Memorial Day 2017

Winfield Kansas remembers.

With a replica of the Washington DC monument, the Winfield, Kansas Vietnam War Memorial lists all Kansas residents lost in Vietnam. Plans for the Vietnam War Memorial in Winfield began in 1987 when friends who had gathered for a class reunion wanted to find a way to honor their fallen classmates.  The project quickly grew from honoring only Cowley County servicemen to representing all 777 servicemen and nurses from Kansas who lost their lives or are missing in action from the Vietnam War. It was also created as a tribute to servicemen and nurses who served in any world war, and the central obelisk memorializes wars from the revolutionary war, to the World War, as well as POW’s and those Missing in action.

Many gathered today at the memorial, some placing flowers, others making rubbings of the wall, and still others just pausing with loved ones to take photos. It was a very moving display. The author opted not to take photos which would include those grieving. The city placed the flags as a memorial.

Google Allo and Me

Well, Google is changing things up again. Whether for the good or for the bad remains to be seen.

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I downloaded Google Allo to give it a go, but none of my contacts appear to be using it. From initial toying about, it seems to be nothing more than a Googlized Kik with Google Now assistant integrated. It is essentially an advanced Google Hangouts with SMS and a host of other features.

I have for a while, used Google Hangouts as my exclusive SMS solution (though Google provides an exclusive SMS/MMS app Google Messenger), and was very disappointed when the extremely useful in decluttering Hangouts and SMS merging feature was taken away. Additionally, video conversations have moved to Google Duo, while text + stickers + photos etc has moved to Google Allo. I assume Hangouts will remain as a Facebook Messenger competitor for Google+, though with Google’s track record of killing apps and features that people love, it may be in the hot seat. For now, the web site and the app still offer Video Call, Phone Call and Message as options, and if you have a Google Voice number, it still works to call to and from as well as text to and from using Hangouts. It’s very disappointing that they aren’t just bundling all of these features into a single app, if for no other reason than to save space and reduce confusion. Several other companies allow video, photo, SMS, MMS, stickers, drawing etc all from one app, so Google’s reasoning remains unknown.

Their features as touted on the Allo site areas follows:

Respond without typing, in your style.

Smart Reply lets you keep the conversation moving with a single tap by suggesting text and emoji responses based on your personality. For example, it learns if you’re more of a “haha” or “lol” person so the more you use Google Allo, the more “you” the suggestions become.

*Feature only available in English.

Shout, or whisper it, to get your point across.

Add more meaning to your words by adjusting the size of your text. When you need more than ALL CAPS to get your point across, simply slide up to shout, and down to whisper.

Turn any photo into a work of art.

Get creative with the photos you send by doodling on them or adding text. Draw a smiley face, turn your friends into memes, and mix in some color.

*Feature only available on Android.

Say it all with the perfect sticker.

Stickers in Google Allo are designed by independent artists and studios from around the world. From Drama Llama to Food Party, add some fun to the conversation when words aren’t enough.

Meet your personal Google Assistant.

Allo brings you the Google Assistant, preview edition.

Get help from your Google Assistant without leaving the conversation.

Your Assistant can suggest restaurants nearby or movies to check out, right in your conversation. Find videos to share, get directions, and seek answers together with your friends. Just add @google, and your Assistant is ready to help.

Chat one-on-one with your Google Assistant, whenever you need it.

Get the latest scores from the game. Find out how far you are from the airport, and when your flight leaves. You decide what to share with your Assistant, and the more you use it, the more useful it gets.

Say it privately in Incognito mode.

Start an incognito chat to send a message with end-to-end encryption. Incognito mode also comes with expiring chats so you can control how long your messages stick around and private notifications to help keep your chats more discreet.

And of course, the partner app, Google Duo for video calling. Their features as touted on the Duo site are as follows:

Be together in the moment. Get closer to everyone you love with simple, high-quality video calling on iOS and Android.

Face to face with just a tap. Simple one-tap calling and super smooth switching from cell to Wi-Fi make it easy to check in from anywhere.

See what’s up before you answer. Preview incoming video calls from everyone in your contacts with Knock Knock. So whether it’s your mom’s first skydiving trip or your friend’s shiny new ring, you’ll never miss a moment.*