Category Archives: Gadgets

Google Photo US only features

Google often launch applications that are US only for some reason or the other. Why the Google Photo feature grouping similar faces together is a US only feature I’m not sure, but I assume it’s related to the fact it’s done server side.

If you would like enable the these two features then Techaeris has written about how to enable Group Similar Faces and the new People Naming and Merge features

Google Calendar Birthdays – again

Two months ago I wrote a post about the Google Calendar Birthdays and my annoyance with Google pollution og G+ everywhere and their annoyingly bad address books.

1. Google slits G+ into photo and streams

2. Google comes out with a new contact list.

3. Google Calender now has a setting to ignore google plus birthdays

google-birthdays

.. and this both the web and on android.

Ok, I’m sure my annoyances are not unique to me – but thank you Google for listening for once.

Netgear R7500

My home wifi was in a need of an upgrade. My old Netgear N300 was great at the time it was new, but other has surpassed it in performance and functionality and it seemed somehow misbehave in my network. I had the feeling that if large amount of data was send via wifi it would end up get constipation, which certainly is annoying for routers as well as people.

So my network has been upgraded with a new cousin, the 7500.
header-r7500-hero-photo-large
The 7500 does not disappoint on the speed side. It’s certainly a great improvement.
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Google Calendar Birthdays

I use Gmail for my mail needs and they do a very good job at making things useful, but two things they are pretty bad at (actually 3).

1. Google’s address book is pretty bad compared to most other things they have. It’s at least a decade behind in smart and finesse, but since I dot need add and remove people here daily I live with it.

2. The Calender is a part of Google mail and works ok, but they have this annoying bug. They have decided that they know better which birthdays I want on my calender than I do. I somehow can’t get it – I like the idea of smart-you-name-it but mostly it needs training. Maybe I don’t like birthdays because I’m born the 29th of February (you never know). There got to be an option for “that”.

The third thing Google is pretty bad at is G+ – nothing wrong with G+ on it’s own accounts – but in the early days they polluted address book completely with G+ people I follow. It took me hours to clean up. They are btw still there (which annoys me) but they seems to stay out of the way for the most cases. The same for the birthdays above – the G+ people are really my problem. I don’t have a connection with these people to the level that my calender need to be infected with them. Now if I could delete them (mark then as ignored) I would invest the time in doing so – Gmail and Google Calender is free after all.

So while I’m no G+ hater like Brenden Mulligan who find a way out and wrote about how to remove birthdays from Google Calender I do see the evil side of Google shining through.

Google cast for audio

Back in September 2013 I was in the US for work and got myself a Chromecast dongle. You know this neat little thing that sits behind the TV and let you watch internet content on the TV. Way better than the “smart” TV features and I really appreciate using it to watch thing on the big screen.

chromecast

Today Google announced Google Cast for Audio and I’m really happy that Google is not abandoning like they have done with Google TV and Nexus Q. On the other hand the Chromecast concept is a typical Google product – two years down the road it’s still not a full complete product. It’s slow in starting up. It’s often loosing the network and I regularly need to give it first aid by rebooting it or the computer I use for casting from. Sometimes it work like charm and other times it’s stuttering like an old Ford T.
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SpotVPS

I have now for a few years had a VPS at SpotVPS and while I have a few issue here and there with the vps reboots, their service is second to none. You post a question in their ticket system and they respond faster than you can even imagine. They always resolve any issue right away, no hassle. Kudos to them.

If you need a VPS, go give them a try …

Chrome Cast via Chrome

I got this awesome chromecast thing (picked it up at bestbuy) and wanted to re-broadcast shows to my tv, which I otherwise would watch on the laptop or by connecting the laptop via an hdmi cable.

It works, and the idea is really great. Looks like youtube works really well, but that was not the idea. Re-broadcasting via the laptop sometimes result in a bit sluggish video and blurred pictures. Granted it works, but it is not as good as using the hdmi cable.

My first thought was, well chromecast is over wify – mybe my connbection, but I strongly doubt it as if the a laptop is on the ethernet connection it is exactly the same. So I still like the little dongle, but I’m not sure I will use it much .. I wish it was better in this respect.

Mobile Data in Italy

We went on a trip to Italy this summer, and the one thing we were wondering was how to have mobile data access while there. It’s not that we are big consumers of data features “out and about”, but maps sure is cool and the occasional mail or even Facebook posting while on the go is always nice.

While roaming, and data roaming, as gotten less expensive over the years, it’s till no match to getting a prepaid card. We got a 10 EUR Wind GSM card with 5 EUR usage and a refill of another 10 EUR – a grand of total 20 EUR, but only due to the refill minimum being 10 EUR as we only needed to fill one EUR to get the 2GB data .. They may have cheated me for 9 EUR, but 20 EUR is still cheap.

The only catch (imho) is that you can not get this before arriving. Find any large mall or similar (MediaWorld) which has a Wind representative and they probably can speak English and help you (I had friendly service and was out of the door in 15 minutes). Be ready to show your passport as they need a picture ID.

Never use PureSync

It is not often that I find it important to write any warnings, but I started to use the program PureSync (version 2.8.1)  from Jumping Bytes Software. At first it seemed as a really good idea. The free version could react on file changed and push a new copy to a “sync dir” and it even could delay deletions for a while to be able to access a file which should not have been deleted for a while.

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Google Voice and PBX

Many people are interested in using Google Voice together with a software PBX and there is an option. Google Voice let you forward your voice to a gmail chat account (the one with the same user id as Google Voice). Now this is interesting as with the right software you can integrate it via the Jabber/Xmpp.

PBXes has done it and there is talk that Asterisk 1.8 will do it :-)

I’ve not tried any of them, but it sure sounds good ….