I’m a GSoc Mentor!

Yesterday, Jen Mylo announced the WordPress-related projects that were accepted into this year’s Google Summer of Code program. I’m very excited to participate as a mentor this year, working with Nick Halsey (aka celloexpressions) as he adds menu management to the Customizer.

The Customizer gained widget and header controls in 3.9, leaving menus as one of the last major appearance features without an accompanying Customizer control. Hopefully that won’t be the case much longer.

Google Voice Invite Contest Redux

In the spirit of having new toys to play with over the weekend, I’m giving away three (3) Google Voice invites.

And because Google Wave nominations are apparently as popular as fruitcake, each winner of a Google Voice invite will receive be nominated for Google Wave. What can I say, I’m feeling generous.

To participate, simply leave a comment on this post describing how you will benefit from Google Voice. I will select three entrants who provide particularly compelling responses.

Google VoiceComments must be posted by 8:30pm EST (20:30 EST) today. I will announce the winners and send along the invitations shortly thereafter.

When commenting, be aware that all comments are moderated, so your entry will not appear immediately.

BONUS: If you would like to be separately considered for a Google Wave nomination, check out my Google Wave Invite Contest Redux.

Google’s Holiday Gift: Donations to Charity the Rest of Us Can’t Afford

Google, in recognition of the difficult financial situation brought on by the recession, pledged $20 million to various charities “to thank [its users] for the time, energy, commitment, and trust you’ve shared with [Google] in 2009.”

Google’s announcement continues,

“This gift is for someone very special: Everyone. Because charities are experiencing their toughest year in decades, we have committed $20 million to helping those who help us all. Our gift to you is a gift to them. Happy Holidays.”

The groups receiving the funds are:

Their announcement came in an email to users with a page on its site to accompany it: http://www.google.com/advertising/holiday2009/.

Happy Holidays from Google
Happy Holidays from Google

Google Wave Invite Contest Redux

Last month, I tried to give away fifteen Google Wave nominations, without success. I can only imagine that anyone interested found the contest rules too onerous.

So, in recognition of the fact that I have more nominations than I know what to do with, I’m reviving the contest in much simpler fashion.

To participate, simply leave a comment on this post. The first fifteen (15) individuals to do so will be nominated. Be sure to include a valid email address with your comment (email addresses aren’t made public).

Because all comments are moderated (unless you’ve commented on this site before), you will not immediately see your remarks listed. Nonetheless, all comments are timestamped, so once I approve your posting, it will appear in the order I received it.

My disclaimer from the previous contest bears repeating, so:

“Know…that these are not invitations in the typical sense. Google instead allows current Wave users to nominate others to receive invitations. Of the few I’ve sent so far, all have been accepted within a few days. That being said, I cannot guarantee that you will receive an invitation immediately.”

With that in mind, I suspect that being nominated is a faster route to receiving a Google Wave invitation than adding your name to the waiting list.

If you have no clue what Google Wave is, check out “First Impressions of Google Wave.”

Google Wave Invites

I have 15 Google Wave invitations to give away. Know before you participate that these are not invitations in the typical sense. Google instead allows current Wave users to nominate others to receive invitations. Of the few I’ve sent so far, all have been accepted within a few days. That being said, I cannot guarantee that you will receive an invitation immediately.

To participate, you can either:

  • Comment on three (3) posts from three (3) different categories, not including this or previous contest announcements, or;
  • Comment on one (1) post (not including this or previous contest announcements), follow me on Twitter (@ethitter), and tweet* about the post you commented on. Be sure to include your Twitter handle in your comment. If you do not include your Twitter handle, I have no way of verifying that you met the contest requirements.

The first fifteen people to participate and meet the requirements, regardless of the method chosen, will be nominated to receive Google Wave invitations.

*Note that the Share/Save button at the bottom of each post includes a Twitter option.

Why Google Dashboard Scares Me

I’ve never been particularly concerned about my privacy as it relates to Google, largely because the behemoth relies heavily on its reputation to support its revenue stream. After all, if millions of internet users suddenly shunned the company’s services over privacy concerns, its primary income source, advertising, would dry up. Instead, Google’s recently-released Dashboard scares me for a different reason.

Continue reading Why Google Dashboard Scares Me

Google Voice Invites A Promising Sign

I logged into my Google Voice account today to discover I can now invite others to the service. As up until this time Google was controlling the invites as it scaled up its Voice infrastructure, allowing users to send invites is a positive sign that the system is handling growth well.

In the roughly four months I’ve been using the service, Google has made many enhancements to the service, from the user interface to its ability to collect calls to more numbers. AJAX improvements to the user interface support one-click marking of messages as read, a drop-down menu on messages to provide additional options, and a tabbed settings pane. I no longer encounter busy signals when calling numbers in certain regions, nor do text messages fail to reach their destination. At the same time, Google has released a BlackBerry application, added support for the service to phones running its Android platform, and attempted to release an iPhone app as well. Add to that users’ ability to send invites and it would seem the beta is progressing well.

AT&T Takes Aim at Google Voice

It was only a matter of time until AT&T jumped into the fight over Google Voice. As The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday, AT&T sent a letter to the FCC on Friday alleging that because Google Voice does not connect calls to certain numbers, Google’s service violates FCC regulations governing phone carriers. The AT&T letter also accuses Google of violating the FCC’s “net neutrality” rules by blocking certain calls. AT&T’s arguments, however, are flawed for multiple reasons.

Continue reading AT&T Takes Aim at Google Voice

Google Voice Invite Contest

Interested in Google Voice? As it happens, I have an additional invitation.

For a chance to win the GV invite, head to https://disparate.info/2009/07/29/google-voice/ and leave a comment on that post. Then browse around disparate.info and comment on a second post.

You have until the end of today’s Red Sox-Yankees game to leave two comments (4:10pm EDT start time, but as with every Sox-Yankees matchup, the end time is a mystery). A winner will be randomly selected from those who qualify.

Google Voice Invites for Military Personnel

Google announced yesterday that it is giving priority to Google Voice invitation requests from members of the military with a .mil email address. According to the post on Google’s official blog, invitation requests made with a .mil address should be answered within a day. This is quite the gesture from Google, and a positive sign that Google Voice is scaling well as the invites continue to roll out.

If you’re a member of the military with a .mil email address and you’d like an invite to Google Voice, go to http://www.google.com/militaryinvite/.