Arctrieval lets you correspond electronically with your health care providers

It’s pretty amazing that in the year 2010 when we all spend a significant part of our lives online, that we’re still surrounded by so much paper – books, magazines, bills, records. Lots of official records still exist with the local and federal authorities and with your doctor(s) and hospitals on paper.

Arctrieval logoArctrieval is a startup that is taking a step towards changing that by allowing for electronic correspondence between you and your doctor/hospital/insurance company.

Arctrieval is a Web-based service that allows you to send communications to your health care provider via e-mail, fax or snail mail, and lets you monitor those comms. You can also manage all of your family’s communication as well. For electronic messages, Arctrieval uses the ubiquitous PDF file format. Arctrieval also facilitates transferring your medical records to other online repositories (such as Microsoft HealthVault).

Arctrieval is free for consumers – you can sign up here.

Incidentally, even if you don’t sign up, you can also make use of some forms that Arctrieval makes available for free.

Google teams up with Intel, Sony to make Google TV set-top boxes

Google is pushing to get Android into other hardware, such as set-top boxes, and in turn to get their ads into more markets and in front of more eyeballs. To that ends, they have teamed up with Sony and Intel to develop something called, naturally, Google TV.

google tvGoogle TV is pretty much a re-imagining of the ill-fated WebTV, where a set-top box brings the Web to your TV screen. Of course, today, there are many different set-top boxes vying for your dollars and space in your AV shelf, including but not limited to media centers, DVRs, place-shifting boxes (like the Slingbox) and much more.

Who knows? Perhaps this version could fare better (think Palm vs the Newton). Of course, the Internet’s pervasiveness is exponentially greater than when WebTV first appeared.

One additional difference will be that the Google Android platform will allow for the software to be embedded in more devices than just the set-top box.

Press Release

Latest version of Firefox, 3.6, is faster, has new theme feature, Personas

mozilla firefox 3.6Mozilla has released the latest version of Firefox, 3.6, and it claims a 20% speed improvement over v3.5. I just installed and startup certainly seems a lot faster. I’ve also noticed an improvement in memory usage.

New features include improved security features like anti-phishing and anti-malware detection and warning, improved JavaScript performance, support for new CSS features like gradients.

But the feature that I particularly like is a new type of theme called Personas which you can preview and install without a restart of the browser. Just visit GetPersonas.com, browse the over 30,000 themes, then simply roll your mouse over a swatch to see your browser immediately take on that theme.

If you don’t already have Firefox, you can download it for PC, Mac or Linux from www.firefox.com.

How To Be Safe When Shopping Online

If you’re a reader of this gadget blog, then there’s a greater than 99% chance that you shop online. A lot! While for the most part, it’s a positive experience for most people – the convenience of home, the speed of checkout and of course, the great prices, there is a darkside – the risk of being scammed or cheated by an online vendor.

You can be safe shopping online. Follow the tips in this article to quickly become an expert on the subject. Then make sure to pass it onto your friends and family. If these ethically-challenged vendors don’t get any bites or sales, then they won’t be around for very long.

via Safe Online Shopping

Opera 10 now has Opera Unite built in

We first reported on Opera Unite when version 10 of the Opera web browser was released in September.

At the time, Unite was not yet built into the browser, but is now with this latest release.

According to Opera:

Opera Unite is a new technology platform allowing you to share content directly with friends without having to upload anything to a Web site. You can stream music, show photo galleries, share files and folders or even host your own Web pages directly from your browser.

It will be interesting to see if the other major browser makers start to employ similar ideas into their products.

Webcast of Google’s intro of Chrome OS and open source announcement

No, not a release of the much blogged about Chrome OS, but a webcast given by a VP of Product Management, Sundar Pichai. He starts off by talking about Chrome, the browser, then gets into Chrome OS itself.

Perhaps the biggest news of all is that the Chrome OS has been open sourced. Kudos again Google. Just one little detail, the open source version is called Chromium OS.

If you don’t know what Chrome OS is, then take a look at this entertaining video which explains what it is, and more importantly why.

Why is Google Dashboard being dubbed a privacy tool?

Google Dashboard is being labeled a ‘privacy tool’ by the media. I don’t understand why.Sure, it’s a nice tool that shows you on one page all of your Google accounts/products and their latest statuses.

Ok, so there are links on many of them so you can see the privacy policies, but not really much you can do about the policies! And this isn’t unique to Google. Pretty much every company out there has similar one-way privacy policies.

Folks (as herded by the media) are up in arms because they are being led to believe that Google is (becoming?) a big bad company that will take your private information and use it for nefarious schemes that will directly impact you. Well then, don’t give out your private information or opt out of using these products. Your government has more information on you and probably takes worse care of it than a Google does.

Remember, if you signed up for a Google account, no one twisted your arm, (except perhaps your geek friends!). Own up to your responsibilities and stop blaming the company(s) that are giving you useful, and in many cases free, products.

Mozilla Labs’ Raindrop project aims to cut through e-mail clutter

Mozilla-RaindropDo you get too much e-mail, whose volume has grown significantly in recent times due to social networking notifications from the likes of Facebook & Twitter?

How do you sort it out and quickly? Filters? Folders? Those methods may be doing the trick right now, but Mozilla Labs is working on a different approach – creating views of your messages (not necessarily e-mail only) and letting you interact with those conversations without having to switch applications.

Yahoo shuttering GeoCities today. RIP GeoCities

In another step towards the future, a page on the past is closed: GeoCities is being shuttered today by Yahoo, which purchased the free website host in 1999.

GeoCities circa 1996:

In a move that puts more emphasis on the bottom line, Yahoo is nudging new customers to its paid hosting service.

Of course, there’s another giant that still has a free, although not as well-known, hosting service: Google.

RIP GeoCities.

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