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Saturday, December 24, 2011

UC Berkley Goes With Google

UC Berkley recently decided on moving their students emails and calendars to the ever growing in popularity "Cloud" based solution so many businesses are raving about these days and in doing so created a bit of a buzz by detailing the reason behind their choice...Google. You can read the whole report here, but basically it shows reason for reason why Google was a better choice than the alternative, Microsoft's Office 365.

Google's Cloud solution is to basically put everything on their servers and let people access using whatever device can run a Google app or connect to the internet. Which elminates the need for building an entire infastructure and installing special software on thousands of computers in order to use it. All of their services and pretty much all their apps are free, the only thing the school has to pay for is the server cost of storing an accessing all that information. That's not to Google's cloud covers 100%  of the schools needs easily, some things like calendar control and the security issue still come up. As an added bonus Google promised to make the move over in less than 2 months with is a huge plus for the school, especially seeing as the University of Nebraska is still working on integrating Office 365 and they were the first to sign up early this past summer. That seems to be the deal breaker for Berkley.

Microsoft's approach to the whole Cloud deal is to install software on the machines that interface with Office 365's Cloud, that means anyone wanting to use Microsoft's solution will have to invest in software (which also means updating and upgrading it every time they push out a new version) on every single device a student might use to connect to their email accounts or calendars, thats a pretty big investment both on the school and students parts. There are some benefits to Microsoft's Cloud solution One of the biggest being the ability to create a more secure connection between the two by controlling more of the process. There are ways to connect to Microsoft's cloud without the apps, just by logging into a Microsoft account. Doing so however only provides limited access and defeats the whole purpose of the super-secure chain Microsoft builds by linking the software on both ends.

Links N' Things:

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Facebook Releases New "Timeline" Feature Today

Facebook released it's latest update called "Timeline" to all users today. The feature has been in development behind the scenes over the past few months. Unlike many of Facebooks other features which got rushed to the Internets whilst still in beta form, Timeline was fleshed out more before being unleashed.

So what is Timeline? Simply put it allows users to aggregate their pictures, posts, videos and other shared data into a 'Week in the life' sorta deal where people can see everything you've been up to in a given period. Facebook is taking a cue from it's previous privacy foibles and allowing users some time to edit what shows up in the timeline before it goes entirely public.

There is also an added "Life Event" button next to the normal status,  Photo, Place  buttons that allows you to mark certain life events such as; Changing a job, buying a new car, or announcing a move. So you now have a new way to compare your seemingly crappy life to other people "Highlights" enjoy.

As an added tidbit, The Verge is reporting that Android users are the first to get the updated profiles, so for once Android users can lord their 'better ' versions of Facebook over their iPhone using friends.


Mercury News: One of Facebook's biggest changes yet, 'Timeline', arrives today

Check out Timeline for your own profile

The Verge: Facebook Timeline available on Android and mobile

Facebook Is Making Us Miserable


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Google+ Deleting Accounts, Offering No Explanation


By: Syeed 

According to the internets Google has gone on an account banning frenzy, apparently blocking users’ Google accounts to varying degrees.

The deletions started on the 22nd and to the best of my knowledge are still going on unfixed. Some people lost access to everything they had related to Google. Their Gmail, Google Voice, Google Docs etc..  While others just lost access to their + accounts which refused their updates. Apparently Google is banning people due to their violating Google’s terms of service  and or their improper names. The problem is that the system for checking names and TOS violations is automated and there for prone to massive insanely random hiccups apparently.

They have thus far offered no reason or any excuse at all leaving a lot of users understandably upset and quite a few others seeing it as good reason to stop using any Google services all together. ZDnet reports that some high profile accounts such as Limor Fried AKA Lady Ada have been restored which means Google is aware of the problem and can fix it.

Former Google Employee Kirrily “Skud” Robert said in a blog post outlining the pain in the ass verification Google is making him suffer through:

“It then asks me for my name (uh, don’t you know that already?), email (ditto), link to my profile (ditto), and asks me to provide documentation. I can either give them a scan of my photo ID (obscuring “personal information”, whatever that means), or links to places on the web that demonstrate that this is my name. “

“They suggest using Facebook (the site that allows Google founder Sergey Brin to go under a pseudonym, and whose own founder has a page for his dog) as evidence. I have something better, though, because I expected this to happen and I had already collated my evidence. I linked to that page and submitted the form.”

I understand that this is a beta and it is opt-in, I also know that for the most part the people in this beta are fairly tech-savvy and probably avid Google users, but that’s no excuse to not at least offer an explanation as to what’s going on and what your doing to fix it, Google seems to think that people can’t get along without them, like they’re the only email/search/social network around.

People seem fairly split on this issue. Some are taking a hard stance and outright getting ready to delete themselves from Google like I mentioned above, while others are more understanding of the Software’s beta state and just kind of hoping it all gets sorted out. Whatever your decision I find it a little funny that a multi-billion dollar company with teams of engineers and craploads of money at their disposal can’t seem to get a social network to run as well as a college kid struggling to find funding. I wish the best for them and I hope Google+ becomes a viable alternative to Facebook, but it would seem they have a lot of PR and coding work to do before it’s polished enough to get to that level.

Source: ZDnet