Archive for the 'Efficiency' Category

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Google Wave: most overrated technology since Twitter

Morton Rhue's new book: 'The Google Wave'

Google Wave seems like an overly complex solution to a non-existing problem. Nowadays the issue is not how to communicate with your friends and colleagues, the real challenge is to get some actual work done between answering your email and watching viral videos online.

A few months ago, when it was released, I actually sat down and watched the entire 80 minutes or so of the Google Wave presentation in YouTube (please note that this atrocity, which I bet almost no one watched in full, currently have a 5.0 star rating!).

I’ll skip the part where I rant about the well fed and self satisfied Google lecturers, who seem to stretch every bit of information that could have been thoroughly explained within seconds into minutes upon minutes of arrogant and graceless presentation. I don’t bear a grudge against them for wasting my time with the video though, after all Google Wave is designed for that very purpose – wasting valuable time.

Last Thursday 100,000 “lucky” users got a chance to test what is hyped as the future of the internet (and then blog about it I guess). What truly amazes me right now is that everywhere you look (okay, everywhere within the constraints of your monitor) people are raving about the mythical powers and neon bright economic future of Google Wave (whose actual nature and/or use seems to elude even its own developers).

This reminds me of two things: the thousands of blog posts and “articles” about why your business must be in Twitter right now (the short answer is ‘because’) and the educational book “The Wave” (no pun intended) by Morton Rhue (Todd Strasser), where a US high school is caught in an experiment of mass brainwashing, dictatorship and let’s face it: hype.

I just don’t get all those people who rain praise and positive reviews about what seems to be at best a half baked idea just because it comes from Google. I might be proved wrong somewhere along the line, but in my opinion Google is too big and too clumsy for its own good. I think that right now, in the shadow of the economic crisis they’re just shooting in all directions.

Specifically, Google Wave seems to me like an overly complex solution to a non-existing problem. Nowadays the issue is not how to communicate with your friends and colleagues, the real challenge is to get some actual work done between answering your email and watching viral videos online.

Because Google Wave is a real time service, and because it’s about conversations and not about posting, I predict that every ‘wave’ will soon turn into a huge tsunami requiring literally hours to follow. Consider the level of commitment required to use this service, especially if you’re not stuck near the computer the entire duration of your day, and need to catch up with what went down with your 643 friends. It’s like trying to read all the comments in a popular YouTube movie – long, repetitive and rarely rewarding.

In the bottom line, if Google Wave was named ‘Whatever Wave’ (or even worse: ‘Microsoft Wave’) no one would care about it. At best.

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Please don’t use my tax money to murder people

Please don't use my tax money to murder people.

STOP! Please don’t use my tax money to murder people. This message is always relevant. Feel free to use this in your blog or website, and please comment on the design.

Embed (200×96):

<img class="aligncenter"
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title="Please don't use my tax money to murder people."
width="200" height="96" />

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alt="Please don't use my tax money to murder people."
title="Please don't use my tax money to murder people."
width="250" height="120" />

Embed (300×144):

<img class="aligncenter" 
src="http://sites.google.com/site/hillelstoler/Home/stop300.png" 
alt="Please don't use my tax money to murder people." 
title="Please don't use my tax money to murder people." 
width="300" height="144" />

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Rapidshare Hack: How to skip the 40 seconds download delay

Rapidshare had recently (and kindly) removed many of it’s free user limitations (the 1 file/day/IP policy & the infamous Cats CAPTCHA comes to mind). However, there are still some disadvantages for being a free user. One of which is the 40 seconds delay (countdown) that appears before you can start your download.

I have come up with a way to save some time and skip this delay when downloading multiple files from Rapidshare. You don’t need any special tools or software to accomplish this, and the method is very easy to master.

The idea is simple: we’ll let the countdown for one file run on one tab (or window) and at the same time we’ll download a different file in another tab. We can’t download two files at a time, but we can make rapidshare send a file and do the countdown simultaneously!

This is how to do it:

Screen A - Click to enlargeScreen B - Click to enlargeScreen C - Click to enlarge

1) Open each of your Rapidshare download links in a new tab (you should see screen A with two speed gauges – don’t click the ‘Free user’ button yet!)

2) Now, (only) on the first and second tabs, click the ‘Free user’ button.

3) Wait 40 seconds (screen B). You should now have two tabs with files ready to download (screen C). All the other tabs should still be in the gauges window (screen A).

4) Start the first download (and close the first tab)

5) When this download is complete, don’t start the next download right away. Instead, go to the next tab (the first one that still shows Window A with the gauges) and click the ‘Free user’ button (to start a new countdown). Don’t wait, proceed to step 6 immediately.

6) Go back to the previous tab (which is ready for download – window C) and start your download.

7) Every time a download is complete, repeat stages 5-7 as needed.

Step 1 - Forming a manual download queue.

The point is to always have the next file ready for download by the time the current download is finished. If you download n files you can save up to (n-1)*40 seconds using this method, so if you download 50 files from Rapidshare for example, you’ll save almost 33 minutes!

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Taken with FLIR Systems InfraCAM SD

Chillin' @ Heat Transfer Lab
(May 2007)

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