An Open Letter to the Google Voice Team

Dear Google Voice Developers,

What the hell? You got us to switch over to Google Voice, and it’s been great, for the most part...but you have hardly added any significant features to Google Voice for nearly a year. You are missing a HUGE opportunity here by not making Google Voice a defacto standard for telecommunications. What’s been keeping you busy? Apparently nothing.

And I’m kind of starting to get pissed. I have convinced many of my friends to switch to Google Voice because I assured them that you guys would add all the features that they were used to (especially regarding sms). You haven’t. I’ve let my friends down. You’ve let all of us down. Including your bottom line.

First, the obvious:

You need to get SMS working properly!

  • People like picture messaging. Just make it work already.
  • Allow us to create groups (or use our google contacts groups) so we can send out mass texts. I’m tired of copying and pasting my “Poker night this Thursday” sms 20 times to each person I already have in a “Poker” group in my Google Contacts. If you’re worried about spam, I’m sure you can create some algorithm that determines whether the service is being abused or not. Or you could just allow it to be used if there’s a credit card on file with the account (via Google Checkout). In any case, it’s essential that this feature be available if you really want people to port their number over to you! We need to gain features, not lose them!
  • Make sure the SMS works with other systems. I know this is a known issue, but fix it already. I couldn’t even verify my twitter account with a text to my GV number...this is ridiculous.
    And what the hell are you thinking about making separate sms threads for the SAME contact just because a little bit of time has passed? This is just stupid. At the very least, allow us to chose to keep the existing model, or change it to the much better, one contact, one thread idea that all other smart sms interfaces employ.

The Google Voice website hasn’t been updated with any good features either. Only 10 items per page? And I have to click a button for the next page? First, you need to let us choose how many items we want on the page (like Gmail lets us choose), and secondly, why can’t we just scroll to the bottom and have older items load automatically (like Google+ does)?

I could complain about your interface problems for ages...but the main reason I’m upset with Google Voice is because it could be such an amazing game changer...but it’s not. It’s almost as if you’re intentionally shooting Google Voice in the foot. What am I talking about?

I’m talking about telephone numbers and telephones. Why the hell can’t we have multiple Google Voice #’s call the SAME physical phone? Google Voice would be a serious KILLER if we could have our business line ring the same phone as our personal line (with unique ring tones, and unique schedules). Right now, I have several Google Voice accounts so that I could have several different numbers. It sucks that I have to have multipe Google accounts just to have multiple phone #’s, but what really blows is that I had to buy multiple cell phones because you wouldn’t allow me to forward my calls from the different accounts to one cell phone. I mean, it’s almost as if you have a vested interest in selling more mobile phones! (That’s a bad joke, made even worse by your recent Motorola acquisition).

Requiring us have unique physical phones for each Google Voice phone number isn’t just crazy, it’s stupid. Google Voice would blow everything out of the water if we could BUY more phone numbers inside one Google Voice account, and have all those phone numbers ring the same phone.

Small business owners would jump on this like strippers on five dollar bill. I personally would be willing to pay handsomely for this feature. It would save me literally thousands of dollars a year (because I wouldn’t need multiple phones for each GV number I use).

And Google would benefit by 1.)making some real money from the service, and 2) By dramatically improving the Google brand with alot of people and businesses merely by offering such a rad and money-saving feature.

Please stop resting on your laurels! Google Voice is good, but it could be revolutionary!

Sincerely,
All Google Voice Users

PS...if you want to comment on this post, please do so on Google+:
https://plus.google.com/110818734347805470873/posts/MZ117LPuQru

I Changed My Mind

Since I was 16 years old, I was a libertarian. Well, I actually hadn’t heard of the term “libertarian” yet, but I certainly held the libertarian ideals dear. Ayn Rand’s “The Fountainhead” was the book that introduced me to the philosophy of liberty and helped illustrate just how corrupt politicians and government can be...if they are given power. It made sense to me, that our individual human endeavours should not be bridled by the chains of political tyranny so long as we don’t use our freedom to diminish someone else’s. It wasn’t until I was 18 though, and eligible to vote for the first time in a presidential election, that I discovered Harry Browne and the Libertarian party in 1996. The Libertarian party was the only party the accurately articulated what I wanted: small government, maximum freedom.

Libertarianism is attractive because it values freedom above all else. It is the philosophy of the wild west: Don’t tread on me. Live and let live. It is the philosophy of the creative, hard working, intellectual. To be a libertarian is to accept full responsibility for your own life through thick and thin. It means that you choose to reap all the benefits of freedom...and to suffer it’s cruelty too. I liked libertarianism because it didn’t try to coddle me. It didn’t lie. It didn’t claim to solve every problem in the world with a political soundbite. It allowed individuals to solve their own problems.

The trouble with this of course, is that it appears that only a small percentage of the people on our planet have the ammunition (or indeed, the food and water) to “solve” their own problems. We still have billions of desperate individuals living in poverty or far below it. We still have billions of people that simply don’t have access to education or medicine or food (or justice) because they simply can’t afford it. Because they don’t have money.

And most of them will never have the opportunity to acquire money. Our monetary system which is controlled by powerful governments and corporations won’t allow that. I’d like to believe that they cling to this powerhouse, not because they are malicious, but because it’s a habit. It’s kind of sad, really. Evil isn’t a tactic, it’s just all some people know. And this is the chief reason that I can no longer, in good conscience, be a libertarian or a capitalist, or indeed, support politics of any gender, ever again.

I’ve found something better. Way better. A real solution. A non political solution. A solution that appeals to my love of science and technology.

It’s crazy. But it’s not. That’s what kills me. It’s so perfect, that it seems like it can’t be right...that it’s all just another Utopian fantasy. That it’s all just a silly dream. What’s strange, though, is that every single person that I’ve talked to and explained this “strange” idea to...really loves it. They think it’ll never happen, but they love it. They’re on board if it does happen. They’re excited...if it happens. They’re skeptical...but they smile when they envision it. They want it to happen, but they carefully resign themselves to it not happening. The world is a cruel place, and the show must go on.

But the show sucks. We all know it. We are killing our planet. We are killing each other. Our behavior is irrational and absurd. We are all in this motherfucker together. Why are we fighting each other? Seriously. It’s suicidal.

When humans first regarded their own intelligence, it became quickly apparent to them that working together in tribes would enhance their survival and their happiness. Obviously a family and a group of friends makes for better survival than lone individuals roughing the elements without support.

So why is it that we choose to separate ourselves from everyone else in the world to our own peril? Why is it that rather than expand our tribes, our corporations, our states, our countries, our continents into one...we choose to stand alone, like selfish, silly, beasts? Beasts that will end up devouring ourselves to spite our neighbors and our planet. Our philosophy of lonely individualism is flawed. It may be solemn and poetic. But it is doomed.

We are all doomed.

Unless we come together.

Why am I being so melodramatic? Because I realize that beginning to care about the planet, about my fellow human beings, and myself...is really damn important. I want to live. I want to live a full and abundant life...but not at the expense of 90% of the planet. Our planet, is full of perpetual abundance...but only if we can learn to work together and utilize its resources efficiently and symbiotically.

We already have unlimited energy in the sun, the wind, the wave, the geothermal song of our earth...it’s all there for us in infinitely, 100% renewable fashion. Energy is abundant.

We already have the technology and the wherewithall to literally feed every single person on this planet, delicious, healthy, food. Food is abundant.

We already have the materials to house and clothe every human on this planet with shelters built out of 100% renewable materials. Shelter is abundant.

We already have the technology to cure or abate almost every “deadly” or debilitating disease on the planet. Medicine and technology is abundant.

The only thing that isn’t abundant. The only thing holding our planet back...is money.

But money is fake. It is created out of the imaginations of “rich” governments and their “wealthy” overlords. All the interest you pay, is also fake. It can’t, in fact, truly be paid back unless the government prints more fake money so that there is enough money in the money supply to cover these interest charges.

Think about it. If the government prints up $1,000...and that’s all the money that up to now, they’ve ever printed, how is it that they can rightly ask for interest on their loans (for their fake money)? Let’s say that they loan a thousand bucks to some poor smuck with a 10% interest rate. Where does that extra 10% come from when the poor smuck needs to pay back the principal and the interest? The government will have to print up another $100 just to create the money that the poor smuck needs to cover the interest payment and the principal. Trouble is, although the government does print up billions of dollars every year without any regard to inflation, they never print up enough money to actually cover all the principal debt plus interest. In fact, I doubt there’s enough money in circulation just to cover the principal. Money, is a giant ponzi scheme that now largely exists inside of computers as digital numbers. And eventually it’s all going to collapse.

Money served its purpose for a few millenniums. But now it’s time to abandon it. Money, today, only holds us back. At least 80% of people on our planet live on less that $10 a day. Our planet has plenty of food and shelter and energy and technology...but most people can’t afford all of these resources. They don’t have enough of our fake, printed-out-of-thin-air, money. Sorry about their luck.

And that’s what life on planet earth is today. It’s a god damned lottery. Most people lose. A very small minority wins. These winners happen to be born on top of some of the earth’s really great resources...or they happened to grow up with enough money to afford them all the opportunities money can buy...or both. Usually both.

It’s bullshit. And the worst part is...if we all really did work together, we really could ALL have everything that we wanted. There’s plenty...so long as we don’t artificially create scarcity. So long as we stop lending credit to money, which is pure, 100%, nonsense.

My ideas about how to make politics, and indeed, the planet, a better place...were all nonsense too. Libertarianism. Capitalism. Any of these ideas are flawed from the start. They assume money is the best way to distribute resources. They are wrong. Money makes everything inefficient, corruptible, and downright dirty.

After I watched The Zeitgeist Addendum, my mind was changed. Everything changed for me actually. It’s hard not to agree that our system is flawed. It’s hard not to agree that a resource based economy is a better model than our current system. After watching that movie, it blew my mind that I was so quickly able to change what I thought was a very unchangeable mind.

I knew then, that if I was able to change my normally inflexible mind, then there must be others out there capable and willing to do the same. I hope you’re one of them. Watch the "Zeitgeist Addendum". Watch "Zeitgeist: Moving Forward." Change your mind about everything. Change the world.

Paper Books are Pure Vanity

Paper books are a function of pure vanity. That’s the truth. Now that e-readers are so damn effective, there is no excuse for buying tattooed tree carcasses anymore.

Six months ago, I bought a Kindle because I like the idea of being able to bring thousands of books with me in a 10 ounce package. Especially for back-country hiking and camping trips where every ounce (or lack thereof) counts. I fell in love with the Kindle immediately. I read more books, faster, and fully renewed my love of reading novels. I loved how I the Kindle would tell me exactly what percentage of the book I had read. Just a few more percent...just one more percent...done!

A few weeks ago, I bought the latest version of the Kindle, which is now weighs only 8.5 ounces. In a word: it’s amazing. And I seriously can’t imagine going back to dead trees. Especially with the knowledge that e-readers will continue to get better as new display technologies evolve and new features arise. My Kindle already lets me see what parts of the book other people highlight, and I look forward to the day when I can highlight a character’s name, and have a Wikipedia-like article explain who the hell that character is again! I look forward to chatting live with other people reading the same book. Or even meeting people that like and read the same books as me. There is so much potential for e-reading and e-readers.

I was reluctant to make the digital switch, but then I was honest with myself. The only reason I wanted to hold onto to old way was because I wanted to showcase my bookish gallivanting. I wanted the world to know that I am a proud and prolific reader. What folly!

Not even a week ago, just west of Boulder, in the wooded foothills, there was a devastating fire. it tore through 170 homes and left hundreds of people homeless and completely without possessions. I have personally driven around some of the fire’s victims in my cab and each of them were so (oddly) serene about literally losing everything. One of them noted, “I’m alive. My family’s alive. My friend’s are alive. I still have everything.”

And it got me thinking. I really don’t need any “things” either. I thought about everything I own. I don’t give a shit about any of it. They’re just atoms. And there will always be plenty of atoms to go around. I don’t need actual books...I just want the ideas, the thoughts, contained within them. And with a Kindle...those ideas are NOT contained. If your Kindle falls prey to a fire’s ravenous snare and becomes a smoldering plastic puddle gurgling in a field of smoke and ashes...tomorrow, you can buy another one and download all your books again in just a few seconds.

The “digitization” of everything is what we should strive for. Imagine if YOU were digitized too? Imagine if your body was destroyed and you could simple “download” the contents of your brain into another body. This is the future. Material shit will eventually just be all in your mind. Hell, maybe it already is.

The Easiest way to Install Windows from a USB drive

I recently had to load a fully legitimate version of Windows 7 Ultimate onto my Dad's new netbook (Acer Aspire One) without using a CD Rom. I realized that I didn't know how to format a USB drive so that it would boot like an installation disk, so I googled for answers and I found this page.

That guide really kicks ass, so I wanted to share it with you people just in case you want to turn a usb stick into an OS installation disk. You're welcome.

Don't Fuck with Cabbies

For those of you that don't know, I'm a part-time cab driver. I usually only drive weekends, unless there's a major holiday during the week, like St. Paddy's Day. Last night and early this morning, I drove. Anyways...less than an hour ago...

Some moron just skipped out on paying his fare in my cab. Last fare of the night (that Son of a Bitch). He gave a false name to dispatch, but didn't think to use a fake phone (or at least a pay phone). I did a google search on the phone number and found a craigslist listing...surprise surprise...in the same city I dropped him off in. The craigslist ad? A car for sale parked outside the apartment complex I dropped him at! So now I know almost exactly where he lives, what car he's trying to sell, and his email address (which was listed with the craigslist ad). I then facebooked his email address...and what do you know...it's the same face of the scumbag I saw in my rearview mirror. And now I've got his real name.

I will be filing a police report tomorrow and he will eventually be charged with a felony for employing false identification with the intent to commit theft and fraud. He'll more than likely serve at least 30 days in jail...just so he could save $26.50 by not paying me for driving him safely home at 3:30 in the morning.

The Lesson: Always pay and TIP your cabbie! Or you will go to jail. Or get accidentally run over.

UPDATE: Before I went down to the po po department, I decided to text him one last time to let him know that I knew his name, etc, and that if he didn't contact me with a Credit Card number with his REAL last name on it by high noon, I would go to the police. Literally 10 minutes after the text, I got his legit credit card # and ran it for the owed amount.

So I would formally like to thank Google for making this fairytale ending possible. Bing didn't show any relevant results for his phone number. Thanks Google!

Atheism Doesn't Mean All is Doom

I think most people feel that one of the major drawbacks to atheism is that they can no longer legitimately fantisize about an "afterlife." Because atheists use reason and science to determine what is real and what is imaginary, we know that there is ZERO evidence for the existence of a god or for a "heaven" or a "hell" (unless you count being an involuntary audience member at a Sarah Palin event). Indeed, most atheists themselves believe that after death, "that's it." The difference with religious adherents, is that atheists are ok with it.

Not me. I think death is stupid. It's a clever concept if you're a gene and you want to spread your DNA quickly and effectively, but if you're a human, it sucks being a means to an end.

One of the great things about being an atheist, however, is that I am able to focus my attention away from fruitless fairytales about "heaven", and instead focus it on real live things...like science and technology. And as an avid reader of scientific journals and follower of technological advancements, I'm aware of the fact that scientists fully intent to erradicate death and disease altogether...and alot sooner than you think.

Seriously. Probably within the next 20 or 30 years, scientists will present us with the technology that will allow us to live as long as we like. I'm not going to go into the details of how this will all be possible, because you can read about it from a much smarter man than I right here.

The basic idea, however, is that, on average, every year technology (specifically computer based tech) doubles in speed and halves in price. This enormous computing power will become more and more intelligent because it will eventually be able to compute not just billions of times faster than the human brain (which it already does), but it will also be able to process billions of things IN PARALLEL (just like the human brain). As you may know, almost every single field is now heavily influenced or altogether controlled by computer technology. Including medicine.

And at some point our vast computing power will allow us to build millions of tiny, super-intelligent robots (or "nanobots") that can patrol and analyze your body, repair damaged cells, and destroy malignant entities. This will essentially slow down the aging process to a virtual standstill. A little further into the future after that, we will be able to literally replace our molecular biology cell by cell with materials that are profoundly more lasting and capable.

The future will not be us versus the machines. It will be us BECOMING the machines. Or at least much more intelligently designed machines.

Some people balk at the idea as if we shoudn't mess with "god's" work. Why the hell not? If your heart failed, you would no doubt accept a pacemaker so you could live longer, no? Well, what if your entire body failed and you could replace it with something much better? What if that new body allowed you to live as long as you liked free of disease or limitations?

This is not a question of "if." It's a question of when.

As an atheist, this is extremely exciting to me. Religion is attractive because it promises life after death. The irony here, is that scientists who are largely atheists that shun the cerebral sloth of religious ideology...will be the very ones that bring us "eternal" life. Once the fear of death and disease is erradicated by scientific advancement, I suspect many others will see the folly of religious dogma too.

But why wait? Become excited NOW. This technology IS coming. And rather than waste your precious time on earth praying to invisible men, or donating your hard earned dollars to the intellectual philanderers on your church's pulpit...why not instead donate your money and attention to something that can ACTUALLY change your life for the better? Why not devote yourself to learning about your amazing universe that is brimming with promise?

What is there left to discover in religion? More lazy vague explanations? More hate? More arbitrary conditions and prohibitions? More sadly empty promises? More "mysteries" that man can never understand?

Do you want to "live forever" by hoping and praying that a fairy tale will come true? Or do you want to live by supporting real science and technology that exists and advances every day in real life?

The beauty of a scientific mind is that it does not accept "it's a mystery" as an answer, but as a challenge. So I challenge YOU to start thinking about your actual, right here, right now, real life. After all, as far as the evidence suggests, you only have one.

Google Voice Feature Requests

I just realized that 40% of my blog so far has been about Google products. I swear I should be a product developer for them (or at least their PR whore). Well, I guess now that we're on the subject...I'm going to write about another Google offering that I'm liking (but not loving): Google Voice.

Well, the truth is, I DO love it. At least I love it so far. It can be soo so much more though. Like that hot girl anorexic girl that needs to eat a few more meat sausages, if you know what I mean ;).

First, here's a video of WHAT Google Voice (GV from now on) is:

Read more on GV here: http://www.google.com/googlevoice/about.html

 

So know that you know what the hell GV is, let me tell you where it fails (so far). I'm creating this list so I have a single place to voice all my GV requests and desires. Hopefully, Jesus's magic will cause a Googler to see this list and correct all these shortcomings with some of their 80% time.

My Google Voice Feature Requests:

  1. I want to be able to send more than 5 SMS messages at a time. And I want to send them to my groups. One of the great things about GV and Google contacts is that you can create groups of people and have calls and texts from those groups handled differently. That said, I have a group called "Poker" that is a list of all the people that want invitations to my poker game. I want to be able to send out a text message to everyone in that group (about 30 people) with info on the time and location of my next poker game. I don't mind paying for this feature. Just charge me a penny for every extra contact over the first 5. I would totally pay 25 cents to send a mass text message out to 30 people.
  2. IMPORTANT: I want to be able to view a threaded history of all sms conversations, calls, and voicemails with one particular contact. This would make Google Voice extremely useful and powerful.
  3. I want to be able to toggle a "compact" view of listed items on an off so I can very quickly read through a list of calls/texts without having to see all the details. And I want to be able to view more than 10 items at once. This should be a setting we can toggle (10, 25, or 100 items per page).

 

Google Voice Mobile Interface Problems:

The following are problems with the interface on the iPhone inside the official mobile safari version of GV:

  1. The Dialer needs a redial button. Badly. One solution is to emulate the native iPhone dialer's redial functionality (by pressing "Call" when there is nothing entered...it recalls the last number that was dialed).
  2. The "History" (or any list) needs to be refreshed in the background after an action. For instance...if I make a call, that outgoing call should be immediately added to the history list. Right now, I have to hit "refresh" to see my last dialed number (which I have to do all the time because there is no redial function!)
  3. IMPORTANT: We need to be able to add a number to our contacts easily. This functionality isn't available in the mobile interface...obviously a key feature for a phone.
  4. In the compose sms message screen, the contact field should autocomplete from our address book like it does in the search contact screen (which works really well by the way).
  5. While I like that the "top" contact list automatically shows most contacted people...it would be nice if we had the OPTION of being able to create our own favorite contacts list (or simply display lists of our groups, one of which we could designate as "favorites").
  6. We definitely need to be able to use copy text inside sms messages! It would also be nice if we could paste into the dialer screen!
  7. Text messages that contain urls should be automatically clickable. It would be nice if phone numbers and addresses were clickable as well. People usually text phone numbers so they can be called...and being able to pull up a google map from a texted address would be extremely useful!

 

That's it for now. This list is just a starting point. I will add to it (and cross off completed items) as I see fit.

Why I am a Libertarian

Freedom.

Nowadays, it sounds almost silly to say it, as if "freedom" were some outlandish adolescent ideal reserved for dreamers. Well, shit. I am a dreamer. Like our founding fathers were dreamers. And just because people have become comfortable with their cynicism...just because voters have learned to EMBRACE the chains their government graciously endows...well it doesn't mean I'm gonna toe the line along with the sorry bastards. Hell, if we all toed the line a few centuries ago, "Americans" would still be slurping milky tea every afternoon at 4 o'clock like a bunch of queen worshiping pansies.

Being a libertarian is tough. Most people think you're crazy if you are. "You can't possibly win," they'll chortle. As if "winning" is voting for the guy that peddles "hope" and peace and then actually RAISES military spending after being elected. Yeah, I feel like I hit the jackpot with that one. Thanks a million...or should I say, thanks a few trillion?

I guess I'm still pissed because I got in an argument with a friend of mine last night over the philosophy of liberty. You see, I contend that you can't assign rights to another person that you don't have yourself. What the hell do I mean? If I'm not allowed to steal from you, then I can't elect some representative to steal from you on my behalf. I can't do it, and a group of like-minded mobsters can't do it. If something is wrong, it's wrong regardless of how many people want to do the wrong, or if the wrong is committed by someone we've elected to represent us.

Example: if 10 of us are on a desert island...and one of those individuals works really hard at building a shelter, collecting food, fishing, and so forth...while the other nine people sit on their lazy asses and complain about their dire situation...those nine lazy bastards don't have the right to steal anything from the hardworking individual. Not even if they are starving. They can ask. They can bargain. They can beg. But they can't just TAKE. That's what I'm arguing.

Unfortunately, that's not the reality. The lazy, uncreative majority TAKE from the creative, the hardworking, and the lucky. They justify this taking by whatever rhetorical means possible. They'll claim that it's ok to STEAL (tax) so long as that money is being used for a greater good. You know, like bombing the shit of people living 8,000 miles away in a desert...or supporting 761 military bases worldwide (YES, 761), or "stimulating" the economy by literally printing money that doesn't exist. Let's call it what it is, people. It's utilitarianism. And not a very good implementation of utilitarianism (unless you consider the "greatest good" the biggest corporations and largest lobbying groups with the most criminal political scum in their pockets).

You want to be an asshole that steals from other people? Do it. You're not ashamed. You think you know better than me what to do with my hard earned money. Fine. But call yourself what you really are. A thief. Plain and simple.

A thief that steals a loaf of bread to "feed his family" is still a thief. So own it. Be proud of your collective criminal enterprise. You have won. Your fat family has taken over the territory like the mob...and now you are squeezing the entrepreneurs and artists that built this country so you can fund your even bigger criminal ventures in the name of the "public good" or "god" or "the children" or whatever other drivel you can muster up to win over the weak minded masses.

But me? I refuse. That's why I'm a libertarian.

I refuse to behave like a low-life criminal thug. I will never kill, enslave or steal. No matter how much the end appears to justify the means. I will never make you do something that you don't want to do. Ever. Under any circumstances. Because I believe in my freedom AND yours.

And Yes. I do think I'm better than you.

Here's a video that perfectly outlines the Philosophy of Liberty:

EDIT: Since posting this story, I completely changed my mind. I'm no longer a libertarian (or an advocate of any political philosophy). Sorry for wasting your time...

Google Chrome is Officially my Favorite Browser

Since the wide release of Google Chrome Extensions, Chrome's shortcomings as a browser have become largely non-existent. I was using Mozilla's Firefox as my main browser for the last 5 or so years (since it was in beta), and since then, Firefox has become a beastly caricature of its former self. So, it was time to move on.

And I moved on to Google Chrome. It's FAST. Really FAST. It loads up way faster and it renders pages way faster. I'm extremely impatient, so anything that can shave off seconds of waiting wins in my book.

The trouble of course, is that Firefox became the beast it is because of all the extensions (or "add-ons") that I've added to it over the years to make it more functional. Now that Google Chrome allows you to extend its own browser, let's hope that Chrome doesn't suffer the same fate as I begin weighing it down with new features too.

Speaking of features, these are the extensions I've added to Chrome so far:

  • Adthwart - Blocks most of the annoying ads on the internet
  • Chromed Bird - Checks the latest tweets on your twitter account
  • Cooliris - Opens up an amazing 3D image viewer when you're on pages with lots of images
  • Docs PDF/PowerPoint Viewer (by Google) - Opens all PDF & Powerpoint files in Google Docs (way faster than Adobe Acrobat)
  • Google Calendar Checker (by Google) - Tells you when your next appointment is (Obviously requires that you use Google Calendar)
  • Google Tasks - Provides you with a quick overlay of tasks you store in Google Tasks
  • One Number - Gives you ONE notification button to show you how many unread Gmail, Google Wave, Google Reader, & Google Voice messages you have.
  • Send from Gmail (no button) - Automatically opens Gmail (and not Outlook or another email client) when you click on an email link inside a webpage.
  • Shareaholic - Makes it easy to share pages you like with all of your favorite social networking services (or email).

 

"PS3 Media Server" Works.

I have a big media server running Boxee that I have hooked up to my TV so I can watch all of the fully legal video files that I download from the internet in full HD glory. Anyways, the video card on that machine just petered out, so I was forced to find a temporary alternative to watch my .mkv (HD video) files (Dexter, hypothetically speaking).

I knew that the PS3 streamed video files from a computer hooked up to your same home network (check), but I also knew that it didn't natively support .mkv files (so so sad). But...after doing a little poking around on the internets, I happened across this amazing little program called PS3 Media Server.

Essentially, after you download and install the program (which is available on windows, macs AND linux), it will run a small "server" in the background of your computer. You tell the program where your video files are on your computer, and then "start" the server. From there, you fire up your PS3 and do a search for media servers. It should find your PS3 Media server and with some luck you will now be able so see all of your video files. When you browse to a known .mkv file and start playing it, your computer will automatically transcode the file on the file into a format viewable on your PS3. No other configuration necessary.

If you have a lot of video files on your computer (including some nice 720p ones), and you are rich and successful enough to own a PS3, you should definitely try this out.

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