The Oaks Ignore Their Pleas

Google’s Smartwatch

Posted in Google by Jeff Graves on March 19, 2014

Google’s Smartwatch

Google has fired the first shot vs. Apple in the smartwatch wars, with a pretty interesting application of the card-based paradigm of Google Now.  As Fast Company points out, it’s a very compelling approach, but out of the gate, my first reaction was “Damn, that watch is way too big”.  On my skinny wrists, it’s going to look a little silly, but it will be interesting to see how many people ignore that and take the plunge.  It’s less obtrusive than Google Glass, but it’s hardly a fashion statement.  If Apple does indeed launch a watch, my prediction is that they’ll produce a more fashionable design…at probably twice the price.

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Google Reader, Part II

Posted in Google by Jeff Graves on January 22, 2007

OK, so after a rough start, I finally got going with the Google Reader, and so far, I’m impressed.  It took me a few minutes to get the “lay of the land”, and I’m quite sure that I’ve got a lot to learn about the advanced features, but the product is definitely a “Google product”.  I really like the Ajax-y feel to the product, the way that portions of the screen refresh without that annoying total white screen.  I also really like the “All Items” view, where you get all of your unread entries from all of your feeds in a single window, and the entries are automatically marked “Read” as you scroll past them. 

I also really like the “shortcut” keystrokes that Google has provided to help navigate the torrent of posts that come with subscribing to dozens and dozens of feeds.  The “j/k” combination that allows you to step forward or backward through posts one at a time, and the space bar allows you to page through multiple page posts. 

At this point, I’ve got about 70 feeds that I’m subscribed to, and on an average day I’ve got about 200 posts to review.  This evening, being a weekend, I browsed through about 70 posts in about 40 minutes, while watching the Patriots-Colts game.  While I don’t have any statistics on how long it would take me to do the same on Newsgator, perhaps I’ll try a few unscientific studies this week, and compare the performance of the two tools. 

There’s still a lot I need to learn about the Reader, but so far, I think that the tool definitely makes it easier to sift through the blogs that I’ve subscribed to.  I’ll be sure to report back as things develop.

Tales of Google Reader, Part 1

Posted in blog, Google by Jeff Graves on January 20, 2007

After almost a year relying on Newsgator for my daily fix of blogs, I decided it might be time to try something different.  Since I’ve been pretty happy with the other Google tools that I’ve used (I’m a Google Maps junkie), I thought that I’d give Google Reader a go.  And, given my other experiences with Google tools, I figured that getting set up and using the Reader would be a snap.

Well…not so much.  Which kind of surprises me, and I’m willing to stay open to the possibility that all of this is my fault, and that a more technically savvy individual wouldn’t have this kind of problem.

I started out by taking the tour of Reader on the site – the features looked pretty cool, and I know Robert Scoble raves about Reader’s shortcut features all the time.  So now I’m sold – let’s get feed reading!  The next step, I figured, was to import my blog subscriptions from Newsgator to Reader.  I was encouraged to see a link to directions for doing exactly that right on the Reader Import/Export tab.  All I had to do was create an OPML file from Newsgator, save it on my laptop, and upload it into Google Reader.  Sounds pretty darn easy, right?

Except it wasn’t.  I created the OPML file from Newsgator, and tried to upload it, but got an error message indicating that my OPML file wasn’t formatted properly.  Hmmmm.  OK, maybe I did something wrong, specified the wrong file extension or missed a check box I should have checked.  So I tried it again, paying careful attention to every step along the way.  Still got the same error message.  So I tried to find some help on the Google Reader site, but they directed any inquiries about OPML problems to the downloading feedreader.  So I looked on the Newsgator site, and didn’t find a lot of help there, either.  At this point, I decided maybe it was my old Firefox 1.0 browser that might be the culprit, so I switched over to IE7 and repeated the process.  Unfortunately, I repeated the error, too. 

At this point, I was getting more than a bit frustrated.  This operation didn’t seem like a real tough one when I started, and I’m sure thousands of people, probably even millions, have done this since Google Reader was released.  So, I started researching OPML itself, to see if I could find any problems in the OPML file that Newsgator generated.  After reading some pretty interesting articles for almost 45 minutes, I realized I was just dodging the problem, so I turned back to the problem at hand.  My last ditch idea was to upgrade my Firefox browser, and see if that made a difference.  So I upgraded to Firefox 2.0, and tried again.  This time, I noted that in the Newsgator help it did recommend choosing Save As “Web page, complete”, which was not an option in Firefox 1.0, but was an option in 2.0.  Presto!  The upgrade did the trick, and Google Reader rewarded me with a message indicating that my feeds had successfully been uploaded.  Excellent!  Success!!

 Except…

It’s been 30 minutes, and the only things that have showed up in my All Items folder are a couple of comments from months ago off of this blog, which I subscribed to.  Maybe it’s just going to take some time for all of the subscriptions to download, but we’ll see…this ain’t over yet, apparently. 

More to come