Sunday, April 8, 2007

The Dark Side...with a sweet cream filling!

For those of you just tuning in, I'm a confessed Google Groupie. Many think that Google, like Microsoft, is evil incarnate. Satan's winter home. The Devil's Spring Break. Succubi Gone Wild! Clearly I disagree. I don't even think Microsoft is evil. That status is reserved for Apple, Inc: The Antichrist. But that's a whole other rant.

I think the anti-Google sentiment comes from the techie far-left that regards everything corporate as evil. (To clarify my own political views, I would probably best be classified as a weak libertarian. Small government, low taxes, don't legislate behavior, social liberal, economic conservative, fiscal discipline, yadda yadda. Watch Penn & Teller: Bullsh&t! for an explanation). In the economic ecosystem of capitalism, big corporations have a niche. History tells us that once they reach a certain size, their own bloat and inability to innovate forces them to collapse. There are few exceptions. Google embraces those things that mainstream companies eschew in an effort to stay ahead of the innovation curve. They are all about open standards, customer/user contributions and critique, and LOTS of small groups doing a bunch of small projects well rather than a few big groups doing a lot of big projects. And they're motto seems to be "Underpromise and overdeliver." Similar to another company I respect. Google doesn't hype sh*t. In fact, they understate things and wait for user feedback. So far, I've been impressed with their many ad-driven offerings. Gmail, Google-Earth, Google-Maps, Blogger, Google-Talk, and Google Office are all awesome pieces of work. Today I discovered more gems. My Google homepage supports cool widgets! Really cool ones. Seriously! Screenshots of my two tabs:

Weather, notepad, pacman, texas-holdem... What more could a Gen X-er ask for? Also, I would like to take this moment to endorse a Linux distribution that I'm currently using to complete my MOST EXCELLENT end-user experience. Mint Linux is, quite simply, the bomb. For those of you in the Windows world, Linux comes in a LOT of different flavors. The new media darling is Ubuntu. I've steered clear of it since it's inception as it was a Debian derivative. And learning Debian, for an old Slackware disciple like me, was like learning linux all over again. But over the last few months, something wacky has happened. Ubuntu has eclipsed Debian. Sort of like Luke cutting off Vader's hand. And now ALL of the Debian derivatives have retooled themselves as Ubuntu derivatives. Weird sh*t, Batman. So, as you may have guessed, Mint Linux is one of those Ubuntu derivatives. Basically it's Ubuntu with all the proprietary software and some custom menus thrown in. On my Thinkpad T40, I'm happier than a pig in sh*t. And I have a bunch of 3D Vista flavor going on. Seriously, this Linux would take Vista to SCHOOL! Even if you're a computer newbie, Mint would rock your world. Tons of free software, and EASY to use. And I'm not even getting PAID to endorse them...
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