Showing posts from 2011

Greater Perspective

Belatedly sharing this blog entry that I wrote a few weeks ago, offline:

10668m above Paris, and a can just see a cloud opening around the Arc de triomphe - beautiful! When we took off from Heathrow, it was exceptionally foggy, and our early morning flight departed fairly late. (I can only imagine the challenge a pilot faces to take off, if it's too foggy to even drive properly!)
Mere seconds after lift off, we gained enough hight to be above the fog and cloud bank, and it was a beautiful blue sunny day... just meters above the foggy ground. (It was really stunning to see peaks and high structures of London protruding above into the sun!)

Perspective makes such a huge difference. It's not a foggy day. It's not even a foggy morning. It's merely temporarily foggy at Heathrow ground level.  Last night, while dining with my wife, I saw a friend at the restaurant who lost his young wife to cancer a few years ago, and he's now juggling his own business and kids on his own…

Google Maps lead the way

I've just landed in Madrid, and thankful for that, as some in the UK are on strike today, and I was never quite certain if the journey would be as smooth as it should be.
And on the flight, I watched a video replay of our Geo VP hour from yesterday, where our business leaders spelled out their strategy and direction with energizing clarity! It's a great team to work in!
And, we launched quite a few new maps bits... including indoor navigation in a few places, notably in the US in a few airports... and in Japan too. I can't wait for it to land here in Europe in more places.
But this video had me smiling... an Ikea in Sweden and the UK and the US all look identical inside, don't you think?

Fabulous Nexus Galaxy and Ice Cream Sandwich

I've been privileged to walk around with a pre-production Nexus Galaxy in my pocket for a few months now... to the envy of those in the know. I am on the trusted tester program for ICS and I love ice cream sandwich! It's fantastic, and the device is super, super sweet.

I was sworn to secrecy, even to the point where I could not show my colleagues,  but as I had to use it as my only phone. What a pleasure! Inevitably some who know the look of the Nexus S or Nexus One or follow the industry, would sometimes pause and ask... at which point I just had to put it back in my pocket. But the cat is out of the bag... the Nexus Galaxy is available to buy in shops in the UK... so I am allowed to speak (at least a bit) about it.

I still need to be careful, as my phone and software build probably don't reflect 100% what you'll find in a shop, so don't base your purchasing decision on anything I say, as I might be wrong (as my wife frequently reminds me too!). And this is defin…

If an entrepreneur joins a company, it's not because they failed!

I suddenly woke up thinking about a discussion I've had with a few friends over lunch at the fantastic new Google canteen in 123... and just realised that my colleagues made a very wrong assumption about an ex-colleague who resigned a year or so ago. She started her own business, and are now apparently considering contracting or joining another company.

The wrong assumption they made, was that any entrepreneur who signs up for a "proper job" must have failed as entrepreneur. Not true.

I can think of many reasons why an entrepreneur might choose to sign up for a "proper job", temporarily.

Gaining specific experience or contactstopping up cash reservesloneliness... just working for yourself can be lonesome!Delaying the timing of their business - for what ever reasonPerhaps it was the right time to sell, as someone else valued your business even more than you did (and you know you could build it better if you started again)Conflicts with specific partners, or …

Chromebook microphone: another option!

I love my Chromebook (even more than the CR-48 that I handed back), and just discovered another two features...

1) (Ok - not that interesting... but perhaps useful one day!) The Chromebook SIM card can receive texts, and results in a pop-up message with the SMS text displayed.

2) The earphone plug on the Chromebook actually can and does double as a microphone plug too, so you could plug in iPhone-style headphones with a microphone in the wire, for hangouts and more.
This means you now have at least three options for microphones on the Samsung Chromebook:

Built in micUSB mic (which I've been using mostly thus far, with no problems)mic/headphone combination as described above. And in hind sight - I should have known... See the picture.

Google tilt or barrel roll

HTML5 has some fantastic features... I can see many fat client, flash or Silverlight applications that I've built in the past, could now be done with a few simple HTML5 tags!

For a bit of fun on your android... try searching on Google for tilt and watch the subtle tilt on your Google search results!

Or, on your desktop, search for tilt or do a barrel rolland if your browser is HTML 5 capable (like Chrome), you'll see some of the magic in action.

Opening up the power of Salesforce through Chrome

At Google we're using Salesforce for cour CRM stuff. As channel manager responsible for lots of partners all over Europe, I frequently need to search for opportunities and check that they are appropriately assigned to partners, or find all the opportunities for a specific partner.

Salesforce can do all this and more, and thus far I've been struggling with custom reports for each partner... which is a pain if you one day decide to change the format.

Discovery number one: By creating a salesforce report, you can override the filter values by tweaking the URL. (see note 1)

Discovery number two: I can quickly create a way to populate the URL parameters with Chrome's customer search provider feature. (see note 3)

The end result is that I can now open a new tab, type "sfo" and hit space (this invokes my special search provider), and then type "police" and hit enter. The search provider translates this into something like…

Me and Vint Cerf

Vint Cerf needs no introduction. Not every man is called the father of the internet for nothing! And here is Vint and I, when he came to talk to us at Google. He's an incredible man, and have incredible stories to tell! I feel really honoured and humbled after meeting him.
The funny lighting was due to slide projector lighting that caught him from the side... but it was him, not a cardboard cut out!  He has interesting stories, but the best bits, where certainly these two stories:
1) He passionately talked about how his wife's hearing was made possible by technology (in the context of his prediction to see more computer/human interfaces and interaction... which reminded me of the encounter with Captain Cyborg! It's a moving story, and really funny when he told the story of her calling up the library for audio books for someone certified being deaf :)
2) When we prodded enough in the Q&A, we saw a glimpse what really get him excited... Not IP v4 or v6 any more... not even…

The coolest company photo ever... at Google

I've just been to our Google UK company photo shoot...

Our streetview car drove past the offices, and we were pre-warned so that we could get in position and ready for action!

Can't wait to see the final result!

Now won't wanna live without the Xoom

I've been slightly subdued in my praise for my Xoom thus far, but I think that was completely unwarranted. I have now grown to be so fond of it, that I'd really complain if I had to loose it!

Let me just give you a few snippets of scenarios where it was exceptionally good:

I recently had to spend a lot of time supporting someone in hospital, and it served as a brilliant single device that allowed me to work, play, relax and even entertain the patient. The one thing that surprised me, was how well it worked as a "radio" in the hospital room, for a bit of news and background music. (Granted - the hospital had a brilliant guest wifi network, which made all the difference.)Travelling... I don't go anywhere without it. I frequently take a MacBook or Chromebook too, but the Xoom fits nicely in the same sleeve as the laptop, and it much better to use on a flight.I've caught my elderly parents reading up on a topic of interest on wikipedia on the Xoom... despite them …

Goodbye CR-48! Hello Samsung!

I've just had to hand back my CR-48 that I grew very fond of. In exchange, I was handed a shiny white new number... the Samsung.

First impression is good. Good looking, shiny, lightweight, fast.

But the exceptional thing was that changing took less than 5 minutes. I shut down the CR-48, handed it over, started up the new machine... logged on, and *everything* was just there. Everything... all my email, all my settings and even my bookmarks and Chrome Extensions. Loving the 100% web thing!

More mail on Xoom tablet

I've just figured out how I could get more email on my Xoom. Let me explain... it's not that I'm not getting enough email... it's more that not enough email is cached offline for me to work on while on a flight.

The key is to look for "labels" in the settings under the account you are syncing. There you'll find the ability to specify how long to keep sync for.

Now, I'll have enough to keep me busy even on a flight to South Africa!

Field trip for the Xoom

My primary acquiring a Xoom, was to allow me to travel and work more productively while traveling.

I already mentioned the VC and second screen bonus, but yesterday was a good opportunity to put it through it's paces and test it on a "field" trip.

Yesterday, I traveled from home to Heathrow (taxi) to Munchen (fly) to Salzburg (train), had a long (productive) meeting and came back the same route.

All in all, I travelled about 12 hours + 3 hours of meeting, and during the travelling I was working on the Xoom most of the time. So, it was working hard!

The key observations were:

The Xoom's battery life pretty much matched the Nexus S. At 10am, power was down to 75% on both devices, 60% at noon, 40% at 3pm and dead about 6pm (12 hours into the day). I could replace the battery in the Nexus S with a spare, but that's not an option on the Xoom.The screen and display of the Xoom was beautiful and always usable in all light conditions.The folding case disappointed me a bit…

Protecting the Xoom

I've done two things to physically protect my zoom, and both feel like a bit of a compromise:

a) I've added a screen protector and
b) a folding case.

For the screen protector, I bought something like the thin plastic stick-on screen protectors you get for other phones and devices. On my Nexus One and Nexus S, this worked very well. But with the 10.1" screen of the Xoom meant that fitting it was *much* harder. The alignment is harder to get perfect, and getting all the bubbles out was hard work. And then, despite meticulous cleaning, a dust particle or three still got stuck under the surface, some very visible. I'm not criticising the product I bought, but rather the trade-off. I might very well remove this from the screen soon, the remaining bubbles, dust and corners that curl up where it does not sit perfectly is too great a cost I think.

The folding case is the original Motorola accessory, and it's OK. It's very rugged, so would probably save the Xoom if I w…

Xoomsperiance: The second screen

I got my Xoom primarily for a work-while-you-travel device... something to ensure I can be more productive on the road.

It's living up to the expectation thus far mostly. (One gotcha is that I've got wifi only, and even if it had 3G, I'm frequently traveling abroad where I can't roam without paying a fortune.)

But today I was struck by another benefit: This *second screen* next to my laptop is very handy. Especially for VC (through Google Talk Video) is awesome. The UI is good and the video & audio quality  is exceptional, even compared to using the Mac.

Also - I find myself glancing at the tablet's home screen with next meeting & other such headline info... which is really valuable as a second screen.

Loving it!

And I shocked by Samsung Apple debacle. As some might consider it close to home, I will rather not comment!

Confessions of a new Xoomer: First weekend

I received my shiny new Motorola Xoom on Friday, and I'm loving it! For those uncertain what it is... it's a Android 3.x Tablet... think iPad 2-ish, but with less apples and more Googleberries.

I'll try and post my experiences with this new device as it happens, so that you can get a sense of what it might be like.

I came in to London to pick it up. It was green! I thought it might just have a green gel cover, but it's green. 2/3 of the back cover is metal and green. (I like it this way, and it reminded me of my first Audi A3 - which was paradise green... a bit glow-in-the-dark green-ish the Audi was!)

The power supply is small, and the plug to the Xoom a round one, so I have to carry another (small) power supply on my travels.

Then I got on the train back home, and tethered it to my Nexus S... and that worked like a charm. Easy to set up, and all worked perfectly.

It's heavy-ish - it's really best to use if you can rest it against something. You don't real…

Can't wait for the big PLUS

I really can't wait to add all my friends and family (and business partners) to Google plus... We're using it internally and it's just a more logical and smarter way to communicate with people selectively! (Hence the radio silence out here... blogging is now more work than +1, and getting less attention! Sorry!)

Really loving my CR-48. I've now switched to a routine where my CR-48 stays at work, and my Mac stays at home, and when I commute, I don't carry a heavy machine along... I use my phone (and hoping to get a tablet soon too, for those hours travelling).

The only thinks I can't do from my CR-48, are

iPhoto-style editing of the 2555 photos I took a couple of weekends ago (of ballerinas, no less!)some development stuff that require dev tools to be installed (I'm still tinkering with AppInventor and more)VPN for the hand full of resources that Google don't expose without VPN, like our new hire referral program intranet site."for everything else, t…

Presenting with Sigma, rewarded with Audi A6&7

Last week I've been to the beautiful Marstrand at Sigma's Camp Digital event, that was running alongside the Stena Match Race Tour. And what a privilege it was! I've been asked to present, and my presentation was sandwiched between Spotify and Apple :)
Sigma are really switched on and very innovative & creative. I enjoy working with them. And as expected, they helped arrange some of the logistics, and offered to "send me a car" to collect me at the airport. And so they did. But not just any old taxi. It was a brand new fully loaded Audi A6, and I was handed the key by the driver, to test drive it back to Marstrand myself! (Audi was a sponsor of the Regatta, and hence the car.) And the journey back was equally exciting in an A7! On both journeys, there were a lot of traffic, so I did not quite get a chance to push the car to it's limits, but stationary traffic offered me a chance to play with the nice gadget sin the car.
The most refined new feature for me…

CR-48 & Chromebooks on UK mobile networks: No developer mode needed

There are many articles on how to switch the original CR-48 Chromebook to work on other mobile platforms... with Developer mode and more... but I've just tested on the latest Chromebook software (and originally CR-48), and it's working nicely in the UK (I've got a Vodafone SIM) without fiddling with developer mode.

Just plug it in and go!

Next: I've got to try this in South Africa.

The real org chart

Just a bit of light humour... and not an accurate reflection on all of these companies (especially the ones I've worked with), but still funny!

And I know Manu has been asked to extend this to include IBM, Oracle and a few others :)

Olympic tickets: the better way

I'm over the worst after the disappointment this morning trying to buy Olympic tickets. I eventually concluded that even over loaded servers could be a way of extending the lottery.

But the emotions around Olympic tickets have sparked interesting debates at work amongst the really smart Googlers, with many algorithms on how it could be optimised without discrimination, and my preference is the model suggested by "paulmarkj" in a comment below this post.

Or - we could simply run a race, and the first to get to the tickets, get 'em ;)

Olympic tickets sold on first come first NOT served basis

Note to self: Don't be daft! Remember the Olympic ticket sale fiasco when designing the next high-concurrency system.

What a disappointment. I've been dreaming about one day attending the Olympics, and when it was announced that the Olympics was coming to London, I was excited, at least because I expected that I would be able to attend some of it.
The first round of ticket sales have come and gone, and it's now old news that about 1.6m people applied and only 1/2 of them got any tickets. What was good about the first round, was that they did not create a huge peak load on ticket servers in their process.
However, the second chance ticket buying, was done on a first come first served bases. Except with the remaining 800 000 people all up at 6am armed with a VISA card and a list of the available events, the organisers (Locog) and VISA and Ticketmaster should have expected some spike in demand... but no.
It was not more a first come, first NOT served affair.
I know this is a tough…

Presentation tips using Mac or CR-48 & Google Presently

I've talked about presentations before, and decided it's worth posting an update on tips specific for presentations with Google Presently (our presentation product as part of Google docs), when used on a Mac or on a Chromos machine like my CR-48.

1) The right screen size: After you connected your projector or external screen, resize (or hit the green + button in your browser). Why? The external display and Mac OS will negotiate the right screen resolution, but the layout of your presentation in the browser will not know that the screen size changed. By forcing the browser to re=think it's size, you ensure that the slides and preview are displayed properly.

2) Full screen shortcut: cmd+shift+F (for Full screen) removes borders and other stuff - this is *the* way to do your slide show.

3) Cache the content: As presently draw down content from the interweb, you slide show can never be forgotten home. You never need to find a USB key. You never quire some additional undesirabl…

Google's home page - just for me!

I've mentioned some cute home pages before, and my favourite is probably the PacMan one. Today I was surprised with another very nice home page... especially *just* for me!

Google knew my other birthday too - so this is a very nice surprise! Thank you Google.
(Another nice touch was that Google HR sent me a massage voucher. Very good!!!)

100% web is feasible

I've always bought into Microsoft's Software + Services story. In a nut shell, S+S says we'll get the optimal experience if we combine web services with smart software (rich clients) that can consume these services. I always used to say that some things would never be serviced just over the internet... things like spell checker and video editing would always require some fat client. But I've been proven wrong: Having a spell checker in the browser makes much more sense, and using dictionaries from the cloud can be *much* more relevant and accurate! And as for video editing... I've recently used and it has benefits of thousands of CPUs to do rendering... much better than on the desktop!
Microsoft also dreamt at one stage of "the programmable web" where even rich clients would essentially get the rendering instructions from XML, therefore making it possible to deliver everything via the web... an effort ultimately culminating in…

At Google, it's always sunny

I just realized another reason why working at Google is so fantastic. It's really got a sunny perspective on the planet. I recall when I joined Google London just over a year ago, it was sunny every day coming in to the office. And more: Today, while looking at a Google Earth sight seeing tour playing in our offices, I realized that the entire planet is sunny! :)

Android to robotics: child's play, life changing

I've commented about a few robotics things recently (tennis, cyborgs and more), but I'm buzzing about the potential opened up with the combination of AppInventor, Lego NXT Mindstorm and Android.
AppInventor allows me to build a simple application for Android mobile phones by *just* dragging and dropping a few puzzle pieces around to build the logic and UI. The NXT Robot is a bunch of Lego Technic bricks, plus some sensors (e.g. Ultrasound, light, touch) and a few motors (but not just any old motor, effectively stepper motor style thing where you can control the speed and exact rotation angles), and a Lego CPU that can control the lot, and talk to all... including talking to the phone (and AppInventor app) via bluetooth...
The possibilities are endless. Well, I've been playing with a few ideas... it can become a mobile controlled curtain open & closer, or the mechanics that can make my space travel for my phone easier by for example deploying the parachute when the phone …

Contoso has gone Google

Even though Contoso does not formally appear on my CV, it could just as well, as I've spent sooooo many hours working on Contoso systems.
But the big news is that Contoso has gone Google, now running on Google Apps.
Welcome Contoso & all the Contoso employees!

Google is hiring, and might give you some insight into what we're working on... this position could be based anywhere on the planet. "Yah cloud!"

Bye Kinect: Hello Gmail Motion!

Kinect is innovative and created a step change in gaming. But that's gaming. Now, Google have again leapfrogged the competition by making motion the way to control not only gaming, but to improve everyday productivity too, in gmail. And no expensive camera is needed. Similar to the technology used in YouTube Symphony experiment (follow experiment link), the new gmail motion only requires a standard web cam! 
This blog post, btw, was created with similar technology, with slight movement over the keyboard only.

The future of education is bright!

I'm not a guru on education [yet], but was recently inspired by a couple of things that are now coming nicely together... and are doing noteworthy work to bring technology to kids, especially where good education is lacking. But I know at least that my wife and I have been cautious in introducing too much tech too early to our kids, as we fear that the positive impact of tech could be overshadowed by an imbalance, if the kids don't develop other skills (e.g. those acquired through sports and play).
Both NoPC and One Laptop Per Child need good content, and I know many companies build great content for this purpose.
But today I followed a TED videocast about the work Salman Khan does in creating educational videos. There were a few interesting things that his organisation has done and found. For example, their data shows that the "slower" kids quickly catch up and become indistinguishable from the "faster" kids: Don't let the pa…

Tennis playing flying robots are our friends

This, I like!

It ties nicely into my Cyborg experience and social robots, don't you think? What's next? A robotic dog? Oh - I forgot, that's old news!

Less-than-free business model

I've stumbled across this good write-up by Bill Gurley on how Google are changing the market it's operating in. Have a look!

When I was at Microsoft, Microsoft also offered some customers money to search (e.g. by making Live Search the default on machines bought from Dixons or paying enterprise customers to get their employees to use Live Search, or paying consumers cash back), but the economics never quite stacked up to make this work for Microsof or their customers IMHO. And at the heart of the problem was the vicious circle that Microsoft found themselves to be stuck in: Poor search relevancy -> fewer users -> fewer advertisers -> less revenue to share in the model above to compensate for the poor results.

I've just been briefed on the latest features that are being built for Google Apps... Google keeps on making best use of it's (own) assets to augment and enhance it's products. I can't spill the beans on any of this, but as an example...

Street Vi…

A good RSS reader for sites

Google Sites are an incredible powerful tool, and the extensibility of "insert -> gadget" is fantastic.

But... I still get frustrated that the gallery of gadgets is so vast without a great way to find the nuggets. So, in case you are looking for a good way to display your favourite RSS feed (only one) in a Google site, I found this one to work well for me. Just copy the URL, and paste it in "gadget URL".
What makes this one good for me, is that it's not trying to be too clever and format my content. It simply inherits the style from the site it's sitting in.

Happy Birthday to me (but it's not)

I received an email from Google HR a few minutes ago, wishing me a happy birthday... even though it's still a few months before my real birthday.

It was to congratulate me on my first year at Google, or in the words from HR "You have been at Google for 365 days, 1/10th of a decade, >3.15 x 1010 milliseconds, 20% of a lustrum or 0.001 of a millennium and today is your 1st Google Birthday :)"
Incredibly, 43% of Google joined after me, which just shows the incredible growth... and the best (eg.) is yet to come!

My day with a cyborg

A couple of weeks ago, I was given the chance to spend a day with Kevin Warwick... and what a day it was!

On yoghurts and culture

I've posted one of Manu's earlier Goomics before... and this one got me chuckling again.
How will outdated yoghurt be treated in your work place?

Work life balance observations

TEDTalks : Nigel Marsh: How to make work-life balance work - Nigel Marsh (2010)In this TED talk, Nigel flags a few things about work life balance:
* It's up to you and me to fix it
* we should approach the balance with balance
* small things can make a big differenceLovely quote: "Millions of people work long hours on jobs they hate to enable them to buy things they don't need to impress people they don't like."Have a good weekend!

The next social wave will be through robots

TEDTalks : Cynthia Breazeal: The rise of personal robots - Cynthia Breazeal (2010)Social is important. Nobody is arguing with this. But to text, to chat, even a photo or video presence is just so poor compared to the meeting in the flesh.This TED talk really got me thinking about the next social wave!

VOIP calling on latest gingerbread is tasty with Android!

With Vodafone's troubles yesterday, the value of my Android phone's ability to call using a wifi connection, was again demonstrated.

Essentially, my set-up is this: I signed up for a sipdiscount customer, which allows me to make cheap calls to family in South Africa and elsewhere abroad. I've got a Fritz!Box at home (an old one bought on ebay, that was originally issued by a Greek Telco) that are connected to my broadband, my TalkTalk phone line and also my normal home DECT phones. When my non-IT family place a call to 002711.... or any other international number (as I've defined in Fritz!Box rules), the call is not connected to my landline, but rather routed over broadband, via sipdiscount, and it just cost me €0.06 per minute to SA (or free to the UK).
On my Android (a Nexus S), I've configured the same sipdiscount account, and when I now dial a number - any number - it gives me the option to dial using the cellular network or the wifi/voip/sipdiscount network. Yes…

Singing at Google

Music is built deep into me... it moves me, it energises me, it transform my thinking... so no wonder that my highlight of the (short thus far) week at work, was the impromptu flashmob-style singing that me and a few of my fellow Googlers did a few minutes ago in the canteen.
And thinking back through my life... other highlights certainly included Windhoek youth and school choirs, Randburg School choir, Sonitus, Dolce, Dagbreek Eiffelkoor, and the worship teams I've had the pleasure to sing in... Kerugma and at Southcourt Baptist Church.

I told you: Google I/O sold out quickly

I recently suggested that developers interested in attending Google I/O should act quickly... Yesterday the public ticket sales for Google I/O opened... and less than an hour later, all were sold out!

... and we're thinking about how we can create a fairer distribution of tickets, rather than just see who can fire up Chrome the quickest after registration opens...
If you have any smart ideas, please shout!

Also remember that you can watch the live stream of the event and follow the IO team on twitter.

And long ago, we had more PCs than smartphones...

The last quarter have just seen smartphones outselling PCs. Apparently, there are more phones now in the world, than toilets... and any day soon we'll have more phones than people having access to taps with fresh water! 
All this means that marketeers and businesses that are not already thinking about serving the customers and markets on their phones, are missing an enormous opportunity.

What to do if you used to be a printer driver guy...

Image cloud printer drivers.

I've been an early proponent of moving things to the cloud... even before it was called "the cloud". But in the early 2000's I always used a few things as examples why not quite *everything* would move to the cloud. One by one, these "never to move to cloud" items are moving there! a) Spell checking... surely locally would be better, not true? Well, sort of only. By using my browser to do spell checking (perhaps with local processing, but fed by a dictionary from the cloud), I'll get better accuracy across more words and languages. And by building it into the browser (or OS), all apps benefit from this, not just my word processor. b) Video editing... I could not envisage how the web would ever deliver a better experience... but it does!, and now rendering can be done one a farm of powerful machines, rather than my own limited machine. c) pr…

Robots to work

I've seen one of these virtual presence/teleprecence robots at a Google meeting before... but is was a bit futuristic and without huge real life value... but this made me think again:

Original article... This Texas student has a weakened immune system, and this robot now attends class and interact with friends and teachers without the risk of catching anything nasty. Awesome use of technology. And what I like a lot is that it's not space age tech... it's web cams and wheels and wifi... stuff we've all got to grips with already. 
Go Lyndon!

Google I/O registrations...

Google I/O is the premier Google developer event, and is always sold out *very* quickly! Very.Keep an eye on the registration site... as soon as it opens, you should be booking your seat.
Don't say you've not been warned! ;)

Favourite Android games

I've got a Nexus One and Nexus S, and just *love* my Android. My personal favourite games certainly all involve the science engine...Angry Birds (who has not played this??!)X Construction (but quickly reached the end of the challenge)Spaghetti Marshmallows - in fact this inspired me to do this for real in the 3d non-virtual world!Slice ItIf these appeal to you too, and you've found other great games, let me know!

May the force be with you!

I know it's just an advert, but I lovvit! I vividly recall my dad (while secretly pressing the key fob on his Jetta 1), kicking the tyre... and experiencing the "magic" of the car unlocking itself!

Copy & paste

Manu brilliantly captures some of the funnies we encounter every day...
And his latest cartoon is so brilliant, I want to copy it :)
Enjoy, and thanks Manu!

PS. I'm not specifically referring to copying search results... but that too!

Blogger on the go

I love having the ability to blog on the go. Somehow I encounter more inspiration with the stimuli outside. And now thanks to the fresh Blogger for Android from Google, that just became easier.

ChromeOS CR-48 screen shot in an email.

As I've switched to using my CR-48 exclusively, I was expecting and indeed have encountered a few usage scenarios where I had to rethink and change my habits.
Today I wanted to send a screen shot of subset of a spreadsheet (a Google doc) to someone via email. And... it was remarkably easy, despite expecting it to be a pain. A screen shot came courtesy of ChromeOS CTRL+"next screen" (f5?) - that I've found using the CTRL+ALT+/ help window. The screenshot was landed in my "downloads" folder, which popped open to guide me nicely. Next challenge was cropping it. I've jumped into Picnik (installed as Chrome Extension), and uploaded the relevant picture (from /user/downloads), cropped it, and saved a local copy to attach to the email. All in all, the process took me a minute, which included figuring-out time. 
Another great experience.

Offline on CR-48... where are the files?

I've just stumbled over this good blog post from Vadim on how offline works on CR-48... I might just get a few MP3's along for the train journey, when I can't pick up the tethering (local mobile wifi hotspot created by 3g phone) from my Android phone: Chrome OS Notebook Cr-48, AKA Mario: Local user files on Cr-48

Google Apps roadshow coming to a town near you

Google apps can be a game changer for most businesses, but many of these businesses have not yet had the chance to see what apps could do for 'em. One of the reasons why people have not yet spoken to Google, is because we're perhaps not yet been in their neighbourhood. Well - we're changing that. Have a look at our roadshow in the UK... See you there!

CR-48 spaces-like experience

In ChromeOS on the CR-48, you can't resize your browser window. It's always full screen. You can create more tabs, but when you do "create new window" (or CTRL-Shift N), you get a new browser window. Where? Well... sort of to the right of your current screen... and the screen then shifts to be filled with this new window. And you can rapidly switch back to other "windows" with ALT+1 (or 2 or 3..9).

I love this. I tend to have mail/calendar/contacts open on screen 1, temporary research (e.g. the presentation or whatever open on screen 2), and then frequently some incognito windows for logging on to e.g. this blog with different credentials as my logon.

And it allows for instant switching... something *very* useful also in presentations with demos... it's as good as having several machines to your disposal.

CR-48 powered up!

Funny - when I recently was in South Africa, I waked up to a sales person in Incredible Connection, and asked him:"What do you think of Chrome notebooks? Do you sell 'em? Will they be any good?"

His response:"Nah... anything that shiny will scratch easily. Every time you put that in your bag, you will be worried that it get another nasty scratch." Little did he know that not all things Chrome is shiny. :)

I've received my new shiny (actually, matt) Chrome OS notebook, and I love it. I'll keep you posted on my learnings and experiences, but I'm so confident that it's the route to go, that I've switched to *only* using my ChromeOS CR-48 notebook.

So what was my first few hours like? Impressed. Despite having a lot of Windows running in my heritage, I learnt to also love my Mac over the last year... and the CR-48 machine certainly had the best bits of the Mac, even in this pre-release version. The keyboard touch and layout, the touch pad (yes, …