DO-IT-YOURSELF GOOGLE MAPS

Ocean Floor map

Ocean Floor map

Joy just created a map of the best vegetarian restaurants around town. Now she can put that map into the Google Maps Gallery. Previously, the Google Maps Gallery only showcased maps from heavy hitters like the National Geographic, NASA, or the World Bank. Now you can do one too.

You can customize and place your own map in the gallery as well as use their search function to find ones made by others. We searched on Laguna Beach, CA, and along with some hiking guides, found directions to someone’s apartment. Evidently, the bar for accepting a new map is low.

To submit one of your own, start by creating a map at Google.com/maps/d. When you’re happy with it, go to Maps.google.com/gallery and click “add your maps.” There’s a short form for you to fill out and some guidelines to follow. Examples of the types of maps they’ll accept include environmental maps like “The Sumatra Fire Season” (Indonesia), crisis maps, such as “Florida Evacuation Information” (hurricanes) and specialized recreational maps like the National Geographic’s “Dominican Republic Adventure.” Check out  “Earth at Night.”

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QUICK WAY TO SEARCH CRAIGSLIST

seekerSearchTempest.com searches all of CraigsList in one swoop. We found a nice Ikea lamp for $10.

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AN INTERACTIVE PERIODIC TABLE

CALCIUMPtable.com is an interactive periodic table. We clicked on “rhenium” and learned it’s used in jet engines. Who knew?

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THE NUMBERS REPORT

phabletA “Phablet” is the new word for a cross between a phone and a tablet. There will be more of these sold this year than portable computers, according to IDC Research. They figure it at 175 million phablets compare to 170 million laptops.

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THE DIGITAL CLOSET

cloud backupMicrosoft has doubled the amount of online storage you can get for your phone, tablet, PC or Mac. It’s now 30 gigabytes. To get started, go to onedrive.live.com and choose your device. If you have Windows 8.1, it’s already installed.

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WAITING FOR WINDOWS 10

windows 10Windows 10 will bring back some of the familiar features of Windows 7, but that’s next year. But here’s what bothers some people: They won’t be able to buy a Windows 7 machine after October 31 unless they buy a more expensive computer with Windows 7 Professional on it. They call that “gotchya.” (Note: Microsoft skipped Windows 9 and went straight to 10.)

In the meantime, some readers have asked us about “Classic Shell,” which fixes the absurdities of Windows 8. You can get it at ClassicShell.net. It gives you three choices: the classic Windows start menu, Windows XP style or Windows 7, as you like it.

Meanwhile, back at the Microsoft ranch … Windows 8.1 is a free upgrade, and brings back the “start” button. Clicking it with your left mouse button gives you a list of programs, clicking with the right mouse button takes you to the familiar “Control Panel,” “File Explorer,” “Power Options,” and “Shut Down.”

If you’re still using Windows 8, you can get 8.1 by tapping the Windows key (looks like a flag) and typing “Store.” That takes you to an online store where you buy things. But the 8.1 upgrade is free.

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UNLIST MY INFO

bearsUnlistmy.info shows you how to remove your personal data from people finder websites, such as BeenVerified.com and Pipl.com.

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THIS TO THAT

glueThisToThat.com tells you how to glue anything to anything else. Select “metal” from the list and then choose “wood” and they’ll suggest various kinds of epoxy.

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FREE SPEED READING TOOL ON THE WEB

speed readingSpreeder.com is a free speed reading tool. Paste the text you want to read in the window on the page and the words will flash by at any speed you choose. (This reminds Bob of an old Woody Allen joke: He learned speed reading and went through Tolstoy’s massive “War and Peace” novel in six minutes. He said it seemed to be about Russia.)

Because you don’t have to keep a finger on your place, you’ll find your reading speed increasing by 50 percent the first time you try it. We did.

The site gives you sample text to practice with, but we went beyond that: We pasted in a bunch of text from “Tarzan of the Apes,” free at Gutenberg.org. It seems to be about some guy swinging through the trees.

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FITNESS TRACKING

 

Misfit flashThe oddly-named “Misfit Shine,” our favorite fitness tracker, will be out in October in a new version, this time for $50 instead of the original $100. It’s called the “Misfit Flash.”

Besides tracking our steps, swims and bike rides, this gadget revealed that Joy is one of the deepest sleepers on the planet, and Bob is not far behind. Where most people sleep deeply for 20 percent of bed time, our deep sleep is usually over 50 percent. (We owe our calm, blissful state to never worrying about what idiocy the government is up to now.)

The Flash, like the Shine, is a little larger than a quarter. It can go in a pocket, a wristband, or your sock. Joy is desperately looking forward to the arrival of the Flash, so she can stop sharing with Bob, who has taken a shine to her “Shine.” You can pre-order the Flash on the web, or find it in stores in October. Unlike the earlier model, you can tap the Flash to see how close you are in percentage terms to your fitness goal. However, you’ll still want to sync it with a phone or tablet to get details.

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