Android End of Lifing

I have written before about Android issues.

It may sound like I am not interested in Android’s success but if that were the case I wouldn’t write about it. Apple needs a strong competitor so consumers, prosumers, and businesses have viable choices.

There is a lot in the news that Android is gaining market share through the many suppliers whose mobile phones use the operating system but from a business model perspective Android is not making the revenues and achieving the profitability of Apple. It is important that this part of Google’s business achieves strong profitability independent of search revenue subsidization so the platform isn’t too heavily influenced by ad revenue orientation.

Fraser Speirs nails it when he mentions the “Open” and “Cloud” nonsense that is touted by some Android adherents (aka fanboys?) without a clear understanding of what it all means from a practical how does it provide value perspective. These buzzwords are mostly just being used to invoke an emotional warm and fuzzy. One of the visions I hoped for Android was that it could free consumers from the shackles of carrier lock-in and value minus but the different carrier specific Android versions and general lack of software upgrade support is a serious problem that needs to be corrected. The fragmented app store environment which is sometimes spun to be an advantage somehow will be seen by savvy consumers for what it is – a chaotic environment that is the opposite of open and free. How does the current carrier oriented environment Google is supporting help buyers to easily migrate to the best deal and latest version of software? It looks like carrier lock-in and forced obsolescence to me.

Apple is characterized as the “closed” environment but in Canada I can choose from three carriers for voice and data service and now in the US users have the choice of 2 carriers. I can transfer my carrier service and my app investment is portable. I will still continue to benefit from regular platform updates.

I am hoping that users demand true openness and use the cloud to voice their concerns about Android obsolescence and lock-in to demand better. Then the true competitive mobile environment we need can flourish.

Setup Google Talk (Windows)

First Register for a Gmail Google Account

If you don’t yet have a Gmail account, here is How to Register for Gmail (step by step) or How to Register for Gmail (the video).

Ways to use Google Talk

There are three ways to use Google Talk:

  1. Google Talk Gadget
  2. Google Talk Client
  3. Google Talk in Gmail

1. If you are a big time Google applications user you may have an iGoogle account or have installed the Google Talk Gadget on a web page. The gadget is one way to use Google Talk.

2. If your user group is all Windows users you can install the Google Talk Client software and do instant messaging, make calls, leave voice messages, and transfer files. The client software uses your Gmail contact list.

3. You can use Google Talk without installing the client software by just using the instant messaging capabilities provided with Gmail. You can also add voice and video chat to Gmail as explained in the next section.

Gmail Voice and Video Chat

Installing this software supplements instant messaging with your gmail contacts with the ability to also do a voice and video chat.

Screen Sharing with Mac or having Online Meetings

After configuring and installing the software described you should be well on your way in using Google Talk for instant messaging, voice calls, and voice with video calls. In a separate post I will provide information on how to do screen sharing for presentations, support, collaboration etc. between different computer types. If both people have Windows PCs, just use Google Talk through your client software or Gmail account but if you want to collaborate with people using Macs or you want to have a meeting with more than one person it gets a little more complicated.

Setup iChat and Google Talk for your Mac

Getting an iChat account through AOL instant Messenger

This assumes you don’t have a a mobileme (previously known as .mac) account which is another way to activate iChat.

Configuring iChat for Google Talk

This allows you to do googletalk instant messaging using iChat. Unfortunately iChat’s voice, video, and screensharing capabilities do not work with googletalk but you can activate googletalk voice and video using Gmail as described in the next section.

Gmail Voice and Video Chat

Installing this software supplements instant messaging with your gmail contacts with the ability to also do a voice and video chat. If you don’t yet have a Gmail account, here is How to Register for Gmail (step by step) or How to Register for Gmail (the video).

Screen Sharing with Windows or having Online Meetings

After configuring and installing the software described you should be well on your way in using iChat and Google Talk for instant messaging, voice calls, and voice with video calls. In a separate post I will provide information on how to do screen sharing for presentations, support, collaboration etc. between different computer types. If both people have Macs, just use iChat through your AIM or mobileme account but if you want to collaborate with people using Windows or you want to have a meeting with more than one person it gets a little more complicated.

Registering for a Google Account

This lesson takes you step by step through registration for a Gmail account which is also used for access to all the Google account services (or How to Register for Gmail (the video)). I have used red boxes to highlight the part of the screen you need to pay close attention to. You won’t see these red boxes on the actual web page. In the instructions I have put square brackets around the text on links or buttons.

Google Canada web page

google-sign-in.png

Type in the address of the Google Canada site into the address field as highlighted in the red box above. Then click the [Sign in] link.

Choose Gmail in the Google Accounts Page

google-accounts-gmail.png

Choose the [Gmail] link as shown highlighted by the red box. (It is preferable to create a Google account with Gmail rather than just an account as shown in the right hand corner).

Welcome to Gmail

gmail-email-from-google.png

You don’t have an account yet so you need to click on the link [Sign up for Gmail].

Create a Google Account for Gmail Part 1

google-accounts-p1.png

Enter your first name and last name. It is recommended for the desired login name to use your first name and last name separated by a period if it is available. The [check availability] button will let you know if your desired choice is available or you need to pick another alternative. Choose a hard to guess password that you will remember. Leave the default boxes checked as these are useful options.

Create a Google Account for Gmail Part 2

google-accounts-p2.png

A good security question is something that will help you if you forget your password but isn’t too obvious for someone else to use to bypass it. Your secondary email will be sent the information if you ever forget your password. Word verification is used to try to ensure that it is a person who is registering the account. You won’t see the same characters as above which in this case are rescompa. You should scan the terms of service to check that you are ok on the rules for providing it to you. Click the [I accept. Create my account.] button. You now have a Gmail account which you can also use with other Google services.

Portable Devices, Ebooks, and Network Computing

These are interesting times.

The iphone and ipod touch are generating excitement about new models of phones and just about PDAs that oh yeah play music.

Kindle is generating new discussion about ebooks and online services.

Asus eee PC and Everex gPC are getting Linux enthusiasts excited of potential widespread adoption of inexpensive ultra portables with an open source operating system and applications.

I think Tim O’Reilly is right about multi-touch and there is potential in my opinion in the near future for touch screen tablet computers that could combine all of the above attributes.
How great would it be to have reasonable size screen for web surfing and book reading with multi-touch, solid state storage for quick start up, the ability to use open source applications, and online data storage and managed services for content. A wireless keyboard could be an option and with ubiquitous broadband networking, issues with backups and software updates could be a thing of the past. For the phone part include a speakerphone capability and wireless stereo headset with a mike that can be either folded out or folded into the clip if just listening to music.

There is going to be more than a few iterations in getting there so the content will need to be able to make the jump and not be stranded with a particular device but this could evolve into being a must have device especially if it is delivered in the $300 to $400 price range that most of these existing devices are being targeted at.

Home Design Software

Home design software is becoming more accessible and feature rich.

One place to experiment is Google sketchup 3D modelling software which is free.
Google also has a web site called 3D warehouse that has collections of models that can be reused.
Check out their furniture collections or cabinets.

Another option is Punch software’s Home Design which includes both Windows and Mac versions.
It is expensive at $200 USD for Architectural Series 4000 but if you are serious about home design or landscaping there is a lot of value in being able to visualize and walkthrough your designs. The Mac version is new and has gotten 9/10 review from Macosxhints.

Another potential option is plan3d which has a website subscription approach at $36 USD per year.
Check out the demos. Over 6,000 models and textures are included which you can resize and change the texture. You cannot create your own objects with plan3d but you can add images from other sources.

Starting a Blog

There are a lot of options for setting up a blog but probably the easiest and fastest to get started are Google’s blogger and WordPress.com.

Both types of blogs have lots of features and they are both free so get one of each and try them out.

With each of these it only takes a few minutes to start publishing your own content. The hardest part is deciding what topics you want to cover and writing the content.

Here is a getting started guide for blogger.

Here is a Start Blogging Online┬álink on some very good but slightly advanced items for improving your blog – some are only relevant if you have your own site. How to Start a Free Blog has some other good tips.

How to start a blog begins with a theme and then choice of blog service.

This article by Kathy Sierra is actually applicable to writing or presentations in general but it is also relevant to blog posts.

Easiest instructions for starting a blog. Why is this at the end?

Checking Gmail on the move

Checking Gmail on the move:
gmail

Google recently released a FANTASTIC Java app which allows you to easily check your Gmail from a mobile phone. It is very fast, simple and easy to use. To get it, just point your phone’s web browser to http://gmail.com/app . It will then ask permission to download and install a 100k applet.

Gmail has a lot of great features and enhancements through grease monkey or other plugins. The best feature however is it is accessible from multiple platforms including cell phones.