Killing time waiting in the barber shop so it seemed logical to knock out a post about Chrome. If you’ve been reading SOD ( and let’s face it, who doesn’t), you know I’ve been playing with Chrome for about a year. I’ve never been able to switch to it as my full time browser because of poor support for ad blocking.
But now things have changed because of pre-loading blocking capabilities being added to Webkit. Cool. Now most ads are blocked prior to loading and the speed of Chrome shows through. Add to that some decent addons like Gmail Checker Plus (the 1.1.8 pre release version) and some very nice features in Gmail two of which only work with Chrome (drag and drop attachments, in-line pictures, and attachment downloads) makes Chrome a no brainer for for heavy Gmail users like me.
Google is making progress, its slow but its progress, on some of the issues I’ve long complained about. First among these is the lack of drag and drop attachments for Gmail. Lo and behold last week this feature was announced for users of Firefox and Chrome. Google says that drag and drop picture insertions is working for Chrome users and should be working soon for Firefox. Great.
The Google mandarins also announced last week that all of Google’s applications (Picasa, Buzz, etc.) would be available for Google apps domains by the end of the summer. Laudable since treating paying customers like second class citizens seems silly.
While these announcements are appreciated they are way over due, not having drag and drop attachments and photo inserts is so 2002, not 2010. What took so long? And not letting premium customers have all the neat features. What were you thinking Google?
Now that those are out of the way (or soon will be) they need to implement their actual top requested features: revamping the look and feel of contacts to something modern and permitting users to turn off threading in the mail application.
Get with it dudes.
I’ve been trying to use Google Chrome as my primary web browser for the past week. I really like the clean interface with the tabs on top and looked forward to the promised speed bump over Firefox. I also really like two addons, Friends Mural for Facebook and Mail Checker Plus. They are really slick ways to interface with Facebook and Gmail that are seriously better than anything I’ve found for Firefox.
So more speed, better addons, what’s not to like? Several basic things actually. While several adblock style addons have are available that actually use the adblock filterset, they do not work nearly as well as adblock for Firefox. Even with the addition of the adblock element blocker they do not display and adblocked page as cleanly as adblock in Firefox and many of the ads appear briefly before being blocked. To add injury to annoyance, adblock seriously slows down Chrome making it seem slower than Firefox.
Comments on the Chrome adblock download page indicate that the fault lies with the architecture of chrome. There is apparently no way to block ads similar to the functionality provided by Firefox. Bummer.
The other major issue is continual freezes and lockups. This may be related to any of the addons running, I have not tested. But I am using the stable version of Chrome with adblock, adblock element blocker, Friends Mural and Mail Checker running and get constant lockups and freezes. This seems to happen mostly when checking mail, so I’m going to tentatively blame Mail Checker Plus, but that may not be right.
I feel that one day, over time, the adblocking and other issues will be solved by the addon devs and the possibility for tight integration of the browser with the Google services I use extensively will provide a compelling reason for me to switch. But today is not that day.
How many times have I said that to my Dad or someone else older who is asking me a question that could have easily been answered with a Google search. Especially when what I was going to have to do to answer the question was Google it. Well now it turns out that’s not a facetious remark.
A study at UCLA says that searching the internet for answers to questions is an easy way to jump start cognition and brain activity in older adults. One of the researchers, Teena D. Moody said,”The results suggest that searching online may be a simple form of brain exercise that might be employed to enhance cognition in older adults.”
Here’s your link to the Fox News Article.
Here’s your link to the story at the UCLA Newsroom if you are following Obama’s lead and boycotting Fox.
Downloaded the most recent beta version (188.8.131.52) of Google Chrome today just to take it for a spin. Its supposed to be the fastest thing ever for viewing web pages, yada, yada yada. I was able to get Adsweep working with a minor amount of head scratching, and it actually blocks ads.
But it is not as slick as Adblock+, and it does not block ads instantly. The first time you go to a page during a session, the ads load and then they go away. Annoying. I was also sad to note that the developer has abandoned the project for lack of technical support from his users. Sad to lose the project.
Other than that I was not blown away by Chrome. It does not “seem” any faster to me than Firefox, and the ad blocking experience is not nearly as good. For now, I’m still sticking with Firefox.
In the event you haven’t discovered this new entrant into the world of search engines from Wolfram Research, the eponymous company of Stephan Wolfram, makers of Mathematica, a widely used mathematical software tool.
According to the folks at Wolfram Research, the goal of Wolfram|Alpha is nothing less than “…to collect and curate all objective data; implement every known model, method, and algorithm; and make it possible to compute whatever can be computed about anything.” In short to know everything about everything everyway there is to know it and to make the information available to you.
As a result of that goal, Wolfram|Alpha search results are very different than Google’s. In the graphic below a search on Baylor University in Google and Wolfram|Alpha are presented side by side using the Wolfram Alpha Google addin for Firefox.
As you can see, Google returns links to pages about Baylor, starting with the official web site, Wikipedia articles and articles from publications. Wolfram|Alpha on the other hand, returns Baylor’s location, age, student population, population of home town, etc. Very interesting.
I find both types of queries so useful that I intend to run the Wolfram Alpha Google addin, unless and until somebody decides it violates their IP. Bah.
I’ve been trying to move my company to Gmail, or to be more accurate a Google Apps hosted domain. I like the $50 a year per account price tag and I like the 25Gb per account. But I’ve hit some serious snags that should make anyone think twice about moving a serious email use to Google.
First a word about what we were trying to accomplish. Our company uses about 100 IMAP mail accounts. We would like to improve the uptime we are seeing over the CentOS Cyrus IMAP server we are running. Its a good server, but the amount of traffic we are experiencing plus the current levels of Spam sometimes leave it choking. We don’t have the staff time or expertise to “make it better” so we have been looking for an outsource solution that won’t break the bank. Enter Google.
The first problem we encountered was Google’s lack of folders. No folders is ok, there is nothing wrong with Labels, but that means that the migration tools Google provides for users can only see one directory in each of the existing IMAP accounts. It expects to see one folder with all the mail in it that it can import into Gmail’s All Mail, the only folder it actually has. The fact that NOBODY but Google does things this way apparently did not enter the mind of the people writing the software.
So we’ll do it manually using Thunderbird or something. There are only 5 or 6 accounts with really serious amounts of mail in them. Shouldn’t be a problem. But nooooooo. Google IMAP is a little different from other IMAP in ways that makes standard IMAP clients loose their connection rather more frequently than is really good, so uploading serious amounts of email can take more than a day for a single account. Even then you have to spoon feed Gamil or it will choke. There are more way’s that Gmail IMAP is not standard, here is a good article on the subject.
But then comes the worst part: Lockdown in Sector 4 (failure). If you’ve never experienced this it has to be seen to be believed. Google has an algorithm that looks for patterns like too many attempts to send mail in a period of time, too many uploads or downloads etc. The purpose of this is to defeat spammers and keep people from generally abusing their servers. But if you have large accounts that you’re uploading to Google or downloading to a client for local access, whamo, you could be shut off from IMAP access for 24 hours.
And as if that were not bad enough, how about the inability to ever, and I mean ever, talk to a human being about any problems you’re having, even though you paid for Premium accounts.
Google needs to to a lot better than this if they expect to have companies depend on them for their infrastructure.