Google Chrome is a remarkably powerful web browser. When running on Mac OS it’s also an incredible power and memory hog. At least once a week it bloats so badly that it makes my desktop unusable. Starting today I’m going to take a trial run of living life without Chrome.
Since it’s Mac native, I’ve given Safari the honor of being the first test platform. Although today’s tests have been limited, it’s held up admirably – and more importantly hasn’t slowed the machine down to an infuriating place. As it turns out the threshold for victory in these real life tests isn’t going to be all that high. Anything that lets me get through a week without crashing the computer will likely get a pass as a better option than continuing on with Chrome.
There was a time I’d want to go out and try all the obscure browsers hoping to turn up something with wow factor to spare. These days, I’m mostly about simplicity in use rather than wow. I don’t care so much how the machine runs just so long as it does. I’m not going to spend a lot of time wanting to tinker around under the hood until it behaves “just so.”
I’d love to place all the blame squarely on Google here, but if I’m fair, I’m currently running a slightly more than 4 year old machine that was a touch under powered when it came out of the box. The ever increasing demand for raw processing power in a computer hasn’t been kind to my Mini. Truth is, switching browsers is probably the last ditch effort to coax a bit more life out of the machine before bringing a replacement online. If I were smart, I’d go ahead and make that purchase now instead of when something finally fails on me… but then needing to buy a computer right-the-hell-now after the old one has crapped out is pretty much one of my oldest continuously observed traditions.
Ditching Chrome won’t solve all that ails computing here, but it could well alleviate the most obnoxious symptom of aging equipment. For today, that would be more than good enough.
A few days ago I got a notice from Google that one of my account passwords was compromised and the account was suspended. That’s annoying, yes, but should be pretty straightforward to correct. At least that’s what I thought when I started trying to recover my account. Now, of course, I know better.
The account I lost access was old. Very old. So old, in fact, that it dated back to the days when you had to be invited to sign up for a gmail account. It was my main email address until I unified everything under Google Apps a few years ago. Although now it’s mostly relegated to being a spam catcher, there are plenty of ancient messages archived there that I didn’t want to lose.
For what it’s worth, the account recover process Google has put in place is only slightly less cumbersome that assisting Dr. Jones in recovering the Holy Grail. Just now I appear to be stuck at the part where Google sends my temporary password to a secondary email account so I can register a new password and get back to business as usual. The catch here, because you know there has to be a catch, is that they have successfully sent this temporary password to a Hotmail account that I opened back at the dawn of the internet and in all likelihood no longer exists.
What I’m left with at this point is unlimited access to the Google “self help” forums and no way to talk to a real person in order to prove that I’m me. I’m not willing to consider all lost just yet, but the prognosis is looking awfully grim. Not optimal in any way, but it finally did encourage me to break down and back up everything Google is storing on my current accounts. Don’t tell me I can’t make the most of a day off.
Sitting on each and every desk in my vast office complex is a magic box. When the electricity is on and all the pipes are clear it allows everyone to connect to a magical place called the internet. The internet is a wild place, ruled by porn, social media, and pictures of cats, but it’s also a place to go when you need information. It’s almost like someone went to the bother of making the sum total of human knowledge available for just the cost of a few keystrokes.
Unless you’re trying to read an article posted on the Wall Street Journal, information in this magical land of the internet is almost always free for the taking. If you type your question or even just a few major key words into Google, who I think is probably a wizard or maybe some kind of minor heathen deity, it will spit back all manner of interesting factoids. It’s like having a magic 8-ball right on your desk without worrying that it’s going to start dripping purple-tinted water. Neat!
I’m encouraging each and every one of you to take full advantage of this magic information-sharing box on your desk before giving in to the temptation of blasting out an email asking someone to provide information that’s already sitting there for the taking. Let’s face it, gang, asking someone else to Google something for you is just lame and I know you don’t want to be lame, right?
After sitting on the kitchen counter for a week (as most small home improvement projects do when I bring them home), I got the Nest thermostat plugged in this morning. All I can say at this point is that it successfully turns the furnace and air conditioning on when requested – but like most other people who buy a “smart” appliance, I’m really more interested in how it’s going to perform without direct human intervention.I can’t give you a review of how well that part works just yet, but will once we’ve passed the 30 day mark.
Installation was just about as simple as you could hope to make it. Two screws, four wires, and then snapping the “brain” into place is all there is. All-in, the process, including setting up bells, whistles, and cleaning up the packaging took about 40 minutes. That included drinking a cup of coffee and spending five minutes in the basement (where I had to go to kill power at the electric panel) looking for something unrelated in the boxes that still live down there.
Based on where my thermostat is located in the house, I have some lingering doubts about how well it will “learn” my living patterns over the next few days. That’s easy enough to remedy by manually setting a schedule for the system, but that does take away at least some small virtue of this type of automation. Still, being the creature of habit I am, a set schedule may prove to be more effective.
Regardless of how it gets to learn my preferences – either by observation or from me just telling it what to do – Nest surely has to do a better job than the old school mercury switch it’s replacing. Once you’re past the idea that you’re giving up another little slice of your privacy to a wholly owned subsidiary of Google (and the price), I think it’s going to be a hard device not to like.
If nothing else, it does look awfully nice hanging there on the wall.
For the last few weeks, one particular phrase keeps popping up on the list of terms that people search for when they end up finding my blog on Google. That phrase: Hot Lesbian Cheerleader.
I can only imagine how disappointed they are when they click in and see that, in fact, http://www.jeffreytharp.com has very little do do with that particular fetish. As much of a pity as that is, I’m glad they stop by from time to time. When it comes to visits, hit counts, and clicks, I’m happy to be a total slut. I’m just happy to see the counter going up, regardless of why they happen to be here. Maybe that makes me a bad blogger, but to paraphrase Eric Cartman, it’s my sexy blog and I’ll do what I want.
For those of you who stopped by hoping for hot lesbian cheerleaders, yeah, I’m sorry about that. Clearly you were lured here under false pretenses. Personally I’d complain to Google, because honestly, if that’s what you’re looking for, I’m the last thing you really want to find in your search results.
Three years ago, if I googled myself, I think the blog I was running at the time started showing up somewhere around page five or six of the search results. A few minutes ago I typed my name into the search bar instead of the address bar and ended up googling myself by accident. I swear it’s not something I do on a regular basis. Seriously. I don’t. Honest.
As it turns out, a few years make a difference in the standings and there I am right there as the second listing whenever anyone searches for “Jeffrey Tharp”. Let’s just ignore the reasons why anyone might be doing that for the moment. As it turns out, the #1 Jeffrey Tharp in all of the internet is not yours truly, but rather an orthopedic surgeon based in Ohio. He seems like a good enough doc, rated better than average from what I can see. But still, I lust after his coveted 1st place search result location. Does that give you any indication of how slow a week it’s been? Yes, I’ve had time tonight to sit here and ponder zen and the nature of Google search results.
All I can say, Dr. Jeffrey S. Tharp of Akron, Ohio, is I’m coming for you. Do you hear the footsteps? You’ve probably improved the lives of hundreds and thousands of people with your healing arts, but I’m a go to source of humor, sarcasm, and snarky commentary for at least several people who I can name off the top of my head. I think we can all see why I should be first in the rankings, right? So you can either stand aside gracefully to let me claim my rightful place atop page one, or I’ll be forced to continue blogging five days a week until I simply overwhelm Google with the volume of subpages linked from http://www.jeffreytharp.com. The choice is yours. I know you’ll do the honorable thing.
Until the arrival of the new computers, the fact that many of us installed Firefox as our default web browser wasn’t quite officially sanctioned, but wasn’t banned either. I’d have still rather used Chrome, but that wasn’t even considered worthy of being an option. Now look, I’m all in favor of network security, but that doesn’t have to mean we get stuck using antiquated software – and yes, even a three year old browser feels antiquated after you’re use to using one of the other available options – you know, the ones that have been released in the current decade.
Hey, I’m super excited about getting a new computer. It’s swell that I can now unplug the machine and not have the battery die immediately. It’s just on this one little point of software where we’re having a real problem. I’m sure Internet Explorer works just fine for most people under most conditions, but on a machine that’s already bogged down with metric tons of security software and on a network that no one would call speedy under the best of conditions, IE pretty much adds insult to injury.
We’re a nation that prides itself on technological innovation, so please, for the love of God, his saints, and all things good and holy, can we find a way to look at the interwebs that doesn’t involve dragging out this old warhorse of a program? We’re seriously not doing ourselves any favors here. Don’t believe me? Go ahead and ask about the nine times I had to force quit Explorer before I went to lunch this morning.
And while you’re at it, can you please stop resetting my default homepage. I know our web address and I find it a lot less useful in my daily work than Google is. Sigh.