Category Archives: Web

A Short Review of MOG

Logging into MOG is liking walking into a record store and listening to whatever you want for however long you want. MOG provides a huge selection of music that’s only as limited as far their agreements with labels reach. The monthly plan starts at $5/month, though I believe there are discounts that bring it closer to $4/month if you get a long-term subscription. This is extremely competitive, and well worth it depending on how much music you listen to and discover. (I make more than enough discoveries for it to be worth the cost.) Continue reading

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Google Wave: The Revolution in Communication

(I was so excited when I watched the Google Wave video that I had to write this while I watched. That’ll explain the overload of optimism and excitement.)

Google seems to do all the obvious things: make free e-mail with an excellent spam filter, take the existing phone system and digitize it a little, make an online word processor and collaboration, and provide a really nice search engine.

This year, Google is doing it again. Two engineers in Google’s forces stepped back and examined the world of communication we’ve built. We all know that e-mail is ancient and inefficient, and they knew that too. So, they decided to completely reinvent the entire communication system.

It’s called Google Wave. It’s really simple.

Instead of thinking of communication as messages that are literally shoved around from place to place, Google Wave thinks of messages as being part of a conversation, which doesn’t move anywhere. Rather, a conversation between two (or more!) people occurs in a single, shared location.

Messages can be very long or very short. You can send long paragraphs of text in an e-mail format, or you can communicate back and forth in a texting-like format. There is no limits to what you can do with these messages. Continue reading

The Move to Online Applications

I just had a discussion with a friend about the difference between online and offline software, and the differences are pretty clear cut:

  • Online software is just that: online. Quite a few (more than expected) websites support Google Gears, and hopefully offline syncing will become the norm.
  • Using things like JavaScript and AJAX for websites is relatively new. Standards, expectations, and features are constantly evolving. Things have gone from the barely interactive webpage to a hardy application that happens to run on the web. Nevertheless, there’s still a long way to go before websites can match the power of offline applications.
  • Security? Privacy? They’re all second thoughts so far in the world of web applications. Many tech websites are pushing for developers to put extra thought into privacy and security, but it’s one of those things that don’t provide a direct return in profit, so it will take longer to catch on. In the meantime, we users are exposed. Now, this is where it all becomes subjective: is privacy and security really all that important for the data you’re uploading? Most services provide SSL logins, and that’s generally enough to protect the account from hackers. Beyond that, there’s not much over-the-“air” encryption going on, and just about anything can be sniffed and tracked. So, do you really want to hide family photos or phone records, or do you really care if someone gets a hand on those? Like I said, it’s subjective.
  • Nothing can beat free. With Web 2.0 (am I allowed to use that term?) came the advertisement model, in which ads pay for the services. In some ways, it’s a win-win. You get the services free, and perhaps even discover new websites you didn’t know about via the ads, while the company gets their revenue. Sometimes a website might present offensive advertisements, but the upstanding ones are usually pretty good about what they let in.

As for offline applications…

  • It’s offline. Internet goes down? No problem. Service is down? No problem. Nothing is keeping you from firing up your software on your computer.
  • The feature-set and UI for applications is a well-trodden terrain for offline applications. Everything you could do with online software you can do with offline software, and in a consistent interface.
  • Everything is saved on your hard-drive, and you can encrypt, lock, wipe, or otherwise mangle your data in whatever way you please that makes you think it’s safe. You can’t get that kind of control over the storage of your data with other online services.
  • However, this usually comes at a price. Unless you pay, you’re pretty much guaranteed a sub-average experience. For example: I admit OpenOffice is nothing like Microsoft Office. That’s not to say Microsoft Office beats OpenOffice in all areas, but Microsoft Office can certainly throw a heavy, if not critical, punch in features and ease-of-use. Then again, you can’t get this experience online either, so you pretty much have to pay period if you want all the features.

Before everyone starts advocating open-source, let me explain myself. Continue reading

I Have Synced Into the Internet

It’s taken time for it to fully dawn on me, but I think I can officially say everything I do is online now. In fact, I can’t do anything on the computer anymore without requiring Internet access. (Gaming doesn’t count – I use a dedicated gaming console, the Wii, for that.) Whenever I am forced to work offline, I always use something that simulates my being online, whether it be Google Gears, or simply a local copy I can later put back online. Continue reading