Head in the clouds

I recently took advantage of the cheap software available for university staff and ordered Adobe CS5.5 Web Premium, bundled with InDesign and Captivate for … 26 euros … and MS Office 2010 for … 12 euros! I know! GTFOOH, I hear you cry enviously.

I actually hesitated about the second purchase since so much of what I use nowadays is cloud-based: Dropbox, Evernote, Gmail and Google Docs. Yet I almost felt guilty for not buying it at such an absurd price, and I still enjoy the ease of doing precise editing work in Word (currently working on Improved Plantain Production).

The downside is that MS products are infamously bloated (my bundle has 3 DVDs; I’ll only install the basic one) and resource-hungry; even now the installation .exe is pulling down over 90% of my CPU, … actually I think it’s frozen. Bummer.

Google+ logos
New Google hieroglyphs

In the meantime, one letter appearing per second, I’m waiting for my invite(s) to Google+ — launched today — the second attempt by Google to compete with other social networks — Buzz flopped almost before most users realized it had popped up in their Gmail sidebar. I’m intrigued by the circles concept, whereby you can target shared information within designated circles of contacts. This was/is one of reasons I use multiple accounts for FB and Twitter — not everything is for everybody.

I am not sure that the restricted launch of Google+ is the best strategy, however. It worked with Gmail — the user-base gossip generated a massive … buzz — and that works for single-source communication like email; but social networking needs lots of nodes to work, and an exclusive user group cannot go beyond its own limited boundaries. Early users report favorable experience but seem frustrated that they can only connect with other beta testers, and the conversation seems to be, “So now we’re here, what are we supposed to do?”

Steven Levy’s excellent, extended review of Google+ gives fascinating insight into the planning and thinking behind it, and gives details of other innovative features, such as the Hangout, “like a group Chatroulette without nudity and with about 100 extra I.Q. points”. I only hope my laptop can handle the streaming — right now it’s having a hard time playing music from the server downstairs.


Dang! That MS Office install has really hung! Beam me back up to the clouds, Scotty!

Update the day after: Office did finally install last night but is now grinding through15 security updates …