Sunday, November 17, 2013

Kudos to CBS Sunday Morning

On Air Force One, 22 November 1963, Lyndon B. ...
On Air Force One, 22 November 1963, Lyndon B. Johnson takes the oath of office as President of the United States following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy earlier in the day. Press Secretary Malcolm Kilduff at bottom left holds a dictaphone to record the event. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
CBS News may have bungled the Benghazi story, but as usual, CBS Sunday Morning did the network proud. It always does. This show is television at its finest.

The topic this week, Nov. 17, 2013, was the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States.

There is something about this news show. I can't help but note what a superb job they do in their news magazine-style coverage.

It is not specifically entertaining as is most of television news these days; instead its real news value is gripping and engaging. After all, there is so much more to the Kennedy story than its sad ending.

It would have been easy to simply cover the horrific, sensational events in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963. That day is one in which thousands of words have been written. It is a story in and of itself. But CBS News did so much more. They always do.

In their coverage, they painted a picture of the time. They covered Kennedy's Presidency, including the Cuban missile crisis and the cold war with Soviet Union, and the enormous appeal and presence of Jacqueline Kennedy. They even touched on the huge, though slightly lessening number of Americans that don't believe the official Warren Commission Report identifying Lee Harvey Oswald as the lone gunmen that killed the President. They spoke to the niece of Jack Ruby, the man who assassinated Oswald while America watched. They even talked about the late Vaughn Meader, the hilarious comedian who impersonated Kennedy, whose rapid rise to comedic fame died the day Kennedy was killed.

I was just a child, and our family was not very political, but I remember Meader's comedy album. In those days making fun of a President was done with good humor. Even Kennedy joked about it. What a contrast with today when making fun of the President is done in the name of hatred and malice.

The day Kennedy died was the day America lost its innocence. There remains a glimmer of it now and then, but so much more than a President died that day in Dallas. One of the country's greatest losses has been trust.

But every Sunday morning, I am reminded of the sustaining quality of the kind of television I grew up with. CBS Sunday Morning does a good job. This is a good journalism that I think is still worthy of my trust, with much credit to Charles Osgood who is a quality, old-school journalist. So in these dark days of television, may this shining light continue.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Farewell iGoogle, my longtime friend

my sunflower pic
One of my favorite flowers from my own backyard
I signed onto my computer this morning just as I always do. After Windows sang its Good Morning song to me, in the form of its single-note repertoire, I watched as all my applications loaded. I thought to myself, as is customary, that I really must streamline my start menu. Finally, my day was about to begin. I clicked on my browser icon—Chrome--in the task bar. I saw the familiar Google search box. BAAAAAAHHH! I pressed the home button on my toolbar. There it was again. My old friend was gone!

Then I remembered what day it was—November 1, 2013.

Today is the day I’ve dreaded—the day my iGoogle was to be killed and buried, in one fell swoop. It is never to be seen again. Gone are my three separate pages filled with links I loved. Granted, I didn’t use all of them all of the time, but I liked having them around. Like comfortable shoes, these were some of the bookmarks I’ve had since I first created my iGoogle page in 2005. I’ve lost an old friend.

I fondly recall there was no better day than one when Google would announce it had added new features to upgrade iGoogle. I loved the themes, the many ways to customize my start page. It always made me feel like I had brand new software.

You know that feeling. It is almost euphoria. The very first thing I do when I get new software is change the colors. iGoogle was highly customizable, and I liked that a lot. My desktop often displays one of my favorite photographs. I used to coordinate my iGoogle to match. I like matching color schemes in all things, but especially on my computer where I devote so much of my day. That’s just me!

For the last several years I have had a sunflower photo on my computer, one that I took in my own back yard. There is a little ant on one of the petals. The yellow petals stood out from the background that was a blur of green tones. The only iGoogle theme I could find that matched was one that displayed greenery with water droplets. The combination was beautiful. The most important part of picking a theme was not so much the picture, but the overall color of the page. In my case, it had to be yellow. The yellow and green tones matched my sunflower well.

The only thing that ever bothered me about iGoogle was that I couldn’t change the color of the links. They were always that ugly bright blue color. The ideal would have been to make them dark green, but I could never figure out how.

Months ago, because Google gave us iGoogle aficionados fair warning of the death of our favorite start page, I began to look around for a replacement. I settled on Startific, which came highly recommended. It is a different concept entirely, but is also highly customizable. I created my page to include the same sunflower picture that is on my desktop. It is really quite lovely.

This morning I changed the link on my home button to the Startific page. Such finality!

If I have to be completely honest, it is really a more attractive page than iGoogle was, and is even more customizable. I haven’t really played with all the icons and widgets, although I had already put the ones I use everyday onto the page. I have a Facebook button, a Twitter button and buttons for all of my blogs and web page.

There is one button though, that was the most important to me. It was the one I used on iGoogle the most. It was the first one I put onto my new page. It is the Intellicast weather page. By inserting the correct URL, one click and it opens right to a radar loop in my home state. As far as I’m concerned, Intellicast has the best weather info. I’ve used it for years.

Startific still has a few kinks that need to be ironed out. The worst is the Amazon ad that shows whenever the browser opens. It takes up a large chunk of real estate on the right side of the application, but it can be clicked off. I keep telling myself, change is good. It will keep me young. The older I get though, the harder I have to work to convince myself.
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