Friday, January 22, 2010

For I am many?

Over the past year there has been on off occurrence regarding my account and I do not mean the recent hacking of it. Now my address is fairly generic but that should not matter as I know the address is mine. Yet, six times now I have received email bound for someone else who has given out my address.

All of which appear to be legitimate emails, no spam messages or anything of the sort. One person was ordering Christmas gifts, another trying to sign up for housing at a college and another had given it to a patrol officer. Just one person doing this would have been odd but nothing bizarre, but so far six and counting?

This is a short and sweet post but I still wonder, has this happened to anyone else?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

How to regain your Google account

I recently lost my Google account for a while and everything associated with it. I never realized how ingrained services like gmail and reader were to my daily routine. We put an awful lot of trust in free services that exist in the cloud. Should we? Google, in the end, owes us nothing for these free services and could remove or charge for them at any time.

So what do you do if you lose you access? In my case it was compromised, which makes the situation even worse. Everyone on my contact list received an email that I had taken an impromptu vacation to England and had been mugged. The email had a repeat paragraph and was so otherwise poorly written that I had little worry anyone would actually believe it.

Google provides a few ways to get back into your account if it has been taken from you or you simply forgot your password:
  1. You can have your password sent to another email address you specify inside of your Google account. If you have NOT done this yet you need to do so immediately. It is not done through gmail itself. There is also an option to set a security question and your cell phone number so that a code can be sent via SMS. To access your Google Account click here.
  2. If the above does not work, and likely if the account has been compromised it will not, there is the password recovery form option. This will ask you a series of questions about your account. To access the automated password recovery form, click here.
The scary thing here is if both of the above options fail then you are out of luck. There is no one to call and no one to email directly.

If you feel a little more secure about regaining your account if you lose it be sure to keep track of the following things:
  1. The email addresses of the top five people that you send email to.
  2. Five of the folder/labels that you have created inside of the web interface if any.
  3. The date that you signed up for gmail
  4. If you use other services such as blogger, docs or reader it can help to know when, at least approximately, that you signed up for those services.
The addresses and folder/label information is especially important. I was unable to get my account back until I remembered some of the folder/label names that I had in my account.

Lastly, when you are logged into gmail at the bottom of the screen there is a line which shows the current accesses to your account. If you click on detail you can see all the recent connections.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Tablet Craze

It seems as of late that everyone is rushing to get a tablet computer out to market. This has been tried before and never really went anywhere. There has been talk regarding the mythical Apple tablet for a very long time now, despite there being no solid evidence there even working on one. Well despite the maker, or the operating system it contains, I cannot help but feel that they are not going to catch on in any significant way.

Given the price for a tablet, especially from Apple, that will have enough punch be worthwhile why not just get a laptop? Now there are circumstances where a tablet would be nice, sort of a like a coffee table computer for the masses with more practical uses for some industries. For the average user, given the cost of these units, it would make more sense to get a small laptop in the 13" variety. Yes, they will lack the touch screen but likely have more power to play with.

In regards to Apple am I the only one that it feels they may have been forced into this market? The device is going to underwhelm no matter what no considering the extensive hype. It is going to be expensive and that again brings me back to my solution... buy a laptop.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Chrome OS Impressions

Like much of the tech community when Google comes up with something new, I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I got into "Google Wave" and while I see the vast potential, I have not yet found a solution for it to solve. Now, we have "Chrome OS" which is garnering a lot of attention as you can actually download a very early developers build.

There is a lot about Chrome OS to be interested in and there is also a lot that makes me want to shrug my shoulders and move on. First and foremost, I do not consider this to be an OS, at least not in the traditional sense. If you are interested in installing numerous applications, working offline from the hard drive or many other common traits of a standard computer, then "Chrome OS" will not be for you. However, if you are constantly wired and want a netbook that boots in an instant and give you a window to the cloud it may be the best yet? Possibly. Given that the "OS" will be limited to machines with solid state drives its speed will surely be something to see.

"Chrome OS" will fill a very niche market. I do not believe claims that it will cut into Microsoft's business... at all. I have also not been a fan of the marketing of the netbook to begin with. The devices are very good for very specific purposes. Yet I hear of many ill informed or ill advised people buying them not knowing of their limitations. Many of us on-line are what I hear refereed to often as "inside baseball" whereas we know the ins and outs of the industry. The "Chrome OS" means something to us but to the majority of other people it will not.

Now, admittedly it is still very early on in the development of "Chrome OS" and the versions that you can find on-line now are primitive at best. I would like to point out that you should be VERY careful on where you get your build of "Chrome OS"... very, very careful. Otherwise all you are doing is downloading something that will steal your private data.

The great site GDGT has posted a VMWare image of the OS which you can download by clicking here.

Monday, November 9, 2009

The EA Way of Things

Living and working near Downtown Vancouver I regularly walked past by the large EA sign. This was the home to such popular EA titles as the "Need for Speed"series. Recently, EA shut that office down and moved the team to its Burnaby based studio.

I came across an article on which went into detail about the move as well as 1,500 people across Canada who would soon be losing their jobs. I found one particular quote rather interesting int he article:

"EA said the restructuring is being done in a tough market for game sales as a result of the recession. It plans to focus on higher-profit products."

Is anyone else just a little tired of hearing everything blamed on the recession? It has become the default catch all to justify just about anything. Well, perhaps, they are right in that the recession finally has shown people that paying $69 for a new title in Canada is simply to much.

I am a fan of EA's "NHL" series, but I only buy the titles perhaps once every three years. The studio pumps out these updates, year after year with what account to minor updates and want to charge the full $69 (or equivalent of it at the time) for it. If the updates were more reasonable, taking that into account, myself and others would buy them every year.

How many people buy brand new games anymore? I rarely do. When a title comes out I am interested in I may rent it to see if I like it. If I do I wait for the title to drop in price in the pre-owned section of the store to at least $40 and then pick it up.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Google Chrome

I use a few Google products like everyone else. All of my personal mail is done through Gmail and I love using Google Reader to keep up to date. Just about the only Google product I take issue with is Chrome.

Now, while I use a lot of other Google products many of them share the same downside as Chrome. That is that they appear to be in a constantly unfinished state. Yes Chrome is fast, really, really fast... there is no disputing that. However, when you look at the options, the near complete lack of any polish in certain areas, it makes me wonder. I mean the browser is supposedly being released in Beta soon and there is ZERO ability to work with bookmarks???

It should be obvious from all of my posts here that I am a Mac user at home. Chrome, despite being in a "finished" version for Windows is STILL not officially released for Mac. There is no reason for it.

Anyway, back to the whole polish issue. Say what you will, Chrome will not gain the same sort of market share that Firefox and IE has until someone fixes it. I do not mean this to be insulting but people like shiny things when it comes to software. Us geeks will continue use Chrome despite its lack of glitz as we are more concerned with functionality.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

So many Apps

I was reading the other day that the App Store for the iPhone reached the 100,000 mark and it got me thinking. Out of those 100,00,0 how many are actually useful? How many get only a very small handful of downloads? After all if you look through the catalog to any great length there are thousands and thousands of apps which are barely distinguishable from one another.

Yes there are some up and coming software companies which have done very well with the iPhone but how many exactly? Getting your application noticed in the sea of 100,000 can not be an easy task unless you have a secondary way to promote it.

After all I think many people, if not most people, find applications by accident, word of mouth or the Apple commercials themselves. Searching the store is not an easy task and while the Genius method added in 3.1 was a step in the right direction, more needs to be done.

How do you all find your hidden treasure applications?