I am still here

I have been quite for more than 2 months and I have to admit I wanted to write this post for a few days now, but never got to do it. You would think that when a lot of incredible and great things happen in your life you’d have a lot to blog about. The reality is, in my case, that blogging went way down in the list. This is unfortunate, on one hand my blog did not get any consistent and interesting updates in quite a while, on the other hand it makes me wonder how important it is. In May, for example, I’ve been using Twitter regularly, then went on holiday and did not use it and when I came back I did not miss it at all. Now it’s been closed for weeks and still don’t miss it. Should I restart using? Yes? No?

I liked blogging so far, so I definitely plan on picking up again. It is hard sometimes to find interesting stuff to blog about and I certainly do not want to start simply re-blogging or writing about things I don’t think are worth. Also, it’s hard to keep up two blogs at the same time, especially since I wanted this one to be a technical one and now I’m also writing more or less regularly on dev.mobi.

So, don’t give up on reading this blog, I’ll write more! 🙂

Testing DropBox

Thanks to Mark Ng I got an invitation to DropBox (I think I have some to share, now) and went through the privacy policy and Terms & Conditions and I think they are reasonable, considering the type of service they offer (you are copying your files to their servers, so they will get them, but won’t disclose to people you do not want to, more or less).

Still, installing a plug-in to Finder that will automatically synchronize files on a remote server is a bit scary. They say I entitle them to see and copy any files from my harddisk to their servers every time I copy them into the “DropBox” and that’s basically THE service, but of course it’s scary to think they have this application sitting on my Mac waiting to copy files remotely.

Also, I wonder if I should use it to exchange files with friends and family or as a remote safe storage for backups? Is it safer than an external HD? I still keep that harddisk in the same house where my computer normally is, so how safe is that? An external HD saves from hardware failures on my Mac, but not from calamities, storing files in a remote site is a better solution, I would think.

On the technical side, instead, I wonder why I need the dropbox software, when I could use webdav.

When computers are not connected in local administrations

Last year, in June, I sold my car. The guy who bought it was French, he came to Italy, we went to the local office of the car registry and made the transaction. They registered that he was exporting the car, took my old plates and threw them away.

Last week I received a letter by the local administration of Lombardy that notifies me that I did not pay the yearly tax for 2008 and that I should do so immediately. At first I thought there might be a problem with the sale I did, but calling the registry (ACI) it was confirmed that my plates have been taken and the car is registered as exported.

What I have to do now is PAY ACI to get a document the proves that I sold my car and fax it to the local administration.

Why can’t they talk to each other? Why doesn’t the local administration check if the car is still in Italy before complaining to me?

Did Google affect how I search on search engines?

I use Google in 99.9% of my searches on internet. I use it so often, that sometimes it’s just to the URL of a site I know very well, but I can’t spell the address or do not recall exactly (I can never spell the URL of delicious, for example).

I have to say that I’m pretty satisfied with the results and most of the times I find what I am looking for within the first 3-5 results. This could be simply because Google is good, isn’t this the reason why we all use it?

Nevertheless, from time to time I try other search engines such as Ask or Yahoo! and hardly find better results. I’d say that on an average I find worse results.
Still, I have friends who use Ask or Yahoo! and say they are much better.

Now I wonder: “Are the results on Google better just because Google is better, or is it because I am so used to it that my search terms work well with Google? What if my search syntax was optimized for Google-searches? What if Ask had a much better catalogue, but used a different categorization?”

Of course, search engines should return the best result not matter what, but if my keywords are not “natural”, but adapted to the approach Google has to content, then it’s not the search engine that is wrong (maybe). So how can I objectively judge the quality of the results? Also, won’t the quality of results always be subjective?

Trying out Twitter

I haven’t been particularly interested in micro-blogging. I just think that blog posts are really the minimum that can be interesting. At least, when you write a blog post it is still an article: you think about it, you write it and hopefully read it once or twice before you post. Micro-blogging is about typing short sentences quickly and frequently. I’m sure quality will be diluted. Nevertheless, I am told that “the buzz is over there” and that I will miss important stuff if I am not there.

So here is my twitter account, follow me if you care.

Dial2Do, not much new

CTIA is definitely approaching and these days I received quite a few press releases and contacts about new products and services coming out.

There’s a new service called Dial2Do, it does not sound like anything impressive nor particularly new, but I have to admit it rang a bell in my mind. I remember when around the end of the nineties Bware Technologies made an SMS service that allowed you to do about the same things. You could write an e-mail, send an SMS to a number of recipients and about anything that was connected to internet. One useful service, at the time, was to ping a remote server and get a reply from the SMS service that would tell you if the site was up. In those days when you were not connected all the time it seemed like a useful service.

Dial2Do really reminds me of that with the difference of voice recognition. Of course this sounds like a service more appropriate to consumers, while our old service was more for geeks.

I have not tried the service, only saw the announcement, so do not complain to me if it does not work. If it’s a great service, let me know. 😉

Tchao Andrea!

It looks like someone who knows me used logme.mobi to send me some greetings, in fact last week (25 Feb 2008) 1 hit was recorded from Ireland and the user-agent string was “tchao Andrea!”

Well, I don’t know who you are, but “Hello to you”.