Review of Google Plus

After resisting for two weeks I have decided to write a Google Plus review. This includes both the changed designed parameters, the invite growth features and all of the main sub-items and activities you can do in the G+  Stream, Share, Hang Out, Pictures, Circles.

Since I have 2500 people in my circles and I am in 91 circles

To keep it simple – I have noted the following 6 main sub-points.

1) Content Dissemination-

 

  • Sharing Blog Articles
  • Micro-Blogging
  • Sharing Pictures

2) Online Professional Networking  and 3) Online Personal Socializing

4) Spam Control / Malware /Phishing/Porn Protection

5) Time Cost versus Networking Benefit

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1) Content Dissemination-

  • Sharing Blog Articles

 

Sharing is as simple as Facebook but the design makes it simpler.

Note G+ uses lower number of colors, bigger fonts, slightly bigger icons to reduce the appearance of clutter.

Contrast this

with this-

 

Interesting to see that G+ has four types of media to share- besides writing the status/micro-blog (unfettered by 140 characters). Note these show icons only with hover text to tell you what the icon stands for.

Photo,Video,URL,Location (which seems to be Twitter like in every share)

Facebook has 5 types of Sharing and note the slightly different order as well the fact that both icon and text make it slightly more cluttered- Status (which is redundant clearly ),Photo,Link,Video,Question

G+ thus lacks polls /questions features. It is much easier to share content on Facebook automatically as of now- but for G+ you need to share the URL privately though. There exist G+ meme-s already thanks to re-sharing in G+ plus which seems to be inspired by Tumblr (?).

In addition Google has made your Google Profile the number one SERP for searching your name, so there seem clear tied in benefits of SEO with content disseminated here.

G+ has sharing in circles whereas Facebook has only Everyone, Friends, Friends of Friends ,Customize.  This makes G+ interface slightly better in tweaking the spread of content to targeted audience esp by Bloggers.

  • For sharing Photos– G+ goes in for a whole new separate tab (one out of four) whereas Facebook treats photo sharing less prominently.
  • Google has lesser white space between photos, (The Facebook way used to be just snap photo by iPhone and send by email to auto-post), and the privacy in sharing photos is much better in G+ as the dropdowns in Facebook are not as granular and neither as nifty in icon design.
  •  
  • Also I like the hover and photo grows bigger feature and the auto import from Picassa (but I would like to auto-import into G+ from Flickr just as I can do in Facebook)
  • Google Plus also has a much more detailed version for sharing videos than photos as compared to Facebook  -upload Photo options  versus
  • G+ has much more focus on auto-sharing from mobiles

 

 

 

2) Online Professional Networking  and 3) Online Personal Socializing Organizing Contacts in Google Plus and seperate privacy controls make it easier to customize sharing without getting too complex. You can make as many circles and drag and drop very easily instead of manually clicking a dropdown box. Effectively speaking Facebook has just 4 kinds of circles and it does not distinguish between various types of friends which is great from philosophical point of view but not so goodn enforcing separateness between professional and personal networks. Note Facebook privacy settings are overwhelming despite the groovy data viz

4) Spam Control / Malware /Phishing/Porn Protection 

Spam Control in Facebook versus in Google Plus- note the different options in Google Plus (including the ability to NOT reshare). I am not aware of more enhanced protection than the ones available for Gmail already. Spam is what really killed off a lot many social networks and the ability to control or reduce spam will be a critical design choice

5) Time Cost versus Networking Benefit

Linkedin has the lowest cost in time spent and networking done. If G+ adds a resume section for jobs, recruiters, and adds in Zynga games, the benefit from G+ will expand. As of now G+ is a minimal social network with minimalism as design ethos.

(Zynga would do well to partner with G+)

 

Kill Barack Obama

Then President of the United States of America...
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From

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/718/usc_sec_18_00000871—-000-.html

§ 871. Threats against President and successors to the Presidency

(a) Whoever knowingly and willfully deposits for conveyance in the mail or for a delivery from any post office or by any letter carrier any letter, paper, writing, print, missive, or document containing any threat to take the life of, to kidnap, or to inflict bodily harm upon the President of the United States, the President-elect, the Vice President or other officer next in the order of succession to the office of President of the United States, or the Vice President-elect, or knowingly and willfully otherwise makes any such threat against the President, President-elect, Vice President or other officer next in the order of succession to the office of President, or Vice President-elect, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.
(b) The terms “President-elect” and “Vice President-elect” as used in this section shall mean such persons as are the apparent successful candidates for the offices of President and Vice President, respectively, as ascertained from the results of the general elections held to determine the electors of President and Vice President in accordance with title 3, United States Code, sections 1 and 2. The phrase “other officer next in the order of succession to the office of President” as used in this section shall mean the person next in the order of succession to act as President in accordance with title 3, United States Code, sections 19 and 20.
From the new experiment at Google Co Relate (assumptions it will take a long time to actually create a plot or conspiracy to kill the President because of his security cover) this uses the internet to actually find people who are searching for ways to kill the beloved leader of the free world. Includes state by state intensity- and expect these people to be the first to ask for ….MORE privacy (my ass)

 

 

Google Storage for Developers goes into Enterprise Mode

Schematic representation of the SSL handshake ...
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To help unify and uniform, collobrative work and data management and business models across the enterprise in secure SSL cloud environments- Google Storage has been rolling out some changes (read below)-this also gives you more options on the day Amazon goes ahem down (cough cough) because they didn’t think someone in their data environment could be sympathetic to free data.

——————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

https://groups.google.com/group/gs-announce

And now to the actual update.

We’re making some changes to Google Storage for Developers to make team-based development easier. As part of this work, we are introducing the concept of a project. In preparation for this feature, we will be creating projects for every user and migrating their buckets to it.

What does this mean for you?

Everything will continue to work as it always has. However, you will notice that if you perform a get-acl operation on any of your buckets, you will see extra ACL entries. These entries correspond to project groups. Each group has only one member – the person who owned the buckets before the bucket migration;  no additional rights have been granted to any of your buckets or objects. You should preserve these new ACL grants if you modify bucket ACLs.

An example entry for a modified ACL would look like this:

We’ll be rolling out these changes over the next few days,

http://blog.cloudberrylab.com/2011/04/cloudberry-explorer-for-google-storage.html

Detailed Note on GS-

https://code.google.com/apis/storage/

Google Storage for Developers is a RESTful service for storing and accessing your data on Google’s infrastructure. The service combines the performance and scalability of Google’s cloud with advanced security and sharing capabilities. Highlights include:

Fast, scalable, highly available object store

  • All data replicated to multiple U.S. data centers
  • Read-your-writes data consistency
  • Objects of hundreds of gigabytes in size per request with range-get support
  • Domain-scoped bucket namespace

Easy, flexible authentication and sharing

  • Key-based authentication
  • Authenticated downloads from a web browser
  • Individual- and group-level access controls

In addition, Google Storage for Developers offers a web-based interface for managing your storage and GSUtil, an open source command line tool and library. The service is also compatible with many existing cloud storage tools and libraries. With pay-as-you-go pricing, it’s easy to get started and scale as your needs grow.

Google Storage for Developers is currently only available to a limited number of developers. Please sign up to join the waiting list.

Why search optimization can make you like Rebecca Black

Felicia Day, actress and web content producer.
Image via Wikipedia

A highly optimized blog post or web content can get you a lot of attention just like Rebecca Black’s video (provided it passes through the new quality metrics \change*/ in the Search Engine)

But if the underlying content is weak, or based on a shoddy understanding of the content-it can drive lots of horrid comments as well as ensuring that bad word of mouth is spread about the content or you/despite your hard work.

An example of this is copy and paste journalism especially in technology circles, where even a bigger Page Ranked website /blog can get away with scraping or stealing content from a lower page ranked website (or many websites)  after adding a cursory “expert comment”. This is also true when someone who is basically a corporate communication specialist (or PR -public relations) person is given a techinical text and encourage to write about it without completely understanding it.

A mild technical defect in the search engine algorithm is that it does not seem to pay attention to when the content was published, so the copying website or blog actually can get by as fresher content even if it is practically has 90% of the same words). The second flaw is over punishment or manual punishment of excessive linking – this can encourage search optimization minded people to hoard links or discourage trackbacks.

A free internet is one which promotes free sharing of content and does not encourage stealing or un-authorized scraping or content copying. Unfortunately current search engine optimization can encourage scraping and content copying without paying too much attention to origin of the words.

In addition the analytical rigor by which search algorithms search your inboxes (as in search all emails for a keyword) or media rich sites (like Youtube) are quite on a different level of quality altogether. The chances of garbage results are much more while searching for media content and/or emails.

Using Views in R and comparing functions across multiple packages

Some RDF hacking relating to updating probabil...
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R has almost 2923 available packages

This makes the task of searching among these packages and comparing functions for the same analytical task across different packages a bit tedious and prone to manual searching (of reading multiple Pdfs of help /vignette of packages) or sending an email to the R help list.

However using R Views is a slightly better way of managing all your analytical requirements for software rather than the large number of packages (see Graphics view below).

CRAN Task Views allow you to browse packages by topic and provide tools to automatically install all packages for special areas of interest. Currently, 28 views are available. http://cran.r-project.org/web/views/

Bayesian Bayesian Inference
ChemPhys Chemometrics and Computational Physics
ClinicalTrials Clinical Trial Design, Monitoring, and Analysis
Cluster Cluster Analysis & Finite Mixture Models
Distributions Probability Distributions
Econometrics Computational Econometrics
Environmetrics Analysis of Ecological and Environmental Data
ExperimentalDesign Design of Experiments (DoE) & Analysis of Experimental Data
Finance Empirical Finance
Genetics Statistical Genetics
Graphics Graphic Displays & Dynamic Graphics & Graphic Devices & Visualization
gR gRaphical Models in R
HighPerformanceComputing High-Performance and Parallel Computing with R
MachineLearning Machine Learning & Statistical Learning
MedicalImaging Medical Image Analysis
Multivariate Multivariate Statistics
NaturalLanguageProcessing Natural Language Processing
OfficialStatistics Official Statistics & Survey Methodology
Optimization Optimization and Mathematical Programming
Pharmacokinetics Analysis of Pharmacokinetic Data
Phylogenetics Phylogenetics, Especially Comparative Methods
Psychometrics Psychometric Models and Methods
ReproducibleResearch Reproducible Research
Robust Robust Statistical Methods
SocialSciences Statistics for the Social Sciences
Spatial Analysis of Spatial Data
Survival Survival Analysis
TimeSeries Time Series Analysis

To automatically install these views, the ctv package needs to be installed, e.g., via

install.packages("ctv")
library("ctv")
Created by Pretty R at inside-R.org


and then the views can be installed via install.views or update.views (which first assesses which of the packages are already installed and up-to-date), e.g.,

install.views("Econometrics")
 update.views("Econometrics")
 Created by Pretty R at inside-R.org

CRAN Task View: Graphic Displays & Dynamic Graphics & Graphic Devices & Visualization

Maintainer: Nicholas Lewin-Koh
Contact: nikko at hailmail.net
Version: 2009-10-28

R is rich with facilities for creating and developing interesting graphics. Base R contains functionality for many plot types including coplots, mosaic plots, biplots, and the list goes on. There are devices such as postscript, png, jpeg and pdf for outputting graphics as well as device drivers for all platforms running R. lattice and grid are supplied with R’s recommended packages and are included in every binary distribution. lattice is an R implementation of William Cleveland’s trellis graphics, while grid defines a much more flexible graphics environment than the base R graphics.

R’s base graphics are implemented in the same way as in the S3 system developed by Becker, Chambers, and Wilks. There is a static device, which is treated as a static canvas and objects are drawn on the device through R plotting commands. The device has a set of global parameters such as margins and layouts which can be manipulated by the user using par() commands. The R graphics engine does not maintain a user visible graphics list, and there is no system of double buffering, so objects cannot be easily edited without redrawing a whole plot. This situation may change in R 2.7.x, where developers are working on double buffering for R devices. Even so, the base R graphics can produce many plots with extremely fine graphics in many specialized instances.

One can quickly run into trouble with R’s base graphic system if one wants to design complex layouts where scaling is maintained properly on resizing, nested graphs are desired or more interactivity is needed. grid was designed by Paul Murrell to overcome some of these limitations and as a result packages like latticeggplot2vcd or hexbin (on Bioconductor ) use grid for the underlying primitives. When using plots designed with grid one needs to keep in mind that grid is based on a system of viewports and graphic objects. To add objects one needs to use grid commands, e.g., grid.polygon() rather than polygon(). Also grid maintains a stack of viewports from the device and one needs to make sure the desired viewport is at the top of the stack. There is a great deal of explanatory documentation included with grid as vignettes.

The graphics packages in R can be organized roughly into the following topics, which range from the more user oriented at the top to the more developer oriented at the bottom. The categories are not mutually exclusive but are for the convenience of presentation:

  • Plotting : Enhancements for specialized plots can be found in plotrix, for polar plotting, vcd for categorical data, hexbin (on Bioconductor ) for hexagon binning, gclus for ordering plots and gplots for some plotting enhancements. Some specialized graphs, like Chernoff faces are implemented in aplpack, which also has a nice implementation of Tukey’s bag plot. For 3D plots latticescatterplot3d and misc3d provide a selection of plots for different kinds of 3D plotting. scatterplot3d is based on R’s base graphics system, while misc3d is based on rgl. The package onion for visualizing quaternions and octonions is well suited to display 3D graphics based on derived meshes.
  • Graphic Applications : This area is not much different from the plotting section except that these packages have tools that may not for display, but can aid in creating effective displays. Also included are packages with more esoteric plotting methods. For specific subject areas, like maps, or clustering the excellent task views contributed by other dedicated useRs is an excellent place to start.
    • Effect ordering : The gclus package focuses on the ordering of graphs to accentuate cluster structure or natural ordering in the data. While not for graphics directly cba and seriation have functions for creating 1 dimensional orderings from higher dimensional criteria. For ordering an array of displays, biclust can be useful.
    • Large Data Sets : Large data sets can present very different challenges from moderate and small datasets. Aside from overplotting, rendering 1,000,000 points can tax even modern GPU’s. For univariate datalvplot produces letter value boxplots which alleviate some of the problems that standard boxplots exhibit for large data sets. For bivariate data ash can produce a bivariate smoothed histogram very quickly, and hexbin, on Bioconductor , can bin bivariate data onto a hexagonal lattice, the advantage being that the irregular lines and orientation of hexagons do not create linear artifacts. For multivariate data, hexbin can be used to create a scatterplot matrix, combined with lattice. An alternative is to use scagnostics to produce a scaterplot matrix of “data about the data”, and look for interesting combinations of variables.
    • Trees and Graphs ape and ade4 have functions for plotting phylogenetic trees, which can be used for plotting dendrograms from clustering procedures. While these packages produce decent graphics, they do not use sophisticated algorithms for node placement, so may not be useful for very large trees. igraph has the Tilford-Rheingold algorithm implementead and is useful for plotting larger trees. diagram as facilities for flow diagrams and simple graphs. For more sophisticated graphs Rgraphviz and igraph have functions for plotting and layout, especially useful for representing large networks.
  • Graphics Systems lattice is built on top of the grid graphics system and is an R implementation of William Cleveland’s trellis system for S-PLUS. lattice allows for building many types of plots with sophisticated layouts based on conditioning. ggplot2 is an R implementation of the system described in “A Grammar of Graphics” by Leland Wilkinson. Like latticeggplot (also built on top of grid) assists in trellis-like graphics, but allows for much more. Since it is built on the idea of a semantics for graphics there is much more emphasis on reshaping data, transformation, and assembling the elements of a plot.
  • Devices : Whereas grid is built on top of the R graphics engine, many in the R community have found the R graphics engine somewhat inflexible and have written separate device drivers that either emphasize interactivity or plotting in various graphics formats. R base supplies devices for PostScript, PDF, JPEG and other formats. Devices on CRAN include cairoDevice which is a device based libcairo, which can actually render to many device types. The cairo device is desgned to work with RGTK2, which is an interface to the Gimp Tool Kit, similar to pyGTK2. GDD provides device drivers for several bitmap formats, including GIF and BMP. RSvgDevice is an SVG device driver and interfaces well with with vector drawing programs, or R web development packages, such as Rpad. When SVG devices are for web display developers should be aware that internet explorer does not support SVG, but has their own standard. Trust Microsoft. rgl provides a device driver based on OpenGL, and is good for 3D and interactive development. Lastly, the Augsburg group supplies a set of packages that includes a Java-based device, JavaGD.
  • Colors : The package colorspace provides a set of functions for transforming between color spaces and mixcolor() for mixing colors within a color space. Based on the HCL colors provided in colorspacevcdprovides a set of functions for choosing color palettes suitable for coding categorical variables ( rainbow_hcl()) and numerical information ( sequential_hcl()diverge_hcl()). Similar types of palettes are provided in RColorBrewer and dichromat is focused on palettes for color-impaired viewers.
  • Interactive Graphics : There are several efforts to implement interactive graphics systems that interface well with R. In an interactive system the user can interactively query the graphics on the screen with the mouse, or a moveable brush to zoom, pan and query on the device as well as link with other views of the data. rggobi embeds the GGobi interactive graphics system within R, so that one can display a data frame or several in GGobi directly from R. The package has functions to support longitudinal data, and graphs using GGobi’s edge set functionality. The RoSuDA repository maintained and developed by the University of Augsburg group has two packages, iplots and iwidgets as well as their Java development environment including a Java device, JavaGD. Their interactive graphics tools contain functions for alpha blending, which produces darker shading around areas with more data. This is exceptionally useful for parallel coordinate plots where many lines can quickly obscure patterns. playwith has facilities for building interactive versions of R graphics using the cairoDevice and RGtk2. Lastly, the rgl package has mechanisms for interactive manipulation of plots, especially 3D rotations and surfaces.
  • Development : For development of specialized graphics packages in R, grid should probably be the first consideration for any new plot type. rgl has better tools for 3D graphics, since the device is interactive, though it can be slow. An alternative is to use Java and the Java device in the RoSuDA packages, though Java has its own drawbacks. For porting plotting code to grid, using the package gridBase presents a nice intermediate step to embed base graphics in grid graphics and vice versa.

Test Drive a Google Chrome Notebook: Last Two Days left

Main logo and icon for the open source interne...
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Chrome

Test drive a Chrome notebook.

We have a limited number of Chrome notebooks to distribute, and we need to ensure that they find good homes. That’s where you come in. Everything is still very much a work in progress, and it’s users, like you, that often give us our best ideas about what feels clunky or what’s missing. So if you live in the United States, are at least 18 years old, and would like to be considered for our small Pilot program, please fill this out. It should take about 15 minutes. We’ll review the requests that come in and contact you if you’ve been selected.

This application will be open until 11:59:59 PM PST on December 21, 2010.

What type of user are you?

https://services.google.com/fb/forms/cr48advanced/

Business
Education
Non-Profit
Developer
Individual
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