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Archive for February, 2008

PostHeaderIcon Yahoo! Just Says No

I doubt I was the only one trembling in my boots last week when the word went out that MegaSoft (you know, they really should change their name, they haven’t been “micro” in a looong time) was putting the moves on Yahoo!

Why? Yahoo has history. Way back when I was heading back to work after the birth of my daughter, our house flooded and I needed a web-based email to use in applying for jobs that didn’t have a goofy old bbs handle in the address. I went with Yahoo and, well, EVERYTHING is tied into it since I’ve had it so long. I really don’t want to have to switch, but I will if Microsoft takes over. I do NOT want Bill Gates in my inbox, connected to my groups, filtering my mail, etc. No No No.

I, like most of us at OffAssist, am an open-source fan, but I am not a fanatic and still prefer to do the bulk of my word processing, spreadsheets, and desktop publishing in Microsoft applications because I know how to use them. So, they are not all bad, I’ll grant them that, I just think they are too hungry and there is already too little competition in our modern world.

The MS search engine leaves a lot to be desired, and new media is the way to go, but I’m concerned by Microsoft’s history of ‘free’. As in things only stay free til you’re hooked, like a dealer handing out penny bag samples, then they’ve got you!

Yahoo! You go! Fight back. But in case you lose, I’m off to open a gmail account.

PS – Happy Valentine’s Day y’all!

PostHeaderIcon Good to Know

Back in August–yes, I am waay behind the times–Mashable put together a list of some of the best and brightest plug-ins and toolbars available to Firefox. You can check out the list here.

Like all things Web-related, though, since it is a whopping six months old it may now be woefully out of date. Or, at the very least, if you are one of those lucky enough to be beta-testing the latest Firefox you can count on a lot of them not being available or fully functional for your version of the browser.

Tips include links and info to:

23 Social Networking Toolbars & Plug-Ins
40+ Blogging Add-Ons
50+ Plug-Ins to Enhance Security and Privacy
Over 30 Goodies for Downloading Videos, Photos, and Files
30+ Search and Bookmarking Plug-Ins

Plus translation tools, time-wasters, more.

PostHeaderIcon What’s in a Name?

Do you have trouble remembering people’s names? C’mon, it’s just you and me here, it’s okay to admit it, I won’t tell.

Because I do, too.

At the tail end of 2007 Scott Ginsberg, The Name Tag Guy, and accounting web passed along a little holiday gift for people like us. I was just too busy to read it at the time. I took the time today and, if you’re like me and have a hard time with names, you should too.

Check out “10 Effective Ways to Remember Names” at

PostHeaderIcon Sally Thinks We’re Cool!

That’s right, the OffAssist blog is blog of the week this week over at Virtual Simplicity’s blog.

If you’ve met Sally Kuhlman, the woman behind Virtual Simplicity, then you know that if she thinks you’re cool, well, that’s as cool as it gets.

PostHeaderIcon How Much Internet Do YOU Use?

Time Warner wants to know. According to them, 5% of their users use 50% of their bandwidth. That means ~everyone~ with broadband access, whether it’s cable or DSL, is paying for the success of bandwidth heavy applications and their users.

Like to watch TV on the web? Internet Hog! Play an MMORPG? You thief — stealing bandwidth needed by high schoolers to lookup information for their homework!

Time Warner is testing a new usage-based billing system in Beaumont, Texas. For average users, they won’t see a change. High bandwidth users will see an increase in their bills if they go over a set cap, though no word yet on what this cap will be.

I can tell you, as the wife of a gamer, this scares the heck out of me. Sure, gamers use a lot of bandwidth, but if their method for de-stressing after work starts to cost more than just the monthly WoW subscription fee — which gets them unlimited gaming time for a set fee–well, there’s gonna be a lot of unhappy people. Both gamers and the people who live with them and have to deal with their withdrawal symptoms.

And that’s not even touching on folks who like to waste time on YouTube, download music and movies from iTunes, or catch up on their favorite TV shows online.

Or, well, folks like me and Candy and all the other VAs out there, people who conduct business full-time on the Internet. I know I already pay more each month for my bandwidth than your average high speed customer for exactly this reason. I work on the web and I’m willing to pay for it. I’m just having a hard time stomaching the bottomless well usage-based billing could become.

Honestly, I am surprised the corporate folks, people like Blizzard, Apple, YouTube, MySpace, the television networks and more, aren’t raising heck over this. Usage-based bandwidth billing is going to negatively affect their bottom line, too. On the plus side — the writer’s strike is primarily about royalties for new media streams. If the ISPs dry up that revenue stream for the producers maybe the strike will end since there will be nothing left to strike about.

For an alternate perspective, check out this article: The Internet Isn’t Free.