Category Archives: computer stuff

Change Gmail name

Do you have “suchandsuchandsuch” as the name that shows up in quotes next to your Gmail address?  Are you using your first and last name but worry about this showing up online wherever you send an email? Change it!

There are two obvious ways:


1)  Log in to Gmail/Google mail.

2)  At the upper right of your browser, click your email address to reveal a drop-down list.

3)  Click Account  Settings. The Google accounts screen opens, with subheadings Profile, Personal Settings, and *My  Products down below.

4)  Under the Profile subheading, click Edit your personal info. The Edit personal information screen appears.

5)  Using the “First name” and “Last name” fields, change the name associated with the Gmail account (the purpose of the “nickname” field is unclear. You don’t have to use your full name; however, the “Last name: ” field requires at least one alpha character. It doesn’t have to be your full name, and better that it not be, for security purposes.)

*NOTE: Under the My Products subheading you will see icons for the various Google apps – Analytics, Book Search, Docs, etc. If you need global access to these apps, here is one page for that.


The other way is simply to repeat steps 1) – 3) but navigate to the Edit Personal information screen via Personal Settings instead – that’s the section just to the right of the Profile subheading on the Google Accounts page). You will see the list “Security, Dashboard, and Email addresses, Multiple sign-in, and Connected accounts.”

1)  Under Personal Settings < Email addresses  click “Edit.” The very same Edit personal information screen appears.

2)  Edit the information in the name fields to change the name associated with your Gmail account.

– dgw



Filed under computer stuff, Uncategorized, web apps

Google Privacy Considerations



 According to D.C. political rag The Hill, a major watchdog group “wants probes of Google’s ‘unusually close’ ties to Obama

The complaint was sparked in part by, The Hill states, the fact that “Google admitted last month that it collected and stored private user information, including passwords and entire e-mails, from Wi-Fi networks”

But, they were not punished in any way:  

“the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) closed an inquiry into the issue, citing promises from the company that it would improve its privacy practices,” the article, by Sara Jerome, states.

I hate to make the jump, but when you consider Google, Inc. and subsidiaries’ reach on the U.S. Internet market, it becomes clear that the Web’s very decentralization – that which makes it the wonderful (albeit sloppy and complicated and sometimes disgusting) thing that it is, is at issue for the politicians in D.C.

In other words, the issue is important enough to have reached the attention of the Executive Branch. And this administration is not at all ill-versed with the Web and its implications for politics (i.e., their own political fortunes). Obama’s original PAC built its base of campaign cash w/ online donations. This is known. And Obama/Biden swept to victory with a Web marketing strategy far exceeding that of McCain in scope and ambition, and, ultimately, delivery of the goods (cash-money).

So — there is no doubt the reasons are POLITICAL. Why else would an administration be interested in Google? To see how many daily hits gets?

See also the article“In Support of Net Diversity – Not Net “Neutrality”.

From the pittance of info we end-users are allotted to peek at, the steps below are one way to see the nature of the personal data Google has on you and me. Google retains this data if you use just one of ANY Google products, including Gmail, YouTube, Blogger/Blogspot, or any Google App.

To get there through Gmail, do this:

  1. Sign-in to Gmail. At the upper-right of your inbox, click Settings
  2. On the Settings page you’ll see a variety of tabs. Select the Accounts tab and click the Google Account settings link.
  3. At the “Google accounts” page under the “Personal Settings” header, look for “Dashboard.” Click View data stored with this account. (This page should show, roughly, as URL <;.) 

The left-hand column shows all Google products you may have signed up for. The right-hand column displays links to the associated data.

Scroll down the list and you can see that ALL of your activity has been scrupulously archived and is available for you (and, of course, Google, Inc.).

For example, for me, under the Gmail subheader I see “Inbox 4000 conversations”, and in the right-hand column a “Manage chat history” hyperlink. This link appears to contain every “chat” catalogued as far back as the creation of your Gmail account.

Under the left-hand column again, looking at “YouTube”, you find the hyperlink “Viewing history”. Here Google has your entire YouTube history catalogued chronologically. (How far back in time is unclear.)

The Web History header encompasses your Google searches. It includes hyperlinked subheadings “Web”; “Images”; “Video”; “Maps”; and “Blogs”, among others; and a chronologically catalogued, veritable plethora of data on my Google Search Engine searches!

Also under the Web History header, “Maps” includes a history of locations you have searched for or viewed with Google Maps. Interestingly, under the “Blogs” subheading, I was surprised to find data pertaining to one of my WordPress-hosted blogs (which, to my knowledge, had no Google apps activated. I’m at a lost to explain how the data would end up here in Google’s archive on me. Perhaps via Feedburner? I don’t know (go figure).

Lastly, if you’ve ever registered a domain name and concurrently signed up w/ Google Apps to assist w/ web-site administration/analytics, this too is listed in the left-hand column under “Webmaster Tools” – and, if you had ever activated Google Analytics for that domain name – under “Analytics”.

This “Dashboard” as it’s called, includes, in the right-hand column, various “Privacy” links that briefly explain the stated policy for that particular Google product. But each product has its own set of rules. By no means is anything standardized. 

This is a brief, probably incomplete explication of what I’ve found regarding Google’s collection of personal information.

Be it for marketing purposes or for statistical feedback, the idea that one private corporation should have such extensive reach into private user data is cause for – at the very least – serious consideration. At worst it’s a serious dereliction of terms of use and an illegal breach of user privacy.

Unfortunately, our fledgling World-Wide Web’s nebulous regulations make legalities hard to pin down. Bodies governing television and radio broadcasting have, not surprisingly, been unable or unwilling to keep pace with the complicated realm of Internet law. As some have put it, we’re still in the early-days; “the Wild West” of the computer age. Not untrue, as the World-Wide Web as a communication and entertainment tool is barely fifteen years in the making.


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Filed under computer stuff, IT/Technology

Force Quit without using the apple menu

Alright, here’s how you force quit an application in the Mac OS without using the apple menu. This is for my own reference and for anyone else who might need it).

1) Go to Macintosh HD > Applications > Utilities> ‘Activity Monitor’.

2.) from the left-most column of ‘Activity Monitor’, get the “Process-ID” of the application you want to quit. Write down the three-digit number. 

Note: Every time a process/application runs, the OS assigns it a new Process-ID.

(Above) The Activity Monitor shows a running display so you may need a quick eye to catch your Process-ID. To make it easier you can filter the processes using the “Active Processes” drop-down menu.

4.) Go to Macintosh HD > Applications > ‘Terminal’, and enter “kill [Process-ID]”. The application should quit.

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Trying to embed stuff on WordPress; Themes

Ferdinand, aka “boofer”, aka “ferdy”, ca. Spring 2002.

alt=”Ferdinand in mom’s backyard”


(The above from animals page)

Darn. Well for some reason WordPress is eternally rejecting my attempts at embedding a simple photograph. It particularly does not seem to like KeepandShare’s embed syntax. I don’t know what markup language WordPress uses but it’s very idiosyncratic; seems only to work with itself – whatever that means.

So to celebrate the absurdity of things, here’re a couple of screenshots of the process:

photo of our late Himalayan Ferdinand, ca. Spring 2002

Adobe Photoshop AS

Trying to embed a simple pdf (to no avail)

Trying to embed a simple pdf (to no avail)


Shoot! See what I mean? Trying to put a simple horizontal rule in here. Gee whiz.


Another thing: maybe it’s just me, but have you ever noticed that when you come across certain web sites – often blogs but other kinds of pages, too – that it’s easy to recognize a WordPress-generated page? You can tell from the font. Now I’ve looked at my “theme” I utilize on this blog and in The Journalist‘s CSS one finds that the font is of the Helvetica sans serif family – Lucida and Lucida Grande. It occurred to me that you could theoretically run the template through a text editor and use find/replace to get rid of that WordPress-signaturesque typeface. It’s just getting increasingly annoying to me that all WordPress pages look the same. You may know to what I refer: a hundred-thousand blogs, easily use the “minimalist” Cutline and “journalist” PressRow themes. Quite frankly it offends the designer’s sensibilities that, as personal as is a blog, each should use the definition of which ought to entail a truly unique handwriting style, or “script”, on each unique blog site. The definition of “weblog” is that it is you’re your own publisher; your own “wordpresser”. But instead our weblogs face the world looking like they’ve come off the Silicon Valley assembly line, at GoDaddy or Google or some such outfit.

I don’t mean to pick on WordPress – Google Blogger/Blogspot blogs suffer the same malady. Most of it comes down to the fact that both of these organizations and every other blog host for that matter, are incorporated entities, and force on their users at least some advertising space on the margins (usually right margin). Nonetheless, I’ve always thought Matt Mullenweg and WordPress were cool; cutting edge, etc.

For better or worse, contributors of original CSS-designed WordPress
themes do not get direct credit.

Creator of The Journalist theme, Lucian E. Marin, (who is not a journalist but a web designer from Eastern Europe) offers it for download on his web site, states that he releases it under GPL license and only asks that you give him a link on your blog if you use it. But has WordPress reimbursed the guy for the loads of WordPress users who utilize The Journalist? No indication of it. Publicity, perhaps.

WordPress reserves the right to edit stuff out of any submitted theme. WordPress has the following statement under Appearance > Manage Themes > CSS Stylesheet Editor:

Things we strip out include:
* HTML code
* @import rules
* expressions
* invalid and unsafe code
* URLs not using the http: protocol

Things we encourage include:
* @media blocks!
* sharing your CSS!
* testing in several browsers!
* helping others in the forum!

Please use the contact form if you believe there is something wrong with the way the CSS Editor filters your code.

The assembly-line style, ubiquitous and over-used WordPress themes should be recycled! They’ll come back in style in ten years, don’t worry!!

– d.g.w.

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