Tag Archives: Google

Google Alerts is Down (1/10/2017)

Heads up Google Alerts users… the service seems to be down.

There isn’t anything on the Google Alerts page, but I poked around on twitter and found this article on Chron saying Alerts has been down for a few hours.

The Chron post also links to a Google Product Forum that states the issue has been corrected…

As of 8 PM EST my feeds are still not getting articles and there are about a dozen people commenting in the forum that the service still isn’t working for them.

I will provide updates here if I find any other information.



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What is Google’s artificial neural network


As a fan of Hunter S. Thompson, I recently came across this article about someone putting Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas in Google’s artificial neural network to create trippy effects.

The results are quite trippy.

After I got over the insane images, I started to wonder what this neural network was:

In machine learning and cognitive science, artificial neural networks (ANNs) are a family of statistical learning models inspired by biological neural networks (the central nervous systems of animals, in particular the brain) and are used to estimate or approximate functions that can depend on a large number of inputs and are generally unknown. Artificial neural networks are generally presented as systems of interconnected “neurons” which send messages to each other. The connections have numeric weights that can be tuned based on experience, making neural nets adaptive to inputs and capable of learning.

Google’s specific spin on images:

We train an artificial neural network by showing it millions of training examples and gradually adjusting the network parameters until it gives the classifications we want. The network typically consists of 10-30 stacked layers of artificial neurons. Each image is fed into the input layer, which then talks to the next layer, until eventually the “output” layer is reached. The network’s “answer” comes from this final output layer.

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James Fallows doesn’t trust Google not to kill each new product it spawns

James Fallows doesn’t trust Google not to kill each new product it spawns


GooglePlus Review

( #GooglePlus, #SocialMedia )

Image Credit: Paul Vedar

Last night the good people over at Lifehacker offered invites to the new Google+ service. I jumped at the chance to get one because I have been looking at a way to do multiple people video chats for months. Skype offers it for a few bucks a month, which I was considering, but I don’t like that I have to install software to video chat when Google does it in the browser.

Google calls the feature “hangouts” and even in beta, it works pretty damn well. Actually checkout the Lifehacker crew’s video:

Google seems to have built this service around security and privacy. This sounds like an odd thing for Google, but it comes from the public scorn they got from rolling out Buzz (which automatically shared private info like email addresses) and also as a response to Facebook. Even though Facebook has privacy features, I feel that they always trying to get you to share more public data (and their updates always change settings to make that happen). In order to compete, Google is focusing security groups (called Circles) so you can share certain things with certain people much easier.

I am sure Big G isn’t completely saintly in this service, but since they have the Government breathing down their necks and face fierce competition with Facebook, I think the Google+ service is as legit as it can be. Since I am a google guy to start, I am hoping the service takes off because it will be much easier for me to manage my social circle with the plus service than with Facebook since I already have a hands off attitude towards it.

I was going to offer invites to readers, but it looks like Google shut down invitations already. But drop me a note, and if they turn it back on, I will try to get you in.

UPDATE: A blogger buddy (and current Keypulp founder) Joss Ross already found a security issue. Even if you choose a select group to see your post, someone could share it with everyone. Google has a fix, there is a drop down in the right corner that disables sharing. I think it should be defaulted that way, but for now, be aware and don’t share!

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Reviewing Music Cloud and Backup Services

( #Amazon, #GoogleMusic, #Cloud )

Over the last few months, mobile music lovers have been treated to a few new innovations in accessing their personal music collections. I am going to spend a few minutes reviewing those new services.

Amazon Cloud Service

The first music cloud service that I could access (officially) on my phone was Amazon’s Music Cloud service. Amazon starts off by giving you 5 GB of free online space, but with the purchase of a cheap album, your cloud drive will be increased to 20 GB. Another good feature is any music you purchase from the service does not count against your space restriction (translation: if you buy music from Amazon they host it for free).

When I first got the service, it was snappy and worked well in my dead zone house with just the phone signal. Over the last few weeks I have experienced the service getting stuck even in good reception areas. That said, the streaming service, doesn’t seem to drain the battery too bad which is a plus. Overall Amazon’s service works well. Although I have one more minor gripe: the “download files to your computer” feature asks me to download the download app every time I want files, even though I have it installed already. Annoying. Glitches aside, I have been buying most of my music through them (screw apple!).

Google Music Service

A few weeks ago Google announced it would be offering a cloud music storage system. The difference between Amazon and Google is that you can’t buy music from Google, but you can upload up to 20,000 songs. It took about a week, but I uploaded 50 GB of music to the system which was just under 8000 songs.

The service is slick and works well on my phone. Since I have both Amazon and Google stream apps on my phone, I have found Google’s service more responsive and less buggy – which makes sense since it is their operating system. The web interface is very similar to Amazon’s but has album pictures which is nice.

The upload app that runs on your computer is a little buggy and gets stuck after a while, but I guess processing 8000 files can be excessive.

Learn more about Google’s music service here. One bad thing about the service is you have to request and invite and is not open to all Google users to start with, but it is honestly worth the wait.

Apple iCloud

Reports are coming in this morning that Appple is about to announce a cloud service as well. I could care less. I hate their draconian DRM policy and never purchase music from iTunes.

Personal Cloud: Western Digital My Book Live

The last option I am going to discuss is a personal NAS drive that you can open up on your firewall for a personal cloud. I purchased a 2 TB Western Digital My Drive for $140 bucks. I plugged it into my router and it immediately worked.

The nice thing about this little device is that is has a built in DLNA server which can feed your music and files to all of your computers, gaming systems, and phones. It would VERY well with my android phone (something I could not figure out using Windows Media Player media sharing services).

Adventurous people can cut open firewall rules so they can access their music from their phones anywhere they are. Personally, I don’t have much desire to do that since I have the other services, but the My Book drive is a really cool device to have in the house, especially if you have streaming media devices – it just works well.


Right now the Google service is impressing me the most since it can host all of my music and isn’t giving me much trouble. That said, I really like this NAS system I have set up and the combination of the two allowing me to finally sell my insane CD collection to the used stores to free up space.

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