Monday, August 25, 2008

Joining Technorati

So what's up with Technorati?
I've heard a lot about them and decided to take the plunge and sign up.

After seeing many of my hubby's favorites and my own on their list of top 100 blogs, I thought, OK. The "hive mind" is not so different from our own.

There are two ways to sign up a blog: one from within Technorati, and the other by posting some code on my own blog, like this:

Technorati Profile

Since this blog is about blogging in general, as well as my adventures with the CherryPal when I get it, any resource is fair game.

Hmm, looks like I've created a link to yet another online profile that needs to be fleshed out.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

So What's With This Cloud Computing?

Cloud Computing has become a buzzword du jour among cyberjournalists. The term has been around for years, and, like Humpty Dumpty, has meant various things. At one point it referred to aggregated computers, working together on something vast like the SETI project, harnessing down time to probe outer space for extraterrestrial life. ("Distributed computing" is a more apt term for this.)

The CherryPal cloud is much simpler. (No ETs involved.) You plug in your CherryPal, which requires a mere 2 watts of electric power and a fast internet connection--and uses the old monitor and keyboard you have tucked away from an earlier computer. That's it. You pay for the electricity and the internet connection. Your CherryPal comes with access to "The Cloud." When it turns on, it automatically launches a FireFox browser, and you are poised to log in to "The Cloud."

This sounds a bit magical, and since I don't yet have my CherryPal, I'm relying on what I understood from the CherryPal engineers at a demo in July. The CherryPal Cloud is a very secure server, where there will be many free applications available for use. It's running on Linux, which is open source and free. (Also free of viruses.) The CherryPal has a large flash memory but no hard drive. You'll have unlimited storage in the cloud. You can also log into the cloud from other computers, and your desktop will look just the same.

Big question for me: can I live without software I pay for and gobs of disk space and CPU to store and run it? After thinking about it, I probably can.

The CherryPal is not going to replace the workhorse computers needed by graphic designers, architects, software engineers, web designers, and serious number crunchers. If you live in Adobe Creative Suite, it's not the computer for you.

But for most people, who use the web to send email, shop, get information, share photos, blog, and stay in touch, CherryPal is a good option.

In my current computer usage, I spend a lot of time in Google's "cloud," blogging on Blogger, following favorite RSS feeds in Google Reader, putting photos in Picassa, using Gmail. It wasn't a great stretch to imagine a more full-featured cloud for CherryPal. This made me content with buying a less powerful laptop than the one I'd coveted. I'm not a Photoshop junkie any more. Or a Dreamweaver web maven. I'm content to get what I have to say out there, using the tools someone else has created.

Is CherryPal the computer for you? Think about what you really do with your computer, and what you would need in the Cloud to do it. Leave a comment with any questions you have. More fuel for future bloggings!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Looking Back

How revolutionary is the CherryPal? It helps to look back ... waaay back.

We have a great resource in the Bay Area, the Computer History Museum, now in Mountain View, on what was formerly the campus for Silicon Graphics [SGI]. A lesson right there in How Things Change.

If you are anywhere within visiting distance, and have an interest in computers, or history, or life in general, do visit this fine institution while the Babbage Engine is on display. It's an amazing creation whose story encapsulates the quest that has driven computer development.

Back in 19th century England, with a young Victoria on the throne and people just getting used to those new-fangled steam driven trains and factories, Charles Babbage was frustrated with the errors he found in the published mathematical tables of the time. These tables were used for navigation, and errors had life or death consequences.

Babbage conceived a difference engine that would mechanically calculate these sums and print out the results, thus skipping any operator error in typesetting by hand. His story is fascinating; he dined out on his theories in the best circles of London and got funding for his project. The first difference engine was constructed; the second was never completed.

"History" had assumed inferior Victorian production techniques had doomed the project. The reconstruction on view today deliberately used 19th century technology that was available at the time, proving that Babbage was more the victim of poor project management than inferior machining. Visit the fine web site where much more accurate and detailed accounts are available!

I was amazed by the size, the precision, and the sheer mechanical beauty of this creation. It's bigger than a standard bedroom. It weighs five tons. And it is gorgeous in motion. The giant brass rods move like double helixes, meshing their cogs and grinding out data, which is then set in type and printed at the end of the machine.

After gaping at this wonder, hubby and I moved through the permanent exhibits. It's a trip down memory lane for us, since computers have been at the center of our lives for the last 25+ years. (We weren't around when the moth got in the UNIVAC, originating the term "bug" for a computer error, but recognized many others at a remove or two.) It made me think how computers and calculating engines have touched the lives of everyone through the years.

How did we get from computers the size of a room to a CherryPal no bigger than a book? Visit the Computer History Museum and discover for yourelf. Whether you grew up with party phone lines, transistor radios, faxing, texting, or Twitter, you'll find much to marvel at. And you'll have a fresh perspective on what a marvel a CherryPal can be.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Back just in time

Things are humming along in the CherryPal universe. Not the first startup to overshoot a stated shipping date. Better to get it right than simply get it out the door. This is fine by me, since I've been away on vacation for a few weeks. (More about travels on my Drive-by Birding blog.) Here's the latest news:

CherryPal pre-orders are on hold as of August 6, 2008. We were having problems with the PayPal page, and as it says on the website "Unfortunately, our first delivery of C100s has been delayed. We are working diligently to ensure that there are no bugs in the system and appreciate your patience while we fine-tune your CherryPal."

As a CherryPal Brand Angel -- a real job posted on CraigsList for which I applied -- I get one of the first units to use and report upon my experiences. Currently my main writing activity is blogging, so "Blogging with CherryPal" was a logical extension.

If someone decides to purchase a CherryPal after reading your CherryPal user experience, they can use your promo code to buy a CherryPal off the website and receive a discount... etc. and you will be compensated as well.

This is part of CherryPal's philosophy, which is green, open, and fair. (The fair part includes compensating people for what they do.) This position is aligned with my own convictions. I'd be talking about CherryPal no matter what, because it's green, and different in so many ways from what we've been seeing for the past quarter century. But that's another story. And a swell photo of the Babbage Difference Engine when I can find it on my hard drive.