Saturday, October 31, 2020

How to Customize Your Google News Feed [video included]

Google's controls help you customize your news feed!

Did you ever find yourself scrolling mindlessly through your Facebook or Instagram or Twitter feed and ask yourself, "Why am I wasting time doing this?" Given the rich potential of the world wide web, it's silly to spend so much time on what amounts to chasing gossip. Why not leverage the web's potential to help you be "always learning" about stuff that interests you?

With your Google news feed it's easy to generate a custom-tailored stream of interesting and challenging content. It just takes a little interactive pruning!  Here's how it works.

Google has arguably produced the most powerful search engine ever. And as you use it, Google builds a profile of your interests based on your search terms and browsing history. For the most part, these Google algorithms chug along quietly in the background, suggesting news items in your feed to match your unique interests. But, if you're like me, you sometimes find yourself wishing you could fine tune those algorithms to get more accurate suggestions or push them to go off in search of new areas of interest. 

The good news is that Google has built in a bunch of simple controls you can use to teach the Google algorithms how to serve you best. The video below introduces:
  • The "More or Less" toggle
  • The 3-dot "follow or hide" menu
  • The "Manage Interests" controls



It's amazing how interesting and inspiring it can be to get a regular news feed focusing on a few topics that you really care about -- especially when the alternative is watching people in your social media zones rant and complain.  So why not leverage the power of Google's news feed to keep you "always learning" and positively engaged?

Saturday, September 19, 2020

An Appeal to My Republican Friends & Family Members: Please Don't Vote for Donald Trump

(Image from article "Is An Insane President The Result Of A Society Losing Its Mind?" from PlanetSave.com)

Dear Republican Friends & Family

I am writing to appeal to your patriotism and your humanity and ask you to NOT vote for Donald Trump. If the Republican Party had nominated Marco Rubio, George Bush, Mitt Romney, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz... indeed, pretty much anyone you can think of, I would not be making this personal appeal to you. But this is an emergency. 

Donald Trump's presidency has a track record. He is no longer an outsider thumbing his nose at the elite and promising to shake things up. We've seen, first hand, how he works and the chaos he creates. His presidency is profoundly divisive, literally lethal to our health and safety and threatens the rule of law and foundations of our democracy.  In any other election, as you know, I would noisily advocate for my party, but I would not ask you outright not to vote for your party's candidate. But this is different. We, together as American citizens, are facing an existential threat. 

I am not asking you to change political parties. I'm just asking you to join many, many of your fellow Republicans who oppose this lethal president. Look at this Who's Who of Republicans who refuse to support his re-election:

• Former Secretaries of Defense Colin Powell, William Cohen, Chuck Hagel & Jim Mattis
• Former PA Gov. & Sec of Homeland Security Tom Ridge
• Former Governors John Kasich (OH) & Arnold Schwarzenegger (CA)
• Michael Steele (former Republican Party Chairman)
• Senator Mitt Romney
• Former Senators Jeff Flake & John Warner
• Former US Rep (PA) Charlie Dent
• ... and many, many more. 

You can see the long list of others here at this apolitical, fact-based Wikipedia page: "List of Republicans who oppose the 2020 Donald Trump presidential campaign"

And also there's this this article from Forbes:  "All The Republicans Who Have Endorsed Joe Biden For President"

Among the people who have worked in the Trump administration and have seen his methods and character first hand, there are many who are actively supporting Joe Biden. Think of it! What a potentially career-ending risk these GOP folks are taking to abandon Trump and support Biden!  It's a real measure of the powerful negative impact of working with Trump and seeing him up close and personal.

Trump's former Defense Secretary & ex-Marine Jim Mattis has called Trump "a threat to the Constitution..." See this brief article for the positions of some of the other former administration officials:

And then there are the many members of the military who are growing weary of their Commander in Chief. See:  "Half of the Military Disapproves of Trump as Commander in Chief: Poll

And many of the evangelicals who once supported him are growing tired of Trump. Billy Graham's granddaughter says, "By supporting Donald Trump, evangelical leaders are failing us and failing the Gospel. Christian women must step up where our church leaders won't."  See this article in USA Today:  "I'm Billy Graham's granddaughter. Evangelical support for Donald Trump insults his legacy." 

Finally, you can listen to the voices and see the despair and disgust on the faces of ordinary Republican citizens like yourselves, including many veterans, as they explain their opposition to Trump in this Republican Voters Against Trump YouTube Channel.

If you have read this far, Thank You!  Please consider checking out some of the respected sources above. And please DO NOT VOTE for another four years of this chaos. 

I deeply believe that to vote for Trump is to endanger all our lives by the immediate threat of Trump's continuing bungled response to the pandemic (nearly 200,000 U.S. dead and counting!!) and the longer-term threat to our democracy and rule of law. But you don't have to take my word for it. Just listen to some of those powerful GOP leaders identified above.

Thanks for your consideration,
Mike

P.S. - Feel free to forward this letter to anyone, particularly any Republican of good conscience, who might join us in doing the right thing in this election. 

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Related Posts from the Archives

Sunday, August 23, 2020

A Little Happiness from the Archives!

Times are tough right now. And we're all struggling to find a little happiness amidst a pandemic, wild and unpredictable weather events, a polarized presidential election, all sorts of nastiness from media talking heads and, sadly, sniping among friends in our social media. So how can we find happiness amidst this chaos?  

Strange but true: Scientists believe that happiness is a skill that can be learned... and like any skill, with practice, you can get better and better at it! Check out this three-part series of articles (loaded with links to free stuff!) from the archives and learn how you can learn the skill of being happy. Enjoy!

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