar at the top doubles as a search bar.  You do NOT need that Google search bar in the middle of your page to do a search.  But if you insist, either type in in the address bar or click on the home icon (if you have your one page set to 
     With the update to 10.10, Safari (and all other Apple apps) also gets updated, and the default search engine for Safari is now DuckDuckGo.  It's a much safer way to browse the Internet because it doesn't track what you do.
       And notice that the Favorites Bar is gone.  When you click in the address bar, it comes back looking like this: 

There's all my favorites.  The icons with smaller icons in them are folders.  Look at the Entertainment icon.  It is a folder with multiple icons in it.  When I click on that icon, I then see this:  
And there's all the websites that I have saved in that folder.

        I used to be able to right click on an item in the Favorites Bar and an option list would pop up. That doesn't happen anymore. If I want to change what's in my favorites, I have to edit bookmarks. Another way to access Favorites is to Show Bookmarks. That opens a sidebar with everything in it - which takes up more space.
       I don't like this way of doing things, but for people with sight problems, this is great.
       If you don't want to deal with the changes in Safari, use Firefox or Chrome. But I guarantee that one day those browsers will also change dramatically.
        Things change. We either get used to the change, learn what's new, or lay down and let the world go by. Changes like this are actually beneficial to keeping our brains in shape. So it's best to let change be our daily lesson or find another way to communicate with the world - like go back to books, pen and paper.
        The irony of it all is that this kind of change makes me feel like I am back in school. Every year is another grade to pass. I actually like it. It's a challenge. The only way out of this is to move in to an Amish village.
        Noteboom Productions has a full video tutorial for Yosemite along with 20+ other very useful tutorials just for the Mac and iOS available in a subscription package (various rates apply). The tutorials are all online - nothing to download. There are lots of short videos on specific topics on the web. Study the tutorials, come to the PMUG meetings and SIGS, get comfortable with the changes, then do the update. Or just stay with what you have for the next five years. Frankly, if need to use your computer, eventually you may be forced to update because websites and applications will change to adopt to the new operating system and leave the old one in the dust.
        Be brave. It's the only high we have left that's legal. Be curious. It burns more calories than sleeping. Be unafraid. Fear is the ego's only tool that keeps you in the dark. - Psychology 101.
        For what it’s worth, here is a free online text tutorial that will help you get ready to do the update to Yosemite: tuts+
It doesn’t tell you how to download and install Yosemite. To do that, just open the App Store, click on the appropriate link, and just take all the defaults when it asks for information. Tuts+ has a lot of other free tutorials that you might find helpful.
        Oh, yes. You WILL need to know your Apple ID and password as well as your computer login password. If you don’t know these things, call Apple Support. If you are out of warranty, it will cost you only $20 to get all the help you need. If you want my help, it will cost you $45/hr for a minimum of two hours."  And here John Carter smiles as he leaves us with all of this to ponder.  

Yahoo Groups: Upgrades & Changes

        "If you are using one of the Yahoo Groups and your Mac is not at the latest OS update, you may find that you can’t upload files/photos to your Yahoo Group anymore," John Carter says.  He goes on to explain,  "A friend of mine posted this comment:

Yahoo, Google, Microsoft, etc. have all recently made significant "upgrades??" - in their minds, not mine - to include numerous social networking capabilities to their e-mail sites, group sites, etc. They all require significant upgrading of the Mac OS on my primary desktop computer from OS 10.4.11. I cannot upgrade the OS for this computer because it's a PowerPC G5 and I still want to maintain OS 9 Classic for a couple of legacy programs. It appears that the changes Yahoo, Google & Microsoft made to the functioning of their various sites are incompatible with OS 10.4.11. I only get rudimentary e-mail capabilties on my desktop now - barely functional. The sites work perfectly fine on my MacBook Pro OS 10.6.8 - for now."

        John explains his conclusion, "So, if you thought that you could continue to use your old OS for years to come, then the changes that are happening with websites are in the direction of what’s happening with the new versions of any OS, be it Mac or Windows, will leave you behind and not able to work with those websites. If upgrading your computer or OS means giving up a legacy app, welcome to the 21st Century! Find the best alternative, if any at all, and move on. And all this just to be able to continue browsing the Internet and using online services!"

Google is Fined

       " Here is an article describing how Google lied to Safari users on how cookies work in Safari. This is sad when  a company like Google actually lies to customers. They paid a fine, but admit no wrongdoing," says Jim Hamm.
        (Remember, if you dislike reading white letters on a dark background you can hold these keys to toggle to black print on light background:  Control Option Command 8.  Repeat to toggle back to the original look.)

Google Defends Sanning Email

"Here is an article discussing how Google defends their scanning every email sent or received through Gmail. Google says this is a 'normal business practice', and uses the info to tailor ads that appear beside your inbox."  Jim Hamm continues,  "I use Gmail, and the adds don't bother me, but I'm not fond of the idea of Google scanning the contents of every email sent through their system. On the other hand, Google is providing a useful service for free, so something or someone has to foot the costs.

        Jim goes on to comment,  "Perhaps Google already states this in their terms of agreement when one sets up a Gmail account, but wording somewhat to the following seems fair to me: as a user of the free Gmail email service the user agrees to having all sent or received emails subject to scanning by Google. If one doesn't like this, then don't sign up for the Gmail service -- use something else for your email service.
        So, this is Jim's question,  "I don't know, but perhaps other free email services such as Yahoo, Outlook Express and others may do the same thing. What do you think about Google's scanning of your emails? Armed with this knowledge, surely you won't send any of your passwords via email anymore, will you...(grin)."

What's in Your Wallet?

        "If you use Google's Gmail there's a new app coming: Google Wallet. Here is an article describing the features, which are primarily a way to move money around, somewhat similar to PayPal. 

        "When Google Wallet is available, let's set up a test -- let's see if you can use Google Wallet to send $100 to me. That way we'll be on the leading edge of testing a new app.....(grin)."  ...Jim Hamm

More Storage -- FREE

        That word gets our attention:  FREE!  Jim Hamm notifies us, "If you use Gmail for your email client, here's good news: you've now got 15GB of storage -- up from 10GB previously."  
        There's some Unified Cloud Storage for FREE across Google Drive, Gmail and Google+Photos.  After the first 15GB the upgrade plan starts at only $4.99 a month for 100GB.  The next couple of weeks brings the staged roll out.  

Goodbye to Google Reader?

        An article     mentioned that Google Reader is to close down on July 1, 2013.  Another article lists some alternatives  How important is that?  
        Querying Jim Hamm brought this, "If I had something constructive to say, I would. Some time ago I used to use an RSS feed quite often -- it may have been Google Reader, but I don't remember for sure. For some reason -- and I don't recall why -- I got away from using an RSS feed, and haven't used one for some time. It may have been when I upgraded my OS the RSS feed didn't carry over, I didn't notice, and slowly forgot about an RSS feed altogether.

        "The article points out some good choices for RSS feeds. It seems if someone has been using Google Reader the easiest migration choice would be to use Feedly. However, people can experiment a bit to see which they prefer."