Android Instant Upload to Google(plus)

I created a Google+ account last week, in order to kick the tires a bit. I am going to hold off on a full review until I get some circles going, test the group video chat functions, etc.

I do want to mention one puzzling feature that Google has built into this thing.

Instant upload.

I don’t get it.

google plus instant upload

plus one google plus

This makes for super easy uploading of images to your profile. Android phone…cellular radio connection…there you go. This app will run a cron job to dump your photos to your Google plus profile. The default setting is to allow this when you set up the Google+ Android app, with all new photos dumped to a private (non-shared) folder on your G+ account.

I opened up my settings and let this one rip.

webcam shot to google plus via android

plus one intrusive

It took about 20 seconds for that picture to show up in my private folder. Cool implementation, but pretty impractical.

Issues I have with this:

* Increased data usage. Especially as unlimited plans are goners.
* Battery nukage. One more thing to kill -9.
* Location data. Real time seeding a DB with your lat/long.
* Duplicate media. Primarily for deletions…two is worse than one.
* Neccessary? USB cord…bluetooth…MMS…physical media…email…

Suffice to say, I will have this ‘feature’ disabled. Stay tuned for the full review, and holler if you would like an invite.

Ubuntu Natty Narwhal Features

I’ve had some time to poke around under the hood of Ubuntu 11.04, a.k.a. Natty Narwhal. I still am struggling to spell ‘narwhal’ for the record, but I’ll share some of my first thoughts. After all, sharing is caring. Write that down.

I’ll put the most obvious thing on the table first…they Apple-ed the crap out of this distro. Take a look at this screen shot, and tell me it doesn’t look an awful lot like OSX, with the bottom ‘stuff’ dumped on the left-hand side: (click to enlarge)

natty narwhal

thanks mr. narhwal

The good news is that like Leopard, Narwhal is usable. The same cannot be said for Ubuntu’s first foray into this new territory with Unity. Their last attempt was in 10.10 Netbook Edition, which was horrible to say the least. The UI was attempting to mix desktop features with mobile phone-like buttons, and it was a joke. Pretty much junk…I reverted my Mini 9 to the 10.10 Desktop Edition, and jumped back on the Gnome bandwagon. Well, to their credit, Ubuntu has polished the thing up.

From what I can gather, Unity sits over Compiz…sort of like a plugin. I snagged the Compiz configuration tool via a CLI and messed around with the settings. The snap-to-side function that came stock with this was a pain in my ass, so I reverted it to my beloved ‘wobble windows’ It was sort of odd to have the options bar integrated with the top bar at first, but when I change gears and use multiple windows, I am liking the move.

The window switcher function pans out and shows you four workspaces…see below (click to enlarge)

window switcher ubuntu

window switcher is switchy

So basically, I am writing this post in one area, have Eclipse up in another, and have two CLI sessions live in their own spots. With the integrated file bar, the Gimp is far less cluttered…which is awesome. The taskbar slider function is a bit spotty still. I have taken Compiz down running my Arduino IDE (trying to set a temp file up as a taskbar item…it puked) but now have it configured and snappy. I would chalk that up to a training issue, rather than a show stopper.

At the end of the day, I give it a surprisingly positive review. I was very satisfied with the last few long term support versions of Ubuntu, and hesitant to make the switch after the whole fiasco with Unity last time. You can switch back to Gnome, but I have no plans on doing so.

Pros:
* Linux distro. Give me terminal or give me death.
* Firefox 4. Much improved.
* Update manager. Keeps me current without much hassle.
* Interesting UI. Make sure you download the Compiz manager to tweak things.
* Free.99. Can’t beat the price

Cons:
* Ubuntu’s slant. Not bad, but they are steering us toward their cloud services and apps.
* Not Linux-y. Feels like a Win7/OSX hybrid at times.
* Rushed to market. Unity is in need of some refinement.

At the end of the day, I am sticking with this distro. It will only improve. When the new Gnome drops, I’ll make the call as where to head, but this is it for the time being.

PS3 Slim Hands-On: Browser

Instead of doing one gigantic review, I’m going to tackle a review of my new nerd toy piecemeal…up first: the browser.

slim, sexy, clunky

Slim, Sexy, and Somewhat Clunky

    The good:

🙂 Setup was effortless. No issues getting my wireless connection up and running.
🙂 Speedier than Opera on my Wii. Page loads are fast…no issue with Java.
🙂 Pandora support! Pretty much rules. Sounds great; no lag.

    The bad:

🙁 Screen navigation clunky. Dual analog controls are definately not ideal, but the zoom and scroll feature leaves much to be desired
🙁 Clumbsy menu structure. Address entry is a chore.

    The fugly:

😡 On-screen keyboard is a fucking joke. No excuse for this, whatsoever.
😡 Multiple browser window function. Audio dies when window is not in the foreground. Why?

All-in-all…not a netbook replacement for the couch. Yet. This might be a more viable option with the addition of a wireless keyboard, but until the window configuration is improved, I’ll have my Mini 9 on the davenport. Sony dropped the ball on the browser…seems like a little bit of market research would have made the PS3 a serious alternative to the quickly expanding netbook market.

In related news…sources are reporting that a new Zelda game for Wii is on the horizon in 2010. Looks like I’m still a Wii guy.

Storm 2 /vs/ Droid

I’ve been a BlackBerry fanboi for quite a while. With my Pearl nearing the end of it’s life…the question becomes Sexxy Storm…

storm

Or Dirty Droid
droid

I originally assumed it would be a no-brain victory for the Storm 2 and it’s improved function over Gen 1. Since I don’t use BB Messenger, I have lately been thinking the the $199 Droid might be the way to go. I have put my RIM phones through hell in the past, and definitely like that aspect over anything I have seen from Motorola. I basically just need something with a good enough OS to not lock up Pandora and Opera Mini…not sure that the Droid is what I totally need right now.

Vote: If I was making the move today…it would be for the Storm. Not a big fan of the Google team right now, and RIM has been very good to me.