Tuesday, October 23, 2012


I grudgingly signed up for Google+. I avoided LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace, ... whatever it was that MySpace tossed out, I skipped them all. I have e-mail. I have chat. I don't need other stuff. Several times a week I put some thought into shutting down the blog. It takes time that I could be using to whittle down my massive unread book collection.

I finally signed up because the new boss wants video teleconference abilities in our offices. He's located in Texas and we're located north of Washington, D.C. But there's no room to set this up. There's 8-10 of us crowded around a table at staff meetings. The room barely fits the table and the table doesn't seat all of us anymore. To put the monitor and camera on one wall would take away a seat or two and the camera wouldn't be able to see the people sitting at that end of the table. There'd need to be a camera on both sides of the room. Or knock out a wall and put two of the more useless rooms together.

I tried to figure out another option. This new Army base has a different firewall configuration than the previous one did. YouTube is accessible for some reason. Apple system updates are not. Maybe Google Hangouts would work. Imagine my surprise to find out that it does work! Imagine my further surprise when I found out it only works on my computer. Everyone else on our floor gets blocked.

If you haven't seen Google Hangouts, then let me explain. It's a multi-person video chat. All participants line up at the bottom of the screen and one takes over a much larger screen. I think that person is selected by who is doing the talking. With this we'd be able to break into smaller groups for the meeting or even just participate from home.

But, alas, the firewall gets in the way. And I can't find a way out of Google+ without shutting down everything. Gmail, Blogger, YouTube, Docs, Picasa, ... I'm assuming my phone would hold onto those contacts, but I can't be sure. So I've tried to leave the forms blank and make information as invisible as possible. Alas, I can't change my birthday to the Eleventeenth of Screwyou. I have populated my circles with all the people who have invited me over the last year or so. But I'm not getting any updates from people who aren't actually friends of mine. Luckily my friends don't post too much.

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