Monday, September 18, 2006

Microsoft Zune & Internet Explorer 7 ( rc1)

Can it really be time to start loving Microsoft again? Two new products do make you stop and think.

The first one is Microsoft Zune . It looks impressive. Of course it is a "me too" product, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. Microsoft can produce a winner by sitting back a while and poaching all the great ideas from competitors. They have used Apple this way before and it has worked. Yes Apple has all the great innovations and ergonomics, but Microsft has a lot of muscle.

The second apparant winner is Internet Explorer 7 ( IE7RC1). I know that Internet Explorer is hardly a new product, but this is so different that you could almost put it in that class. I just upgraded to the IE7 and love it ( I'm using it right now). I have been a die-hard Firefox user, but I realize that many of you prefer the integration of all the Microsoft products.

I would STRONGLY encourage you to upgrade to the Internet Explorer 7, even though is it still a release candidate. So far the stability had been great, and system resource use has been very lean. I love the new tool bar ( gone are the bulky space wasting bars). It is also soooo easy to subscribe to RSS feeds. You just click on the little button. about subscribing to this blog?? And of course..........IT HAS TABS! Ohhh tabs lovely tabs.....

Gone are the frustrations of having a bunch of open windows consolidate into one little "mystery" button. Now you can work with a clear organized row of tabs.

IE7....try it, and I think you will love it.

As for Microsoft looks great. It is versatile and has great packages. And it has a bunch of little things that make an FM tuner. And best of all, it is an organic product that can be upgraded as improvements come along. It may give the iPod a good run for it's money. And of course competition tends to be good for the consumer.

I'm not too sure about the name though. I'm sure there is a strong reason for it, but I can forsee a lot of fodder for ridicule and confusion. Are people going to be hunting for an "MS Zoon", or a "Microsoft Tune", or even a "Zoom"? And are there going to be some " MS Looney Zune" jokes going around? Oh well, if that is all Microsoft has to worry about, then they may indeed have a winner.

'till next time

Monday, September 11, 2006

Freezer Labels

Well it is back to reality time. Time to get lunches organized. Time to stock up on all sorts of things. Time to get the oven working after the heat of summer. And time to stock up the freezer.

We use plastic containers to freeze lunches in individual portions. So when I make a large meal, the leftovers get divided up and frozen. This has many advantages:
  1. It means that we are not stuck with eating the same leftovers for several nauseating days!
  2. It make it easy to just grab something when heading out of the door in the morning.
  3. The meals act as if they have their own built in ice-pack, and are ready for a quick microwave blast by lunch time.
However, after building up a good variety of meals in the freezer, we found that things were getting confusing. Too much time was spent holding a plastic container up and trying to figure out what was inside. A few weeks ago Mary had a bit of a surprise when the "rice" she brought to work, turned out to be shredded cheese for nachos!


After trying all sorts of things, I found that the best solution was " low-tack" masking tape. This is the green or blue colored masking tape the painters use. It has just enough adhesive to make a tight seal, but does not leave any glue residue when pulled off. ( There were quite a few unpleasant mutterings when we tried other types of labels and had to deal with the goo)

Now everything is clear and easy. I keep a roll of the tape in a drawer by the fridge with a fine point felt marker. When the plastic containers are divided up, I write out a description on the roll, and rip it off.

I have now extended this labeling technique to the refrigerator as well. It has shortened the amount of time spent having to rummage around. And it has eliminated those nasty "science experiment" surprises, when a container gets shoved around for a few weeks!

Try this technique out, and you will be amazed at just how easy simple .......and cheap it is!

'till next time,