Saturday, April 29, 2006

Google 0 Google 2

Hooray, the increasingly unstable Blogger is allowing postings and comments again! A quick update/link: Darren Rowse has finished his series on blogging credibility over at Problogger. There are a total of 11 tips. It can be read and enjoyed irrespective of one's views on the subtitle of Darren's blog "helping bloggers to make money". And a bit of nice googley stuff -- I had noticed a week or two ago that they'd launched Google Calendar but inwardly shuddered and ignored it in favour of my 100 per cent reliable A5 notebook week-to-a-view office diary. But Ian Hocking of This Writing Life is using it and says it is quite good so I thought I'd at least set it up to see for myself, which I've now done (v easy). Cathy and Jenny have both enthusiastically joined in, so our 3 calendars are now synchronised in multi-colour format (luckily, Google's palette is similar to Jenny's approved colours, or the application would not stand a chance in her book). Only problem now is Malcolm, who is probably far too independent to want to switch over from the system he currently uses. As the main point of having the diary in the first place is to ensure that he or I leaves work in time to pick up Jenny from childcare, synchronisation of some kind is necessary. Bit difficult for two independent beings, so maybe we'll continue on with our current system of a weekly Sunday manual synch. of Malcolm's Outlook with my A5 with all the numerous school letters, etc. Cathy and Jenny will no doubt increasingly use Google calendar to check whether the taxi and chauffeur are available before fixing up social events at "point of invitation".... The other application announced a day or two ago is Google sketch-up (or SketchUp (R) as Google calls it). A three-dimensional modelling tool for designers, architects et al., Cathy and Jenny have both immediately downloaded it and got stuck into the video tutorials. They are both very keen -- Jenny has already created a wave. Next stop, theme parks. On a more serious level, a Mac version is said by Google to be available very soon, and the whole thing will be mashable upable (I know all the correct terminology, you see, even though it reminds me of potatoes) with Google Earth before too long. Google Earth, incidentally, is now available for three other European countries as well as the UK. So Google is not doing well in my book at the moment with Blogger, Gmail or Reader (seems always to be down), but Calendar and SketchUp(R) seem good so far -- maybe the problem is that these applications are fine at launch, but can't cope when millions of people sign up. And as they are all firmly labelled "beta", they are not exactly "supported". But they are free, so one can't complain too much -- and they are a whole heap better than not being able to blog at all or having to put up with all those hotmail irritations to get a free email account.