Ivor O’Connor

June 1, 2013

Google Reader Officially Dead Today

Filed under: GOOGLE, GOOGLE DOCS — ioconnor @ 4:42 pm

This is the end, beautiful friend This is the end, my only friend, the end
Of our elaborate plans, the end Of everything that stands, the end No safety or surprise, the end I’ll never look into your eyes again
Can you picture what will be So limitless and free
Desperately in need of some stranger’s hand In a desperate land
Lost in a Roman wilderness of pain And all the children are insane All the children are insane Waiting for the summer rain, yeah
Kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill — The Doors.

Well Google has now, as of today, killed its reader.  Sort of reminds me of GM killing their EV. Despite candlelight vigils.

Google is pure evil these days. Everybody needs to get off of them as quickly as possible. For many many reasons. Unfortunately many of their applications are very compelling. Like chrome, reader, docs, search, maps, and such. Feedly appears to already be better than reader. The next step for me is to get off of docs.

To do this I’ll need to move my documents somewhere that are always accessible. Something like https://www.dropbox.com/ but with more storage. BitTorrent Sync appears to be perfect. I’ve now installed it on a Windows 7 and Linux Mint 14 computer and appears to work nicely. I’ll be putting it on all my computers. The strong points of BitTorrent Sync are:

  1. Runs on Windows, Linux, and the Mac.
  2. No copy of your data on the web like with DropBox and Google Docs.
  3. No external limitations on space. DropBox only gives you a few GBs. BitTorrent Sync has no disk space limitations.
  4. Don’t need to be online to sync your data between computers on your home network. BitTorrent Sync automatically handles this.
  5. Uses the encrypted BitTorrent protocols for speed and privacy.
  6. Is totally free.

With access to your files wherever you are you can now use libre office instead of google docs. What to do for email, maps, and such will be worked on in future posts.

Moral of this post is that google is evil and you need to prepare ahead of time before they get you.

March 3, 2010

Google Local Business: Can’t Change Business Ownership?

Filed under: GOOGLE LOCAL BUSINESS — Tags: — ioconnor @ 3:08 pm

This seems totally ludicrous but if you set up a business ownership on google maps apparently once you finish you can’t transfer ownership. It stays attached to your email account forever. Unless you want to delete everything, including the reviews, and start all over from scratch!

You’d think a business listing would have multiple accounts associated with it. Similar to a document in docs.google so multiple people could update things. Nope. So be careful!

Here’s the problem described by others: http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/maps/thread?tid=4035ccad081f11ee&hl=en

November 14, 2009

Firefox to Chrome Switch

Filed under: CHROME, Firefox — Tags: — ioconnor @ 5:25 pm

I spent time on firefox irc channels this week, reachable via http://irc.mozilla.org/, only to become disgusted. They were completely clueless about using html5 to access sqlite databases. Not only clueless but hostile to the idea of ever using a browser as an application’s front-end. Then there was the lack of documentation on their development sites. Lots of stubs to be completed at future dates does not count as documentation. Because their servers are so incredibly slow it takes time to navigate through their pages to discover the details are merely placeholders. Plus the fact their irc channels were not reachable via common irc networks gave me an overall feeling Firefox has slipped. Badly. So since Firefox has lost its way I installed Chrome. Chrome comes with support for accessing local sqlite files which Firefox developers don’t even want to.

http://www.ubuntugeek.com/how-to-install-chromium-google-chrome-in-ubuntu-using-deb-package.html is where I started. The instructions were remarkably good. Chrome seems to run fine on Ubuntu and Vista. I’m writing this post from Chrome. I’ll give myself a few weeks of getting familiar with Chrome…

Google Chrome adds additional JavaScript functionality through Gears. Gears is bundled with every Chrome install, adding new features to the web browser faster than previous plugins. The Gears libraries include support for new local cache structures, local databases, location data, background tasks, and file handling. Chrome boosts the available Gears footprint for web developers, including Google’s own apps such as Google Reader and Google Docs (and my blog). The current Gears code included in Chrome replicates V8 and sqlite code already present in the browser, a bolt-on that will hopefully be integrated in the near future.



So Gears is built in to Chrome like I had heard. Unlike Firefox the documentation looks good and exists here.

This all seems very Microsoft like. Taking over a market by buying out the best programmers and throwing lots of money around. Unfortunately the free alternative, Firefox, is in need of direction. Maybe Firefox will rise from the dead again but I suspect they will take years to regroup.



  1. Chrome has imported all my passwords successfully. It’s truly amazing how well it has done this.
  2. Chrome is magnitudes faster than Firefox. I had thought some sites were just slow but apparently it’s the javascript or rendering engine in Firefox that makes them so slow. With Google’s Chrome these sites are almost rendered in real time.


  1. Printing sucks. You’ll need to pull up whatever you want to print with Firefox and print from within Firefox. Problems with printing are:
    1. The keystorkes “ALT-f p” do not bring up the print panel. Instead the right mouse key is used taking your hands away from the keyboard. A minor problem but irritating.
    2. The print looks totally different, ugly, and incorrect with various lines that are not in the displayed version blotting out the output. If you don’t mind the stuff that’s printed which should not be printed it’s ok.
    3. The print out does not stop at the pages specified in the form. So specifying pages 1-2 will get you everything and then some since the print outs are bad. So trying to get just the current page of what I normally print out got me three pages. (Though there were only two pages to print!)

June 9, 2009

Standardized Templates With JSON

Filed under: GEARS — Tags: , , — ioconnor @ 4:32 pm

My invoices are web based PHP creations. It would be better to switch to JavaScript. JavaScript with google.gears pulling sqlite data. The questionable part is massaging to JSON data and then right back to JavaScript variables. This excessive redundant busy work for the sake of standardized reusable modules may be a good decision over time and for future projects. The final templates for invoices and what not will hopefully be easier too.

With this goal in mind I came across an interesting Dr. Dobbs article here http://www.ddj.com/windows/217701311. John Resig and Rich Strahl have put together a useful library for funneling JSON data into a template. With these two as the authors there is very little doubt the module will become a standard. I’m going to use the article and a google search on  ‘“Rick Strahl” “John Resig” parseTemplate json‘ as a starting point…

April 5, 2009

Starting Skeleton, Template, For Sqlite Google Gear Self-Contained Client Apps

Client side applications using google gears for locally storing SQL data are obviously the future. They allow applications to be run on any operating system without coding user interfaces, learning new languages, or managing SQL database daemons/servers. You can start by running the application off a server. But it’s much better to simply download the web page and run it disconnected from the internet. To start the application in the future you simply click on the html file you downloaded.  It is so cool.

Where are all the example sites describing how to use google gears for client side applications though? I’ve looked for starting point skeletons and have found NONE! I believe it is because the subject is new. So I’m publishing my own skeleton. It can be found at http://ioconnor.atbhost.net/google.gears.skeleton.html. I’ll probably upgrade it as time goes on but my skeleton is quite good already. After you read through Google’s tutorials at http://code.google.com/apis/gears/tutorial.html download my code and use it as a starting point for your own project. Don’t reinvent the wheel!

My skeleton is self-contained. There’s no need to download a set of files or update a registry, run an installation script, etc., assuming your environment is complete.

However if your base environment is not complete no problem. The environment is tested to verify the gears addon has already been installed, that javascript is enabled, and that you have an up-to-date browser. If something is lacking you must click “ok” to acknowledge the problem and then your browser takes you to the URL where  the fix is.

I wish I had this easy to use skeleton a long time ago. It makes client side browser applications using SQL easy!

I’m probably going to make quite a few client side browser applications using this template. Having a free interface, sql database, and programming language across all OS platforms levels the playing field so much it can’t be ignored.

Update 2009.04.08: The code was refined yet again tonight. There’s nothing in it that seems to be lacking that can be done better. However please comment on it if there is something more that could be done…

April 4, 2009

Stripped Google Gears Causing Accidents

Filed under: debugging, Firefox, GEARS, GOOGLE, howto, JavaScript, Linux, tutorial, typeof, ubuntu — Tags: , , , , , — ioconnor @ 12:02 am

Attempting to use Google Gears when it is not installed on a user’s browser causes an error. You’d think their library would handle this more gracefully than just crashing but it doesn’t.
UPDATED 2009.04.04: Their library should define the call but return something akin to an alert warning the user/developer

The crash occurs on this line:

g_db = google.gears.factory.create(‘beta.database’);

I pulled out my “JavaScript The Definitive Guide 5th Edition” looking for how to get around this. (This is my primary reference book for all things JavaScript. Perhaps if I were better at JavaScript it would be second nature but I’m not good at JavaScript so I spend lots of time looking things up.) I figured “google…” was not defined. So I looked at the index and put a paperclip on each page in the book referenced by the index. Then I tried all sorts of combinations none of which would work. Things like:

if (google === undefined) {
} else {


if (google == undefined) {
} else {


if (“gears” in google) {
} else {


if (google) {
} else {


if (google.gears) {
} else {


if (“length” in google) {
} else {

but none of above worked! There were no other solutions in my reference book. My reference book doth sucketh.

So I used a try/catch for a while but I’d still get an error message in the “error console”. The try/catch is ugly but it let me do what I needed and polluting the error console seems to be acceptable. Everybody does it. Just leave the error console open while browsing the web to see how rampant the pollution is.

However I revisited this problem today. After extensive googling seeing all sorts of “solutions” that were similar to the above and which did not work I happened to find the following:

if (typeof(google) == ‘undefined’) {

I’m using Firefox 3.0.8 if this makes any difference. It’s the very latest version as of this month from Mozilla. I’ve got to remember this solution in the future!

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