Hashemian Blog
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Outlook is Private - Really!

by @ 12:12 pm
Filed under: email,google,microsoft — Tags: ,

Logging into my Hotmail/Outlook account this morning I was greeted with this message touting the benefits of Outlook. They saved the best for last, claiming that "Outlook is private". Talk about false advertising.

outlook is private?

 

It was barely a week ago when news leaked that Microsoft had snooped on an employee's Hotmail account while investigating a hacking incident. And before that there were news of Hotmail snooping on inboxes on behalf of the NSA.

If you are going to make a false statement, at least wait for a period of time for the negative news to fade. Taking veiled pot-shots at Google for showing related advertising on Gmail is easy enough. But I'd much rather have a computer algorithm display related ads while reading emails, than have a forensic team at Microsoft read and analyze my emails or send them to some government agency to be collected and mined unconstitutionally. And then to have the gall to make the phony privacy-abiding statement in the face of their blatant disregard for privacy?

NCAA basketball Brackets on Google

by @ 6:04 pm
Filed under: google — Tags: , ,

Kind of late to mention this as we get close to the end of the 2014 NCAA men's college basketball championship games, but Google has made it easy to check on the games in progress and their results. Just type in bracket in Google and get the info at the top of the results page.

Best wishes to my alma mater, University of Connecticut. Go UConn Huskies !

uconn-ncaa-bracket

 

IP Address on Google

by @ 6:14 pm
Filed under: google — Tags:

Google Search seems to always be adding new features. From measurement conversions to calculator to word definitions, users can get answers to many of their questions without clicking on any results at all.

That's good news for users, but not so for sites who rely on search results for users to click on. One example is getting one's IP address online. There are plenty of services including whoami on this very site that help users with that. Most of these services also provide additional information, but if all the user wants is to know their IP address, a simple Google search for ip will bring up the answer right away.

 

google ip

 

 

What Gmail Needs, Action Icons

by @ 3:56 pm
Filed under: email,google — Tags:

I have been a Gmail user since its debut and have never looked back since I migrated from Hotmail so many years ago. But I still use Hotmail (now known as Outlook) and Yahoo Mail on occasion for trivial emailing and one of the great features that they offer is one-click actions for delete or move. As the mouse pointer rolls over the individual messages, action icons appear to the left of the titles allowing one to delete or move the messages. This is immensely helpful and it's something Gmail doesn't have.

Action icons in Yahoo Mail

Action icons in Yahoo Mail

In Gmail one either has to right-click each message for a menu to pop up and then choose an action like delete or archive, or click the checkbox to the left of the message and then select an action on the top menu. Both of these methods are not as convenient as having single-click action icons appear as one rolls over a message.

I think it's time for Google to introduce action icons in Gmail, at least as a Labs feature.

Berkshire Hathaway Over $1.5 Million

by @ 4:26 pm
Filed under: financial,google — Tags:

Way to go Google Finance, showing Berkshire Hathaway Class A shares up by over 900% at the close of the market today. I almost jumped out of my seat when I saw that. Warren Buffett probably thought: "My company is worth only $3 trillion?"

Berkshire Hathaway Quote

Google has since fixed the quote. It's back to its actual value of a mere $173,600 per share.

Older Chrome Extensions to Go Away

by @ 1:33 pm
Filed under: google — Tags:

I have two free Chrome extensions published a few years ago on the Chrome Web Store. NOREF is an extension that attempts to alter links on web pages so no referer info is sent to servers. JunkFill is the other extension that lets users fill out web page forms with random or pre-determined data with one click.

Recently I received an email from Chrome Web Store that they are ending support for manifest version 1 in favor of version 2. V1 extensions will no longer be indexed in the store as of June and they will no longer run in Chrome by the end of this year. I think this is a good idea as many of the older or abandoned extensions will be swept away making room for newer ones.

There are some significant differences between the two manifest versions. So if you have any older extensions, published or not, it's a good time to get busy and make the updates to stay current with version 2. Mine are updated already.

AdSense, 10 Years Old and My 72-Hour Warning

by @ 3:04 pm
Filed under: business,google,web — Tags:

AdSense, Google's affiliate advertising product for publishers is 10 years old and I just received a warning from them that one of my sites, padfly.com, does not conform to their policies and I have 3 "working" days to clean it up or else they would block their ads on that site forever. Should I cheer or jeer?

For some time AdSense has stated that web pages on sex, violence, gambling, racial matters and other such topics are off limits for their product. padfly.com is not inherently notorious, but because people can create public pages and save any text data to them, some of the pages will inevitably have objectionable content. Policing that site is just not practical.

I have been with Adsense almost since its inception and would certainly not want to raise the ire of Google. It pays enough to cover the cost of running this site. I can also understand why Google would not want to taint its product with pages and sites that are not family friendly. At least they gave a warning instead of abruptly killing my account.

So dear AdSense folks, happy 10th and to comply with your rules I pulled Adsense from padfly.com completely. Fair enough?

Food on Google

by @ 10:27 am
Filed under: google,health — Tags: ,

I'm not a health nut but I do run regularly and enjoy eating healthy food. I don't know a vegetable or fruit that I don't like, a trait inherited from my late father. Sometimes I like to look up the nutrition info on a banana or broccoli just for fun and now Google has made it easier by producing nutrition results on the first search page.

I use Google for a lot more than just search. It's a great calculator, has references on a variety of topics such as space, chemistry, health, drug facts, geography, and historical names or events. Now Google also comes with quick facts on food, be it broccoli, banana, or just water.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nice 🙂

Goggles Can't Read QR Code

by @ 3:08 pm
Filed under: google — Tags: ,

Not sure if it's the latest version of Goggles app or if it's Jelly Bean, but since upgrading my Samsung Galaxy S2 to Android Jelly Bean, Goggles can't read the majority of QR codes it encounters. I had a friend try Goggles on his Jelly Bean HTC and it was the same situation.

Another friend with an iPhone barcode app didn't have any issues. I even tried Goggles with Google  Charts' QR code generator (long deprecated but still generating) and still had no luck.

For now it seems like users must find other apps to scan QR codes. In my case I switched to the built-in AT&T barcode scanner in my smartphone and it is working just fine.

Google Keep

by @ 5:02 pm
Filed under: google — Tags: ,

Here comes a new service from Google called 'Keep'. It's basically a utility to create notes and task lists and access them from anywhere including one's smartphone. I suppose it is a reincarnation of the old Google Notebook.

Many have dubbed Keep the Evernote killer. Probably an over-reaction, but I don't use Evernote. Years ago I created a service, PADFLY, that is a basic public online notepad. Nothing fancy, but what it does, it does well and it has a decent number of users, myself included. I doubt Keep will kill PADFLY 🙂

For now Keep seems to be a no-frills but functional utility as a part of Google Drive and I'll probably use it from my computer and my Android phone. As for its longevity, one can only guess. Google hasn't exactly been reliable with its products as evident by the recent sudden decommissioning of Reader.

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