Latest from The Spokesman-Review
In a bit of tongue-in-cheek jesting, Microsoft is selling a coffee mug that takes a jab at Google's propensity for “data aggregation,” AKA, “Do no evil.*”
I think it's a jab at Gmail, since I know that's one of their selling points for their email products.
I was going to buy one, had it in my cart and hit “submit,” but apparently between first seeing the mug and trying to check out, it sold out. Either that or their ecommerce system is a piece of junk. But I would never accu$e M$ of using broken $oftware, so it mu$t have been $old out.
* Googlespeak for “collect all your data and sell it to the highest bidder.”
Google released a new app called, imaginatively, Google Web Designer. Being a web designer myself, I thought I'd take it for a spin and give you my thoughts.
(Before we start, I should let you know of my pre-exisiting biases. As someone forced to use Adobe's GoLive and Macromedia/Adobes's Dreamweaver in college, I hate WYSIWYG development environments. They're a crutch and a nuisance in my opinion.)
On to the show!
Google is coughing up a fairly piddling $7 million to divide among 38 states including Washington, as part of a settlement it's agreed to, to resolve privacy concerns over data collected by the company's Street View units.
The company acknowledges gathering passwords and other personal informaiton over local Wi-Fi networks with its Street View roving vehicles. It denies wrongdoing, however.
The settlement includes an agreement by Google to pay the 38 states and the District of Columbia a total of $7 million to be used for, among other things, civil penalties, attorneys' fees and other costs of investigation and litigation, future consumer protection enforcement and education.
Washington's share of the money is $135,604, the state Attorney General's office reported.
MAPPING — Google Maps, which changed the world of giving directions with it's online map selections, has stretched its street view capability to the ski slopes.
Power up Google Maps on your Android device or iPhone, and the mountain information you need is right there. Blue, green and black runs are shown as solid colored lines and ski lifts are red dotted lines.
The tech innovator recently made digital waves in the outdoors with their “street view” take on Grand Canyon hiking trails by offering 9,500 panoramic images to armchair hikers.
Charlie Schmidt, one of Spokane's most viral artists, got a nice little early present from Google this year.
The search giant and software company used Schmidt's legendary web-craze Keyboard Cat in an online promo for the JAM app used with the Google Chrome browser. See that promo at the link here. The app lets people from different computers play music together.
We didn't ask how much Google paid him to use the cat and cat tune in the promo. It's probably a decent figure.
Spokesman.com reporter Tom Sowa wrote about Charlie Schmidt's continuing effort to patrol the web and find offenders who use Keyboard Cat without compensation to him. Here's that story.
TRAIL MAPPING — Soon you'll be able to look intimately at a trail on your computer or smartphone before launching out to hike, bike or ride a horse on it.
Google has begun applying it's Street View technology to the backcountry.
In its first official outing, the Street View team is using the Trekker—a wearable backpack with a camera system on top (see video above)—to traverse the Grand Canyon and capture 360-degree images of the breathtaking natural landscapes.
Google said the new imagery would soon be making its way to Google Maps.
See details on the project in this report from the Associated Press.
Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Inc. announced on Thursday its new Lewiston manufactuing plan is producing digital relays that are being shipped globally.
Net traffic tracker comScore today released new numbers on the smartphone market in the United States.
The numbers show both Android and Apple are making strong gains in one of the strongest sectors of the country's tech industry.
The graphic here gives the counts and shows a contrast between the most recent, Jan. 2012 and Oct. 2011 numbers.
Source: comScore Mobilens.
Ok, you're not working for Google and you're probably not upper management at Starbucks. But if you work for Pullman-based Schweitzer Engineering Labs, you have something to be proud of; the privately held firm is ranked No. 97 among Fortune's Best Companies to Work For.
The list has just been released. Google ranks No. 1. REI Equipment ranks No. 8; Nordstrom scores the No. 61 ranking. And Starbucks comes in at No. 73.
The other impressive piece of information: Schweitzer, which makes relay devices and networking components for the electrical generation and distribution industry, is among the fastest-growing firms on the basis of jobs added.
SEL has a 27 percent job growth. Only four companies on the top 100 list have a faster job-growth rate, based on the numbers used by Fortune.
Notably, the biggest job-gainer is Zappos, reporting a 70 percent job gain since last year.
A new book on entrepreneurs by Gonzaga University's Todd Finkle includes lessons drawn from Steve Jobs, Sergey Brin and Warren Buffett.
Finkle is GU's Pigott Professor in Entrepreneurship. He recently arranged a trip by GU business and Hogan Program students to meet with Buffeet in Omaha.
Finkle's new book is “Lessons Learned from Leading Entrepreneurs: Case Studies in Business and Entrepreneurship.”
He'll read from the book on Saturday Nov. 19 at 2 p.m. at Auntie's Bookstore, in downtown Spokane.
My great-nephew, Matthew, will turn 16 in two weeks. On his Facebook page, he wrote: “I'm older than Google!”
A friend of his same age wrote back: “Tell your grandkids that one day. They won't believe it!”
Matt was born in 1995. Google, according to its company history, filed for incorporation in California on September 4, 1998.
Wow. It goes so fast! I first met Matt when he was 3 months old and somedays, it seems like yesterday. And I can't imagine a world now without Google.
What historical milestone do you track the years with?
(AP archive photo)
We are dedicated to collecting and posting interesting, odd or slightly useful graphics and charts, wherever they may be. All we ask for is clean and fun infotainment.
Today's offering is a cool find, a superhero treatment of popular social media sites. We found it at the uber-social site FreestyleInteractive.co.uk. The infographic is from the Freestyle Interactive digital agency.
We dig the cool and clever takes on sites like Flickr. and Google+.
Hope you all like it…
RENTON, Wash. (AP) — The city of Renton is halting any further search warrant efforts to force Google to reveal the real name of the person who created animated Internet videos that mocked Renton police and some city employees.
Renton Chief Administrative Officer Jay Covington said Thursday that police so far have uncovered no relevant information to further a criminal investigation of what they had called a cyberstalking case. Police recently obtained a search warrant that sought to force Google to turn over the filmmaker's real name. The videos were posted on YouTube. A judge issued a stay of the search warrant this week.
Covington says police believe the filmmaker is a current police officer. He says an internal investigation will continue.
The cartoons parody everything from officers of an unidentified law enforcement agency having sex on duty to certain employees getting promoted without necessary qualifications. Renton Police Chief Kevin Milosevich says his officers and several city employees are the targets.
Trying as hard as we can to offer the occasional useful chart or graphic. Today's offering: a recently published graphic on what matters to people when buying a smartphone.
Definition first: A smartphone is: a mobile phone that offers more advanced computing ability and connectivity than a contemporary feature phone. Smartphones and feature phones may be thought of as handheld computers that use applications similar to those you would use on a computer. (Definition from Wikipedia).
The graphic comes by way of Businessinsider.com. The big determining factor, the survey shows, was “platform.” which means: Is this running on Apple software, Microsoft or Google Android software?
The second leading factor in smartphone selection appears to be features (the kind of buttons, the presence of a video recorder, etc.) The third main factor are apps.
Item: Is Donald Trump the first Google trends candidate?/Catalina Camia, OnTrends
More Info: Donald Trump is many things: a real estate mogul, a celebrity with a hit reality TV show and, possibly, a Republican presidential candidate. In a media world driven by clicks and search engines, is Trump also the first presidential hopeful egged on by Google trends? The answer: Maybe.
Question: What role will the social media play in the 2012 presidential election?
A whole bunch of cities including Spokane applied to be selected for Google's much-anticipated rollout of fiber (high-speed Internet) service.
The winning city is Kansas City, Kansas.
A story on Mashable notes that depending on how that first city rollout proceeds, other cities may also be selected.
The stakes are fairly high for the metros blessed by the search company. Google will install a fiber network that provides 100 times faster data speeds than the typical U.S. Internet connection.
Facebook unveiled a new messaging platform today that takes aim at one of the Internet’s first applications, e-mail. Although blogs had been speculating that Facebook would announce an e-mail service to rival Google Inc.’s Gmail and others, Facebook said e-mail was just one component of its plans. Declaring e-mail past its prime in the age of texts and instant messages, CEO Mark Zuckerberg (shown, left, in AP photo making announcement this AM in San Francisco) said the company doesn’t believe e-mail is going to be a modern messaging system/Associated Press. More here.
Question: Which do you use more for Internet messaging — e-mail or Facebook messaging?
Did Spokane get anywhere near being chosen by Google in its much-publicized plan to deploy fiber networks in some lucky metros?
We wondered about that, so we contacted the Mountain View company and asked about Spokane’s chances of being one of the locations chosen. (Photo shows a rally organized by the Spokane Association of Pro-Fiberians.)
The short answer: the decision hasn’t been made yet and Google intends to make the choice by the end of 2010. More than 1,100 cities made appeals — some silly, some highly sophisticated — to be part of the company’s plan to roll out the first phase of an ultra-high speed network across parts of the country.
As Google spokesman Dan Martin noted, the company will offer the option for one or a number of sites, with a population target of between 50,000 and 500,000.
That means it could be in just one city. Or in several cities. If it does involve several cities, it might be just a portion. In an email, Martin wrote: “… We might select a large city, but only build in a small neighborhood.”
He also said the company so far has identified several communities “that we think might be a good fit for our project. But we’re not yet prepared to announce anything more at this time.”
The benefit, for Google, is learning how to best deploy the fiber network on a broader scale; the first locations will be beta sites, in effect. The service will not be free, Martin noted. Customers will be facing a pricing system more or less competitive with other providers.
For more Google explanations on the criteria, Martin sent along this link: http://www.google.com/appserve/fiberrfi
Office Hours readers may have noticed the pull-down Apture Bar that floats just below your browser header. if you don’t see it, scroll your mouse toward the edge of the page and it should show up at the top of the page.
This gives a number of options we didn’t have before. It allows quick sharing with Twitter, Facebook and by e-mail. To the right side of the bar is the mojo, the Apture media search option.
One can search a term, like “data center,” and you’ll find sets of results that show up in a window right there in the results box. You don’t need to leave the blog page to search the results.
Results will include A) all of the Office Hours blog; B) All of Spokesman.com; and C) All of Google results for the search terms. Not too shabby.
Spokane is among 600-plus communities and cities who are begging (shamelessly in some cases) that Google provide their burg with an experimental, ultra high-speed broadband network.
Google announced the idea back in February and set a deadline for this week for cities wanting to be among the undefined number of U.S. metros to be included in the beta launch of the new fiber-based service. The deadline for submissions was Friday. Google is posting, on its blog.Google.com, a summary of the applications.
The original Google request for information (RFI) also produced about 190,000 responses from individuals, clamoring on the behalf of their locations.
Spokane’s true believers held a park rally this past week to catch the attention of the Google decision-makers.
Spokane hasn’t gone to the extremes of some other places competing in the Google Fiber for Communities contest.
Mayor Mary Verner hasn’t jumped in an icy lake, for instance. Nor has she followed Topeka’s lead in changing the city’s name. (Apparently Spogoogle isn’t catchy enough.) But that doesn’t mean city leaders are gimmick-free in their effort to woo Google. Verner showed off this video at Monday’s City Council meeting, during which the council voted unanimously to support the city’s effort to win the contest. Officials are asking residents to send e-mails in support of the project and to become Facebook friends with the city’s Google Fiber Facebook page. It’s also organizing a “flash mob” to meet for a photo in Riverfront Park on Wednesday.