Timely warning for students
Today my students received a timely warning on personal security on the internet. In class we have created Gmail accounts then gone onto create iGoogle personalised home pages. They have created del.icio.us accounts and signatures for the Gmail email accounts. One task required them to email all of their class mates and their lecturer (me) and send a link to their del.icio.us accounts. This was as way of all students getting each others contacts and del.icio.us links.
As always in these sort of classes I go over security, guarding your personal information on the internet, logging in and our procedures and student code of conduct and internet usage policies that they have all signed and agreed to at the beginning of term.
On Thursday several students and myself received an email full of swearing and sounding very upset at the rest of the students in the class from one of the other students. I spoke to this student to ask if they were having trouble with the other class mates? No and the student when shown the email knew nothing about it. On further investigation we found the student was not at TAFE on Thursday and when going through the history on the PC where the email originated we found that the browser automatically signed into his Gmail account. Now after this episode all the students in the class Sign in and Sign out of their Google accounts. Just because a browser is closed and internet connection is also closed does not mean your account is also closed especially if you have selected to “Remember me on this computer” then someone else can come along and log into your accounts. Beware.
Sign in & ALWAYS Sign out
I have just read a post on Probable Distractions blog about an really cool workplace that is fitted out to look like the Nautilus from Jules Verne?s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Just imagine how inspiring it would be to work in a place like that.
This got me thinking about what other great workplaces there must be. I remembered seeing a documentary on The Googleplex that showed bright colours fun games and staff moving around on scooters
so I decided to “Google” fun workplaces and I found some really cool places to work and some fun ways to organise your office space. I also found some cool desktops at nownow.com.au , I did note that they seem to be predominantly macs!
Red Bull in London has a 29 foot slide that staff can use to go between floors
We mere mortals can but dream 🙂
Cartoon by Dave Walker.
Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.
Yes I took the challenge to Go Without Google For a Day and survived to tell the tale. This is definitely a task to only undertake if you are not under pressure, meeting deadlines or very busy. You need time to learn your way around using the different search engines. I took the easy option and downloaded Alt Search Engines list of 100 alternative search engines and used their top recommendations.
First I tried Kartoo this was quiet fun as it displays your results as graphical pages on a map. You can move your cursor over the results and see where and how they may link to other pages. It also gives you a list of keywords that you can use to define your search. You can Select the language of your search but not specifically your country – No Australian specific search.
Next I tried Quintura well I must be thick or needed coffee but I got thoroughly confused and gave up. 50matches is a Social Powered Search and they “only crawl web sites that were bookmarked or voted for by people, in sites like del.icio.us, digg and reddit.” Well I hope they don’t crawl my del.icio.us account as I know how unorganised and very badly tagged my things. No hope from my account of finding what you may be looking for – enough said. I also gave BlogDigger a go but when the results show Adds by Google and the results are presented looking very much like Google I wonder what their search engine is powered by?
I found a PC Magazine article called 11 Ways to Search without Google and tried a couple of their suggestions. One was Cha Cha where my searches for things like “Compact Framework Programming”, “VB.Net PPC” and “Mobile Developers” turned up some different results to what I get from Google. They also suggested StumbleUpon but this required a download of their toolbar and that was a hassle. When I want to use a search engine I want it to be a quick and painless activity,I want information and I want it now. I don’t want the hassle of downloading something before I can even start!
So I tried several different search engines and found sites like downloadsquad that I hadn’t found before when using the same phrases on Google. I found it interesting to try different search engine and did find the information I was looking for in my searches, but also had to make a conscious effort not to use Google for finding information. I think that we have been using Google for so long now it has just become a way of life. I do find myself talking about “googling things” and have even said this to my students.
I may continue to use some of these alternatives if Google doesn’t return what I want and when helping my daughter with school projects, they may help to return different results to what her class mates or teachers will get!
BUT I use Google for so much more than just searches
- It is my customised home page
- At a glance I can read my horoscope
- It tells me the latest news
- I can time my work
- I can place sticky notes and reminders.
- I love the fact that I can read the latest feeds from blogs I have subscribed to without going to another page
- I can get my gmail easily
- I can search my del.icio.us account
- I can easily add new feeds
- I can search Wikipedia
And if I get sick of seeing all those things I can get rid of them or not sign in and then have a clean white fresh page that I can just use as a search engine.
So I have to now stand up and admit
I am a Googleholic and I don’t care
Today I visited my friend Sue’s blog and found her post Can you go without Google for a day? well someone had to take up the challenge so on Tuesday June 12th I will be Gooogleless. The idea behind this is to try using some of the many other search engines that are available. Alt Search Engines have a list of 100 alternative search engines that you can try.
So if I am still sane I will report back how it went. I did make it through you read more on this at
I am a Googleholic and I don’t care!