Google Search: I still haven’t found what I’m looking for

techie column beam

Digital Thoughts for Non Techies – a monthly column in Skerries News

Just Google it!” That’s what many of us do when we come across something we don’t know, or to settle a dispute. That actor in the movie everyone seems to be talking about. The difference between cappuccino and latte. Ray O’Shaughnessy. Ham Sandwich.  Population of Fingal.

Over the years, search has gotten a lot simpler, and a lot more sophisticated at the same time.

You can now just type in questions, and Google makes sense of them for you. Like:
How to draw a minion, how to eat a pomelo, how to bleed radiators. (All of these were among the top 10 “how to” searches in 2015!)

what is skerries like

Google even personalises search results, based on what it knows about you – some people find this useful, others creepy. I tend to be more on the “useful” side – as I teach coding to kids, for instance, the “Scratch” I’m interested in is the one to do with computer programming, not the one to do with DJs, nor the one dealing with the paint of cars; and when I type in “Doctor Who Episodes” I get results relating to a certain BBC television programme, not something about a doctor who deals with episodes of, say, influenza.
Google also knows where you are (if you allow it to see your location), so when I for example type in “weather,” it shows me the current temperature in Skerries. Handy!

weather

Beware, however, of advertisements that look like search results… A lot of the time, the top links have a small yellow rectangle on the left-hand side, with the word “Ad” in it. And these are not the actual results (also known as “organic search results”), but – you guessed it – ads! Especially when looking for flights or insurances, you might end up in the wrong (and more expensive) place…

ryanair not ryanair

By the way, if you see something on the internet that you’d like to search for, simply select the word(s) with your mouse, then right-click and click on “Search Google for”…””. Google will open up a new tab with the results for you.  No need to type!

right click to search

There are some other great search tricks – such as:

  • get information on a flight if you know the flight number – try “EI105” – very handy if picking up people from the airport, you can easily check if the plane is on time!
  • get the weather forecast for any place – try “forecast Vancouver”
  • set a timer (type in “set timer 10 min”)
  • type in “translate [foreign word]” and you’ll get the translation straight away, no need to click anywhere else, Google will even find the language for you – try “translate do rogha”
  • type in a maths problem – the answer will be in the search results, together with a calculator app! Try “56088 / 456”
  • find out when your favourite series is on again, or was on last: “ros na run episodes”
    This one is also great if you want to quickly get to a recap of an episode you may have missed.

Insider Tip: Seven search terms for those who like the (slightly) unexpected…

Type in (or of course select, right-click and select “search Google for…”) the following and see what happens!

  • Do a barrel roll
  • Google in 1998
  • Blink html
  • Fun facts
  • askew
  • zerg rush
  • Atari Breaktout [then click on image search]

And possibly my favourite:
– A long time ago in a galaxy far far away

a long time ago in a galaxy far far away

Did you try any of the suggestions here? What do you find Google most useful for? What would you like me to explore in one of my next monthly columns? Let me know!
This monthly column on all things digital from a Skerries perspective is written by Sabine McKenna, who has been using computers since the 1980s, and set up Creative Computing Classes Skerries in 2012. If you have comments, questions, or suggestions for future columns, you can contact here at Sabine@cccSkerries.com

The above article appeared in the mid-January 2016 edition of Skerries News.

Jan mid 2016 Skerries News front page

Hour of Code 2015

This December, practically all cccSkerries groups are participating in the Hour of Code. Starting with code.org/mc we watched Jeb of Mojang / Minecraft fame and then worked our way through a coding tutorial – amusing for those who can already code, and a good introduction for those who can’t. Why not try it yourself? 🙂

It being Minecraft-themed added to its attractiveness, of course.

And then there are those of us who like Doctor Who.

So we are trying their Game Maker platform as well. This is more assembling a game than actual coding, but worth a go as well, especially to those of us who are Whovians and maybe find the time until the Christmas Special that little bit long…

Hit the pic to open it!

aaaa

By the way, if you would like to join one of our cccSkerries classes, or know somebody who would, we have limited availability at the moment for Introduction to Coding, Minecraft Club, and Computer Wizards. Start in January!

See cccSkerries.com/weekly or contact me at Sabine@cccSkerries.com!

Five reasons why you might join Facebook after all.

 

Digital Thoughts for Non Techies – a new monthly column in Skerries News, by Sabine McKenna

Digital Thoughts for Non Techies – a new monthly column in Skerries News

Want to keep up with what’s happening in Skerries? Be on Facebook!

Dec 2015 Skerries News front pageYou can, of course, enjoy Facebook for seeing what your friends and family share, and for sharing your own thoughts, pictures, and opinions with them. Many people enjoy this part of Facebook. Others prefer not to. Either way, Facebook has evolved into a platform that is about much more than that perfect cappuccino you just had, or your favourite holiday haunt. It’s become part of the fabric of our local community. And that can be a brilliant thing!

If you have been reluctant to join Facebook so far, I would advise you to think again, and here are five reasons why – all from a Skerries point of view.

Facebook search how

One. Fancy going to a play, a gig, a movie? See what’s on.

Skerries Theatre Group, Raff’s On The Corner, Blue Bar, Rockabill Film Society

Two. See what’s happening in the community.

Skerries Community Association. Skerries Tidy Towns. Skerries Town Twinning. Skerries Adopt A Beach. To name just the first five that come to mind. And of course Skerries News!

Three. Try a new hobby or activity? There are quite a few to be found on Facebook!

Millhill Ladies Badminton Club. Skerries Camera Club. Skerries Chess Club. Skerries frosties (swimming). Skerries Watersports Academy. Skerries Women’s Volleyball Club. Yoganamara. And many, many more.

Four. Shop local!

Wisteria Skerries. Aidan O’Brien Butchers. Chic Boutique. Greg Reddins. Skerries Bookshop, Red Island Wine Company. All hairdressers, as far as I can tell. Delis. Restaurants.
The shops in Skerries Mills Courtyard, like Karen Wilson Art and The Stash Cupboard. The list would go on and on!

And five: Know what’s on for kids, too.

Many schools have Facebook pages, many parents’ association have Facebook groups.
MSPA (Moore school of performing arts), Needles & Pins, Skerries ArtSchool, Skerries Cookie Club.

The beauty of Facebook is that you don’t HAVE to see all this – just what YOU are interested in.

SCA on FacebookAnd this is just the start, I haven’t even gone near information about local attractions like Skerries Mills or Ardgillan Castle, local artists & writers, or local services! There are loads more of voluntary / charitable / community organisations, certainly worth a full column in their own right. Fingal County Council, the local libraries, the met office… all of those have information available online – at times useful, at times colourful, and sometimes both.

Once you’ve joined Facebook, all you need to do is search for Skerries!


 

Insider TiFacebook snipp: – You will not automatically see everything posted by a page you follow. If you want to make sure you don’t miss a thing, you need to tell Facebook. You can do that by going into the page, and hovering over the “Liked” button. Then go to “Posts in News Feed” and “Notifications.”

 


 

This post first appeared in Skerries News, Dec 1-14, 2015, p. 33.

Christmas Laptop Present Thoughts

Some of the cccSkerries laptops.

Some of the cccSkerries laptops.

Halloween is hardly over, and the thoughts turn to Christmas.

For many, a laptop for the youngster(s) in the house is a consideration. I’m often asked which I would recommend…

That’s a difficult question as it really depends on what you need the laptop to be able to do. Is it general use, bit of googling, research for school projects, some video-watching, bit of not-too-intense gaming? Then you need roughly what I need for my cccSkerries classes, and I find my cccSkerries workhorse computers (which serve me well for general coding purposes) do the trick.

They are Acer Aspires like this one,  £239 currently, and Lenovos like this one, £299. I run them on Windows 10, and I use Google Chrome for accessing the internet.
[Those are not affiliate links, for those who wonder about such questions – I’m only linking to Amazon as that’s where I buy my laptops, to make it easier to find them.]

Edited to include the following paragraph, thanks PH who wrote:

 “Just thought I’d mention that Lenovo themselves have great deals online. So eg The Lenovo G50-30 you mention is only €329.99, whereas through Amazon with Sterling conversions etc £299 could be €425………..so be careful & save yourself €100…………”

And you can find the G-Series here.

Refurbished laptops might be an option, too – I have never used Laptopsdirect.ie but they seem to have an interesting list of refurbished Acer laptops, at very good rates. Worth a look, too.

There is no need to purchase Microsoft Office as you can use Google Drive and the various Google Apps, like Google Docs, Google Sheets and Google Slides, for free once you have a gmail address (which would need to be set up and managed by an adult for under-13s).

Insurance? 

Is it worth adding up to a third of the product price for insurance? Many places offer this at the check-out.

I would normally decline. I find that I am more careful with tech items that I don’t buy comprehensive insurance for. And if the worst comes to the worst… not having bought insurance for four or five items means that I can “afford” the next one to break – and if it doesn’t, I have made a profit, compared to buying insurance! Happy days!

A Minecraft Space Station Project

In the summer of 2015, during a number of sessions of our cccSkerries Minecraft Club, Eoin (age 10) used the time to build something great.

While the others were having adventures on our shared server, he created two space stations and four fighter planes.

This was done for the 2015 EUMETSAT  Learning Zone Minecraft Competition.

EUMETSAT is the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites, and Ireland is one of its 30 member countries.

We made a short video (just over four minutes) of his entry – hope you like it!

PS: Unfortunately, the entry didn’t win a prize – but it’s still fantastic, don’t you think? The judges said: “It was a real challenge to evaluate the wide range of satellites from so many entrants as fairly as possible. All of the designs were exceptional from their backgrounds, ideas and / or interpretations, to the amount of effort that went into them.” See the 2015 Learning Zone Minecraft Results page for the winners.

Scratch Competition Studio 2015

2015 Scratch Competition Entries

All these projects were created by participants in our cccSkerries Coding Classes (beginners and advanced). For the National Scratch Competition 2015, we had to pick 10 as we could not enter more than that. Here are our ten contestants! We should know by the end of April how they got on. Fingers crossed! – Sabine

PS: Wait for the page to load (might not work on a phone / tablet), then click into the project you’d like to watch or play. Enjoy!

Scratch Competition Studio 2015

  • draw your own things by destroyer200
  • “green flag to start.r to rub out.space to stop drawing.a to start drawing again.it may glitch at the start.arrow keys to move.press small line for skinny line.fat line for fat line.white for rubber”

  • weather by bazzab
  • “press green flag and see what happened. ENJOY!!!”

  • Purpleman (BETA) by ChikenEater
  • “Arrows to move and space to jump. There may be a few glitches and only levels 1 and 2 are programmed.
    V.1.0: Added this game to Scratch.
    V.1.1: Added Level 2”

  • The Zombie Infestation 1.3 by MrSupreme4543
  • “W = up A = left S = down D = right ( you’ll get used to it once you’ve played it a couple of times) Left mouse button to shoot You can use your arrow keys to select weapons. (To properly play make sure you have a mouse and its best to play this on a computer) ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
    Notes and Credits
    V1.3 Added the crosshair back changed the hit marker a bitV1.2 Finallyyyyyyyyyyyyy character selectI have a started a character select but its taking some time so just pick one of the circles.V1.1 Added a high score system (new accounts will only have a personal score system upgrade your account to have a chance to be the best)New people have started working on this with me
    egganiki : http://scratch.mit.edu/users/egganiki/
    space sphere : http://scratch.mit.edu/users/space_sphere/
    but remember i’m in charge and get the most credit (saying that in the nicest way possible) (:

    Added a super secret easter egg

    V1.0 added a main menu

    V0.9 added so when a zombie dies he respawns somewhere else deleted the health pack added health regen but it is very slow edited the hit marker

    V0.8 Added a shotgun press left arrow key to select

    V0.7 Added weapon selection by arrow keys UP = USP.45 DOWN = AK-47

    V0.6 added ak47 no more movement by arrow keys.

    V0.5 Added stuff to randomize where everything spawns and i tried to add a AK47 but its pretty glitchy and you cant use it now i’ll try to get it to work.

    V0.4 just did some stuff readying variables for a time in the future

    V0.3 Added a health bar for the player and loads more zombies and
    in the comments tell me what you want in the game.

    V0.2 Added more zombies and they can now die also changed the survivor to Santa Claus.

    V0.1 The game is made but nowhere near complete.

5 simple steps to saying Bye-bye to cheques and cash!

How to pay online for cccSkerries courses (and other recurring costs)

Are you tired of having to root for that cheque book, or cash?

Do you want some track record of what you’re paying for your son or daughter’s activities?

Then set those who run the classes up for electronic payments – and pay online from the comfort of your PC or even your smartphone!

In order to set up a payee from your account, all you need is online access to your own account, and the payee’s IBAN and BIC – in the case of cccSkerries, the relevant details (as updated & correct in March 2017) are:

Creative Computing Courses Limited, Bank of Ireland Skerries
BIC BOFIIE2DXXX
IBAN IE47BOFI90354125230144

I’m showing you here how it works with the AIB. Bank of Ireland is similar!

1.    Go to your Online Banking and log in.

2.    Click on “Pay & Transfer”

epb 01

3.    Click on Payees to set up a new payee

epb02

Then select A new payee

 

4.    Enter the details

You choose what you call the receiver (does not have to be the name in which their account is). It could be “P’s computer teacher” – or “cccSkerries”!

For cccSkerries, the details are:

IBAN: IE83 BOFI 9008 9346 3793 00

BIC: BOFIIE2D

epb03

 

5.  Confirm the details

You will be asked to get a code from your card reader.

epb04

 

And now: You’re ready to transfer money straight away!

Select Pay & Transfer – To Another Irish Account.

epb05

 

“Saved Details” is preselected, click “next” and make your payment.

epb06

Select the payee = receiver (e.g. cccSkerries), add a message, specify the amount – you will be asked one digit of your online PIN, nothing else. No more card reader needed! The money goes straight away on its merry way.

It’s easy to pay from your phone, too.

Bye-bye, cheques & cash!

Another advantage: You always know what you’ve paid, and when.

Plus it’s cheaper than cheques (and cash, if you consider how much you pay each time you take money out of the hole in the wall)…

I for one will try to pay all my son’s classes online from now on!

Sabine

Sabine in dlr Libraries

I’ll be in Dún Laoghaire / Rathdown a good bit in April & May, so if you know someone in the right age interested in Scratch (Deansgrange) and / or Minecraft (Dún Laoghaire, Stillorgan, Blackrock), pass on the word! 3 sessions, free, must be booked with the libraries directly.
Scratch Coding Deansgrange: 3x Wed April 15/22/29
3-4.30 Age 7-10yrs /1st-3rd class
5-.6.30 Age 10-12yrs/ 4th-6th class
deansgrangelib@dlrcoco.ie

Minecraft Dlr LexIcon 3x Wed in May: 6/13/20
3-4.30 1st-3rd class
& 5-6.30 4th to 6th class
dlrlexiconlib@dlrcoco.ie
Minecraft Stillorgan library. 3x Thurs in May: 7/14/21
3.30-5pm 10-12yr olds
stillorganlib@dlrcoco.ie

Minecraft Blackrock library 3x Sat Mornings in May: 16/23/30
75 mins sessions
10-11.15 for 7-10yrs
11.30-12.45 for 10-12yrs.
blackrocklib@dlrcoco.ie

Sabine in dlr April May 2015