Google Capping Storage – 2021 June

Heads up. Google has announced that free online storage for files, photos and videos will be capped at 15GB starting next summer.

From 1 June 2021, any new files created in Drive, as well as photos and videos uploaded to Google Photos, will count towards the 15GB of free storage included with every Google Account. Customers who go over that limit risk having excess content stored in Gmail, Drive, Docs and Photos deleted. 15 gigs seems like lots for just email, but combined with photos, videos and docs and 15 gigs is just too small.

Those who wish to extend their storage beyond 15GB can pick up a Google One account, which starts at $1.99 per month for 100GB storage. Or start cleaning, moving, deleting!

Many folks have become accustomed to using Gmail as a giant storage box for their research. I have created labels for different subjects and stored emails, including those with pictures and even big MP4 files, there. The searching methods Google provides made my email storage spot better than Evernote or DropBox! And many people I know, my grandkids included, have chosen to skip Microsoft Office and are using Google Docs instead, using the free storage area too. And how many of us are using Google Photos for vacation pics, genealogy pics, kids pics…. you get the picture!

Congress told Google and Facebook that they are too big. So, Google said “Yup, our free stuff is too big. The party is over, folks.” Thanks a lot, Congress. You just don’t know how to negotiate!

Well, we have 6 months to figure out how to fit into 15 gigs or get a Google One account. When “the system” decides to delete data from your stored files, they won’t do it “judiciously”. Files or emails will just disappear. So, start now — look for offline storage for those treasured items in your Photo albums; delete those stupid jokes you trade back and forth and never delete. Clean your email by searching for mail with attachments first.


I fear I will be looking seriously at the Google One account. But I must also remember that if Congress pushes hard at breaking up Google, I had better be simultaneously copying files to offline storage. The pandemic has shown us that we should be prepared, just in case.


There is also Microsoft or Adobe or Apple cloud storage that can be used instead of Google’s plan. But, we gotta decide within 6 months. Don’t delay.


Updated: to find out how much space you are using now – First sign in to your Gmail account. Then open a 2nd tab in your browser and go to one.google.com/storage. Your data will be there.


The Moral Machine

Take a short 13 item “test” to see how you would program AI cars to choose between unavoidable scenarios involving who lives and who dies. There are no right or wrong responses. The quiz has been taken by 3-4 million people already from 233 countries. Your responses will be displayed as compared to the totals.

The current results have just been published in Nature Magazine 1 Nov 2018. Take the test here, go to bottom and “Start Judging”.

http://moralmachine.mit.edu/

Some items are tough… 5 old people in a car vs. 5 mixed age pedestrians. Some are easy… people vs. animals.

The research article itself is behind a pay wall at Nature.com. If you have a subscription, you can find it here:

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-018-0637-6.

The applied results will be driving past your house soon. But the programming will be changeable. Help the programmer near you make ethical choices.


“Before you travel, do not forget to sit on your luggage in silence for a few minutes before leaving home.” – A Russian superstition


Some thoughts from October 2016

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Random quotes from magazines.

Nature 20 October 2016 World View

It’s worth noting that a conscious superintelligent AI might actually be less dangerous than a non-conscious one, because, at least in humans, one process that puts the brakes on immoral behaviors is ‘affective empathy’: the emotional contagion that makes a person feel what they perceive another to be feeling. Maybe conscious AIs would care about us more than unconscious ones would.

There is a chance that the first superintelligent AI will be the only one we will ever make. This is because once it appears – conscious or not – it can improve itself and start changing the world according to its own values.


Science 21 October 2016 Science Lessons for the Next President

As the world warms, its oceans are swelling by an average of 3.2 millimeters a year; they have risen by nearly the height of a playing card since 1993. Some 40% of this increase stems from the physical expansion of water as it heats. The rest is mostly caused by melting mountain glaciers and retreating ice sheets in Greenland.

Because of regional geology, ocean currents, and shifts in gravitational pull caused by changes on Earth’s surface, such as the melting of massive ice sheets, the ocean does not rise evenly everywhere. Much of the East Coast is sinking as Earth’s mantle continues to adjust in complex ways to the disappearance of weighty ice age glaciers. …. These forces mean East Coast sea levels are rising at double the global rate, and at triple the average in Virginia and many points north.


Just a quote

“People worry that computers will get too smart and take over the world, but the real problem is that they’re too stupid and they’ve already taken over the world.” – Pedro Domingos in his 2015 book The Master Algorithm


Windows Support Dates

Should Windows users take the plunge and move to Windows 10?  I can’t answer for you.  We are using Windows 7 in our house and are quite happy.  Of course, the new Surface 4 machines are sounding quite tempting, and perhaps when one of our laptops die, we could buy a Surface and then upgrade everything in the house!

Meanwhile, there is support.  How long will Microsoft support our aging software?  That may be important to our decision making process.  The local computer user group MBUG just published a list of support dates.

winsupport

Windows 7 has 4 more years!  But, Windows 10 will only be a free upgrade until July 2016. Decisions, decisions…

My Toolbar

Windows can have a confusing array of folders that can make it hard to find files when one is in a hurry; especially when you can’t remember the name of the file nor where it is located.  (I refuse to use the Desktop as a file storage folder!) When there are multiple users on a computer it can be even more difficult to locate files across other user’s folders.  Even though the folders in My Documents are well organized, I still misplace things.  Sure, I could search by name, but sometimes I forget what I named it!  I created this little set of shortcut folders to save me time.

Common Pointers

Create a folder directly in the C: drive called “My Toolbar”.  By putting this within the root of C:, it can be reached by all users on the machine.

Add this folder into the Taskbar of your computer.  That makes it easily accessible from anywhere.  See this picture of the right side of my own Taskbar.

Populate the folder with shortcut pointers to your most popular main programs or files.  I put sub-folders within the My Toolbar folder for groups of like software, such as MS Office programs.

For example, the folder “My Scans” points to the place that our sheet scanner puts the images it has scanner.  I added this pointer here because I was always forgetting where it is located!  The list of programs and folders can easily be reached simply by clicking into “My Toolbar” from the bottom of the screen in the Taskbar.

mytoolbar

Personal Pointers

The folder “My Toolbar” is common to all users of this machine. To get personal pointers per user, we build a second folder of pointers within the “My Documents” folder of each user called “Pointers”.  The icon named Pointers that look like a beach ball is a pointer to these unique folders, except that this link is customized to only point to the currently active user!

The properties of the Pointers icon contains this within the Target field:

“%userprofile%\My Documents\Pointers”

In this scenario, each user would populate their own private pointers within each their own “My Documents” folder.

By the way, the beach ball icon is found within the file:

%SystemRoot%\System32\pifmgr.dll.

The original pointer was a shortcut to a folder that I then modified the icon to stand out, to be easier to see quickly.

If, perhaps, you only want one “Pointers” folder for everyone to use (or if there is only one user on your machine), then you could easily put the folder into the Public Documents area:

C:\Users\Public\Documents\Pointers

Wrapup

Normally, I only include shortcuts within these folders. The actual files are scattered all over our computer in different folders.  Obviously, I can change the contents of this folder whenever I wish, as it is just full of shortcuts! The real files are well organized by category, subject, etc. elsewhere, as they should be!  These shortcuts are just for regularly used files, such as my health database, my checkbook Excel file, my cookie cleaner, etc..  You get the picture.  My Desktop is neat and tidy!