Saturday, May 07, 2005

Faster Searching, More Music

It's amazing to me that some of you out there -- you know who you are -- have yet to add the Google Toolbar to your web browsers. I know, I know ... this sounds like shameless shilling, and maybe it is, but it's also the most valuable endorsement a product can have: heartfelt and borderline fanatical. I'm only writing this because I can't visit each of you to install it personally. (I mean, I can't ... right? Let me know.)

What am I talking about? Toolbars, Ben. Toolbars. Skip this if you've already drunk the Kool-Aid. Or if you use a Mac (sorry). But if you like Google's search and find yourself typing "google" or worse, "" into your Address window several times a day, you, friend, now stand on the very verge of relief. Go to and accept the corporate gift. It takes just a moment and doesn't hurt a bit. You won't be sorry.

Once the toolbar installs itself, you'll have ready access to a Google search and a history of your recent search terms whenever a browser is open ... but that's not all! If you can get past the privacy and Big Brother issues, the Google Toolbar 3 beta is happy to help you in even more ways: It spell-checks and auto-fills web forms, calls up maps of addresses you find on web pages, and even translates words. Zowie! Just wait -- Toolbar 4 will allow you to websurf with your eyes closed and your computer unplugged. No, that's not a joke. That's the mobile web.

NB: It is true that I blog at the pleasure of Google (which owns Blogger and therefore hosts Lordzim) but this little plug was unsolicited. And uncompensated. And I'm not a shareholder. Still, I can't help but wonder when this giant friendly corporation is going to start charging for all these free things, like Blogger, Picasa, and Hello, for starters.

Speaking of things I do pay for, let us also extol the virtues of Rhapsody, the only Real Networks product I've ever liked. What's that you say? They didn't create it, but rather bought it as part of Well, why quibble? It's a great way to hear unlimited music, as long as you're listening at home. And at just $25 every three months, it's an astonishing value. Don't tell the benighted music industry this, but I haven't bought more than half a dozen CDs since Rhapsody started bringing all the music home for me. In fact, I barely take my own CDs off the shelves anymore. From Ella to Eno to Elefant, from A Girl Called Eddy to Z-Trip, etc., ad nauseam, you can probably find it on Rhapsody. Yes, even Les Sans Culottes.


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