Posts Tagged google

Quick Thoughts on Google I/O Day One

This is going to be a bit of a rapid-fire, non-exhaustive list, but…

  1. Having an IDE other than Eclipse for Android dev makes me want to pick up the platform again. JetBrains, the makers of the IntelliJ IDE on which the new Android IDE is based, is a solid outfit (I use one of their other IDEs relatively regularly).
  2. I’m not buying a Galaxy S4 “Nexus Edition”. My S III is just fine, and the S4, in addition to being expensive, has the same problem that the Nexus 4 has: I can’t get 4G where I need it because Sprint is the only carrier that can do that.
  3. I should have gone to I/O. I wouldn’t pay full rack rate for the S4 Developer Edition or the Chromebook Pixel (though I’ve thought about the latter), but I would certainly use the heck out of said devices if they were included in the price of admission.
  4. Watch out, PayPal. Google isn’t the first to do person to person money transfers, but if you’ve got a Google Play account and Google has opened up the new “attach money” feature to you, the amount of effort required to send money to someone else is ridiculously low.
  5. The new Hangouts isn’t the first time Google has done photo sharing through chat (and the makers of Hello did a really good job with the app, speaking from personal experience). It’s been awhile though.
  6. Speaking of Hangouts, the fact that the service has been pushed in the direction of a persistent chat room with video calling et al as a situational add-on is…well…the way it should be.
  7. Per-minute billing (with either one-hour or ten-minute minimums) on Google’s IaaS compute offering is really cool. Nice to see Amazon one-upped at their own game, at least in this small way, and I’m sure that this will make sites that see serious traffic spikes for smallish periods take note of Google’s offering. Until its competitors implement the same thing, of course.
  8. The new Maps looks epic. If only I could actually use it.
  9. I want a H.264 (AVCHD) -> VP9 encoder (CLI is fine…integration into Handbrake is a nice bonus) yesterday. Or a whatever -> VP9 encoder, for that matter. I also want to know how VP9 compares to H.265 (is it inferior like VP8 is compared to H.264, or is it pretty comparable?)
  10. I, for one, welcome our new voice search enabled, auto-image-enhancing, auto-hash-tagging overlords. The competition is a click away, but they just aren’t up to snuff compared to Google in so many of these areas.

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Picasa Slideshow -> YouTube? Not so fast…

You’d think that going from one Google product (Picasa) to another (YouTube) would be quick and painless. However when it comes to exporting slideshows to YouTube, I must say, Au Contraire…at least from the Mac version of the desktop photo manager, which by the way is 100% awesome. There is a fix, however…

The problem in my case had to do with embedding videos into the slideshow. You see, when Picasa exports a slideshow it takes advantage of some of the more esoteric specs of the MPEG-4 container, saving video clips, unmodified, with their accompanying audio alongside the photo slideshow, which includes your music track, captions, etc. So you get multiple video and audio streams “neatly” packaged into a single MPEG-4 container. Cool, right?

Right…as long as you have something that won’t roll over and die when it sees a multi-stream, multi-resolution container file coming down the pike. Read the rest of this entry »

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Page Updates, Class Elections

So I finally updated my About page and my Google profile to reflect where I am now, rather than where I was six-plus months ago. Or thereabouts.

I should also note that I ran for Student Body President here at Mines. This isn’t the first time I’ve run for such a position; I ran last year for Junior Class Treasurer (a friend was running for Junior Class President and I didn’t want to split the ticket), and in fall 2007 I ran for Freshman Class President. This is the first time I was soundly defeated; the other two positions were won by a handful of votes by my opponent. Read the rest of this entry »

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Google Voice Draws Nigh…for me…

Just received this e-mail from Google about my account conversion from GrandCentral to Google Voice. I’ve had GrandCentral for awhile but have never really used it. Google Voice looks to be amazing, from the five minutes I played around with it on someone else’s account. Now it’s finally my turn, albeit with a reservation or two, as outlined in the e-mail below…guess this is why my account took so long to convert:


We’re happy to announce that your GrandCentral account can now be upgraded to Google Voice. In addition to the great GrandCentral features you already know, Google Voice gives you free transcription of all your voicemail, conference calling, and more. You can also use your Google Voice account to make low cost international calls and free calls to anywhere in the United States.

Unfortunately, there is a group of about 891 phone numbers for which we are not able to enable the new SMS feature. Your phone numbers is one of these that won’t support SMS, so we would like to offer you two upgrade options:

  1. You can upgrade your current GrandCentral number to Google Voice. You will get all new Google Voice features, except SMS.
  2. You can select a brand new Google Voice number that will support SMS. You can also keep your existing GrandCentral number working for the next 3 months while you tell people your new number, and you can still check voicemails to that number in your GrandCentral account.

Let us know which option you prefer here (link removed) and we will upgrade your account accordingly.


The Google Voice Team

Once the account converts, rest assured I’ll at least be blogging about it, if not writing a full-blown newspaper article about the service. Looking forward to getting some free calling in…

In case you’re wondering, I’m switching my number. Nobody knows my old number so it’s no great loss, and I really want the texting feature 🙂

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Apple Schmapple, Black Friday Edition

I decided not to go to bed just yet…

…because of this and this.

First, if Apple is going to lift a commercial from the US that states something quantifiable (twice as fast [as the original iPhone]) on their iPhone 3G commercial, which is focused on speed, they had better quantify it better than “really fast”, especially when the only quantifiable thing in the ad is the (simulared) screenhot video of the phone…going much faster than it would in real life.

For all the fanboys out there, I know that, in theory, the phone could pull down a PDF file as fast as it did on the commercial over HSDPA. In reality, however, such speed would never happen on a consumer network. Surpise: Apple is selling the iPhones to consumers on a consumer 3G network, and the ad cites the iPhone’s 3G speeds. I’ll hand it to you, WiFi may be able to download at the speeds shown for Google Maps and the attachment download, but definitely not HSDPA. The reason? HSDPA (the iPhone doesn’t have HSUPA to my knowledge) has latencies in excess of 300 ms on average, so tack that on to anything you want to download. Think of it as halfway between low-end DSL and a high-quality satellite connection. Or what you get on your normal, non-super-3G cell phone.

Honestly, WiFi on the iphone isn’t much better than the practical limits of 3G. Assuming that you have a big enough pipe coming into your WiFi network, the iPhone tests out at only about 4.5 megabits per second…and this test was made via a special speedtest app on my Comcast connection, which bursts above 20 Mbps, sometimes above 30 Mbps. Certainly above 4.5 Mbps.

Random: is it just me, or did anyone else see an earlier version of this “twice as fast” commercial where the disembodied hand was downloading a QuickTime movie? It may have just been me, but if that ad was aired, let loose all the dogs of Truth In Advertising…there’s no way a phone could download a file that fast with current technology, even over WiFi.

Back to the 3G: web browsing involves rendering of the page. The only way for the iPhone to load and render like was seen on the ad? Cacheing. Possible, but not a showcase of the phone’s 3G abiity. Strike…three?

Enough with that rant…

My second point of contention: Google had to break Apple’s software development rules in order to create what’s arguably one of the most compelling apps available on the iphone right now. When you hear a hacker whining about this it’s one thing; when Google speaks, it’s quite anotherr. Hopefully Apple doesn’t go ballistic and shoo Google’s Mobile App out of the iTunes store for their infraction, but on the other hand Google did step outside Apple’s rather obsessive little box for developers (no background processes, no turn-by-turn directions, do crossing the yellow tape), and the company tends to be rather draconian when it comes to punishment for such things. But in all seriousness this would only hurt Apple’s cause, so they probably won’t do it; Google has its own mobile platform now, and the more Apple takes, the more Google will pay attention to Android.

Lastly, a potshot at Apple smugness: their Black Friday deals were unappealing. The smattering of discounts on hardware basically said “Yeah, it’s a sale day, whaddya gonna do about it?”, nothing more. Apple fanboys were doubtless pleased, but the discounts were in most cases less than what educational buyers get 24x7x365. Keep in mind that we’re talking about the biggest shopping, biggest discount, day of the year, where 42″ HDTVs are sold for well under $800, and retailers both online and on the ground slash prices by a few dozen percent to get stocks moving. But, if I may say so, typical Apple…I’m sure their products sold well enough anyway…

That is all. Good night and good luck.

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