Just Googling Around

This Monday night finds me in a calm place between storms, oddly enough as our first spring-ish rain storm rumbles in.  Other than some odd video conferencing things from work I am keeping an eye on from home, things with SBU are quiet.  The CPU101 classes are also calm, being in the middle of the Excel assignments from Week 3.  With extra plans being made for Wednesday through Saturday evenings, it seemed now was a good time to techno-fiddle with some Google stuff.

That way, this post would at least have some recent experience and insight to share.

Google has worked it way into daily (if not constant?) use for me over the years.  Last night I worked a bit of Scholar voodoo while helping my wife find an article she needed, after being frustrated with using the university library databases.  This morning I used a for-SBU Google account to view RSS feeds with Reader, and updated some Docs I have for keeping track of electronic classroom details (what we have, what needs to get done this summer).

When home this evening, I’ve opened “my” Google account for Gmail/Buzz, Voice, Wave, Contacts and Profile.  Docs for this account I’ve gone to using for CPU101 class files instead of the One Note/Live Mesh combination, and this is my first CPU101 session for using Voice as the phone number students can reach me with, in case they are having technology problems.  Fiddling with Contacts, in hopes it would affect the Contacts area in Wave, proved fruitless.  But I then noticed how the grouping work I had done showed up when I installed Google Maps on my new phone.

The phone, a HTC Touch Pro2 with Verizon, provided by my employer, is a Win Mobile, so it’s not quite as Google-rific as a Droid or Nexus One.  Installing Maps allowed me to play with Latitude and Layers some, including a mapped Buzz.  The Google Mobile site says a Buzz client for Win Mobile is “coming soon”, so here’s hoping.  I’d like to Buzz as a way to post updates into places like my CPU101 classes.  But there does not seem to be an embeddable widget yet for Buzz?

Beyond the two Google accounts I’ve mentioned above, I have at least five other account I had set up for different purposes, mainly to sift out e-mail list content, or dedicated to a purpose like an e-mail account for my SL avatar.  Time, or a lack thereof, has led me away from using most of these other accounts.  Even so, I’ve been sharing more and more about myself to Google for several years now.  Which makes me hope that Google can and does stick to their “do no evil” mantra.

As a Battlestar Galactica (BSG) and now Caprica fan, I can also draw a line from the information Google has about me, to a concept recently introduced in Caprica episodes.  In the 50+years before the events of BSG, there are virtual worlds, more sophisticated in appearance than Second Life here.  Two of the Caprica story characters are killed in a terrorist bombing, leaving behind the avatar of one, while the other has an avatar created from all of the data information stored “in the cloud” about her, all from the hopes of two grief-stricken fathers wanting to see and interact with their children again.  So far, a very interesting and thought-provoking look  at what makes life, what being alive is.  Would I/we want to be recreated, without our consent?  If this idea works, would it be “right” to create an avatar, keep it updated, and then let it take over living your life if you passed on from this reality?

It is a long string of what-ifs, but food for thought.  Zoe Graystone’s avatar is able to step out of a virtual world, into the “real world” as the first Cylon, meaning a temperamental teen-age girl with monotheistic beliefs is at the heart of what leads to the events and story of BSG.  Even so, I don’t see myself cutting back from keeping my stuff “in the cloud” with Google or other services.  Maybe, it is important to centralize, and provide a balanced amount of all aspects of what makes this Neal Cross, me?

Just in case.

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~ by Neal Cross on March 8, 2010.

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