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!

So. Google’s shutting down Google Reader

Frankly I’d not thought about my RSS read­ing pro­cess in a while. I use NetVibes (pic­tured above) as my main read­er, and it’s been pretty stable up until today; they pos­ted a note say­ing they’re deal­ing with an influx of new mem­bers — likely emig­rants from Google Read­er.

I like NetVibes because it gives me a simple head­line-in-a-tile view that makes it easy to quickly scan my news, and NetVibes man­ages my feed sub­scrip­tions.

This is where the pain will be felt by those using Google Read­er when the big G shuts it down. Many 3rd party apps for mobile devices use Google Read­er as the ‘sub­scrip­tion man­age­ment’ fea­ture of their app. When Google Read­er closes on July 1, these apps will have to have in place some sort of replace­ment for sub­scrip­tion man­age­ment, or they’ll break.

Update: If you’re look­ing to migrate your Google Read­er sub­scrip­tions to NetVibes, the team at NetVibes have this handy guide. (Thanks Randy!)

For now, this won’t impact me or my news­read­ing habits, but as I men­tioned at the top, I’m rethink­ing my RSS read­ing, and as Dave Wein­er states, rethink­ing my use of Free when applied to ser­vices I’m com­ing to depend on.

 

Taking a look at free online storage options

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.
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!).

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

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:

Drop­box
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.

Sug­ar­Sync
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:

Box
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.

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.

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?

Calling All Scientists — Google Science Fair Entry Deadline Looms


Well there’s only 5 days left (as I write this) for stu­dents world-wide com­plete their exper­i­ments, write-up their sum­mar­ies, and cre­ate their sup­port­ing video (or slide present­a­tion) for entry into the Google Sci­ence Fair (http://google.com/sciencefair).

I’m really look­ing for­ward to see­ing the cre­ativ­ity shown in these entries — espe­cially any that relate to liv­ing in a north­ern cli­mate (yes, winter is going on way too long up here this year).

I’m also kind-of envi­ous, one of the prizes is really awe­some:

The Grand Prize winner(s) plus one par­ent or guard­i­an per win­ner will win an amaz­ing 10 day trip to the Galapa­gos Islands with Nation­al Geo­graph­ic Exped­i­tions. Trav­el­ing aboard the Nation­al Geo­graph­ic Endeav­our the winner(s) will vis­it Darwin’s liv­ing labor­at­ory and exper­i­ence up-close encoun­ters with unique spe­cies such as flight­less cor­mor­ants, mar­ine iguanas, and domed giant tor­toises.

And yes, back in the day, we didn’t have Sci­ence Fairs quite this cool, or tech­no­logy quite this soph­ist­ic­ated to work with.

But just enter­ing this con­test exposes con­test­ants to many of the base con­cepts of mod­ern sci­ence; exper­i­ment­ing, learn­ing, fail­ing, try­ing again, and report­ing on your res­ults, all things that mod­ern sci­ent­ists do today.

Some days, I think i was born too soon. Oh, and check out this video for a bit more inspir­a­tion and inform­a­tion about Google’s Sci­ence Fair.

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