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.

This is a sponsored post.