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Post Holiday Hookups

Another holiday season has passed and a number of people may now be the owners of shinPS3y new tech  toys.  But what do you do when you need help setting up those new gadgets?  

Most products will have an official website with directions, tutorials and/or support forums where you can look for answers.  For example:

XBOX: http://www.xbox.com/en-US/games/tips/noviceguides/accessories.htm
Wii: http://www.nintendo.com/consumer/systems/wii/en_na/system.jsp
iPod/iPhone: http://www.apple.com/support/

But what if what they have on the site isn’t really what you need?  What if you just really want to see it done?  You could, of course, try doing a video search on Google.  There are a number of links to videos on hooking up various pieces of equipment, though some are definitely better than others.  One of my favorite "how to" sites, HowStuffWorks (http://www.howstuffworks.com/), was more concerned with how the gadgets work and not how to make them work.  (Reading about how your gadget does all of the fancy features it has when you can't get the darned thing to recognize it's connected to the PC/TV/etc. is neither good for one's holiday cheer nor one's blood pressure.)  One site that did have both tutorials and videos though was eHow (http://www.ehow.com/).  Among the myriad of other topics, there were a number of videos on how to hook up and use various electronic devices.

Web Page Readability

Magnifying_glassHave you ever thought to yourself "Golly, what a really valuable Web page, too bad it has so many panes, and sidebars, and animations, and advertisements, and widgets and...".

I must say that to myself almost every day. Sometimes you just want to be able to read some text without all the busy, busy, noisy clutter that some Web sites seem to favor in their page designs.  

You should try the Arc90 Readability service. If you follow the easy instructions they provide, you can pare down even the most cluttered pages to just the main body of their text with just a single click. Simply choose a text display style (my favorite is Novel), a text size and a margin width, then drag the Readability shortcut to your browser's Favorites toolbar. The next time a much-too-busy page is making you cross eyed, just click your Readability shortcut to transform the page's main body into a quiet piece of readable text.

The Readability shortcut doesn't work with all pages, but when it does work it is truly useful. If it doesn't work, just click your browser's Reload button to revert to the original Web page. The makers of the Readability service call it an experiment, which I guess means it might go away when the experiment ends. I hope it never does because I already love this thing more than any new Web feature in recent years.