After many years of
dependence reliance on Google, I have decided that it’s time to say goodbye – or at least bring some distance between me and the US based company. The reasons behind this change will have to be discussed in a separate post. Today I will just review which parts of the Google universe are easier to escape from and which harder. This post can be considered a follow up to my original move from a personal Gmail account to Google Apps for Business about three years ago. A few things have changed since then, several services are no longer important to me and will not be migrated. At the same time, the scope of work has been expanded due to the fact that I want to leave most of Google behind me instead of just moving from the consumer section to the business department. So let’s have a look at Google’s various offerings and the alternatives I have chosen.
will should be a very short blog post. However, after long and difficult discussions with Philipp, we decided to disclose some of the joy we experienced in Sin City. To put the most important thing first: The food in Vegas was much, much better :)
Vacation, finally. After a few busy weeks in the office and a terribly long journey, I actually made it to the US (Albuquerque, NM to be specific) and was picked by Philipp to commence a road trip across the United States. Philipp has already been on the road for roughly 3’000 miles (~ 4’800 km), but my trip started only here. We left Albuquerque early on Saturday morning to drive to the Grand Canyon, my first real stop.
Are all words we chose from a list.
The text was written by Kendra Eash (mcsweeneys.net) and the video was created by Dissolve, a stock video provider. I’m still not sure what to think of Dissolve’s involvement. All they say is „with our footage you can make a generic brand video!“ What a great selling point.
Mark Haddon’s murder mystery novel (Amazon, Publisher) was recommended by two friends and also conveniently available in the flat, so I put it on top of my reading list. It’s not a typical crime thriller and the victim is no man but a dog named Wellington – but that makes no difference for Christopher, the 15 year old boy with Asperger’s Syndrome narrating his investigation of the incident in the book. His condition makes life difficult for him and the people he interacts with – like Mrs Shears who was a bit irritated that Christopher was hugging her now deceased dog, or the policeman who got hit by the boy because he was touching his arm, or his father who takes care of him alone ever since Christopher’s mother died.
Ok, no problem. I will call them. Let’s just quickly find that number.
There we go.
Ok, let’s just write an email instead.
Must be because it’s Saturday. Customer service shouldn’t be expected to work on Saturdays anyway.
So after thinking for weeks and months about the mess that is going on in Syria, the internet finally provided some insight last night. The essay 9 questions about Syria you were too embarrassed to ask from the Washington Post contains the best point in favor of bombing a few of Assad’s military facilities I’ve heard so far. While I’m still not convinced that an official international intervention is a good idea, I can now at least see the reasoning behind it. At the same time, the text answers a question that I’ve come across more than once in the last days: What makes the alleged use of chemical weapons the straw that broke the camel’s back?
IOU („I owe you“) is a small, yet very helpful tool when it comes to managing group expenses. When travelling with friends or living in a shared apartment, you just create a „pot“ that all participants join. Now, each time you spend money, you create an entry that states the amount paid, who paid, who consumed and how the costs should be distributed (equal, by percentage, by amount). Once pay day arrives, you hit the „Resolve“ button and IOU will display which participants need to give or receive money to balance the sheet.
The best thing is, that you can even use different currencies and IOU will automatically get the corresponding exchange rate for the day you selected when entering the expense. Thus, your resolve screen will only display the currency that you chose when creating the pot.
There’s one problem though: IOU supports only a limited set of currencies. Unfortunately, United Arab Emirates Dirham (AED) and Omani Rial (OMR) are not among them. This makes the tool currently not very useful for me. Since both currencies are pegged with the US Dollar, I just wrote an email to the team and hope that they soon will be supported.
Here’s an article of Sebastian Kuepers, who got rid of most of this physical belongings and down to a 100 items. Unfortunately he doesn’t list these things and also doesn’t explain the way he counts. The definition of a „thing“ is missing. In the comments he explains that one pair of socks counts as one thing – this makes perfect sense to me, but I wonder how he handles less obvious cases. Take this camera:
How many „things“ do you count? One thing called „camera and accessories“ or eight items? Neither makes much sense. Just the camera body without a battery or SD card is plain useless so these three things could easily be counted as one, but you wouldn’t need the spare battery / SD card to make the camera work.
Professional obligations, an unexpected public holiday in Europe and limited flight availability resulted in me being in Budapest for four days. Fortunately, for the training that was the purpose of my stay only two of those were required (but then, one of them was a Friday, which is part of my weekend) . This left me with two (half) days to stroll around the city and discover Budapest.
So after leaving the plane and finding a shop that sells tickets for the public transport – because, umm, why should we put up one of those modern credit card accepting ticket vending machines at the airport, when they’re already all over the rest of the city? – so after getting my tickets and boarding the bus, I at first had to stow away the I-expect-things-to-be-new-and-shiny attitude that Dubai somehow forced upon me in the last months. Luckily, it only took a few minutes (although the missing AC didn’t help) and once done, a nice trip lay ahead of me.