Sunday, September 30, 2012

Blogger Images

And very quickly, why can't Blogger just fit images to the pane width?  I don't understand why there's Small, Medium, Large, all three looking too small for my blog, and then X-Large, which is too big.  Blogger knows the dimensions of my blog, right? Why not just do an automatic fit?

I like not paying for hosting anymore, and Blogger is usually more than capable of what I want to do, but it suffers a lot from Google's penchant for oversimplifying.  Just give me some more options!  Just one of those little triangle icons that unfold a few more options, how hard are those?

Oh well,


Google Drive and Other Cloud Sync Services

To the casual user, I can only assume that one sync service is as good as another.  Dropbox only offers 2gb of service, Google Drive offers 5, so perhaps that makes some kind of difference.  Well that and, a ton of people already have a Google account, right?

However, there are a few differences.  Firstly, Dropbox and SpiderOak seem to be the two file syncing services with the best cross-platform support.  I can't find any official Linux app for Google Drive or SugarSync, though SugarSync seems to have the best Android app (with actual two-way syncing of entire folders).  However, SugarSync on Android messed up my files quite a lot, forcing older versions to overwrite new versions, and problems like that.

Dropbox doesn't sync whole files if it doesn't have to, sometimes it only changes the updated parts of a file.  GDrive only copies whole files, to the best of my current knowledge.  I'm note sure about the rest of the sync programs.

SugarSync has the best customization, I think, where you can select multiple folders to sync, at different locations, etc.  SpiderOak actually is just as customizable, albeit a lot slower to actually transfer.  On the other hand, SpiderOak is super-secure, one of those setups where they can't look at your files, because they don't know your password.  Of course, that also means no recovery if you forget it.

Right now I use FolderSync on Android for dedicated syncing of files I edit on my phone and desktop.  It works with all the biggest sync services, and it works very well.  Very customizable.  I won't tell you what sync service I'm using for these files, but it doesn't really matter that much.

Google Drive won't let you choose a custom place to store your files on your computer.  Not that I can find, at least.  Seeing as how I'm considering a move to Kansas City--for Google Fiber, to be closer to family, etc, I may soon be in a position to make good use of that free 1TB of Google Drive storage.   But is Google really expecting me to keep 1TB free on my C: for that?

Okay, Google probably doesn't expect me to actively sync my entire Google Drive to my computer, but on one computer, I probably will.  I'd definitely sync all my music on it, all my ebooks, a lot of my work files that just need to be backed up in case of a fire or something.

It's worth mentioning that even though you can't set your Google Drive directory anywhere but in My Documents, you can choose which folders you want to sync to a particular computer, so your netbook could constantly sync your work files but not all your music.

Just thinking about the future, and if I had a 1TB Google Drive, how ridiculous it would be to keep all that space on the C drive.

It's worth pointing out that Windows 7 actually makes it really easy to move any Windows folder in your User directory to a different location.  Simply right click, go to Properties and then change it in the Location tab.  Put your download directory on your second drive, easy as that.  Too bad it doesn't work with third party folders.

Too bad Google Drive doesn't make it at least that easy.  I would say that it's probably coming eventually, but Google's main problems in my book are their slowness of updating services and their lack of allowing user customization in general.


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Cleaning House

Occassionally when I have a thought or see something I want to blog about, I email it to myself.  I have a bit of a backlog building here so I'm spending the day going through old links and scheduling future posts.  Of course, I'd post ideas as they came if there were a better text input method for touchscreen phones.  I blogged from my N900 all the time.

Hey, I should blog about that!

I hope nobody clicked on that link only to be disappointed that it just went to my previous post. Let's be honest, if you're reading this then you probably read that one as well.

Anyway, that's my Saturday.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Smartphones vs Netbooks

Trying to keep this short, I've had an EeePC 701, 901, and T91MT.  I might have messed up the first two model numbers, it's been a while.

I was so extremely excited when I learned about the invention (and release) of the netbook.  In theory, they could give me the freedom to take everything with me.  My writing, web surfing, reading, watching--whatever tv show I was working through, movies, etc.

In practice...well, it was pretty close.

Typing was the activity I was most worried about not being workable on a netbook.  Those nine inch keyboards did take some getting used to.  Felt like I was typing with thick leather gloves on my hands at first, but to be honest I've come to prefer a smaller keyboard.  I feel like it's easier on my hands, and perhaps a slight bit faster than a full sized keyboard, though there are a lot more typos on a smaller one.

Battery life has been pretty weak on these three models.  Video playback as do-able, though it's also very spotty codec-to-codec, especially on the T91MT, with it's abysmal poulsbo graphics chip. The T91MT has problems scrolling simple web pages sometimes.  Not too Linux-friendly, either.

Reading was a draw.  I could and did read comics on them, but the crappy viewing angles of that period's LCDs made anything hard to read in portrait mode.  I already was used to reading prose books on my phone, so there was no reason to cart my netbook out to take over that responsibility.

I had a Nokia N900 for a while.  Great phone.  Still miss the awesome OS.  Tried to watch videos on it, catching up on my shows while visiting family for instance.  Never really liked it.  Screen was too small, resolution not good enough.  It would do in a pinch, but not for regular viewing.

Now I have a Galaxy Note.  Battery life is way better than my netbooks had.  Can watch videos just fine, and even though the screen if relatively small it's got a good resolution and it's got a good picture.

I can read comics on the thing!  In portrait mode, surprisingly but it's easiest in landscape mode.  Two page spreads cause me some problems, though it's still readable, just takes a little fussing.  Reading in landscape, scaling to fit page width, it's actually very comfortable.  I was delightfully surprised.  Maybe I shouldn't have been.  I did once in a pinch read a comic on my Nokia N800.  The thing got super hot, the battery percentage dropped faster than I'd ever seen before, and that was tiny screen (on a device that's, overall, roughly the same size as my Note is, but my Note is almost all screen).

I can read books on it, obviously.  So there's nearly all my demands and expectations on netbooks, cleanly met by smartphones.  Except one.  Writing.

Freaking writing.  I could write, believe it or not, 40-60wpm on my N900's slide-out keyboard.  I was fairly happy with that rate.  I can't write for shit on an on-screen keyboard.  Virtual keyboards.  Ugh.

There were rumors a few months back that RIM, Blackberry's RIM, were working on a version of the Note with a slide-out Blackberry-style keyboard.  I've never used a Blackberry for an extended period of time, but I'd be willing to bet I'd take to it fairly quickly.

Even so, it would be pretty fast, but still not as fast as at least a 9" keyboard.  I have a 9" Bluetooth I can cart out when I've got a table in front of me, and I'm going to write out something fairly long.  Still would be nice not to have to bother with it.

I wish there were a better option for putting ideas down in my phone. For proofreading and editing, for straight up writing.  I'm sure something's on it's way, but you know...I want it now.

Til then,