Monday, August 22, 2011

Google+ Status Report

This is my last post about Google+ for awhile, promise.

I experimented using only Google+ for a week.  I stayed off Twitter the entire time. I didn't even read it.  I wanted to see if Google+ could replace Twitter for me.  What I found was that too many people have not really migrated to G+.  They may not ever.

It's not Twitter. The posting people put up are long form and encourage long comments.  In a way it's almost like Google took Blogger and then added circles, but then removed all the formatting. So there, I said it, G+ is just a weak Blogger with some social functions added.

Google has had most of these features in it's various products for a long time. It just took Circles to bring them together.  I don't think that's a bad thing and if you are a long time Google user this brings the tools together cohesively.  What about for everyone else?

Microsoft has a lot of these same features in it's Live environment but you don't hear about it much do you?  Does what G+ do really all that much more compelling that it's going to draw large numbers of Facebook and Twitter users away?  Right now I have to say no.  

That doesn't mean that there aren't users who have dived into G+.  I would put myself in that camp.  It also doesn't mean that G+ is a failure or that we won't see more awesome features added.  I'm sure Gmail looked weak compared to other webmail services when it first came out too. 

So for now Twitter will still exist for me.  It doesn't try to do a million things.  What it does it does well.  What it doesn't do G+ will pick-up nicely.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Google+ vs. everything else

Since Google+ has come put I've been trying to figure out where it sits in my Internet usage world.  I never used Facebook so that's out of the equation.  I do use Twitter and Blogger (obviously) though.  I'm trying to go without any Twitter all this week to see if Google+ can fill that void.  We'll see. G+ isn't quite as far along as Twitter so there are still a lot more people missing.

Blogger is another question mark.  Google+ is setup to protect your posts if you wish, so I could write something for family only and they would be the only ones able to see it.  That's pretty cool.  On the other hand many of my blog posts are written for the world to see.  Google+ allows for this as well, but is it as easy?

Additionally Blogger has additional formatting options that Google+ doesnt have (yet).

I already know one person who has given up everything for Google+. I commend his commitment. I suspect that for the time being that I'll continue to use all three services, but Twitter and Blogger could be in trouble.  It just depends on where Google+ goes in the future.

Here is my Google+ profile:

Monday, August 08, 2011

Samsung BD-D5700 Blu-ray player

This weekend we bought a Samsung BD-D5700 Blu-ray player.  So far I've been pretty happy with it.  The online reviews are kinda mixed though.  It seems like most that are rating it poorly have defective units though.  No issues of that sort with ours but it's only been a couple days.

Our TV is only 720p, but I still see a good improvement in image quality. I only had one movie to test with though. We have the TRON Legacy combo pack so I could try each movie and see the differences.  It was a bit subtle, but there.

The load times of the BR vs the DVD were noticeably longer, but not terrible. It was something I was expecting too.  Though without a reference point I can't say if those BR load times are slower, faster, or normal.

I've not tried any of the streaming video options (Hulu+, Netflix, Blockbuster) just because we are not members of any of those services.  That's partly due to me being a A/V quality snob, but mostly because there has been so much shake-up in availability that you pretty much can't stick to just one for everything and even with all of them there is still a lot of content that isn't available streaming.  That said, now that we have the interfaces, we now have the opportunity to try them.

So far the biggest feature we've used is the digital media streaming (DLNA) from my PC and USB thumb drive.  They both use the same interface and it's pretty straight forward.  The image quality was really nice. Part of that is the source material but I think it's doing it's best to upconvert the lower resolution videos too.  It supported all but some MOV files. I can live with that.

The one weird thing was that occasionally the DLNA video stream would get slightly out of sync.  We thought it was my computer going to sleep or something but that didnt appear to be the problem. The first time it happened was about 12 minutes into a video.  The next time it was 14 minutes...but we'd been watching nearly 3 hours of video from the same source.  Both times I switched to the thumb drive and it worked fine from there.

I had copied the media to the thumb drive first because I didn't know about the DLNA option. Even when I did I was worried that the WiFi connection might not be strong enough.  It was a backup.

Another oddity that I never did figure out. The video via the network wouldn't allow me to fast forward.  Via the USB it wasn't a problem.  Is this something in the way DLNA streams the video? It was kinda a pain.

So, thus far I'm pleased with the purchase. It's a nice machine, especially for the money.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Government Spending

2010 US Spending:

So we want the government to do all kinds of things for us. All kinds of great services. And there isn't anything wrong with that, but how are they going to be paid for? The middle and lower classes are paying a lot and keep paying more due to raising food and fuel prices. Additional taxes keep being tacked on by local/state governments to help pay for their deficits.

Pretty soon we simple wont have the money left to pay for anything. Who pays then? Businesses? The Wealthy? Every time someone suggests they should pay more we hear, "Why are you wanting to punish their success?" and "If you tax us we can't create more jobs" or "They'll just pass the costs to the consumers"

So again I ask...who is going to pay for our government?

We can reduce spending on the military and social security sure. Both those take a huge chunk of our tax dollars but who has the guts to try to do that? Career politicians sure aren't going to do that. They'd lose too many votes!

I fear we are in a downward spiral...and I'm an optimist normally.