Tag Archives: google

Google Drive vs Dropbox, Amazon, or Microsoft Sky Drive for Cloud Storage?

Google Drive Storage

There was some great news from Google this week concerning cloud storage, and while it isn’t up to what I want in replacing your hard drive, Google Drive is a great step forward in drive cloud storage with 5GB free, and apparently I’m grandfathered in to my 20GB $5/year plan (see screenshot below). Finally Google put some effort into developing something we can truly use instead of trying to beat Facebook or Twitter at social networking. Eventually, this type of storage is going to do away with our need to keep purchasing more and more hard drives to store our files with only a small flash drive needed on the system for the OS. I have almost 8TB’s of data stored on local hard drives at this point, so this lousy 5GB of storage won’t help that, but it’s a start.

If you aren’t familiar with using cloud storage, until now, there was really only one real option, and that was Dropbox. Yes there are those like Box.com and Amazon Cloud Drive (provide 5 GB), and Microsoft’s SkyDrive (offers 25 GB) who just made some nice improvements this week, probably in anticipation of the release of Google Drive. Each of those have some significant disadvantages, and I don’t ever really consider them to be viable options because of their limitations or issues. Apple’s iCloud is great for backing up devices, but it doesn’t even offer an option for drive storage in the cloud. While I love Dropbox, the basic computer user still isn’t really familiar with Dropbox, and they are with Google. That doesn’t make Google better than Dropbox, but it does make Google Drive easier to integrate with your friends or family to share files. So which one is better, Google Drive or Dropbox? There services seem to be almost identical, but Google has some significant advantages over Dropbox.

Google Drive Storage 20GB $5 year

The biggest news, at least to me, about the Google Drive launch in the fact that they are going to allow you to keep up to 100GB of data stored for a reasonable price of $5.99, it’s just too bad once you get above that, it’s outrageous, but that too will change. This is great on multiple levels, and something probably only Google could do with some massive data centers that companies like Dropbox, and perhaps even Microsoft, just don’t have. When you are looking at possible server farm potential for cloud storage, the biggest possibilities right now are Google, Amazon, and of course Apple who just built a massive cloud server farm in North Carolina, which is even visible from space now. All of this is good for those who want all files stored in the cloud instead of on local home hard drives that fail.

Advantages and Disadvantages in Google Drive vs Dropbox

  • More storage – 5GB of Storage on Google compared to 2GB on Dropbox (you can gain more on Dropbox)
  • Blanket Existing Coverage  - most of us already use Google for just about everything from email to Internet searches
  • Google Recognition – sometimes this is negative, but in this case, everyone has heard of Google, tech-nerds know Dropbox
  • Integration and Development in OS – both have ability to run within MAC OS-X or Windows but Google has greater development potential. The biggest plus here is with Google Docs and other Google products.
  • Automatic Syncing – both have this as well, that’s the point of cloud storage
  • Works with iOS and Android – both have this too (Google Drive says coming soon on iOS), but the Dropbox versions could use some better features, hopefully Google will do this
  • Backup – this is a big question for me, what happens with my account and my files if the company goes Chapter 11. Google has less chance to do this.
  • Potential Increases in Storage – Google is known for increasing storage size constantly, and to me, the more storage the better
  • Integration with Google Apps – Not sure how soon this is on their radar, but at work we use a Google App account
  • No URL Links – Dropbox just released this feature this week, a feature that lets you have a unique URL for each file. I see no mention about this in the Google Drive information but it has to be in the works, they couldn’t have just overlooked this feature. For now, I only see this available on Dropbox.

For now we all have to wait until Google actually rolls it out instead of just giving us the information, and of course, they developed the Android OS before the iOS, so us Apple iPhone and iPad users will have to wait even longer. Still, it’s a step in the right cloud storage direction!

WordPress Self Hosted vs WordPress.com Hosted Blog Pros Cons :: Review

Wordpress vs GoDaddy Self Hosted

I know many people will be reading this thinking about if they should switch between a WordPress.com site to a WordPress.org (self-hosted) site, not the other way around. It’s been about a week since I made the switch over from being a self hosted blog (almost 10 years on the WordPress.org codex) to now being a WordPress.com hosted blog, and the move, hopefully the last one I ever make in the hosting realm) has been great.

I had always sorta scoffed at the non-self-hosted WordPress blogs. After all, those were just blogs who couldn’t or didn’t know how to self-host, right? Well, my Rule #29 says I have had a change of heart. I am amazed, to say the least, at the difference between the two options, and while each has their own advantages and disadvantages, WordPress.com has built an enormous community of bloggers based on their hosted platform that a self-hosted blog is completely removed from. This is just the nature of self-hosting, you are on your own, you have full control over all the code, can make any change you want to the php files and so on, but you do give up an incredible community of bloggers.

Below is a list of the fifteen best and worst things about the hosting differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org in no specific order. Which one is best for you would be the one that has fewer cons I would think, but I used a self-hosted (GoDaddy.com) blog for almost 10 years until I found the cons outweighed the pros of letting WordPress.com host my site. After one week on WordPress.com I am thrilled. So if you are trying to decide between a WordPress hosted blog or a self-hosted install of WordPress.org Codex, read through the list below first. Any question feel free to ask in the comment, not a problem.

Pros of Worpress.com and Cons of Self-Hosted Blog

  1. Price, free (this depends on if you pay for custom design, domain, and no ads, which I did, then it’s a wash $90/year)
  2. You do not have to handle any heavy coding
  3. Participation in and traffic from the WordPress.com community like, blogs of the daytags, their reader
  4. Possibility to get Freshly Pressed (Five Ways to Get Featured on Freshly Pressed) (happened here on October 2012 with this post)
  5. No SQL Database and tables to backup or mess with
  6. You will not get hacked, or you greatly lessen to possibility of getting hacked
  7. You will not lose your data, it won’t get corrupted, deleted, or all around messed up
  8. The UI (user interface) or dashboard is slightly better than .org version
  9. You do not have bandwidth limitations, sky is the limit if your blog gets hammered
  10. You don’t have to handle the upgrades to the WordPress.com platform (that is often a pain)
  11. Never any down time (even though GoDaddy says they never go down, “connection to database” comes up)
  12. Extremely fast server response times in loading the site and saving new posts
  13. You don’t have to deal with GoDaddy.com (exception see #8 below)
  14. Custom domain mapping available (this is a must for me, if this wasn’t here, I’m out)
  15. Customization of the CSS code (this one was also a huge deciding factor for me, but #14 and #15 are not free)

Cons of Worpress.com and Pros of Self-Hosted Blog

  1. You do not get as much control over your own site
  2. Only customization you can do is in the style.css file (that wasn’t as bad as I thought either)
  3. No control over the code, can’t customize php files
  4. No control over the robots.txt file (can’t set/change crawl rates)
  5. Seems to be harder to get Google to index your site (verdict is still out on this one)
  6. Can’t use plugins (I thought this would be a bigger deal than it is)
  7. Can’t upload a custom theme, only options are theme WordPress.com makes available to you
  8. You will still need a domain to host files if you want off-wordpress.com file storage
  9. Price, could possibly be cheaper than the “free” WordPress.com hosted if you only pay for Godaddy.com $5/mth host
  10. WordPress.com hosted pushes ads on your site unless you pay $30/year to take them off (this stinks)
  11. No ability to host your own advertising on the site from third party vendors
  12. You don’t have any type of FTP access to your files, can’t download the wp-content/uploads directory (this also stinks)
  13. Self-hosted is complete and total control over all php files, do as you like
  14. Self-hosted is a great learning tool for customizing php code, themes, design, etc
  15. Self-hosted you own everything that has to do with the content, the files are your files

How to Fix a WordPress Blog that Keeps Getting Hacked with Malware

I’ve been blogging for over 10 years now, and after a while you pretty much go through every hosting account, every possible theme, and eventually you will probably get hacked (if you run a self-hosted domain) at some point. Of course, my last theme, the one I have been using on this site now for over a year, specifically warns you about this, and for good reason. They even inserted this in a text note in the stylesheet.css file.

***** IMPORTANT *****
Don’t pirate this theme. Themes are typically hacked and injected with spam files and scripts that will get you ‘black-listed’ from search engines and create security risks on your server.
FYI – http://wpmu.org/why-you-should-never-search-for-free-wordpress-themes-in-google-or-anywhere-else/

I had never been hacked before I started using this theme a year ago, but because I loved the design I kept trying to fight the hackers and keep my site clean. Today I finally gave up, or gave in, and for the first time in 5 years, I have switched to letting wordpress.com host my blog. There are of course advantages and disadvantages to each hosting choice, if you are interested, check out WordPress.com, WordPress, and WordPress.org.

Once your wordpress blog is hacked, you almost have to completely start all over again to make sure all the backdoor files and logins are completely removed. I managed to stay ahead of them for a year, but just got tired of fighting it. At that point, I either delete all the database tables in my SQL database, rebuild and reinstall everything, or just move over here. If you site has been hacked, check out my top five most helpful sites below.

The first thing you want to do is check your .htaccess file, then go through each directory looking for files that don’t belong there. They can even be files that look like they do belong there, like common.php and the like, which usually contain some big source code. Run the site checker (link below), and change the passwords on your SQL database, ftp host/username, and your WordPress user login as well.

  1. FAQ My site was hacked
  2. Free website malware & blacklist scan
  3. Cleaning Your Site from Google Webmaster Tools
  4. How To Completely Clean Your Hacked WordPress Installation
  5. The best way to remove malware from a WordPress blog using GoDaddy

I think most people who have a self hosted site would probably just keep the self hosted site since there are several disadvantages to using wordpress.com, or blogger, etc., one being it will take Google forever to start indexing my site again, but in the long run this will ensure no malware ever gets back on this site again, ever.

Hope you like the new design too, I’m always on the look out for the design with the cleanest look, best typography, and easiest to view, to “chunk” is it for now. If you are looking for all my photography that currently isn’t showing up, I’m having to change the url’s so hopefully they will all be back up in the next few days.

Longest Book Title Ever?

This is quite possibly the longest book title ever.

“The book, An Humble Attempt to Promote an Explicit Agreement and Visible Union of God’s People thro’s the World, in Extraordinary Prayer, for the Revival of Religion, and the Advancement of Christ’s Kingdom on Earth, Pursuant to Scripture Promise and Prophecies Concerning the Last Time, [was] completed by September 1747” by Jonathan Edwards.

Edwards was such a prolific writer and he often had very long titles.  So what’s in a title? Is it important?  The 21st century title has to be short, packed full of keywords able to be searched by Google and Amazon, which can be easily found in the digital world of media overload.  What is your favorite long title?

A Long Flight but We Have Arrived in Amsterdam

So, yes, that was an incredibly long flight, wow, and only a 10 hour flight to go. We are sitting here at the gate all glad to be on the ground for a while, even if it’s only for an hour. Wouldn’t have been all that bad except for the several thunderstorms we trounced through out of Atlanta all up the east coast. One of the rougher flights I have been on in a while. Unfortunately a girl in the front of the plane lost it but we weren’t too close to her. I had a ton of pics to post but no plugs in Amsterdam anywhere (or on the plane for that matter) so I’ll post more later. Next stop Africa. Thanks for your prayers.

Reasons Why Google+ is Already Better than Facebook

So I almost felt obligated at this point to do a post about Google+ just because it really wasn’t what I was expecting from Google. What I was expecting from Google was another failed attempt at doing something social (they do have a good long history of trying social networking and missing big time), but this time I think they created something that just might work long term. Of course, it works, because basically they finally developed a format stream that is just like Facebook except without much of the garbage that is Facebook. When (not if) Google adds an iPhone AND an iPad app they will have surpassed Facebook, at least in functionality.

When Zuckerberg made the statement that the iPad was not a mobile device, and therefore Facebook would not be developing an app for the iPad, he pretty much told everyone using Facebook that Facebook is whatever Zuckerberg says it is. Google, even though they seem to have the biggest rival with Apple, can no doubt see beyond this and will very quickly release apps for the iPhone and iPad. Once Google+ hits the iPhone/iPad users they will grow at an alarming rate. It’s the “mobile” users that will feed Google+ and the easier Google makes it to use on ANY mobile device the faster they will grow Google+. The misses right now with Google+ remain the lack of an iPhone app and some other minor functionality issues like being able to hide comments in a stream, being able to view several circle streams at the same time, and at the moment people. The people thing is a plus and a minus at the same time. The millions and millions of masses on Facebook are what makes Facebook work. Google+ has a different genre of people right now and I don’t see that as a bad thing, but they do need more buy in.

Why is Google+ better than Facebook already?

  • No Ads
    so far (who knows how long this will last) there are no ads, anywhere. This is top on my list, and key. This is why I like twitter, this is why the experience on Google+ is better right from the start. All that junk on Facebook’s sidebars is the worst. You never know what’s going to come up but you know you don’t want to look at it.
  • No Spam
    Facebook and spam go together like spam in a can, or something like that. Spam is not the telemarketer calling you at dinner anymore. Spam is ANYTHING sent to you unsolicited. Facebook is full of this stuff from Mafia Wars to stupid games and poll questions, event invites, and all the other stuff that clutters up your feed stream with stuff you don’t want to look at. The stuff you do want to read is so buried in the mess of Facebook I often just give up trying to find actual real high quality content.
  • Design is Cleaner
    everything is cleaner, but making a cleaner design makes it easier to read, has less clutter, call it whatever you want but Google+ is just flat out easier on the eyes. Google has long since prided itself on simplicity of design, and in this case it works so much better than Facebook
  • Messaging System
    while Facebook has been vastly improving their messaging system, trying to overtake email, the message system on Facebook has always been one of their weakest points, and until recently, no one wanted to look at that inbox, it was just annoying. Google+ has made sending a message to a single person, or a select group, extremely easy. I would expect this since Google has built it’s non-search business around Gmail, but Google+ has the potential to be able to do away with email all together.
  • Integrates with Google Everything
    this is a no-brainer but it’s worth pointing out. There are some things I like better off Google, like their photo system Picasa (Flickr still has better functionality) but overall everything you do throughout the day is basically run on Google’s cloud anyway, you are already there, so adding Google+ isn’t too much of a burden.
  • People Who Don’t Like Social Networking Will Like Google+
    there are still some people that are not attached to a social network at all (really, I know this for a fact). For those people, Google+ is a way into that social networking circle without being in Facebook or Twitter. For many (or most) of these people they are already on Google. They use Google, they use Gmail, they are familiar with Google and in some ways have a trust built with them as a company. If you aren’t on Facebook or Twitter or anything else, you are probably already on Google, and Google will make trying Google+ a breeze for the non-adopters.
  • It isn’t Facebook
    there are many people who just hate Facebook, for them, this isn’t Facebook and that is good enough for them.
  • It is Google
    this is just like the Apple vs Android thing. Some people think Apple is straight from the devil himself and think Android is not. Facebook has a lot of “you are the devil” fans so being anything but Facebook is a plus.
  • It’s New and Has a Lot of Potential
    everyone doesn’t necessarily like change but new is always a big seller. Since every company puts out products or services today that are a work in progress (beta) and not a final completed entity, Google will continue to develop and improve Google+. Yes I know Facebook does this too, but they seem to take 2 steps forward and one step back and make everyone mad in the process.
  • Facebook still Doesn’t Give you Ownership of Your Data
    some will say Google doesn’t either, but they have made far more progress in this realm than Facebook has, and Facebook has no intention of ever letting go of your data. Every time you put content on Facebook instead of your own blog or somewhere that you have access to your own data you are building up the mother ship, not your own history. Google+ has a really cool download data set functionality that will probably improve over time. Facebook has nothing. Facebook owns everything you put on there and you own nothing.
So there you have it. I am sure there are plenty of other points I could make but those are my first and initial observations after using Google+ for about a week now. What has your Google+ experience been so far? If you need an invite just send me an email and I will send one over.

National Polka Festival in Ennis Texas 2011 and It’s Age at 45

Last night started the 45th Annual National Polka Festival from Ennis, Texas. I’m not going to post a bunch of photos here on my blog but you can see the photos on my Flickr Set for the National Polka Festival.  This festival is something we try to go to every year, and it’s an event Deborah has gone to since she was about 3 or 4 years old. Unfortunately it hasn’t changed much since she was 3 or 4 years old, but it’s still quite fun to celebrate her Czech heritage with others. I just wish the promoters and people in charge of marketing the festival would recognize we are no longer in the 1970′s and make a better attempt to pass along an important event and heritage to the younger generation. It’s time!

I’m not in charge of course but I do work in communicating a message, communicating a way of life that has to be passed from one generation to another in order to survive, and there are some similarities to this and my own ministry. I totally understand their desire to maintain tradition, and that’s important, but each year that goes by the festival promoters attempt to remember the past, not necessarily the traditions, and do nothing to bring in the youngest generation.

Case in point, I go to the SOKOL (the starting hall last night), open Foursquare, no venue checkin. Fine, I create one, take a pic, upload it, now I’m Mayor (haha). I take some photos, go to upload them to Flickr. There is no Flickr group, so I create one (Polka Festival). The only pics on Flickr that show up are from 2 years ago when I posted them, ok, I’ll post a few more. There is no chatter on Twitter, none on Facebook (none that I can find officially from the NPF website, thought they do have a Facebook page, very commendable), and zero, I mean zero computers or other connected devices at the event. Of course there is no wifi (I brought my own) so it wouldn’t make much sense to have a “device” anyway. And, not to embarrass anyone at all, but, all you have to do is take one look at the National Polka Festival website and you get the whole picture. I mean really, come on guys, pay some high school kid $250 to update your website? Do a google search for the “National Polka Festival” and after the official site I’m number 2 and 3 on Google’s list, and I have nothing to do with the festival at all. So far, what they did do differently is bring in a “magician” for the weekend. It would take a whole completely different blog post to explain the things I think are wrong about that, but oh well. We have given it several years and we will probably not come back after this 2011 festival, instead opting to go to Nebraska where at least it will be a new experience.

I say none of this to chastise the festival but in an attempt to give them an outside, objective, perspective on the festival in hopes they will embrace the younger generation so it won’t completely die off… and I’m NOT the younger generation just in case they are reading this, I’m over 40, so you need to be ahead of what I’m talking about. I’ll get off my soapbox now, that’s my free advice to the NPF people in charge.

So, today there is a parade, venders, and Czech dancing and food at all three halls. I will be sure to ruin my diet by eating all the great German and Czech food available, and I’m sure we will enjoy our time at the festival today. For photos of the event just check out my Flickr page. You can also see posts from the previous years 20102009Saturday Parade 200820082007Saturday 2006, and 2006.

This is Quite Possibly the Longest Book Title Ever Jonathan Edwards

This is quite possibly the longest book title ever.

“The book, An Humble Attempt to Promote an Explicit Agreement and Visible Union of God’s People thro’s the World, in Extraordinary Prayer, for the Revival of Religion, and the Advancement of Christ’s Kingdom on Earth, Pursuant to Scripture Promise and Prophecies Concerning the Last Time, [was] completed by September 1747” by Jonathan Edwards.

Edwards was such a prolific writer and he often had very long titles.  So what’s in a title? Is it important?  The 21st century title has to be short, packed full of keywords able to be searched by Google and Amazon, which can be easily found in the digital world of media overload.  What is your favorite long title?

Middle of the Road and the Yellow Line :: Friday Feet

Double Yellow Line on Road

Double Yellow Line on Road

Double Yellow Line on Road

Double Yellow Line on Road

Double Yellow Line on Road

On a side note, we will be at the Ole Auburn Ale House (who is in serious need of a new website, sorry) in Auburn tonight to listen to Rob and Jen with Martha’s Trouble, if you are in the area stop in and say hi.

This turned out to be one of the nicest days in months with a beautiful 75° sunshine with nice puffy white cumulus clouds and a soft breeze.  I must read hundreds of blogs each week and hardly ever read them talking about the weather.  Makes me wonder if I should just skip that as not relevant material to my blog or wonder if no one can take the time any more to appreciate a beautiful day… either way, it was gorgeous outside today.  Being that today was Friday and was a great day to be outside, I ended up doing one of my more bazaar photos shoot requests I have had lately.  More of a stock photo / image request, but the request was for “road” shots.  It did end up being a good exercise in depth of field, and it’s always a good day when I can get out and do some photography.

Double yellow line photos and pics with some shots that could be turned into a brush or two in Photoshop.  Not a bad idea.  I looked at many of the Google images available on double yellow line photos and none were from around here and if you are looking to be middle of the road in the south, there were not many options.  Now there are a few more.

It is really hard to get creative with a double yellow line and make it look good but I gave it a go and today I choose a few different middle of the road pics for Friday Feet.  I am sure there is some to the “middle of the road” on this but I’ll use it down the road.  Which feet shot do you like the best?  Yes, they were both taken by me, unassisted.

Catalyst Off the Blogs Night with Carlos Whittaker and Aaron Keyes

Off the Blogs Catalyst

Off the Blogs Catalyst

Aaron Keyes, Off the Blogs

Pete Wilson, Off the Blogs

Carlos Whittaker, Off the Blogs

Anne Jackson, Off the Blogs

Jon Acuff, Off the Blogs

One of the special events last week when I made it over to Catalyst One Day was the Off the Blogs meeting that took place in Buckhead GA.  This event was hosted by Pete Wilson of Cross Point Church in Nashville and he was joined by Carlos Whittaker, Anne Jackson (both of which are on a blog break right now) Jon Acuff, and worship was led by Aaron Keyes.  I went into the meeting / worship time not really fully understanding what was going to happen, and went away with a new understanding of the real names and faces we each have behind our own Internet facade.

There were no laptops, no macbooks, no (or very little) twittering, and it was real, it was hard core, it was intense, and an offline time to unplug and take a look at what shapes our lives.  I went in with a few questions of my own.

  1. As Believers, how are we allowing technology to control our lives?
  2. How do we use it to further self and selfish ambitions.
  3. What are we doing to use the knowledge of technology and understanding of how things work on the Internet to further God’s kingdom?
  4. How do we balance our online lives with those we physically interact with on a daily basis (are those people become the same)?
  5. It is really necessary for us to unplug when it is not a distraction in our lives, but it is how we live now?
  6. How can we leverage technology for God’s purposes?
  7. How much of our own lives do we share online?
  8. How can I get more connected with leaders in the church through technology?
  9. How do we connected with people outside the church?
  10. What is the next thing in technology that is going to rock this world?

I left with more questions than I went in with but it was still a great night and well worth the extra time to get over to Buckhead.  Carlos, Anne, and Jon all shared some incredible stories of how they got where they are in their walk and the struggles they went through with and without God in their lives.  None of this had to do with their blogs, facebook, or anything technology related, but how God changed their lives.  We are all a work in progress and I am so glad I had the chance to get to listen to people I respect in the Church and online.

Here are a few pics from that night.