Google Virtual Reality Glasses

Google Virtual Reality glasses are available at Amazon.com

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The End of the Internet

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It took some time with thousands of files, music, photos and spam mail but I finally hit the wall with my free storage on Google. The same thing  is happening on the hard drive which edging toward full capacity.
My whole life is like this, a cellar and attic full of stuff. So much stuff. I know I am in trouble when I buy more storage bins to hold the stuff I never plan to use.
Gmail stores all the mail you send and receive which is the reason that Hillary didn’t use it. My mailbox is a mess. I have offers from Nigeria for millions of dollars, political newsletters from 2008 etc. You probably have the same problem don’t you?

So what should I do? 100GB for 2 bucks a month seems like a good bargain. Ten bucks a month for a full terabyte seems even better.
I’m such a Google fanboy that they are always my first choice for technology. However the folks at Amazon give me money when folks buy stuff from the links on my blogs. I like Amazon so much that I signed up for Prime, which seemed silly at first but they keep adding stuff like this:
UNLIMITED STORAGE FOR $60! 

It’s like finding a warehouse of storage bins. The unlimited photos is amazing considering that it includes some RAW formats (Nikon, Canon, DNG, TIFF, PNG).  I realize that just as I reached the end of the internet, I found a wormhole to another dimension.
Time to get that Yottabyte of stuff uploaded.

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Cries from the ghost town that is Google+

I realize that Google+ is supposed to be a ghost town. There are a number of online articles comparing the Google+ to Facebook as if the two were equivalent.

Let’s be clear, Facebook is a social network. A place to leave short messages to your friends and play games together. Google+ is a platform or infrastructure.  Google+ has a social aspect with its circle mechanism but it is not simply that.

The latest upgrades have taken Google+ to a brand new level and I suspect are the reason the stock topped $900 yesterday. Integration with existing products has been improved and I like the new clean look.

Since I use it heavily for sharing photos I was pleasantly surprised to see improvements to the photo search algorithms. Here is a graphic outlining the latest changes.

Google I/O 2013 Announcements by trendblog.net
Google I/O 2013 Announcements by trendblog.net

I don’t hate Facebook, I just think it is flawed… no we are flawed

I’m guilty of bashing Facebook. My sister has brought this to my attention. Okay, good point and readers of this blog and my other online venues deserve an explanation.

Actually it is not the technology that is flawed. Like many other things in life it is human behavior. The ability to write something about someone and post it to millions of folks is almost magical. Sadly if it is a negative comment, the author is insulated from looking into the eyes of the subject of the posting.

Text has little context, it is very easy to hurt folks feelings. I went on a Facebook diet after reading a series of disturbing postings. I care about my family and friends and it is very distressing to read them bashing each other.

Is this the fault of Facebook? Of course not, but they have flaws in their user interface. I have no idea what the difference is between posting on my Wall and posting to “friends”. I don’t like that I can’t really edit a previous post. The privacy settings are a mess. The joke is that they had a Initial Public Offering because they couldn’t figure out their own privacy settings.

Terry Gross on NPR’s show Fresh Air  had a show called Keeping Your Kids Safe Online which featured the author of Talking Back to Facebook. I strongly recommend that parents and educators give it a listen.

Do I use Facebook? Of course, evidence is the FACEBOOK Family page and New Ipswich page that I created. I did this because I like to facilitate connections and I understand the technology. These pages were created for the Facebook community since the majority of users are here. However the quality assurance part of me realizes how badly Facebook has been slapped together, so that is my reason to push the Google alternative.

Both entities are mining our personal information for profit. If is is “free” we are the product, but at least Google is more elegant with their data mining.

For me a big part of sharing is the large catalog of family photos in my possession. I spend hours adding keywords, geographic data, labels, captions and more to these photos. Facebook tosses all that aside and uses a proprietary database. They even throw away time stamps and rename the files. For me that is a complete FAIL.  Also once uploaded to their database, I am prevented to block downloading and re-sharing .

I have many photos of living children. I want to share the photos but I want to be assured that I know exactly who the audience will be. That audience is usually my immediate family and closest friends.

We are social animal, this is a fact but what do you make of seeing a couple at a restaurant, each staring at a little screen instead of looking at each other? Does that disturb you? It is worthy of contemplation.

My choice of flawed social networking remain Google+ find me there.

Hangouts on air

There are some Hangouts that I have wanted to attend that featured photography topics. Sadly since these are held usually when I was at work, it was inconvenient to schedule the time. I’m glad to see that they can now be recorded for replay.

This might be a real boon for online music lessons and collaboration too!

Well done Google, well done!

Google Music Store – First Impressions

Those who know me realize what a fanboy I am for Google. My co-workers told me today they could have a drinking game based on how many times I mention Google.

In spite of the teasing, Google has a winner with Google Music. Sure iTunes has been around for a while but I see some great things here. What are they?

  • Sample plays are 1 1/2 minutes instead of 30 seconds
  • You can share a full play with your friends
  • Free Music
  • Upload 20,000 songs of your own for free to stream
  • Listen via the cloud
  • Integration with Google+  (the vast wasteland that I like)
  • Independent artists can post their music and collect 70% of revenue
  • Catalog seems deep enough, I found the Stanley Brothers (see image)

Word Clouds and Ripples

Have you ever seen a word cloud?

This is one I created for the blog blog.poltrack.net. They are created by linking the frequency of words in a document to the font size, boldness and sometimes color of the words. Obviously SNOW has been a prominent noun in my blog.

You can create your your own from the website wordle.net.

You can create one from pasted text, or any website that has a RSS feed  (try musings.poltrack.net).

I recommend you read the FAQ on this website, it’s very entertaining especially the question about the “Sexsmith” font.

This cloud tells a bit about my use of words, but has no information about their importance to my readers. I get a vague idea if I get a comment or a +1 check mark, some analytic data about page hits and time on page but it is a hit or miss exercise.

Google+  recently added a new feature called Ripples showing how public posts are shared (on Google+). Presumably if your post  is interesting and compelling it will be re-shared.  For example the Dalai Lama:

Happy Halloween (Thanks Google)

Okay. I’ll confess again.

I’m a Google fanboy. I use their tools to share all the family stuff. The website, the blogs, the pictures, the documents… everything!

I even have stock in the company, which was the right thing to do.

However even a non-geek will have to admit they seem to be innovative (and fun) place  to work.

They have different logos for different events. If you missed today’s Halloween “doodle“, watch this video.

When did you ever get paid to carve a pumpkin?