Monday, October 31, 2011

Keen On ? How Steve Jobs Changed Our World (TCTV)

Ooyala Backlot Web-deu 1Back in 2000, in the prehistoric age before the iPod, the iPhone or the iPad, the noted technology journalist Alan Deutschman�wrote a very well received biography entitled The Second Coming of Steve Jobs. And now, more than a decade later, Deutschman is back on the Jobs circuit and has just authored what he calls an e-slice essay entitled How Steve Jobs Changed Our World. Jobs changed our world twice, Deutschman told me when I caught up with him on Skype. First of all, he revitalized American business in the dark days of the early 80?s, Deutschman explained, seizing back the mantle of innovation from Japanese companies like Sony and even reviving the ideal of the American manufacturing industry. �Most of all, Deutschman told me, Steve Jobs changed American industry after 2000 by first grasping and then realizing the idea of what he calls ?digital lifestyle? and design.


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Sunday, October 30, 2011

It?s Time For Google To Let Google Voice Live Up To Its Promise

gvlogoLast week TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington wrote a post highlighting the fact that iPhone users can get a surprisingly good experience using Google Voice if they're willing to switch to Sprint. Google Voice on the iPhone typically has some hurdles, mostly because Apple won't let the native Google Voice app 'take over' the dialer the way it can on Android (not to mention the fact that the iOS GV app is notoriously buggy). But Sprint has done some unique, deep integration at the carrier level that minimizes these issues. His post got me thinking about my experience with Google Voice since I began using it exclusively in November 2009. My conclusion: there are a lot of areas for improvement. The latency and occasional cutouts range from mildly annoying to infuriating. Text messages sometimes seem to arrive much later than they should. And MMS simply isn't offered for most people (Sprint just launched support, but none of the other carriers do). But a few hours later, as I dealt with my carrier T-Mobile dropping two calls in succession, I realized there's one simple feature that Google Voice could easily offer that would do a lot to make up for all of its quirks: VoIP support.


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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Qantas Grounds Its Worldwide Fleet Over Labor Dispute

Published: October 29, 2011

HONG KONG ? Qantas announced on Saturday that it had grounded its entire fleet around the world, the most drastic move yet in a protracted labor dispute between the airline and its employees.

The announcement caused the immediate cancellation of 600 flights affecting 70,000 travelers, the airline said. Aircraft in the air will complete their journeys to their destinations, Qantas said.

Alan Joyce, the airline?s chief executive, said the airline?s fleet of 108 aircraft would remain grounded until the company reached agreement over pay and work conditions with the unions representing pilots, mechanics and ground staff.

The airline said that beginning Monday it would lock out all employees over a dispute with the engineers association, pilots, catering and ground handling associations. The grounding of the fleet will cost the airline an estimated $21 million a day. Mr. Joyce said the decision was made as a safety measure.

?This is a very tense environment,? he said, speaking at a news conference in Sydney.

A series of labor disputes, including strikes and bans on overtime work, have hit the airline as employees have voiced concern that their jobs are being moved overseas. Qantas has been forced to reduce and reschedule flights for weeks because of the disputes.

The announcement drew swift reaction from the Australian government and a pilots group.

?I am very concerned about Qantas? future. The government is making an urgent application to Fair Work Australia (an industrial court) ... to terminate all industrial action at Qantas,? Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said in a report from Reuters. ?This will be aimed at both actions by unions and by Qantas management.?

The move will not affect flights by partners across the Tasman Sea or by partner freight airlines, the airline said.

?It?s unprecedented and really it has hijacked the nation,? Barry Jackson of the Australian and International Pilots Association told Sky News. ?It really has put everyone on notice and ... it?s forcing the government?s hand on this.?

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Friday, October 28, 2011

Gild Hits Half A Million Members, Now Lets Developers ?Face-Off? To See Who?s Got The Most Skillz

116438v4-max-250x250Gild, a TechCrunch Disrupt startup and a game-ified jobs platform for developers, raised $2.4 million in seed funding from Globespan Partners back in August. Since launching at Disrupt a year ago, Gild has grown quickly, and today announced that it has attracted 500,000 members across 174 countries.


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Thursday, October 27, 2011

In Race for New York Mayor, Arrest Records to Promote

A City Where Campaign Posters Can Promote Past Arrests


The next New York mayoral election is two years away, but prospective candidates are already busy raising money, lining up endorsements and, in some cases, burnishing their rap sheets.

Ramin Talaie/Associated Press

In 2003, left, Bill de Blasio was arrested protesting a firehouse closing.

Bebeto Matthews/Associated Press

In 1999, Christine C. Quinn was arrested protesting the killing of Amadou Diallo.

Michael Appleton for The New York Times

Tom Allon, a candidate for mayor in 2013, slept in Zuccotti Park on Tuesday night with the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators.

As the Occupy Wall Street movement sets off a national conversation about protests and social change, Christine C. Quinn, the City Council speaker and the best-known of the likely Democratic candidates, has gone out of her way to say that she has been arrested ?numerous times? for civil disobedience and therefore understands the importance of protecting free speech rights.

Ms. Quinn, who routinely faces questions about whether her efforts to woo the business community have weakened her allegiance to liberal causes, had particular reason to emphasize her history of being handcuffed for a cause. But it turns out that she is not alone among the hopefuls in being able to flaunt a record of arrests.

Bill de Blasio, the public advocate and another likely candidate for mayor, has been arrested three times ? once in 2003, for protesting the closing of a firehouse in Brooklyn, and twice in the late 1980s and early ?90s, for protesting in front of the White House against United States policy in Latin America, his spokesman, Wiley Norvell, said.

And Scott M. Stringer, the Manhattan borough president, was arrested in 1999 during protests against the police killing of Amadou Diallo, and in the 1980s while calling on Exxon to cease doing business in apartheid South Africa, his spokeswoman, Audrey Gelman, said. (Mr. Stringer was also detained and given a ticket in 1994 after arguing over electioneering rules with an officer at a polling place; he was not charged, and the ticket was dismissed.)

Three other prospective Democratic candidates ? John C. Liu, the comptroller; William C. Thompson Jr., a former comptroller and the 2009 mayoral nominee; and Tom Allon, a media executive ? said they had never been arrested. But Mr. Allon, eager to demonstrate his activist credentials, said he spent the night at Zuccotti Park on Tuesday, making him the first candidate to do so.

The current mayor, Michael R. Bloomberg, who as a young adult observed but did not participate in the protest movements of the 1960s, has never been arrested, his spokesman, Stu Loeser, said.

James Miller, a professor of politics at the New School for Social Research, expressed surprise that so many likely candidates had arrest records and were proud to share them, saying it was yet another sign that New York City differs from the rest of the country. In the 1992 presidential campaign, he noted, President George Bush criticized his Democratic opponent, Bill Clinton, for having organized two small protests in London against the Vietnam War in 1969.

?It wasn?t just a question of did he inhale or not, or was he a draft dodger, but had he been part of disorderly protests,? Professor Miller said.

Outside of New York City, he said, a record of having been arrested can be the ?kiss of death? for a candidate, unless the candidate was a black civil rights leader like Representative John Lewis, Democrat of Georgia.

Mr. de Blasio, Mr. Stringer and Ms. Quinn were born in the 1960s and were too young to take part in any significant way in the antiwar movement of the Vietnam years. Ms. Quinn?s history as an activist is well chronicled, but her noting her arrest record came at a key moment in the brief history of Occupy Wall Street; she issued a statement arguing that the protesters should be allowed to remain in Zuccotti Park on Oct. 13, the eve of a planned cleanup of the park, where protesters have camped out since Sept. 17.

?As someone who has been arrested myself numerous times for civil disobedience,? Ms. Quinn said, ?I understand how important it is to make sure people?s First Amendment right to protest is protected.?

Her spokesman, Jamie McShane, said Ms. Quinn had been arrested at least half a dozen times, including during the protests in 1999 against the killing of Mr. Diallo, and that same year at a St. Patrick?s Day parade in the Bronx, when she and several other gay Irish-Americans tried to join the procession after being barred by the organizers.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

PM: 5 feet of water could cover Bangkok

Bomb blast kills two and injures five in southern Philippine port city Zamboanga, officials say.
By the CNN Wire Staff
October 26, 2011 -- Updated 1633 GMT (0033 HKT)
Click to play
Bangkok road becomes river
  • NEW: Bangkok's governor warns of the highest water levels in next few days
  • Evacuations include 600 inmates at a prison, some animals from a zoo
  • PM warns capital could be submerged by as much as 1.5 meters (4.9 feet)
  • Authorities: Floods have killed 373 people and affected more than 9.5 million

Are you there? Send your images, video to iReport.

Bangkok, Thailand (CNN) -- Bangkok faces the highest flood levels yet and is preparing for the worst, the governor of the Thai capital told CNN Wednesday.

Residents are urged to flee the rising floodwaters, which have already forced the closure of Bangkok's Don Muang airport and the evacuation of flood victims who have taken refuge there.

Thailand's government has declared a five-day public holiday in flood-affected provinces to try to encourage people to seek safety elsewhere before high tides expected this weekend.

But Bangkok Gov. Sukhumbhand Paripatra told CNN the authorities could not evacuate a whole city and it was difficult to persuade the Thai people to leave their homes, despite the risk.

Thailand devastated by floods
Floodwaters engulf Bangkok area

"Apparently there will be large volume of water run-off coming toward the city tonight onwards, and over the weekend," he said. "At the point of high tide, it will be very high, the highest this year. We are bracing for the worse."

Thongthong Chantharangsu, a spokesman for Thailand's Flood Relief Operations Center, appealed on TV for Bangkok residents to head to the countryside.

In a televised address Tuesday night, Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said the capital could be submerged by as much as 1.5 meters (4.9 feet) of water.

Of particular concern were areas along the Chao Phraya River, which winds through the capital and is expected to overwhelm embankments this weekend.

The Airports of Thailand declared Don Muang airport, which primarily services domestic flights, closed Tuesday night, after floodwaters flowed on to runways and affected the lighting.

Nok Air, which usually operates from Don Muang, was forced to cancel flights but should be able to run an almost normal schedule by Friday after moving its operations to the main Suvarnabhumi Airport, the airline's chief executive Patee Sarasin said Wednesday. Some 3,000 Nok Air passengers were affected by flight cancellations Tuesday, he said.

The flood relief operation will continue to be based at the airport, the Thai government said Wednesday.

More than 600 prisoners held at Bang Kwang Central Prison have been evacuated, according to the Department of Corrections. The high-security prison has about 4,000 inmates, the chief of the prison said, some of them high-profile.

The floods have also forced the Dusit Zoo to evacuate some animals, including goat antelope and Sika deer, to a zoo in the countryside, according to Dusit Zoo's chief, Karnchai Saenwong.

The U.S. ambassador to Thailand, Kristie A. Kenny, said the crisis was slow moving and it was hard to know what would be hit next.

The United States has already provided civilian relief resources including water pumps, purifiers and life vests, she said, and two U.S. helicopters are helping the Thai military survey the extent of the flooding.

Nationwide, the floods have killed 373 people and affected more than 9.5 million people, authorities said.

The public holiday announced Tuesday will be from Thursday to next Monday and will be effective in 21 provinces, including Bangkok, that are still under water, a government spokeswoman said.

The government has called the flooding the worst to afflict the nation in half a century and said it might take more than a month before the waters recede in some areas.

The government has set up more than 1,700 shelters nationwide, and more than 113,000 people have taken refuge.

Overall damage from the floods has risen and could top $6 billion, with the worst yet to come as the waters destroy shops and paralyze factories nationwide, the Thai Finance Ministry said.

Thailand derives a significant portion of its revenue from tourism, which has been diminished by the flooding.

CNN's Elizabeth Yuan, Kocha Olarn and Paula Hancocks contributed to this report


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Obama to Leno: Gadhafi a 'message'

By the CNN Wire Staff
October 26, 2011 -- Updated 0516 GMT (1316 HKT)
President Barack Obama appears on

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- President Barack Obama addressed a broad range of political topics during an appearance on NBC's "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" Tuesday, insisting among other things that he's not spending too much time yet focused on next year's potential GOP campaign rivals.

"I'm going to wait until everybody's voted off the island," Obama joked. "Once they narrow it down to one or two (candidates), I'll start paying attention."

Obama is currently on a three-day trip to Nevada, California and Colorado. The trip includes several fundraisers for his re-election bid.

During a wide-ranging interview, Obama criticized Washington's harsh political climate, telling Leno that "the things that folks across the country are most fed up with, whether you are a Democrat, Republican, (or) independent, is putting party ahead of country or putting the next election ahead of the next generation."

The two men discussed several foreign policy topics, including the situation in Libya and the impending withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

Regarding Libya, Leno asked the president for his reaction to the death of longtime strongman Moammar Gadhafi.

"This is somebody who for 40 years has terrorized his country and supported terrorism," Obama said. Gadhafi "had an opportunity during the Arab Spring to finally let loose of his grip on power and to peacefully transition into democracy. We gave him ample opportunity, and he wouldn't do it."

Obama said Gadhafi's demise sent "a strong message around the world to dictators" that "people long to be free," and that "universal rights" and aspirations should be respected.

The bloodied Gadhafi's televised jostling with his captors was not something Americans "should relish," the president said

"There was a reason after (Osama) bin Laden was killed, for example, we didn't release the photograph," the president said. "I think that there's a certain decorum with which you treat the dead -- even if it's somebody who has done terrible things."

The president hit back at GOP critics of the American role in the NATO-led Libya campaign, insisting that the United States did not, as many have claimed, "lead from behind."

"We lead from the front," Obama asserted, highlighting the U.S. role in pushing a U.N. resolution backing NATO's intervention, as well as the U.S. military's role in establishing a no-fly zone over Libya.

"The difference here is we were able to organize the international community," Obama said. "There was never this sense that somehow we were unilaterally making a decision to take out somebody. Rather, it was the world community."

The Libya operation "is a recipe for success in the future," the president declared.

Obama also defended his choice to withdraw all U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of the year -- a decision blasted by GOP critics concerned the move will imperil U.S. gains in the region.

"I don't know exactly how they are thinking about it," Obama said. "We've been in there four years, over 4,000 young men and women killed, tens of thousands injured, some of them for life, (and) spent close to $1 trillion on this operation. I think the vast majority of the American people feel as if it is time to bring this war to a close, particularly because we still have ... work to do in Afghanistan."

The president noted the importance of the recent death of Anwar al-Awlaki, the U.S.-born cleric killed in Yemen by a U.S. drone strike. Al-Awlaki played a critical role with Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, heading up external operations and focusing on attacking the United States, officials said.

Al-Awlaki was "probably the most important al Qaeda threat that was out there after bin Laden was taken out," Obama said. "It was important that working with the enemies, we were able to remove him from the field."

Turning closer to home, Obama had strong praise for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton -- his toughest competitor for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008.

"I'm really proud of her," Obama said. "It really wasn't that difficult" to come together after the campaign. "The truth is Hillary and I agree on the vast majority of issues."

Obama appeared to dismiss rumors of a possible job swap between Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden in 2012, telling Leno that "they are doing great where they are."

The president expressed a degree of sympathy for the Occupy Wall Street movement, noting that "people are frustrated, and that frustration has expressed itself in a lot of different ways" -- including both Occupy Wall Street and the tea party.

As a huge basketball fan, the president called the current NBA lockout "heartbreaking."

"We should be able to figure out how to split a $9 billion dollar pot so that our fans, who are allowing us to make all of this money, can actually have a good season," he said.

Asked about his health and personal habits, Obama told Leno that he has "definitively" quit smoking, and remains "big on exercise."

The president said he works out on a regular basis with first lady Michelle Obama in a small White House gym.

"It's embarrassing sometimes," the president said. "She'll get up there a half an hour earlier than me. She will have already run 10 miles or something ... (when I'm) staggering up to the gym."

Noting the first lady's highly publicized campaign for fitness and healthier eating habits, Obama said his wife actually does enjoy more unhealthy cuisine on occasion.

"She loves french fries. She loves pizza. She loves chicken. Her point is just in moderation," Obama told Leno.

As for the upcoming Halloween holiday, the president said his wife generally hands out fruit and raisins.

The president said he told his wife that "the White House is going to get egged if this keeps up."


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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

N.C.A.A. President Favors Bigger Grants for Athletes


WASHINGTON ? The N.C.A.A. president, Mark Emmert, said Monday that he supported a proposal that would let conferences increase grants to athletes by about $2,000, a move that critics say would escalate the financial disparity in college sports.

Manuel Balce Ceneta/Associated Press

Mark Emmert spoke at a watchdog group's meeting.

This funding would be in addition to tuition, room, board, books and other expenses that are already covered by athletic scholarships. The increase is not considered payment for participation. Rather, Emmert said, it would help cover costs that student-athletes are unable to offset, because most do not have time to work part-time jobs.

?I?ve heard a lot of people say, ?Well, you want to do this $2,000 cost-of-attendance thing to reduce the probability of students breaking rules,? and that?s nonsense,? Emmert told the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics during a three-hour meeting at the Ritz-Carlton. ?People break rules because they break rules.?

Emmert said a final plan would be presented to the N.C.A.A.?s board of directors by the end of the week. If it is approved, individual conferences will have the option of adopting the policy.

But universities that operate outside the lucrative Bowl Championship Series conferences could struggle to fund this change, and the financial gap between teams in the major conferences and those outside could become even larger.

?President Emmert said some conferences will do this and some won?t, and it?s pretty clear to me who will and who won?t,? Boise State?s president, Robert Kustra, said. ?There?s already a great divide between larger conferences and the smaller conferences, and this is just going to exacerbate the gap between the haves and have-nots.?

Thomas Ross, the president of the University of North Carolina system, acknowledged Kustra?s fears. ?It does create an edge for the big guys,? he said.

Ross said he was concerned about how students might spend the $2,000. He suggested providing it on a debit card that allowed universities to see the receipts.

Louisiana State?s chancellor, Michael Martin, said his university could probably afford the added expense, but he would not be surprised if it was met with resistance on his campus.

?I?ve got 1,400 faculty members who would love to have $2,000 more a year having gone four years without any pay raise,? Martin said.

Martin, who was previously New Mexico State?s president, also said he empathized with the possible plight of a university that did not have the needed resources. He said that adding another $2,000 per athlete per year at New Mexico State could make it ?almost impossible to do anything but hang onto the edge.?

The Knight Commission, which is an N.C.A.A. watchdog group comprising college presidents and other leaders, said it would support the cost of the funding changes if the money were for students in financial need.

Other topics were addressed at Monday?s meeting, including new academic standards, stricter freshmen eligibility requirements and conference realignment.

Emmert said the minimum Academic Progress Rates required for teams to compete in the postseason could be raised to 900 in time for this season?s N.C.A.A. men?s basketball tournament. It could increase to 930 ? essentially corresponding to a 50 percent graduation rate ? in two years.

If the 900 rate had been in place last season, Emmert said, Connecticut, the men?s basketball national champion, would not have been eligible for the tournament.

Regarding conference realignment, Emmert said the N.C.A.A. was mostly taking a hands-off approach. But he said the sudden, frenetic changes to the conference landscape had been unsettling. He suggested that universities considering moves operate more openly in a 30-day window rather than making quick decisions behind closed doors.

?At the end of the day, individual presidents in particular have to feel good about trusting each other,? Emmert said. ?They?ve got to sit down and do business together. We?ve seen some erosion of that trust and confidence this year, and that bothers me a lot.?

Neither Emmert nor the university presidents here were sure when, how or even if conference realignment would end. But they agreed that the changes could be disconcerting.

?I think it?s far from over, and I think we could ultimately end up with two enormous conferences, one called ESPN and one called Fox,? said Martin, L.S.U.?s chancellor. ?I?m not exactly sure what we do about it.?

More in College Football (2 of 34 articles)

Read More �


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Monday, October 24, 2011

LiveChat Founders Buy Out Investor Naspers, Regain 60% Stake

livechatExclusive - The founding team of LiveChat, which delivers real-time software and web analytics solutions for e-commerce sales and support teams, has completed a management buy-out to regain control over the company, TechCrunch has learned. The founders were looking to get back a controlling equity stake in the company, and teamed up with PE firm Tar Heel Capital to acquire a 60% stake, effectively buying out investor Naspers, a massive South Africa-based media and investment group.


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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Nintendo 3DS Gets Camera Update, Charming Mario Editions

416Nintendo has just wrapped a press conference going over some developments for the 3DS. The platform has seen strong but lower than expected sales, though the pricing do-over in August has spurred adoption. This update seems like a sort of holdover while the big games are still unreleased, but any improvements to the platform are always welcome.


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Friday, October 21, 2011

9 Essential Geek Books You Must Read Right Now

<< Previous | Next >>
Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master?s Guide
  • Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master?s Guide
  • Hitchhiker?s Guide to the Galaxy
  • Watchmen
  • 9for9-books04
  • Ender?s Game
  • Snow Crash
  • Lord of the Rings
  • The Visual Display of Quantitative Information
  • Neuromancer

Over the next nine weeks, is presenting a collection of galleries intended to help people become better geeks, nine items at a time. This is the first of the series.

Maybe you have a friends who aren?t into Wired. Or the whole geek thing. You?re friends with these people, so we?ll have to assume a certain level of intelligence. They can read, right? So what do you tell them to read to get them a footing in this weird, wonderful world?

Here?s a collection of books that should get you started on the road to geekdom, or at least get you conversant in this world. If you?ve read all nine of these, you are one serious, smart geek. If not, you?ve got some fun ahead of you.

The problem with making a list is that you need to set limits. The limits here are: nine books, no duplicate authors, none written by people employed in this building. Peace at home trumps all.


Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master?s Guide, Gary Gygax, 1979

The hallmark of the true geek is attention to detail, and this book provides it in tiny sans-serif type over 240 pages. You don?t even have to be an adventurer to enjoy the obsessiveness that fills every page. There are tips on Treatment of Prospective Henchman, a Pummeling Table (that?s a chart, not furniture), and 20 types of insanity with detailed descriptions. Ostensibly a rules encyclopedia, the book really is a resource that gives people the tools to create entire worlds that their friends can explore and dream in.

Photo: Jim Merithew/

<< Previous Next >>

Vote for Your Favorite Geek Books

Got your own must-read tomes? Vote for one of our picks or submit your personal favorite using the form below. (Note: You can only add one book, so make your submission count.)
Marty Cortinas is the managing editor of Follow @mindworm and @theunderwire on Twitter.


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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Google+: Users Want More Features

Debra Donston-Miller
Debra Donston-Miller As an editor and writer, Debra Donston-Miller has been covering the technologies and topics vital to enterprise IT professionals for...Read Full Bio >>See More From This Columnist >>
Debra Donston-Miller | October 20, 2011

Google+ has great potential, but users of the social network are frustrated with Google's method of rolling out features that they want.

Google+ is far from dead, say many in the trenches who are finding the Google social network a platform with a lot of potential. However, as much as they like what is in Google+ so far, they are frustrated by what is not--and, in their opinion, should be--in the platform.

Several readers wrote to me after the publication of my last piece on Google+ in which I asked how people really are--or are not--using the network, especially compared with more established platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Mark Davis said Google+ is becoming his platform for professional networking while Facebook remains the place where he networks socially.

"Since I started using Google+ some weeks ago, I've developed a healthy network of people I trust, respect and enjoy," said Mark Davis. "Most of them are related to me professionally in some way. They are technologically literate, they are educated and articulate, and I genuinely want to know what they're up to, what they have to say. Adults, young and old; professionals; technologists; artists; teachers; most of them good friends of mine ... The pattern I see here is a grown-up, educated, closer, smaller community that isn't a subset of my Facebook friends."

10 Essential Google+ Tips
Slideshow: 10 Essential Google+ Tips
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)

IT consultant David G. Osayidan said Google+ is on the right track but he has been frustrated by a lack of integration with other Google services.

"They're taking what was wrong with others, including their own failed attempts such as Buzz, and doing it right," he said. "I really enjoy the concept of Circles and the level of control we have over who sees what. This aspect alone is forcing others like Facebook to rethink their own systems, and that's good for everyone. With that, Google+ has left a positive mark, regardless of how it fares in the future."

Osayidan noted that he has been using Google+ with a "dummy" account because his primary Google account is with Google Apps. He said he has been "frustrated and a bit shocked" that he pays for Google services and cannot use them with Google+. Currently, there is no way to integrate a professional Google Apps account with the Google+ service, although Google senior VP of engineering Vic Gundotra announced Wednesday at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco that support for Google App account users will be added within days. He also said that support for brand pages is also forthcoming, but will take longer to roll out.

[Get full coverage from the Web 2.0 Summit, produced by Federated Media and O'Reilly Media in partnership with UBM TechWeb.]

The addition of these capabilities will certainly be welcome, but it is this spastic method of rollout that has some users throwing their hands up. Many say they love the idea of a Google social network but just can't get past what Google+ doesn't have right now or won't let them do.

"I am a social marketer by trade for a marketing services firm and was urged to get on Google+ quickly, which I did," said Wendy Emerson. "I was able to use it for about a week and then was blocked because of my profile name, which was the same as I have it posted across most or all of my other social profiles. I had it listed as Wendy (Boyce) Emerson. It has been more than a month and my Google+ account is still blocked, to my dismay. However, as I continue my marketing in other channels, I don't feel I am missing much with this new platform. ... At this point I have decided not to bother with Google+."

CentiMark senior VP and CIO Greg Wilson describes himself as a very casual Google+ user. He concedes that Facebook and LinkedIn have critical mass and that Google+ currently is not offering anything compelling to change that, but he sees a great deal of potential in the integration possibilities within Google's ecosystem of services.

"I can see adding differentiating and hard-to-replicate functionality," said Wilson. "For example, Hangouts, inside Google+, combined with the sharing capability of Google Docs could create a pretty compelling virtual team environment that would be difficult for the other major social networking tools [to] emulate. So, as a direct competitor to the current 600 pounders, I agree that they have a tough uphill battle, but integrating some interesting functionality will allow it to be useful in academic and enterprise settings. As these products mature, some areas of focus will likely evolve."

Elizabeth McCarthy, a Google Apps for Education certified trainer and technology integration specialist, also sees the potential for Google+ in education and has tried to implement its use in an online class. However, count her as another frustrated user--this time by Google+'s age requirements.

"I use [Google+], but not to the extent I'd hoped," she said. "I had planned to use [it] for my online class with high school students. Our regular online system is Moodle, but I hate it and saw many useful features for learning in Google+, including the Hangout multiperson videos chats, Sparks to share links, and it all works with the all of the amazing Google tools. But my idea was squashed when my students went to accept their invites and were told that the age requirement is 18. I'd love for Google to see this as an online learning platform, but will have to wait and see what happens to Google+."

Web manager and telecommunications specialist Joshua Burke said all this pentup desire will allow Google to overcome what many consider early missteps. In fact, he posits, it may be all part of a grand plan.

"Google+ isn't dead, not even close really," said Burke. "Instead, it's waiting to see what people want most so it can develop in the direction that the user base wants it to go. Google is a supplanter as much as it is an innovator ... The new-ness of Google+, its 'seed' strategy within the technorati and then 'public beta' is all part of an overall scheme to create a comparison to the big boys in this space. Then, as Google always does, it will take lessons learned and bring the functionality that people have asked for rather than trying to keep guessing ahead ... I predict a Google app that is indeed a Facebook killer. It may not be Google+, but it is more of an eventuality than a possibility in my playbook."

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Source: green day musical doug e fresh