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Google Drive cannot connect to the Internet

News Tuesday 6:50 pm: Google Drive has started (click)!
Please check your Internet connection...

Many users including myself get this annoying error with the Google Drive Windows application. When you hover over the tray area icon, you see "unable to connect". I found out that the cause are non-English characters in your Windows username i.e. in the c:\users\luboš path that is needed to access your documents.

Note that renaming your user usually doesn't help because the folder name stays the same. If you want to check that Google Drive works, try another user with a purely English/ASCII username, or create one by Control Panels. Let's hope that Google will fix the bug...
I was able to make Google Drive work even with my Luboš username:

Now, I reproduced G-Lex's (a Hungarian collaborator on a forum) trick in my Czech Windows-1250 encoding.

I just copied the whole directory (the file with certs is what is really needed)

which contains a few kilobytes before Google Drive starts to work to

I found out the right way to respell the folder name in the file sync_config.db in the directory above (read in a notepad or any editor in ANSI mode not UTF8).

Then I avoided G-Lex's step of creating the juncture because it seemed too messy to me. But when I started Google Drive, it worked, anyway. ;-) All the files are now in Luboš\Google Drive. It works just like if I were a moron who only knows 26 letters of the alphabet. ;-) José from Latin America has verified that it works, too.

Later, I found an even better method (via ohaak). Right/click and start command prompt as an administrator, go to c:\users and write:
mklink Luboš Luboš

This mklink command (a counterpart of ln in Linux) will create link redirecting all the files from the silly Luboš folder name to the right place in the Luboš folder. Of course, the explicit copy has to be removed and Google Drive has to be stopped before you do this better procedure.

I've created another link via mklink, one from AppData\LocalGoogle to AppData\Local\Google (someone probably omitted a backslash somewhere because Google Drive created the LocalGoogle folder at some point). You may need to create another link if the source of your problem is something else than special characters in your username, e.g. the translation of "users" or "appdata" into your language...
Skydrive, Dropbox improved to fight Google Drive
Original text

Free markets and competition can do impressive things, things that left-wing or planned societies cannot. Tomorrow or so, we will be offered 5 GB of free cloud space by Google Drive.

This new product will be a challenge for other major cloud services. Apple has its own iCloud that is able to synchronize files of many kinds. I am not sure whether something is going to change with the iCloud.

However, the other two major services of this kind are already fighting. Well, they're fighting in ways that the consumers probably enjoy.

Dropbox added a very simple and transparent way to produce URL links (a "chain" avatar next to each file) that you may offer your clients and they may see those files but they can't edit them. If you have a Dropbox account, I suppose that you have also installed their application.

Microsoft SkyDrive was giving away 25 GB of free space. This got reduced to 7 GB today. That's bad news. Loyal Skydrive users may upgrade back to 25 GB. However, you may have asked why Microsoft didn't offer the same synchronization service for a folder that Dropbox does.

For example, you may have the folder C:\Users\Yourname\Dropbox which is also accessible via You change something in your local Dropbox folder and a special service immediately uploads or changes the remote copy, and so on. A special small green "check" indicates that the file has been uploaded to the Dropbox cloud.

Why didn't Microsoft create an application that would do the very same thing with the Skydrive cloud and with your C:\Users\Yourname\Skydrive folder? The answer is that exactly this application is now available for you to download it for Windows, Mac, and various mobile gadgets.

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reader Jacques Cuze said...

Thanks for the link to the skydrive app. Dropbox has made folder integration so transparent that it makes all the other alternatives much harder to even bother to use.

Okay, that said, I don't know if this New York Times article has generated the interest I think it deserves:

<a href=">A Sharp Rise in Retractions Prompts Calls for Reform</a>

Or as I think of it:

Scientists confirm the Hockey Stick: It's clear seen in the number of retractions of scientific papers for fraud.

While the study was mainly about medical papers, the insights, I think, go to all the sciences and to all of modern academia and its pressures.

<i>“What people do is they count papers, and they look at the prestige of the journal in which the research is published, and they see how many grant dollars scientists have, and if they don’t have funding, they don’t get promoted,” Dr. Fang said. “It’s not about the quality of the research.”
Dr. Ness likens scientists today to small-business owners, rather than people trying to satisfy their curiosity about how the world works. “You’re marketing and selling to other scientists,” she said. “To the degree you can market and sell your products better, you’re creating the revenue stream to fund your enterprise.”
Universities want to attract successful scientists, and so they have erected a glut of science buildings, Dr. Stephan said. Some universities have gone into debt, betting that the flow of grant money will eventually pay off the loans. “It’s really going to bite them,” she said.
With all this pressure on scientists, they may lack the extra time to check their own research — to figure out why some of their data doesn’t fit their hypothesis, for example. Instead, they have to be concerned about publishing papers before someone else publishes the same results.
“You can’t afford to fail, to have your hypothesis disproven,” Dr. Fang said. “It’s a small minority of scientists who engage in frank misconduct. It’s a much more insidious thing that you feel compelled to put the best face on everything</i>