Long Time No Post! Google+, Computer Upgrade, Fedora 15 and whats been keeping me busy (in reverse)!
July 6, 2011 2 Comments
I can’t believe its been four months since my last post! This is not a tutorial since I didn’t have time to learn something to pen down as a tutorial after my previous post. I’ve been kinda tied up with work, something I mentioned in my previous post, and had to give it a lot of attention. Things have been moving pretty fast but I’ve learned a lot in the process. I also had my appraisal today and at first I was a bit nervous since I didn’t think I’ve done all that well. But things went well and I’m lucky to be in a place where the managers look at you more closely, are more open and help you out a lot better. I’m not saying this because they read my blog too . I’m sure my friends working with me will agree. Anyways I’ve been busy because of a pretty tightly scheduled project. Thanks to that, I’ve learned to work much better under pressure not crumble under it. I’ve also made new friends who’ve helped me get through it smoothly and I got my first hike!
Fedora 15 “Lovelock” was launched in May and as you know, it’s the OS I use most of the time. The biggest change was obviously Gnome 3. Gnome 3 has been coded from scratch and has a UI totally different from Gnome 2.x. A lot of people don’t seem to like it. But as one of my friends said at the time of its launch, give Gnome 3 (and Ubuntu’s Unity) a chance. If you like the old UI, XFCE and LXDE do the job well and use way lesser resources. Gnome 3 is intuitive, works with just the keyboard and looks beautiful. If you want to try out Fedora 15 head over to its homepage here: http://fedoraproject.org/
Last month my computer went through a major upgrade. Here are the specs:
- Processor: AMD Phenom II X6 1100T Black Edition
- Motherboard: Gigabyte 880GM-USB3
- RAM: 8GB DDR3
- Graphics Card: ATI Radeon HD 6790
I also bought a 1TB harddisk and a Samsung DVD drive. The sound card is the only thing that remained from my older config – Creative X-fi Elite pro. After the AMD Athlon 3200+ (the first 64-bit processor and the best one at the time dad bought it), I’ve felt a huge performance boost. Dad’s always bought the best config (within a reasonable cost) and I wanted the best this time as well. My comp is super fast again!
Anyways, the main reason for this post is something a lot of people, at least the Internet savvy, have been talking about – Google+, Google’s latest and best yet attempt at claiming its space in the social network. In a nutshell, its awesome. Its got everything I liked about both Facebook and Twitter and doesn’t have what I didn’t like about it (at least not yet). I guess after its two failures – wave and buzz, and the dead Orkut, Google has been working much harder to create a successful social networking service. So here’s what I think about it:
- User Interface: The first reaction for most people including myself was, “Hey! They just copied off Facebook”. Yes, it seems they did. But they’ve improved it. Things are a lot smoother – you don’t see those occasional “breaks” in Facebook – I’m sure everyone has seen them. The “black bar” lets you access Google+ from any Google service. This implies that Google+ will be connected to all the Google services you use. Apparently, Google+ is meant to be like an extension to Google. I don’t remember where I read it (possibly Engadget or TechCrunch). It connects all your services together – something even wave tried out. One of the guys behind Google+ is Andy Hertzfeld – one of the members in the first Mac development team. This explains the clean interface.
- Post/Comment Edit: Have you ever commented on a post or posted something and realised you missed a word that changed the meaning entirely? You’d then have to delete the it and start over. Google+ makes it simple. It lets you edit.
- Circles: This is a feature everyone seems to love. I found it a little overwhelming at first. Sorting all your friends into groups is hard but they’ve made it fun too. The animation makes you want to drag people into circles again and again . But on a serious note, this is one feature that has huge potential. A lot of people see it as a way they can “hide stuff from their parents” but that’s not it for me. On Facebook, I post a lot of links. A lot of it is tech news which few will read. On Google+ its a lot easier to share stuff with people who would be interested – less spam from me for others. So I share news about the latest Android phone with people who are tech savvy, music videos with those who like the music I do. I can also share stuff with everyone (all circles) if I want to. It’s all really simple. As google puts it , circles is an idea taken from our day – to – day life. We have different circles of friends and are different with each of them. You can choose to keep information private to only that circle of friends.
- Facebook +
BuzzTwitter: It has everything I like about Facebook – posting on walls, chatting, photo and video sharing. But no ads – at least not yet and I wouldn’t really mind if the ads are the way they show up in Gmail – just a line of text. No apps – again something that maybe added later. I just hope it doesn’t blow up like it has on Facebook. And no spam posts (again, at least not yet). It’s also got Buzz and Twitter’s features (there’s even a separate Buzz tab). I can follow people, Android and Me has a Google+ profile which posts updates pretty much like twitter. But here you can attach links, videos and location information which can all be viewed very easily.
- Integrates with other Google services: I mentioned this in point 1 already. This seems to be where Google+ is headed. You see the black bar on Google Docs, Maps, Calendar, Search and GMail (haven’t checked out the other services). I’m not sure how they’ll work together. Right now, I’ve seen that photos on Google+ go to your Picasa account. Something that bothers me is that Picasa has a 1GB limit (free account). I wonder what Google is planning with it. A big bonus for Google+ is that it has tons of Gmail users – tons of people with a Google account. UPDATE: After looking through Picasa’s help section I read this: “Google+ provides unlimited storage for photos, which are automatically resized to 2048 pixels. Videos up to 15 minutes in length are also free.” Fair enough
- Android App: The Android app is very neat – has a nice UI and is very simple to use. I believe there is an iOS app on the way as well. As far as Android is concerned, it integrates well with the system. Sharing photos is simple. You can also choose to upload a photo every time you capture an image on the camera.
- Sparks: It’s still not a very catchy feature for me. I would prefer if Google also had some sort of directory search system so that I could explore based on my interests. The results I get aren’t always what I expect. However, the featured sparks do work well. I feel this does need some work or maybe I just need to explore it a little more. Or maybe wait.
- Huddle and Hangout: This is something I haven’t checked out at all and I don’t think I will till I have more of my friends on Google+.
This is my current view, it may and mostly will change. I loved Facebook when I joined it, but over time it started getting a little too irritating. Spam started flowing beyond limits. I was spending too much time on it instead of doing something more useful. I hope Google+ balances things well. They seem to be listening to feedback very seriously, even fixed a privacy bug in a few hours. Although its been just a week since Google+’s launch, I think they are headed in the right direction. The only catch is, will people make the switch? Let me know what you think. Thanks for reading