The fine folks over at the Big G put together a cracking Doctor Who-themed doodle/game for the programme’s 50th anniversary. See if you can beat my time of 19:08 (it shouldn’t be too difficult)!
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+.
According to anonymous sources via The Wall Street Journal, Apple is possibly in the process of wooing at least CBS and Disney into a subscription service for streaming television. The basic rundown is that the customer could subscribe to a program stream without having to deal with those messy, customer-unfriendly cable companies that everyone I know loathes and despises in a vein similar to their affections for Terrorists and Nazi Zombies.
I, for one, am ecstatic about the prospect of only having to pay for the small handful of channels I watch (when I actually sit down and watch television). If I want The Military History Channel, I don’t want to have to purchase Golf TV, BET, Lifetime, etc. when I will practically never find myself actively watching such tripe. Of course, this is something we’ve all been subjected to since the advent and explosion of the format since the 1980’s. I remember talk during the late 90’s about the FCC kicking around the idea of “TV a la carte” wherein, thanks to programmable receivers, consumers would be able to purchase subscriptions only for networks they actually watch. Lobbies representing the cable providers (namely Comcast and Verizon, if memory serves correctly) immediately went into action championing the plight of the niche-market TV networks–small, usually locally-oriented, stations that have little to no widespread appeal (think low-power UHF stations of old)–saying they would inevitably be destroyed if no one had the opportunity to stumble upon them. Thankfully, we now have Web 2.0. With its proliferation of on-demand services such as RSS, YouTube, Twitter, etc., the “no one will ever see this” excuse is practically eliminated.
I think this is certainly the start of something new and necessary for the growth of entertainment, information, and technology. With seemingly limitless options provided by the Interweb, television doesn’t have to be held hostage to timeslots…or location-specific receivers, for that matter. My only concern is the fact that Apple might keep a stranglehold on the market–is there a way to make sure that the receiver software stays open? I don’t want to have to deal with iTunes just to keep up with 24 or Doctor Who. Frankly, I don’t want to have to deal with iTunes, period, but that’s a subject for another time.
In the meantime: Streaming media to your set-top box, laptop, or phone? Yes, please.
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.
What ________ needs
Here’s how it works: Google “[your first name] needs” and share the first 10 results. That’s it: it is that simple. But be honest! Tag the person who tagged you, and pass it on…
1. Matthew needs to bring sexy back.
2. Because Matthew needs to realize it’s possible for him to be wrong….
3. Who thinks Matthew needs to stop asking questions about Regan Smith?
4. Matthew Needs – Plymouth | Facebook
5. Matthew Needs – LinkedIn
6. MySpace.com – Matthew needs more Jesus
7. Matthew Needs (Hansard, 14 July 1982)
8. Matthew Needs
9. Groucho’s family: What Matthew needs.
10. MySpace.com Blogs – New Project, and Matthew needs your help….
Apparently, there’s actually this person named “Matthew Needs” and that kinda buggered-up my results.