Things you find when cleaning out your Google contacts

If you’ve got a Gmail account, you’ve got Google Contacts. These are entries of all the folks you’ve ever emailed with Gmail, or interacted with in any other Google property.

We’re working on a Christmas project and wanted to get a good list of friends, so I pulled my contacts from my Gmail account.

Over 800.

Including Lady Gaga and ‘the Woz’ Steve Wozniak. (yes, I was surprised)! I assume Steve’s name is upside because he enjoys practical jokes 😉


Look who’s in my little black book!


After a bit of research, it seemed that I’d followed them on Google+ and their G+ profile was added to my contacts. Interesting…

Back to my digging… I wonder who else I’ll find? And who’s in *your* contacts? Just log into email, select contacts and export. And have fun!

Ello’s a thing, like the other thing, but more.


You’ve probably heard about Ello, a new, Facebook alternative that promises to be ad free, and not sell your data. Sounds interesting, so I’m trying it out.

Given my recent observations on Facebook – mostly that the stuff I share there isn’t really seen by my friends who follow me there, I thought I’d give Ello a try.

Of course, it helps if my friends are following me on Ello too!

So if you’re interested in Ello, let me know by using my contact form here. Include your email and I’ll send you an invite.

Read more about Ello here. And read the Ello manifesto here!

Hopefully I’ll see you on Ello soon!

Free online storage – what I’m doing now

Back in 2012 I wrote about a few cloud storage options I was exploring. Well a few years have passed so I thought I’d update / annotate the old one. So here goes. New comments will be coloured red.

UPDATES Wow, another one today (Thursday, April 12, 2012). LogMeIn has entered the ‘cloud storage space’ space by announcing the invite-only beta of Cubby — which gives you DropBox-like access to 5GB. I’ve requested an invite and will post about it when I have some hands-on time. Meh. Cubby’s nothing to write home about. LogMeIn has been a bit of a disappointment since they significantly changed their remote desktop application and left iOS users in the dust.

DropBox has doubled the amount of free space they’re giving out through referrals and Spider Oak is also in my testing suite. It starts out with 2GB free, and I’ve just opened my account so I’ve just started testing, but you can expect I’ll write about it in a week or two. If you want to check it out, here’s an affiliate link (which will get you one extra GB of storage!).

Dropbox is still cool and still used by me on multiple computers and mobile devices. Well worth it if you’re looking great storage and 3rd party app support through services like IFTTT and many mobile apps.

Currently, the latest buzz is all about a possible April launch of Google’s much-anticipated free cloud storage app called dubbed GDrive.

GDrive is clunky – not as elegant as Dropbox or (more on that later).

Reports say it’ll come with a local, desktop client for most operating systems that will enable you to store and access about 1GB of files in the Cloud. Nice.

But it’s not here yet, and there are already other excellent cloud / drive solutions that offer the same or better. While it’s hard to compare apples to apple (different providers offer different storage and utility packages) here’s my thoughts on the current leaders:

The current market leader, offers 2GB free, desktop and mobile clients for all leading hardware. Recently, DropBox has become more active in the enterprise space offering solutions for groups and teams.
Affiliate program allows you to expand your storage space by signing up friends etc. Nice that it’s pretty seamless. Install the app on your device, log in, and your files are instantly accessible. I’ve written before about Dropbox here and here.

My affiliate link is here, if you want to check out Dropbox.

DropBox is still best-of-class. If you’re not using it yet and want to explore, please feel free to click my affiliate link (we’ll both get small bonuses 🙂

SugarSync ups the ante a bit by offering a free 5GB account. They also have a nifty desktop client, great web interface, and the ability to extend your storage capacity through an affiliate program (signing up your friends, blogging about it, etc). Here’s my affiliate link if you feel so inclined to check it out

Stopped using it recently. Not so much of an improvement over any other and the client wasn’t working well on one of my desktops.

Recently made the news by announcing Box OneCloud — a collection of mobile apps designed to work with Box’s cloud storage systems:

Signing up to Box gets you an initial 5GB of storage, but they often run promotions with prizes up to 50GB.

While Box does offer free clients for mobile devices, if you want to have the seamless integration of Dropbox or SugarSync, you’ll have to upgrade to the $15/month Box business plan.

I’m still using Box. More of a slow online backup of some documents and stuff. It works well, has a very robust business model and support.

Microsoft Live SkyDrive
This is the big surprise — Microsoft is offering 25GB of storage, Mobile apps, online MS Office integration (and you don’t need to have Office installed locally), group collaboration, and public file sharing.

For example, here’s a public link to an Empire Avenue promotional video, stored in my public SkyDrive space.

Currently there isn’t a desktop client available, so you will need to use the web interface (which is quite slick, even in Chrome and Firefox) to manage your files. But a Windows and OSX desktop client is rumored to be available shortly.

Now called OneDrive, you get 15GB free cloud storage, and MS Office online too. Not a bad setup if you use the Office suite of apps.

New Entries
Starts with 15GB free storage, and you can gain an extra 5GB per new user you invite using your unique invite code. Feel free to try out by using my Invite Code 😀
Apple’s cloud storage entry is interesting. You can store documents in iCloud, then access them from any other iCloud-connected device. One thing, you only get 5GB free, and that iCloud storage space is also used for your iOS device backups, if you have iCloud backup enabled. Still, a cool option from folks at the fruit stand.
Kim dot com’s file sharing and storage site. Free accounts start at 50GB, but you have limited file sizes and transfer bandwidth. I use it lightly.

One or many?
Well, for me, I’m actually using a mixture of these. Dropbox is my daily go-to storage solution, simply because I’ve been using it for so long.

SugarSync I’m using to keep some backup files stored safely. Box, well, I’m not consistent in my use of it, and SkyDrive, well that’s my new darling. I’ve neglected it for a while but now will be trying to integrate it into my workflow wherever I can. And yeah, you’ll here from me if there’s problems.

So, did I miss anything? What’s your online storage solution look like?

Goodbye Apple. Hello Alberta School of Business!

I guess it’s about time I mention it broadly, rather than simply hint at it or just let a few folk know.

As of the end of the month, I’ll be leaving my very cool and amazing world-class family at Apple retail and joining the team at the Alberta School of Business at the University of Alberta.

It wasn’t an easy decision, leaving the industry-leading unique culture of Apple retail. But it basically boiled down to lifestyle; I wanted my weekends and evenings back to spend time with my family.

I leave with very fond memories. Apple is an amazing organization. I consider it a personal privilege that I was able to learn and grow within, and perhaps help influence and contribute to the growth others.

Yes, I’ll miss the people and the unique Apple culture.

In my new role at the Alberta School of Business, I’ll be working with the marketing and communications teams to bring my social media, PR and communications knowledge to bear on the School’s strategic plans. Similar to what I’ve done with the AMA, Empire Avenue and BioWare.

So, yes, bittersweet, and full of promise and excitement!

I can’t wait!

A sidenote: it’s very cool when the Dean of the school follows you on LinkedIn and you’ve not even started yet! Reassuring, in fact.

Lesson One: Major Scale

Ok, this may seem a bit weird to regular readers of my blog, but I’m going to be archiving my coursework in my Berklee/Coursera programs on this blog.

Perhaps someone else will get some value out of it, or offer hints or suggestions for improvements. Either way, it’ll make it a very easy reference to me and my growth through this course

Coursera – Developing your musicianship – Peer Assignment 1 – Lesson One: Major Scale

Write in your own words the definitions of harmony, ear training, and interval.

Harmony – the relationship between notes played at the same time, or chords. Notes played together that create a generally pleasing sound is often called harmonious, and notes that don’t sound good together are often described as disharmonious. Harmonious notes are used to build a chord or chord progression.

Ear Training – The activity that teaches you to consistently, correctly identify a particular sound and associate it to a musical tone or equivalent sound from an instrument. Ear training will enable you to identify when a singer is singing off key, or on key.

Interval – The difference in pitch or tone between two notes. Using the 12 note scale, the interval can be expressed as either a WHOLE interval or HALF interval depending on which notes are used to make up the scale.

There is a specific pattern to the interval between notes in the 12 note scale: W-W-H-W-W-W-H.

In the key of C, a half interval exists between C and C#, and a whole interval exists between C and D. Wheras in the key of E, a half interval exists between E and F, and a whole interval exists between E and F#.

Find three recordings of songs in the key of C and post links to performances of them that you find on YouTube, Vimeo, Dailymotion, or a similar public video site.

Some resources I found helpful to determine song key:

Write the C major scale on the staff by hand.