Tag Archives: Google

imac

Why I Still Need A Traditional Laptop or Desktop

Simple: other devices. Not everything syncs via Bluetooth, WIFI or ANT+, etc.

I have devices I need to connect to my computer to sync data from. My Garmin Edge, my Nike+ Watch.

Luckily my Nike Fuelband and Fitbit sync via Bluetooth now. But until I can get away with running an iPad, Chromebook or Surface RT .. I will need a traditional laptop or desktop. Macbook Pro or Air, iMac, Windows Desktop or Laptop, or Surface Pro…

Another reason, but not a complete dealbreaker, is software and services that I can’t use on non-traditional devices.

Excel 2013 with Power BI? Can’t really run that anywhere but on a traditional laptop or desktop. Yea, I know I can remote into a machine or server, but that is cheating. What else? Visual Studio, Management Studio, etc. Same thing, I could set up some IaaS VM and do things, but I would be taking way longer trying to create from an iPad or Surface RT, etc. The Surface at least as a sanctioned keyboard. iPad with a bluetooth keyboard works well. Chromebook works, but when it comes down to hard core work, these devices fall down.

I don’t even feel like typing up a blog post on these devices. I can pound out tons of content on a laptop or desktop. On a tablet/limited device, well, you are limited. Limited by entry speed, limited by having to be always connected, etc.

I am looking forward to a convergence of laptop/tablet along the lines of Surface. Surface Pro 2 is close. Probably the closest device. Unless you want to develop iPhone apps, then you need a Mac too :)

Hoping in the not to near future I can limit the number of devices I need to create or do the things I need to. Content creation, app development, syncing external devices, etc. If 2014 isn’t the year, guessing 2015 will be.



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Search Google Drive and Gmail from Chrome Omnibox

If you are like me, and live in Google Chrome, you probably use other Google Services. I use Google Drive and Gmail extensively. I would love it if when I searched in the Google Chrome Address Bar Omnibox, that it could search other places.

Well, you kind of can. On the Omnibox..

Right click, Edit search engines..

The under “Other Search Engines”: add two entries..

Google Drive | drive.google.com | http://drive.google.com/?hl=en&tab=bo#search/%s

Gmail | gmail.com | https://mail.google.com/mail/ca/u/0/#apps/%s


then if you type drive.google.com and hit “tab” instead of enter, you can type in your search term, same with the gmail.com shortcut.



If you do all that, then you should be able to search Google Drive and Gmail straight from the Chrome Omnibox.



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Cool Things I Have Been Doing On the Computer Lately

In the past couple of months, weeks, whatever (time flies) I have been doing some pretty cool things on the computer, in a wide range of areas. Just want to get them down on paper (you know what I mean)…

1. Yammer – working hard on growing Yammer community, external networks, just getting engagement and showing the benefits. It’s fun.

2. Kinect – did some Kinect hacking. On my own then with the group, got some cool stuff to show. It is crazy how easy it is to get something up and running with Kinect and the SDK. I see this stuff taking off in the coming months/years.

3. Azure – dorking around with Azure, looking at what it can and can’t do, what it could do well, how it would fit in with everything.

4. SQL 2012/Power View – been playing around with SQL 2012 since “Denali”, but now its got an official launch date (March 7th) and things are getting real. Power View demos online, trying to figure out how SQL 2012 is going to fit into our infrastructure and just learning as much as I can about it.

5. Ruby – been getting into Ruby and Ruby on Rails on my Mac, git, sqlite3, heroku, etc. Trying to learn more things that just the .NET ecosystem.

6. Ubuntu – same here, set up a VM, been trying to use it consistently, trying to get the other viewpoints from Windows and Mac and where things are at. Keep up with the joneses so to speak.

7. Android – I picked up a Samsung Galaxy (Verizon 4G) a few weeks ago and have been using it. I still love my iPhone, but getting more into Android. Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) is a pretty good OS, there are still quirks, but its better. Verizon sucks around where I live btw.

8. Google+/Picasa Web Albums – been getting this into my photo workflow, for sharing and backup. Liking it so far.

9. SharePoint 2010/FAST – been researching and reading FAST server like crazy trying to see how it will fit in with a potential project. I think it could be amazing. more to come.

10. SMS – been playing around with different frameworks, and seeing how they compare, trying things out. Using Voice and SMS is all the rage these days. (Hall and Oates thing anyone?)

Bonus: Nothing with computers, but I have been really getting into brewing beer/homebrewing. I think we have made 5 batches now, and the ones I have tasted so far are really good. It is a fun hobby and breaks up the constant technology I am involved in. More to come here too.

And much much more. Time is limited, time to post is limited. Getting out there and doing cool things is fun, and sharing them is fun too. Gotta find the right balance. I hope everyone is having a cool 2012 so far.



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Google Reader Changes

As anyone who uses Google Reader knows already. They have changed. They changed for the worse. Design is somewhat horrible, removed features, etc. Sharing is not there anymore. You can +1 and then Share to G+. Ability to share to an RSS feed is gone. After using Google Reader for like 4 years and reading 10k items a month, it is jarring to see things just removed. Not sure what they were thinking.

Are there alternatives? Some readers out there, yes, but most already use Google Reader for the backend. What I am looking at doing is utilizing the “Send To” functionality on a post. You can set up some default Send To’s, or a custom one. Most likely a Posterous link blog/RSS feed type thing.

Otherwise? On the Mac, iPhone, iPad – use Reeder. Not sure what “Share” does at this point in that app. On windows, stick to the browser and utilize “Send To”. You will notice it under Reader Settings, in a Send To tab. The ability to add custom send to’s is what is interesting. As long as they leave that feature in the product as well.

What are your thoughts on the changes?



Google TV

Basic review here. Setup was easy. Software ok. Browsing web is cool. If you don’t have cable you are somewhat out of luck. You need an hdmi source to do the more cool things like search and watch “TV” at the same time.

Interested in where it will go with honeycomb. As of now it’s a glorified Netflix, Amazon video, YouTube player. Comparable to Roku. I’d say apple tv beats it by a mile, especially if you’ve bought into the apple ecosystem with iOS and iTunes, etc

Blogged from my iPhone



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Moving to Office 365 from Google Apps: Follow Up

Earlier I blogged about Moving to Office 365 from Google Apps, and some of my woes.

In the time since, things have been straightened out. First off, what happened to me sucked, but was resolved. I think Microsoft knows they have some initial bugs and they will work it out. What does stand out is that the customer service is top notch. Their forum moderators replied. Their twitter account @Office365 replied. They actually CALLED me and walked through fixing the issue. This was great. They made sure it was working before leaving me hanging.

After I got the issues resolved, I switched my GoDaddy DNS to MSFT DNS name servers and away we go. I reset up my iPhone, iPad syncing with my new Office365 stuff, worked great, found the server url, etc. Android I had to type it in (to find it, log into web mail and go to about off the help icon). I set it up with Outlook 2010 and it works great. Also Mail.app on Mac, works great there too.

I haven’t done much more than just use it. Some things I miss or want? First, in Gmail, you can archive mail right from iOS. Exchange doesn’t have this, but in Outlook you can set up quick steps to do it, so I did that. The OWA interface doesn’t have quick steps, which would be nice. I haven’t used Lync yet as I don’t have anyone to talk to on it, I will dork around with that later. Haven’t used the SharePoint or Office Web Apps yet, it has been more Mail, Contacts, Calendar to start.

I would like to point my mail.domain.com to the Office365 portal for easy access, haven’t looked into it yet.

One other thing I noticed, is that some mail still comes to my old Google Apps account. Facebook mail alerts for sure. They might have a slow DNS change time as most all other mail comes to Office365. More to come as I get into things though.



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Moving from Google Apps to Office 365

I have been using Google Apps premier since 2007. Almost 4 years. Before that I used hotmail and tried to use the Microsoft ecosystem as I had a Windows Mobile phone, many of them actually. Before Windows Mobile was “cool”. The thing with Google Apps is that it only offered the “core” apps for a loooong time. (Mail, Calendar, Docs, Chat). Recently they allowed you to “transition” to more Google services (apps), such as Reader, Voice, etc, etc.

Now, this sounds great right? Yeah, except in the last 4 years I had to create a regular gmail account to use most of the Google services (YouTube, voice, Reader), and now I have 4 years of content and what not built up with that account. Google wants me to “start fresh” with my Google Apps account? Doesn’t sound like much fun. Also Google+ just came out, and it doesn’t work with Google Apps accounts, another great way for Google to alienate paying customers, and rewarding free ones. You can’t be signed into both a Google Apps and Google Account at the same time (at least without problems) So I end up having to run one browser with Google account and one with Google Apps? No thanks again.

What I decided to do is try something new. There aren’t many options.

1. Hotmail
2. Yahoo
3. Hosted Exchange (Rackspace, etc)
4. Office 365
5. Other

With Hotmail.. It works, I actually changed it over in a hour or so.. but, there is no 1st class citizen mail client on Mac. Mail, other 3rd party, even Outlook, only connect with POP, not with IMAP. iOS at least uses Activesync. This is somewhat of a deal breaker for me, as I like to use a client on the desktop, or at least try them out.

Yahoo is just out, well, because it is Yahoo. Hosted Exchange looks promising, but too much $$ for not the same features I currently get. Office 365 seems like the logical choice.

I was in the beta for Office 365 and dorked around with it a little bit. I decided to take the plunge.

It is a little more expensive than Google Apps a year, but really no other choices. My first concern was with my Google Talk with my Google Apps. Probably not going to work. Why? Well, with Office 365, if you are on the small business plan, you have to delegate your DNS to Office 365. You can create CNAME and A records, but not TXT or SRV records, etc. Google Apps GTalk needs SRV records in your DNS.

Also, when you sign up for Office 365, you get a weird account, not a Windows Live ID, but Online Services ID, like blah@domain.onmicrosoft.com .. and then you have to set up your custom domain inside the Office 365 web app.

Currently, this is where I am at, and I hope to have a follow up to this..

I made all the DNS changes for Office 365. I created another account in my system, and assigned it a license. I made the account admin, so I had 2 admin accounts. Everything was working.

I decided to cleanup the onmicrosoft.com account, by removing the mailbox and account. It had the same “Full Name” as my regular account, Steve Novoselac. I went to delete and it said “Do you want to remove Steve Novoselac”, I was weary but figured it was keyed on email address of the account record, not name.

Boom, it deleted both the records on my account. Currently I can’t even login to my account. Even better with the small business account you don’t get 24/7 support. Just “service tickets” and the community forum. I did put in a service request and a forum post, and I am working through the issue, but it seems ridiculous. Why?

First off, you shouldn’t be able to remove the “last admin” from an account. Second, it should delete by email address and not full name. We will see how and when I get this resolved, but currently I just switched my DNS back to Google Apps so I can continue to receive email.

Another unknown is the Lync online. It is federated with WLM, but I am curious to see how that is all going to work. Giving support a few days and hopefully will have it all sorted out. More to come..



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Thoughts on Google+

A couple of days ago, one of my developers got me on Google+ (or do you write it Google Plus?) Anyways, it is pretty cool. New social network, yay. Kind of like Facebook, but not. More granularity on sharing to “groups” or circles out of the gate. Integrates nicely with some Google offerings.

Do I see it taking off? Well, if history repeats itself, I could say .. it depends.

First off, Google has bombed on social in recent years. Buzz? Wave? yeah, not too good. But they are adding all the pieces that other social networks have and now trying to integrate them (location, micro blogging, sharing, photos, etc, etc).

Second, Myspace is dead. Friendster is long gone. No one though Myspace would topple, but Facebook dethroned them. Can Google do the same thing to Facebook?

Hard to say, but at the current moment they have the best chance.



Agile: Day of Autonomy, 20% Time, etc

A about a year ago or so, I watched the RSA Animate short on YouTube,

RSA Animate – Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us

Go ahead, watch it, pretty good and just a little over 10 minutes.

One takeaway I got from the short was this: The “Day of Autonomy”. If I remember, they talk about a place where once a quarter or something they let everyone have a day of autonomy, to do whatever they want, but the goal is, at the end of that day, they need to show the group what they did. They saw people doing things that were probably never on any agenda or plan, but some things could help the company and spurred other ideas.

Google is infamous for their “20% time”, which has created things like Gmail, and more.

Just recently, I decided to give this a go in the Business Intelligence group, a day of autonomy. Our velocity for that sprint would be slightly lower, but I was intrigued to see what would come out of it.

The results are still being analyzed, but yeah, seeing some cool things. I think for the next one (if we do it), we will need to plan it a little better to get the results shown to everyone. We are a semi-distributed team, so there are some challenges there.

Overall though, I think the Day of Autonomy is probably a good thing, as long as it isn’t taken advantage of. The players on the team should just be bursting with ideas that they should have no problem coming up with something to do. If you don’t have ideas always swirling on something you could crank out or improve, then you probably need to start there and think a bit differently on how you approach your work.

To me, it almost adds on to the Agile way, being able to do things like this yet still adjust and be flexible, and get some great output on regular stories as well. Always keep improving.




Dusting off the Blog Theme

Most people that might follow this blog probably hit it though RSS readers, or a post here or there from a Google search, so the changes aren’t probably noticeable to many, but they are to me.

Having started blogging back in 2004, on Blogger, and then a year or so in moving to WordPress (self hosted) – but moving it and changing it over time, you get some cruft. Back in the day, things weren’t so “easy”. You wanted a change, it meant PHP time. Over the years WordPress has become more and more “drag and drop” if you want it to be, of course you can still code whatever you want in your themes, etc, but the “widget” concept is pretty cool.

I think the last time I changed my theme in a major way was around 2006 or 2007, (if I remember, it was a “code camp” Saturday with Joel Dahlin at G Allens). It didn’t change too much but I think I started with Google AdSense after the last theme change. In order to do what I wanted it was code code code

Fast forward to today, where the theme is looking outdated, hard to update, etc. I wanted something new. Without totally jacking everything I had, I wanted to start fresh but yet be able to continue what I am doing and how I want to do it. The ads on the site pay the bills, for the hosting and other tools I use. By no means am I living high off the hog, but it is nice to have the site pay for itself and also allow me to do other projects online.

I searched around a bit, and was looking at WooThemes and others, but then stumbled into Headway. It really isn’t a “theme” in the sense that most other themes are, but a framework/system to be able to do whatever you want easily, visually, etc.

I set it up and I am really liking it so far, I have some ideas where I can go at my own pace yet keep things they way I want them easily, fully extensible and the “code” I might use isn’t at all embedded in the PHP files of the theme, but configurable like a modern CMS.

I hope to get more pictures and article, magazine type look as I move forward, that’s the goal anyways. It’s fun to dust off the site and theme and get back into it a little bit, so much out there to learn and use, pretty cool, also is making me rethink all my plugins I have been using, etc.

Another minor changes? I changed the favicon to my current avatar, which is kinda cool.

Another minor note, I am approaching 1000 posts on this blog. I should amend my 2011 goals and try to get to 1000 by the end of the year.

More to come as time goes on, as always.