Why Facebook Users Should Support Google+

Over the past two weeks as I’ve had a chance to play around with Google+ and really had a great experience.  Who knew Google could do social and do it so well?  Guess they learned from the Buzz/Wave disasters and seem to be on to something this time.

Unfortunately probably the most important ingredient to having a great experience with a social network is the ability to find and connect with the people you want to interact with.  As a result, I’ve spent two weeks now struggling to get friends and family to setup their own Google+ accounts and was met with a surprising amount of resistance.   “Why not just stick with Facebook” they ask?  “Where is the value?”   “Where is my Farmville and other games?”  When I stepped back to look at it from the average person’s perspective I can see their point, why should someone bother setting up a Google+ account?

Why Switch From Facebook to Google+?

First and foremost, I need to point out that you don’t need to “switch” to Google+ unless you want to.  Signing up for Google+ doesn’t do or change anything with your Facebook profile so there really is no down side.   Secondly, Facebook needs competition and Google is one of only a couple of companies (if not the only one) who could seriously compete with Facebook.  Competition brings innovation and their are plenty of examples out there of situations where there wasn’t competition and as a result there wasn’t innovation (Internet Explorer 6 jumps to mind).   Besides, the more successful the initial launch of Google+ is, the more likely Google is to continue to place their valuable engineer resources into improving this product and making it a true competitor to Facebook.

Am I pro Google+ or just anti-Facebook? 

This is something I’ve put a lot of thought into over the past two weeks and I’ve come to the conclusion that it is a little bit of both.  I truly love the innovation put into Google+ with the hangouts, circles, and even the sparks feature has some potential.   With that said, I admit to being more scared of where the Internet is heading with the growing dominance of Facebook and I think the internet needs to support a competitor.

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Problems with Apple iPad Applications

Like close to a million others, I was fortunate to be one of those lucky iPad owners on launch day, a device that has changed my life for the better. With that said, however, the transition to the iPad has left me with a lot to be desired, as I suppose you should expect with any first generation device.  Among the biggest of my frustrations is how iPad apps are handled in iTunes and by developers.

Of course in the interest of fairness, this is not specifically a problem with Apple, but instead a problem with how many developers choose to handle their iPad apps.  As an iPhone/iPod Touch owner, I have amassed hundreds of applications over the past 3 years. In the months since the iPad came out, I’ve had to repurchase many of these apps.  That itself isn’t the problem, as I realize that development time and often new graphics are required for the iPad version, but why aren’t all iPad versions universal applications when an iPhone version is available? Because most developers don’t make universal versions of their applications I have to maintain TWO copies in my iTunes and then delete then iPhone version off of my iPad. Making the iPad version universal would solve this problem completely, allowing me to delete the iPhone only version and avoid duplicates on my iPad!!

This problem was present immediately but I had hoped that it would be temporary as developers tried to make a quick buck when the iPad was released. Unfortunately this problem still exists almost three months later and only seems to be getting worse as I struggle to manage applications for two different devices. It would be nice if Apple would mandate or provide an incentive for developers to make universal applications.

Anyone else having similar frustrations with their iPad applications?

Why I Switched to Apple Products

For several years now I’ve felt very close to finally making the jump from Windows over to MAC OS X, but the timing was never right for me. I’m already used to Windows, I use Windows at work, and there is a moderate learning curve in making the switch.  Another big hurdle is that the price is extremely high compared to Windows comparable products so you need to be in a good place financially or have a very strong business need in order to make the jump. 

Roughly a month ago circumstances finally afforded me the opportunity to finally make my jump from my Dell using Windows 7 over to a new iMac which uses Snow Leopard OS X.  The result?  After a few weeks of learning all the ins and outs of the machine I have to say that I wish I’d taken the time to make the switch sooner!

So, what makes it better?  I’ve been pondering this question since I made the switch and it is a very hard thing to pin down.  It really just feels “right” and has to be experienced because it can’t really be described.  Load times are pretty much a thing of the past for me now, as are anti-virus software.  Installing software is easy, the way it should be.  In fact, it is so easy that it leaves you thinking you did something wrong!! 

On the flipside, I’ve found a few pieces of software which I used to rely heavily on which aren’t available, but all crucial software is available for OS X and for the others I’ve found suitable alternatives to meet my needs.  I also think the launch of Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac later this year will have a big impact on my experience. 

In closing, now that I’ve got my iMac I’ve just about completed my conversion to team Apple and I couldn’t be happier. Over the years I’ve collected several iPod Touches, iPhones, an iPad, and now I’ve converted my deskto pover to an iMac. 

Have you been considering making the switch to Apple?  Quit procrastinating and make the jump.  Whether you are technology savvy or new to computers, you’ll be glad you did!!

Why I Fell in Love With My iPad

For several years now, I’ve been an avid iPhone/iPod Touch user.  I lead a mostly digital life these days, whether we are talking about reading digital books, watching movies, and consuming other digital media content.  Much of my income comes from the internet and I also am a gamer, so in many ways these devices have made my life more convenient, and that is invaluable to me.  I can’t count the number of times I wished I simply had a bigger iPhone.

Rumors of the iPad’s impending existance have been abound for many years and not long ago it was confirmed by Apple.  Although excited, I refused to get my hopes up too high until I got a chance to get hands on with the device, which is why I didn’t preorder the iPad.  The week the iPad was released, I went to my local Apple store to give it a try and knew within minutes that this was the device I had been waiting for.  

Although there is a lot of room for improvements already (give me a camera and fix the wifi issues please), the iPad has quickly become my default device when I’m home, allowing me to do everything I can on the iPhone while also allowing me to complete many of my day-to-day functions such as managing my websites.  In the past this was always done on my desktop and/or laptop.  Don’t get me wrong, as the iPad is not a replacement for these devices, but in many ways is the device for all my needs and has fit perfectly into my life. 

With the iPad I can quickly and easily browse the internet, watch all my movies, videos, and TV shows (plus YouTube!), use my Netflix account, manage all of my music, listen to my podcasts, view all of my photos, read my books digitally (which is generally cheaper and reduces storage), and soon I will begin using it to read my Wolverine/X-Men comics as well.  And everything is in one convenient device!  People say the iPad is expensive, but this device is easily worth twice as much to me. Of course, looking at the recently announced sales figures, it seems I am not alone.   Over 1 million people have already purchased an iPad and those numbers are for the United States only and don’t appear to include 3G iPad customers.  If you aren’t sure if an iPad is for you, do yourself a favor and go to your local Apple store and just play with one for a few minutes.  I’ve yet to find anyone who has done so and hasn’t left with one, but at least that way you’ll know whether you need this device or not. 

Lastly I wanted to let potential iPad buyers know that if you already have an iPhone/iPod Touch you probably have a lot of digital media (music, movies, photos, and of course apps).  I’ve found that the iPad fills up VERY fast, so I recommend spending a few extra dollars and get the 64 GB version to make sure you have enough to manage all your social media.

Hate Digging Through Help Manuals? Google it!

This post is just a quick story I wanted to share.  Earlier this week while getting ready to travel to my bi-weekly Poker game I noticed a warning light on in my almost brand new car.   If you own a newer vehicle you may be familiar with the “Your Gas Cap Is Off” warning light.  Well, for some reason that is the warning light I was getting despite having a gas cap that is attached making it almost impossible to be missing.  I pulled over to check my gas cap, but everything was fine.   Just to be sure, I undid it and tightened it again until I heard the click that signifies it being sealed.  Once done, I decided to hit the road.

Much to my surprise, the warning light stayed on, leading me to dread my arrival, which would involve me flipping through a 200 page car manual to see what else the problem could be, or at a minimum, how to turn the light off.   While deep in thought, I had an epiphany when I remembered that Google has indexed about everything else, so why not my car’s manual?

To make the long story short, when I arrived at the Poker game, instead of grabbing my car manual, I grabbed my BlackBerry and did a quick search for the warning name and car’s make and model via Google.   The first five results all had the answer to my problem and it only took a minute or so to find the answer I was looking for!

With the success I found with Googling my car manual, I’ve been contemplating all the other ways Google can save me time with my offline life.  Thank you Google!   My hope is that this post will ultimately help someone else by saving them time as well if they find they are a similar situation.   Had a similar experience where Google saved you time in your offline life?   Leave it in the comments!