Google Reader, farewell

For years I have been using Google Reader to keep up to date with websites as I could read them when I had the time and I saw which sites where updated. Even if they were idle for months, so a dream for everyone who has a time management plan in place. Google Reader had a web interface, an API for third-party applications like Feedly and Liferea, but also an app for Android so you could check things when you were waiting somewhere. Until now as Google announced it will stop Google Reader in the summer of 2013. Some people try to revert this decision with a petition, but to be honest, I’m not going to wait and that may be sad as Google Reader was the reason I had a Google-account in the past.

That said, I already started to experiment with an alternative last summer and while it is still in development and misses some features the time has come to switch from Google Reader towards TT-RSS. As of today I imported all feeds into TT-RSS and removed also all feeds from Google Reader. The only feeds still in Google Reader are those for Google Listen and the time has come to start searching for an alternative. Google Listen is a podcast application, also discontinued, and will also stop working this summer. Maybe I’ll move all podcasts back to my desktop, but it was handy to have them on my phone so I could listen to them in the car.

For now, TT-RSS is a good self-hosted alternative with a web interface, applications for Android and Liferea has also an option to use your TT-RSS installation. Maybe I should spend some time soon to get OPML support just like in Liferea so that Planet-feeds aren’t needed anymore and will make message deduplication easier, but for now, it works and I can only say, Google thanks for all the fish. And to be honest I think my Google account will have the same destination as my Twitter account.

Internet, Unix en security Life and society

Debian Wheezy and GNOME 3.2

The migration of GNOME toward version 3.0 in Debian earlier this year wasn’t very successful in the beginning, but a lot of bugs where solved during the summer. GNOME 3.0 made it into Wheezy during the release of 3.2 and maybe for the better. Now only a few months after the release of GNOME 3.2 almost all packages have been uploaded to experimental or unstable, and most of them even already migrated to testing.

But what brings GNOME 3.2? A lot of people are unhappy and some of these points are valid and need to be fixed. Others can be discussed if they are true. One thing that changed in 3.2 is how GNOME interacts with your address book and your instant messaging accounts. Connections to instant messaging networks are automatically being started when you log in. This also reflects in the search screen when you type in a friends name and you direct see his connection status.

GNOME Online Accounts is another example of making things simpler for the user. Currently it only works for Google, but I really hope current proposals with querying the right SRV-records in DNS are also going to be part of GNOME in a future release. For now GNOME Online Accounts setups up multiple Google services up like Mail, Calendar, Chat, Documents and Contacts with a single authentication token. Different services don’t have to maintain and store the credentials in GNOME Keyring or in still in there own way. Hopefully there will come a solution for Liferea which still stores te users password plain-text in the configuration file.

Other third-party applications like Simple Scan, Shotwell and Deja-Dup are slowly making there way into becoming part of GNOME. I can’t wait to see what is going to happen with the GNOME 3.4 release as both Epiphany and Evolution are going to have some major work done to them. A switch to Webkit 2 and ending the usage of GtkHTML in Evolution. Hopefully after this Epiphany can replace Firefox completely on my desktop.

It is good to see the progress GNOME is making into becoming an interface for cloud services by simplifying the configuration for users, but also separating data from applications more and more. I can’t wait to see how GNOME Document is going to evolve, but two other things still open is a good solution for RSS-feeds and chat-logs as Empathy is still storing them on disk and isn’t able to use logs stored by Google for example.

In the end I’m happy with GNOME 3.2 in Debian Testing right now and Debian on my workstation is back to it’s weekly testing upgrade schedule as most parts are working. I even think that I will continue to do this during the 3.4 release as most of the GNOME dust has settled. Maybe I make an exception for both AbiWord and Gnumeric when they switch to GTK3 and hopefully also better OpenDocument support.

Life and society

Google+ Profiles?

Met de kop Google Deleting Private Profiles by July 31 begint een artikel bij en tijdens het lezen wordt langzaam duidelijk welke kant het opgaat. Het geeft ook een ander beeld op de posting Google: fixing bugs is dumping people?. Het wordt wel langzaam duidelijk welke kant Google opgaat en of dat een kant is die ik ook op wil blijft de vraag.

Google Profiles waren optioneel, maar blijkbaar nu ook al niet meer. Google Talk is al afhankelijk van Google Contacts en daar komt nu Google+ blijkbaar bij. Daarbij voor bijna elke Google dienst die je wilt delen, hebben andere ook een Google Account nodig. Of dit nu Picassa, Docs of Maps is. Dit terwijl Google zich wel als identity provider naar andere profileert, maar geen andere identity providers lijkt te accepteren om mensen te identificeren.

De vraag is misschien nog wel of Internet niet gewoon langzaam de IBM client-server strategie in is gegaan met oa Apple, Google en Microsoft. En dat de any-to-any strategie er eigenlijk niet meer is zoals oorspronkelijk het plan was. Wordt het misschien weer tijd voor decentralisatie van Internet? Wordt het tijd om partijen zoals Google te boycotten?

Internet, Unix en security Privacy & veiligheid

FeedBurner buitensluiten

Na Google Analytics gaat nu ook FeedBurner in de ban. Want monitoren is leuk, maar er zijn grenzen en zeker als alle data wordt geëxporteerd naar de United States of America. Een kleine uitbreiding aan de hosts-file lost dit snel op.

Helaas stopte hiermee een redelijk aantal RSS-feeds met werken, maar daar is snel afscheid van genomen. Binnenkort eens kijken of we de juiste filter regels kunnen maken voor Privoxy.

Internet, Unix en security

Google Public DNS

Diensten in de cloud zijn leuk natuurlijk, maar soms doen ze dingen die je echt niet wilt. Dit kan zowel bewust als onbewust gebeuren. Bij zagen mensen al leuke dingen met het automatisch corrigeren van bepaalde fouten. Maar ook de vraag komt gelijk waarom we vanuit Europa onze DNS zouden uit besteden aan een Amerikaans-bedrijf. Er zijn bepaalde juridische problemen waar de mensen achter EDRI in het verleden al een paar keer antwoord op hebben gegeven.

Vandaag was het de beurt aan Google Public DNS, want de beheerders van het Franse topleveldomein merkte op dat het arpa-domein niet kon worden geresolved via Google Public DNS. Nu lijkt dit op zich geen probleem, want de dienst is bedoelt voor oa thuisgebruikers. De vraag komt wel wat er nog meer niet goed werkt en of dit op zet is of niet. Daarbij komt de vraag wat je allemaal wel en niet moet outsourcen naar een cloud. Zeker met protocollen zoals DNS die juist zijn ontwikkelt om te blijven werken in de meest vreemde situaties.