Posts in Category: Internet

Google Notebook comes back from the grave, with a different name

Exactly as happened with Google Reader, two years ago, during a "spring cleaning", Google killed its Notebook.

Also in that occasion it was a shock for me: I wrote hundreds of notes on it and I got addicted on it. Find, suddenly, all my notes "imported" in a single, huge, useless word file made me very angry!

Then I found Springpad and I got my replacement...

Guess what? Now they are pushing it again, but with a different name!

Yay! That's great!

Well, I can't trust them anymore, maybe I get used to it and use it daily to jot my notes and then, BOOM, it gets wiped again during a "spring cleaning" 

Actually, it's good that Google Reader is going away

Google Reader is in my daily routine. When I turn on my PC, it's the first website that I open. Discover, suddenly, that in July it's going to disappear, was a shock for me.

Its sudden demise left a big space for new, innovative products, here are the alternatives:


Feedly it's nice and free.


  • They plan to be compatible with Google Reader application programming interfaces, so existing apps can support it with a trivial updateo.
  • They make money with a small ad in the right sidebar in the home page, it's almost invisible.
  • It imports feeds and starred items from Google Reader, creating your account with just one click.
  • Can be customized in a lot of styles.
  • You can find new blogs to follow.
  • Did I mention that it's free?
  • App for Android/iPhone


  • You must install an app or browser extension to use it. (That means it works only with Firefox, Safari, iPhone, Android)
  • It's based on Google App Engine, that means that if they have a lot of users, they have a lot of expenses. Will the money coming from the very small ad in the home page be enough to pay bills?


It's an impressive one-man job, Newsblur looks like it's a perfect alternative:

  • Open Source
  • Programming interfaces for building mobile applications
  • Suggests new content
  • Browser based: you don't need to install an app or an extension
  • Ad-free
  • App for Android/iPhone

But, it has a fatal flaw: it's not free, and it's understandable, having no other ways to pay bills, but I don't like the behaviour of the developer. Instead of showing a sign "we are managing a horde of new Google Reader users and our servers are busy, try again later", he practically disabled the free version (max 12 sites to follow) and doubled the monthly fee. He says that when things are stabilized, prices will be back to normal points, but I hate this way to greet new users. If you don't pay, you can't import your items from Google Reader, that means you have to pay and subscribe first, then try.

The Old Reader

Then, there is also The Old Reader, but, when I tried two days ago, they required too many authorizations when I connected my Google account. Why they want complete access to my contacts?

If I try again, they don't ask it anymore, maybe it was a temporary configuration erro, but for now I don't want to try again, because they don't offer smartphone apps.

I might try again after some weeks/months, when a smartphone app is available.

Google Apps is gone, let's replace it with

A few days ago Google announced the end of the free tier for Google Apps, a way to have a Gmail account with a custom domain. That's a pity! Paying $50/year for each mail/user it's ridiculous and it's out of the question, set up a mail server on the server it's something I don't want to do it anymore (I was doing it in the beginning, but it was giving me too many troubles), let's see a good alternative.

For example, we can set a custom-domain email on on my new domain

  1. Go on
  2. Insert the domain name and set Windows Live Hotmail
  3. Create an Admin user
  4. Accept the terms of use
  5. Set the DNS as instructed (Unfortunately, if you use a cheap registrar like mine, you can't set TXT field and make messenger and the domain verification work...)
  6. Wait some minutes for the DNS records to propagate (If you use a cheap registrar like mine, wait some hours...)
  7. Done! Configure users and give them an account, instead of a Gmail one! Moreover, the new interface is very nice and easy to use, even for newbies

The biggest XKCD ever

When I saw the today's XKCD, I thought "meh"

Then I noticed the tooltip: "Clic and drag"

So I clicked and dragged the image on the right

"Oh, cool, there is a little world here"

And I continued to drag




Is it endless??? It's an huge comic, undoubtedly the biggest in the world!

Fortunately for our wrists, there is who made a keyboard-friendly version, making the exploration a pleasant experience!

You can also zoom backwards, finding easter eggs as a Falling Icarustwo falling whales, or someone doing surf on a Jet that it would be *impossibile* to find with "click and drag"

What if...?

The author of XKCD, a "scientific" webcomic has created a new blog, "What if..." where he answers weird questions from readers.

The first question is "What would happen if you tried to hit a baseball pitched at 90% the speed of light?"

It's interesting because he gives a scientific yet funny answer:


Why the record labels don't understand that the world is changed?

Reading an article on an Italian newspaper, it really become clear how the record labels are thinking that we are still in the '70s.

I'm talking about Payphone, from Maroon 5.

In the USA it has been released on 16th April, making almost 500k downloads in the first week.

Instead in UK they decided to release it on 17th June, as if nowadays music goes back to the old world on a caravel.

What happened?

A cover, released on 17th April, entered on the sales top10 before the official song was available for purchase!

The reasons to the waiting are a mystery for me. They did it to protect sales of the full album? Marketing?

The moral is: if people wants to PAY for a song, why deny it???

Otherwise people is forced to illegally download the mp3 from eMule 3 months befor the official release... and then they say that piracy hurts sales...

Firefox 13 does not work while using remote desktop

Do you use the Remote Desktop function in the Professional editions of Windows?

If you do, you might have noticed that, after the nth Firefox update, you can't open it anymore.

What to do?

The problem is that Firefox 13 (or 14, if you read this article tomorrow, or 18, if you read this article next month) wants to use the hardware acceleration of the video card, but they forgot that, in remote desktop mode, the video card is virtual, hance without hardware acceleration, making Firefox freeze at startup...

We will solve the problem in two easy steps:

Start Firefox in safe mode

Some time ago, in the start menu there was an icon "Firefox (safe mode)", then they had the great idea to make it much more intuitive. To start it in safe mode you have to press SHIFT (on Windows) or OPTION (on Mac), (on Linux instead they opted for a command line switch, because it's cooler).

It's SO OBVIOUS that pressing SHIFT will start it in safe mode, how I couldn't think it before???

Don't check any checkbox, otherwise you will reset all the settings!! Just press continue!

Ps: if you get a message that Firefox it's already running, close it from the task manager.

Disable the hardware acceleration in Firefox

Now, Firefox will startm go to Options=>Advanced Tab=>General Tab=>Use hardware acceleration

Done! Firefox will work again!

Is Kickstarter a scam?

Short answer: no, even if they don't send you anything.

Long answer: Kickstarter is a crowdsourcing website where some inventors can find investors to launch their idea. How does it work?

Who has an idea writes a project, calculates how much time and money needs, makes a prototype and an interesting video to promote it.

If you like that idea you can contribute with your hard-earned money, if the project becomes propular and reaches the objective in some time, it will be financed, otherwise the money will be given back automatically.

To thank investors, every project has some "donation tiers", for example they can say "I will send the final product to anyone who will donate more than $200".

Happens that people can be confused and think that it works like Amazon, that the product is almost ready for production (if it is, why asking money for research&develop?) and ready to be shipped. Instead the product is in name only, and it needs money to be realized. If you pay, you are not buying the product, but you are helping the inventor to finance the project. (And then, as with all investments, you will be compensated in some way, for example by getting the prototype in previe at discounted price, or something else)

Let's do an example:

The ZionEyez, and HD camcorder integrated in a pair of glasses. The production should have started in october, instead in april they are still trying to solve a problem with cable wear, and the electronics is up in the air.

The buyers investors got very angry, for example, I take this comment from a fellow citizen of mine:

is this ZionEyez Team of Naples?
ready to line up me to an eventual one class action against this group in swindle odor greet all the swindled ones, I think that I will lose mine 300€ [...]

Besides the awful English "made in Google", is he really serious to ask for a class action? For $300? Who will pay the lawyers? In a recent case about a security breach, the 11 victims got a $1925 compensation, but the lawyers got millions ($600k + $2mil).

Google's jokes for April's fool 2012

Probably you already see them, but I list the jokes that Google did this 1st april:

The dangers of robot translation

On this italian blog, today I come aware of a pearl of wisdom on the Italian ministry of education website.

Probably the Florence university researcher that wrote the article did not know English (well, on that course - biotech - the mandatory English exam it's just of the European level A2: Elementary English - can communicate in simple and routine tasks) so he translated using Google Translatore.

In this way, the title "From sheep to pecorino cheese", become "From sheep to doggy style" 

This is the original text from the Ministry website:

The project represents the implementation of a study at the local level already achieved by an individual dairy producers and confer, is developed through the use of components for the detection and recording of events, apply a methodology that uses hardware and software between their integrated.
Each collection rounds is uniquely identified through the development of a communication protocol based on GPS technology, with the possibility of recognition of the coolant tank manufacturers, tank truck and tank at the dairy.

This is the text in italian, automatically translated: (edits in bold)

The project represents the implementation of a study at the local level already achieved by an individual dairy producers and confer, is developed through the use of components for the detection and recording of events, applied a methodology that uses hardware and software between their integrated.
Each collection rounds is uniquely identified through the development of a communication protocol based on GPS technology, with the possibility of recognition of the coolant tank manufacturers, tank trucks and tank at the dairy.

There is a reason if I translate by myself... yes, maybe it is not 100% accurate; maybe sometimes I write nonsense, sometimes it's tiring to translate my long posts, but at least I won't write nonsense like that.

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