Sunday 23 January 2011

Google: Eric Schmidt to step down as CEO; Larry Page (co-founder) to replace him

[Post published by Liviu on Liviu's [Computer Science] Blog]

Noooooo.. What did I say? Noooooo...

Indeed, Eric Schmidt is to step down as CEO in April 2011... I've just stumbled on an article on TechCrunch [article] and said to myself: What? Is this true? Wtf?

Searched a bit inside the The Official Google Blog and what do you know? - it IS true [Google Blog: post]

Hey, it's even on Twitter [post] :)) Eric on Twitter - that's such a great joke given some of his speeches / interviews / key notes... Wait, Eric Schmidt has a twitter channel? [channel] Funny, I've heard him many times mocking Twitter. A ha ha :)) What next? He'll become an active Facebook user? :))

All in all, my personal opinion (published on my computer science blog [1]) is that Google has become what it is today due to Eric's skill as a leader - I've watched may presentations and/or interviews of him in the last 2+ years and I'm impressed by his skill and intelligence.

I see his leadership and management style [2] to have been and still be the force which manages Larry, Sergey and developers' energy, ideas and desires to aim sky high. He took the company from a 200-employees start-up and developed it into a super power - indeed, he had brilliant developers to work with, constantly hired new brilliant developers, empowered innovation etc. - I see all these as big pluses.

I regret Eric Schmidt is leaving [4], but am also curious on Larry Page's [3] leadership impact on the innovation pattern of the company. Thanks Eric, good luck Larry!

Wait, April 4th they said? That must be wrong - I surely hope they meant April 1st :)) Really!

A great funny comment on TechCrunch - I removed the Caps and some words, while inserting a couple new words to make it funnier:
  • Apple: wowowow, omg billions billions billions. Increase of X, increase of Y, omg Apple is blowing people out of the water. Buy, buy, buy!... oh and CEO is taking medical leave and leaving the company in the hands of a longtime business partner that nobody has heard of since... wait, what's the other Steve's name?... 
  • Google: earnings are quite good, but...that's just secondary... omg the CEO is stepping down and leaving the company in the hands of one of its co-founders, also his 10-years business partner and actively working at Google’s day-to-day operations, and omg the world is so going to end. Sell, sell, sell!

In the news

Guardian's take on the subject [Guardian: article]

Ok, they talk again about spam in search results... Have they tried Bing? It's worse :))
Are they idiots? All they see is search and Android as successes? Well, there's also
  1. GMail - btw, the anti-spam service is great; really, try Yahoo, Hotmail etc. and then tell me your opinion
  2. Calendar
  3. Reader
  4. Translate - I wish I had this when studying French in highschool :)) Oh, yeah, that would've been awesome.
  5. Docs
  6. Maps
  7. YouTube (they bought it, yes, but improved it a lot)
  8. Picasa
  9. Analytics (bought it, but improved it a lot)
  10. Blogger (bought it, but improved it a lot)
  11. Google Apps - Hey, I run both my domains on Apps and I'm grateful for the free service
plus there are some I never tried, but seem great given the demos during Eric's speeches and/or separate presentations/demos:
  1. Goggles
  2. Voice search
  3. Voice real time translation
  4. Google App Engine
and the 2 lists could go on...

Why does Guardian say that? Because the new hype is social. Oh gi'me a break!
Social is and will be cool.
Social is and will be a great feature of the future development of Internet, indeed.
However, ignoring all other aspects of our lives looks stupid to me.

The Guardian: Such a laissez-faire attitude won't work once you get bigger, as the Buzz example shows. - Congrats Guardian for killing the innovation spirit. We appreciate it! Hey, grow up, failure is part of life; one has to try multiple times in order to get it right!
I, for one, surely hope Google to keep & improve this laissez-faire attitude in order to deliver more great & free products/services!

[1] That's a subtle joke, since I have 2 blogs: one treats my personal (but not too personal) life, and the other one treats computer science-related topics. Now you get it? A personal opinion on the computer science blog :)

[2] Hey, Eric Schmidt had successfully lead big projects and/or companies before - [Eric's bio at Google; Wikipedia: Eric Schmidt]

[3] Side note: Hey I never noticed that PageRank [Wikipedia: PageRank Algorithm] is called after Larry Page - I've always interpreted page as page [M-W: page] - always analyzed how things worked, but rarely paid attention to where the naming comes from. I can barely stop laughing now.

[4] Am I too old to accept the replacement of people I admire?  Have I grown too old already not to take a huge leap towards innovation?

Sunday 31 October 2010

MacBook Air & iLife '11 & Mac OS X 10.7 Lion [News]

[Post published by Liviu on Liviu's [Computer Science] Blog]

Did you know that Apple launched the new MacBook Air [Apple section on MacBook Air]? I only found out recently. It looks slimmer [design], has some nice features [features] and specifications [specifications].

I've watched the short video [Apple] and the ad [Apple] for the new MacBook Air - nice.

Steve Jobs' et. al. 90 minutes keynote-on-everything [Apple] crashes Firefox 3.6.12; Safari 5.0.2 plays it, but there are no controls, i.e. there's no way to skip ahead or go back to some point of the video or the stop/pause options hardly work. Wtf? Did anyone watch this in the browser? Could this be happening due my slow Internet connection?

Solution: I finally downloaded the .m4v file [Apple link] of the keynote - it works perfectly. If interested there's also a RSS with all Apple keynotes [Apple RSS].

Opinions/Comments on:
  • iLife '11:
    • iPhoto - bla bla, whatever
    • iMovie - nice; I already like iMovie '08; the latest should obviously be better
    • GarageBand - looks nice; only played a little bit with '08, but I should play more
  • FaceTime: ok, may look nice, but I still like it in-the-browser like GTalk or the standalone Skype; probably Android devices will get some GTalk-like capabilities, I don't know
  • Mac OS X 10.7 Lion: looks nice, pretty cool (App Store, Mission Control)
  • The new MacBook Air: starts at 1:12:00; quite nice, see below. I expected more details (i.e. more bragging like amazing-awesome-beautiful) on this puppy.

The funny summary [YouTube] of this keynote - indeed, a great-nice-beautiful-amazing-phenomenal-awesome summary. You'll laugh quite a lot. [reached there via LifeHacker]

The New MacBook Air

Pro: Solid State Storage

It was about time computers gave up hard disks, which have mechanical parts therefore break too often. It is the time now also because flash memory offers an affordable price & high storage capacity.
N.B.: Affordable does not mean cheap, but cheap enough for some to buy. 1-2 years from now it shall be cheap enough for everyone to buy. Great!

Pro: multi touch with many fingers in many ways [Features - the pictures at the bottom of the screen: 2 series of 5 pictures]

Con: 13 inch screen

I still like MacBook Pro's 15 or 17 inch screen [Apple]. Maybe I'm just an old fashion guy, I don't know, but I like a big screen.

Con: No CD/DVD drive in the Air generation

Never liked that missing. However, I must say Apple does a pretty stupid job with that SuperDrive anyway, i.e. the native API of MacBook Pro does not allow one to read/write a multisession CD/DVD [1] etc. - yes, Windows's Nero [official site] is one killer app that makes a Windows PC much better than any Mac OS X MacBook Pro. So, there's not much to miss about Apple's (lack of) support of CD/DVD - on one way, it's better they have removed the SuperDrive.

Specifications [specs] - CD/DVD sharing: Without a built-in optical drive, how do you install new applications? Simply use DVD or CD Sharing. This convenient feature of Mac OS X lets you wirelessly “borrow” the optical drive of a nearby Mac or PC. So you can install applications from a DVD or CD and have full access to an optical drive without having to carry one around.

Installing a fresh OS works too, but there seem to be some hiccups [article]. Anyway, Air looks nice, i.e. it is a beautiful-great et. al. product :))

[1] Ok, you can write a multisession DVD only in Apple's special-whatever-way, or read a multisession CD/DVD if it has been written on PC in UDF format. PC Joilet - no way, not with MacBook Pro at least. I still throw bad words (and grow white hair) for that at Apple and praise Windows. And Apple calls the unit SuperDrive - oh, spare me! I'd rather call it ShitDrive! No joke on that.

Thursday 15 July 2010

Google Buzz - get it out of my inbox

[Post published by Liviu on Liviu's [Computer Science] Blog]

Like most Google Buzz (launch event video) users I've been buzzing around, i.e. sharing stuff and commenting with my friends. It was and still is quite fun but there's a problem.

Problem 1 (P1)

Google Buzz notifications appear in inbox, making the inbox unpleasantly crowded with useless details.
Note: Friends' comments through Buzz are useful, but not in my inbox! When Buzz comments get into my inbox, they become annoying and useless.

Solution to P1

Go to GMail > Settings > Buzz > Buzz in your inbox and uncheck all those 3 boxes. That's it.

Problem 2 (P2)

When my friends comment in Google Reader, the comment appears both in Google Reader and Google Buzz. It's unpleasant to read it in Buzz, but not be considered as read in Reader.

Solution to P2

I don't know yet.

Sunday 11 July 2010

GMail - Has someone hijacked your gmail account and is now sending emails on your behalf?

[Post published by Liviu on Liviu's [Computer Science] Blog]


What if a malicious hacker/spammer has hijacked your gmail account and is now sending emails on your behalf? Besides privacy violation, your account will also get marked as spammer and all your e-mails will get in the spam folder of your recipients.


If they have also changed your password, then you have a problem which I do not know how to solve - technically you need to contact GMail administrators. Good luck!

For the rest of the post I'll consider the case in which you still have access to your account, i.e. the password has remained the same:
  1. Make sure your account has really been hijacked.
    Read thoroughly the Google Help page explaining what to do when Someone is sending from my address - also click on each of the 3 links at the end.
  2. If you can confirm spam has been sent through your gmail account, then the useful link is My Contacts say I sent spam to them, or I found suspicious access to my account.
    Report it to Google
Otherwise, just to keep yourself safe, make sure you set your browser's connection to always be https. For example, looking at my account's settings I noticed it had none of the always use https and don't always use https options set, which I suspect to be because it's a very old account; my friends' old accounts were the same.

Hope this helped you in case you were in trouble.

Friday 4 June 2010

Flash - my opinion: Adobe shall have to reinvent Flash in order to save it

[Post published by Liviu on Liviu's [Computer Science] Blog]

This post is about Flash - my opinion:

There's an entire discussion on whether to support or not Flash. Google (at I/O 2010 for example) picks on Apple for not supporting Flash... well, I'd say Apple announced this too early, just that. If Apple had only waited some 1-2 years, it would have been ok.
Oh, and they can't just ignore Flash when launching something [ugly, useless, expensive] like the... iPad.
Why was it only later that Steve Jobs provided a full reasoning?

I must admit that Eric Schmidt is kind of evil in the Google I/O 2010: Google TV Keynote, Day 2 - CEO Partner Panel - we all know that HTML 5 will kind of make Flash obsolete. If you've read my 2009 I/O post, you've probably watched the I/O 2009 Day 1 Keynote which talks about offering pixel level control in-the-browser... right? (Anyway, start watching again at 18:31)

Also, in last year's keynote - this is going to be SO FUN!...

Skip to 19:08 and listen the reasoning with respect to the Canvas... [...] just use silverlight, vml or flash... but what if we wanted something that was part of the open and transparent internet that we know and love? Now, is it just me hearing this or has Mr. Gundrotta just said Flash was not open and transparent in 2009? :))

19:48 - drawing and animation APIs with pixel level control.
Now, what will Flash be used for? I don't know.

You can stop at 29:50.

Hey, watch another demo of in-the-browser capabilities - nothing fancy, just...
The Quake II GWT port brings the 3d gaming experience of Quake II to the browser. 
And the video...
Cool? I'd say yes.


Now, tell me, what shall we need Flash for?
I don't know. Not now. Maybe later I can come up with some ideas.

I say that Adobe shall have to reinvent Flash in order to save it. Until then, it must be supported - Apple should have supported it, and Google is [almost] right when picking on Apple. However, if Google supports Flash now and ensures that Flash shall not be reinvented... :D... then Flash shall disappear in the next 2 years...
I still wonder on whose side Google is...