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Google Voice, Still No MMS Support

by @ 6:24 pm
Filed under: google — Tags: , ,

Recently someone asked me if I had received their text message. I am a Google Voice user and had not received the text message. Worse yet, the person hadn't received a bounce either so apparently the text had just vanished without a trace.

Turns out that the person had actually attached a photo to the text message which changes the text format from SMS to MMS and it turns out that Google Voice isn't very amenable to MMS.

Investigating the matter further I found this post from over a year ago outlining Google's roadmap on supporting MMS universally. While I verified that MMS support sort of  exists from Sprint phones, MMS messages from other subscribers continue to get dropped.

Hey Google, it's been long enough. What's the hangup?

 

Oracle's Java Bet

by @ 6:40 pm
Filed under: business,google,technology — Tags: , , ,

A couple of weeks ago a judge finally ruled that Google hadn't violated any patents when it used the Java programming language in its Android OS. Good, finally someone wasn't intimidated by Larry Ellison and ruled based on logic rather than emotion. Word has it that the judge actually took some time to learn Java to have a better grasp of the dispute, impressive.

Now comes the news that Android has hit 900k activations per day and is well on its way to reach 1m per days. That may be in part due to some confidence that Android is now a safe bet, free from oracle's licensing threats.

In retrospect, it’s easy to see why Oracle acquired Sun and its assets. Even if some of those assets, like Java or MySQL, were under GPL (essentially free to use), that's counter to how Oracle operates. Oracle had hoped, and still does, to start capitalizing on the large market shares of these products. To that end it hasn't been successful, yet.

The latest Java lawsuit outcome is a great boon to developers and users, but one shouldn't bank on Oracle's defeat in Android's case as being the end of such tactics. Undoubtedly Oracle will be back for more. Given its past business history, Oracle is nothing if not undaunted and persistent.

Gmail Storage Jumps to 10G

by @ 10:37 am
Filed under: email,google — Tags:

Today I noticed my Gmail storage had jumped form 7.5G to 10G. Maybe it's Google's way of compensating for the new ugly design. I suspect in most cases users didn't even notice the change and for even more users like me, who try to keep their account clean, this is really not much of an event.

Still, one never knows when the extra storage may come in handy, so it's welcome news.

Gmail Forces New Look

by @ 11:28 am
Filed under: email,google — Tags:

The good times are over and the ugly Gmail era has dawned. Google finally made good on the threat of making the new look permanent. Over the weekend my Gmail style switched to the new ugliness and there was no longer an option available to revert to the old look as before.

I can whine and complain about the new style but in the end it's Google's service and I'm using it for free. If I don't like it, I can leave, but not going to do that for now, I still like Gmail better than Yahoo and Hotmail. This attitude is not unprecedented at Google. When they took away the FTP feature of Blogger which was my blogging platform then, I complained too. In that case I decided to migrate my blog to Wordpress on my own site and have been happy with that decision.

What also ticks me off is that there are no themes to make Gmail look like its past version. That would have been so easy for Google but alas, there are no retro or classic themes. It's like Google wanted to wipe away even the tiniest connection to Gmail's past. For now the best choice for me is the compact mode with the high-contrast theme. That's neither compact nor high-contrast, but eventually I'll get used to it. Meanwhile I'm sure Google is already working on an uglier next version of Gmail.

Chrome Blesses SQLite

by @ 9:53 am
Filed under: google,technology — Tags: ,

Here's an interesting piece found on the Chrome browser (v17).  Fire up Chrome. Browse to chrome://credits/, scroll down to SQLite and click on "show licence" and this little praise pops up:

The author disclaims copyright to this source code.  In place of a legal notice, here is a blessing:

May you do good and not evil.
May you find forgiveness for yourself and forgive others.
May you share freely, never taking more than you give.

May I echo Chrome's sentiments on SQLite? It’s a superb and versatile database software deserving of every blessing thrown its way 🙂

New Ugly Gmail Look

by @ 9:23 am
Filed under: email,google — Tags: ,

Yesterday I was greeted by an icon in Gmail to try their new look. I clicked, played with the new look for a while and ran right back to the old look. Alas, Google seems determined to push the new Gmail look on users, whether they like it or not, so the classic look may not last much longer.

I had two immediate negative reactions to the new design. The style is plain ugly and it also stinks of social networking. There are no clear cut delineations between the email area, the navigation, the ads, and the buttons. Elements seem to have been randomly placed on the page with very little contrast to differentiate the various areas.

Google will probably deny this but the new design is like Google+ crammed into Gmail. Everything has profile pictures in it and email threads look like wall posting timelines now. You can try the compact mode to squeeze everything together but that doesn’t help much. The elements never quite collapse like the classic version.

When will companies learn? You can't force people to like a product. This is the case of Gmail trying to push Google+ on the users and it doesn't work. The Gmail help forums are already rife with critical messages from disgruntled users. If Gmail wants to give its users new look and feel options, that's fine, but not allowing users to have the classic look is just heavy-handed.

Users can revolt and threaten to leave Gmail and hope Google pulls a BoA in the end. But if Google decides to push forward with the new look, it may be time to ditch Gmail for other services. This may be a golden opportunity for Facebook to beef up its pitiful email platform and steal users away.

Amazon Culture

by @ 9:39 am
Filed under: google,web — Tags:

The tech geeks have been abuzz over a critical article written by a Google developer and leaked on Google+ by mistake. In that article, the author criticizes Google for its lack of a coherent platform and its SOA shortcomings as compared to companies such as facebook, Microsoft, and Amazon.

The author has since recanted his claims, calling them an opinionated rant. Surely a desire to remain employed by Google must have been a strong incentive. Never mind the Google critique, what really interested me was his depiction of Amazon. As an ex-employee of Amazon, he would have been in a position to know.

This is one of the passages describing Amazon:

And their operations are a mess; they don't really have SREs and they make engineers pretty much do everything, which leaves almost no time for coding - though again this varies by group, so it's luck of the draw. They don't give a single shit about charity or helping the needy or community contributions or anything like that. Never comes up there, except maybe to laugh about it. Their facilities are dirt-smeared cube farms without a dime spent on decor or common meeting areas.

A comment post from an Amazon ex-employee reads:

Amazon was a purely political environment where, if you weren't watching your back you'd get stabbed and become a rung in someone else's ladder. In our group, the manager had zero engineering experience (literally had gone to college to be a prison guard, somehow ended up "managing" programmers, though barely computer literate.

 

One might suspect the author has an unjustified grudge against Amazon, but I don't see why the author would trash Amazon when the goal of the article was to pick on Google. Software people generally tell it like it is, so perhaps he just happened to be in bad teams over at Amazon. I give it that at best.

My opinion of Amazon was already low, brought down by their arrogant and unethical behavior, but reading this article gave me more validation for my dislike of this company. I have continued to bypass Amazon and shop elsewhere since my initial disturbing experience with them. It's been most satisfying to deprive Amazon of even a cent of my money.

Google Powered by ASP.NET

by @ 10:01 am
Filed under: google,microsoft — Tags: ,

Ok, it's not goggle.com or one of the more well-known google sites but the site survey.googleratings.com is powered by Microsoft's IIS running ASP.NET. I only noticed this after I received an Adsense survey invitation with a link ending in .aspx. I wouldn't be surprised if the survey results are stored in an SQL Server database.

Google is the actual owner of googleratings.com, so one must assume the site is managed by a third party company, keeping the survey operations away from googleplex. I'm pretty certain any google developer who'd even consider using Microsoft products will be severely humiliated by his peers 🙂

Patents attack Android

by @ 2:29 pm
Filed under: financial,google,law,microsoft,technology — Tags: ,

I'm not naive to the point of believing that Google is all good and no evil, but in this case I side with Google.

What the big patent trolls like Oracle and Apple and Microsoft are doing by burying Android in lawsuits and threats is stifling innovation and taking away choice from consumers.

I'm all for protecting new ideas, but patents are no longer used in the way they were envisioned. They no longer protect ideas and innovation, but are used as weapons against anyone who can be leeched for money. And the leeches are typically not the original patent holders either, but sleazy patent trolls and patent mills.

Official Google Blog: When patents attack Android

Internet Explorer IQ

by @ 10:19 am
Filed under: google,microsoft,social,web — Tags:

Tying browser usage to intelligence makes as much sense as linking hair color to sleeping habits. No doubt someone will come up with that study at some point too.

So going by this study, a few years back 90% of the world was stupid and suddenly most people smartened up by switching away from IE.

And no, I'm not switching to Opera just because its users were shown to have higher IQ. I'll continue using Chrome and remain stupid.

Are Internet Explorer users dumb?

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