Google Docs & Spreadsheets integration with Gmail

Google Gmail recently got a new feature allowing one to open Word documents using Google Docs and we can safely assume that PDF and Excel (for use with Google Spreadsheets) documents are on their way as well.

Sometimes a Word document can be quite big with lots of added stuff like images, drawings and so on.

If Google can handle the on-the-fly (or at least on-mail-receive) Word documents conversions I do think that they can (and hopefully will) handle Movie files conversions like I suggest in my previous post about integrating YouTube/Google Video with Gmail.

Since copyright issues are the same for Word documents, having the movie converted and show only to the mail recipient shouldn’t be much of a problem.

I wonder if the Gmail team subscribed to RSS alerts on their product the same way as the Google Reader team :-)

idproxy.net

If you haven’t done so already, go check out (and hopefully use, afterwards) idproxy.net.

As written in idproxy.net’s about page:

idproxy.net acts as a bridge between these two worlds. You can sign in to idproxy.net using your Yahoo! account, and then create one or more OpenID accounts for use elsewhere on the Web.

Basically, if you have a Yahoo ID, you can sign-in and create an OpenID for yourself at idproxy.net thus allowing you to use your Yahoo ID and password to connect to any OpenID supported site.

Go try it out!

idproxy.net is written by Simon Willison. You can read more about the service in this post on his blog.

OpenID Tests

Everyone else has written about it and since I’m a bit behind on my feeds reading list I just got around to check it out.

OpenID Tests is a testing tool allowing you to test your OpenID server and OpenID page. This is such a great tool and could save an OpenID developer tons of work.

All I can say is “Hip hip Hurray” to the fine folks at JanRain on yet another fine OpenID piece of software.

idproxy.net and OpenIDBridge.com or I’m late, again!

I just read Simon Willison‘s post about idproxy.net.

It’s funny, I just talked about such a service in a previous post and also mentioned I’m working on the same service. I was suppose to release it a week ago but had some other issues to attend to as well as some learning curve with using JanRains’ PHP OpenID library and only manage to get it almost working yesterday. I was planning on release it this week, but since Simon already released idproxy.net I’m rethinking that :-)

I guess when you snooze you loose.

My approach was a little different. I wanted to lower the barrier of sign in a bit more and was thinking more in the form of a fixed user that you’ll use to sign in.

For example, if my Yahoo account is someone@yahoo.com I would use the following URL to sign into an OpenID supported site:

http://openidbridge.com/yahoo/someone@yahoo.com

My service will simply delegate you to Yahoo and Yahoo will have to handle all the necessary phishing stuff on their own (which they actually do).

I think I’ll ping Simon and have a little chat about our ideas for such a service :-)

WordPress Upgrade

I’ve just finished upgrading this blog to WordPress 2.1. This is my first post in 2.1 and if it goes well, it will mark the succesful upgrade of this blog to the new and fine WordPress version.

In the process I had the oppertunity to also verify that my MicroID Plugin for WordPress as well as my OpenID Delegation Plugin for WordPress works in version 2.1 as well as they did in WordPress 2.0.x.

If you do run into problems with these plugins on WordPress 2.1 ping me.

Mono hosted inside SecondLife

I just read on the official Linden Blog that they have completed an initial version of hosting Mono within SecondLife.

What they have done is to compile the Linden Scripting Language (LSL) into Intermediate Language (IL) code and they automagically gain all the advantages of the .NET Runtime – Just In Time (JIT) compilation, advanced Garbage Collection and, hopefully, the ability to extend SecondLife with other .NET supported langauges (though that’s a personal wish ;-) having .NET so close to me – my Advanced .NET Debugging blog)

It seems the results are promising:

“The initial figures look good, with Mono executing LSL scripts between 300 and 500 times faster than the current LSL interpreter.”

Mono is an open source implementation of the .NET runtime as well as a C# compiler and some of the .NET Framework stack (including stack of its own free of patents and copyrights). It’s supported on Mac OSX, Linux and Windows, which makes it ideal for SecondLife since these are the 3 major platforms it is used by.
I wonder if they’ll use Mono throughout the SecondLife Viewer, or chose to use/host Microsoft’s .NET Runtime on Windows (which in some senses is far more advanced than Mono but only limited to Windows).

Having SecondLife tied to .NET on Windows will require everyone to get the .NET framework, while Mono can be compiled into (or linked) and be distributed with the normal SecondLife client (though I don’t think that should be a major problem).

Not having to learn yet another scripting language will greatly enhance the ability for everyone to enhance and create a better, more interesting and innovative SecondLife. That’s why it should be very important to be able to extend SecondLife without using LSL and using the full blown power of .NET and all of the .NET supported languages.
I’d be more than willing to help out, if needed (or at least checked into their source repository) :-).

Amazon Checkout Interface – Group to as few shipments as possible

I recently ordered a couple of books from Amazon.

When reaching the check out screen I, obviously, selected to group my shipments to as few as possible. I then looked and saw that it was grouped into two shipments, one book should be shipped the next day and the other 4 should ship only on the 20th of March – almost two months afterwards!

This was a bit strange considering the fact that Amazon showed that all books were in stock.

I figured there is probably a book or two causing the delay of the whole shipment, so I switched to the “ship as soon as the books are available” option and saw that one book (one book alone) caused the delay of the whole shipment.

I removed it (with great sorrow – it will wait for the next batch of Amazon books from my wish list), set the “group to as few shipments as possible” and everything was in one big happy shipment.

I wonder what other customers who are a bit less proficient in computers would have done. I’m guessing one of 3 options:

  1. Order and not notice that it will take two months for the shipment to come
  2. Select the option to send things as soon as they are available and pay a bit more
  3. Cancel the shipment and go elsewhere

Why didn’t Amazon add a check to see if the shipment will take more time than it should alert the user and tell him/her which item is the one causing the delay? It shouldn’t be that hard to check something along the lines of

if (scheduledShipmentDate > DateTime.Now.AddMonths(1)) {

AlertUser();

}

Sometimes it’s the little things that tick me off. I’m a great fan of Amazon and it’s really the only place I can get almost any book I can think of, but sometimes a man’s got to post on his blog when a man’s got to post on his blog.

Proxy OpenID Services

I just bumped into this post by Martin Atkins that talks about proxy OpenID services that can delegate OpenID formated requests to their respective browser based authentication identity providers.

I’m actually working on such a thing that will delegate OpenID to Yahoo’s BBAuth authentication allowing anyone with a Yahoo ID (and, of course, anyone with Yahoo Email) to authenticate using OpenID.

The only annoying thing is that the URL is a bit ugly. Currently, my version uses a URL structure of /users/john@yahoo.com which is a bit annoying, but should be sufficient for now.

I’m hoping to get a release sometime next week. Stay tuned!

WordPress Full Text Feed

I, as many other WordPress users, have encountered a problem with Full Text Feeds not actually showing on FireFox Live Bookmarks (the thingy that shows you the feed in a nice way) as full text, but are rather cut.

It seems this is not a problem at all. This is a feature in FireFox’s Live Bookmarks which simply shortens the text only on display. If you’ll look at the page source (View -> Page Source) you’ll the see the XML file of the feed and that the <description> tag contains the full text.

It seems IE7 doesn’t do that and shows whatever it is it needs to show.

Don’t be alarmed by this, your WordPress blog DOES show full text feeds.

If you really want to test this, go to a full blown RSS reader and put your feed’s URL and see that it does contain the full text.

Gmail integration with Google Video and/or YouTube

You know what would be a cool feature (and even a useful one) to Gmail?

Integrating Gmail with Google Video and/or YouTube to provide video previewing of videos received as attachments.

I haven’t received a video as an attachment on my Gmail for quite some time now, but I see no reason why it shouldn’t work same way as it works with previewing attached images.

Gmail could convert the video on the fly to a Google Video/YouTube private film, one that is not posted on the site and is only available to the people using Gmail and allow me to preview it directly.

It’s funny that Gmail gives ~3Gb of space to save stuff but I’m then stuck on downloading 5Mb of some stupid movie someone sent me just to view it, instead of getting a buffered near-real-time viewing experience, the same way I get with pictures (though pictures of a rather built-in support inside browsers, which makes the previewing if images very easy to implement and use).

It will also save some bandwidth to Gmail due to the fact that the encoded stream that goes through the Flash player of Google Video or YouTube is in a lesser quality than the original movie, thus allowing most people to view it in a lesser quality (which should suffice to most people) and not download the whole 5Mb+ file.

Gmail team, what say you? (or am I already suggesting a feature that is in the works…)