Steve Jobs vs. Bill Gates. Many more at Sad and Useless via thedailywhat
Amazing, and sad: a new business pays girls to play video games and flirt with boys (who pay for this privilege) online.
Google decided that everyone you choose to follow on Buzz would also automatically be followed on Google Reader as well. It’s as if all the movies, photos, blog entries and e-mails of every person you followed on Twitter suddenly came flooding into your e-mail inbox every minute of the day. It’s crazy.
Late Thursday afternoon Google updated their Gmail Blog with a note about some changes they’re making to Buzz. Users had some strong opinions about Buzz, and not all of them were positive. The biggest concern people have talked about is the fact that unless you change the default settings Google Buzz tells the world who you follow, and since Buzz has an auto-follow feature, it’s basically telling the world who you communicate with.
Well, our new overlords have taken pity on those of us that value our privacy, and though they haven’t changed the default, they’ve made it easier to see where you change the setting to not show your connections on your profile. In addition, they’ve made it easier to block people who you’d prefer not follow you, and have clarified which of the people you follow — and those that are following you — that will show up on your public list. For the record, only Buzz users that have created a public profile will show up.
So, tell us what you think; are you concerned about the direction Google’s taken here, and what it means with respect to your online privacy? If you were unhappy about it, do these updates change your mind? Are you even interested in Buzz at all? Let us know in the comments.
[This post was originally written for Download Squad - except that Seb beat me to it... Damn brits! ]
Mobile tech guru Michael Gartenberg has a column up at Engadget proclaiming Nebooks, R.I.P. Given the current incredible popularity of the category as evidenced by the huge amount of interest in sites like Liliputing and JKOnTheRun, it’s hard to imagine that Gartenberg is right. But he is.
Netbooks are primarily popular because they are inexpensive, relatively full-featured laptops. The fact that they are very small and therefore quite portable is also a big selling feature, but it is also the compromise that will eventually kill the category. Current netbooks offer cramped screens and keyboards, small drives, and underpowered processors; unfortunately, this means that some consumers are buying what they think are cheap laptops, but finding that they don’t work very well for media management or editing. As noted in the Engadget column, netbooks are already getting bigger to the point that both Microsoft and Intel are attempting to somehow artificially constrain the definition of what a “netbook” is to arbitrary an arbitrary size.
So why are netbook offerings getting bigger? Two reasons. First, because they can – you can now build a laptop in the $300-$500 price window that seems to define a netbook with a 12-inch screen and accompanying full-size keyboard, if not larger. The second – and more important – reason is that when given the choice, most people would rather work on a larger keyboard with a larger screen – they want laptops. This is evidenced by the fact that the number of netbooks currently selling with Windows on them has dwarfed those that are selling with Linux distributions on them despite the cost differential.
All of this points to the fact that computers have become commodities, and the prices on them are going to continue to fall. When you can get the equivalent of today’s 13-inch MacBook Pro for $500, will that still be considered a netbook? Is the definition of netbook “a computer that forces you to compromise”?
I think the point here is that the term “netbook” is likely going to die soon, since the definition was never really all that clear in the first place. Another possible alternative is that the “netbook” will continue to be used but simply signify “small laptop”, which certainly won’t have the same cachet as it holds today. Let’s hope the netbooks of the future are able to handle the ever-increasing demands of the software that we want to run on them.
Yesterday Google previewed a new product yesterday called Google Wave. It’s very hard to describe what this is all about, but if you understand that email as it currently exists was invented about 40 years ago (long before the internet itself came into existence) and has not functionally changed at all since then, it’s easy to imagine that if email were to be invented today, it would be much different.
Google Wave is Google’s re-interpretation of what email (and in fact all online communication) would be if it was to be invented today. It’s real, and it’s going to be spectacular.
I’m very quickly becoming a fan of Chris Hardwick. First, I read an article written by him in Wired where he attempted to use a number of different self-help books to get his shit in order. The article is fantastic; entertaining and informative. I’ve read a few of the books he references, and his descriptions are dead on. Then I noticed in that article that he was involved with Hard ‘n Phirm, (he’s the Hard part – get it, Hardwick?) which until I read this article had been a bit of a mystery to me.
You see, I have this track in my iTunes that I’ve completely fallen in love with, and I have listened to it regularly for years. It’s called Rodeohead, and it’s a tribute track to Radiohead done in a bluegrass style. But I have no idea how it got there.
The thing is, it’s amazing. Like really, truly amazing. Faithful to the bluegrass style, and yet totally valid re-interpretations of classic Radiohead songs. As Ferris Beuller might say, “If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one it up”.
Anyway, what was this about again? Right – panic attacks.
I, like Chris, used to suffer from panic attacks, or if you prefer their more sophisticated name, anxiety attacks. If you’ve ever experienced a panic attack, take 5 minutes and sit down with a cup of herbal tea (not coffee) and read Chris’s post about panic attacks at his site, Nerdist.
Chris’s advice is perfect, and I just wish that I had had this article to read about 16 years ago when panic attacks were bothering me. A lot of people think that panic attacks are “just in your head”, and to be honest until they happened to me I was pretty much of that opinion. Now I have a real soft spot in my heart for people suffering from anxiety, because I know how real it can be, and I have to commend Chris for taking the time to explain it in a straightforward way.
So Chris Hardwick is a guy that writes about Getting Things Done, is an accomplished musician, writes a nerdy website, and takes the time to write entertaining articles to help people with anxiety. Oh, did I mention he’s also a stand-up comedian? I hate to say it (and my wife hates it more when I say it), but I think I have a bit of a man-crush going on here.