Ramblings & ephemera

David Pogue’s insights about tech over time

From David Pogue’s “The Lessons of 10 Years of Talking Tech” (The New York Times: 25 November 2010): As tech decades go, this one has been a jaw-dropper. Since my first column in 2000, the tech world has not so much blossomed as exploded. Think of all the commonplace tech that didn’t even exist 10 […]

What Google’s book settlement means

Image via Wikipedia From Robert Darnton’s “Google & the Future of Books” (The New York Review of Books: 12 February 2009): As the Enlightenment faded in the early nineteenth century, professionalization set in. You can follow the process by comparing the Encyclopédie of Diderot, which organized knowledge into an organic whole dominated by the faculty […]

The limitations of Windows 7 on netbooks

From Farhad Manjoo’s “I, for One, Welcome Our New Android Overlords” (Slate: 5 June 2008): Microsoft promises that Windows 7 will be able to run on netbooks, but it has announced a risky strategy to squeeze profits from these machines. The company plans to cripple the cheapest versions of the new OS in order to […]

A better alternative to text CAPTCHAs

From Rich Gossweiler, Maryam Kamvar, & Shumeet Baluja’s “What’s Up CAPTCHA?: A CAPTCHA Based On Image Orientation” (Google: 20-24 April 2009): There are several classes of images which can be successfully oriented by computers. Some objects, such as faces, cars, pedestrians, sky, grass etc. … Many images, however, are difficult for computers to orient. For […]

Extreme male brains

From Joe Clark’s “The extreme Google brain” (Fawny: 26 April 2009): … Susan Pinker’s The Sexual Paradox, which explains, using scientific findings, why large majorities of girls and women behave almost identically at different stages of their lives – while large minorities of boys and men show vast variability compared to each other and to […]

More on Google’s server farms

From Joel Hruska’s “The Beast unveiled: inside a Google server” (Ars Technica: 2 April 2009): Each Google server is hooked to an independent 12V battery to keep the units running in the event of a power outage. Data centers themselves are built and housed in shipping containers (we’ve seen Sun pushing this trend as well), […]

Google’s server farm revealed

From Nicholas Carr’s “Google lifts its skirts” (Rough Type: 2 April 2009): I was particularly surprised to learn that Google rented all its data-center space until 2005, when it built its first center. That implies that The Dalles, Oregon, plant (shown in the photo above) was the company’s first official data smelter. Each of Google’s […]

My new book – Google Apps Deciphered – is out!

I’m really proud to announce that my 5th book is now out & available for purchase: Google Apps Deciphered: Compute in the Cloud to Streamline Your Desktop. My other books include: Don’t Click on the Blue E!: Switching to Firefox Hacking Knoppix Linux Phrasebook Podcasting with Audacity: Creating a Podcast With Free Audio Software (I’ve […]

A single medium, with a single search engine, & a single info source

From Nicholas Carr’s “All hail the information triumvirate!” (Rough Type: 22 January 2009): Today, another year having passed, I did the searches [on Google] again. And guess what: World War II: #1 Israel: #1 George Washington: #1 Genome: #1 Agriculture: #1 Herman Melville: #1 Internet: #1 Magna Carta: #1 Evolution: #1 Epilepsy: #1 Yes, it’s […]

Many layers of cloud computing, or just one?

From Nicholas Carr’s “Further musings on the network effect and the cloud” (Rough Type: 27 October 2008): I think O’Reilly did a nice job of identifying the different layers of the cloud computing business – infrastructure, development platform, applications – and I think he’s right that they’ll have different economic and competitive characteristics. One thing […]

Preserve links after a website move with mod_rewrite

My blog was at http://www.granneman.com/blog, but I then moved it, after several years of living at its old address, to http://blog.granneman.com. I wanted to preserve all my links, however, so that someone going to http://www.granneman.com/blog/2008/04/20/after-a-stroke-he-can-write-but-cant-read/ would instead end up at http://blog.granneman.com/2008/04/20/after-a-stroke-he-can-write-but-cant-read/. To do this, I edited the .htaccess file in http://www.granneman.com/blog to read as follows […]

An analysis of Google’s technology, 2005

From Stephen E. Arnold’s The Google Legacy: How Google’s Internet Search is Transforming Application Software (Infonortics: September 2005): The figure Google’s Fusion: Hardware and Software Engineering shows that Google’s technology framework has two areas of activity. There is the software engineering effort that focuses on PageRank and other applications. Software engineering, as used here, means […]

An analysis of splogs: spam blogs

From Charles C. Mann’s “Spam + Blogs = Trouble” (Wired: September 2006): Some 56 percent of active English-language blogs are spam, according to a study released in May by Tim Finin, a researcher at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and two of his students. “The blogosphere is growing fast,” Finin says. “But the splogosphere […]

Google PageRank explained

From Danny Sullivan’s “What Is Google PageRank? A Guide For Searchers & Webmasters” (Search Engine Land: 26 April 2007): Let’s start with what Google says. In a nutshell, it considers links to be like votes. In addition, it considers that some votes are more important than others. PageRank is Google’s system of counting link votes […]

Tim O’Reilly defines cloud computing

From Tim O’Reilly’s “Web 2.0 and Cloud Computing” (O’Reilly Radar: 26 October 2008): Since “cloud” seems to mean a lot of different things, let me start with some definitions of what I see as three very distinct types of cloud computing: 1. Utility computing. Amazon’s success in providing virtual machine instances, storage, and computation at […]

How technologies have changed politics, & how Obama uses tech

From Marc Ambinder’s “HisSpace” (The Atlantic: June 2008): Improvements to the printing press helped Andrew Jackson form and organize the Democratic Party, and he courted newspaper editors and publishers, some of whom became members of his Cabinet, with a zeal then unknown among political leaders. But the postal service, which was coming into its own […]

I for one welcome our new OS overlords: Google Chrome

As some of you may have heard, Google has announced its own web browser, Chrome. It’s releasing the Windows version today, with Mac & Linux versions to follow. To educate people about the new browser & its goals, they release a 38 pg comic book drawn by the brilliant Scott McCloud. It’s a really good […]

Synchronizing Outlook & Google Apps

Plaxo http://www.plaxo.com (web-based) OggSync http://oggsync.com ScheduleWorld http://www.scheduleworld.com iCal4OL http://ical.gutentag.ch Google Calendar Sync https://www.google.com/support/calendar/bin/answer.py?answer=89955

How Google motivates employees

From Larry Page’s “How to Motivate Your Staff” (Business 2.0: December 2003: 90): We wrote a program that asks every engineer what they did every week. It sends them e-mail on Monday, and concatenates the e-mails together in a document that everyone can read. And it then sends that out to everyone and shames those […]

Great, wonderfully-designed consumer products

From Farhad Manjoo’s “iPod: I love you, you’re perfect, now change” (Salon: 23 October 2006): There are very few consumer products about which you’d want to read a whole book — the Google search engine, the first Mac, the Sony Walkman, the VW Beetle. Levy proves that the iPod, which turns five years old today, […]