23 October 2010

Blue Box

I just downloaded a Blue Box/Red Box app to my phone (an original Droid). For those too young to know, real Blue Boxes were used by phone phreaks such as Steve Wozniak (who made and sold them) to audibly trick pay phones into making free calls.

I doubt this app will still work. Technology has come a long way since the 70's. However, if I find a pay phone tomorrow, I will try it and report the results here.

14 October 2010

Why I Have an Orkut Account

As many of you know (because that's how you were directed to this post), I have a Facebook account. You can search for me over there. I actively update my status. I play the games. (That's right. I have a farm AND a Mafia!) I also have a Twitter account, and I tweet a lot. Sure, a lot of my tweets are retweets (and I will discuss ReTweet, the Android app, at a later date), but it's fun.

What many of you don't know is that I also have an account on Orkut. Wait.... do you even know what Orkut is? Well, let's go to the "official" Google description of their social network:

"orkut is an online community designed to make your social life more active and stimulating"

(source, http://www.orkut.com/Main#about.aspx)

Nice theory. But I only have four friends, so I am just not getting far there. Incidentally, all four of those friends are also my friends on Facebook. So that's not the reason.

A look at the demographics (http://www.orkut.com/Main#MembersAll) shows something different about Orkut. The largest populations of members are from Brazil and India. The United States rates a distant 3rd. So, perhaps a way to find a new audience for my ramblings (even though I only have four friends!)?

No, that's not it, either - although it is kind of interesting to see so many posts in Portuguese.

As I alluded to earlier in this post, Orkut is owned by that #2 site on the Internet, Google. Love them or hate that, you are foolish to ignore them. I don't know if Orkut is going to become the basis for the long-rumored GoogleMe "Facebook-killer" social network - in fact, I kind of doubt that it will - but I do suspect that Google will test some of their concepts there.

At least one Google Chrome extension that I use a lot - Social Translate (https://chrome.google.com/extensions/detail/giljlmclogpacbccpelmggfcjnickhhf) - was built so fools like me, who don't really speak Portuguese all that well, could read those Brazilian posts on Orkut. That extension works with Facebook and Twitter as well; it works with languages other than Portuguese, too (which is good for someone who has a LOT of Norwegian friends).

Google is also all about integration and single sign-in. Orkut was one of the first social networks to have a native app available in Android Market. Anyone who has ever gotten an Android-based phone know that, in order to activate the phone, a GMail account is required. Now, I already had a GMail account, so no worries. Many people signed up for GMail solely because they chose an Android phone. But now, you have a Google account. And that same Google account.... works with Orkut. And, I suspect it will also work with GoogleMe if and when it comes.

Incidentally, that same Google account also works with several other Google services, that I will write about in future postings.

My final reason for wanting Orkut - besides wanting to be ahead of the curve on GoogleMe, loving the single sign-on, not being able to ignore anything Google does - is that I am a social network junkie. I joined because I wanted to see why it had more than 100 million members - sure, that's 20% of Facebook, but itis more than Twitter, it's more than Friendster, it's more than LinkedIn - that is a huge critical mass. And I just couldn't ignore that.

Now, I will be adding a link to my Orkut profile to Blogger profile (another service that uses the Google account, by the way) soon after I post this article. Please, feel free to be my friend there, too!

Getting back to my roots

I originally started this blog not as a music-posting, aging-hipster, useless-knowledge wet dream, but rather, as a way to yammer on about ALL the stuff I love - yes, music, but also technology, social networking, curling, LoudMouth Golf pants...

Unfortunately for me, it became the former. And I went back and reread a lot of my posts, and they were terrible.

Tonight, I decided to fix that. Most of the old posts are gone. I kept some - not because they were good, but because they show us where we came from.

Starting tomorrow, I forge ahead with my original concept. Most of these little blogs will be done from my phone - it is a Motorola Milestone that Verizon Wireless insisted on calling a "Droid" - but not all of them.

Oh. And I will still be running the Facebook pages - John Daly's Pants, the other little one about the Norwegian Olympic Curling Team's Pants - and I'll be on Twitter - @redargyle - and I will be on all the other crudely-constructed social networks so you don't have to.

Which is to say I am also on Orkut.
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