Click here for some Google tips from PC Magazine. And here for some of Google’s own guidance. And, especially, don’t forget to add Google to your browser’s toolbar, as I suggested this summer. It’s a huge convenience.

In the old days, I set my browser’s homepage to Google. Now, I use the ‘blank’ homepage – which comes up very fast because there’s nothing to load – and Google is already there, in my toolbar. Wherever I am on the Internet, Google is there. (Like Henry Fonda in The Grapes of Wrath.) Need a quick phone number? Type the name and state, and you may well get it. A quick calculation? Enter it and click. A quick stock quote? Just type the symbol.

The more you know about Google, the handier it gets. As I’ve suggested in the past, it’s magic.

It can even translate! I entered . . .

Hey, Marc! Look at me — I am speaking German. Is this not amazing? Tomorrow, I leave for Italy with Charles. But for now, I am using Google to translate from English, which is my native tongue, to German, which is yours.

And it rendered . . .

Hey, Treber! Blick auf mich — ich spreche Deutsches. Ist dieses nicht erstaunlich? Morgen verlasse ich für Italien mit Charles.  Aber für jetzt, verwende ich Google, um von Englisch zu übersetzen, das meine gebürtige Zunge, zum Deutschen ist, der Ihr ist.

Of course, this has its limits.  I then took the German and had Google translate it back into English.  Here’s what it came up with:

Hey, Treber!  View of me — I speak German.  Is this not amazing?  Tomorrow I leave for Italy with Charles.  But for now, I use Google, in order to translate from English to, my native tongue, to the German am, which their is.

And then (you can see where this is heading), I used Google to translate that back into German:

Hey, Treber!  Ansicht von mir — ich spreche Deutsches.  Ist dieses nicht erstaunlich?  Morgen verlasse ich für Italien mit Charles.  Aber für jetzt, verwende ich Google, um von Englisch zu, meine gebürtige Zunge, zum Deutschen morgens zu übersetzen, der ihr ist.

And back again:

Hey, Treber!  Opinion of me — I speak German.  Is this not amazing?  Tomorrow I leave for Italy with Charles.  But for now, I use Google, in order to translate from English to, my native tongue, to the German in the morning, which their is.

Pretty darned good, if you ask me . . . and (are we spoiled or what?) free!

Translating that last English version to French:

Hé, Treber!  Opinion de moi — je parle allemand.  Est-ce que ce n’est pas étonnant?  Demain je pars pour l’Italie avec Charles.  Mais pour maintenant, j’emploie Google, afin de traduire de l’anglais à, ma langue maternelle, à l’Allemand le matin, qui leur est.

And thence to German:

Hé, Treber!  Meinung von mir spreche ich deutsch.  Ist es, daß es nicht erstaunlich ist?  Morgen gehe ich für Italien mit Charles weg.  Aber jetzt gebrauche ich mich Google, um vom Englischen zu übersetzen an meine Muttersprache am Deutschen der Morgen, die ihnen ist.

And finally back to English:

Hé, Treber!  I speak opinion of me German.  Is it that it is not amazing?  Tomorrow I leave for Italy with Charles.  But I use now Google, over from the English to to translate itself to my native language at the German the morning, which them is.

Well, the only question I’m really left with is – who the hell is Treber?  But I really have left for Italy with Charles, so if travel vagaries prevent transmission . . . or translation . . . of this week’s columns, or they’re all about the pasta, you’ll know why. Capisca?

But wait.  You’re thinking, what did he mean about Henry Fonda? Well, for those who missed the reference, I had in mind that very moving (and, I would argue, hauntingly Democratic) scene where Fonda’s character tells Ma Joad . . . “Wherever there’s a fight so hungry people can eat, I’ll be there. Wherever there’s a cop beatin’ up a guy, I’ll be there. I’ll be in the way guys yell when they’re mad – I’ll be in the way kids laugh when they’re hungry an’ they know supper’s ready. An’ when the people are eatin’ the stuff they raise, and livin’ in the houses they build – I’ll be there, too.”

And now you’re thinking, how’d-a he find-a this Fonda?  And even this (very warbly) soundclip of it?  Does he spend hours researching these columns?  And I tell you, coming full circle, that it’s magic!  I typed Alt-G, which instantly jumped the cursor to my browser’s Google toolbar.  Then I typed “Wherever there’s a” “I’ll be there” [with the quotation marks] and, searching the entire universe of human data output in a second and a half – poof! – there it was.  Boy, this is an exciting time to be alive.

 

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