Tag Archives: Google

Tidbits Recently Found On the Internet That Caught My Eye

Been away from the web for a few days– never a bad thing, but it does take a little time to catch up again.  Here a couple nice tidbits, in the order I was attracted to them:

Lots to do today, so not much time to talk, but check out the new photos in Oshkosh, and here are the shots from Michelle’s birthday:

You're Saying You Didn't See This Coming?

Gina from Lifehacker had a post yesterday about Google’s dominance of her personal online data and her [late, futile] attempts to stop it.  Well, basically, it’s a post about how Yahoo! search is more or less just as good as Google, but my summary of her motivation is accurate.

I’m not saying “I told you so,” or anything like that, because I am every bit as guilty of feeding the Googles as most average internetters.  To be honest, there is just too much that they do too well to justify NOT using a lot of their (free!) services.  To only come to grips with the risk inherent in giving one company control of so much information at the three- or four-year mark seems oddly shortsighted, though.

Have we just buried our heads in the digital sand up to this point, innately aware but consciously ambivalent about this course of events?  Is it possible we’ve reached a social tipping point, and this may signal the start of a mainstream Google backlash?

It's All On the Googles, Man.

I should know better by now: every idea or thought worth having has probably been had already, and indexed by Google.

I have periodically ruminated at my desk in the afternoons, “Hmm, it sure would be nice to scrobble my Pandora listening to last.fm,” but I never bothered to do anything about it.  One quick G-search for “scrobble pandora list to last.fm” turned up this post about one’s options for marrying the two services.  Who knew?  Apparently, this Ted chap in Columbus did, and almost two years ago at that, but hey… *shrug*

I am trying out the OpenPandora app on my computer @ work (seein as it runs Windows), but will probably give a shot to PandoraFM at home on Ubuntu. **Some edits: well, I guess info on the Internet gets old, too.  Seems that I got a little excited too quickly on this one; can’t get OpenPandora OR PandoraFM to scrobble a frakkin thing.  I found some other leads, though, including a Firefox extension that I’ll try out.  Will update as appropriate. Might be an interesting way for people who don’t have a huge music collection or minute-to-minute access to it to start scrobbling

Carry on, my wayward son; have a good weekend.

Windows 7 & the Growth of Linux

Lifehacker had a post on this topic today.  It’s a relatively geeky group that follows that blog, so the comment traffic was understandably dense and heated.  I haven’t had a chance to read through all the commentary, but it raised an interesting thought for me, as I now consider myself an experienced Ubuntu user, and I’m also participating in the Windows 7 beta…

There seems to be some effort on the part of Microsoft to shore up several of their OS’s shortcomings over the last 10 years or so with this newest release.  A few of the features that are being added and more development going in to certain aspects of the software that have been lacking is a big step in the right direction.

I was brought back to the reason I actively switched over to Ubuntu, though: in Linux land, you are a participant in a community of users and developers sharing ideas and helping each other make things work (if I sound like some goddamned hippie socialist, stay tuned…).  With Windows, you pretty much always have (and probably always will) had an easier out-of-the-box experience, and considering the market share that the operating system commands in the developed world, there’s no reason to think that will change any time soon.

However, there are certain ways that even paying customers are made to feel like they’re being punished in Windows (DRM and Genuine Windows validation are my favorites), and that’s not the case for Linux.  I switched because I don’t want to pay a license fee for a piece of software I can get by without.  That is the MARKET working at its best, Commies!  The growth of computing in the developing/third world during this century is one way that I could see Linux “winning” in the long run.  If Microsoft fails at either marketing themselves in these developing areas, or if their product simply proves to be too costly, Linux will eat up that market share, and quickly.

But even then, what is “winning” in this context?  In my mind, the existence of multiple platforms and competing products is what leads to the best consumer experience.  Do you think there would be an Internet Explorer 7 or a Google Chrome if there hadn’t been Mozilla and Firefox?  Of course not.  Same goes for the new Windows.  Being pushed to innovation by your competitors is what American capitalism is all about.

Will a new and improved Windows OS make Linux shrivel up and go away?  Unlikely; the latter has far too passionate a group of enthusiasts working on this software because they ENJOY IT as much as any other reason.  A better and easier Windows might stifle the interest in Linux for some, but that reciprocal challenge is how software development should work.

Choking on My Googles

Hey, in case you were looking for something fun to do with your gmail account, try this:

  1. Forward your Gmail address to your more oft-used POP3 account
  2. Don’t logically think through how mail servers behave
  3. Set your Gmail account to check the POP3 mail from THE SAME ACCOUNT YOU’RE FORWARDING TO.
  4. Watch the mail pour in with the feedback loop you just created!!

In all seriousness, though, is anyone out there using Google Apps (formerly ‘Google Apps for your domain)?  Anything good or bad to say about that?

A Welcome Addition

A part of me is very afraid of all the information that Google is collecting.  The scariest part is that unlike people, who reach a certain capacity point and then begin to purge (“Whoops, closet’s full– what can I get rid of..?”), Google is just looking to find ways to store MORE information.  They never throw anything out.  What are you going to do with all of that in the long run, y’know?

That being said, I am a frequent user of serveral of their software products.  By default, I use both their search engine and their map software.  An addition to the latter that is just AWESOME in my book is the “public transit” map option that just recently debuted for Milwaukee.

I pay about 30 bucks a month for an UNLIMITED bus pass through the university.  It’s great, because I don’t need to pay for parking at work or worry about finding a space, and I also save the gas money and wear-and-tear on the car.  However, I really don’t use the bus other that for getting to work (and occasionally to Michelle’s), in large part because figuring out how to get from point A to point B on a particular schedule is sort of pain.

No longer a problem with the public-transit-google-mapping.  Tell it where I want to start from, where I need to go, and what time I need to get there, and it gives me all the info I need.  VERY cool and FANTASTICALLY convenient.  I just might start driving even less…

Try it out– here’s just an example of a route I have to take to go see an  apartment tomorrow morning (different unit in the same building I mentioned last week).

Good, Bad, or Indifferent?

I don’t get a lot of visitors to my site.  That doesn’t really bother me at all.  I’m just trying to entertain, enlighten, or inform those precious few, and also myself.

That being said, while this WordPress site is “in development,” I have a feature turned on that keeps Google’s prying eyes away from this webspace, and the site stays “off the grid” to a certain extent.  I’m considering whether or not I should keep that feature enabled once I formally go live with it.  I don’t have much of a rationale for this consideration.  What could I possibly say or do here that would suddenly overrun my server with traffic?  At the same time, who needs to find me via a Google search?  If you’re reading this blog, odds are over 99.9% that we have met and maintain contact face-to-face.

Any thoughts on this topic?