Monday, December 22, 2008

Dubai GPS

I posted about being in Moscow, and getting a GPS lock almost instantly upon walking outside.

Well, I was lucky enough to be in Dubai last week, although it rained almost the entire time.

I got a bit lost walking from the office to the airport (I have no sense of direction whatsoever), so I whipped out GMM and tried my luck.

The maps are incredibly detailed, which is great, but in a 20 minute walk, I didn't get a GPS lock at all. Thankfully, the cell tower id is pretty decent, and Nagi (a righteous dude in marketing) had drawn me a map. I scoffed initially, but thanks to him, I got me home ok.

At a couple of points, certainly, the high rise buildings would have prevented the lock, but I was out in the open quite a lot, too.

I don't really know much about GPS, beyond it using satellites to triangulate you, so it's possible there are fewer over Dubai, or they were low in the sky or something, but it was pretty annoying.

I might have to do some Christmas reading.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

IE Borked?

http://tech.yahoo.com/blogs/null/111811


Seems like IE is borked, and Microsoft don't care (much).


Although, actually, it looks like they're starting to do something about it.


But it's another great example of how Open Source lets fixes come more quickly.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Airports suck

Stuck in another one, having missed my flight this morning. Bah.
Fortunately, it appears that I can transfer my ticket with UAE for no extra cost.
Which is good news.

So, I stole some power from a hole in the wall with a 'not for public use' sticker upon't.
I figured no-one would mind, and despite many official people walking past, none objected.

I board shortly, for a 7 hour flight. Can you guess where I'm going?
I will sleep, mostly, on the flight. I hope.
Although I land at 12.30am, which isn't ideal.
Bah.


Monday, December 15, 2008

Friday, December 12, 2008

Geotagging blogs

http://bloggerindraft.blogspot.com/2008/12/new-feature-geotagging.html

Blogger in Draft is letting you geotag posts, which is pretty sweet, and export a GeoRSS feed.

I'll be tagging a few posts, and then will try and write a GeoRSS -> KML converter, allowing timelines and stuff to be easily created.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Friend Connect

There's an interesting post over at Linconluxor talking about things missing from Friend Connect.

http://lincolnluxor.com/2008/12/08/10-things-i-want-in-googles-friend-connect/

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Friend Connect

I've been mucking around with Friend Connect on and off for a few months.
It finally launched, which is nice. There's a video, and links to sign up if you want to play with it.

It's a great tool, letting any site easily add a social element to it, with sites like Mashable already hooked up, which is pretty cool.

It also supports custom gadgets, built using the OpenSocial spec, where the owner of the page is the site itself. You can do some pretty interesting things, I reckon, with a bit of thought.

For example, a games site could easily add a gadget which let people share their gamercards without only pasting some code, just like a YouTube video (and a bit of programming for the gadget itself).

Friday, December 5, 2008

Net Neutrality

I'm not allowed to comment on this stuff, I guess, since I work at Google, and the article is about us, but I would like you to read the following 3 things.

First, bogus article. This guy is some kind of bozo.
http://www.precursorblog.com/content/google-uses-21-times-more-bandwidth-it-pays-first-ever-research-study

Our response.
http://googlepublicpolicy.blogspot.com/2008/12/response-to-phone-companies-google.html

Other sane people comment:
http://arstechnica.com/journals/law.ars/2008/12/04/can-we-get-some-better-telecom-shills-please

Monday, December 1, 2008

Feelings!

Hello there,

Glad you dropped by.

There's a few kickass things I need to talk about today.

1) I got a new handset, finally.
My old G1 was so super-prototype that it stopped working. So I got a new one.
And download THIS chap.
http://www.mobilizy.com/
You need to look at it, and, if you have a G1, install it right now.
Good.

2) Lots of xbox this weekend.
Left 4 Dead is freakin' sweet.
Gears horde continues to amuse and entertain in equal parts.
Lego Batman is, typically, awesome.

Here is a gamercard, so you may browse.


Anyway, Left 4 Dead.
Bugger me, this game is brilliant.

It's a 4 player co-op. There's a single player mode, but you really don't want to play it. It's shit. Well, actually, it's not shit. It's great. But it's not even close to the multiplayer version, which is insane.

Basically, it's 4 of you against 28 days later-style fast-zombies, plus some special types, which have excellent attacks.
The graphics are top notch. The gameplay is tight. You play it for the first time, and you think 'ok, that was fun'. Then you play it again, and even though it's the same level, it's a completely different game.
Rather than fix the spawn points for creatures, or even the spawn numbers, everything's semi-randomised each time you play.
That is, you'll have different numbers of zombies which are in different places, and waves of the bastards will come at totally different times.
It will also scale based on your performance. The better you do, the more zombies will try and eat your face.
If you leave the team at any point, you're dead. Pure and simple.
This is a game which doesn't just encourage co-op, it enforces it with a very big stick.

Which brings me onto Horde on Gears.
I got the chance, finally, to play with MonkeyMido over the weekend.


We had a bloody good laugh, and made it to wave 18 (a new personal record) thanks almost entirely to the stellar work of TOMMYGUNTOM31 who carried us through most of them single-handedly.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Gears of War 2

Yeah, it's a good game. Get it. End of story.

But, there are 2 sections in the campaign, which are hyper-weak. The fight against Skorge and protecting the comm array, both near the end.

As far as I can tell, both are entirely reliant on luck, and not skill.

That's pisspoor, and makes me very angry as well.

UPDATE: I saw a few searches coming in for this, so I thought I'd add some information about it, so that people actually get an answer.

Try and kill the reavers in the air - they die more quickly.
After about 45 seconds, one will fly from right to left, and bomb the final radar from the air.
When this happens, it's game over.

You need to down 6, quickly, before this happens.

The right hand turret is, for some reason, much easier to do it with.

Zoom in, lead them in the air (shoot just ahead of them), drop them out of the air.

Bottom line, though, unless you're an incredible shot with the Troika, there's a fair old bit of luck involved, and you'll probably have to try a few times. Also, and I know this sounds weak, taking a break can really help. Go play a round of Horde, or watch TV for a few minutes and then come back.

Good luck, and please leave a comment if you have any tips.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Lasers

I love to learn new things.
This thing, in particular, is both interesting and funny.

In other news, I was at SMX London yesterday, where I met some fun people. They also let me talk about search diagnosis, and I spotted that SeoMoz (I'm not linking, they have enough juice :P) messed up their alt tags. Well, there wasn't much else to mention. Let's be honest, it's a pretty good site.

We also looked at processlibrary.com, which ranks well enough in Google and Live, but not at all in Yahoo! How strange. (penalty? low content/noise ratio? Who knows?)

John Mueller was also over. The guy's a genius, and it was a pleasure to finally meet him face to face. At Google, we often work together for years before meeting people, even though we've seen them on VC or similar.

Anyway, that's all for me. Busy day.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Fable 2

So, uhh, there are some free items you can get if you hit fable2.com
But lordy, why do they insist on flash? It's so tedious. Long loading times. Slowing the computer.
Boring.
Boring.
Boring.
Most importantly, you can't even resize things, with control+ and control-, which is crap if you're running at 1900x1200 on a small display like me.
Grrrrr.

3d Wii VR

Every 3 months or so, I remember this video.



It's frickin' sweet, and every console should have one.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Games a plenty

Is it just me, or are there a boatload of great games out there right now?
Fallout 3, Fable 2, Little Big Planet, Gears 2 just around the corner, and many more besides.

Good time to be a gamer.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Mockba, GPS, something funny?

I have a blackberry (but I'm getting a G1 ASAP).

I was in Moscow for the developer days earlier in the week, and noticed something a bit weird.

In most cities, GPS on GMM takes 10, 15, sometimes even 30 seconds to get a lock. In Prague, for example, it took nearly 5 minutes each time.


In Moscow, I had a GPS signal the MOMENT I fired up GMM.

GPS is an american military technology, right? Based on satellite signals. Methinks there a few extra satellites over mother Russia.

Oh, and this is epic.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Queen, revisited

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7672149.stm.

Matthew Trewhella, the scruffy developer advocate, who's just been jogging?
That'd be me.

Malware

If I had a shiny pound for every time I'd been asked about Malware, then I'd be worth at least, well, three or four pounds. Maybe even a fiver.

So, without further ado, here's what the Google team have to say about it.

http://googleonlinesecurity.blogspot.com/2008/10/malware-we-dont-need-no-stinking.html


Bottom line:
If you've picked up a warning and you're convinced you're clean, chances are you've been hacked and you haven't found it yet.
Log into Webmaster Tools and check it out. There'll be some info there.
Once you've cleaned things, that's also the place from which to request a review.

Assuming you're clean, it shouldn't take more than a day for the warning to disappear, barring acts of God.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

PS3?

So, I'm a bit of a fanboy, I guess, if you look at things objectively.
I would argue that I'm more of a realist, though. People ask me which console they should get. I answer "Xbox 360". This isn't because I particularly hate Sony, or think Xbox 360 is a *better* console (more on this later), but if you only have enough money for one console, then, here's why the 360 is the right choice.
1) It's cheaper.
2) It's got more exclusive games.
3) The games are often more expensive on PS3, but you get an identical experience.
4) It has achievements
5) Live (online play) is tightly integrated into every game, with a single user id highlighting the experience.

Software


Let's look at number 2 and 3 in more detail.
But before I start, I'd like to say a little about how I view games reviews. So, when my one reader (hello mum) tells me that metacritic shows PS3 games do well, I should let you know that most of the reviews on metacritic are worthless (for all consoles). Any 'exclusive' magazine tends to give no score below 7 or 8, for whatever reason I don't know, but general belief is publisher pressure. Whatever the case, when a game that scores 3 in Edge and/or eurogamer, and gets slammed by Penny Arcade, but scores 8 in 'Xbox Sycophant Monthly', then that score is a waste of my time.

Combined with number 3 (the games are more expensive), then they need to be much better to ask for my money.

Moving on. As far as I can tell, this is a pretty complete list (at time of writing) of all the PS3 exclusive games.
Looking down that list, there are very few that jump out at me.
You also have to bear in mind that PS3 games cost £10 more
Heavenly Sword, for example, was supposed to be the big platform saver, but turned out to be mediocre at best.
Lair? Let's not even go there.

For a well-rounded view, check out this and this
http://www.metacritic.com/games/ps3/scores/
http://www.metacritic.com/games/xbox360/scores/

I know that goes against what I've just said about trusting all reviews, but it's loosely indicative of my point.

Look at the top 20 or 30 or even 50 games in each list, and tell me how many in the PS3 aren't also in the Xbox list.
Not many. And how many would you actually want?
LittleBigPlanet, certainly. Drake's Fortune, quite possibly. Ratchet and Clank, maybe.
"What about Metal Gear Solid?", I hear you ask. Well, I'm not really into 200 hours of cutscenes and 10 hours of gameplay. That's not a game.
"Gran Turismo Prologue?". Fuck you, Sony and Polyphony. Charging money for a demo, when everyone else gives it away for free?

Compare to Xbox: Halo 3, Braid, Mass Effect, Gears of War, Rez, Crackdown - the list just goes on and on. Those are all quality games, and even if you don't like shooters, there's still a great deal of choice.

Look also at some of the ones which are available on both platforms:
Bioshock, the Orange Box, and Grand Theft Auto 4.
Bioshock and the Orange Box were available on the Xbox for months before they were out on the PS3. Now, some might argue there's an uplift in graphics on the PS3, and that's fine. I don't doubt it. It is better hardware. But, you're paying an extra tenner, so you'd expect a better game. Not just a shonky port, which is actually the case in most of the ps3 crossovers.

Grand Theft Auto, has exclusive download only for Xbox. I honestly don't understand how it sold so many units on the PS3. You get worse value for money (Kotaku did an in-depth analysis - PS3 version cost more at launch), and less longevity.

One last thing. Xbox titles have revolutionised the FPS genre. Halo 1, back on the Xbox, changed them, with its idea of 30 seconds of fun, only carrying 2 weapons, and a rechargable shield, negative the need for health packs. To say nothing of the utterly, utterly insane AI.
Halo 3 is the pinnacle of evolution for this. Anyone who's played Forge, or mucked around with theatre mode knows what I'm talking about.

Gears of War took this to the next stage with it's insane cover system, breathtaking graphics, and incredible gameplay. There's a reason it's still featuring in the top played live games.

Hardware


With the PS3, you're paying for a bluray player. Call me retarded if you like, but if you buy bluray hardware, there aren't any polite words to describe you.
To get the most of it, you have to buy a new TV (1080p), a new sound system (it's 6.1), and then pay double the price for all the discs.
As a quick rule of thumb, human eyes can only tell the difference between 720 and 1080p when they're closer than 3x the height of the TV.

That means if you have a 40 inch TV and you sit more than 6ft away from it, you're not physically capable of telling the difference.

There are a bajlllion articles which talk about this on the 'net, so knock yourself out if you want to learn more (but here's a quick chart)

Even if you have a setup that lets you see the difference, you can't honestly believe that media will be distributed on hardware for much longer.
Over-the-wire sales are the future, and anyone investing in new technology right now needs their head examined. It's got a 2 year lifetime, at best.
And hey, if you want to spend money on something that'll be obsolete in 2 years (along with all the investment in the discs themselves), then no well-reasoned argument is going to sway you.

Xbox Live, PSN and WiiWare only reinforce this notion. Physical media is dying.

In fact, Xbox Live already sells HD videos over the wire, without the need for an expensive hardware player. Personally, I don't buy them (I sit too far from my TV), but the option's there for those who need it.

Conclusion

With the advent of LittleBigPlanet, a PS3 becomes more compelling, but you know what? The big draw for that game is user generated content, and it's just come out, so it will last for a few months/years yet. I'm not about to drop £400 on a console, controller, game, cables just for one game.

I'm a gamer. I buy 3-4 games a month, for various platforms (Wii, DS and Xbox). I barely have time to play them all as it is. Until the ps3 can offer me a decent number of games to justify the hefty price tag, I'm not wasting my cash.

I will almost certainly buy a PS3 at some point in the console's lifetime, but any time soon? No, I'd have to be insane, and have more money than sense - something which simply isn't true, certainly for me.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Milanese Developer DAy

So, the Milanese developer day has been and gone, and it went really well.

In other news, the battery in my DS appears to be playing up - it doesn't seem to last nearly as long as once it did, which is somewhat frustrating, but it should at least last the length of my flight tonight.

And where am I going? Prague, of course!
Here are some basic facts about Prague, courtesy of visitczech.com

Population: 1 186 855 inhabitans
Average height above sea level: 235 m
Average temperature in July: 19°C
Average temperature in January: -1°C

I'm currently sitting in the hotel lobby in Milan, trying to work out how much time I need to get to the airport. Word of warning - avoid Malpensa if at all possible.
It's a milanese airport, in the same way that Luton and Stansted are part of London (you should avoid them too).

I mean, do these *look* like they're part of London?


View Larger Map

In fact, after a quick check, Malpensa is EVEN FURTHER from Milan than these 2 are from London
Insane


View Larger Map

The worst part? It's still WAY cheaper to travel from Malpensa to Milan (7 euros) than from those airports to London (£20).

Friday, October 17, 2008

Bioshock

With the news that PS3 are about to get Bioshock (or maybe already have it, I don't know), I realised I never finished it on the Xbox. Stupid bonus in march meant I pre-ordered about 30 games, which just kept coming, and so I kept playing things for 2-3 hours, and then moving to the next game. I have a massive pile of stuff which needs finishing, but that's for another time.

Anyway, that being said, I picked it up again. It's just as good as I remember. Totally atmospheric, and very cool indeed. The only complaint I have (beyond the fact that I've completely forgotten what's happening) is that where I am (just after having to take some pictures for some dude), I've actually got too many resources. All my ammo is full, I have $500, 9 first aids, and 9 eve hypos. From reading the reviews, I thought I'd be really on the edge of equipment - constantly running out and having to resort to other tactics than throwing grenades into the mix.

The only thing I'm missing is enough Adam to buy decent plasmids.
Oh well.

It's still one of the most atmospheric games I've ever played, and I greatly recommend it.

Also, I'll be replaying it, so I'll try a different tactic next time.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Queen? What?

So, I almost certainly shoouldn't be posting this, but what the hell!

http://www.itpro.co.uk/607215/google-gets-royal-seal-of-approval

I spent a whole 5 minutes with her, explaining search.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Upside down, uhh, dogs?

So, uhhh, some of you may have seen BonsaiKitten back in the day.
http://www.shorty.com/bonsaikitten/index.html

It's a brilliant parody, but generated so much hate mail it's not even funny. For a full report, check this.
http://www.museumofhoaxes.com/hoax/Hoaxipedia/Bonsai_Kitten/

So controversial is the site that the museumofhoaxes site has received death threats for even hosting that page. People are crazy.

Anyway, I was just sent Upside Down Dogs and when the laughing had stopped, it really sparked some memories.

Free linkings

Matt's beaten me to it. I was halfway through posting something on this, but he's done a much better job than I could have.

http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/free-direct-text-links/

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

COnferences



This is the crazy shit I get up to.

Monday, October 13, 2008

FOWA

Well, last week was pretty mad.
I got the chance to meet the V&A staff, and help them plan their new website. They had a lot of very smart people in the room, and it was a real pleasure to be invited to be part of it. I look forward to working with them over the next few months. Their vision is bold, but they realise, as a leading design museum, they need to be leading the way.
I also got to attend FOWA, where I saw diggnation, which was pretty funny. It's Episode 172, which at time of writing isn't aired yet.
The sessions were also pretty informative, but with a general leaning towards American presenters, which was a little disappointing. I presented a couple of sessions, though, which seemed well-received - at least, the t-shirts were taken pretty quickly.

Well, lots of work to do this week, so I'll write more tomorrow.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Andrew Turner is talking on 'beyond Google Maps' at FOWA. 
It's possible that the guy talks even more quickly than me.

Anyway, he raises some interesting points about Google Maps, but sells it somewhat short.
There are many features which actually do give information about something you're looking at (streetview, for example).
There's also a my location feature in Gears, which wasn't mentioned - a big shame.

Oh well, still very interesting.  

FOWA

At Fowa. Should have known better than to expect good internets. More later.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

BrowserRank from Microsoft

Well, this is pretty interesting.


It seems they want to include 'time spent on page' as one of the signals, or rather, the main signal. That's good, but I can't help worry that it's self-fulfilling - that is, those pages near the top will naturally have the most time spent on them, since people tend to click near the top first. Therefore, bad results may find it hard to slip down the rankings.

But Microsoft have some smart people, so we'll see.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Google Poland Day

I'm here today.

There was just an intro with a magician. He's now talking. In Polish.
I have no idea what's going on, but it's impressive.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

GDD UK

I'm at the Google Developer Day UK, and Mike just did the Android demo.
His presentation style always leaves me in awe. Good work, Mike.


Friday, September 12, 2008

LHC Rap

I'm whiter than white, and nerdy to boot.
However, I'm opposed to the crap which this video has been taking.

Comments like it's all under 25s and they're scary.
Well, it's hardly like the 60 year old physicists are about to embrace as a medium for communication.
But, that CERN video, in all honest, taught me more about what they're trying to do than the 10 news articles in the popular press which I've read up 'til now.
For that matter, the Easyjet in-flight magazine told me more than most of the papers I've read, which they should all be embarrassed about.





Thursday, September 11, 2008

Lordy

There are no excuses for my absense, so I'll continue as if nothing happened (I was on holiday).

I was just reading this:

Quite  interesting, except that he fails, spectactularly, to mention the YouTube upload element built right into Will Wright's latest game, Spore.

For someone who has "worked for videogame industry bible Edge Magazine, Official PlayStation Magazine and Pocket Gamer", you'd expect him to be a little more clued up.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

New Look, Webmaster tools integration

Been playing Civilisation:Revolution on the Xbox. Is quite good, if you like that sort of thing (and I do!).
They've managed to convert the Civ experience to the console very well indeed.

Apologies for lack of posts recently. Slammed.
Also, check out the new 'webmaster tools' link on the dashboard of blogger down at the bottom, which you can see over at the blogger blog.


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Fire Eagle

www.fireeagle.com

New API from Yahoo for location based services.
Quick take: seems like both ends having to log in seriously flawed.
Maybe I'm missing a trick, but I really don't have the time or inclination to update my location multiple times per day.

Great idea, though.

Writeups

Well, it's been far too long, and I've been awfully slack.
I'll write more this weekend (and a bit tomorrow), but I just wanted to weigh on the whole 'net is making you stupid' thing which is doing the rounds.

Long story short -> a few well-respected (?) writers are claiming (basically) that the net shorterns their attention span.

This article goes a long way towards explaining things well, and also has links back to the original posts.

I'd go one further, though, and say that actually, the internet has made me much much smarter. All the information I could ever need is at my fingertips, literally split-seconds away from me.

I wholeheartedly agree with David Aaronovitch at the Times, who says that the internet actually gives him better access to books.
I haven't started reading less since going online 15 years ago - I've started reading even more, because instead of milling around Borders all day, hoping something jumps out, I can actually search for stuff recommended by people who like the same things.
The best thing? I don't have to meet these people. I don't need to find a set time where I can ask the expert.
I just pick a couple of minutes, and go online. I know they're out there, creating recommendations for anyone who cares to look.

The only downside to the internet, as far as I can see, is that it still sucks on phones, meaning when I'm on the go, I feel a lot more stupid, because my access to this insane wealth of info is effectively fettered.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Thursday @ the Campus party

Well, things are not going well.

That's actually a very unfair way to start.

Things are going brilliantly. Lots of presentations, lots of questions, lots of fun.
But it's all limited to the Google stand, so I still haven't had a chance to explore the rest of the place.

Tomorrow night, I think, I'm going to pull an all nighter, or at least a late nighter, giving myself a chance to really explore the place.

Anyway, today we presented GData, YT GData integration and the Chromeless player.
We also launched a little contest to build something cool with the YT API.

Speech start - Zach's talking. More to come later.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Day 2

Just a flying visit today.

I dropped in to give a "What's new in Geo" talk, with no powerpoint, because powerpoint is bad, m'kay.
So, I showed some websites and some stuff.
I knocked up a quick Google site to provide some links, and we'll fill it during the week.

Mike's going to add his Android stuff too.

Fortunately, Joachim from Panoramio was there to translate into Spanish for me, so everyone could understand.

There's some incredibly cool stuff there. I'm going to take pictures tomorrow and talk about them a bit.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Rut

Hello there!

Rut (not Ruth) is speaking now. But she's speaking Spanish, so I'm not sure what she's saying.
But, she's presenting this. Which, to be honest, looks pretty cool.

Also, it seems like embedding a map in my previous post broke the ability to edit.
I meant to add that I'll get some pictures before the week is out, but I'm not great with camera technology (or printers, come to that).

Anyway, yes.
http://www.openhealthassistant.com/

Campus Party

It could be argued that I have the best job in the world. I certainly think so.
This week, I've been sent to the Campus Party in Valencia.
Well, actually in the Feria de Valencia, which is either a town, or a conference centre, depending on who you speak to.
Either way, here's the place, using a handy embed from Google Maps.

View Larger Map

Anyway, it's a 7 day conference slash lan party, where people can geek out with friends and strangers, and share a love of computers. As you can probably tell from that map above you (if you're on a browser that can handle the javascripts), this place is HUGE. The third floor is given over to tables (see below) and a few stands. The second floor is given over to camping.
Yes, that's right.
Camping.

Part (or perhaps most) of the Campus Party is the camping, and as an attendee, you can live here for the whole time. It means that actually, most stuff happens after midnight, and people are mostly passed out during the day.

We provided some tents last year. It seems like many have made a triumphant return.

Anyway, here's their YT channel.
Google has a pretty big stand
I'm here to pimp Maps, OpenSocial, iGoogle themes, apps, gadgets and some other stuff too.

Right now, I'm watching Mike Jennings speak about Android, and actually learning quite a lot, which isn't supposed to sound as rude as perhaps it does.

It's more that I had no idea what was involved with Android before, and now have a great understanding.

There's also an iPhone app development talk going on in the next booth, which is a Telefonica booth. I guess they're distributing the phone in Spain, eh? Yep, a quick search proves that they are!

Anyway, what else is going on here? There are about a zillion people with their own rigs here, almost exclusively playing WoW, as far as I can tell. I'll wander around with a camera at some point, and get some shots, but my favourite so far is a water-cooled rig installed in a toy fire engine. Splendid!

I also saw an Xbox setup last night, whilst wandering in a drunken stupor. I'll try and find that again later today, after Mike's finished. Actually, after Mike is Ruth, who has built Android apps already, and is going to talk about how easy and awesome Android development is. At least, I hope she is. Time will tell. Ruth entered the Android Developer Challenge, although I'm not sure how she did. Anyway, I'll post an update after her talk, so you're all up to speed.

Oh, and I'll write about the Google Earthwalk and Google Earth Umbrella in another post.


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Busy beyond belief

Which is no excuse, I know. Surely I should be able to find a few minutes in the day to write this, right?

Well, there's a few things I wanted to touch on today.

F8. Seemed a bit useless to me.
Well, useless is unfair - I wasn't there, so I don't know for sure, and maybe the networking opportunity was huge.
However, watching liveblogs and reading reports, it looks like they didn't actually announce much. Facebook Connect seems to be the big one. It still seems like Friend Connect to me, though.

Knol. It's launched.
Read more here: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2008/07/knol-is-open-to-everyone.html
It offers an easy way to impart knowledge and collaborate on that knowledge. Or, to summarise from the blog post: Everyone knows something. See what people are writing about, then tell the world what you know: knol.google.com
For example, I can share with you my mad knowledge of Devil May Cry 4.
was announced back at the start of May, in response to MySpace, and they solidified that plan a little.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Chris Chabot

I just stumbled across Chris' blog.
Chris is very active in the OpenSocial/Shindig world - he's ported shindig to PHP, which is awesome for non-javas like me.

Anyway, yeah, some interesting things there.

Apologies for the lack of posts recently - I took this week off to catch up on gaming, then work kicked off, so I'm back in the office trying to get stuff done. Bah.

I managed to clear my email backlog, which was a bonus, but still seemed to have a LOT of starred content requiring action. Blee.

So, I'm off to get some work done.
More playing tomorrow. Okami is ace.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Grar

And if it's raining again tomorrow, I may play it all again.

Emulation

I sat down next to Philipe today between meetings, and we started chatting about emulators.
He played 1080 snowboarding on an N64 emulator last night, which apparently is awesome.
I remember the Captain telling me, back when the N64 had just launched, that he'd scored an emulator and a Zelda ROM, and could play in the heady delights of 800x600 resolution. Ahhh, good times.

It also remeinded me of my time spent with Steem. Which is a blast. Obviously, I cannot condone downloading illegal roms, but in my mind, if I once owned the game, it's cool.

So I spent a lovely long weekend replaying Dungeon Master, and Chaos Strikes Back, which was a laugh.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Lively

Lively launched today.
It seems like this is pretty badass. I've embedded a youtube vid, on a TV (!), and also have a picture frame rotating some pictures.
I like it.

You can play in my goat hovel here.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Wow

Apple, erm, weren't on the ball.

Street View for France

Oh, the french. Those paragons of privacy.

Well, we launched Street View for the Tour de France (it's pretty cool).
If you don't know street view, well, check a previous blog post.
There's a lot of noise about it in the blogosphere (as you can imagine, I'm sure), and lots of noise in the traditional press too.
Fortunately, we've managed to crack some pretty kick-arse face-blurring technology, so when we encounter crazy cyclists, their anonymity is safe.

In a previous launch, we also added the ability to look up (I mean, really really up, not just a little), so you can see the tops of skyscrapers and things too.

Well, anyway, I hope you enjoy this.
You'll be happy to know (I'm sure) that it's all available over the API, too, so what are you waiting for?

Friday, July 4, 2008

MotoGP

Hello

So you saw the Assen race last weekend, right?
Well, if you didn't, they have a Youtube channel, which you should be looking at right now.
Here's a bit of a roundup.

Long story short, Rossi wiped on the first lap, and is now no longer the leader.
Stoner looks like he's finally getting it back together, and Hayden was robbed a podium (although, to be fair, he stole it a couple of years ago).

Yes.
Roll on Sachsenring.

New blackberry search

I don't know how many of you have a Nokia or a blackberry, but I have both - one for work, one for home.

The nokia is for home, and I've been using Google's speedy search
The blackberry is for work, and I'm happy to say we just launched a new search results page for BBs.
If you haven't already, you should definitely check it out.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Foot

I'm sure you'll be happy to know that my foot is getting better.
I can walk around and stuff, although it's still very bruis├ęd, and hurts to touch, so shoes are being avoided where possible.

Played a bit more Ninja Gaiden last night. Very good, although ridiculously hard.
You would need to enjoy restart screens a lot to get much enjoyment from it.
Fortunately for me, restart screens are a challenge, rather than a point for despair.

It also seems, as has been described elsewhere, that there's very little 'freestyling'.

That is, once you've maxed our your weapons, and have all the combos, you basically have to remember all of them. Mashing sort of works, but I'm on the easiest level, and having my arse handed to me on a regular/frequent basis. So, actually, it doesn't work at all.

The advantage of DMC4 was that there were a lot of short moves which could easily be chained. This is all very long moves.

Still, I'm going to persevere. I like it, and the blood, whilst terribly inappropriate for the chidlers, is hilarious.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Mobile coolness

Looks like we just deployed some sweet new mobile stuff.

Take a look and enjoy.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Webmaster Tools API

The new webmaster tools API launched.
What are you waiting for?

Seriously, for owners of large amounts of sites, this makes the verification process much, much easier.
Also, for any kind of hosting company, they should now be offering free webmaster tools to all new (and existing!) subscribers.

Huhhhhh

So, there's a good reason why posts have not been forthcoming.
When last I wrote, I was stuck in the T5. Not so much any more.

That day, actually, was a harbinger. Of DOOM!

So, the 7.05 flight, or whatever, was full. This is because I'd failed to check in online, and it was oversold.
Naturally, the 8.40 was also oversold, and so there was no room there either.
I got the 11.45, which was delayed by 1 earth hour, due to some screen being broken.

I arrived in zeDam at 3, and was in the office by 3.45, with 15 whole minutes to prepare my presentation.

Woohoo!

So, the presentation went fine, as far as I'm aware. People seemed happy, and Reinoud from Hyves did an awesome job.

When I was done, I called a friend to see if they wanted a drink, and we met up - hurrah! I needed to hit the ATM before we went out, so we went there.
I am a fool, and after obtaining my cash, stepped backwards without looking. The side of my foot went over the kerb, it collapsed, and all my weight went on my ankle.
Ouch.
The dutch are very kind, in my experience, and a lovely lady on a bike sat with me until my friend had scored some ice. Then we went drinking, while I put more and more ice down my sock.

After a few beers, I went back to the hotel, and got some more ice. I wrapped ice in a towel, wrapped that around my ankle, wrapped myself in a duvet and passed out.

I woke a few times through the night, when my foot moved around.
In the morning, I couldn't move at all. No weight on it, and I could barely move my leg. Called the Doctor, who referred me to hospital, where I had a delicious xray.
Nothing broken, which leaves me with mixed emotions.
Nothing broken, so all the pain I'm feeling makes me a total pussy. However, there's also nothing broken, which is awesome.

I did rip a ligament, or tendon, or something, though. It wasn't entirely clear.

Anyway, home I went, to take some insanely strong painkillers, anti inflammatories and general sleep aids, so I was a drooling wreck for the best part of 5 days.

I say 'went home' like it was a no big deal.
I had already missed my plane back home, and the hospital didn't want to give me crutches. They said I needed to walk on it.
I was happy to walk on it, but literally couldn't, and just wanted some crutches to get home, so I could, you know, not be in a hotel with no clean clothes and a foot the size of a planet.
Anyway, after much to-ing and fro-ing, they sold me some crutches and I got to lug myself, and my 5kg laptop around Amsterdam and Schipol, trying to get home.

Moving on, the reason I took the mind-altering drugs instead of just resting was because I needed to be in Dublin yesterday for a keynote, which would involve walking and so forth.

It's actually feeling a lot better now - I can put weight on it, and move it up and down (but left and right or rotation still feels like razorblades under my skin).

So, while I was drooling, I was mostly asleep, but by Saturday, things were feeling a little better - I could get upstairs without crutches, which is awesome.
So I set up the Xbox, and had a poke at Ninja Gaiden 2, Alone in the Dark, Penny Arcade and, uh, oh, yeah, GTA4.

I probably should have done some work, to make up for being so unproductive the last few days, but, well, what the hell. I've done enough weekends and stuff to justify this.

I'll write up my feelings on them over the next couple of days (I fly back from Dublin tonight), but, very quickly:
NG2 - great if you liked DMC4, but a very different approach.
GTA4 - Couldn't play for more than 20 minutes. Didn't grab me at all (although in the intro is frickin' awesome).
Penny Arcade - most I've laughed at a game in a long time. Not the best game in the world (frankly, the engine sucks), but a great package (if you like PA. If you don't know it, check penny-arcade.com).
Alone in the Dark - Meh. Nice design. Cool fire. Interesting approach to puzzles. Something missing.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

MotoGP

Oh, and Donington was a bit of a disappointment this weekend, eh? And I'm not even talking about the Toseland - just the whole race was a bit non-eventful.

Excited about Assen, though. Woohoo!

Airports

Gotta love 'em.

I had a tour of Heathrow Terminal 5 back in October last year. At the time, it was awesome. They showed us the RFID tracking of baggage (so it could never be lost) and the 96 automated checkin desks, along with the 96 bag drop areas too.
Combined with 60-odd security gates, it seemed like we would never have to wait again.
Jump forward a few months, and the T5 opens to baggage-handling horrors.
How does something like this happen? I don't know.

Well, anyway, today I'm in T5, and I realise its shortcomings more and more.
I arrived at 7.00 for a 7.45 flight. I hit the machine at 7.05, to be told that I was too late for automatic checkin, and needed to speak to a person.
10 minutes of wandering around looking for someone, and then another 10 minutes of queuing meant that at 7.25, I was definitely too late to get on board. Had this been any other terminal, it would have taken only a couple of minutes to get this done.
Anyway, the 8.40 was totally full, so here I am in Heathrow waiting for the 1135.

It wouldn't be such a problem, but they've got a fried food embargo going on. Only food which has actually been cooked can be served, so there's a Caviar House, a Gordon Ramsey, and a few others. All eye-gougingly expensive.

It's my own fault, I suppose, for not checking in online yesterday. I just didn't get around to it, and now I'm paying.

Anyway, in other, more important news, the Webmaster Tools now have an API

Right now, it's just account management (add/edit/delete account, and add/edit/delete sitemap), but as they say, this is just the beginning.

I think that if and when the reporting API launches, an enterprising soul might build something to integrate Analytics and Webmaster Tools to give end-to-end reporting.
If this person were really smart, they'd tie it in with the Adwords API as well, to create an automated, self-maximising system.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Friday night

Before I leave for the weekend, I'd like to note that I think I'm up to 6 unopened games. I have no idea what I'm going to do now, beyond praying for rain all summer.

Calm before the storm

I have a monster headache today. Taken some ibuprofen, though, so I'm sure it'll pass.
I put it down to the fact that the TV last night was stellar, and I got in around 11, fired up Sky+, and then didn't move for 4 hours.
So, no liquids. Hence headache today.
So, yeah, 2 episodes of My Name is Earl, 2 of Heroes, new Scrubs, Cheerleader Nation (the final!), and a re-run of the InBetweeners.
A veritable treasure trove.

A wedding this weekend, in, erm, Wimbledon, or Greenwich, or something. I should probably find out, actually.

Sunday, if there's wind, I'll be out on the kite. Otherwise, I guess I'll get some work done. Or play the DS, or something.

3107/82/231/434/--

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Thursday

I guess this is how it happens.
You start a blog with the very best of intentions, and then get constant distractions (games, work, real life, you know), and don't update for a few days.

Since no-one's really reading this thing anyway, it's not such a problem, I guess.
So, what have I been doing? Not a lot. Catching up on telly.
Actually, just working a lot. I'm pretty boring.
I've tried, unsuccessfully, to change the layout of this thing to a dynamic width, but it keeps breaking. I need more than 10 minutes to crack it, I guess.
Maybe tomorrow.

What else? Hmm. I'm going to be tinkering with the YouTube Upload APIs pretty soon, so that's quite interesting. I've also got a load of expenses to do, and have just eaten a delicious yoghurt.
Twewy continues to own me, and I had a parcel delivered this morning which wouldn't fit through the door, which is exciting, although it'll be 48 hours before I can pick it up. Could be another game, I guess. I'm still trying to find Wii Fit somewhere. Not that I'll actually use the thing, but I like the idea of a weight graph over time.

At a wedding on Saturday as well. I have a nagging feeling in the back of my mind that I'm supposed to be doing something on Sunday, too, but, well, screw it. I'm just going to go and fly the kite if there's wind, and sleep if there's not. Which probably means I'll be in trouble with someone for not being where I should have been.

3040/82/224/433/---

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Tuesday

So, yesterday was a writeoff. Managed to tread water on my inbox, but that was about it.
I noticed that Google Earth Hacks is using the API to preview its content. Which is pretty cool.

Friday, June 13, 2008

That'll learn me

Big day yesterday. Fell asleep on the sofa in the middle of heroes, and then again in The Big Bang Theory. What an exciting life I lead.

Went for a swift half after work at the Victoria pub, which smells awful.
In fact, since the smoking ban, lots of places stink of stale beer and sweat, which isn't so lovely.
How can the pub owners not be aware of this? And why won't they do something about it?

Anyway, moving on. Off to Manchester this weekend. Should be fun.

This is quite interesting. Ebay seem to be really struggling recently. They're trying to diversify, but without any kind of goal in mind, which has got to be tough.
It's awesome that they're actually trying, though. It would be easy for them (if not their shareholders) to simply remain in the auction space and milk the cash cow for a few years more, but their management are at least exploring other areas.
Good for you, eBay!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Apprentice

How could I forget?

Siralan made the right choice?
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/7449690.stm

Thursday

So, TV tonight: The Office, an American Workplace.
This is actually much better than I thought.

The original Office made you cringe and cry, so well observed was it.
This one replaces the more serious cringes with laughs, often belly laughs, whilst maintaining the cringe aspect with aplomb.

It's certainly different, but I think it works, really really well. It's much better than a blind copy.
And, they have some genius twists on the plot as you know it.

Oooo, and look what I just found. YouTube and the Office, working together. Awesome.

Anway, other than that, a new game arrived this morning. I've given up opening them, and I've lost track of what I've preordered, so long ago did I do most of them. It's going to be a lucky dip once I get everything set up.

Oh, and still no washing machine man. Seriously, doing that now. £15 per load at the dry cleaners is no joke.

Currently: 2142/73/160/366/--

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Twewy Vid

Damn it. I broke the YT API stuff down below. Fix it tomorrow.

Wednesday morning

What have I been up to?
Played some more TWEWY last night, after leaving work pretty late.
Sky+ had nothing for me - Reaper finished, as previously mentioned, and anyway, that's Wednesday's TV. I'm trying to remember what was on tuesdays. Maybe Big Bang Theory or the Inbetweeners, or something. I have no idea.

Anyway, yeah, reading about Ninja Gaiden II and Ninja Gaiden Dragon Sword (DS, geddit?), seems like DS is "better" but shorter. Hopefully, since I *loved* DMC4, NGII will go down well.

The house was painted recently. When this happened, I packed up all the consoles so that things could be painted. Since then, I've been travelling pretty aggressively since work. The consoles (Xbox 360, Wii) are still packed up, and I've now got 4 games still unwrapped that I'm gagging to play.
GTAIV, Lego Indiana Jones, Ninja Gaiden II, Super Paper Mario.
I think there are more coming.
Erk.
Actually, talking of GTA IV, did you see the Google Maps thing they did?

Oh, and we launched some new Street View stuff. Seems like it's a load of new imagery. I am preparing for the inevitable blogs covering more topless and embarrassing pictures.

Now, some of the links on those pages don't work so well any more - we've got newer imagery, you see!

Wait. What? You don't know what Street View is? Well, take a look!

Still, at least the cleaner comes today. Oh, and I need to ring a man to fix my washing machine. Right, best get on that.


Currently: 2012/70/147/355/--

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The World Ends With You




So, I got home last night around 8pm, with every intention of doing some work (I have an email backlog that would break most mortals), and instead picked up that bloody Nintendo DS again, and played some TWEWY (which is the acronym for The World Ends With You. I'm still not sure I like that acronym, but I digress. It's easy to type, and now you know what it means, so I'm sorry if it upsets you too, but there we are. Suck it down).

What I did manage to do was write a generic thing for the YT API. See the embedded video below in the sound section - it's using the Chromeless player to do some cool stuff. Well, coolish.

So, I said I'd write a review if I got the chance, and between eating two yoghurts and drinking a powerade, which Obi describes as both scary, and bad for my insides, I've got a little time. Not a lot, but enough.
So, first things first, you own a DS. You also like the internets. Perhaps you saw Yahtzee's post on my last mail. If not, here it is again.
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/zero-punctuation/67-The-World-Ends-With-You
He doesn't really like it, but it's funny nonetheless.
For a more rounded view, check metacritic. The review lives here:
http://www.metacritic.com/games/platforms/ds/worldendswithyou/

So you've had a look at those, and you're still intrigued. What's it all about, Alfie?

I'm glad you asked.

It's a "JRPG", whatever that means. Since it's also, apparently, 'genre-breaking', I guess that means it's not a JRPG, or that it is, but it's better, or something. Anyway, first I'll cover the basics, then I'll say what I like about it.

Overview
You are a kid called Neku, who has been transported to a strange version of Shibuya, which is some famous area in Japan. People who go to Tokyo always tell me how cool it is. Other reviews have claimed how much this game reminds them of the place. I figure now I've played it in this, I don't need to go. Which is nice.
Anyway, you're a kid, in a twilight-zone version of Shibuya. For reasons you will learn, you have a week to solve 7 challenges, one per day. There are some more days to play at the end of the first 7, but I won't say too much more about those for fear of spoiling. Also, once complete, you can replay any day you've already played, so don't worry too much about clearing everything on the first run through.
In fact, you'll find that pretty much impossible.
So, yeah, you're a kid, in a strange place, with an overarching mission broken up into sub-missions. You have a partner, you collect some pins (or badges, as we call them in the UK), and you get to fight monsters (or 'noise').
From time to time, you meet a boss, and the boss kicks your arse for a bit, and then you either get lucky, or work out how to avoid the punishing attacks.

Learning Curve
Let's get this out of the way, then, shall we? Combat is a motherbitch.
It's tough to learn (I'm still trying to work out the best way to do it), and it may prevent you properly enjoying the game.
For more info, check the combat section, but be warned, this is the biggest barrier to entry, and will make or break if you enjoy the game.
Don't forget, though, your partner can be fully controlled by the computer, very effectively, and you'll have a great time.


Graphics
They're good. Screenshots never do a DS game justice. Ever. Go to youtube, and check some videos.

Sound
Awesome. I'm a pussy, and like crap music, but even so, there are some great tracks on here. I'm told it's 'J-Pop'.


You need Flash player 8+ and JavaScript enabled to view this video.

Play | Pause
This is currently my favourite. (you can skip ahead to the good bit, if you like)

Pins
Pins are like, and I hate to say this, trading cards. Sort of. I always think I hate trading cards, but then remember that I played Pokemon, and Star Chamber (although I think that was *before* Sony bought 'em). Let's be honest. I love it. I'm just ashamed of myself. Each pin has a different function - slash Neku, slash an enemy, slash empty space, press, tap, repeatedly tap, draw a circle, double-tap, scratch, etc.

Each can to be levelled to max, and may also evolve. Some evolve from combat. Some evolve from shutting down the DS, some evolve from 'mingling', or letting your DS discover other DSs. Don't despair, though. If you're mateless, there are also aliens.

There are literally hundreds of pins, with some of the most awesome names imaginable.


Random Encounters
For the majority of the time, you control when to fight. You activate the scanning pin, and it scans the area, revealing the monsters. You simply press the ones you want to fight, and they'll come to you. If you don't want to fight, you don't scan. Simple!

Combat
Two screens. Simultaneous combat. Headfuck.
So, here's the lower screen.

As you can probably imagine, the bottom screen combat is controlled using the stylus. See above for more details on how. Basically, each pin requires a different action, and will trigger a different type of attack. From flames where you press, to gunfire, sword strikes, energy beams, black holes, scatter guns, bazookas, lightning, and so on, the list seems pretty endless. There's definitely something for everyone. Oh, and healing, if you're a pussy. (I'm actually starting to use more healing now, as I hit the endgame).

The upper screen is controlled using the buttons (or, if you're a right-handed freak, the d-pad).
Here's an example of that:


The upper screen is actually pretty straightforward.
Pushing down blocks, and pushing up jumps (generally). Left and right to start a combo, then follow the arrows to complete. You can just push left/left/left/left to attack, but using the more complicated attacks does more damage.
You can set the computer to control your partner, if you don't want to do this, or control them yourself.
As you complete more attacks, you can build stars. Stars work towards the fusion attack, where both players attack both screens at once. The fusion attack has 3 levels, and also heals a bit. Mostly, though it dishes out the hella pain.
One final feature is the multiplier

Note the light puck (big green circle) that passes betwixt your team. This builds the multiplier. Basically, watch the puck, and control the screen it's on, and you'll do ok.

As you can see, combat is actually pretty deep.

Items
Oh, my lord, the items. I have around 200 right now, and there are still many more to get.
Each item has base stats (attack, defense, hp) plus an ability, which is only revealed when you've made friends with the right store owner. Each store has owners which get more friendly as you buy stuff. As they get more friendly, they reveal more information about items, and also sell more items.
As you progress in the game, too, more items become available.
The abilities range from extra stat points to more esoteric things, like puck in play for longer, extra fusion stars, more experience and various resistances.

There are also quest items, which are, effectively, crafting. You need a range of particular items to create others.
At its most simple, you can exchange 'scarletite' for stickers, which increase various character stats. More complicated is trading leather plus silver plus a jacket to make a derivative.
Of course, if you're looking to collect all the items, this'll take a while.

Foodz
Oh, my lord, food.
You get 24 'bytes' each day to eat food. Each food item takes a number of bytes to digest. Byte == fight. Generally, the better the effect, the more bytes. Food primarily affects your synch rate (the speed at which the puck builds combo), but also has a lasting effect once consumed. For example, the hot dog boosts your synch by 20%, and then, after 8 bytes, adds +1 attack, permanently. How fucking cool is that? Answer: very fucking cool.


Scaling
There are 4 difficulty levels. Easy, Normal, Hard, and Ultimate. (I'm yet to unlock Ultimate).
Each noise has a chance to drop pins, which is anywhere between 0.5 and 100%. Each noise will likely drop a different pin at each difficulty level.
The max level for your characters is 100.
Here's where it gets interesting. There's a slider (woo). You can drop your level back (which only lowers your HP), and increase the chance of a pin dropping. It's a simple mutiplication, so if you're level 100, and fighting noise with a 10% drop rate, you can push back to level 90, get 10* stars, and increase the drop rate to 100. There's a 'noise report' screen where you can play with all this. It's very clever.

OCD
I have OCD, I'm sure. If a game has something collectible, I want to collect it. I also love the carrot of levelling things. That keeps me going.
So, this game has some good stuff for me.
1) over 300 pins. There's, naturally, a scary amount of evolving to do, in order to gain all the pins, at which point, you might want to use the Wikia.
2) When you scan an area, you can also read the thoughts of the other people. Obviously, there's a points system for this, too.
3) collecting all the items.



Complaints
There are a few things I'd change. Most important is a warning before a big fight. I'm often training pins, and wander into another zone to reset the noise (when all noise is gone from an area, you can leave and come back to respawn), only to find my move has triggered a cut scene, and I now have to fight some insane boss with a load of shitty pins.

Also, the ability to save between fights, or at least skip cut scenes if you've seen them before.
I hate dying, and then having to sit through 5 minutes of chatter before I can have my face dragged all over the park again.

Changing level from the noise report screen, please.


Conclusions
I've just written a bastard odyssey. If you've made it this far, you're clearly interested, so just go and buy the bloody thing.


Finally, I'm going to start leaving my progress at the end of each post, because I'm sad like that. The order is: ESP'er points, Noise Report (number of noise), Pin Mastery (number of pins mastered, not just collected), Item Collection, Final Time Attack

Currently: 1916/69/129/349/--

Monday, June 9, 2008

Monday. Arf

Woke up late. Again. Mondays aren't for me. Let's be honest, mornings aren't for me.

Had some soup and cheesecake, which has made my day lots better.

So, this weekend. I wanted to go kite flying, but the wind never really picked up.
Instead, I crashed a picnic (happy birthday, Libby) on Saturday, played some rounders, read Edge.
I then wasted the entire evening playing The World Ends With You.
As you've probably heard from a variety of different sources
Cool graphics, nice story, great combat (which will SERIOUSLY mess with your head to start off with), and, best of all, a zillion collectibles.

The combat, though, is worth calling out. It's just starting to hit me, 70% of the way through the first playthrough (with only 30% of the pins), that it really does let you customise to exactly what you're after.

I might do a more in-depth review tomorrow, if I get a chance. But, if you like RPG and have a DS, and also OCD over collectibles, this may well be the game for you.

Friday, June 6, 2008

My god

I was going to say that this may be the coolest thing I've ever seen, but that's clearly hyperbole.
It's certainly awesome, though.

http://www.lickmyear.org/demo/stereo.php

Thursday, June 5, 2008

REP Standardisation

Well, hello again. 2 posts in one day. What joy this must bring you.
Anyway, the reason for the double post is that we just pushed info on the fact that Y!, MS and G are all working together to provide clear documentation on Robots.txt support. Hurrah!

You can read more in these places:
http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2008/06/improving-on-robots-exclusion-protocol.html
http://www.ysearchblog.com/archives/000587.html
http://blogs.msdn.com/webmaster/archive/2008/06/03/robots-exclusion-protocol-joining-together-to-provide-better-documentation.aspx

Day 2

In the big brother house.
Well, actually, on that note, Big Brother UK starts today. I only know because Channel 4 were pimping it in every commercial break last night, including during the series finale of Reaper, which is awesome. If you're not already watching it, well, partly it's too late, because it just finished, but, well, you can catch up. Well, sort of.
Or you can try something else.

So, yeah, anyway, what else?
It looks like we launched some updated stuff for Google Earth. Go fire it up, and search for Disney World. Don't forget to turn on 3d buildings in the bottom left panel.
If you don't have Google Earth, take a look at this
We just launched a browser plugin, which kicks butt.

It took me just under 10 minutes to knock that demo page together (mostly cutting and pasting from examples)- I love how easy our tools are to learn.
Go and have a play, and let me know what you develop.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

First post

Hopefully first of many. Let's see how we get on.

This is my personal blog, in no way affiliated with the company for which I work.
It'll be comments on everything from goats, to cheese, to computer games (and sometimes computer games about goats cheese - if anyone knows any).

I'll try and post every day, even if there's not much to say.

So, here goes