Dec 10, 2013

Chromebooks

I got to setup a Chromebook yesterday. What a breeze. I can sure see why it is the #1 seller on Amazon. One of the Chromebook's key feature is its ability to change users. 
I also got to fix a Windows laptop yesterday. I got rid of most of the pop ups, but the missing dll file forced me to reinstall some software. Even IE crashed on me twice. I did install Chrome just incase IE keeps on crashing. 
I can sure see why Chrome has replace IE as the #1 browser. Even though Microsoft has begun an aggressive anti-Chromebook marketing campaign in an attempt to undermine the Chrombebook's potential as a computing device, I don't see the Chromebook losing ground. I do promote this software because is Open just like Ubuntu. Enjoy.

Nov 22, 2013

500 people like me.

G+ followers graph
Wow! I am loved! There are 500 people who are somewhat interested in what I have to say. Everyday I get from 0 to 6 new followers (see chart). I know a lot of my post are technical so if some people could figure out how to uncircle me I wouldn't have such a following. :) I am starting to do more helpouts so hopefully we can help people learn how to manage they circles.
 Now that Google plus has over 2.5 billion accounts (every 3rd person) it is quite easy to find the people you want to hear from. Now getting those people to post some pictures or text on the internet is a little harder. It seems like Facebook has that trickery figured out better than G+. I added the images of some of the people who like me on the right of this blog. Enjoy! I know I am not that important. I only have 0.00002% of G+ers following me.

Oct 20, 2013

Municipal Elections - Where should Health and Education spending come from?

Municipal Elections are tomorrow, time to think about taxes.
I noticed on my last Gas bill that I was getting charged $8 per GJ Carbon Tax. I added my other sources of carbon use and came up with 28 tons of carbon per year. Should I be paying $224 per year in a Carbon Tax? Should I be charged $224 for releasing the heat trapping "greenhouse" gas? Does society benefit from this Pigouvian tax (sin tax)?
Alberta's carbon tax rate is set at $15 per ton, but they are only taxing the big oil companies. B.C. rate is $10 per ton (2.41 cents per gas litre) which gives B.C. over 1 billion in revenue per year. They are adding this carbon tax to the everyone's bill.  NASA climate guy James Hanson thinks this is a good thing. As water starts to freeze and cattle start to need hay a 3 to 5 degree increase might be a good thing, at least up north.
I think I agree with the tax even if it hurts me. What do you think?

Apr 24, 2013

It costs 60 cents to send a text via Telus use Jabber instead.

Telus is upping their texting rates. Lets all start using our gmail address to text instead of our phone number.
To pay 60 cents to send a text message is expensive. I know not all of my friends live in the US, but even spending 25 cents to text them seems weird when texting requires the Internet to work. Yes texting doesn't work if your internet is down on your cell phone so why use your phone number ID to text?
I have tried to get all my friends to text me using jabber because half of the year I don't have a Canadian phone number. Texting via gmail is a lot like texting via your phone number except it is better because it has status indicators. The hard part about any communication system is getting the people you want having available your contact info when they want to contact you. Some people have given up updating their contact book and rely on Facebook or Google Plus to get a hold of someone. Facebook even has a texting system built into their system, but you can't text anyone who is not part of Facebook; and you know what I think of closed systems. So lets save money and use our gmail addresses to text instead of using our phone numbers.

Four advantages of using gmail vs. phone # for texting:

  1. Texting also works from a computer - typing is so much easier.
  2. It queues the message until the receiver logs back in.
  3. You can easily block someone from texting you.
  4. FREE

Apr 5, 2013

To Post or Not to Post -- that is the question.

Finding out if it is worth while posting is much easier on G+ than FB.  I gained 200 followers last year, but not every one  checks out my posts, only about 1/2 do. To prove this, I uploaded a picture of my quad being stuck in the snow and almost 200 people took a look at it, I have about 400 followers so that means that 200 didn't bother to click on the quad's image. I did get 3 pluses so 197 saw the image but didn't respond. So posting for me is about 1/2 as good as sending out an email.
The other thing that happened today on Google Plus was I lost a follower. I guess I could figure out who, but I need a before snapshot. I don't really know why someone doesn't want to be bothered reading my posts, but a least it is easy to do. On FB you can't tell how many people view my pictures only those who click like or comment. With Facebook having 25% more users I guess you could extrapolate, but I get so few hits coming to this blog from FB I think FB users are click sensitive. I am starting to be click sensitive also because some mouseovers take up the full page. Don't mouseover a Westjet image.
PS. Last month when I did my site:plus.google.com -inurl:about command it was 750 million now there are 800 million G+ users.

Mar 16, 2013

Why are Canadian users abandoning Facebook?

Facebook lost 800,000 users in 3 months 
I notice that Facebook was trending on Google Plus's stream so I checked it. What, Facebook is adding hash-tags? I guess that is now part of their social search. The more Facebook tries to be like Google Plus the more users it alienates. If you look at the two feeds now (stream / news feed) you can hardly tell them apart.
Losing 5% of your users in 3 months must be hard on Mark. I enjoy trying to figure out why people join social network sites so I can be one step ahead in marketing / stock-market trends.  Making to many changes cause a lot of people to look else where. Now that there are a 1/2 billion active users on G+, it is easy to find interesting stories there. Also, there are now 3/4 of a billion users signed up to G+, so most of your real life friends have an account there.  This makes Facebook's changes become a higher risk for people swapping them out for Google Plus.
Last week I showed a friend G+ and showed him how to circle a few users so that his stream wouldn't be just filled with me, but he wouldn't follow through to start making use of G+ so, I must not of explained the benefits of G+ clear enough. However, he is still posting on Facebook so he does want to be hear. I never got him to the point of 10 friends so he still can't be easily found by others searching for his name.
If this keeps up in 72 months there will be no Canadians left using Facebook so hopefully my friends will have learnt to use circles by then.

Feb 28, 2013

Rogers Cell Phone Plans

In Canada cell phones plans are a lot worse than in other countries. After putting our cell phone on hold for 3 months and paying $12 / month we are back in Canada ready to get in bed with some company that will connect us wirelessly to the rest of the world. Where we live, only 3 companies offer services. The weird part is if you are contract free you can get a customer retention specialist on the phone at get some screaming deals. Like:
Phone: unlimited Canada local/ld  and unlimited txt/pic/vid
Data: 6 gb
Extras: call display, visual voicemail
for only $55 
Under their current promotional plan this is costing $110 so I guess I have to spend some time speaking to a customer retentions expert. 

This is the Rogers Standard Retention Plan (lowest they will go)
[ 200min | 6pm EE / WE ] - $17.50 6gb of Data - $30
Options:
Max Air - 250 Mins| 8 E/W| Call display - $25Unlimited Minutes - $70.00500 minutes – $20.00Unlimited Local Calling - $35.00 Unlimited North American Call | Text - $50.00
More info can be found at http://openmedia.ca/upgradecanada
So I wonder. . .  how long will I have to talk to get this plan and how many customer service reps will I have to go through?

Jan 31, 2013

400 million active users and growing.

One year ago I posted that Google+ has 200 million active users, now there are 400 million active users. If I do the site:plus.google.com -inurl:about command I find there are 705 million people with a profile on Google plus.
I find these stats interesting because I want communication to be easy and open and like my new friend Ted Weir on Google+ says
I used to love Apple but now it's becoming a tech-ogre. My wife recently bought an iPad and she regrets doing so. It's a communications cage where they' limit access to other technologies The companies at the top almost always make this mistake. They try and control their customers, lock them in—own them
 -- finally someone that understands what I am trying to do; Make digital communication easier. By using technology from companies that don't adhere to share and share alike policies, people become subservient to the big companies and their lawyers. I am not one to concede my digital communication to Facebook (who now is making $15 per user per year) or Apple / Microsoft who don't let you edit their code without a non-competition clause in their Non disclosure agreement.

Google Plus is allowing us GNU users (people who care about others) to connect via real-time face-to-face meetings called Hangouts and Google is the only company that allows for data liberation and open Instant Messaging via their Jabber Federation.



Jan 1, 2013

2013 - Happy New Year

It’s that time of year when many of us reflect on the year past and ponder on which path to take for the year to come. I'm one of those people that sets goals for myself.  One of the most important goal I have set for myself is helping people exchange digital info easier. It has been a long ride; but we are now to the point where using a computer doesn't force you to accept the terms, which most people never read any ways.
When I solve a computer problem I feel good about myself, but I would feel better if that problem never existed. Sometimes I wonder if I enjoy the challenge more then the smile / relief on the person's face. So, when I solve problems it feels better when what I am solving will make the world better in the future.

2013 will be an interesting year for the Open Source communities. Microsoft & Apple are trying harder to lock people into their ecosystems, but more and more people are getting used to the idea of Linux. So much so, that Linux will now be used on gaming computers - (where the big money is). When we buy computers or anything we should ask ourselves the following questions.

  1. How will this benefit me?
  2. How will this affect others?
A lot of us are stuck on question #1 and never get onto #2 unless the other person sues us. 2013 will finally allow us to help others without sacrificing.  This will allow people who care for others, even just a little bit, start being able to help them. 
Thanks for being Noah's descendent. Happy 2013