Archive for the ‘computers’ Category

Google Adwords Editor

August 15, 2011 Leave a comment

Since I left my most recent position, I’ve consulted with a few individuals and companies who manage their own Adwords campaigns. I have to say, I’m shocked that not one of them is using the (Free) Google Adwords Editor software.

Let’s face it, the web interface for Google Adwords isn’t the greatest, and it doesn’t provide great, or user-friendly, tools for modifying or adding campaigns, ads, and keywords. There are certainly commercial search management solutions available, so in this world of cloud computing and SaaS, what does the desktop client bring to the table?

Work offline, then upload your changes any time

You can make all your changes offline, even checking them to see if there are any problems, then when you are happy – just fire and forget. The software does the rest. In addition to this, the Adwords Editor allows you to make backups, so if you are making significant changes, you can back up the original configuration for your campaign and restore it just as easily should there be any issues.

You can also download any changes that may have been made by others, reviewing and accepting or rejecting the changes. The editor tracks all the conflicts, and lets you resolve them how you see fit.

Make bulk changes (such as updating bids or adding keywords) in just a few steps

Yes, bulk changes are possible through the web, but it is so much easier with the Adwords Editor – and safer!

Copy or move items between ad groups and campaigns

Simple cut-and-paste functionality makes creating new campaigns a breeze, or copy specific ads between campaigns or even accounts.

Navigate through your account quickly and easily

If you use the Adwords MCC to manage multiple accounts, you will appreciate just how simple Adwords Editor makes it to switch between accounts, or move between campaigns within your account.

Export campaigns for import into Bing and Yahoo

Those backups aren’t just for safety either, you can take exported campaigns and import them into Yahoo! or Bing, copying your campaigns between the engines much more easily than you probably are now. A few tweaks once imported and you are good to go!


FREE. If you are currently managing your campaigns manually, chances are you are on a smaller budget, at a smaller company, or are just a glutton for punishment! In any case, the Adwords Editor will make your life much easier.

Download Google Adwords Editor


Camping 2.0

August 12, 2010 2 comments

I just got back a few days ago after a full week camping (at Point Farms Provincial Park, on Lake Huron in Ontario, Canada – great site if you are interested).

camping 2010

It was more fun than this, really!

For me, camping is all about a tent, the odd tarp, and having to scrub the smell of wood smoke off you when you eventually get home. I don’t buy into using trailers, small or otherwise, if you’re not at least somewhat exposed to the elements, why bother? The main appeal is that it’s just you and the family, no TV, internet, or other distractions. A good chair or hammock, and a good book is also recommended – I got through 2000 pages last week, loved it! I read “Order In Chaos” (book 3 of the Templar Trilogy from Jack Whyte), and “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” (by Stieg Larsson), and highly recommend them both. Cards and board games by lantern, sitting around the camp fire, and days on the beach (well, beach for the women folk in the family, I just burn, so avoid beaches!)

camping 2010 camping 2010

Did I mention the S'Mores? Or the Beautiful Lake Huron sunsets - free with each site!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m no Les Stroud (Survivorman), or Bear Grylls either, but I do like my camping reasonably authentic. That’s why I read with some consternation recently, that Ontario Provincial Parks are looking to introduce WiFi to the campsites. In fact they are trialling it at The Pinery, near Grand Bend, not far from where I was in fact.

My wife works remotely now, so has her laptop and Blackberry, and she is on both constantly. I’m also on my iPhone ALL THE TIME. This was a week where we could not worry about those devices and really get away, with no temptation to go online, since there was no signal – neither her Blackberry (on Telus) or my iPhone (Rogers) got even a single bar 🙂 I’m a Twitterholic, and a big gamer, but I didn’t miss my Wii, Xbox, or PS3 for the week. The kids are big online addicts too, especially my older daughter, yet I don’t recall seeing her laid in the fetal position, twitching, with withdrawal from Facebook… I don’t think she even mentioned it. If your kids are bored while you are camping, you are doing it wrong!

The Provincial Parks are citing a loss of customers to private camp sites that offer free wireless service, specifically mentioning the KOA ones. Every time I see a KOA site they look like a bed episode of Top gear, with trailers parked in some field somewhere right next to each other – waiting for Richard Hammond to set them on fire! The Provincial Parks on Lake Huron are great, with spacious lots, many of them quite private, and easy access to fantastic beaches. Why do people need wireless?

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A few more camping pics

Commodore Amiga Turns 25 … what about the Atari ST ???

July 27, 2010 2 comments

Granted, today is my birthday, but that hasn’t made me feel half as old as the realization that the Commodore Amiga and my (formerly) beloved Atari ST are now 25 years old!  How to feel really old in one step.

I just caught an article yesterday about the Amiga turning 25, and wondered how I missed the anniversary of the Atari ST, since it was introduced a couple of months prior to the Amiga launch. Anyone from that era will recall how bitter the wrangling was between Atari and Commodore, with insults, slurs, technology, lawsuits, and many workers going back and forth between the two companies. The relationship between Atari and Commodore back in the mid-80’s makes Adobe vs Apple look like a hippie love-in! There are plenty of blogs, articles, and probably books, on this era, so I’m not going to rehash it here – I was more struck with just how long ago that was, and how nostalgic it made me feel.

Atari OS

Atari OS

Looking back, the 520ST had its faults, but it was an amazing piece of kit for the time. The mouse, for instance, was like a doorstop, and felt like it weighed about 5 lbs. I eventually upgraded to a 1040STE, which featured an internal floppy disk drive … luxury! I remember picking up a copy of Sim City while I was on vacation in the UK. When I returned to Canada, I had to drive 3 hours to find the LAST double-sided external floppy drive in Ontario, just so I could run the game from that ultra-spacious 720k storage – my original ST came with a single-sided, single density drive with 360k of storage, and I recall the sales guy telling me that I would never fill even one disk. I got home with that drive and started playing (the original) Sim City… 16 hours later I looked up and realized it was about 6am. Sim City led to games like Lemmings, and finally to Civilization – my ultimate gaming addiction. To this day, if my wife ever met Sid Meier, there would be blood spilled.

I bought that original ST my first year at University, in 1986, and used it for papers, games, programming, you name it. It was like being in the tech elite! I was never really a fan-boy, though, and don’t recall getting into the debates with the Amiga types. I was just happy to have my ST. My ST, and later the 1040STE (with the COLOUR monitor … OMG!), saw me all the way through University, and into Grad School. I even used it for my thesis. I wrote a data collection program in QBasic, and used the STE to record data while my rats round a radial maze. It was pretty crude programming, but I also wrote a computer simulation of rat behaviour on the maze, to complement the actual data, and support the hypothesis I had.

The biggest WTF moment in my Atari ST/STE history was when I purchased my first HD for the machine. Up to that point, everything was floppy-based, but I saved my pennies and finally had enough money to buy a whopping FIFTY MEG external hard drive … yes, that is 50M, not Gig. I paid the princely sum of $800 for that 50M of storage, and don’t recall thinking that was in any way unreasonable – it wasn’t back then. Looking back just 20 years to that purchase it seems insane, but what was even more amazing was that I then partitioned the drive into SEVEN, with apps, games, data, utilities etc. each having their own partition! The best word processor at the time, for ST/E, was a French program called Redacteur, which easily fit on one of those 7Meg partitions, with plenty of room to spare. I still think that it was better than any version of MS Word since.

Atari 520ST

Atari 520ST

As the 90’s progressed, Atari developed higher end computers, with the TT and the amazing Falcon, neither of which I could afford. In 1993 they stopped production of ST computers to focus on the Jaguar game console, and the rest is history, or at least Atari was. Neither the Amiga or the ST, and its predecessors, could compete with the burgeoning PC market running Windows 3.x, and even I abandoned my old friend for a sterile, boring “PC”. I kept the ST and STE for many years, but they just gathered dust in the basement, and finally got thrown out about 5 years ago.

That original ST ignited my love of tech, computers, gaming, and programming, and probably contributed more to who I am today, and where I am in my career, than anything else. I am a geek today only because of that original 520ST, and to think that it just turned 25 is unbelievable to me. That 25 years, from 1985 to today, has probably seen more technical innovation than any period in history, and I think the ST (and yes, the Amiga), deserve their place alongside the MAC in the history of computing.

I miss my ST.