Posts Tagged ‘google’

It is amazing
how kids suck up your free time.
Just like Google+.


Yes, it seems this week I’ve traded one time-suck for another. My wife took the kids to go visit my folks in PA this week, but I unfortunately had to remain behind because of some work commitments.

Basically, I’m home alone all this week, which would ideally put me on the side of productivity, including such gems as mowing the lawn, cleaning the bathrooms, straightening the garage, etc. In reality, it means I’ve spent all my free time checking out the new social media powerhouse that is Google+. I managed to snag an invite near the end of last week from one of the early-early adopters, and within the first 3 days of using it, have decided it is most definitely my preferred social media network. The privacy settings are everything Facebook/WordPress/Tumblr lack, the integration with existing Google services is fantastic, and I can’t help but think that it is only a matter of time before I mothball/delete my Facebook account and switch over 100% to Google+.

If you’re not yet on Google+, invitations open periodically and I’d be happy to invite you so you can see what all the fuss is about. Just let me know what your email address is so I can send the invitation your way. And if you’re already a G+ flunky, you can find me and add me to your circles at . Catch you over there!

Wake up with coffee –
Ross Goldberg’s a murderer?
Thanks, Google Alerts!

Well, technically, it’s attempted murder.  And technically, it’s a man named David Ross Goldberg, out of Culver City, California.  But Google Alerts was kind enough to notify me via my Ego Alert (a Google Alert for your own name) that this gentleman, with a moniker so similar to my own, and who ALSO is an engineer by trade, is currently on trial in British Columbia for the attempted murder of his ex-fiancée and her new husband.

What a story to wake up to with your morning coffee, huh?

The Victoria Times Colonist is all over this tale, with enough details out that I’m surprised that it isn’t already a made-for-TV movie.  It’s a simple enough story – boy meets girl online, boy falls in love with girl, boy travels internationally and gets engaged to girl, girl spends time with boy, girl spurns boy, girl marries another boy, first boy goes psycho and plots to kill girl and her new husband in cold blood, with an automatic handgun, shotgun, and materials for making explosives:

David Ross Goldberg, 38, is charged with trying to kill Tatcha Aroonjaratsang, 26, and her husband, Jeremy Stewart Walsh, 22, on Sept. 24, 2008, as well as possessing explosive materials.

Goldberg, an engineer, met Aroonjaratsang on the Internet in 2007 while she was living in Thailand and studying law, the Crown alleges. Goldberg travelled to meet her in Thailand and the two became engaged.

However, after Aroonjaratsang visited Goldberg in his hometown of Culver City, she broke off the engagement, Jensen said. In an email on March 18, 2008, she made it clear to Goldberg the relationship was over: “I rather to die, if I have to be with you all the rest of my life.”

The apparent turning point, according to the Crown, was a July 19, 2008, email to Goldberg in which Aroonjaratsang told him she had met Walsh, a Canadian, and that they had married in the spring of 2008.

“David, I am married and have my life as I want, with the best person whom I love him. So it’s no point for you to try and find me. I won’t never go anywhere with you. even you try to contact anyone, Nobody gonna tell you my personal information. I am adult and married. I own my life.”

Really, after a note like that, who wouldn’t go stalker-crazy and plan to travel up to her home in B.C. with a handgun and 50 rounds of ammo, a shotgun with 4 boxes of shells, a night-vision scope, fertilizer, stump-remover, and a police scanner?  I mean, she was basically taunting him, right? Right?

Luckily, the only one injured was David Ross Goldberg; while he and the new husband were on the ground wrestling over his handgun, the quick-thinking ex-fiancée pulled a folding knife from her husband’s pocket and incapacitated David Ross Goldberg by stabbing him with it several times.

The trial is going on right now, and is expected to conclude mid-February.  From everything I’ve seen the poor guy definitely seems to have some mental issues, so hopefully the judge’s ruling includes some treatment of some kind to try to help whatever’s wrong with him.

More importantly though – can all folks out there named Ross Goldberg please legally change their names BEFORE committing crimes that get them in the news?  It’s bad enough that you have to go through 1-2 pages of Google search results before coming on a single hit related to me without things like this diluting the search pool even further!  I mean really, have some respect for your fellow Ross Goldbergs and lay off the front-page stories, will you?

Earlier this month, Merlin Mann (of 43 Folders fame) wrote a very insightful post on his personal site entitled "Better".  It struck a chord with me because I have recently been pondering some of the exact same issues in my personal life.

Lately (for the past few months or so) I've been feeling very much a consumer of stuff, much more so than normal.  I've spent a great deal of time perusing the internet, reading books, watching television, listening to music and podcasts and audiobooks, etc..  That's not to say I have been a total slug – I've also written blog posts, worked hard to create my community's website, put in some long hours at the office, done some work around the house and spent time with my family.  But the days have been flying by and at the end of them, I've often found myself wondering where my time went and why I didn't feel as in-control of things as I wanted to be.

After reading "Better", I took a step back and evaluated what I was doing.  I had over 300 RSS feeds that I was checking regularly, including some of the "big ones" like BoingBoing and Engadget – I was "reading" over 15,000 posts through Google Reader a month (that's more than 500 feed items a day!)  I was listening to a plethora of podcasts and even though I was speeding them up before listening to them, was still falling "behind" on the subscriptions for some of them.  I was watching a substantial amount of television, with some of it not even qualifying as good TV.  I had email newsletters out the wazoo on subjects I found interesting but wasn't doing a lot with.  I'd become addicted to consuming all the little tidbits that, according to Merlin, "for at least a few minutes, helps both the maker and the consumer feel a little less bored, a little less vulnerable, and a little less disconnected. For a minute, anyway, it makes us feel more alive."

So I started making changes:

  • I immediately went through my RSS feeds and cut out any I hadn't read in a while, any I had been skipping over, or any who had more than a few posts a day.  I then went through the remainder and asked myself if each feed was A) useful/necessary, B) entertaining, C) a waste of time, and/or D) a duplicate of info I could get another way with less time wasted.  For any whose answer did not include some combination of A or B outright, I deleted.  This cut my feeds down to under 200, total, with an average daily feed count of about 100 items.  I'm still working on cutting this as needed, but I can now make it through all my feeds in about 20 minutes or less, once a day.
  • I did a similar process with my podcasts.  I measured out how many hours I have available while driving to/from work and around town on the weekend, and limited the total quantity of podcasts to fit in this time window (plus a little extra for unexpected extra listening times).  Prioritizing the podcasts I wanted to keep helped me make the decisions of what to cut.
  • As email newsletters come into my inbox, I make a similar decision as to whether to keep on receiving it, or unsubscribe.  So far, I think I've only decided to keep receiving one or two of them.
  • I used to be one to only very rarely give up on a book.  I've since decided to be more discriminating about what books I purchase/borrow so I am not slogging through books I don't really want to read.  There were a number of free ebooks I downloaded from that I really just wasn't enjoying, but they were sitting around on my eBook reader waiting for me to finish them so I could move on to something else.  Now they're off my hard-drive and out of my life.
  • TV watching has been one of the hardest things to change, as there are a lot of evenings when I get home and am just so ready to veg out in front of the TV after the kids are asleep that it's difficult to want to do anything else.  I've made the smallest amount of progress in this area but again have tried to cut down on the crap I'm recording on the DVR – if I have less junk available for me to watch, the TV is less likely to be a time sink for me when I could be doing other things.

The benefits to my actions were apparrent almost immediately; no longer was I feeling like I was wasting time and letting things spin out of control.  At first, I found myself opening Google Reader at random times and feeling a little down when I didn't have any new items to read (this is about the time I really realized how addicted I was to the feeds as an entertainment source).  I've since started using the time I used to spend reading feeds instead playing with my daughters, or thinking of and implementing new things I want to do/create.  The books I'm reading now are all ones that are completely engrossing and, in my opinion, well worth their time.  I'm still busy, but now I see where my time is being allocated to, and I'm happy with it.

I've still got some improvements to make, and I'm not going to give up being a consumer entirely.  Everything is fine in moderation, and as long as I don't go back to being obsessed with all the things I was going overboard with before, I think I'll be in pretty good shape.  I'm really pleased with my progress so far, though, and I'm doubly thankful for the fortuitous timing of Merlin's post, which helped inspire me to get off my butt and stop contemplating my problem and instead start working to fix it.

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Google Gets Religious

Posted: 2007-06-11 in General
Tags: , , ,

Taken by my camera phone this past weekend on my drive home:

Yes, I braved traffic to pull over into the field, get out of my car, and walk over to snap a shot for everyone.  People were staring at me – I'm not sure if they thought I wanted to save the URL/number or if I was just some random nut-job taking pictures of banners.  I'm leaning towards the latter.

It appears this local church decided to use the google scheme to advertise their website.  If you go there, you'll see the same logo on their homepage.  As you can see, the font, color scheme, and even shadowing of the letters is suspiciously similar to the google homepage logo.

Not a bad advertising idea, actually, but I'm wondering if this falls under a violation of some sort?  Maybe they needn't worry as they're a non-profit religious group, but would they have a problem if instead they were advertising for a new eBay clone, or even a new local grocery store?  I guess I do need to learn a little more about copyright law

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It looks like today is my day for posting memes and quizzes…probably because my brain is fried.  At least I'll avoid the inane qotd and vox hunt today!

Borrowed from Ms. Genevieve – I took the first 3 unique hits from each search, although at times I used the headline over the google text as it made more sense…also at times I snipped preceding text to make it more appropriate.

1. Type in "[your name] needs" in the Google search:

– Ross needs more time to rectify sins of the past staff. (Yes, repent, the end is near!)
– Ross needs a haircut. (Actually, I do.  Anyone know a decent barber?)
– Mr. Ross needs some educating at least about decency, and perhaps about copyright law. (Now wait just a second here…I'm one of the most decent people I know.  I'll give you the copyright law one, though…)

2. Type in "[your name] is" in the Google search:

– Ross is late entry in racetrack sweeps.  (And I'm going to smoke all of ya!)
– Ross is sidelined by broken hand (There goes my race prospects.  Who knew an eggbeater could DO that?)
– Ross is finally getting a taste of his own medicine! (I apologize for making fun of all those people with broken hands throughout the years *sob*)

3. Type in "[your name] likes" in the Google search:

– Ross likes computers (A truer statement was never uttered.)
– Ross likes what he saw in Lincoln (What happens in Lincoln stays in Lincoln.  Go there yourself if you want to know.)
– Ross likes to get married. Ross has been married three times. Obviously, Ross likes to get married. (Interestingly enough, this is from the text of a powerpoint presentation using the cast of the TV show Friends to illustrate how to create good transitions in your writing.  I grew up with Friends and always had people bringing it up because of my name.  Never heard of anyone using the cast to teach English, though.) 

4. Type in "[your name] wants" in the Google search:

– Ross wants yet another chance to repeat dead-end policies.  (I just can't help but bang my head against the wall.  Won't you help me please?)
– Ross Wants to Know: Are You One of Us?  (If not, you will be assimilated.)
– Ross wants Young, Good looking and Strange Drummer (Purely platonically though.  I *am* married, all you young, good looking and strange drumming applicants!)

5. Type in "[your name] gets" in the Google search:

– Ross gets festival fever (Doesn't everyone?)
– Ross Gets Cross With ITV-F1 (If I knew what ITV-F1 was, I wouldn't be quite so cross with it/them.)
– Ross Gets 'Idolized!' (Yeah baby!  Fear my William Hung impression!)

6. Type in "[your name] says" in the Google search:

– Ross Says: December 26th, 2005 at 12:55 pm Thanks–fixed. (You're welcome, and thanks for fixing it so quickly.)
– Ross says, "I take thee, Rachel" instead of "I take thee, Emily".  (OK, ENOUGH WITH THE FRIENDS REFERENCES ALREADY!)
– Ross says. "Over time, small annual differences can accumulate into big numbers." (If you'd like to know more about my retirement fund, please send a $50 money order to Mad Money with Ross, P.O. Box 24601, Chesterfield MO, 90210)

7. Type in "[your name] does" in the Google search:

– Ross Does Power Girl (Is this some kind of "slang" I am not familiar with?)
– Ross does not trust Microsoft. (Well, they've gotten better….but release the source code already!)
– Ross Does Right (I'm known in some circles as Mr. Right.  When I'm not known as Mr. Wrong)

8. Type in "[your name] eats" in the Google search:

– Ross eats a beating heart (um…okay?)
– Ross eats a rib (ok…maybe I'm some kind of cannibal?)
– Ross eats babies. (That's it.  I've had it.  Meme is over.)

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