"It's yet another in a long series of diversions in an attempt to avoid responsibility." - Chris Knight

Clean Archives Version 4.3 Released

May 18, 2008 - 11:44 pm - Posted by iDunzo

Small update to allow Clean Archives to work with WordPress version 2.5.x and above including 2.6.x.

Please note that if you are running an older version of WordPress prior to release 2.5.x, you will either need to run Clean Archives 4.2 or 2.2. Check the clean archives project page for more information.

A completely rewritten version of clean archives is in the works and should be released within the next couple of weeks, so keep checking back for more information.

Thanks for your continued support.

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Google Tweaks Gmail Calendar Sync

April 23, 2008 - 11:25 am - Posted by iDunzo

Google first offered up the ability to sync your Gmail and Outlook calendars in early March.

Since then, it’s received a bunch of feedback on the usability of the product and has decided to make some changes. The changes are welcome, indeed.

Making sure calendars between devices, platforms, and PCs are all in sync can be a serious pain.

Last month, Google sought to lessen some of that pain with its Google Calendar Sync product.

Unfortunately, it didn’t quite go all the way. Users sent in feedback on a few issues, and Google felt an update was necessary.

The Official Gmail Blog wrote up a brief entry explaining the changes. It said:

“Previously, your Google Calendar e-mail address needed to be the organizer or an attendee of your Microsoft Outlook events for the Outlook events to sync to your Google Calendar. Now, when you choose to do a 2-way sync or a 1-way sync from Outlook calendar to Google Calendar, all of your Outlook events will be synced to your Google Calendar.”

This latest enhancement should relieve some frustration of users who were caught in the organizer/attendee web.

Google is auto-updating people who use the sync program, but if you’re impatient and want to download it directly, you can. The new version is

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Time lapse video of Google Doodle creation

February 14, 2008 - 7:48 pm - Posted by iDunzo

A time lapse video that shows Chief Google Doodler Dennis Hwang draw a Google Doodle from start to finish.

He creates a doodle that commemorates the Lunar New Year and invites students to join the Doodle 4 Google art competition.

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Look Out, World, Here Comes Tom Edison

February 11, 2008 - 4:58 am - Posted by iDunzo

February 11, 1847: Thomas Alva Edison is born.

Edison is front and center in the pantheon of prolific inventor-entrepreneur-opportunists. Alone or jointly, he held 1,093 patents, a record unlikely to be approached, let alone surpassed.

Thomas Edison received his first patent in 1869, at the age of 23. It was for an “electrographic vote recorder,” which allowed a legislator to cast a vote for or against an issue by turning a switch either left or right. It was a complete flop, ironically because it was too efficient and interfered with the ability of pols to lobby for vote-switching — something that was commonly done during the time it took to count votes by hand.

Edison’s extensive background in telegraphy influenced the direction his inventing would go, and he spent a lot of time ignoring his day jobs and concentrating on his moonlighting projects.

It was his development of an improved stock ticker and the sale of its patent for $40,000 (around $600,000 in today’s money) that gave Edison some financial independence and allowed him to turn to full-time inventing. Talk about opening the flood gates.

Over the course of his career, these were just a few of the things Edison either invented or had a hand in developing: the carbon transmitter (which made a practical telephone possible), the phonograph, the incandescent light bulb, the kinetoscope (forerunner of the modern film projector), the dictaphone and the mimeograph machine, along with a mighty host of lesser-known things.

He built the first functioning central power station (in Brockton, Massachusetts), and his laboratory in West Orange, New Jersey, is generally acknowledged as the world’s first true research-and-development center.

There were some failures along the way: Edison came out on the losing end of the battle over direct current versus alternating current with George Westinghouse and Nikola Tesla, and his attempt to marry audio to silent film — which resulted in The Great Train Robbery in 1903 — wasn’t a success. A few ideas were just loony: a concrete piano, for example.

But nothing is perfect, not even genius, and while Edison’s genius is indisputable, history has judged him less kindly in ethical matters. If his personal ambition didn’t exceed his intellect, it certainly came very close to matching it.

In an era characterized by its ruthless, cutthroat business tactics, Edison was at the head of the pack. He didn’t care whom he stepped on or exploited to achieve his ends, and he muscled in on lesser-known inventors to make some dubious patent claims.

Edison was a man with many colleagues, subordinates, competitors and even admirers, but few friends. He had a family, which he largely ignored. He was a very old man, sidelined by poor health, before bothering to stop and smell the roses.

His payoff is that he remains the iconic American success story, with all that it means.

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What’s Microsoft Really Buying With Yahoo?

February 4, 2008 - 10:18 am - Posted by iDunzo

It’s a tough question, isn’t it? Is Microsoft buying Yahoo because of its long-term and broad-scale expertise with open source? If so, to what end?

Well, I thought, maybe what they’re really buying is the expertise of the Yahoo programming team, akin to what I felt was happening with Sun and MySQL.

Unfortunately, the theory doesn’t seem to work here.

Microsoft’s current stance on open source is, from what I can tell, to provide a compelling case to run open source packages on Windows — that is, as long as we’re leaving the Linux patent issue entirely out of the picture.

How they feel about open source on something the size and scope of Yahoo isn’t clear at all — and maybe that’s why they want some existing experts in that field.

Perhaps what they’re looking for are teams from Yahoo’s side that they can put to work creating online applications — to gussy up Windows Live?

The incoherence of Windows Live is about as bad as the incoherence that swarmed around .NET when Microsoft unleashed that way back when.

So, perhaps the thinking goes, why not bring in people who seem to be natural experts at this sort of thing?

The problem, again, is one of clashing corporate cultures: Microsoft and Yahoo do not look, act, or think remotely alike. This is a far deeper problem than I think Microsoft is willing to admit, retention incentives aside.

If Microsoft is doing this to get their hands on experts, there’s nothing that says the very people they want most are not going to jump ship and head somewhere friendlier.

Perhaps Microsoft will jettison its existing online unit wholesale and simply swap Yahoo in for that — well, maybe not all at once, but over enough time to allow some kind of transition from Microsoft’s services to Yahoo’s.

Maybe the best way to approach this is just to leave the question open: What is Microsoft really buying?

The more I think about it, the more I’m wondering if even Microsoft knows by now.

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Google Execs Made 20-Year Commitment To Each Other

February 1, 2008 - 10:26 am - Posted by iDunzo

Ah, the heady pre-IPO heydays of Summer 2004. In July of that year, co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, together with CEO Eric Schmidt, must have been feeling pretty bullish on Google’s long-term future.

The three agreed to work together for the next 20 years, to have and to hold, in sickness and health, good times and bad, for better or worse. Will this business marriage last?

The three men revealed the commitment in an offhand remark made during an interview. Said Schmidt, “We agreed the month before we went public that we should work together for 20 years.” Schmidt will be 69 years old in July 2024, and Page will be 51 and Brin 50.

With Google’s market capitalization standing at $170 billion, I’d say the partnership is working out so far. Each man is a billionaire. So what if Google’s numbers for the fourth quarter were a bit off from predictions?

Google reported total 2007 profits of 4.2 billion dollars as compared with 3.08 billion in 2006, but Wall Street had expected bigger numbers.

Google’s stock has been on a downward slide of late, declining some $200 per share since the fall. Despite the slight let down, “We’re very pleased with our performance this quarter,” said Schmidt.

Since the IPO, Google has done nothing but grow. The last three months of 2007 saw the company hire approximately 1,000 new workers, bringing the total headcount to nearly 17,000.

It ended 2007 with $14.2 billion in its bank account. The last 12 months have seen a lot of innovation from the company, with new products and services seemingly launched daily.

So far there’s no sign of any strain between the three men. Whether or not this business marriage can go the distance is something only time will tell.

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