The Missing Camera

By Isabel M.

      Eleven-year-old Elizabeth was sitting down, speechless. She was shocked. With her jaw dropped, she looked as if she was in a trance. She didn’t know what to say. She didn’t know what to do. Her camera was gone. It was missing.

      “I searched everywhere,” Elizabeth said to herself. “Everywhere! In every spot, in every corner of this house I looked! But yet, my camera wasn’t found. It wasn’t found!”

      With intensity, the words kept ringing in her head: it wasn’t found. Her two sisters helped her look. Her parents helped her look. All Elizabeth could do now was just sit there, and not move. Nobody quite knew how devastated the girl was. She was a passionate photographer. So much so that she couldn’t imagine life without her beloved camera.

      The camera was the most expensive one she had ever had. And it was her favorite one, too. She had some cameras before, but none of them matched up to the performance of this one. She thought it was irreplaceable.

      Life suddenly seemed very strange for Elizabeth, who sat there that afternoon, in the quiet house, in the living room.

      Elizabeth’s two sisters, 9-year-old Sarah, and 14-year-old April were each in their own rooms. Neither could really bare the sight of their sister. The parents, Claire and Gradgrind, were also gone, out of the room. There was nowhere else they could look for the camera.

      Nobody liked it this way. But more than anyone else, the youngest sister, Sarah, didn’t like the gloominess in the air. The house wasn’t the same without Elizabeth’s cheerfulness. Sarah wanted to change this. She moved about, and paced with doubt. Finally, she thought it was a good idea to see her sister, and try to make her happy again.

      Sarah walked into the living room. She sat down next to her sister. Elizabeth didn’t blink. She didn’t move.

      “I can’t believe your camera is gone,” Sarah said. “It’s a mystery indeed.”

      In her best encouraging voice, Sarah added: “But you know, Elizabeth, there’s a lot more cameras where that came from.”

      Elizabeth was deep in thought. “She doesn’t quite understand. My camera was the best,” she said to herself.

      “You know, it’s getting late Elizabeth. Don’t you think you should go to bed, and perhaps wake up without thinking of your camera?” Sarah attempted yet again, but nothing seemed to work. After trying, and trying, and trying, and trying to make her sister happy, it was 10 p.m. Sarah went on for about two hours. Her sister was pretty upset. The girls were told to go to bed by their mother, and Elizabeth, practically had to be forced to go to bed.

      Early the next day, everyone was at the kitchen table for breakfast. Nobody was really all that happy, besides April, the oldest sister.

      “I’ve got an awesome idea!” April said. “I’m going to help Elizabeth find her camera!” The family looked at her, wondering how she was so content, and so sure of herself.

      “April,” Gradgrind began, “I know things are sad right now, and you’re trying to help out. But, we don’t want anybody’s hopes getting high now.”

      “But daddy!” She continued. Believe me, it’s going to work!!! Look, here’s the plan! I’m going to give it specifically to my friends!” She gave her father a sheet of paper. It said this:

Just yesterday morning, my sister lost her camera. She’s very sad about it. We all are. You see, she was in the backyard, swimming. Mom was in the garage, working on something, and also watching Elizabeth. I was gone at my friend’s house, and so was our youngest sister. Daddy was at work. It was then when Elizabeth first realized her camera was gone. It could’ve been that she left her camera on the chair next to the pool, and it slid off on the hole that was next to the chair. Again, mom wouldn’t know, because she was only watching Elizabeth, and didn’t really pay attention to the chair. We don’t know. It also may be that she left her camera in the house somewhere, and it got lost, and she totally forgot about it. This is because she was really excited about swimming, and nobody else was thinking about her camera. Otherwise, we would’ve been able to detect where it last was. Again, she was pretty upset about it gone. Nobody ever found it, though. It’s a mystery where it is.
Anyway, I thought of an idea to find this camera. We’re all going to look super hard around our house, today, all right everybody? Sure, our family already did, but you all, my friends, could double check! Come on friends, do it for my sister! You never know where it is. It could be that when me and the rest of the family looked, we may have skipped something. Who knows. But today, at 3:00, I would like us all to gather and do this!

Gradgrind read this paper.

      “You know, April,” he began, “this may be impossible. Who knows where that camera really is. It’s hopeless. We already looked everywhere This plan wouldn’t work.”

      April was no longer all smiles. The table was sad again. Her father said it, and it was final. The plan wouldn’t work.

      It was a dark and gloomy day.

      And so was the next day. And the next. And the day after that.

      Finally, about a week past. Elizabeth was getting used to the idea of living without her one, irreplaceable camera. But she was still sad.

      Sarah had gone back to everyday life, doing what she always did before the camera was lost. Today, she was on a mission to look into April’s cabinets to read her diary!

      Sure enough, that day, April went to her friend’s house, and the rest of the family was busy doing things. This was Sarah’s chance. She was, indeed, successful.

      Coincidentally, the first page she randomly stumbled upon while opening the notebook was this:


My sister is devastated, because her camera is gone. Poor her! She looked all over the house for it. She acts like it’s the end of the world. “Waaaaaaaaaaa! I can’t find my camera!” Is what is sounds like she might as well say. Anyways, when she was absorbed in the pool, and mom was in the garage, I took my chance, snatched her camera, and hid it by the flowers. Deep in the dirt, too. They didn’t notice it. So much so that I had plenty of time to do it. She deserved it. She always wants to make fun of me. She always told me to “wash the dishes” if I want to earn a camera. “I did it myself!” She said. Whatever. Anyways, that’s what’s going on. Me? I’m enjoying the peacefulness in this house. But the rest of the family is feeling sorry for my sister. I’m just faking to feel sorry. In fact, I made a plan for me and my friends to “search” for the camera. To make it seem like I’m the great sister, mwahahahahaha 😉 However, my friends would act like they didn’t find it. When they actually could help me put the camera deeper in the dirt!
So I say again, MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

Amazingly written by,

— April the Cool One

      Sarah ran to the kitchen, where her mother was at. She ran. And ran. And ran! She was so content, so happy, because — finally — the mystery of the missing camera was solved.

      When she reached the kitchen, she screamed out loud, “MOM! MOM, LOOK AT THIS! DADDY!!! QUICK!!! COME HERE!!!” Hearing the screams, Claire and Gradgrind moved as fast as lightning.

      “What is it?” Gradgrind said. “What’s got you screaming your head off?”

      Sarah handed him Aprils’ diary and Gradgrind read the entry about the camera aloud. Both of the parents were shocked. Full of fury. They were angry indeed.

      “Wow!” Gradgrind said. He went outdoors, to grab the camera. He managed to dig deep, and took it out.

      April, was in the middle of painting her nails, across the street, upstairs, at her friend’s house. She was enjoying her time.

      Claire quickly walked across the street.

      “April!” She said to her daughter, looking up at the open windows upstairs. “You’re in trouble. I suggest you come down here. NOW.” She tried to say this calmly, but, you can imagine, she was really quite upset.

      April’s friend looked at April. April was totally embarrassed. But do you think her mother cared? No. (And she shouldn’t have cared either.)

      The mother of April’s friend opened the door.

      “What on earth is going on out here!?” The mother said. Her daughter, and April, were now behind her, at the door.

      “My daughter is in trouble. I’ll talk later. For now, I’m going to take her home.” Claire looked hard at April, but tried to stay polite in front of the neighbor. And, again, tried not to lose her temper. They walked across the street. April didn’t say a word. But she knew she was obviously in trouble.

      She was inside now. The whole family was at the kitchen table: the parents, and April, of course, and also Sarah and Elizabeth. They all looked at April. Still, she didn’t dare say a word, since she was picked up at her friend’s house. Everybody knew about the paper, and Elizabeth was all smiles, with her in-perfect condition camera in her hand. But of course, it had to be cleaned up a little bit because it had been buried in dirt.

      “You don’t want to do the dishes, I see,” Gradgrind said. “So, your jealously made you go, take your sister’s camera, didn’t it? Your jealousy, and lack of wanting to earn something. You stole, and you made your sister upset.”

      All eyes were on April now. And Sarah couldn’t help but to sneak in a laugh.

      “You’re going to do all these dishes,” Claire spoke up, “breakfast, lunch, and dinner dishes! All of them! Two months straight! Nobody will be allowed to help you! And did I mention, your use of Facebook? NO FACEBOOK! NOT AT ALL! For six months! Apparently, you’re not mature enough to handle it. Oh yes, and did I mention, you’re cleaning this whole house tonight? That’s right. All of it. Now explain, why did you do this?!?!”

      April looked around the table. She was still nervous, but then, more evilness kicked in. This wasn’t just about a camera now. Her younger sisters were ruining her reputation. And she did not want this to pass without protest.

      “Well mom,” April quickly said without much thought, “Sarah read my diary, did she not? What about her? Doesn’t she get any punishment?”

      Of all the crazy things she said in her life, that was the craziest! She shot herself in the foot.

      “Wow!” Elizabeth said. “You falsely accused my sister, my kind sister, Sarah!”

Now Claire piled on the punishment. Lots of dishes. And lots of cleaning. Claire was fuming. And the rest of the family was upset with April, too.
      
      The day came to an end. Everybody went to bed. Except for one. April had to do her math.

      The family went on and enjoying their time, while April suffered for what she did.

      Eventually, after about a few months, April went to apologize. And it was a sincere apology. April was honestly, truly feeling sorry. It was too bad, though, that she didn’t learn sooner, before causing a photographer’s nightmare.

      But at least it was over. And it ended well. Eventually, everybody, including April, were all on a happy high.

And April never did a foolish thing like that again.

The End

Everything You Need to Know About Google+, Part 4


      This post is the last part of the four day series on Everything You Need to Know About Google+. To read part one, click here. To read part two, click here. And to read part three, click here.

      Today, I’ll be covering only a few things, including Google+ pages, Google+ settings, huddle, and chat.

      Google+ Pages

      Similar to Facebook pages, Google+ pages are like Google+ profiles for businesses. They’re not much different than Google+ profiles, though, except for a few things. One is that you can like a Google+ page but not a Google+ profile. You can also share a Google+ page.

      Here’s what a Google+ page looks like:


      Again, as you can see, a Google+ page isn’t much different than a profile. Because I haven’t created a Google+ page myself, I wouldn’t be able to tell you so much about creating a Google+ page. But if you do visit the Google+ sidebar, and click on pages, you can create one yourself. This is what you’ll see:

      So there you go! There’s not much more to say about Google+ pages. So, I’ll move on to Google+ settings.

      Google+ Settings

      As I said in one of my previous blog posts on Everything You Need to Know About Google+. Here’s where you’ll determine your privacy settings. You’ll find a lot of flexibility in controlling who sees which posts and more. You might want to change your settings, such as your notifications, for example, if you wanted Google+ notifications going to a different email. You can also block Google from using your +1’s for things like ads.

      This is shown below:


      To change your Google+ settings, visit google.com/settings/plus. That’s all overall easy to understand, so I’ll move on to huddle and Chat.

      Huddle and Chat

      Huddle is a chatting service for Google+. With it, you can chat with another Google+ user, or a group of Google+ users. It’s only available for mobile phones, though, which is very important to know. This is because people can get confused, thinking you’re ignoring their Google+ message, even though you’re not on a phone. You won’t be able to see someone’s huddle message on your desktop. This has happened to me once, when I was not using Google+ on a mobile phone.

      There is, however, a feature to chat with people on Google+ who are on desktops. I don’t think you can chat with someone on Google+ while you’re on a phone, but only if that person is also on a desktop. I think, though, that Google Talk is still available to use so that someone on a phone could chat with someone on a desktop. I also think that you would probably need a Gmail account to do this, but am not completely sure.

      You’re done reading this blog post! If you also read my previous posts in this series, I think you’ve pretty much learned everything you need to know about Google+.

Everything You Need to Know About Google+, Part 3


      Everything You Need to Know About Google+, Part 3 is a part of the four-day series on Google+. To read part one, click here. And to read part two, click here.
      Today, I’ll be covering photos, games, and local. Read on, to continue learning everything you need to know about Google+!
      Local

      Just a few days ago, Google introduced Google Local, for Google+. Google local is where you can give your opinion of a restaurant, and also read other opinions. Although it just launched, Google local seems to have lots of reviews on local restaurants.

      I don’t know how they did it, but Google automatically knew my location. You still, however, might be able to disable this in your browser if you don’t like that tracking, but that’s off topic to explain how to do so.

      Here’s what Google local for Google+ looks like:

      This newly launched feature to Google+ seems easy to understand, and very helpful. It’s convenient, and not on Facebook.
      When clicking on a restaurant name and reviewing it, you can rate the food, the decor, and the service. Each can be from 0-3 points, meaning from poor to excellent. You can also optionally write down the cost per person, and about a paragraph review, like this:


      Each business has multiple photos, usually of some of the food they offer. You can upload your own photo to the list.

      You can also edit and suggest the details of the business. You can correct the name, location, phone, website, etc. But unless Google can detect that you’re the actual owner, these suggestions would not be edited directly, but again, just suggested.

      Other than that, Google local is pretty easy to understand and figure out, so I’ll move on to photos on Google+.

      Photos

      With Google+, you can easily share, and organize photos. By visiting the Google+ website, you can see all the photos from your mobile phone gallery, your albums, photos from your posts, and photos that have been tagged of you.

      In order to automatically see the photos from your phone, you’d have to download the Google+ app for Android, and iPhone. Then, you’ll have to enable instant upload here, if you’re on Android, and here if you’re on iOS.

      Your Google+ photo web page should look similar to this:

      Usually, under a photo, you’d probably see an icon. Because I’m always forgetting, I’ve decided to create an explanation of what those icons mean:


      Everything else about Google photos can be self-taught, so I’ll move on to the last part of this blog post, games.

      Games

      Although I haven’t really experimented with it, games for Google+ offers several games, although Facebook offers more. Google+ games seem safer though, you wouldn’t have to give out so much of your information to play.

      The games section features the directory of games, and also a stream. The stream is where you can see what those in your circles are doing while playing games.

       A great feature is that you can choose what game updates to see. If you only want to see who’s scoring something on Angry Birds, you can select Angry Bird updates only.

      Another great feature is that you can control game notifications in your settings. I’ll write more about settings in my last blog posts in this series. After awhile, who wants to get a bunch of Farmville notifications when they’ve never even played the game? Because of this, that feature is a good idea.

      Check back for the last blog post in this series, to officially learn everything you need to know about Google+!

Everything You Need to Know About Google+, Part 2

      Recently, I wrote the post Everything You Need to Know About Google+, Part 1. By reading that post here, you can see an overview of Google+, information about the stream, circles, etc. Today, I’ll be covering even more information about the stream, and information about the explore section, hangouts, and your profile.
      Exploring popular posts, and removing popular posts from your stream
      First, I’m going to explain how to remove popular posts from your stream, by people who aren’t in your circles. This can become really annoying, because you never know what someone’s going to post. You might not even be interested in what they’re going to post. So to do this, you’ll have to go to the explore icon on the sidebar to the left, as shown below:


      Then, on the right top part of the screen, you’ll get the option can determine how many of those posts you want to see. You can drag it to the end, so that you won’t see any of those posts. You can still, however, see popular posts on Google+ anytime by clicking the explore icon.
      Options on a Google+ post
      Now, I’ll talk about options for posts on Google+. When someone posts something to your stream, you’ll get the option to either +1 their post, reshare, or start a hangout about it, as shown below:


      These options are sometimes confusing to people, who are used to Facebook’s terms of words. To +1 a post means to like a post, and to reshare a post simply means to share a post with those in your circles. If you don’t want anyone to share your own post, you’ll get the option to disable sharing, by clicking on the arrow on the right of your post. If you like, you can also disable commenting.

      Hangouts

      To start a hangout about a post means to start a video call. This can also be done by clicking the hangouts icon shown on your sidebar. Google+ hangouts were simple to understand for me, so I won’t write too much about it. With it, you can change your appearance, by adding such things as computerized reindeer antlers, and hats to your image. (Google always tries to have a sense of humor with everything.) You can also chat with people on the sidebar during your hangout, and even share videos with them. After this, Facebook copied Google+, and introduced Skype video calling. Still, most people prefer Google hangouts.

      Your profile

      Google+ is great in the sense that you won’t have to worry so much about your information — at least, that’s what they say intentionally because they know many people have not liked how Facebook has handled privacy. So unlike Facebook, Google won’t change settings on you, or automatically set anything public. They make things easy to understand when it comes to deciding who sees what on your profile.

      To see what I mean, click on the profile icon on the sidebar. At the top of your profile, you’ll see two big buttons, one saying “view as….” and another saying, “edit your profile” as seen below:


      When you click on “view as….” you can write a Google+ profile name, and see what your profile look like to them. Shortly after this feature was launched, I find it interesting that Facebook now has that feature, too. (Can you say copycat?) It may be because they’re worried about people leaving them for things like this and going to Google+.

      When you edit your profile, you can change your about page, and write things like a tagline, introduction, bragging rights, and occupation. There’s also an option to change your cover photo, and profile photo. Similar to Facebook, when you change your cover photo, you are choosing a wide, horizontal image that will appear on your profile.

      When editing your profile, you can also see which one of your tabs are visible to people. For example, if you don’t want people to see everything you’re +1 across the web, you can uncheck “show this tab on your profile.” This is shown below:

      So there you go! You’ve learned so much more about Google+! Stay tuned for Everything You Need to Know About Google+, Part 3!

Everything You Need to Know About Google+, Part 1


      Google+ is a social website, similar to Facebook and Twitter. It’s also available as a mobile application for most phones. Google+ was launched by Google about a half a year ago, which makes it fairly new.

      Before, Google+ required you to have an invitation to join, but now anybody ages 13 and up can sign up, without an invitation from Google. Google required this invitation because they wanted to gather insights and thoughts from its first adopters before making it available to everyone.

      Google+ can be confusing to people. It’s different in many ways from Facebook, which has been around for years and is what many people are used to.

      Because Google+ is my favorite social media site, I try to get people to join. (Google does not pay me for my endorsement.) But people don’t usually have time to wait for me to talk on and on about the benefits of joining Google+ so, today, I’ve decided to write a four-part series on how Google+ works.

      Once you’ve signed up at the Google+ homepage here, you’ll see lots of things. A stream of posts, circles, games, local, hangouts, everything. You most likely will be lost at first, but don’t worry. That’s what this series of blog posts is for.
      The first thing I’m going to cover is the stream. Think of the stream as the Facebook newsfeed. Here you’ll see posts of certain people. The stream is the first thing you’ll see when you log into Google+, like Facebook. Here’s what my stream looks like (with certain parts blurred to protect my privacy):



      On the sidebar of your stream are the main things you’ll be able to do with Google+. There you’ll see the icons for your profile, circles, games, photos, explore, local, hangouts, pages, and more. By dragging these icons around the sidebar, you can decide the order of them. For example, if you’d like the game icon to appear at the top of your sidebar instead of the bottom, you would just have to drag and drop it. This, however, along with other features may not be available with the Google+ mobile phone app. Some features, though, are still available for mobile. This is like Facebook’s mobile phone app. Lots of features on Facebook’s website are not available for mobile.

      The posts you see in your stream is determined by the certain people you add to your circles (think of adding to your circles as those who you’ve “friended,” as Facebook would say). You can see those in your circles by clicking on the circle icon on your sidebar. You will see something like this:


      For someone to be in your Google+ circle, you’ll have to select “add a new person.” Then, search for the name of the person you’d like to add, to see if they’re currently on Google+. If they’re not, you can write their email address in that box, and send them a Google+ invitation.
      After that, you’ll have to organize those people the way you want. You can add your family into a “family circle,” and friends to the “friends circle,” and so on. I’m going to explain how this will really help out in my next blog post. So work with your circles, and delete the ones you don’t want, and create the ones you’d like to add.
      And you’re done for today! You’ve learned an overview of Google+, you’ve learned about the stream, about the sidebars, and your circles. Check back soon for part two of Everything You Need to Know About Google+!

Creating Your Own Google Chrome Theme



      Google Chrome is one of the most popular browsers today.

      If you’re not in the know, a browser is a computer software that takes you to different websites on the web by entering the URL in it, and selecting “enter” on a keyboard.

      Once installed, Google Chrome automatically has a theme of colors which are often very plain, and dull.

      And who wants to browse the web using a browser with a plain, dull theme?

      A good solution would be to visit the Chrome Web Store, where you can get themes built by Google or various artists for your Google Chrome browser. You can use any image to completely personalize your browser’s theme.

      Here’s how to create your own Google Chrome theme.

      Creating your theme can be done simply by downloading “My Chrome Theme” from the Chrome Web Store. Google built the app that lets you do this.

      With it, you can do something like this.

      Here’s how everyone’s Google Chrome Theme looks like before you make any changes (to see this on your computer open a new tab):

      Here’s what it looks like after a simple change of color:


      You can do cool backgrounds, too.

      When clicking here and installing “My Chrome Theme” you can build a personalized theme very easily. A screenshot of a personalized theme being built using “My Chrome Theme” is the first image shown in this post.

      Remember, your theme is actually for your browser, not anything else like Google’s homepage. So when you select an image, it will not appear behind the logo at Google.com. You can see your image when you open a new tab or when you launch the browser, provided your homepage is not preconfigured to something like, say, your favorite news site.

      Although “My Chrome Theme” doesn’t let you choose from a wider variety of colors, or use lots of images, there’s also another app called “Theme Creator.”

      Theme Creator lets you have full control of theme personalization, but is not as easy to use as “My Chrome Theme.” It can be installed here.

      A screenshot of this “Theme Creator” app is shown below:


      If you need any help, have any questions, or want to learn more about personalizing Google Chrome, visit:

http://support.google.com/chrome/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1053371
http://support.google.com/chrome/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1054235
http://support.google.com/chrome/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=156190

A Review Of Blogger, Part Two


      Recently I wrote part one of a review of Blogger. You can read that post here. Today I’m writing part two of A Review Of Blogger.
Statistics
      With Blogger, you can see a lot of statistical information for your blog. This is good particularly if you’re curious who your audience is and where they come from.
      When viewing your blog’s statistics, you can see how many pageviews certain posts have, the referral websites, what browser and computer your visitors are coming from. etc. The statistics page is shown below:

      I mostly like the option of not tracking your own pageviews. This really helps if you’re the type to visit your blog over and over again. If you like, you can get even more detailed statistical information by registering your blog with Google Analytics.
      One problem I noticed with Blogger is that I haven’t really gotten blog visits as easily as with WordPress. I’ve noticed that I would have to share about my blog posts more on social media sites, such as Pinterest. I find WordPress more SEO friendly (search engine friendly.)
      I would give all of Blogger’s statistic features 3 out of 5 stars.
Templates
      I would probably say that my absolute, #1 favorite Blogger feature of all is the templates feature. With templates, you can choose different themes (themes is another word for templates) for your blog, built by Google. This includes your blog’s layout (i.e. content, logo, two-column left and right sidebars), fonts, background image (or color), and other stuff. I guess it’s because I’m a graphic designer, but I love customizing (which is like another word for personalizing) my blog, making it creatively unique.

      Google has a small list of templates, but when doing some Google searching, you can find graphic designers who offer other unique Blogger themes you can choose for your blog. If you’re a coder, you can use Blogger’s html/css features to edit your blog’s html and css to your heart’s content. I’ve really had fun with this, but WordPress, another popular blog builder, makes you pay to code your own theme, and pay to purchase a theme. For the average person, this isn’t a big deal, for they might not have a problem sticking with the option of WordPress templates available. Let me get back to the subject of Blogger, though, for writing about WordPress templates is getting off-topic.
      You can even make your blog mobile-optimized. This means that when someone is viewing your blog on a mobile phone, it wouldn’t display awkwardly, as though they were looking at your blog at a smaller desktop screen.
      I give the template section of Blogger 5 out of 5 stars.
Other Features
      I’ve included the most important features to me about Blogger in detail above. I think the rest of the features can pretty much be self-taught.

      There’s nothing much to see with the comments section of Blogger. The earnings section is good if you would like to make money and include ads on your blog. If you go there, you can watch a video, and see a summary of what that’s all about. In your settings, you can edit the title, description, etc.

      Sign up today at Blogger to build your free blog: www.blogger.com