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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Google Buzz - Google Buzz is going away, but your posts are yours to keep

Google Buzz - Google Buzz is going away, but your posts are yours to keep

The end of yet another Google product. It was a good social app, but never really found it's niche. Hope G+ integrates some of it's features. Live long and prosper G+!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Linksys E2500 WiFi Router

Linksys E2500 Review

I purchased this router from our CompUSA store for $79.95 a few days ago to replace a WRT54GL (pictured at right) that performed admirably for many years before being fried by lightning. The Linksys E2500 Router is billed as an Advanced Dual-Band N Router for active online households and home offices. I figured that meant that it was a robust device with lots of connectivity options, which led to my one disappointment with the unit -- it does not support wireless bridging or repeating functions.

I wanted to bridge the E2500 (pictured at left) with an older Motorola WR850G to extend the Wireless G range in my home. Most of my devices still use G, with my work laptop and Roku box being the exceptions. I
had this working just fine with the previous router. Without doing the bridge, the Wireless G coverage in my home is not any better than it was with the old one and is maybe even a little less. I am
hoping that Linksys adds the Bridging and Repeating functions to the E2500 in a future software update. The hardware should certainly be able to support it.

Wireless N coverage with this router appears to be very good. I have a Roku player installed at the opposite end of the house. It reports the Wireless N signal is excellent, and I have not noticed any sluggish performance in streaming media. The unit is sleek, attractive, and thin. It doesn't have any lights on the front. There are four 10/100 ethernet LAN ports and one 10/100 WAN port for connection to your Cable Modem or DSL. Another nice feature is it's support for a Guest Network that is firewalled from your internal devices.

Overall, I am satisfied with this purchase. I do hope that they update the software to support bridging and repeating, or that dd-wrt comes out with replacement firmware. I would recommend the Linksys E2500 to others, especially if their need is mostly for Wireless N.

  • Fast Wireless N Connectivity
  • Good N Coverage
  • Easy set up
  • Advanced configuration available

  • No bridging or repeating functionality
  • No external antenna support
  • Less than exceptional G coverage

  • 300 + 300 Mbps Speed
  • 2.4 + 5.0 GHz Dual-Band Radios
  • Strong Signal Range
  • Parental Controls
  • Easy Setup
  • A/B/G/N WiFi Support
  • WPA/WPA2 Encryption
  • SPI Firewall
  • QoS Features
  • One Year Limited Warranty

Operating System Humor

Windows, Mac, and Linux go to the restroom and do their business. Windows washes his hands with just a little soap, and dries them with a small piece of towel. He says, Windows has to conserve system resources.

Mac washes his hands with lots of soap and water, and dries them with a long stretch of paper towel. He says, Macs are extravagant.

Linux walks over to the door and says, I don't make a mess all over myself ...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Google+ and Gmail Integration

What I envision in the future is sort of a highly integrated, but scaled back, Gmail, Google+, Buzz, and Wave. That sounds like a lot, so let me clarify a little.

For one, I don't want a dozen Google Apps on my Android cell phone, and a dozen Tabs on my Google/Gmail interface. I would like 1 App for most communications functions. I want to see an an App that aggregates most of my Google feeds - email, Buzz, Google+, etc.

What would this look like? Well, I get an email, or maybe a Google Voice text or call. That email address or phone number is in my Contacts, so when I click on that message, I see not only the message (at the top) but also a short Buzz like summary of all the social activity that person has allowed to be shared with me. Think threaded email message type integration. Then I can drill down on any other stuff that person has posted, or shared - relevant documents, Videos, Buzz, Conversations/Hangouts in Google+, Shared Calendar events, etc. And under the email, and under each of those entries is a reply, forward, Google+, +1, comment, chat, Buzz, Twitter, etc. share options.

This would allow me to see my friends or associates complete social stream. I am sure your interface experts can conjure up an elegant, moderately light weight, easy to use layout. Wave had a lot of good ideas, but was too heavy, even on modern hardware.

Additionally, this would limit the storage used on my phone for all these different Apps, and would streamline communications. Google has SO MANY great products, but integration is not what it should be. Google Health, for example, was a great idea, but no one knew about it, which is why it didn't catch on. Likewise the Power thing.

And while I am on the topic of integration, and simplicity, why is it so hard to get to my Contact Manager interface at Google? I have to specify the URL (google.com/contacts), instead of clicking a link in Gmail or Calendar.

Mark, despite privacy concerns, I love Google's products. The main thing lacking is integration, and a good way to be informed of new products and features.

Hopefully this has given you some ideas on Streamlining the Google Experience for your customers. Perhaps it is too difficult to accomplish short-term, but if Google starts working toward a more integrated product set today, it will be unstoppable in a few years.

Change the game. It is time for a new approach to communications.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Google Health and Google PowerMeter Being Given the Axe

Official Google Blog: An update on Google Health and Google PowerMeter: "In the coming months, we’re going to retire two products that didn’t catch on the way we would have hoped, but did serve as influential mode..."

ATTENTION GOOGLE: Maybe the reason some of your technologies don't catch on is because you do such a poor job marketing them. I didn't even know there was a Google Health until about 2 months ago when I noticed that my Android CardioTRAINER App supported upload to it. Considering your poor marketing savvy it is a miracle you have become the company you have. And the Power thing? Didn't know about it until just now.

Maybe I am a bit more in the dark than most people, or maybe not. Was anyone else as clueless as me about these 2 projects? Perhaps, Google, you should use some of that white space on the Google search page to feature a different Google product every week. Not a ton of gaudy advertising, but just an image and a few lines of description with a link to learn more.

You guys come out with TONS of ideas and test products every year, too many for us mortals to keep up with on our own. You need to help us a little to know what you are up to, keeping in mind that not everyone in the world follows you on Twitter, but almost everyone in the world uses your search page.

I for one am sorry to see Google Health go. I may not 100% trust Google with my data, but I hardly trust Microsoft HealthVault at all. Guess I will be cozying up to it over the next few weeks. Maybe my opinion of HealthVault will change as I learn more about it.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Make DuckDuckGo Your Default Search Engine in Chrome

Hello there! I recently read about a new search engine that has a lot of promise. That engine is duckduckgo.com. The features that set this search engine apart from the competition include privacy, instant answers, and less spam and clutter.

Privacy: DuckDuckGo does not collect or store your search data or browsing history. It also does not forward your search terms to unintended servers, and allows you to use an anonymous proxy called Tor for your connections.

Instant Answers: When you enter a search term, some information is provided instantly above the search results. This might be all the data you need, so there might not be a need to click other links to get what you want. It is highlighted in a box above the search results.

Less Spam and Clutter: DuckDuckGo blacklists sites that are merely there to present advertising. How many times have you clicked on a site only to be shown links to ads related to your search terms with nothing else useful?

The privacy features alone make this a worthy replacement for Google, Bing, or Yahoo! If you would like to add it to your Google Chrome web browser, you can install the Chrome Add On, or follow these simple instructions to make it your default search engine:

Go to Options -> Basics -> Search/Manage Search Engines. at the bottom of the page it allows you to add a custom search engine. In "Add New Search Engine" type in 'DuckDuckGo'. For "Keyword" enter 'duckduckgo.com'. For "URL with %s in place of query" enter 'https://duckduckgo.com/?q=%s'. Click outside the area, then click on your new entry and select "Make Default". You are now done and have DuckDuckGo as your default search engine.

There you have it. Give DuckDuckGo a try and see if it works for you.


iolo System Mechanic

iolo technologies, LLC