5 Things - Week Ending 3/22/13

This is the 41st post in a series called 5 Things. Each week I will share a combination of technology articles and apps that I have discovered and liked in the past week. Anything highlighted in blue is a link to an article, an app, or another section of my website.


Why I left Google

James Whittaker:

The old Google made a fortune on ads because they had good content. It was like TV used to be: make the best show and you get the most ad revenue from commercials. The new Google seems more focused on the commercials themselves.

I agree with James Whittaker. Google now seems more focused on the commercials than the product that they offer. It feels like everything they have done in the past couple years is focused on learning more about you so they can display more relevant ads to make more money.

We now live in a world where more people have mobile phones than clean toilets

Naomi Rovnick:

That phenomenon is easily visible in Indonesia, for example, where it is common to see people who live in metal roofed shacks without bathrooms surfing Facebook on their smartphones or feature phones. And it shows how, in the developing world, multinationals are often better at responding to peoples’ needs than governments are.

I witnessed this first hand during my time in India and Tanzania in 2009. Local and national governments do not have the resources to build the infastructure to provide clean water and sanitation to everyone. Multinational corporations can provide cell service in the most remote places in the mountains of India and Tanzania. Impoverished people can afford to have a cell phone (rates are very inexpensive).

I have decided to take action and try to make a difference for those that don't have access to clean water. I am trying to raise $2700 by my 27th birthday in October. I have started a fundraiser through Water.org. If you would like to help me make a difference in the world for those less fortunate please visit my fundraiser page.


The focused nature of iPhone and iOS make the new Galaxy S4 seem cluttered

Brad Gurgel:

My concern is that Android phones will continue to fill up with more and more clutter in the form of “neat but not regularly useful” features in an effort to stand out from the crowd. I do feel this comes at the expense of usability and user experience. The less “techie” crowd may find using Android to be a more and more frustrating and confusing experience if features continue to be piled on. Samsung is marketing the Galaxy S4 as a “Life Companion” phone, but I feel the S4 may be too feature packed to be easy enough to use in every day life for those who are new to smartphones or not tech savvy.

I think that adding features just for the sake of adding features is a mistake. Smartphones can do so many things out of the box and when you start to add apps the possibilities are almost endless.

I don't mind a company adding new features as long as they are well thought out and don't make the product more difficult or frustrating to use.

Apple's data centers now powered by 100% renewable energy

Steven Sande:

Apple released the 2012 update of its environmental policy pages and notes that the company is now using 100 percent renewable energy sources — solar, wind, hydro and geothermal — at its data centers.

I think that it is pretty cool that Apple's data centers are now using 100% renewable energy. Check out the video above to see the solar array they built next to their data center in North Carolina.

What It's Like to Get Online After 25 Years in Prison

Michael Santos:

The Internet did not exist when I began serving my prison sentence in 1987. I didn’t have direct access to the Internet as it dawned onto popular culture and became mainstream for many Americans, throughout the “You’ve got mail!” craze of the ‘90s. Years would pass, until my release from prison in 2012 before I’d be able to experience the Internet first hand.

Could you imagine being locked up in prision in 2013 and being released in 2038? Technology and the world would change so much over that span of time!

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