I gotta give some proper respect to Google for their Doodle yesterday celebrating the 115th birthday of pioneer aviatrix Amelia Earhart. I often appreciate Google’s clever variations on their home page logo, but this is the first time I recall anyone in aviation being honoured with a Doodle. Here’s hoping that Igor Sikorsky gets his one day!
I kinda grimaced when Google announced their rebranding Music and Android Market into “Google Play.” To me, it just seemed like an idea that came from marketing as some hackneyed effort to breathe some perceived new vibrancy into a product that hadn’t even scratched its showroom paint yet. It certainly didn’t come from engineering, as the following screenshot can attest:
As you can see, Google Music has become “Play Music,” and, when put next to the built-in Android music player, might cause some embarrassingly humourous (and vaguely confusing) results. Granted, I’m excited about the potential of Play: if I can upload and stream my video files the same way I can with my music, I’ll enjoy being able to access my entertainment on the go without lugging around an external hard drive or even my lappy.
It’s clearly Google positioning itself to compete directly with Apple’s iCloud service, but, for the Big G’s sake, I hope that they work out the kinks between the different apps quickly or it all may be doomed to suffer the same fate as Google+.
He did it. He won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.
George Orwell, 1984
In a turn of events that one might argue a little unnerving, Google announced that it will soon be crawling your public Facebook posts. For me, as a person who understands the permanence of the Web, this comes as no real surprise. I think that most of the fear and, therefore, outcry will come from the huddled masses (mostly teenagers and young adults) who mainly tend to use Facebook as a public platform for whining about their interpersonal problems/issues/drama. Personally, I believe that sort of venting is why God invented the pub.
Twitter has been Google searchable for some time now, and it only makes sense that Facebook finally let the ‘bots crawl all over it’s walled garden. After all, the whole network has long been just a farm ground for paid advertisers, and Zuck himself has referred to his own customers as “dumb fucks.”
It’s also worth noting that this initiative will also affect other networks that may or may not require a log-in to view comments (Disqus, et al) because of the way the process utilizes (exploits) HTML standards. For a company that maintains that they can “make money without doing evil” as part of their fundamental philosophy, this is a rather odd step for Google–twisting a set of guidelines that has long been the “gentleman’s agreement” concerning the way requests are handled across the Web.
My advice, at least for now, is to keep the drama off the social networks. If you need to vent, call your mates. In the mean time, adjust your privacy settings, opt out of any 3rd-party marketing initiatives, and mind what how you comment on others’ posts–they may not have the same privacy settings as you.
Read the full article here (via Wired)
There’s been a lot of buzz about this extension for OpenOffice.org that will allow you to sync your documents with Google Docs. I ran across it looking for a solution to my (apparently not unique) problem of automating a system of backing-up documents to Google Docs. Ubuntu users will have to uninstall their out-of-the-box version of OOo and reinstall via terminal before this will work. The setup is actually pretty simple:
1. From the Ubuntu main menu, select Add/Remove Programs.
2. Search for “openoffice”, and uncheck all the installed components. OpenOffice.org Drawing may give you a required package error, but this is no problem. Uninstall the other components, then go back to uninstall Drawing.
3. From the terminal: sudo apt-get install openoffice.org
4. Download the extension here.
5. From the OOo main menu, select -> (Alt-T-E for those who like keyboard shortcuts.)
6. Click “Add…”, select the downloaded file (“gdocs[version number].odx” or something to that effect), and “Open”. The extension will then install. Click “Close” when complete and restart OOo.
You should notice a new floating toolbar with 5 icons. The first two (from the left) are specific to Google Docs (upload and download respectively). The latter are for Zoho and WebDAV, which I don’t use (at least at this point). Click either of the GDox buttons and you will be prompted for your username and password. The rest is fairly self-explanitory.
The only gripe I have with this extension is the lack of true document synchronization. When uploaded, multiple copies of the same document will exist on the Google server until you manually delete them. This is currently under revision and should be fixed when the update is released.
It’s still got a few bugs to work out (like automatically recognizing media in Gnome), but I’m quite happy with Picasa for Linux. Even better news is that v3 runs natively in Ubuntu even under a 64-bit architecture–no emulation or Wine required!
Calendar synchronization has been the main reason I haven’t used Google Calendar or the native BlackBerry calendar has been a lack of synchronicity. I’m just annoyed with the idea of having to enter multiple instances of an event in multiple places, so I never used them. Facebook got smart and integrated calendar sync with the new Facebook for BlackBerry, and now I can keep track of my Facebook events with my Storm. I finally found where Google has developed a sync application that updates the calendar and contacts list.
“Using your BlackBerry smartphone’s native calendar, you can now access your Google calendar even when you don’t have network coverage and be alerted for upcoming appointments with sound or vibration. Your Google Calendar stays synchronized whether you access it from your computer or your phone. You can add or edit entries right on your BlackBerry smartphone or on your Google Calendar on the web.”
Just point the BlackBerry browser to http://m.google.com/sync.
Being a denizen of the Web for over *shudder* 15 years, I’ve come to notice that I have a lot of junk profiles just laying around. My brilliant idea last night was to consolidate them into a neat package (along with my laptop and Blackberry) so as to provide myself the neatest, tightest Web footprint possible. I’m also in the midst of changing my online identity–having used the same one since 1998. Nevermind the motives, but here’s what I’ve come up with so far:
Facebook remains the hub of all my social networking.
Sites like Last.fm and YouTube get revised and updated with a new login.
Extraneous Google accounts get 86’d.
Extraneous GMail accounts get forwarded to my new primary address.
Sites I rarely never use anymore like Yahoo! and MySpace get the 86.
The other brilliant idea I had was a sort of universal login where I could bypass login screens for the various sites I use. Firefox has the universal password feature, but I want something that will authenticate on all the servers with one login (because, frankly, I’m too lazy to click something again). I did a little surfing and came across OpenID, and it looks like a promising solution. More to come with further research.