Google Chrome fails the Google incognito test

There’s been a lot of talk about Google’s new Chrome browser. If you haven’t checked it out I’d recommend it from a “neat” factor but it’s less practical then upgrading to Firefox 3.

Chrome is fast and has some great features and one which I was excited about was an ability to go “incognito“. Going incognito will prevent the browser from storing cookies or you browsing history and is supposed to isolate the window as a completely separate “island” of web presence which is then “thrown away” when you close the window.

Google’s example was that when shopping you don’t want your significant other to stumble across your surprise. Although I saw suggestions of *cough* other places you could browse where less repercussions might be welcome. You can recognize this mode by the little White Spy icon from the “spy vs spy” series.

However, the site I most wanted to visit with completely private windows was Gmail! I don’t think I’m rare in having multiple email accounts and the challenge with Google is that they only let you be logged in to one account across all your sessions. While there are techniques which can mitigate this, I end up letting email languish because I don’t want to go through the – log out, log in, log out, and log back in as my primary ID – dance.

So having multiple concurrently active Gmail tabs seemed like an obvious use of incognito mode!

Alas, it’s of course not to be;

First, I created an incognito window and then logged into Gmail. So far so good, however when you open a second tab and log in with a different ID it logs you out of the first tab! That doesn’t seem to “isolated” does it?

My second thought was to create a second incognito window (since Google hasn’t been clear about the level of isolation). I noticed that this option is grayed out in the incognito window. If you go to your original “public” window and select “New incognito window” the options exists but simply opens another tab on the original incognito window (which still fails the “multiple login” test).

Obviously, this lack of true isolation surprises to me. Cookies appear to be shared across tabs and it appears you’re forced into having only one private window at time! This would be awful if you were browsing multiple sites looking for a great shopping deal, but didn’t want them to know about other sites or if you were a web tester trying to isolate cookies from test runs.

Chrome’s a work in progress and Google’s opensourceed the project, so I can only hope someone will address these concerns. However, in the meantime it pays to test your expectations and if Google really wants to make webapps more like desktop apps I think this needs to be addressed.

Posted in frustration, Google, security | 7 Comments

Booklist – Entry 1

My wife and I have really been enjoying our local public library. Unfortunately, it’s nothing spectacular so the truth is that we’re really enjoying its website.

Online you can search and reserve books, so it’s a bit like Amazon meets NetFlix in a Wild West showdown!

I really wish you could queue and prioritize books and perhaps link it with my real Amazon list. However, until I figure something out (please correct me if you know where Amazon’s wishlist API is) I’m content trying to self manage.

So I thought I’d share a pick of my recent book. Combined we’ve probably managed to go through 30 since we started!

Hope you’re enjoying some reading too!

Posted in books | 2 Comments

Amazon should participate in the OpenWeb

The talks a lot about open standards, particularly in social networks. I find their videos are always energetic and help keep me abreast on aspects of the web that I don’t get to deal with frequently.

I believe their answer to the question of “Who owns your data?” (hint: “You do!”) is a little idealistic but the message and coverage is great. It makes little sense to duplicate this data and especially in tools like flickr, twitter, opensocial, and hopefully someday even Facebook, it seems obvious. Friends are friends no matter which network they’re on and if you tell me that your twitter friends aren’t the same as your facebook friends I’d reply they could be (and argue should) assuming there are more granular levels of classifications and control.

You hear a lot about this nirvana of open security and data for social sites, especially in the context of plaxo, yahoo, google, twitter and all the other “social web” buzzcompanies…. and that’s where it seems to be constrained.

It always seems limited to discussions about why no one would never implement a microsoft security API and why google and yahoo should talk more. Or speculated with hope that Facebook and MySpace will finally accept friend requests and, fingers crossed, that twitter will link with someone, anyone, who could tell them that drunk and disorderly does not make them cool.

What strikes me most is that within all these talks, Amazon is missing. Not only are they not “a player” but people have forgotten that they’re the reining homecoming king and queen when it comes to some new buzzwords like cloud computing and webservices! Many of these friends are sites built on Amazon’s services, from S3 to EC2 even the newly announced block storage gets people excited, but they haven’t stopped to think that inviting Amazon to the party would really get it started.

Amazon’s the popular kid that’s just too popular for their own good. Everyone else thinks they’re out at the college parties when instead they’re home alone day-trading while they’re waiting for their friends to call.

I think Amazon would benefit from a vast exposure to new customers and social data! Imagine what they could sell me if they knew I’d been boating with friends or that I had a camping excursion planned (maybe something first aid related). Even product “reviews” (which can be found in 140 character “this sucks” twitters) to broadcasting 40% discounts for kindle books when they know I’m stuck at an airport with a layover! There’s a huge wealth of valuable data for consumer companies to be gleaned from these social networks.

Amazon has a ton of users and already with their payment system and associates program they’ve shown that open standards can actually be used to make money, it seems that this would be another area in which they could reap the benefits and help everyone by driving the creation and adoption of standards.

Posted in Amazon, opensource, security, social | Comments Off on Amazon should participate in the OpenWeb

It’s a sad day in Orange-ville … ING has struckout

I’ve been using ING for quite some time now and have always enjoyed them. Easy to open accounts, prompt service, people on the other end of the phone and nearly nonexistant hold times have always made them a great company to do business with. Oh, and semi-decent rates aren’t bad either.

Of course I suppose it can’t all be sunflowers and daffodils…

I was born a southern boy, and although you can take the boy out of the south, you can’t take the south out of the boy. Like so many other Southerners I know, I have three names… first, middle and last. That may not sound all that astounding to those of you who also have three names, but I’ve noticed southerners seem committed to utilize as many boxes as possible when filling in our names for standardized tests.

It’s not actually length which seems to set our measure (as opposed to so many other contests) but rather a particular pride in actually utilizing those names in daily life. How many of you know your friend’s middle names or rarely use your own?

I typically go by my middle name although I’m actually quite proud of all my names. My middle name is shorter, more personal and less prone than my first to being butchered by people who don’t know me well enough to be beyond such liberties.

I go by;

  • First Middle Last (official documents like my passport),
  • First Last sometimes including First M. Last (random semi-official stuff which tend to believe you really only need the two)
  • Middle Last (more personal but no less official relationships)

It’s never caused problems, perhaps a few misrouted professional emails, but certainly in my personal life the fact that all three representations are for a single individual have never encited more then a few friendly conversations about how I like to be addressed.

Of course until now… Apparently ING is unable to accept checks for deposit that are made out to anything but the full name on the account.

I can’t tell how how mad and frustrated I am about this stupid constraint. I actually called back a second time to confirm with a manager. I understand it’s not sny particular individual’s fault but all rational I received were simplistic justifications to ignore something that by the manager’s admission it “happens on a number of occasions”.

Even when my wife changed her last name our local bank was able to accept checks with an entirely different last name. However, even though I have all the names on my account ING felt like they weren’t able to make this concession because “they didn’t know me” … as though my local teller could pick me out of a lineup!

After more then a few decades of being myself it’s not the first time I’ve had to tell a company they will be losing my business, though this is the first time my name has been the reason.

However, this is one of the first time’s I’ve meant such a statement with such sadness.

Posted in business, frustration | 2 Comments

Posting from my iphone

Although it’s a bit limited, e.g. creating links, I’m now able to post from my iPhone!

It’s not only “neat” from a technology perspective but blurrs the lines between blog and social networking site.

Almost a resurgence to distributed computing environmants.

After all, why twitter when I can post here, and why lock my data into Facebook and the like if it can be controlled by each individual?

Focusing on API’s for connecting people’s various identities and sites will allow it to all feel seemless.

I can add photos too, once I figure tuat part out. But first thing first… Can someone get a better spell check please?


Posted in iphone, technology | 3 Comments