Happy New Year

The Land of Oz is already in 2008. Too bad they ring in the new year with a controversy over government censorship. Good intentions aside, letting Big Brother grow on people is never a good idea. Governments can not, and should not take over the family’s responsibility. It’s a slippery road… governments by their very nature tend to expand: porn filtering today, political views tomorrow – we know where it leads.

If you are a parent, sister, brother, uncle, aunt, YOU (and not the government) have the joy and responsibility of bringing the children to a safe and better world. That’s my parting thought for 2007, and I wish you a prosperous, peaceful, Happy New Year with a shot of the NYE fireworks from the beautiful city of Sydney:

(photo credit: Christopher Chan)

Update: enjoy this video of the Sydney NYE 2007/08 Fireworks (it’s a two-part clip, please wait a few seconds at the end of the first):


Will Google Pull a Plaxo?

Google Operating System speculates that Gmail will soon display status updates from your contacts:

It’s not very clear what kind of updates you will receive, but they’re probably the latest important actions of your contacts from different Google services.

Ionut says based on reading some Google code that users will be able to delete updates – now word whether there will be a “Big Switch” to opt out globally. The functionality itself would be closer to Facebook’s newsfeed, the reason I am comparing it to Plaxo is that Plaxo became a metaphor for spam in its early years, and it is back at it now, with all the unwanted Plaxo Pulse notifications.

The contact updates, especially if it’s not easy to opt-out once and for all would be nothing but spam. What makes it even worse is that Gmail Contacts are really not contacts: anybody you answer automatically gets added to your Address Book, whether you like it or not. And guess what: there is no way to turn this off. (In fact, in the new version of Gmail -not yet available for Google Apps accounts- you can’t even delete more than 20 contacts at any given time.)

I really hope it does not happen. Gmail is the Crown Jewel of Google services, and as such, more productivity-oriented for most of us, then say Orkut or Picasa are. They can’t seriously think of clobbering the screen with garbage like that. Can they? smile_sad


Are Your Holiday Photos Safe?

The Holidays are typically the time for taking lots of family photos, so let me take this chance and remind you to keep your photos safe. For many of my readers safe increasingly means online, using photo storage/sharing services like Flickr, Zooomr, Smugmug, Picasa, and a zillion others.

Despite being a recognized cloud-computing fan, I am still keeping my photos locally though – and that requires a good back-up plan. ProtectMyPhotos has probably been the best photo backup & sync service – until now. Too bad it did not make it as a business: its closing doors on December 31st. That means you have 2 days to save your data locally and find an alternative.

My choice: simplification. I’ve already been using Mozy, a powerful yet non-intrusive online backup service for all non-photo data, so instead of looking for a photo-specific replacement, I’ve just reconfigured Mozy to include my photo directories in it’s backup routine. I lose some of the extra goodies ProtectMyPhotos offered, but at least got rid of some redundancy on my PC. Mozy has been reliably backing up my files for over a year now. The best part of it is that I don’t even notice it’s running. And now the shameless plug: if you’d like to give Mozy a try, use this registration link, we’ll both get an extra 250MB space. smile_wink


The Foolproof Way of Making at least One 2008 Prediction Come Through

  1. blah blah (insert your own)
  2. blah blah (insert your own)
  3. blah blah (insert your own)
  4. blah blah (insert your own)
  5. blah blah (insert your own)
  6. blah blah (insert your own)
  7. blah blah (insert your own)
  8. blah blah (insert your own)
  9. blah blah (insert your own)
  10. None of My Top 9 Predictions Come True: This is my insurance. If this prediction is true, I got one right. If I get this wrong, at least one other came true. Either way, I get to write a post in 2008 claiming that I predicted the future accurately.

(Idea and #10 shamelessly stolen from Anshu Sharma) smile_embaressed


R.I.P. Netscape

Mike @ TechCrunch gets sentimental over the death of Netscape Navigator, the first real browser that opened up the Internet to all of us.

Oh, well, shed no tears for Netscape; after all, it’s not really dead. In fact it’s very much alive…it’s just called FireFox now.Firefox 2

(Photo Credit: Opera Watch)

Update: Of course this is now the story du jour on TechMeme, especially on a slow day like this. Good Morning Silicon Valley has an interesting angle:

The younger and colder-eyed among you might say good riddance or about time, but for those whose first experiences with the Web took place inside a Netscape window, who eagerly jumped to download (on dial-up) each new point release, the passing still evokes some fond nostalgia for those early, heady days.

Hm… my first online experience was Compuserve, via a dumb blank screen, where you had to type in commands a’la DOS. Somehow I am not longing to get it back. Netscape was great at a time.. but for now, I think TechDirt’s title says it all: Wait… AOL Was Still Making A Netscape Browser? Or perhaps this Digg commenter: AOL is still around?smile_sarcastic


Privacy Advice from the Last Century

I’m still wondering if the How to Safeguard Your Privacy Online post on GigaOM is real or a parody. No, I’m not talking about the advice for the paranoid, which includes gems like:

Do not make international phone calls.

Do not have a home broadband connection.

After all, these are for the paranoid… but let’s look at some of the tips for most of us, assuming we fall under the Feeling Practical But Not Paranoid category:

Do not use desktop search tools like Google Desktop or Microsoft Desktop Search.

Do not use webmail from a service provider like AT&T, Google or Microsoft.

Do not use browser toolbars or desktop gadgets.

Remove all social network accounts.

Clear your browser cookies after every session.

Change your local username daily.

He is so right, yet so wrong. Yes, the above are all real dangers on our privacy – but hey, we all know since Scott McNealy we don’t have privacy anyway. He got chastised for his famous declaration in 1998 – perhaps he was a bit ahead of his time, but things got a lot worse (better?) since then.

Let’s just look at cookies. The obvious Privacy 101 principle in the 90’s was to control them. Since then we’ve seen an army of cookie-washer products, the popular browsers all offer their own privacy/cookie settings – yet all this works less and less. Quite a few sites – including blogs – will fail to load properly when seemingly unrelated, third-party cookies are blocked. Sometimes they work, but next time you come back to the site, there’s just a white, blank screen. This is ugly. Since I can’t easily figure out what blocked the site, I typically end up deleting all browser cookies as well as all cookie-rules. Then the game starts again – some of the sites / blogs take minutes to rotate through dozens of cookie-requests, literally making it impossible to read their own content. I’m about to give up: might as well just enable cookies – privacy is long gone, anyway. Besides, if I am getting ads served up, they might as well be better targeted.

Not using search? Web-mail? Changing user-names daily? C’mon… it would be completely impossible to live with these rules. We have long given up any resemblance to privacy for the sake of convenience. Get used to it. Unless you want to shut down the Internet, remove any computers from the house and lock yourself up in your home. Better yet, move to a remote island, where everything is low-tech and healthy. smile_omg


Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas!

watch the video here, in case the embedded player does not work.


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Forget SaaS, Here Comes WaaS



Wine as a Servicesmile_tongue (hat tip: dinglebum)

You can buy it here – me thinks it’s a better deal than dehydrated water. smile_eyeroll

P.S. I can’t believe this did not make it to the Economist’s 2008 tech predictions list…or anyone’s for that matter:, broadstuff, Darren Herman , Feld Thoughts.

(Yes, I admit, I am playing TechMemesmile_wink)


Is there a Fake Fake Steve Jobs?

Am I the only one thinking the latest episode in the FSJ shutdown drama is not even written by The Man himself? It’s just too lengthy … not his style at all. Is there a Fake Fake Steve Jobs now?

On the other hand, if it’s really him, could he be preparing to “retire”?

Oh, well, it was fun while it lasted.

More details at:, Dan Blank, MacUser, Engadget, Alice Hill’s Real Tech News, Guardian Unlimited, WinExtra, ParisLemon, Slashdot, Global Neighbourhoods, Smalltalk Tidbits …, Mashable!, Scobleizer.


Christmas -1

watch the video here, in case the embedded player does not work.


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