Internet/Computer Classics Dieing off…

Yesterday I retweeted a post by ReadWriteWeb concerning Yahoo’s announcement that they are closing down GeoCities this year.

This was particularly sad news for me because GeoCities was where my first website was hosted. Within a day of getting the internet at home for the first time (On December 26th, 1995) I signed up an account at GeoCities, which was at Area51/Labyrinth/1226 (it’s long since gone so there’s no point in me linking to it here), but that site eventually evolved into The SubspaceLink.

I had a great time on GeoCities back in the 90s, and even was a volunteer for them as part of their Community Leader program, and even had stock in the company (a measly 10 shares, but stock nonetheless).

In 1999, Yahoo purchased GeoCities for about $4.5 billion, and my 10 shares of GeoCities became 6 shares of Yahoo, their stock split twice since then (in 2000 and 2004), so now I have 24 shares of yahoo, which I still hold today.

Yahoo didn’t waste any time in terminating the Community Leader program (a decision I always thought was a bad one, as the since of community was what made GeoCities great).

Anyway, this is more rambly then most of my posts, so I’ll probably end up editing or deleting it later, but I wanted to do something fun. I just checked to make sure it’s true but my old geocities email address still works (after all these years), so drop me an email at it at [email protected] so I can enjoy it again just a little bit more before Geocities dies forever.

iPhone 3.0 Supports Both Local AND Exchange Calendars and Contacts

What would you like to do with the existing calendars information on your iPhone?
What would you like to do with the existing calendars information on your iPhone?

When Exchange support was added in the iPhone 2.0 software last summer, turning on Exhange Syncing for Contacts or Calendars was an exclusive action.  Once you turned on Exchange Calendars you could no longer sync your calendars on your iPhone with your computer directly.  It appears that in the iPhone 3.0 that this is no longer the case.  I upgraded to the beta of 3.0 last night and when I attempted to setup Google Syncing again with my calendars, I got the screen on the right.

Previously, doing this action would prompt me that all existing calendars on the iPhone would be deleted, now it asks what to do with the calendars already on the iPhone with an option to keep them intact.  This indicates that Apple is planning on removing the limitation of supporting either Exchange OR synced content but not both.

Unfortunately iTunes seems to not know what to do with this yet, and if I don’t delete the synced calendars, iTunes is not able to do anything with them.

Also unfortunate is that the iPhone will still only support 1 exchange account, an attempt to add a second Exchange Account brings up the familiar “Only one Exchange ActiveSync account can be configured.” message.  While most business users will only have one Exchange account to sign into, Google’s recent move into adding ActiveSync support to Google Calendar and Google Contacts means that at least some of those business users with business accounts on their company Exchange servers may want to setup their personal Google Calendar and Contacts as well, and they’ll be out of luck.

This is still good news, however, for anyone who needs their corporate calendars and contacts but has their own calendars and contacts on their computer as well that they would like to sync.  Kudos to Apple for this non-touted but useful feature.

Google Chrome Extensions Coming Out by May!

That’s right, I said it, and so far I’m the only one who has. Google has announced that extensions are coming to Google Chrome but have been mum on when. However I saw something today, that indicates the timetable may be short. Google officially opened up registration for Google I/O 2009, their third annual (first one was just called Google Developer Day) Developer’s Conference.

Google Chrome Extensions Session at Google I/O 2009
Google Chrome Extensions Session at Google I/O 2009

Like last year, it will take place at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. Along with the open pre-registration, they’ve also posted a list of Sessions (subject to change). High up on the list is a session entitled “Developing extensions for Google Chrome” which contains the following description:

Learn how Google Chrome makes it easy to write extensions using the web technologies you already know. This talk will cover the basics of the extension system (distribution/packaging, installation, updates), as well as the different APIs to enhance with the browser.

I’d say this is a safe bet that if Extensions are not released BEFORE Google I/O, then they will be released as a new feature AT Google I/O. Extensions are coming, but what about Mac Support?

UPDATE FROM GOOGLE I/O: While the session went through as planned, it turns out my theory was wrong, they simply aren’t available to announce support for extensions yet, although it is coming soon, and they are really well implemented in beta.

UPDATE 2 (June 3rd): The Session video is now up on youtube, I’ve embedded it below:

Is the book better than the movie?

Is the book better than the movie?
Is the book better than the movie?

It is no secret that I’m a fan of the Chronicles of Narnia series of books and movies, and as a loyal fan, I follow news related to Narnia, and one of my favorite news sources for Narnia related news is NarniaFans.com.  I don’t normally bother to post Narnia related news here, because I feel that I would never be able to do the justice that a dedicated site such as NarniaFans can do, however today my Google Reader showed me an article relating to Narnia that caught my attention for more reasons then The Lion.

In New Zealand, the New Zealand Book Council’s agency (Colenso BBDO) in Auckland, New Zealand, has come up with a rather ingenious way to try and get more young people to read.  When people in New Zealand rent Prince Caspian on DVD from video rental stores in Auckland and the surrounding areas, they see the DVD on the left, and on the right a number of pages, in fact, they see the first 2 chapters of Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis, with a title page that contains the question “Is the book better than the movie?”

I felt like posting about this story here because I love anything that encourages young people to read.  When I was growing up, the Chronicles of Narnia were some of my personal favorite books to read, and I read them over and over again, today sadly a lot of young people who go to see these movies (which are fantastic), don’t even realize that these wonderful books exist.  By putting the first couple of chapters of a book in with the DVD Rental, perhaps children who enjoy the movie will decide to read the accompanying beginning of the book, and when they get hooked, will head to their local library to grab the rest of it.

This could obviously work for series other then Narnia, imagine if the Harry Potter DVDs included the first two chapters of their accompanying books. I know by chapter 2 of Philosopher’s Stone, I was hooked on J.K. Rowling’s style.

And why limit it to the DVD release, have movie theaters hand out pamphlets of the first chapter of Inkheart after children go to see that imaginative tale this month.

I applaud the New Zealand Book Council for trying out this imaginative campaign to bring more young people to literature.  It is my belief that with more children reading books, we will have a much brighter tomorrow.

iPhone 2.1 Software – So far so good

So I upgraded to the 2.1 software this morning on my iPhone. There aren’t any new features, but the array of fixes that Apple promises with the new update are much needed, if it turns out to work.

  • Increased Call Stability
  • Better Battery Life
  • Faster Backups
  • Faster interface

I’m reserving overall judgment, but so far it seems to be working just like Apple said it would.

  • I turned backup back on and the backup part of iTunes sync was done in about 5 seconds, as opposed to the HOUR or more that I’ve experienced before.
  • Since getting everything synced the way I want it, I’ve had it unplugged for several hours with both 3G and Wi-Fi on, as well as periodic checking of email, and my battery gauge still shows full.
  • The opening and closing of applications, particularly the contact list on the Phone app seems much snappier.

I’ll let you know later on if it really has made an impact on the few negatives that were remaining on the iPhone 3G, but in the mean time, how about some news from the other side of the fence. Microsoft has released their second Seinfeld & Bill Gates commercial, and while it’s not going to make me switch back to Windoze, I have to admit, it made me chuckle a little bit.

For the sake of completion, here’s the first video:

iPhone 3G… Um, guess I’m gonna wait…

Long Lines at the Apple StoreWent down to the apple store with Tim to check out the new iPhone 3G that was released today. But even at 6:30 p.m. (the phone had already been on sale for 10 and a half hours), the line was still stretched all the way around the Apple Store. I’m going to wait and hopefully pick one up next week when I don’t have to wait quite so long to get one. The line was so long NBC News was there interviewing people waiting in line. (note the news van on the left of the image)

Amazon Still down, money down too

Updated Amazon Error Message

I previously reported that Amazon.com was down with a non-descriptive error message. After almost 2 of downtime it seems they’ve decided to have a friendlier error message, so it seems at least they are acknowledging that something is wrong now, but it is still down. According to CNet, this outage could be costing Amazon as much as $31,000 every minute! This accounts to about $3,348,000 so far, and there’s no sign of the outage ending…

This is already hitting Amazon where it really hurts, AMZN is down over 4% today

Interview with Nick Moline published in PC World Magazine!

Ok, I admit it, I haven’t been a subscriber to PC World magazine in a few years, even before I became a member of the Mac camp, but I’m really excited to say that a couple interview questions with me are now published in PC World! in an article about Google I/O. It was very cool to be able to do a Google News Search for Nick Moline and actually find an article that I’m a part of, even if it is just a couple sentences.

7-11 Gave me the Finger… and other stories…

7-11 Gave me the FingerApril is here, and that can only mean one thing… practical jokes. Tuesday was April Fools day, and as usual, the jokes and pranks were out in full force. Some of them elaborate, some of them simple, and most of them funny. One of the more elaborate ones this year was a promotion done by the Nestle corporation.

Nestle had displays made up containing rebranded Butterfinger candy bars. The announcement on the display read that effective immediately Butterfinger candy bars are to be known as “The Finger” and to search the phrase in Yahoo to find out more. What was impressive is that the display actually contained a number of “The Finger” candy bars and they were giving them away for free. A great publicity stunt for April Fools day. Searching for the finger on April Fools day on Yahoo gave a link to a video on Yahoo! Video that outed the joke. It may be stupid, but at least I got a free candy bar out of it, as well as a chuckle (just for the record, I wasn’t fooled for a moment, it was obvious to me that it was a joke, though apparently some people thought they were serious).

Continue reading “7-11 Gave me the Finger… and other stories…”

Two new Justia Services, Thanks Google!

The time has come once again for an announcement of something I’ve been working on at Justia. Actually this is a double announcement of not one but two new services that I can finally mention today.

The first is a whole new way to Search Justia’s massive amounts of free legal information, and it’s thanks to a brand new service by Google (which is a commercial version of a service that has been available for free for some time) called Google Custom Search Business Edition. At it’s core, this is the same as the Google Coop: Custom Search Engine that has been available for some months. Some time ago I created hundreds of these custom search engines on Justia to search a variety of legal topics and sites, and you can find these custom search engines scattered around justia.com and it’s various subdomains. From search engines that search all law school web sites in California (or any other state) to search engines that search all of the blogs in Justia BlawgSearch, these cses have been a fantastic way to use the power of Justia’s free Legal information to search the web for legal information.
Continue reading “Two new Justia Services, Thanks Google!”