Whoever says Google has poor support is wrong

I use a few of the Google tools available. When it comes time for my monthly backups of my web stuff, I use Google Takeout. Google Takeout creates a backup of all your Google stuff and creates one big zip file of it that you can download to your machine.

I had some trouble with it today, it wasn’t generating my download file so I sent an email to their support team. I got an email back in about five minutes:

Hi Rich,

Thanks for your mail. We’re currently working on this issue, we hope to have it resolved by next week. Sorry for the inconvenience,

–The Takeout team

So I’ll try again next week and see if its working as expected. But overall not bad support for what is essentially a suite of free tools.

UPDATE 11/30/2013:

Another Googler got back to me and said to try again, and sure enough it worked just fine. Problem solved. Thanks Google. Now get back to keeping the NSA from spying on my appetizer recipes in Google Docs.

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Is Microsoft buying Facebook a good thing for PHP?

Microsoft is buying a piece of Facebook. What do we all think this means for PHP since Facebook is one of the “web 2.0” leaders built on PHP? The way I see it, here are the options:

  1. Facebook continues on its merry path, taking only funding from Microsoft
  2. Facebook continues on its merry path, taking funding from Microsoft in addition to some development “resources.” Resources here could be people, equipment, and technology. The free people, equipment, and technology probably won’t fit very well in a LAMP environment. Pressure to move infrastructure to MS-friendly environment mounts.
  3. Microsoft rewrites the whole thing in C#
  4. Microsoft learns how simple and scalable PHP is and freaks out, unleashing a FUD campaign the likes of which we’ve never even dreamed of.
  5. Microsoft learns from the open source environment, partially embraces it, and creates PHP.net, a half functioning version of PHP for .net framework.
  6. Microsoft learns from the open source environment, fully embraces it, and abandons Windows by creating their own GUI for the next version of Linux.

In reality, I can really only see #1 or #2 happening. Your thoughts?

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Monster.com reply to latest hacking incident

Following is a notice monster.com sent out late last night with the subject “An Important Message to Our Valued Monster Customers” regarding their recent data loss to hackers. Interestingly, they never actually apologize for the incident. Bold is mine.

Dear Valued Monster Customer,

Protecting the job seekers who use our website is a top priority, and we value the trust you place in Monster. Regrettably, opportunistic criminals are increasingly using the Internet for illegitimate purposes. As is the case with many companies that maintain large databases of information, Monster is from time to time subject to attempts to illegally extract information from its database.

As you may be aware, the Monster resume database was recently the target of malicious activity that involved the illegal downloading of information such as names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses for some of our job seekers with resumes posted on Monster sites. Monster responded to this specific incident by conducting a comprehensive review of internal processes and procedures, notified those job seekers that their contact records had been downloaded illegally, and shut down a rogue server that was hosting these records.

The Company has determined that this incident is not the first time Monster’s database has been the target of criminal activity. Due to the significant amount of uncertainty in determining which individual job seekers may have been impacted, Monster felt that it was in your best interest to take the precautionary steps of reaching out to you and all Monster job seekers regarding this issue. Monster believes illegally downloaded contact information may be used to lure job seekers into opening a “phishing” email that attempts to acquire financial information or lure job seekers into fraudulent financial transactions. This has been the case in similar attacks on other websites.

We want to inform you about preventive measures you can take to protect yourself from online fraud. While no company can completely prevent unauthorized access to data, we believe that by reaching out to job seekers like you, the Company can help users better defend themselves against those who have attacked Monster as well as other databases.

We are committed to maintaining an ongoing dialogue with all of our job seekers about Internet security and the steps Monster is taking to protect its job seekers. The Company has placed a security alert on Monster sites offering information to educate you about online fraud. This information can be found at http://help.monster.com/besafe/. We have also included information on Internet safety and examples of fraudulent “phishing” emails at the bottom of this letter.

Monster has launched a series of initiatives to enhance and to protect the information you have entrusted to us. Some of these steps are being immediately implemented, while others will be put into place as appropriate.

We believe these actions are the responsible steps to protect the trust you place in Monster. We are also working with Monster’s hundreds of thousands of employer customers to ensure a safe and effective online job search. We will continue to share information with you about the enhancements we are making as we serve as your online career resource partner. We invite you to keep reading to learn more about how to use the Internet safely.


Sal Iannuzzi

Chairman and CEO

Monster Worldwide

The message then goes on to highlight “HOW TO BE A SAFE INTERNET USER” with the topics:

  • What’s “phishing” all about – and how do I spot it?
  • How is it different than “spoofing”?
  • Examples of fraudulent email: (clickable examples of fraudulent email)

Of course its kind of funny to have an email that says, “don’t click on phishing links.” And then says, “here’s a bunch of sample links to click on.”

Thumbs up for monster finally admitting the issue. Thumbs down for the response time and lack of apology. Don’t they have to (by I believe california law) have to admit to a breach of data much quicker then this?

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Good ideas lost in emails and instant messages

I don’t like to email anymore. Especially at work. I have some issues with instant messaging too.

Ideas get lost. So do instructions and documentation. Sure, you can make a nice document and put it out there on your internal corporate network, but no one will ever look at it. Do you have a way to search thru the contents of it? No? I didn’t think so. Me neither.

I’m thinking of blogging everything. Blogging everything I want/need to remember. Maybe I’ll make a blog inside work for documenting work procedures and ideas. And set other people up the same way. And I’ll keep blogging stuff here obviously that’s good for public consumption.

But then there’s the IMs to contend with.

After losing a job surprisingly a few years ago, I’ve worked pretty hard to develop and nurture a network of people in my field that I can turn to and who can turn to me. This is mostly done via quick IMs. So on any given day there’s a good amount of knowledge transfer back and forth in instant messaging. I view this as a kind of professional development. As long as it doesn’t interfere with my daily responsibilities, it’s fine. I’ve learned a lot from people this way and hopefully they’ve learned from me too.

So how do I search thru all those great tidbits, links, theories, etc. that I’ve given and received via IM? I’m thinking of chucking those into a database or text indexer and making those searchable via web too. I’m just not sure of the best way to go about that yet.  More to come.

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Facebook.com opens up facebook platform similar to ning.com

Read about the new developer environment for Facebook.com on cnn.com. I can’t tell yet if this is Facebook.com adopting some of the Ning.com philosophy of “create your own social network” or if it’s just a giant widget factory on steroids.

No longer will Facebook consider itself merely another social network. Instead it is becoming a technology platform on which anyone can build applications for social computing… Outsiders can now develop Internet services on Facebook’s infrastructure, he explains, that will have full access to all its members. 

developer.facebook.com has more info on the facebook platform. And of course, you have to love that it’s built on PHP.

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