Today we have an article about a digital dark age and how all the data stored for this generation could be lost:
Technology could mean that our lives are lost to history, according to experts.
What experts am I left wondering and what could happen that would destroy all the data? Lack of backup’s? an EMP from the sun? No.
As the way that we store information about ourselves develops, memories stored in files that use older technology are becoming harder to access
So what does that mean? The medium in which it’s stored? If say some data was on laserdisc would future generations have issues accessing it? Of course not, it would be read and brought onto a modern medium, or it could be put onto a modern medium now. There’s no degredation when duplicating digital, so back up as much as you like! Or is this vague statements relating to file formats? In 1988 I used a file format called .iff – and guess what, that data can still be read today. Emulation is the keyword here as I can run the original Amiga application which I used at the time to create the file and open it with no problems. The ability for clever coders to write emulators or conversion tools for old file formats won’t go away and if there is a potential historical significance to data at some time in the future, I’m quite sure the problem will be solved – and very easily.
evaporated because nobody saved it, or it’s around but it’s not interpretable because it was created by software that’s 100 years old
If nobody saves it then there’s nothing anyone can do. Just like if I think up an amazing sonet and don’t write it down. We have no problem emulating television transmissions or technology from the very early days of TV (if we so desired) so why is it any different for data? Unless our understanding of the universe and our technology takes a massive shift from the direction its going in, then future PC’s are still going to have RAM, they are still going to have a CPU and, shock of shocks people will still be able to write code on them. That’s not a far fetched prediction, I think thats based firmly in reality. Then we see who makes the remark, Dr Vinton “Vint” Cerf, vice president of Google – coincidently the same company digitising just about anything that moves (and that doesn’t too) – I’m sure if Google was allowed it would sit in the sewers of the world and digitize the waste paper coming down the pipes. I’m sure Google would very much love to offer mankind a “solution” and have all the “important” data they elude to here, controlled and stored by them. So is this a prelude to an offer to “help” by Google? Google was in court in recent years over its plan to scan/digitize books. You can read about that here. It should come as no surprise that Google would have comment (and I’m sure offer to help) with this “problem” its creating.
…planned to scan every book unless publishers and authors specifically objected.
Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-19835808 No thanks Google, I’d rather have the sum of human knowledge stored on cassette tapes in a dusty warehouse underneath a large magnet field than “safe” in your hands. Not because I think you’ll lose it, but because I think you want to own and control it. Google is rapidly falling out of favour with me. Gone are the days where it was a trendy “be different” type firm. Its now turning into an altogether different beast in my view. I tolerate Google because I use the parts of its service that benefit me, but gone are the days that I support anything else the company does and I think its time people kept a closer watch on this company, lest we have another Microsoft on our hands in years to come…if they have not already become that whilst we have been distracted with the latest interactive Google logo on their search engine. This is fear-mongering in my view by Google and even if it ever became a concern, we should be looking at ANY other solution than Google.
Its being reported that the Chrome OS is set to get Android applications in the coming months.
This news probably has many people excited, firstly the non-tech folk who have a Chrome OS device and have looked in envy to the Play Store, whilst being on “show” for all Chrome OS users, doesn’t offer (at present) any compatibility. It will also have the tech “experts” excited, who don’t actually own or use a Chromebook and see this as another string to the bow of Google’s offering over the evil empires of Microsoft and Apple.
Let’s get a few things clarified. I’ve been using a Chromebook exclusively for the past four months so when it comes to added features and applications, I think I’m rather qualified to make comment.
Is this Android addition good news for Chromebook users? Well that depends on how you define “good”. I’ve often commented about the pointless addition of the Play Store on the default ChromeOS install, because whilst you can use it to “instruct” an install on any of your other devices, every title in the Android catalogue is completely useless to the ChromeOS user – they won’t run.
Android devices, be it a tablet or Smart Phone have a touch screen. The majority of ChromeOS books out there don’t, so the first barrier to running Android applications is presented. Whilst many Android apps will happily run without the need of a touch screen, there are many which form an integral part of the app itself and its this lack of touchscreen which probably presents the biggest problem for ChromeOS, either operation of an app would need to be controlled by mouse/trackpad or Chromebooks will as a standard feature need to be touch screen devices. We also need to take into consideration screen resolution of the ChromeOS devices, but lets return to how Google intends on bringing the Play Store to ChromeOS.
Its not coming. Simple. The Play Store is not coming to ChromeOS anymore than the Playstation Store is coming to the Xbox. What is happening here (with the help of a runtime) is that Google is bringing over select applications to ChromeOS, presumably tested and optimized for Chromebook users.
So in this first “wave” of applications what can we expect? It’s reported that the following applications are to be the first:
Duolingo – A language learning application
Evernote – Text editor/note taker/basic word processor
Sight Words – An education title for children, helping their reading skills.
Vine – Video editor
And here is where I believe, the news about the Play Store begins to lose more of its shine.
A language learning package? Is there not enough facility for people to learn languages? What about the Chrome Store? Doesn’t that already have packages?
Evernote? The main selling point for many (including myself) of the Chromebook was the integration with Google services. I use Google Docs, I bought the Chromebook to use Google Docs and in anycase there are already many alternatives available for the Chromebook, you’ve a selection of hundreds of text editors, note takers and there’s even a web-based version of Openoffice, if you use ChromeOS and are desperate to use something other than Google’s own offering.
Education packages are ten a penny on the store already and Vine? What of WeVideo? There’s nothing new offered here other than an alternative to a plethora of titles already doing the same thing. The fact that they are Android apps executing with a new runtime is moot to the vast majority of users who use their Chromebooks for productivity sparing little thought or care for what is going on under the hood.
So no, the Play Store news is not exciting and rather than worrying about Play Store migration of titles that I don’t think ChromeOS users need, would it not be better to first focus on the Chrome Store itself and clean it up a little, there’s alot of junk apps on there which need Googles attention. On the Chrome Store right now theres packages that offer themselves as ChromeOS apps, only for it to transpire that they are infact Windows binaries only. – Yes I know people will use Chrome on a Windows machine, but since Google knows I use a Chromebook, could it not filter those results from the Chrome Store when its presented to fellow Chromebook users? Or even better, remove them from the store altogether. They are NOT ChromeOS apps, they are an entry in the Chrome Store which links to a Windows binary.
I won’t mention the spam on the store either, but suffice to say even a seasoned user like myself has been suckered into watching adverts on the basis of a misleading “app”.
I’m struggling to see the benefit in Google making this move. If people want Android then they would have bought an Android device. It’s should be quite clear what the ChromeOS offers and that, is the selling point to the many people who have bought a Chromebook.
I’ve been a supporter and advocate of ChromeOS since I had this device but I’m not going to give praise to Google when it seems to want to bring applications from Android that already exist (by way of alternatives) on the Chromestore – especially when Google has so much more work to do on making the Chromestore a more pleasant experience for those already established ChromeOS users. In addition there are still MANY simple, basic features missing from the ChromeOS itself which Google, in my opinion has no excuse to have missed out. The trackpad is one. I dislike them, so do others, if you want to disable it in favour of the mouse, theres no one click option – you have to drop into the CLI (protected by a series of keypresses) and disable it there! It’s beggars belief that such a simple feature would require users (many of which have no CLI knowledge) to step up their computing knowledge just to turn off the trackpad.
Google, get the ChromeOS house in order first.
It’s been a funny old week in cyberspace. Firstly I had a couple of instances of downtime with gMail (which is rare to say the least) but these breaks in service luckily were only for a couple of minutes. Whilst awaiting service to resume I thought I’d check out Google’s offer to give me a more detailed report of the error code. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I thought it would be a little more than “Numeric Code 5”. Still, a quick snapshot of the screen and I had some material to Tweet. Interestingly I cannot find out what error code 5 is. Many people have asked the question but it’s all a bit of a mystery.
Maybe numeric code 5 means “Please stand by, the NSA are checking your emails, normal service will be resumed shortly” – That’s one for the privacy concerned and conspiracy theorists alike.
Talking of which, I had the pleasure of engaging with a conspiracy theorist in the last week. They were my favourite type where they don’t pin down their conspiracy theory too tightly. The “UFO’s exist and we are being visited by aliens. The government covers it up” – brigade. This particular chap was proudly linking a video containing HD ISS live feed footage showing a strange splodge on the screen. The producer of the video had of course called and “expert” to comment on the video, who stated that it could well be a mothership. With experts like that, who needs aliens? Suffice to say when it was pointed out to him that it would be strange (if the government were covering up aliens) that they would allow live footage from the space station to go out on the internet for someone to record it and someone else call it a mothership, there was obviously no answer to that, but ironically the “evil alien hiding government” manages to have their alien pictures captured with a high definition camera, whereas most civilians footage is usually so poor quality that it looks like a webcam from the 90’s. I’m going to go out on a limb here and state that this whole Alien conspiracy is a nonsense.
Sticking with fantasy though, I’ve 3 books on the shortlist for my 2014 book of the year. I’ll hopefully have more before its time to announce a winner.
Perhaps the most disappointing video I’ve ever seen online was one linked on a Daily Mail article about lightning hitting a plane. There was no footage of the actual incident, but the Mail saw fit to include footage of a similar incident from the US. Take a look, its about dullest thing you’ve ever seen and if the article hadn’t mentioned anything about planes and lightning you’d have no clue what you were looking at.
And finally, I had meant to post this before but didn’t find time. Ever see the Tweet about the “corrupt FIFA”? Well here’s the story.
For those that know Twitter you cannot edit a post once its been tweeted. You can only delete it and all Tweets have a time stamp on them too.
So when a Tweet was made giving the result of the World Cup final, the goal scorer and the fact that the goal was scored in extra time AND these tweets were posted 17 hours before the game (according to the time stamp), people believed that the whole thing was rigged. For those that haven’t worked out or read how this works let me explain, its rather simple:
1. Create a Twitter account and make it private.
2. Post all the possible outcomes you can think of and wait.
3. After the match delete all the tweets that don’t apply and make the account public.
4. Hey presto! You’ve now got posts which have predicted the match!
I include this “trick” because I’ve seen it used in the past when certain “believers” have claimed it proves the existence of time-travellers using Twitter to post warnings about the future (as you would if you were a time-traveller) and since we’ve had a very X-Files web round-up it didn’t seem out of place to include it.
Thanks for reading.
I think readers will recall mention I made a while back of a little known area called (Usenet/newsgroups) and how it’s time as a serious discussion group is over.
I was prompted to write this article as at one time Usenet was the place where technology experts could be expected to post and engage in discussion. The time has long since past, but there are tech “experts” still commenting, unfortunately some of these comments are not only wrong but misleading too. I used to think the misunderstanding of what a Chromebook is was limited to those with no interest in tech. Who could blame them? They just want to buy a device and get on with things. So when posters in Usenet and in particular a Linux advocacy group cant grasp a Chromebook and end up providing misleading or misinformed information about them, I thought would spell out to everyone what a Chromebook is.
I should also add though that other “experts” around the web commenting about Chromebooks also seem confused and there seems to be a common theme here with “experts” that if the technology is vaguely familiar, then they can make opinions on it and it will be right. They are wrong. I’ve been using and posting with one exclusively for the last 2+ months. I tried a number of models before settling on the HP14″ (for the larger screen) so I think I am qualified to give an opinion on the pros and con’s of a Chromebook – especially since all my work and computer usage has been with one over the last few months.
This is the best “warts and all” appraisal of a Chromebook I can make without taking it into pages and losing the interest of most readers.
If I make a recommendation of technology (any tech) to someone I make it very clear what that tech is, what it can do, what it can’t. Unlike some people who will promote a tech blindly missing out important facets or worse, intentionally doing so, I prefer to make it very clear to people before hand and if you fit the criteria for a Chromebook with your online choices, then you will find no better device than a Chromebook.
People who read my tweets and articles will know that I love my Chromebook. I’ve been very productive with it and I believe I am over the two month mark of having used it exclusively. Is it possible to live your online work/life with a Chromebook. Yes it is and very well – with a few caveats that we must cover now:
‘Here be Google Services’
Not dragons, Google services. If you don’t use them or don’t ever intend to then a Chromebook is not for you. There’s a little giveaway on the case of the device that displays the Google logo, but in case you miss that. Do not buy it.
This device has been designed for those who do use Google services and what a great device it is too. Everything is integrated in a way that you can’t get from your browser and probably the most immediate stand-out feature is that your file manager treats your local storage and Google drive in the same way, you can effortlessly pass files between the two. There are of course other advantages to the Google integration here, but then we need to clear up some things first.
“I’m sorry Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that” – What you can’t do.
I’m trying to decide what items to put in this list, so if there’s something here you don’t understand then just move on its not going to be an issue for you.
Want to play music CD’s? Well there’s no internal drive to do that. Want to plug one in? – You still won’t be able to play that dusty copy of Cliff Richard.
Want to watch a dvd? Same again you can’t. “But what if..” NO you can’t.
BluRay? – After no CD and DVD? – you’ve got to be kidding. NO, you can’t.
How about Java? No. You can’t.
Want to play WMV files? You can’t. – There’s a list of unsupported formats, I merely picked one for the purposes of this article and it would be worth your while checking first, especially if you facilitate some of the rare “exotic” codecs/file formats. I don’t include them all and it may be in future there are work arounds, so its best to stay up to date. One such example is .flv which does have a offline app but it is not included in the default ChromeOS setup.
I would add that if you think ChromeOS is the same as Android and your purchase is because you want an android type gaming device with a keyboard, then you will be disappointed. There is a Chrome store, there are games, but you are not going to get the diversity or well known titles that you’ll see on the Android app store. The Chromebook is a device for surfing and working. Thats not to say there are not games – some of which you will have played on a Android device, but if your sole desire for the Chromebook is gaming, I’d say look at a “traditional” laptop instead and if it’s Android you want…..get an Android device.
The confusion some people have with the Chrome store and Play Store isn’t helped by the fact that the Play Store is included by default when you powerup your Chromebook. Quite why its here is a bit of a mystery because you can’t play any of the titles. The only thing I can think of is that you can use the Play Store on your Chromebook to install apps to other Android devices you may have. Those who use Google services will know you register all your devices with them.
What you will get from a Chromebook
If like me you are a heavy user of Google – for example I use gDocs, hangouts, googledrive, email et al) and you have no need of the above, then you are in for a very good experience with all the services you use daily tied into your operating system much better than a tab in a browser.
You’ll also get some great deals (at time of writing) Google is giving 100gb free drive space to Chromebook owners – there’s other freebies too dependent on where you live in the world.
The Chromebook boots very quickly. Of course you’ll see differences between models (I’m running an HP14) but I think its fair to say that if you take out the time to enter your Google password, you are looking at about 10 seconds from the machine being cold to being online (the majority of time taken up by handshaking with your router) – power off is pretty instant too.
If you think your Chrome browser on whatever desktop you run gives you an idea of what the ChromeOS is like then you are wrong. The experience on a Chromebook is vastly superior – and rightfully so, it was designed for this purpose.
Are Chromebooks cheap tech?
I’ll surprise people and say no. Chromebooks come in at a nice price because they strip away the things which you don’t need (large internal storage, dvd drive etc) if you need these things you are not going to buy one, but by taking them away it means the Chromebook comes in at a lower price than a traditional laptop. That doesn’t make it cheap, just fairly priced and for the first time I’ve made a purchase of tech where I haven’t paid for things I didn’t want.
You would be ill advised to buy a Chromebook and change it into something else. I’ve seen posts about installing Linux and plugging in external hardrives etc, but then after you’ve done this, you are better off just going for a traditional laptop in the first place. Ive quite a few USB ports on my Chromebook and I could fill them up with external devices, but then my compact Chromebook then turns into a bulky knobbly thing just asking for a careless person to damage one of the USB ports.
I understand that there are people with concerns about their privacy and data. This is not just aimed at Google either and for those people the Chromebook is unsuitable. With 10gig of internal storage its designed to use the Google drive so you are better advised to get a cheap laptop which will have no links to Google, a larger internal storage and you’ll be able to play DVD etc on it. You’ll also have function keys, something which are missing from a Chromebook (although with a few key-presses you can get the functionality of them)
A Chromebook is only a replacement for a traditional laptop if you understand that its designed for Google services and outside of the Google ecosystem the Chromebook is not a cheap way to get a laptop experience unless you don’t want all the things that I’ve listed it can’t do. Want a laptop that just surfs the web but don’t want Google services? Yes, the Chromebook could accommodate that, but again, if that’s your only requirement then I suggest you first look at other alternatives than to a product integrated with Google.
I hope those that feel they can tell people about Chromebook without actually knowing about them can now understand what a Chromebook is and I also hope those that were thinking of buying one are clearer as to if it will meet their needs.
Personally I’m still on my Chromebook and still love it to bits.
I’ve avoided talking about this story until it progressed further. Historically Google has had many take-down requests, many to do with “piracy” and there’s also court order’s for ISP blocks on domains – we already have an increasing trend towards censorship. But is some censorship good? Whilst the copyright take-down’s and ISP blocks are mostly useless, with the recent ruling involving Google removing search results for you and me, requires further examination.
It is reported that Google has had around 12000 requests as a result of the ECJ ruling where applicants want a link removed from Google pertaining to their name. If you are outside of the EU its tough luck. How this works if you are dual nationality, who knows?
Now imagine there’s a holiday snap of you dressed as a Dalek where you had far too much to drink and were harassing the holiday rep with your Dalek exterminator. It can be understood that you may not want that associated with you. Employers are increasingly looking to the Internet in order to gain an insight into potential employee’s so in this instance the request seems quite reasonable.
Now lets consider the sex offender. It is reported that a convicted sex offender has requested links to be taken down. Is this reasonable? I’d say no, certainly not – he/she has been convicted, it is the public’s right to know.
It’s also important to remember that the material is not removed, merely the reference Google has to it.
So lets say you make that request for a removal to a drunk photo. Google accepts it in theory but now needs to check that a/ the photo is you. b/ the person making the request is you. And all that work for even the most simple request.
I’ll not sit on the fence here. If you are convicted of a criminal offence and request that link to be removed – tough. If you are looking to remove a photo or similar, just consider that other search engines will no doubt see an increase of use, since when the take-down’s start, people will lose faith in the search results they get from Google. Also, is this going to be an ongoing task? If your drunk photo link is removed, what is to stop another page being created with the same photo on it? Are Google expected to monitor the “offending” information and make sure it doesn’t appear elsewhere? Even if Google doesn’t receive any more requests, could even 12,000 be handled in this way?
Just like the Copyright industry found, these type of actions don’t work. This ruling to me suggests more of a covert attack on Google’s dominance of search by the EU because when looking for details on someone, people will merely look elsewhere – there’s plenty of choice.
Also, if an offender gets a link removed, you can almost guarantee that someone will find out who it was and then give even more publicity to the link and person that was subject to the request.
In implementing this decision, we will assess each individual request and attempt to balance the privacy rights of the individual with the public’s right to know and distribute information,
And since when is it up to Google to decide what is and isn’t the public’s right to know? Whilst I am unhappy that Google seems to be a target by Europe, I also unhappy that Google would be making these decisions.