Tech Links

LinuxUser (UK): Create a NAS box from spare parts.

Ars: Intel’s Broadwell mini-PC. I love the form factor. But then, I’ve owned three Mac Minis.

I keep thinking I should learn the R language. Of course, I used to think that about GnuPlot.

HowToForge: Installing Git and Using GitHub on Ubuntu.

GSoC: SciRuby. There’s a program I’d love to rewrite 20 years later using a high-level language to do the Fast Fourier Transforms. I’m not sure what I’d use for the GUI.

Web UpD8: Install the official Telegram client for Linux.





Sync iOS Calendar with Multiple Google Apps Calendars

In a previous posting, I said I had problems connecting with more than one Google calendar per Google app.

I assumed that was a misfeature of the syncing capability of the iOS calendar apps. But I was wrong.

The problem was with Google — or, really, with me.

Google provides an interface called iPhone Select. If you want to sync more than just a single calendar with your iOS devices, you have to change a setting there. (By “there” I mean in the iPhone Select interface. You can’t change it in the regular Google Calendar settings page.)

You can find out more about iPhone Select here.

Kudus to BusyMac, which alerted me to this feature of Google Apps when I actually RTFM‘ed their documentation.

Mountain Lion

So I looked at the list of 200 new features in Mountain Lion and … meh.

If there’s a company in the world that they didn’t pick in preference to Google, though, I couldn’t figure out what it is. I mean, really: a feature to let you access Vimeo?

I wonder how much of that linkage is built on APIs where you can connect to other alternative services? I understand that Apple feels threatened by Google (why, I can’t imagine, except their legendary paranoia) and wants to partner with everyone else. (Vimeo!?) But I want to put together a best-of-breed workflow. I don’t want a Safari reading list, I want Instapaper. I don’t want Safari bookmarks, I want Pinboard. But I’ll get what Apple thinks I should have, which means the services that are dumbed down enough for computer novices to use on their phones.

Except when those services are business partners of Apples. Like Facebook. I don’t want or need hooks to Facebook, but I’ll be surprised if any way to turn them completely off, either. I wonder how much of my activity leaks over to Facebook, and how does much does Apple get for selling to to them? (And since when does Apple overhang the market like this? Fall availability? Why wasn’t it ready in time for the general release of Mountain Lion?)

As for iCloud…. I’d love it if iCloud did what I want, though. I’d love to share calendars with my family members. I can do that now with Google Calendar. Apple says I will be able to do it now with iCloud. That would be a welcome improvement. It’s not clear that you can do that with your contacts, bookmarks, notes, and reminders, though.

(That is another problem with all the social-media linkage, as well. The social media sites all want me to have one persona. What good is it if Twitter is linked into everything I do, so long as it’s just one Twitter account? And Facebook won’t even let me have multiple accounts.)


Google Docs Now Includes Drawings

This is pretty neat: Google Docs, which I’ve mentioned here before and increasingly trust, now features a drawing app. It seems to be pretty full-featured, although it doesn’t seem to have scaling and measurements. By full-featured, I mean, compared with Powerpoint, not with Illustrator.

Google Drawing (export as PDF)

Google Drawings is also (in my testing) a little buggy, but (in my experience) web apps get updated faster than desktop apps. Anyway, there it is, for what it’s worth. Your mileage may vary. You can export your drawing in number of popular formats, and they look pretty good to me. Here’s the PDF I exported from the above drawing.

Google Drawing (Exported)

Google Docs on Mobile Devices

This is cool: you can now edit your Google docs on your mobile devices.

IMG_0046.PNG IMG_0047.PNG

I’ve become quite the fan of Google Docs. That whole cloud thing beats emailing a spreadsheet back and forth between me, the church secretary, and the clerk of session. To say nothing of automated offsite backups, and (now) mobile access. Also, the price is right.

Google Refine

A while ago, Google bought the company that made Freebase, a tool for making sense of messy data. Earlier this week, they released a 2.0 version of that software, now renamed Google Refine. Watch the videos to see what that does.

This looks pretty darned impressive. For great chunks of my career, I’ve been doing work like that the hard way. In the 1980s, I started my career by doing data reduction in Fortran, but quickly graduated to sed and awk, and in the 2000s I used perl and ruby. Of course, when I say “the hard way,” that is in hindsight. Each of those was an improvement over what I used before, and this looks like it could be a similar type of improvement.

(I still do some of that kind of work even now. It’s been a couple of years, but I probably spent at least a week, spread across too many evenings and weekends, massaging the church directory from a text format Word document into tabular spreadsheet data.)