My Early Open Beta Thoughts on Google Plus

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I’ve been a member of the Google Plus open beta for a whole 2 weeks, and what follows are my thoughts on the social networking site.  Please note, these are only my opinions, as such they are also that of an untrained professional in the field of interwebz technology and social networking.  With that said …

Two weeks into the Goolge+ open beta, and having downloaded the iPhone app for the site, I have to say, “Meh.” With that broad generalized statement thrown out there, I have to say that I have one good point, one bad point, and one so-so point to comment on.

Good: The circles are a nice simple way of dividing your friends, coworkers, online acquaintances, etc.  All you have to do is click on a name and drag it down to a particular circle and voila.  I’m not an expert on the Facebook settings of separating people, mainly because it seems too complicated to create lists, do this, do that, etc.  So I give Google+ props for taking the complication out of that.

So-So: No one is on it yet.  I understand that is just a part of the growing process, but I have a total of two friends, 4 online acquaintances, and 2 family members who technically aren’t on Google+, but have Gmail addresses.  Once more people meander over to the site, this “issue” will go away, naturally.

Bad: I’m not sure if it is actually a setting I have selected, or if it’s just Google’s weird way of sorting posts.  But, on the “Nearby” list of updates – oh, hold on.  Let me back up.  On the Google+ App for the iPhone, there is a customizable area that lets you seperate status updates from various circles.  You can have one for friends, one for family, etc, and you swipe your finger left to right to roll the screen to the appropriate list.  One list that is added for you when the app is downloaded is called, “Nearby.”  This is a list of people who are in your vicinity that also have Google+ and are sharing their activities.

The bad part (which, this isn’t really bad, just confusing, but I figure I need a “bad” to go with my early thoughts) is that there seems to be no rhyme or reason for how the updates are presented.  The first update displayed may be from a week ago, then the one under may be from 5 minutes ago, then the next 2 minutes ago and then a 6 day old post may appear under that.  I’ve actually scrolled down several dozen lines and found status updates from just minutes before I opened the app under days and weeks of other status updates.  I’m not sure what organizes the status messages or if it is something on the users side, but it’s weird and confusing.

I’ll stick around, but I’m already so invested in Facebook, that I don’t see me switching sides any time soon.  Google+’s population needs to grow past the early nerd adopters and we need to pull out of the beta stage to see if there are any further improvements before I pack up and move to a new home.

 

Light Reading for the Week of 9/28

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It seems that with each passing week, my wallet sacrifices a little more of itself to my local comic shop.  This week I picked up The Flash #1, All American Western #1, The Fury of Firestorm The Nuclear Men, Teen Titans #1, Aquaman #1, Justice League Dark #1 and Ghostbusters #1 (the only title NOT in the DC line up.)

Right off the bat, I can say that Aquaman #1 is the biggest surprise for me this week.  Great book, great introduction to the character.  With a bit of humor the trade addresses some of issues people may mock about the character – such as talking to fish, his eating habits, even calling him out on being the least popular hero.

Right behind the sleeper hit of Aquaman, the new Ghostbusters ongoing trade from IDW is excellent.  I’m iffy on the art inside the book, despite the great cover.  The story is a continuation of both movie’s canon storylines.  There is also a surprise at the end of the book that will surely be a problem for the fellows right off the get-go.  Can’t wait to see what they do with this series.

And, if anyone else read Superboy #1 and was wondering how the end of the issue would work across the other titles he would appear in, that was addressed.  The last page of Teen Titans flows right into the last page or two of Superboy.  Another title I’m looking forward to.

Art-wise, (and we all know I’m not an “art” guy as far as criticizing goes) I was turned off by All-Star Western, featuring Dr. Arkham and Jonah Hex.  It was distracting enough with the verbose passages of Dr. Arkham in nearly every thought bubble, but to lay that on top of the art … I think I had a headache by the end of the book.

Story-wise, Fury of Firestorm was a disappointment.  I’m a “noob” to the character, but by first issue’s end I am already considering dropping it from my pull list.  I’ll give it a few more issues, but I’m not satisfied so far.

Justice League Dark was okay.  I’m intrigued by what I read, but still have issues and questions that I hope they cover in the next couple of issues.  The Flash I did not like.  I like the idea of Flash himself, and loved the cheesy television series, but I have never really been a fan of the comic series.

 

The Dead Sea Scrolls Online

via the Official Google Blog: From the desert to the web: bringing the Dead Sea Scrolls online

It’s taken 24 centuries, the work of archaeologists, scholars and historians, and the advent of the Internet to make the Dead Sea Scrolls accessible to anyone in the world. Today, as the new year approaches on the Hebrew calendar, we’re celebrating the launch of the Dead Sea Scrolls online; a project of The Israel Museum,

Jerusalem powered by Google technology.

24 centuries.  Can you imagine?  This has been passed on from generation to generation, each person building

upon the others work.  The effort put into such a thing is breath taking.

Now, anyone around the

world can view, read and interact with five digitized Dead Sea Scrolls. The high resolution photographs, taken by Ardon Bar-Hama, are up to 1,200 megapixels, almost 200 times more than the average consumer camera, so viewers can see even the most minute details in the parchment. For example, zoom in on the Temple Scroll to get a feel for the animal skin it’s written on—only one-tenth of a millimeter thick.

 

Dylan Dog: Dead of Night VS Thor

Of course, there’s no contest here.  I just thought it would be a nice way of introducing the two movies I rented this week.  Dylan Dog: Dead of Night, with Brandon Routh and Sam Huntington.  And Thor, with Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman.

First, let me say that despite the 6% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, Dylan Dog: Dead of Night isn’t that bad.  Based on the world popular Italian horror comic created by Tiziano Sclavi, the movie stars Brandon Routh as a paranormal detective.  Or, as Dog explains in the movie, he is something of a go-between for the various underground races of horror legend (zombies, vampires, werewolves.)  He is assisted by Sam Huntington’s character, Marcus.  

The movie focuses on Dylan being brought out of retirement when a girl’s father is killed.  Refusing the case, Dylan is still drawn in when someone attacks and kills his partner the same night – don’t worry though because Marcus is “special,” and comes back to life as a zombie.  Not being familiar with the comics, I can’t say how much of this was lifted from the source material, but the movie could stand on it’s own except for one small detail that overshadows the entire film: Brandon Routh has the acting range of a tub of butter.

I’ve been a vocal fan of Superman Returns, defended Routh in his portrayal of the character.  But in Dylan Dog, the young actor is as deadpan and dry as a desert.  He delivers his lines flat, has little facial expression.  He’s just there, reading from the script.  Maybe this is how the character actually is in the comics, or maybe it’s bad direction.  The script has potential.  But I blame Mr. Routh particularly because most of the other character, while perhaps a little over the top at times, are better portrayed.  Taye Diggs does deliver some pretty monotone lines, but he does so with a little movement to enhance the delivery.

I’d recommend at least Red Boxing the movie.  You can’t complain too much for $1 – well, I know some of you can, but come on.  Give it a shot.  It’s not like there aren’t worse movies out there.

Thor, on the other hand, with Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman and some screen time with Agent Coulson himself, Clark Gregg, is much better than I actually thought it would be.  Of all the comic book based movies that have come out over the past several years, this is the only one I haven’t been to the theaters to see.  I just couldn’t get hyped up about it.  First, you’ve got Kenneth Branagh directing and Chris Hemsworth starring.  It was described as deep, thought provoking with an actual lesson to be learned in humility and self sacrifice by the main character.  Well, that’s just depressing …

Thankfully, it wasn’t depressing!  Knowing Branagh’s previous directing credits, I was hesitant, but glad I didn’t completely hold off on renting the dvd.  It’s definitely a must buy for your Avenger’s collection.  My only complaint is the same as I’ve read on various other sites when the movie first came out.  That complaint being that little time actually passes before Thor actually learns his lesson.  I enjoyed the movie, but so much is crammed into the time frame that the story is rushed from one point to the next and then is over.  Of all the comic to film franchises presented to us, so far, this is one that could have benefited from having deeper character growth – or, at least showing us how the character really grows and transformers from a snobby brat to someone who actually cares for their fellow man.

Still, worth buying on blu ray for the added high definition Asgard scenes.

@Work

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Late night at work on a Friday is made even “sweeter” knowing I now have to come in for a few hours Saturday, as well.

I know what you are thinking though: “Could be you had no job at all. where would you be then!”

You got a point there. So I’ll suck it up and enjoy it like I always do!

And now for the main point of this post. I just wanted to try the “quick photo” option on the iPhone app. Yep, it works! :)