posts tagged with the keyword ‘google’

2011.07.18

Make

I’ve had at least one person say “Hey Pete! I thought you didn’t like Google?” and if I can clarify, there are things about Google I don’t like, just as there are things about Apple I don’t like, and (many) things about Facebook I don’t like, and throughout my travels in the tech world, I’ve been lucky that I haven’t worked for any of these companies, so I can feel free to speak about the things I don’t like.

Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of things about Google, and Apple, and Facebook that are good, but I try to be critical, and not give any company a free pass.

With that said, I am definitely a fan of Google+ so far, and as far as being better than Facebook? Well, in many ways it is better for me, while in some ways it still needs to catch up.

But as a maker, what company does more to help improve the world for makers? Phillip Torrone’s recent post had this to say:

I’m glad there’s an alternative for sharing and collaboration now with more features that seem to be interesting to makers. Historically Facebook hasn’t done much in the Maker community, I’ve tried to get them to participate in Maker Faire each year (and would still love to have them, there are a lot great ideas for Facebook + Maker Faire). While it would be impossible to be a fan of everything Google does, they’ve been part of Maker Faire many many times, they’re doing a Science Fair, they have a hacker space for employees, they’ve adopted Arduino for Android, lots of good OSS efforts and the tools they’re creating with more control and ownership seems to fit the maker mindset better – it does feel like they’re listening, I hope they keep it up.

Phillip sums it up pretty well. Google may not do everything right, and they may still do things I don’t agree with…. but at the end of the day, they’re probably doing a lot more for maker culture than Facebook is, and that counts for something in my book.

2011.06.28

Mozilla

Dave is a cranky old man, and I say that in the nicest possible way, because really, I’m one too. Cranky old men like things the way they like them, and sometimes that means, the way they were before you damn kids came and messed everything up. And you did, really, you did.

Dave is not happy with the Mozilla folks and their Firefox browser.

Personally, I don’t think browsers are done or feature-complete yet. I say this because I’m dealing with developing web sites, with HTML5, with the <audio> and <video> tags, with codecs, with multiple computers/devices, etc. and it’s not perfect yet. Firefox 4 was a welcome upgrade from Firefox 3.x in my mind. Speed increases, Mozilla Sync, and a few other features were worth the small inconveniences I faced along the way. (Granted, I was running the beta for more than 6 months on one machine, so I wasn’t surprised by anything new.)

I’d admit that I am definitely a fan of Mozilla. I may even know a few people who still work there, but I’m not a Mozilla developer, or part of their marketing department, I’m just someone who wants to see them succeed.

And why do I want to see Mozilla succeed? If you notice the graphic above it says “We Believe in an Open Web” and while Apple and Google both have browsers, they’re both in a constant battle for mindshare and eyeballs, and ultimately are interested in making a profit. Mozilla is a non-profit organization that (and I hope I don’t sound naive) has an interest in keeping the web open and free. (I didn’t even mention Microsoft because they only make a browser for one single platform, and it’s a platform I don’t even use, except for testing.)

I’m a fan of freedom, and ultimately I believe that freedom (on the web) is better served by Mozilla than by Apple or Google. I fear the closing of that freedom, and think that supporting Mozilla may help prevent it.

And oh, the beauty of open source! If Dave really wants the keep using Firefox 3.x, there is nothing stopping him. It’s open source. The code is available. Hell, look at what the TenFourFox team is doing. You want Firefox 3.6 to live on forever? Start working on it, or hire some developers. This may not be entirely realistic, but it is completely possible.

I should note something here about Mozilla providing Firefox (software) for free versus Osbourne selling computers (hardware) for money. Maybe I’ll fill it in later.

Years ago when things were looking grim for the web, I always though some company would come out with a web browser that would do away with the ‘View Source’ command. I mean, sure, Chrome hides it, but Apple finally managed to get rid of it with Mobile Safari. Ugh, Mobile Safari… I wish I could run Firefox on an iOS device. This closing of the web concerns me.

I know all the cool kids abandoned Firefox, but to me, that’s like abandoning freedom, and I just can’t see doing that yet…

2011.06.07

iMac

While at PhotoCamp, Kevin was kind enough to let me see his Cr-48, which is a Linux laptop from Google which relies on The Cloud™ to do its magic.

For some reason, one of the features he showed off was the ability to boot up really quickly. In fact, he counted while he booted up. I wasn’t too impressed.

Actually, I think my comments were along the lines of “Yeah, it takes my MacBook longer to boot up, and boy, that sure annoys me every 4 to 6 weeks…”

Honestly, I rarely shut down my MacBook, and instead just put it to sleep. Waking up from sleep takes a few seconds at most. Still… I thought I should test things by shutting down and booting it up again. To get to the login screen from a cold boot took about 1 minute. Logging in took about 1 minute. Launching Firefox (and loading 4 tabs) took less than a minute. So in total, it was probably under 3 minutes to boot up.

Believe me, I know boot time is important. The RED ONE boots fairly slowly. in fact it’s been said that when booting up the RED, it’s the longest 90 seconds of your life.

Besides all that, the Cr-48 looks like a fairly nice little laptop, despite the fact that it’s all hobbled in what it can actually do in the world of media creation and hacking…

2011.01.11

For some reason (probably the whole “end of one year, beginning of another” thing, I felt like grabbing the visitor stats for this site.

I hadn’t realized that it was only about 6 months since the last time I did this. Even better, now we can compare! See the July 2010 stats if you want to review.

Visitor Stats

Compared to last time, Firefox is down, while Chrome is up. I guess that’s not surprising. Chrome is gaining in popularity. As for this site, I write about Firefox and Mozilla a lot more than I write about Chrome, so I’d still expect some good Firefox numbers.

Internet Explorer is down (thank goodness!) but so is Safari. I’d almost expect Safari to go up a bit due to the iOS… but I guess not.

Visitor Stats

Windows went up slightly, while the Mac stayed about the same. iPad went from less than 2% to over 11%. I really didn’t write much about the iPad until the end of December, of course, a lot more iPads are out there now.

Visitor Stats

The interesting number here is the second one, 768×1024, which I believe correlates to iPad in portrait mode. Very interesting! The other numbers are all pretty close. Do I really have that many visitors to this site using iPads?

I’ll have to remind myself to check the numbers again in 6 months…

2010.12.01

I’m in need of graphing some data, and since I looked at the Google Chart Tools long ago but never did anything interesting with it, I figured I’d give it a spin.

Google’s API is pretty simple to use, you feed it a URL, and you get an image in return. Here’s an example expanded out a bit:


http://chart.apis.google.com/chart?

  cht=lc&
  chs=600x400&
  chg=10,5,5,5&
  chco=ff0000&
  chxt=x,y&
  chxr=1,0,100,5|0,0,24,1&
  chd=t:3,3,3,3,3,3,3,65,38,46,60,59,56,58,36,21,13,62,2,3,3,3,3,2

Each parameter controls some part of the image you get returned. (Want to see it? View the URL.)

You should get something that looks like this:

Chart

Wow… but not really. This is probably one of the simplest examples of a chart, but it serves my purpose.

Of course, since I’m not always content relying on others to host my data, I wanted a way to generate and store the image. You can do that too…

curl -o 20101130.png 'http://chart.apis.google.com/chart?cht=lc&chs=600x400&chg=10,5,5,5&chco=ff0000&chxt=x,y&chxr=1,0,100,5|0,0,24,1&chd=t:3,3,3,3,3,3,3,65,38,46,60,59,56,58,36,21,13,62,2,3,3,3,3,2'

Just use curl to make the request and store the image in a file named 20101130.png (or whatever the date is, or file name you’d prefer.) Obviously you’ll need curl installed. If you need to generate a new chart everyday this is ripe for automating.

I also looked at jQuery Visualize as an option. It’s quite different than the Google Chart API as to how it functions.

Chart

With jQuery Visualize you don’t actually create a chart. Well, you do create a table of data, and jQuery Visualize does all the heavy lifting and creates the chart based entirely on your well-formed tabular data.

I sort of like this approach because there’s no external image files to generate, host, or worry about. You just make a table, and include a bit of Javascript. (Of course there are other concerns/issues, but simplicity is pretty high.)

I’m still evaluating what my final choice will be for my current project. If this were 10 years ago, I probably would have used Perl to generate the image files. If it were 5 years ago, I probably would have used Perl to generate some SVG files…

jQuery Visualize uses the HTML 5 Canvas element, so they get some points in the “innovation” column I guess… Also, jQuery Visualize requires less math, and in my world, the less math I have to do, the better!

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