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Google Plus - the real deal

Google Plus has been taking the tech nation by storm the past couple of weeks. It's currently in invite-only mode but I assume it will be released to the public within the next few months. The service is essentially Facebook, but with a whack of Google features that Facebook doesn't have, such as video conferencing. On Google Plus you don't always have to text chat, you can dial someone up and talk via video right in the web browser. That to me is super cool and something Facebook should have but doesn't. You can also have up to 10 users on one video chat. Another unique feature they have is Circles. On the web, you may only want to share things with certain people. For instance, I may want to post a status update that only my friends can see but exclude my mom from seeing it. With Google Plus, you can categorize your friends into circles and then when you decide to share something, you can either share to all or pick a circle of people you want to share it to. It's an excellent feature. There is a great video on YouTube that showcases the service, and explains the features in great detail. View it here:


Five awesome Windows keyboard shortcuts

1. Shift + Delete - The easy way to delete an item in Windows is to drag it to the recycle bin. An easier way is to highlight the item, then press delete, then empty the recycle bin. If you're ultra lazy, you can highlight an item then use the shortcut (shift + delete) and it will erase it from existence, no emptying of a bin required.

2. Windows Logo + L - Say you are in a tight situation and your brother is going to make a naughty Facebook update on your computer if you don't lock it quickly enough. Instead of logging out, simply hit (Windows logo + L). This keyboard shortcut will automatically lock your computer.

3. Shift + Control + N - This shortcut gives you the ability to make a new untitled folder really quickly, a handy shortcut for the everyday computer user.

4. Windows + Spacebar - Use this if you want to look at your desktop quickly without minimizing all your windows. This will give you a peek at your desktop.

5. Windows + (+/-) - Want to take a closer look at your screen? Using this key combo will magnify or reduce it for you.


Facebook integrates Skype into its network

With the arrival of Google Plus, Facebook has already responded by addressing its video calling shortcoming. This isn't released to the public yet, but I imagine it will come soon. To be able to access video chat on Facebook, you need to download a small plug-in and then start video chatting. Facebook claims it will be simple and easy to use, and given its 750 million users, we'll sure find out quickly. Facebook's text chat has been buggy as hell and given the race for dominance in this area they need to be careful about the implementation of video chatting. Nevertheless, I'm excited to start using this feature once it officially rolls out. As you may remember, Microsoft acquired Skype in May for $8.5 billion. Facebook integrating Skype into its service is a good move and further strengthens the Facebook/Microsoft partnership as well. The video chat service will be free and we will see more new features from this partnership in the near future. In addition to video calling, Facebook also implemented a group chatting feature. This allows you to chat with more than one person on Facebook. These are very cool new things coming from Facebook, I'm very excited for the battle between Facebook and Google Plus.


How gross is your bottled water?

Has bottled water ever tasted odd to you? The Environmental Working Group rated 173 brands of bottled water based on their purification, sourcing info, testing and how transparent the information on their label and website was. Basically they tested the crap out of a bunch of bottled water companies. The companies they tested were Nestle Pure Life Purified Water, Fiji, Dasani, and Poland Spring. On a scale of A to F, where F is the worst here were the results: Nestle (B), Fiji (C), Dasani (D), and Poland Springs (D). My go-to water bottle is Fiji. I'm glad they tested it but frankly I thought it would come out on top given it is the most expensive. The plastic bottles for bottled water are very tough on the environment, so try to drink filtered water whenever possible.


David Bell, 15, is a Grade 9 student at St. Paul's High School. At age 12, he started making instructional videos about using computers and soon expanded his videos to include technology product reviews. Today, David is a YouTube Partner under the name iBellix with more than 3,100 subscribers to his channel. David is also the founder of, where he and several staff writers keep people up-to-date on technology trends and directions. David is excited to be writing for Sunday Xtra and sharing his thoughts, opinions and predictions.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 10, 2011 ??65521

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