Monday, November 5, 2007

What's up with Google?

We are all familiar with the default search engine of the computing world. We have used it at least once if you happen to be stuck or lost in the world of the internet.
Then...
It offered us an email service with 4 gigabyte storage. I can access it through my email client using POP and through my mobile phone if I want to. I'll get back to this point later.
Then...
Google bought YouTube. YouTube is the video posting web site of the world. Period. Google Earth came to map the world and let us geographically pin our photos and videos just as we would on a map on the board.
Then it offered Office productivity softwares in the web. These applications are not downloaded to your hard drives but are accessible in any computer, whatever the operating system, as long as it is connected to the internet. These applications live and work with you in your browsers.
In my personal computing, I also use Picasa and Google reader. I have waited for a service like Picasa because when you want to post a picture or graphics in the web, you need to upload it first and Picasa provides this for free. And of course if your cup of coffee is blogging instead of social networking then you go to Blogger which is another Google creation.
I have an account by the way: http://donatoroque.blogspot.com/ if you want to catch me writing.
What is my point?
The search engine is free. The email account and the 4 gigabyte storage is free. The Blogger account is free. Office productivity applications, long the mainstay of Microsoft Office, is free if you use your browser and go to google docs. It does not mean utopia where everyone exists equally with another. But what it does to access to information is revolutionary.
Google is also part of the One Laptop Per Child project which aims to deliver a sturdy kid laptop to third world countries at a cost of $100 per laptop.
Google is also partnering with Universities and libraries around the world to scan books for digital access.
So to tie this to the local situation where the latest count of mobile phone users is about 30 million, google's broad offering for the computer user is beginning to shift to mobile users. The Philippine computer population is about 15,000 users. A transition to the mobile phone if done right is truly a revolution.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Despite the controversy over the increase in the fees internet radio will be paying, I am glad to see visible signs that internet radio continue to flourish and hold its own. The technology to broadcast in the internet has never been more simple and cheap. Most internet radio are kept by hobbyist and dedicated enthusiasts.
Rhythmbox is prepared to play music from Live365 stations. Just go to the Live365 web site and pick your station. Rhythmbox will play the content by default. The next time you want to listen to the particular station in Live365, just open Rhythmbox. No need to open the browser.
There are however dedicated browser only internet radio like AccuRadio - www.accuradio.com. I hear they are offering AccuHolidays stations. Good for the Yuletide season. I also like their cross-platform policy. You can play their music in IE, firefox and Opera. I don't understand why certain people would want to stick to only IE or only Windows media player. It's dumb.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Since I downloaded Ubuntu 7.10 gutsy gibbon last October 18 it has delighted me with its fine integration. I like the update to firefox with its add-on manager. I can say that this is the firefox that conviced me that there are much better applications
out there than any put out by Microsoft especially compared with Internet explorer.
Unlike the firefox version used in windows, the Ubuntu version is simple and lightweight. The necessity of keeping the windows version more secure added to its bloat. Security should have been an OS issue and not a browser issue. Most malware and hackers attack the browser application but if the operating system itself is secure then the issue is contained. The latest version of Ubuntu uses Apparmor to address the issue of application security.
Ubuntu gives me all the time to work on my work rather than being the provider of additional worries. Internet surfing is safer therefore I can get back to writing, research and getting my music and information without the bleeding time of keeping
secure.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Today is the final release of Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon the version
designated as 7.10, the most stable release of Ubuntu for
October 2007.

I started the upgrade process by opening my upgrade manager and
looks like it is going to be an all night session of download.

Everybody who had the chance to preview the beta and alpha versions
are excited and praised the new features which should solidify the
improvements already included in Feisty Fawn. Ubuntu has another
winner with Gutsy Gibbon.

If this works on my computer after the install, you'll hear all about
it in the morning. Or not. The estimated download time is from
10 to 14 hours. See you tomorrow. I leave the computer on to
download the upgrade because this is important.

It did not go as planned. Somewhere down the fetching process
my upgrade stopped. I reset the download and finished it when
I got home at 7 in the evening. When I reboot, the fresh install
did not recognize my graphics card and it shows me the log in
page in the wrong resolution. Houston, we have a problem!

I decided to download an iso of Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon and finish
that first. Then backup all my data. Do a clean install. I should
have done it this way anyway but I was too lazy.

I have the Gutsy Gibbon in my personal computer and it looks
snazzy. It's fast. I have to put in most of my old stuff and that's
the real job here. Putting it all back. I wish there was an easier
way to go about it. I also lost some email and documents. That
was my fault. I knew I had to tinker with the hard drive so I
should have performed a backup at the latest time.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Assertion of Responsibility

The science of global warming and climate change has a lot of
open questions yet to resolve . This means a lot of research and
study to be discussed by scientists and validated in scientific labs
and controlled experiments. The equally mounting evidence to its
being a fact of science is undeniable now. Our generation is in
fact living its initial effects.

The major producers of carbon emissions are the manufacturing
activities of the economy. Our dependence on carbon fuel for our
cars and other vehicles and machines to produce our electricity to
power our homes and everyday activities put us, man, in the
center of this science.

Much like the controversy when Darwin first put out his theory of
evolution, global warming and climate change put us and science
too close to exercise our detached observations. A lot is at stake,
only the future of the world and its finite resources.

While most educated men adopts a positive attitude of recognizing
the conclusions of scientists and global experts, that is they submit
to a more green lifestyle change, some have expressed their denial
of what seems to be overwhelming evidence gathered by scientists.
What we should do now is to bring more science into the discussion,
what we should bring is more cooperation and sensible thinking,
what we should acknowledge is the tremendous responsibility
regardless of who is to blame.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Changing My Gnome


I have made some changes in my desktop. Having two panels in the
screen really flattens the view and I figured I have space to give
horizontally.

I pulled the upper panel to the left side to maximize my mouse
movements on the left area. I made a couple of nice background
images to complement the new order and set them up to fit nicely
within the 30 pixel panels and to enhance the icons. I added a
gedit application icon. I noticed I kept clicking Applications when
I could put the icon out in the panel. I resisted the urge to put more
icon in the panel as the vertical space there proved to be becoming
a little bit crowded.

I disabled beryl and compiz all together because that is not how I work
and it just does not fit with my work flow. It is nice to the eye but I
made my decision. It made my job faster, more efficient. I guess until
the next eye candy comes around.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Using the Epiphany Browser


To appreciate the Gnome desktop for all its sensible functions and
the simple interface, I have to use the default elements that come
with it. I am using Evolution for my email client, Totem for video
playing and Rhythmbox for audio/music playback.

I downloaded Epiphany to replace Firefox, the default browser of
Ubuntu. I wanted a tighter running of the Gnome desktop and to
achieve this a default Gnome browser.

It is quite easy to migrate my Firefox bookmarks to Epiphany. Typing
and remembering bookmarks in Epiphany is more intuitive and
convenient. I just had to do some editing to the titles so they'd
reflect the pages appropriately.




Wednesday, August 29, 2007

When A Customer Calls

What are the most important things that customers expect
from a call center?

When I call a help desk or tech support number I don't expect
to wait more than 10 minutes before my call is even answered
by a recorded voice. Customers don't want to wait. They will
voice out their displeasure. Filling up that waiting time with
ads about your product and promos is not going to add to a
better customer experience.

When I call customer service I do expect a resolution to my
concern and a fixed time when I will see that resolution. Else,
customers call back. It is a good policy to be honest about
resolution times and work flow. Explain to the customers why
this takes that long. State the company policy and the reason
for such a policy. Give the customer options, even third party
options.

Basic information to the customers should be free. I don't
understand why customers have to pay for information about
a company's product. Free customer support is testament
to the company's confidence to its products and services. Free
customer support does not mean shoddy service.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Using Gmail And Evolution

Since switching to Ubuntu Linux I have been using the default
email client for Linux Gnome - Evolution. I set up my account
at first using my service provider's mail service. They are
using pop for incoming mail and smtp for outgoing mail.


My service provider is not using authentications just a
password system. After giving my password I set it up
so my computer remembers my password. For outgoing
mail I set it so there is no security nor authentication too.
I chose to set security so smtp follows pop set up since
there's a choice in the options provided in the account
set up.

I decided to open a Gmail account with Google because I
recently open also an account with Bloggers.

Gmail uses a pop and smtp set up too but uses
authentication. They are using SSL. I also gave my
password to my account and set it so my computer
remembers.

There is not much difference between the two accounts
except that Gmail servers are configured by default not
to delete any mail. They are configured not to delete
anything really.

So even if I delete email in Evolution (from Gmail server)
it fetches it back again from the Gmail server like
it suppose to do.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Battery and Inventions

Every time I read about an invention nowadays, I rolled
my eyes and mutter "not another one".

A group of researchers at Harvard University successfully
lit up a light bulb without a wire. They sent an electrical
charge wirelessly from the source a few feet away and lit an
electrical device (light bulb).

Another group of students successfully stored electricity
in a paper media. Imagine rolls of paper that can now
function as battery. If a company could now commercially
make or print batteries the applications to electrical devices
that needed flexibility and weight is endless.

The holy grail of electrical storage is really how to pack more
energy efficiently in the least space and the least weight.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Will You Sleep Now My Baby

Don't worry we will protect you. Sleep tight now my baby.
The wind may rise now but listen to it die down.
I will sing you a lullaby, and rock you to sleep.

The world saw the birth of the nuclear age with the detonation
of an atomic device over the city of Hiroshima, Japan. The Allies
sought the unconditional surrender of Japan in the earliest
time possible and save American lives by avoiding a land
invasion of Japanese islands. The bomb ended the Pacific war
with the Japanese surrendering in 1945.

Since then US possession of the technology to make nuclear
weapons began a world nuclear arms race with most of
the victors of the war quickly joining. They refined the bomb.
They are soon measuring their new weapons in terms of how
many Hiroshimas their new versions could destroy with only
one of their bombs. Major powers stockpiled these bombs
in their vaults, bomb bunkers and equip their bombs rockets so
they can hit targets across the globe. The United States and the
Soviet Union made and stored these bombs in numbers sufficient
to destroy the whole world 15 times over.

These new reality in world security brought out a new concept
in world politics and international relations and it is called mutual
assured destruction MAD. MAD poses that if two opposing sides
knew neither one can achieve meaningful victory in a military
nuclear exchange of bombs, then no side would be a fool enough
to start one.

This is still the same thinking that some advocate if the americans
ever have to use a nuclear weapon again.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Why do people hate so much it got to hurt? Now I have
thought about the world full of misunderstanding and
how that fuels hatred but what about hatred so deep
it is ready to consume the world and everything in it.

I once stepped in the middle of a fight to stop two friends
from hurting each other and I ended up with a fist in my
face. The sad thing is it made me feel like a fool whenever
I feel like stepping in again. I always feel unsure now even
as I grew older. Older but not surer of what is morally bad
about fighting or just letting two man go at it.