Archive for the 'Google' Category

Google Apps for Your Domain – Should a business trust a free service?

September 6, 2006

I’m sure most of the people reading this will have heard of Google’s Google Apps for your domain. This service allows a business to intergrate with Google’s Gmail free email service by allowing a company to use their registered domain name with a gmail account.When this was released I realised the great benifits of this to small businesses / organisations but was a little hesitant over the fact the data is not stored locally.

I read the post: Google & Windows Apps for your domain, the killer app for small businesses? Which gives a good overview of the service and highlights the trust issue. In the authors opinion, and my own, why not trust a third pary? Well it depends…
On the surface it’s easy to say it’s better to have your data stored in house as you have complete control. A counter argument could be that it would be better to have your information stored on Googles secure and highly maintained servers, off site. I think the later is much more appealing, backups, outages, and access become much less concern.

In my opinion it comes down to research; there is nothing wrong with entrusting your information to a third party (Accounting for example) as long as you have done some research on the company and are sure they are trustworthy. It’s also best to keep in mind Google Apps would be one of very few free services worth considering. I believe Google is trustworty and if the data is really that mission critical email may not be the best option anyway!

Google Apps for your domain looks like a great service and I’d reccomend it to a small company. One thing that would be nice to see is the ability to ensure all your data is deleted from Googles server when the account is deleted, even if you have to pay for it. I’m not sure what the procedure for deleting emails currently is.


Java Layout Managers and Google Notebook

May 31, 2006

First of all,lack of updates recently … I have about 3 weeks left before end of semester and lots of assignments due so havn't had as much time for anything other than study at the moment. I'm handing another in soon and quite on track with the rest so will be able to update more frequently again, and on with the post….

Anyone that has made a GUI application in Java I'm sure will agree that it is extremely hard to get a nice layout. If you are using a text editor it involves heavy use of the GridBagLayout as well as mixing layouts within panels etc. And if you are using an IDE they are often cumbersome, generate awkward or propitiatory code and do not export to other IDE's easily.  I came across the Zone-Layout Manager which appears to address these issues and provides a good open source code based alternative. Definitely worth checking out if yor are a Java programmer. You can see a well written and detailed comparison here

I have installed Google Notebook and have found it useful already. Google Notebook allows a block of text to be selected and instead of copying you can choose the left mouse click option of 'Note this' which adds the selection to the notebook with the URL of the website. The notebook can be opened and viewed/edited at any time by clicking its icon in the bottom right hand corner of FireFox's status bar. A highly recommended plug-in for FireFox.

Picasa for Linux

May 28, 2006

Finally! Google have released their photo organisation software for the Linux platform. Picasa is a very good application and one I recommend for organising a large collection of images. Read more here on the official site. While browsing the google sites I also saw they have a Google Notebook firefox extension. I think I’ll use this alot.

I can’t remember what blog I found this image on so if anyone can provide me with a link that’d be great , FireFox on a bus in India 😀

Software Engineering, Not Computer Science

May 10, 2006

At the beginning of the year in one of my software development lectures our lecture handed us a paper by Steve McConnell comparing the work of a software development to an engineer, instead of the common computer science term. I completely agree with this, in order to make good software you must plan, research, build, test and deploy, much like an engineer building a bridge or similar. The article can be found online here and is a good read.

I've been using the GoogleReader more and more now and have found it very useful, I previously had only subscribed to a few RSS feeds via FireFox but have since added all my regular blogs and websites. This allows me to keep up to date so much easier I'm embarrassed I didn't do it earlier :p The reason for browser based is I regularly move between labs and home and it is hard to keep them both syncd, otherwise I would perfer FireFox or a Standalone reader. I'm still going to try some other readers and may end up switching back.

Google Labs Aptitude Test

May 3, 2006

Yesterday I had an interview assessment as part of my degree, we had to meet a panel of interviews (industry professionals) and answer questions as if we were being interviewed for a job. I did pretty well I thought, we also wore suits which was a nice touch. While we were having lunch and general discussion the Google Labs Aptitude Test came up. I remebered reading this awhile ago and the question that I remembered was "What is broken with Unix?" followed by "How would you fix it?". The aptitude test is very demanding, but it shows just how high the bar is to work at Google, they have some extremely talented people working there!

I understand this test is also one of many steps required to actually secure a place there.

GLAT – Google Labs Aptitude Test

Mathematica's Google Aptitude

Browser based desktops

April 27, 2006

I'm sure this will become much more common, as mentioned in my post the online desktop I can see thin client computers which consist of a tiny Linux install consisting of basic features and basic window manager, just enough to run a graphical web browser really. Using Ajax and web-based technology all the operations that were previously done via the 'operating system' will now be done on a operating system within the browser.

I came across the post XIN – AJAX Rich Live Desktop over at Webby's World. His article on web-based operating systems and is a very good read. XIN is a Ajax based operating system and looks quite impressive!

I predict some great advances in this area, perhaps Google is working on something? It has been rumoured! 

Password verification, Picasa and Dreamhost

April 25, 2006

As mentioned earlier something I have been wanting to do is create a password verification function for use in projects/applications that require a user to select a password. They way I will implement it will be in a function that returns an integer, say between 0-10 of password strength when given a password. This number can be used to indicate strength visually. I'm just noting some things down today and will have a prototype by the end of tomorrow 🙂 I'm going to make the prototype in Java but the logic will be able to be easily ported to any language, I have a Java based project coming up I will be able to use it in this.

Obviously just for a bit of fun and an indication, not at all intended to accurately gauge how strong a password is! Will post pics tomorow. 

I have spent the last hour or so adding labels to my photos in Picasa, much like tagging in Flickr. I havn't been using Picasa much recently but its a very good tool for managing a large amount of photos. My only real problem with it is in the right hand screen I would perfer an option of displaying images by name instead of thumbnails. On the topic of Google services, I will be adding my due dates for assignments to my Google Calandar tonight as well, I'm going to be organised this semester!

I have pretty much decided on Dreamhost for hosting and have thought of a possbile new name for my blog, just have to find a suitable theme now, I simply do not have the design abilities! I will create my own header from my photography though. 

Should be an action packed month, Hope it goes smoothly! 

And we are back.

April 16, 2006

First post in about a week or so, I got all my assignments in and now am on top of everything. What better time to start organising my work for the second half of the semester than now, and what better tool to do it with than Google Calendar :D. I didn't realise Google had released Google Calendar until I got an email from a friend today. I logged in using my

I recently tried the hack to upgrade a Hotmail account to Hotmail Live, Which left me with the same crappy interface after saying I had been upgraded. I was also having trouble signing out so sent an email to their support (a little over a week ago), I got a reply today and was very impressed with their service! They apologised for the delay and how important they realise it is to get a quick reply and then went into detail on the possible causes, which may or may not have been cookies/history settings, I dont actually use hotmail so its not too important. What I was interested in was if they could tell from my account details if I was on live, and if not if they could manually add me :p , they couldn't tell me due to privacy policys preventing them from this access even if they wanted to.

In conclusion, as far as free support from a large provider goes I was happy!, Although my friend got a reply from Gmail support in an hour 🙂 (not that I am comparing!)

Expect more frequent updates from now, Including one more today!

Browser based thin clients

April 6, 2006

With all the new ‘Web2.0’ type services coming out at the moment based on open API’s and the functionality AJAX type technologies offer, I wonder how long it will be before all our daily taks can be done via the internet? Team up a browser such as FireFox with a very lite weight Linux window manager (for example Ion) add basic workstation hardware and you have a very cheap, functional thin client. Other advantages include much less virus threats and data accessable from anywhere.

Of course organisations would not be able to use the free services to take advantage of this as it would be too unreliable, but for businesses looking at developing new software it may be something to consider?

VMWare and Google Pack

April 5, 2006

I installed the VMWare evaluation today, I've had it installed before running Mandrake 10. I would like to try out ReactOS, out of interest. So that will be next.  A friend of mine asked for some Ubuntu Linux screen shots so here are a few:

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I noticed a link to Google Pack on their main page today, A collection of what google terms essential software, looks quite good too, and you can remove items you don't want/ already have. I'd like to look at their screen saver software.