Site menu:

RSS | Twitter

Chrome OS: The Winners and Losers

November 22, 2009 | 5 comments
Earlier today Google hosted an event for it’s much anticipated new operating system dubbed Chrome OS. This is a very ambitious project that looks to create a lightweight operating system focused on streamlining the average user’s computer experience. Chrome OS consists of ONLY the Google Chrome browser running on a small linux kernel and some device drivers. The idea is that you will start your PC and within seconds you should able to start browsing the web.
The Winners: Google, Consumers, Web Developers
The Losers: Microsoft, PC Manufacturers
Apple: unaffected

google-chromeOn Thursday Google hosted an event for it’s much anticipated new operating system dubbed Chrome OS. This is a very ambitious project that looks to create a lightweight operating system focused on streamlining the average user’s computer experience. Chrome OS consists of ONLY the Google Chrome browser running on a small linux kernel and some device drivers. The idea is that you will start your PC and within seconds you will be able to start browsing the web. Chrome OS will contain support for USB devices like cameras and printers, but the laptops will not contain any local storage for a user’s files. All of the files that we typically store on our laptops will now be stored in the cloud in places like Google Docs or Gmail. Google is positioning Chrome OS as the perfect operating system for netbooks and other ultra-portable secondary PCs.

Chrome OS is a drastic change from the way we normally think of operating systems and personal computers. For as long as I can remember, computers have always had a hard drive and were fully capable machines without the internet. However, as the internet continues to evolve, we are starting to see more and more reliance on cloud applications and storage. Music streaming services like Pandora are starting to gain major traction, photos are all stored on Facebook or Fickr, and it seems like everyone has a Gmail account. We are spending less time using traditional desktop applications to access our content. And Google knows this. (Google knows everything…) As you might expect, a change this drastic has the potential to really shake up the industry, specifically the netbook market. Let’s take a look at some of the potential winners and losers if Chrome OS becomes widely adopted.

Read more »

Why Do Baseball Players…

November 2, 2009 | 1 comment

I’ve been spending a lot of time during the past two weeks watching baseball. This is pretty unusual for me since I’m not typically a baseball fan. There’s just something about the playoffs that gets my attention. Since I’m not a huge fan, there are still a lot of things about the sport that are new to me. I’ve even learned about a couple rules this week that I never even knew existed! There’s a lot more to baseball than just running around the bags it seems. Anyway, my quest for baseball knowledge has (obviously) led me to Google. Tonight I was trying to find out why baseball players use wooden bats instead of metal ones. As I started to type my question, Google Suggest provided a bunch of other questions that people have asked. Ironically, many of these same questions have crossed my mind while watching the game. It’s amazing what you can learn from Google Suggest!

Screen shot 2009-11-02 at 10.25.59 PM

How many of you have wondered the same things?

Google Wave: What’s It All About?

October 26, 2009 | 3 comments

google_wave_logoThe hype surrounding Google Wave over the last month has been incredible. Ever since Wave launched an invite-only preview on September 30th, the internet has been buzzing with questions, tips, and invite requests. Google Wave has been a trending topic on Twitter for weeks, and tweets requesting invites are still pouring in. My own blog post about Wave has attracted hundreds of visitors and I’ve received many blog comments and emails requesting invites. So, what’s all this hype about? Why is everybody suddenly obsessed with this new service? It could be that they are captivated with the notion of invite-only services and are terrified of being left out. Or, maybe it’s because Google thinks Wave will revolutionize the way we interact with each other. I think it’s a bit of both.

Tons of hype on Twitter around Google Wave

Google has positioned Wave as a new way to communicate and collaborate on the web. Most people are still heavily reliant on email and instant messaging for their online communication. These services have been around for decades and new communication tools have since been invented. Blogs, wikis, and social networks are becoming increasingly popular ways to interact online.  For college students, alternative ways of communicating, like Facebook and text messaging, have already started to replace email. Google Wave hopes to address these issues by providing a completely unique approach integrating email, instant messaging, sharing, and document collaboration into one product.

Read more »

Searching For The Best VPS Hosting

October 25, 2009 | 5 comments

serverAbout three weeks ago I began searching for a new hosting provider. Currently, all of my websites are hosted on a shared hosting account with Lunarpages. I’ve been hosting with them for about 6 years and I am still extremely happy with their services. I’ve been looking for a new hosting provider with some more advanced features and a lot more flexibility. With shared hosting accounts, like my current account, there are many (probably hundreds) of other websites on a single physical server. All of these websites share the processing power, memory, and bandwidth on that server. Unfortunately, not all websites are good at sharing and it’s not uncommon for a handful of websites to be consuming the majority of the server’s resources. Additionally, with a shared hosting account, the provider controls the type of software that is installed and has restraints in place to try to alleviate the sharing problem described above. Although I have not personally had a problem with my shared host, I have heard of many horror stories about shared hosting providers.

I started to look for alternative hosting solutions after running into a few road blocks while attempting to do some work with caching. I have always known about dedicated hosting but I didn’t know much about Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting. VPS hosting is a perfect middle ground between expensive dedicated servers, where the server is 100% yours, and shared hosting like I currently have. A Virtual Private Server takes advantage of the advances in server virtualization and allows the developer to have their own virtual server on a larger physical server. The developer picks what operating system to use, has full root SSH access, and can reboot the system at any time. Additionally, the Xen Virtualization software makes it extremely easy to create or delete these new ‘virtual servers’ in mere seconds. So now, instead of having a hundred websites sharing resources on a single server, it’s more like 40 virtual servers, each with dedicated allotments of RAM and bandwidth, running on a single server. It has all of the benefits of a dedicated server at a fraction of the cost.

Read more »

Have You Heard Of Dropbox?

September 30, 2009 | 2 comments

dropboxiconI’ve been hearing a lot lately about an application called Dropbox. It has been receiving a lot of hype this week and Twitter has been gushing about how great it is. This evening I decided to check it out and see what all the fuss was about. WOW. I’m going to try to finish this post without rambling too much about how blown away I am by this company and the product. The Dropbox application is a pretty straightforward concept. Basically, it’s cloud storage for your files and data with a really slick syncing mechanism for computers and mobile devices. You could install Dropbox on your personal machine, work machine, and iPhone and use it to keep a handful of files synced at all times. It’s simple and easy to understand, yet extremely useful!

As you might imagine, I download and use a lot of software in any given week. It’s rare that within the first 5 minutes of using a new product, I’m compelled to write about it. It’s not the functionality of Dropbox that amazes me. After all, I’ve been using Mozy, a similar technology, for a few months now as an online backup solution. What really amazes me about the Dropbox team is their attention to detail. They seem to make sure that every little thing is perfect. That’s not something you see too often these days, especially with startups. Many are in such a hurry to get their product out and start making money that they aren’t always thorough enough with the software. From the Dropbox website, to the client installers for Mac and Linux, to the creative marketing and documentation, this is by far the best “total package” product I’ve seen in months.

Read more »

Is Chat The Future Of Tech Support?

September 28, 2009 | 2 comments

Last week I wrote about a MobileMe killer in the form of Google Sync for iPhone. I have 2 months left on my subscription to MobileMe and I thought I would try to cancel and see if they would prorate the remaining amount.  Last night I fired up a 24/7 Live Chat to speak with a MobileMe support person who helped me cancel my account. Unfortunately, after my account was cancelled I found out that I was unable to get a refund due to my subscription type. Since there was no longer a financial benefit to canceling, I decided to call it a night and attempt to “un-cancel” tomorrow.

The next day I did another live chat and provided the MobileMe support representative with the session ID from my previous chat. The rep was able to quickly reference the transcript and start solving my problem immediately. He generated a new registration key (which got me another FULL year subscription!!) and helped work out another problem I was having. He was extremely helpful and responsive. As a result of this very positive experience, I started thinking about the future of online chat support. I expect to see a lot more companies adding online chat as an alternate form of support.

Read more »

Google Sync for iPhone = MobileMe Killer

September 25, 2009 | No Comments

mobilemeLike every good Apple fanboy, I signed up for Apple’s MobileMe service when it became available in July 2008 alongside the launch of the iPhone 3G. MobileMe is a rebranding of Apple’s .Mac service that has been around for 7 years. The new service promised some cool features and most importantly, “push” email, contacts, and calendar. Being a Mac user already, I was excited to hear about this over-the-air syncing of iCal, Address Book, and my Gmail account (or so I thought). After the launch there was a lot of buzz over the definition of push and many people (myself included) finally started to understand the limitations of the service. As you may know, the push email was only available for the MobileMe email accounts ending with Gmail users were out of luck.

After a few weeks of trying out the service, I became quite fond of the over-the-air syncing of my data. I hate plugging my iPhone into my laptop and it’s nice to never worry about being out of sync or missing that important meeting. Despite some initial launch hiccups, I decided to stick with the service and have been using it ever since. MobileMe has been mostly unchanged since the launch except for the notable addition of the Find My iPhone feature. Well, as you may have heard, earlier this week Google decided to shake things up a little bit with the introduction of a Gmail “Push” solution for the iPhone. As if the relationship wasn’t rocky enough after the Google Voice fiasco, this is a clear shot at Apple’s MobileMe service.

Read more »

Nearly 58% of College Students Using Macs

September 24, 2009 | 5 comments

pssc_web-logoIf you’re anything like me, you love to look at stats! I love charts, graphs, tables, pretty colors… etc. Google Analytics is one of the fun places I like to go when I’ve got time to kill on the web. Last week I added the Penn State Snowboard Club’s site, which I built two years ago, into Google Analytics. The analytics began working the day before the club’s first Fall meeting, which usually has an attendance of around 400 students. The site saw a huge surge of traffic with over 100 members active in the “online list”. I’ve been gathering statistics for a full week now, and I’ve got some pretty interesting information to share.

Before I get into the numbers, I want to make it very clear that this was NOT a scientific study. I’ll provide the statistics and some colorful commentary, but it’s up to you to make your own conclusions. With that being said, I do believe that this sampling of nearly 500 “absolute unique visitors” does a good job of representing college students at Penn State (and probably around the country). I’ve been involved in the snowboard club for 4 years and I can tell you that we get a wide range of students. From engineers to teachers to liberal arts majors, the nature of snowboarding tends to bring in a fairly diverse crowd. Our students range from freshman to super seniors, although we do tend to have a surprisingly large (40%?) number of freshman in the club. Now that I got the disclaimer out of the way, let’s dive into the numbers!

Read more »

Quick Tip: Minimize to Application Icon

September 13, 2009 | 1 comment

I’ve been exploring the new Mac OS X Snow Leopard operating system for two weeks now. With the help of some blogs and discussions with some nerdy friends of mine (you guys rock!), I figured out a bunch of small but powerful tweaks that were included in this version of OS X. Today I want to highlight a new option added to the Dock preferences called “Minimize windows into application icon”.

New setting in the Dock section of System Preferences

Read more »

Snow Leopard: Initial Thoughts

August 28, 2009 | 1 comment

I took the day off to travel to Albany, NY for the weekend. Our flight landed in Albany just before 9:30am and we made it to the Apple store a few minutes after 10. I picked up my copy of Snow Leopard and the whole experience was a little anti-climactic. I was in and out of the store in less than 5 minutes. I popped in the Snow Leopard disc and started the upgrade. The entire process took around 45 minutes and sadly my 38-day uptime streak came to an end!

screencastRunning Mac OS X 10.6: Snow Leopard

Read more »

Twitter Tumblr Music Blog