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


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.

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.

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:
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:
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


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


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 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


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



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).

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


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.


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.


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.
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
Alone in the Dark - Meh. Nice design. Cool fire. Interesting approach to puzzles. Something missing.