Tag Archive for family

Give Google Contributor a try

Recently I’ve seen several interesting conversations about ad blocking , and I wanted to remind people about a great offering called Google Contributor . With Google Contributor, you contribute a certain amount of money each month. That subscription means that you see fewer ads on the web, and you support the sites that you visit with your money. You get to decide how much to contribute (I do $10/month, but for example you can do $2/month if you prefer). The more you contribute, the fewer ads you see. The handwave-y explanation that when you go to a website, your monthly subscription actually bids on your behalf in ad auctions. So you end up buying the ad yourself rather than someone else. This is cool for several reasons: 1. You support the sites you visit without expending any energy. 2. You see fewer ads. 3. (And this is the cool part) you get to decide what to show in that ad space instead of ads. That’s right: you can pick a custom URL to show to yourself instead of ads. It’s like buying space on a billboard and showing nature scenes instead of ads . Personally, I like to show a dynamically generated Mondrian-like pattern: But here’s the part I love: when you sign in, click the gear icon and then “Advanced settings,” and at the bottom of the page you can provide any custom URL you want (it does have to serve over https). You could replace ads with pictures of kittens, or your family. Or make ads your todo list, or a reminder to get back to work. Think outside the box, like Paul Ford . It’s the open web–you can have all kinds of fun with your HTML. Here are some common misconceptions about Google Contributor: Q: I thought Google Contributor only worked with ten websites or so? A: No, it works with millions of websites. Contributor launched with a small set of websites initially, but if a website runs Google ads like AdSense or DoubleClick for Publishers, it’s likely to be compatible with Contributor. Q: Isn’t there a waitlist to join? Or I need an invite or something? A: Not anymore! You can sign up immediately and support tons of websites with one monthly payment. Q: Can I see which websites I’m supporting? A: Yes! You get a report that looks like this: If you like the web and use it as much as I do, why not support some of your favorite websites while reducing the number of ads you see? Give Google Contributor a try now .

Choosing an ecosystem for your data

You have many choices about where to put your data (email, docs, calendar, contacts): Apple, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, open source/self-hosting, etc. One big consideration for me is how hard it is to export my data. In essence, I’m looking for the exits before I even sit down in any company’s virtual room. For example, my wife bought an iPhone soon after it came out in 2007. Within minutes of playing with hers, I knew I’d soon be upgrading my flip phone to an iPhone as well. But I had to decide where to put my contacts, my calendar, and so forth. At one point, my wife ran into a problem with her Apple calendar that gave a weird error. When I searched for more information on that error message, I only found five matching web pages. Eventually, I figured out that the data on Apple’s calendar server had gotten mucked up and I needed to re-push a clean version of the data from a client. That stuck in my mind because Apple can be a pretty closed ecosystem. If something stopped working, it would be harder to fix the issue not only because the ecosystem was closed, but because the ecosystem was smaller at that time. I’m not a complete Google loyalist about my data. Most of my MP3s are from Amazon because they were among the first to offer a wide selection of music without DRM. I use CrashPlan to back up our family’s computers. I post public micro-updates on Twitter more often than on Google+. And I chose WordPress for my blog instead of Blogger in part to emphasize that this was my personal blog. But in general, I like that Google’s ecosystem promises not to trap user data , and Eric Schmidt recently reaffirmed that principle (it’s about 29:30 into the video). In essence, if you don’t like how Google handles your email, docs, calendar, or contacts, it’s easy to take your data out and go somewhere else. Because Google works to avoid data lock-in, it has to earn your loyalty. I like that a lot. The ability to export my data really matters to me. That’s why I’m comfortable using Twitter . And that’s one of the reasons that I deactivated my Facebook account 4.5 years ago–Facebook just didn’t feel as committed to letting me get my data back out of Facebook. Recently my wife got the new iPhone 6. It was easy for her to pull in my Google Calendar info, but Apple doesn’t allow their calendar data to flow directly into Google Calendar. That means that Apple’s ecosystem isn’t a good match for me. Apple’s choices for their ecosystem still work well for hundreds of millions of people though. No one ecosystem is right or wrong or best, only best for you. There’s a lot of reasons to choose a particular ecosystem, and everybody should decide what they care about for themselves. For some, it’s something that “just works.” For others, it’s the ability to tweak every single setting or directly control their own data, like with open-source. For others, it might be the size of the ecosystem. Or how much they trust the keeper of that ecosystem. Or the security of that ecosystem. For me, I usually prefer a reasonable user experience, a lot of security protection, and an escape hatch to take my data with me. That’s why I believe the Google ecosystem is the best fit for my data at this point.

Fresh Air Family free & cheap events July 3 – July 9 – The Birmingham News – al.com (blog)

Fresh Air Family free & cheap events July 3 – July 9 The Birmingham News – al.com (blog) Look for the SEO signs. SEO people will assemble next to the concrete planter closest to the stage to the right of the dragon statue (as you face the band) right where the grass ends and the concrete floor leading to the entrance to the arena begins …