Tales of an IT Nobody

devbox:~$ iptables -A OUTPUT -j DROP

My Google exit strategy March 14, 2013

I’ve been saying this for a long time now, Google can’t be trusted. I think it’s becoming commonplace in other blogs to start talking about having an exit strategy. I’ve been planning for a while (starting with the removal of my blog from blogspot).

The Google products I’ve unfortunately come to rely on:

  • Gmail (personal, and business)
  • Calendar
  • Drive
  • Reader
  • Analytics
  • Google Charts API
  • Google Web Fonts API

There’s something to be said about the flighty nature of these ‘free’ services. While Google and Yahoo have very long track records for their services; I don’t care for Yahoo’s UI, and Google is obviously the reason this is all in question anyways.Lucky for me, I have -very- few sites utilizing Google API’s because I’ve seen this coming from a mile away. That said, replacing Google charts will be a bear because graphs are a PITA to code.


Gmail, Google Calendar, Reader:

To replace Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Reader, I will be using Microsoft Hosted Exchange . At $4/mo – I can get push email to my phone from multiple domains and aliases (Which is what my email structure is anyways). Piece of mind that Microsoft isn’t using my email to target advertisements at me and Outlook (Admit it, Outlook is superior at what it does.) Outlook supports RSS feeds; and I don’t need to go into detail on what Exchange offers for sharing, etc.

Drive:

This one is easy, because I naturally do this anyways: Amazon S3Dirt cheap for small file management; I don’t need the web UI to edit files; and IF I needed that, I would upgrade to the $6/mo plan for Live 365 for online office. There’s a myriad of programs that make it easy to make Amazon S3 a part of your workflow: Firefox’s “S3Fox” plugin and the Cyberduck app make it painless.

Analytics:

I’m not worried because there’s a dime a dozen of free analytic apps that all do just a good a job, don’t believe me? Look!

Google charts API:

Time to man up and buy a highcharts license. If you do web design you can build that price in per-client, or bite the bullet and get a developer version. Remember: How much is it worth NOT having to go crawling to your client telling them their graphs won’t work anymore because YOU used Google API that may be retired god-knows-when?

Google web fonts API:

To be honest, the only reason this is in use is pure laziness. In that I’m too lazy to DOWNLOAD the stupid .woff files and host them myself. No real issue here, just some busy footwork to remove the dependency.

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Categories: google tools

Migrating from Blogger (Google) to WordPress July 13, 2012

With the sketchy nature of Google, I’m starting to decrease as many dependencies as I can from them. Starting with my blog. A part of it is just a technical test to find out how hard it would be to wean off of the free service.

Overall, there’s few – if any alternatives to WordPress that will let you import your blog from Blogger with such success. There are a few caveats I feel are worth mentioning, however…

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Say goodbye to iGoogle. Boo! July 3, 2012

In a clear effort to push Android and Chrome, Google is discontinuing iGoogle Nov, 2013.
This announcement comes as an early 4th of July surprise from Google.

It’s getting really hard to trust Google with how they bait and switch, and kill projects I know are more popular than they even state.

iGoogle is still new, and they’ve dumped effort into a recent redesign, this reverberates yet again how volatile things are. I hope I haven’t made a crucial mistake in using Gmail as well as instructing clients to use them for business mail.

People who use iGoogle use it as the homepage for their browser. Am I to believe they just want to toss out that un-tapped advertisement revenue (which they never tapped)? That’s how I know it’s a play on Chrome, and unfortunately iGoogle cannot be replaced by all the widget and gadget crap that you can install into Chrome, functionally: yes – but not having a birdseye view of many vectors of information on one page (a dashboard) is a very different deal.

At this point there’s no way I could possibly trust an app infrastructure with Google (with their pricing change history). I’m at a new level of paranoia: How long til Google kills their Web Fonts service? Google Web Toolkit (GWT)? Charts API? Blogger?

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Categories: google rant

Worthy of distribution: Google vs. Facebook – paid ads May 16, 2012

This is certainly no surprise to me; Not only is Facebook less economical from initial impressions, the performance is a dead giveaway.

Here’s a sweet and to the point rundown of how they bat heads.

If you had to pick one to dump money into, it should always be Google (for the time being); unless you’ve got a lot of cash to drop, then maybe a less-than-double-digit percentage of your online advertisement funds should go on Facebook.

(This is not to say Facebook, if leveraged right is an economical choice for customer relations!)

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Observations: Google’s new Terms of Service January 27, 2012

The new TOS and Privacy Policy documents from Google are a welcome change, reducing 60 individual ones into a standard, global set is a much better idea for understanding’s sake.

Observation 1:

We may review content to determine whether it is illegal or violates our policies, and we may remove or refuse to display content that we reasonably believe violates our policies or the law. But that does not necessarily mean that we review content, so please don’t assume that we do.

Usng Our Services http://www.google.com/policies/terms/#toc-services

I get what they’re saying, but the wording seems a little humorous if you don’t hone in on ‘necessarily’.

Observation 2:

We provide information to help copyright holders manage their intellectual property online.

Privacy and Copyright Protection http://www.google.com/policies/terms/#toc-protection

Odd, this leaves some open questions to what information they provide … are they helping police things “SOPA style”?

Observation 3:

Some of our Services allow you to submit content. You retain ownership of any intellectual property rights that you hold in that content. In short, what belongs to you stays yours. 

 That’s neat… but wait, the next paragraph:

When you upload or otherwise submit content to our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content.

Your Content in our Services http://www.google.com/policies/terms/#toc-content

Uh… ok…

I don’t have any intent on copyright infringement, so the first two don’t bother me, but the third one leaves me with some questions …

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Categories: google security

Why I won’t (can’t) adopt Google Chrome yet… January 10, 2012

Privacy aside, simply put: in my role, I do my fair share of design work, AJAX debugging, CSS, you name it –  I need tools at my fingertips to quickly do more than just rip apart the DOM of a page, these are my deal breaker extensions/capabilities that aren’t in chrome:

Dealbreakers:

1. Web Developer Toolbar – Session toggle, disable/enable cache
Chrome has no way to turn on/off cache at the click of a button. The closest thing I have found is a to create an icon that has a switch in the launch parameters. Another biggie for me is to clear a specific set of session cookies for a domain instead of all of them. The chrome version of Web Developer Toolbar completely lacks these options.

 

 

 

 

 

 2. Selenium IDE
Only firefox has the Selenium IDE plugin; for those of us who perform automation or frequent checking on forms for SQL injection or other; there’s a few alternatives out there for chrome, but none as extensive as Selenium (you can also reuse the IDE tests for Selenium RC)

 

 

 

3. S3Fox (or equiv.)

4. View image info, without a darn plugin… (’nuff said; even IE has it!)

Google Chrome ISthe browser of the future;  it’s still not quite there yet for me…

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Categories: google purdy tools

Day of the Googmonster – from … a google blog… September 12, 2011

This is a must read for anyone who feels Google can do no evil, putting them on a pedestal.
If you embrace every little ‘tech’ knick knack they throw out to the world, or If you’re in the percentile with a who’s seeing Google turn into a cashgrabber like everyone else – you should read it!

It is by far the most concise rundown of why I have a love-hate relationship with Google. I’m not against a company making some coin; anyone who knows me knows I’m a reasonable capitalist, but I do -not- agree with the direction Google seems to keep poking at.

The pace of change from Google over the past year has been alarming. I’m not talking about the new pretty UI stuff – I’m talking about their business and technological tact.

Google business observations:

– Apps angine, dirt cheap – now expensive and complicated for saving money.
– Labs is being retired (I view this as a strong indicator of their new business stance).
– “Music beta” – seeing this first hand makes me wonder “what’s the catch” – it doesn’t feel like Google, it -WILL- change dramatically! (I predict this will either be pulled, or quickly move to a “paid” service – another ‘get em hooked’ tactic).
– More aggressive advertisement in every facet – especially GMail.
– Self driving cars. What don’t they want their fingers in?
– Drop of Android app inventor (Platform training / consultation anyone?)

The above things are all OK with me – they can do what they want with their company!

My problem lies in an old fashioned tactic used by the likes of Microsoft, Netscape, etc to round up users and get them stuck on an exclusive technology (ranging from mundane protocols to programs) – now it’s Google bringing Dart and the likes of WebP to the fray.

I don’t hate Google – a lot of engineering feats give them their credibility and “trust” from the masses – the world has benefited for sure! However, I trust them much less than I did 2+ years ago… and most certainly don’t think that there’s no strings attached to these attempts to re-invent (add to) old problems.

Maybe my contention for all of this is just a sign of being winded in “web development”… I’d rather setup key gen + git access on “dev”, or work on making MegaCli stomachable than tread water in the emotions of  browser and it’s dependent technology…

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Categories: google rant

Google App Engine – Pricing changes and another prediction September 9, 2011

I’m not sure what the Goog’monster is thinking with so many dramatic changes over the last year. Most of them have been good – but the loss of labs, app inventor and the pricing hikes for the Google App Engine platform is really rising some eyebrows for me – It seems they’re tightening their belt and distancing themselves from individuals and more toward bigger dollars.

Anywho, anyone unhappy with the pricing changes will enjoy reading what I will call the “GAE reaming” thread.

Is it a matter of time before they trickle pricing for Music and Docs? Starting to wonder …

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Categories: google rant