If I’d thought about it, I would have realized that Google Translate had to exist. It does exactly what you’d expect from an online translator: type in a phrase and it can be translated into another language; type in a web address and it will present the entire page translated into another language. Try it! It’s fun to see your favorite web site in Turkish or Lithuanian.
Google has been updating it frequently with additional languages until now it’s possible to go back and forth between dozens of languages, including a couple of Chinese variations, Japanese and other Asian languages, Hindi, and some Middle Eastern languages. […] continued
When I joined Facebook, I was asked if Facebook could rummage through my Outlook address book looking for a match with other Facebook users. I politely responded, no, absolutely not, thank you very much, and I thought that was the end of it.
My Facebook page fired up right away, empty except for the suggestions on the side of the page listing Facebook users that I might know. I assumed it would suggest people based on common schools or common employers; since I hadn’t supplied that information to Facebook yet, I didn’t expect to see any familiar names.
Instead there was a group of people who were well-known to me. […] continued
There is an interesting consequence to the development of a global population obsessed by technology: it’s become very difficult to introduce a new service and have sufficient capacity for it to start successfully.
It’s nothing new. Back in 2004 online gaming service Steam crashed repeatedly in the first few days after Half-Life 2 was released. In 2006 Google had to suspend signing up new accounts for its web site hosting service due to heavy demand after it introduced a new web page creator. In 2008 Microsoft underestimated demand for Photosynth, a service for linking photos into three-dimensional reconstructions, and had to limit access to it until things died down. […] continued
If you’re over 35, you will be secretly relieved by David Pogue’s helpful column in today’s New York Times. Bless his heart – he’s written concise, easy-to-understand explanations of the hot social networking services that everybody assumes you understand. (Apparently the Times got an outraged reaction from the Internet literati when it tried to ban the use of the word “tweet” in articles last month. How could anyone not know what that means?)
FACEBOOK This is the biggest social networking service, with almost 500 million members — 22 percent of everyone on the Internet — and it’s growing by 5 percent a month.
I’m going to tell you about a new free service from LogMeIn that will make some of you so happy that you will clap your hands in childish glee.
You already know LogMeIn as the company behind LogMeIn Free and LogMeIn Pro, the best software available for remote connections to an office or home computer – fast, secure, with a sleek, intuitive interface and features that outdo the competition. LogMeIn also powers LogMeIn Rescue, the support software that I use to connect remotely to your computer when I need to look over your shoulder.
The company is testing LogMeIn Express, a new service that will let you share your screen with one person or a small group of people, literally in seconds. […] continued
Google has officially rolled out an update to its search result pages, a three column design that provides search options on the left to help refine and redirect your searches. Spend a few minutes learning about the new features – this is the basic tool that shapes much of your online experience, every day.
I wrote up a short description of the new search options a few months ago. There’s a much more complete description here, with examples of all the different ways that the left column might help you improve your search results. There are three sections on the left:
In the golden glow of hindsight, there was a wonderful time when big companies would do things that were good for their customers because that was likely to be the most profitable choice, and because it was the right thing to do.
Big companies still consider doing good things for their customers – but it’s only one element in their thoughts and can easily be jettisoned if there’s more money to be made from treating customers badly and profiting from the ones who feel locked in or don’t have any reasonable options.
Technology has left everyone feeling a bit adrift. Everyone fears that they don’t have basic skills that other people seem to have mastered – whether it’s finding files on a computer or locating information online, running programs or using handheld devices. Some people are ahead of the curve, some are behind, but almost no one feels confident. It’s hard to step back and realize how much you’ve learned about computers and the Internet in the last ten years.
Here’s an anecdote about a mistake. I don’t mention it to make fun of the people involved. We’re all fighting our way up this learning curve, every day. […] continued
The Wall Street Journal reports today: “Hackers in Europe and China successfully broke into computers at nearly 2,500 companies and government agencies over the last 18 months in a coordinated global attack that exposed vast amounts of personal and corporate secrets to theft, according to a computer-security company that discovered the breach.”
This is apparently not related to the attacks from China that caused Google to make noises last month about closing its operations in that country. In fact, the New York Times calmly notes that this is a relatively small blip in the world of compromised computers and botnets. The Conficker botnet reached its peak at 15 million computers and continues to contaminate more than 7 million systems globally. […] continued
Live Mesh is Microsoft’s program for syncing folders between multiple computers and online storage, making your files available to you wherever you are.
I think Live Mesh is dead, and I think I know why: Microsoft is deliberately cutting back on what it could have delivered to protect the revenue it wants from Office 2010.
Live Mesh was built on promising technology and it fulfills part of its promise: once it’s set up, it syncs files accurately and quietly.
Its quirks were easy to overlook – for a while. Two examples: