When can I sign up?

Google just announced a web service that they will be launching called PowerMeter.  If you know me, you know I love stats, graphs, charts and visualizing things – so this is right up my alley.  They’re currently in a closed beta, but I would love to see the effect on the energy used when I leave a light on all day by accident, when we do laundry, or the benefits of our programmable thermostat.

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The Internet Offline With Google Gears

I find myself posting more about websites and industry news, but hey, it’s an interesting and fast changing time in the tech world.

The future of the Internet isn’t online. It’s offline. As news of Firefox 3 and promises of offline web applications start to heat up, Google is again ahead of the pack with their initial offline offering: Google Gears and a new iteration of Google Reader.

Google Gears is an add on to Firefox or Internet Explorer that allows compatible web applications to work when you don’t have an internet connection. For Google Reader, it allows you to download 2,000 of the most recent feeds for offline viewing. I imported my OPML from Netvibes just to try it out. One click of a button and it downloaded 2,000 posts/entries in under 15 seconds. Click the same button when you have connectivity and it will sync what you’ve read with any new content. Downloading feeds to go offline was pretty fast, but it excluded any pictures embedded in any of the posts. While this is more efficient, it prevents Google Reader from being “fully functional” when offline. This makes it hard to enjoy visual dependent posts such as the one below from the Flickr Blog.

ReaderScreenshot2

Especially when compared to the online view.

ReaderScreenshot3

Although it is easier and easier to get online with free wireless hotspots all over the place, there are times when no connection is available (on an airplane springs to mind). And if you’re like me, you wish the internet could be everywhere, all the time. This is a nice start, but I don’t use Google Reader. Expect to see offline functionality soon for Google’s proposed MS Office killer.

The number one site that I wish could be available offline, because it is my key to the Internet, is Netvibes (Check out this post to see why I like Netvibes so much). BUT, Netvibes currently only works online. The question is: Is all this development for offline functionality frivolous when everyone and their Grandma will have wireless in every nook and cranny possible in a few years?

Increased Productivity With Firefox Extensions

Excuse the nerd post, but I’m just now realizing why (for me) using Firefox can be a much more powerful tool than the industry standard Internet Explorer: Extensions.

Yes, IE7 has the ability to have extensions, but the general consensus is that there is not much development support from the community, and the fact that some of the extensions for IE7 cost up to $20-$30 each is also lame. For those who don’t know, extensions are add-ons that can add functionality to your browser or particular websites. Bear with me as I run through some extensions I have installed that change the way I browse the internet everyday. Keep on reading if I haven’t bored you already… Continue reading