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Google Calendar April 21, 2006

Posted by Sean in Google.
3 comments

Google just never ceased to impress me with their products. Google Maps/Earth was and is very very impressive. Google Desktop is so awesome and it makes searching so much easier. It beats the heck out of Outlook search. I use Google Personalized as my homepage. When Gmail first came out, my co-worker and I discussed about how a calendar would be useful. Google Calendar is way beyond my expectation of what an email calendar should be. Yahoo's www.upcoming.org and EVDB www.eventful.com should keep an eye on Google Calendar development. This could be the beginning to an end for Evite if Evite doesn't evolve with the trend.

As usual, the user interface is awesome! With AJAX, the site is fast and responsive. The user can see any changes immediate. It is really easy to import from other Calendar (iCal, Outlook, etc.). Google Calender events can be view by other applications such as iCal or XML feed. There are public calendars created specific to each country so the user can easily add all the major holidays. Each event is classified as public or private. Public are events can be view by everyone and private can only be view by you and people you share it with. The user can define what rights each shared user has. Google Calendar also integrate with Google Maps by automatically creating a link to the location that the user has entered. Google Calendar also offer an invite list for events with the option to comment on events. The current policy is a user can send invite to any user as long as the email address is known. However, the invitee doesn't have to view the event on his/her calendar by selecting a toggle not to see the invitations. Another great product from Google and another happy Google user.

Eponym Blog Review April 19, 2006

Posted by Sean in Web blogs.
1 comment so far

I stumbled upon Eponym Blog via Google AdSense. Eponym is a fairly new blog service that has a very familiar look and feel. The homepage's UI has a similar look and feel of Blogger (including the 1,2,3 steps) and the user admin UI has a similar look and feel of WordPress. Eponym feels like a fusion of Blogger and WordPress with a pay for more services model like LiveJournal. One feature that sets Eponym apart from other free blog services is the photo gallery functionality with the free account. The free account provide the user with 10MB of storage and 100MB per month of bandwidth. However, the bandwidth limitation is not enforced at this time but Eponym has announced it will soon strictly enforced the bandwidth limitation. The free account also come with text ads. There are various price package options for an upgraded account. An upgraded account essentially provide users more storage space, bandwidth, custom URL, and no ads. One annoying thing about Eponym is the site constantly prompt for user authentication everytime one visit a blog page. Here are some of the things that make Eponym unique.

  • Subscribers option which notify "subscribers" of the subscribed blog new posts.
  • Allow pictures upload
  • Good template system
  • Template system provide high level of control with HTML modification to the template
  • Post via email
  • Allow content access control base on users and host IP address
  • Site stats but not available at the time the blog is created

Bloglines Review April 13, 2006

Posted by Sean in Web blogs.
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Bloglines is an interesting service that provide users with an alternative to RSS reader. Bloglines is a "news aggregator" that does not require installing an external application. Here are some of the services that Bloglines offer.

  • Subscription to any site that supports feed (i.e. RSS)
  • Search for blogs and information indexed by Bloglines
  • Email service
  • Simple blogging functionality
  • Clipping which is a different way to organize bookmarks

Bloglines allow users to read various feeds with the web browser and creating an account with Bloglines. No more hassle with figuring out which reader to download. Definitely a great alternative to RSS reader and a great way to organize web link "favorites".

LiveJournal Review April 12, 2006

Posted by Sean in Web blogs.
2 comments

LiveJournal allow the user to create a free or paid account. The paid account costs about $3.00 or less per month depending on your billing cycle. The longer the billing cycle the cheaper the monthly fee. Here is the list of additional benefits for a paid account http://www.livejournal.com/support/faqbrowse.bml?faqid=131&view=full. The user interface is cluttered and somewhat difficult to navigate. LiveJournal focuses on the social networking like myspace or xanga. Here are some of the services that Live Journal offers:

  • Template based system with minimal customization
  • Social networking
  • Client application to post without using a browser
  • Photo storage (integrated to LJ with a paid account)
  • Text message LJ users
  • Audio/voice post
  • Post via email (with a paid account)

LiveJournal is trying to utilize the different services offer by xanga, thefacebook, myspace, and flickr and integrated it into a single service of LiveJournal with some of the services only available with a paid account. LiveJournal lacks a unique identity and it shows a lack of focus from the UI interface to the different services offered.

Parents just don’t understand April 11, 2006

Posted by Sean in Daily Dosage.
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What is the deal with parents not treating their grown-up kids as adults?! My parents came to visit over the weekend and they still treat me as if I was living in their house. Everytime we get out of the car, they would make sure that I've locked the car. They told me that I shouldn't be buying new furniture or buy certain things. One of the trash bags wasn't even full and they took it outself the door for me to take out to the dumpster. Some parents could never realized that their child is all grown up and my parents are part of the parental group. I wonder if parents can't do it because it's their parental nature or if parents want to feel important in their children's lives.

The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach… April 9, 2006

Posted by Sean in Daily Dosage.
2 comments

Quality Dinner Quality Dinner Thursday Dinner Iron Chef Sharon

To paraphrase a female co-worker, a way to a man's heart is through his stomach and any woman who does not believe that is in denial. I don't know if I totally agree with that but food is one of the ways to get to a man's heart. Another is through his penis.

I haven't been able to come and have dinner with Sharon on Wednesday for awhile since she started studying for the GMAT. She finally took her GMAT at the end of March! Last Wednesday was a first time in a long that I had a chance to have dinner with her. She sure know how to make it special. Check out the pictures of the meal. I hope this continues. To also paraphrase the same co-worker, now that I'm married I don't make the same food I used to make for my husband. I'm certain that this will not last for long and I'll enjoy it while it lasts.

Blogspot vs WordPress.com April 8, 2006

Posted by Sean in Web blogs.
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I've signed up for Blogspot some time ago but have never use it. I've decided to check it out recently to compare it to WordPress since many people I know use Blogspot. Blogspot is formerly known as Blogger before Google bought them out in 2002. Like any Google product, it's quite easy to use. After creating an account, Blogspot takes the user through a wizard for user information input and allow the user to choose a template for the blog look and feel. Once that is done, the user can start blogging. Here is how I rate Blogspot vs WordPress.

Advantage vs WordPress

  • Allow HTML update to template (also a disadvantage)
  • Integrated AdSense (WordPress does not support AdSense)
  • Audio post by telephone
  • Easy to add new blog accounts with a single user login
  • Post blogs via email

Disadvantage vs WordPress

  • Template update require HTML knowledge. No GUI template configuration
  • All changes must be published
  • Limited template available
  • Templates are not dynamic
  • No page statistics
  • No search engine submission
  • No calendar display

Neutral

  • Blogspot allow user to upload an image to user profile

Overall, I prefer WordPress because of Word Press ease of use and dynamic content control. WordPress has much better looking templates with dynamic content control. However, Blogspot audio blog and post via email are very cool options.

Blogging tools April 7, 2006

Posted by Sean in Web blogs.
1 comment so far

I started looking at blogging tool from the server side briefly last Christmas break. My break/vacation is the time when I do a lot of reading on the web. From my short research, WordPress seems to fit the need and I've implemented it at work with a help of a co-worker. At work, we are using WordPress in a limited sense so I don't have a good concept of how powerful WordPress is or can be. I recently signed up with Flickr to post images for my for sale posting on CL. I was so impressed with Flickr that I've decided to utilize all of its functionality. One of Flickr's functionality is posting to a blog with images which led me to look into user blogs. I was going to sign up with Blogger, a Google owned company now, but decided to sign up with WordPress thinking that more usernames are available with WordPress. To my surprise WordPress as a user blogging tool is awesome! WordPress is super easy to use and allows many useful configurations that other blogging tools may not allow. I haven't use many blog tools (Xanga, MySpace, Friendster, LiveJournal, etc.) but WordPress may change my perspective. I have looked into the vague concept of Web 2.0 and Flickr and WordPress fits the vague definition. I think Flickr and WordPress use AJAX and overall I'm quite impress with the vague concept of Web 2.0. I'm digressing a little but back to WordPress. I submit a feedback comment and received a real reply within an hour, very impressive! IMHO WordPress is arguably the best blogging tool (server and user) and the quintessential of what Web 2.0 is all about aside from the whole buzzword craze.

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