Archive for the 'Technology' Category

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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GetSocial 1.01

GetSocial v1.01 (huh?) is now available! It’s exactly the same as good old version 1.00 except that the image border/padding issue that occurs in some WordPress.com themes is now resolved. Download GetSocial v1.01 now!

nice vs. very nice!

If for some reason you really need the first release (version 1.00), or any other future-old-release(tm) you can always get every version of GetSocial here.

UPDATE (June 23, 2008): GetSocial v1.02 is now available. Go get it!

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GetSocial – Social Bookmarking for WordPress.com

GetSocial is made especially for WordPress.com bloggers. It automatically generates a (specially designed) social bookmarking toolbar for each one of your posts. This is a 100% scriptless way to create social bookmarking links, which makes it a perfect solution for wordpress.com users. It is also based on a 3 step wizard interface which is very friendly and easy to use. Oh, and it’s 100% free!

Download GetSocial now:

Download GetSocial - it's free!

Great, but what is a Social Bookmarking toolbar anyway?
Well, here are some fine examples (made with GetSocial v1.00) – Try it!

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Add to FacebookAdd to NewsvineAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to Ma.gnoliaAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Furl

Screenshot of GetSocial v1.00

GetSocial v1.00 screenshot

How does it work?
After you download GetSocial (which is 100% Virus/Adware/Whatever free!), Extract and run GetSocial.exe (No Installation is needed, but you will need to have Microsoft .net framework 2.0 installed: nothing a quick visit to Windows Update won’t solve).

You can then select between adding Social Bookmarks to a post or an AddThis.com button to your blog (more on that later). You will need to enter a permalink to your post (which is the web address of your post) and the title of your post.

Click next and select your preferred type of Social Networking toolbar design (there are four of them!), after you get your code, paste it to your post (while in HTML Edit mode) and that’s it! Sounds difficult? Try it, and see for yourself just how easy it is! :)

UPDATE (July 23, 2008): Teck, from the Teck~Line blog, wrote a post about how to use GetSocial here.

UPDATE (August 24, 2008): Lee Aase, from Social Media University Global (SMUG), made a YouTube movie about using GetSocialwatch it!

Free software?
GetSocial is a donationware, which means you can use (and share) it for free for as long as you like (you can’t sell it or tell people you’ve made it yourself though). It is neither limited nor crippled in any way. If you use/like it, consider donating 5.00 USD (you can do it!) to the author of the software (that’s me!) Thanks :)

Make a donation with PayPal - it's fast, free and secure.

What did you say about AddThis.com earlier?
GetSocial lets you create an AddThis.com button for your blog as a whole. It is a little known fact, but when you put an AddThis.com button in your blog’s sidebar (even if you selected ‘WordPress’ when you generated the code on their website) your button will not link to your blog, instead it will link to the AddThis.com website! This is due to scripting limitations on wordpress.com that removes important parts of the script. I have found this error on every single AddThis.com button I’ve seen on wordpress.com so far!

UPDATE (May 19, 2008): Netty Gritty wrote a good article about the AddThis.com problem here.

How to check if my AddThis.com button links to my blog?
It’s very simple really: click it, and on the Bookmark & Share page click on ‘Favorites’ (See photo). This will add a website to your browsers favorites – if it’s your blog then everything is okay, but if it adds AddThis.com then everyone who ever used it promoted AddThis.com, and not your blog!

Does your AddThis.com button really bookmarks your blog?

The good news: GetSocial can fix this for you in no time :)

What else?
Enjoy GetSocial!

Oh, and one more thing, GetSocial is not affiliated in any way with WordPress.com, AddThis.com or any of the Social Bookmarking providers.

Download GetSocial.zip here.

UPDATE (June 02, 2008): I’ve received some requests regarding a spacing/border issue in some WordPress.com themes. A new version, GetSocial 1.01, resolves these issues. Every download link in this post has been set to point to the most recent version of GetSocial. Scope this.

UPDATE (October 21, 2009): There is a new cross-platform on-line version of GetSocial. No download is needed, and it will work with every OS (Yes, it will work on a Mac). It’s called GetSocial Live, and it’s fast, easy to use and free! GetSocial Live is always up to date and currently features the latest Twitter and Yahoo Buzz buttons, read all about it here.

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Fab@Home Model1 part catalog (with photos)

I’ve just created a 26 page catalog of every Fab@Home Model1 part (except for the acrylic chassis parts, which are already adequately illustrated by CAD files).

The catalog is sorted by the official bill of materials line number, and includes Part Name, Part Number, Quantity Required, Unit Price, (some) Details and a photo of each component.

Fab@Home Model1 part catalog

This catalog is intended to assist in the construction and maintenance of the Fab@Home model1. I want people to know which parts are more expansive (and be extra careful!).

I will publish this catalog on the Fab@Home Wiki, and make the photos publicly available in the near future (after commissioning the Afeka ACE Model1).

In the meantime you can download the catalog in PDF format (2MB) here.
Check out the Fab@Home Wiki: www.fabathome.org

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CVI Tetris

National Instruments LabWindows/CVI is a C based development environment for event driven windows applications. Using CVI to perform all sorts of scientific analysis is relatively simple because it has a large variety of built-in controls and libraries specially designed for this purpose. CVI also connects well to hardware (through an Instrument Driver Network), making it ideal for creating PC based control panels for machines and other devices.

CVI Tetris - Keep it simple.

CVI was very easy to master (almost zero adjustment time for an experienced developer). It features a wide variety of controls (some are interesting and unique, others redundant), but has a very poor development environment. Using built in functions and adjusting the forms/controls via code is very cumbersome. You do have a wizard-like interface (the “Library”) from which you can generate customized lines of code, but I’ve found the whole process to be slow and annoying – this is light years away from the Microsoft Visual Studio .net environment, which is very intuitive and flexible (although, I do appreciate the fact that beginners might prefer this method).

National Instruments LabWindows/CVI: www.ni.com/lwcvi

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Microsoft Windows Update mistakes PC for a Mac

Although I am using a genuine Microsoft Windows XP Professional, I’ve received the following error message while using Windows Update earlier today:

Screenshot - Click to enlarge

Thank you for your interest in obtaining updates from our site. This website is designed to work with Microsoft Windows operating systems only. To find updates for Microsoft products that are designed for Macintosh operating systems, please visit…

Yeah, Right.

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Taken with FLIR Systems InfraCAM SD

Chillin' @ Heat Transfer Lab
(May 2007)

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Hillel Stoler - הלל סטולר
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