Minggu, 31 Oktober 2010

0 Church of Planets Past

[Image: Photo courtesy of Andrea Tintori and Discovery News].

I love this story: the polished rock walls of a Catholic church in northern Italy have been found to contain the skull of a dinosaur. "The rock contains what appears to be a horizontal section of a dinosaur’s skull," paleontologist Andrea Tintori explained to Discovery News. "The image looks like a CT scan, and clearly shows the cranium, the nasal cavities, and numerous teeth.”

The skull itself was hewn in two; "indeed," we read, "Tintori found a second section of the same skull in another slab nearby."

[Image: Photo courtesy of Andrea Tintori and Discovery News].

The rock itself—called Broccatello—comes from a fossil-rich quarry in southern Switzerland and dates back to the Jurassic. According to the book Fossil Crinoids, "The Broccatello (from brocade) was given its name by stone masons; this flaming, multicoloured 'marble' has been used in countless Italian and Swiss baroque and rococo churches"—implying, of course, that other fossil finds are waiting to be found in Alpine baroque churches. "In the quarries of Arzo, southern Switzerland," the book continues, "crinoids [the fossilized bodies of ancient marine organisms] account for up to half of the bulk of the Broccatello, which is usually a few metres thick."

In any case, to figure out exactly what kind of dinosaur it is, the rock slab might be removed from the church altogether for 3D imaging in a lab; a new piece of Broccatello rock, mined from southern Switzerland, could be use as its replacement.

The larger idea of discovering something historically new and even terrestrially unexpected in the rocks of a city, or in the walls of the buildings around you—as if the most important fossil site in current geology might someday be the rock walls of a ruined castle and not a cliff face or gorge—brings to mind recent books like Richard Fortey's fantastic Earth: An Intimate History, with its geological introduction to sites like Central Park, Stories in Stone: Travels Through Urban Geology, and the Geologic City Reports (Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6) by Friends of the Pleistocene. These latter research files present New York City through the lens of its lumpen underpinnings, focusing on bedrock, mineral veins, and salt, not the city's cultural districts or ethnic history.

But, of course, the H.P. Lovecraftian overtones of this story—a monstrous skull in a church wall—are too obvious not to mention: an easy scenario for imagining whole plots and storylines in which the ancient forms of an unknown species are discovered hidden in cathedral masonry, opening previously unimagined horizons of time and radically revising theories of the history of life on earth.

I just absolutely love the idea that a piece of architecture can become a site for paleontological research, framing an unlikely forensic study of the earth's biological past.

0 Disney Princesses

On my trip to Anaheim, California I filmed a video with THE Michelle Phan!! *deng deng deng* She's the 17th (last time I checked) most subscribed youtuber so it's a huge deal!!

Initially we would just reply each other on twitter sometimes but when she asked if I'd like to collaborate on a video with her I didn't even believe it was going to happen until the moment she reached my hotel room. I thought she'd cancel or something!! Don't blame me I've just met a lot of irresponsible people in life. But she didn't!! (I was in Disneyland for a press junket. Think I cannot say what yet. If you are smart you can probably guess? Pretty glaringly obvious lol)

I was apprehensive about meeting her (I'm always apprehensive about meeting people coz I rarely like people hahaha) but it turned out we got along so well and had so much in common so that was awesome!!

AND we had so much fun filming this video!!! We were Disney princesses - She's Ariel and I'm Rapunzel from the new Disney movie Tangled! (In Singapore the working title is Rapunzel: A Tangled Tale)

Check it out!

A lot of people seem to be confused about Rapunzel's make up since she is so new, so here are some pictures of the newest Disney princess. She's my VERY FAVOURITE.

So much blonde hair jealous max

Although her make up looks subtle it's actually not!! She has a golden tan, with ginormous green eyes framed by loads of lashes especially lower lashes! She has freckles, bushy brows, coral cheeks and just a hint of lip colour. She has cascading blonde hair and a damn cute chameleon as a pet too. Someone in the comments said "Rapunzel didn't have a frog". It's a chameleon!!!

Ahem. Back to the topic. How? Did Michelle do a good job duplicating the look or WHAT??

And don't forget to subscribe to Michelle's awesome make up tutorial videos here.

Sabtu, 30 Oktober 2010

0 Web Clipboard Extension for Google Chrome

Google released a Chrome extension for Web Clipboard, the Google Docs feature that lets you save and quickly retrieve text from the Web. The extension could be used to paste HTML content saved in Google Docs, to save some text you need to use on another computer or to copy multiple items to the clipboard.

"Content you copy to the server clipboard is stored on Google's servers and remains there until 30 days have passed since you last took action on (for example, copied) a given content selection," informs a help center article.

For some reason, the Web Clipboard from Google Docs doesn't show the items saved using the extension, but this is probably a bug. The extension doesn't support keyboard shortcuts, there's no contextual menu entry for copy or paste and you can't preview the text before pasting.

I still don't understand why Google Notebook was discontinued. It could've been a much better Web Clipboard.

{ via Blogoscoped Forum }

Jumat, 29 Oktober 2010

0 The Access Maze

[Image: A fenced-off, back alley security stair in Toronto, via Google Street View; view larger].

A link on Twitter from Andrew Lovett-Barron led me to this otherwise innocuous fenced-in back alley staircase in Toronto, pictured here via Google Street View (view larger).

There's something oddly compelling about this minor architecture of out-of-place private access—as if implying that buildings could begin blocks and blocks away from where they actually rest in urban space, splayed out into the neighborhoods around them like chain-linked octopi, reaching out with stairways, doors, and catwalks across the roofs and back streets of the city. A Home Depot vernacular stretched to Berlin Wall-like proportions.

You don't like your address, you simply hurl a chain-linked access stair up over and out to whatever street you prefer—and you enter there, turning a key and stepping into a steel maze of steps and ladders, cantilevered walkways and pillared decks. Fifteen minutes later, passing over and beneath ribbons of other parallel geographies, looping down alleys and nesting briefly on thin platforms in the canopies of trees, walking alone in this isolated cocoon like a private enclave in the city, you're home.

Kamis, 28 Oktober 2010

0 Stitch Up

[Image: Oceangoing ships clipped and stitched from Google Maps by artist Jenny Odell, via things and SpaceInvading].

0 Buy an Archipelago

Another story I meant to link here long ago is this real estate listing for an entire Scottish archipelago.

For £250,000—approximately $398,000—you can be the owner of "a wonderful and remote island group... a small archipelego centred around two main islands 25 miles north east of Lerwick, Shetland and extending to about 600 acres in all." It comes complete with a "private airstrip" and seasonal wild flowers.

Perhaps you want to establish a writers' residence. Perhaps you're fed up. Perhaps you want to declare a private city-state. Or perhaps you simply want to reinvigorate the struggling private island market.

Whatever the case may be, "a charter flight can also be arranged from Tinwall just to the north of Lerwick."

[Earlier on BLDGBLOG: Buy a Map, Buy a Torpedo-Testing Facility, Buy a Fort, Buy a Church, and Buy a Silk Mill].

0 Buy a Map

[Image: Photo by Barney Peterson, courtesy of the San Francisco Chronicle].

Something I meant to post three few weeks ago, before October became the Great Lost Month of constant busyness and over-commitment, is the story of a 70-ton relief map of California, unseen by the public for half a century, that has been re-discovered in San Francisco, sitting in "an undisclosed location on the city's waterfront."

[Image: Photo by Barney Peterson, courtesy of the San Francisco Chronicle].

In its time, the map was considered far too marvelous for simply cutting up and storing—but that's exactly what's happened to it.
    It was as long as two football fields and showed California in all its splendor, from Oregon to Mexico, with snow-capped mountains, national parks, redwood forests, a glorious coastline, orchards and miniature cities basking in the sun. It was made of plaster, wire, paint, and bits of rock and sand. In the summer of 1924, Scientific American magazine said it was the largest map in the world.
However, we read, "The problem with the map is simple: it is huge and would cost a lot of money to move, restore and display it. The last estimate was in the range of $500,000. And that was 30 years ago. It is a classic white elephant, too valuable to scrap, but too expensive to keep."

And, today, it's not going anywhere: "The Port of San Francisco has no plans to be anything but stewards of its storage, and no one else has come forward in half a century to rescue the map." If you have half-a-million dollars or so, and heavy moving equipment at your disposal, then perhaps it could soon be yours.

(Thanks to Steve Silberman for the link. In the archives: San Francisco Bay Hydrological Model; Buy a Torpedo-Testing Facility, Buy a Fort, Buy a Church, and Buy a Silk Mill].

0 Softcore

Just a quick reminder that you have till December 10 to submit to Bracket 2, published by Actar, Archinect, and InfraNet Lab:
    Bracket 2 invites the submission of critical articles and unpublished design projects that investigate physical and virtual soft systems, as they pertain to infrastructure, ecologies, landscapes, environments, and networks... Bracket 2 seeks to critically position and define soft systems, in order to expand the scope and potential for new spatial networks, and new formats of architecture, urbanization and nature. From soft politics, soft power and soft spaces to fluid territories, software and soft programming, Bracket 2 questions the use and role of responsive, indeterminate, flexible, and immaterial systems in design. Bracket 2 invites designers, architects, theorists, ecologists, scientists, and landscape architects to position and leverage the role of soft systems and recuperate the development of the soft project.
Check out InfraNet Lab and the Bracket website for more info. Keep your eye out, as well, for InfraNet Lab's forthcoming Pamphlet Architecture installment, Coupling: Strategies for Infrastructural Opportunism.

0 The Museum of Speculative Archaeological Devices

Perhaps a short list of speculative mechanisms for future archaeological research would be interesting to produce.

[Image: A toy antique oscilloscope by Andrew Smith, courtesy of Gadget Master and otherwise unrelated to this post].

Ground-scanners, Transparent-Earth (PDF) eyeglasses, metal detectors, 4D earth-modeling environments used to visualize abandoned settlements, and giant magnets that pull buried cities from the earth.

Autonomous LIDAR drones over the jungles of South America. Fast, cheap, and out of control portable muon arrays. Driverless ground-penetrating radar trucks roving through the British landscape.

Or we could install upside-down periscopes on the sidewalks of NYC so pedestrians can peer into subterranean infrastructure, exploring subways, cellars, and buried streams. Franchise this to London, Istanbul, and Jerusalem, scanning back and forth through ruined foundations.

Holograph-bombs—ArchaeoGrenades™—that spark into life when you throw them, World of Warcraft-style, out into the landscape, and the blue-flickering ancient walls of missing buildings come to life like an old TV channel, hazy and distorted above the ground. Mechanisms of ancient light unfold to reveal lost architecture in the earth.

[Image: An LED cube by Pic Projects, otherwise unrelated to this post].

Or there could be football-field-sized milling machines that re-cut and sculpt muddy landscapes into the cities and towns that once stood above them. A peat-bog miller. Leave it operating for several years and it reconstructs whole Iron Age villages in situ.

Simultaneous milling/scanning devices that bring into being the very structures they claim to study. Ancient fortifications 3D-printed in realtime as you scan unreachable sites beneath your city's streets.

Deep-earth projection equipment that impregnates the earth's crust with holograms of missing cities, outlining three-dimensional sites a mile below ground; dazed miners stumble upon the shining walls of imaginary buildings like a laser show in the rocks around them.

Or a distributed iPhone app for registering and recording previously undiscovered archaeological sites (through gravitational anomalies, perhaps, or minor compass swerves caused by old iron nails, lost swords, and medieval dining tools embedded in the ground). Like SETI, but archaeological and directed back into the earth. As Steven Glaser writes in the PDF linked above, "We can image deep space and the formation of stars, but at present we have great difficulty imaging even tens of meters into the earth. We want to develop the Hubble into, not away from, the earth."

Artificially geomagnetized flocks of migratory birds, like "GPS pigeons," used as distributed earth-anomaly detectors in the name of experimental archaeology.

[Image: "GPS pigeons" by Beatriz da Costa, courtesy of Pruned].

So perhaps there could be two simultaneous goals here: to produce a list of such devices—impossible tools of future excavation—but also to design a museum for housing them.

What might a museum of speculative archaeological devices look like? A Mercer Museum for experimental excavation?

(Thanks to Rob Holmes and Alex Trevi for engaging with some of these ideas over email).

0 YouTube's Playlist Bar Strikes Back

YouTube's playlist bar that shows up at the bottom of the page when you open a playlist or you click on a video from your subscriptions has a new use: displaying the list of liked videos after clicking on the "like" button. It's also used to display the videos from a playlist after adding a new video to the playlist. Unfortunately, this isn't very useful, the bar is annoying and it can slow down your browser. If you have hundreds of liked videos, adding all of them to the bar takes a while and the browser is no longer responsive.

Many YouTube users complain about this new feature: "Starting today, whenever I like a video, a bar pops up at the bottom of the page to tell me it was added to liked videos (a reminder that I don't need) - and then that bar freezes my browser and I can only close it with ctrl+alt+delete."

YouTube should fix the bugs and add an option to disable the bar. You can report this problem by clicking on "report a bug" at the bottom of the page.

{ Thanks, Sterling. }

Rabu, 27 Oktober 2010

0 Trap Rooms Redux

[Image: An old asylum and its floorplan, courtesy of the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, otherwise unrelated to the present post].

We recently looked at the phenomenon of trap rooms, but that same idea came to mind again while reading about an interestingly architectural anxiety.

Amongst the many illnesses pushed to the limit by schizophrenic judge Daniel Paul Schreber—a figure who should be familiar to all readers of Deleuze & Guattari—was a kind of architectural paranoia. That is, Judge Schreber suffered an "anxious concern," as Victoria Nelson explains in her book The Secret Life of Puppets, "about the physical layout of the clinics in which he was housed (whose floor plans he includes in the Memoirs) and his occasional conviction that he was in a room that 'does not tally with any one of the rooms known to me' in the asylum."

He was inside the building, sure—but he was inside something else, an architectural circumstance he could neither abstractly understand nor spatially fathom. Perhaps, we might say, it was a trap room: a space neither here nor there, off the plan entirely, part of the very structure it will remain forever outside of.

0 How to Know When to Quit

How would you feel if someone called you a "quitter"?

My guess is – not good. You might feel hurt, guilty or upset. You almost certainly wouldn't feel proud of yourself.

Quitting gets a bad rap. We're often encouraged, from an early age, to stick with our projects at all costs – even when we're totally fed up. You might have come across quotes like Napoleon Hill's "A quitter never wins and a winner never quits."

Frankly, that's nonsense. Lots of successful people achieve their real goals by knowing when to quit. You could waste years of your life beating your head against a brick wall – when the real way forwards was to quit, and start something new.

I like the way W.C. Fields puts it:

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There's no use being a damn fool about it.

So how do you know when to try again – and when to quit? Here are four warning signs that make quitting a perfectly valid option.

You Just Wish It Was Over
Maybe you're engaged in a long project – like studying for a degree, or working in a particular career. If all you can think about is the day when you'll finally graduate from college, or finally retire, then it's worth thinking about whether this is the right course for you.

Almost every project we undertake will have some less-than-fun moments. But if you're working towards your real goals, the process will generally feel worthwhile and interesting.

There's No End in Sight
Do you feel as though you're going round in circles? Perhaps you're slogging away in a particular job, but it's become clear that you're not going to get that promotion you hoped for. Maybe you've been working on a novel for the past five years, but you're not really getting anywhere nearer to "finished".

Of course, not everything we do has an end point – and that's fine, so long as you enjoy what you're doing. But if you're thoroughly fed up, think about whether there's an end point which you can reach or not. It's probably worth sticking out your final year in high school so that you can graduate – but it's not worth staying in a job you hate if there's no route forwards.

You're Not Gaining Anything New
If you've been engaged in one particular project for a while, are you still getting anything out of it – or has it just become a habit? I've given up a magazine subscription that I used to enjoy, because I was finding that the articles were very beginner-focused – and I'd moved on from that stage.

You might consider quitting:
  • Particular groups or classes where there's nothing new to learn
  • Hobbies which you used to enjoy but have lost interest in
  • A job which was once exciting but now feels stale
Your Priorities Have Radically Changed
What was right for you five years ago – or even one year ago – might not be a good fit now. Various life events may have seen your priorities change: perhaps you've started a family – or your kids have left home.

If you took on a particular project, goal or hobby in the past, it's worth considering whether it's still something that you want as part of your life. You might, for instance, quit an expensive hobby so that you have more money to spend on your growing family – or you might leave a hectic job in order to have more time with your aging parents.

There is absolutely no shame in quitting. In fact, it can take a lot of maturity and bravery to stand up and say "I quit".

If there's something in your life that's holding you back, what's your first step towards quitting it?

Written on 10/27/2010 by Ali Hale. Ali writes a blog, Aliventures, about leading a productive and purposeful life (get the RSS feed here). As well as blogging, she writes fiction, and is studying for an MA in Creative Writing.Photo Credit: bark

0 Go to the Next Gmail Message After Archiving or Deleting

What happens when you archive or delete a conversation from your inbox in Gmail? Google goes back to the inbox and you need to select the next conversation.

If you enable "Auto-advance" in Gmail Labs, you can change this behavior. The default option is to go to the older conversation, but you can also ask Gmail to send you to the newer conversation if you usually read the oldest messages first.

Gmail automatically advances to the next conversation after archiving, deleting, flagging as spam, moving or muting a conversation.

Gmail's blog reminds us that there are two useful shortcuts for archiving and going to the next/previous conversation: ] and [, but they're difficult to remember and not many people use keyboard shortcuts.

{ Thanks, Sterling. }

0 Google Maps Tests New Navigation UI

Dave P., a reader of this blog, spotted a new UI for the views and layers offered by Google Maps. The new interface enlarges the buttons that let you switch to the satellite view and to the embedded Google Earth, removes the button that lets you switch to the traditional view and adds a layer panel that's only displayed when you mouse over the satellite button.

Another change is that the list of recent searches and Google Maps views is displayed in the layer panel, so you can quickly switch between custom maps, driving directions, local search results and Google Maps layers.

{ Thanks, Dave. }

Selasa, 26 Oktober 2010

0 More Keyboard Shortcuts for YouTube's Seek Bar

Here's a cool tip from a Reddit user: you can press 1 to jump to 10% into the video, 2 if you want to jump to 20%, 3 for 30% and so on. If you press 0, you'll go back to the beginning of the video. You don't have to watch the video on YouTube's site, the trick works even for embedded videos. An important note: don't use the numeric pad.

YouTube offers many other useful shortcuts:
* left/right arrow - seek backward/forward 5 seconds
* ctrl+left/ctrl+right - seek backward/forward 10%
* home/end - seek to the beginning/last seconds of the video
* spacebar - play/pause when the seek bar is selected

Here's a video you can use to try the shortcuts (make sure that the seek bar has focus by clicking on the small play button):

{ via The Next Web. Thanks, Kevin. }

0 New Charts Editor in Google Spreadsheets

Google Spreadsheets has a new editor for charts. The editor recommends charts, lets you select colors and has a bigger preview pane.

Charts look much better and you can now add timelines, organizational charts, gauges, and motion charts without using gadgets. Here are some of the new charts.

What's not so great is that you have to manually update each chart to see the new features:
Now that we have a new version of charts, you may be wondering what will happen to your old charts. You'll be able to edit your old charts for a short time, but you'll be able to create charts using the new version only. In the long term, you can keep your old charts as view-only or you can upgrade your charts to be able to edit them. When you upgrade, your data and chart type will remain the same, but the look and feel of your chart will be improved.

That's cumbersome and completely unnecessary.

0 YouTube's HTML5 Player Trial

YouTube might default to the the HTML5 player even if you haven't enabled the experimental feature. If you're using a supported browser (the latest versions of Chrome, Safari, Opera, IE9 beta, Firefox 4 beta), YouTube could test the new player.

"You are in a trial for HTML5 video on YouTube. Some users of supported browsers are automatically entered in to the trial. If you wish to leave the trial, use the link at the bottom. HTML5 is a new browser technology that allows us to show videos without the Flash plugin," explains YouTube.

If you right-click on the video, you'll see a menu that offers two options: "save video as" and "about HTML5". You might assume that "save video as" lets you download the video, but it actually sends you to this video.

0 Weirdos

Typing this on my blackberry now (backdated 1 day ago) since I'm feeling bored on my LA-Narita flight back to Singapore.

On the ten hour flight from Tokyo to LA I actually got a 3 seat row all to myself coz the flight was so empty. Mother of all happiness! But for this flight, even though it's also relatively empty I got stuck sitting with an old Indian lady in a 3 seat row. I'm not being racist ok? I'm stating her race as a fact and as a description. Any stereotypes you have or presume I have just means YOU are the racist one.

She seems nice enough and we chatted for a bit before the flight took off.

Halfway through the flight though, she nudged me when I was watching a movie (Ip Man prelude).

I was quite annoyed coz I was rather enjoying the show and had to pause it (not to mention fumble with the remote lost in the tangle of blankets) PLUS remove my earphones just to hear what she had to say. Oh this better be important.

To my further annoyance she wanted a cup of water and asked me to flag down the next air stewardess who walks by to get her what she wants - since I was seated by the aisle and her, by the window.

Thinking she didn't know that you can press for service with the remote, I asked, "Why don't you just press for service?"

She replied, "Oh I don't like doing that because I think it irritates them."

Oh? It irritates them! What about irritating ME?

Forget it. Since she is generally nice and I'm generally nice (believe it or not), I did what she told me to and got her her stupid water via medieval flagging. I felt like I was using a black and white tv while rollerskating.

(On a side note for a long flight everyone should bring a water bottle which you can ask stewardesses to fill for you so you don't have to keep asking for puny cups of water)

Later, it was lunch-time and I had my mouth full of yaki-soba when I got that blessed nudge again. This time she wanted orange juice but seriously, at 8 hours into a 10 hour flight everyone's fucking grumpy already.

Get ya own damn juice!

I said nothing and just pressed the goddamn service button. In my mind a scene was playing where the engineer who designed the service button is yelling at her for pure pig-headedness. "Use the fucking button woman goddamn it, I got paid good money to invent it!" He's also smacking her with the inflight remote for good measure.

Flight attendant came within 10 seconds and she got her juice. I hope I made it clear I'm not going to fucking help her nudge and harass a passing attendant anymore just coz of her silly theory.

Which is more stupid? Interrupting me to ask me to actually spend time LOOKING OUT for a passing attendant for her (thus interrupting my movie), stop the attendant (so that I look like the troublesome one), belay her request... or her just pressing the button?

Instead of irritating two people, including an innocent passenger, she could just irritate one who's paid good money to be irritated.

And as I was thinking about it, if I were an air stewardess I'd much rather people just press the button instead of stop me when I'm, say, pushing a trolley full of fruits while pouring beer. That way the person who attends to my juice-drinking neighbour will be the next free attendant and not just a passing busy one!

Chao ah kua really damn annoying lah! I mean obviously she's a sweet old lady overall but why the FUCK on earth would anyone ask for a request like that??? Can someone explain her logic to me??

Maybe she has a fear of remote controls.

If she does she could have just said "I'm sorry, I have an irrational fear of remote controls, can you press the service button for me?"

And I would have gladly obliged.

 Update: After the stopover in Narita a guy came onboard and he sat in between me and the Indian lady. He was very, erm, third world and had completely no sense of personal space so although he is quite skinny, he kept putting his elbow WAY over the arm rest in between us such that I had no choice but to have my arm touch his arm. GROSS! His feet were also open wide apart with his enormous backpack in between them so that it intruded into my leg room.

Cheebye! Lao niang paid the same price as him, why should I get less space??

After repeatedly asking him to tuck his damn elbows in, he still didn't do it so I moved to another seat. Give me the Indian old lady anytime!!!

Speaking of long-haul flights... I think I wouldn't mind them so much if they allow mahjong on them!!!

0 Google Suggest Venn Diagrams

Google Suggest Venn Diagram Generator is a visualization tool for popular Google searches. Enter an incomplete query, replace one of the keywords with "X", add three options for "X" and the tool will find the overlapping suggestions.

For example, if you enter "How can I get my X to", where "X" is: "wife", "cat", "dog", you'll find overlapping suggestions like: "How can I get my {wife, cat, dog} to lose weight", "How can I get my {cat, dog} to gain weight".

Hacker News readers came up with a lot of funny examples:

* Why is {America, Canada, Europe} so ...
* My {friend, wife, husband} is addicted to ...
* Why are {Chinese, Korean, Japanese} so ...
* Why is {C, PHP, Java} so ...

You should keep in mind that Google's suggestions are determined algorithmically based on the popularity of the search terms, so you'll find many stereotypes.

0 FeedBurner Tests Real Time Stats

Ever since Google acquired FeedBurner, the feed management service hasn't improved significantly. After a painful process of migration to Google's infrastructure and the launch of AdSense for Feeds, FeedBurner started to stagnate.

The good news is that there are still people who work on improving FeedBurner. Their latest project is a new FeedBurner interface that offers real time stats.

"The real story is what's new under the hood: the new interface provides real time stats for clicks, views, and podcast downloads, which means you can start seeing what content is drawing traffic from feed readers, Twitter, and other syndicated sources as it happens. Additionally, if you use the FeedBurner Socialize service, and your platform uses PubSubHubbub or you ping us when you post, you can for the first time get stats on how much traffic your feed items are receiving from Twitter, as well as feed reading platforms like Google Reader in one place. Again, all within seconds of posting your content."

The new interface is inspired by Webmaster Toosl and it doesn't include all the features from the old FeedBurner. It's all about stats and it's really fast. FeedBurner's real time stats will convince many people to visit the site more often and see how many Twitter users read their posts.

Senin, 25 Oktober 2010

0 Google Traffic Stats

Arbor Networks Security Blog has an interesting post about Google's Internet traffic:
Google now represents an average 6.4% of all Internet traffic around the world. This number grows even larger (to as much as 8-12%) if I include estimates of traffic offloaded by the increasingly common Google Global Cache (GGC) deployments and error in our data due to the extremely high degree of Google edge peering with consumer networks. (...) A quick analysis of the data also shows Google now has direct peering (i.e. not transit) with more than 70% of all providers around the world (an increase of 5-10% from last year).

Arbor Networks uses data from more than 110 ISPs distributed across 17 countries. In 2007, Google only represented about 1% of all Internet traffic, but YouTube's growth managed to dramatically increase the percentage. Today, people are watching 2 billion videos a day, 20 times more videos than 4 years ago. According to Craig Labovitz, the overall Internet traffic grows about 45% each year.

{ via The Next Web }

0 A New Interface for Google Local Search

Google Maps was the only specialized search engine from Google's sidebar that didn't have a consistent interface for search results. When you clicked on "Maps" in the sidebar, you were sent to Google Maps, a service that has a completely different interface.

Google experiments with adding a "Places" option to the menu. The main difference is that local search results are displayed inside the regular Google search interface and users no longer have to visit Google Maps

In 2005, Google merged two distinct services: Google Maps and Google Local. "Google announced the official launch of Google Local, merging the technologies behind Google Local and Google Maps. No longer in beta in the U.S. and Canada, users can visit http://maps.google.com/maps to find local search and mapping information in one place," informed Google at that time. Google Local was renamed as Google Maps after a few months. Since then, Google launched a mobile interface for local search results, a large OneBox for local results, place pages for businesses and now a separate desktop interface for local search. Back to the roots.

0 Why People Complain and What We Can Do About It

Know any chronic complainers? You may want to pass this on to them ... and if it's you, read on.

I think it's natural for people to complain. Everyday we're faced with a lot of reasons to complain: we're not tall enough, we don't have the latest and greatest, it's too hot, it's too cold, they get everything handed to them, they shouldn't be doing this they should be doing that, etc.

Having the occasional complaint is fine. To expect a life without complaining (by you or others) is unrealistic.

Why we complain and what we can do about it
  • Life's not fair.
    I think most of us complain because we feel things are unfair and out of our control. Why do they have so much when I have nothing? I've worked just as hard, saved harder and I still don't have as much to show for it. It's just not fair.

  • Genuinely unhappy.
    Some people are just genuinely unhappy. They can't find joy in any aspect of their life. Genuinely unhappy people take to complaining to express their dissatisfaction with their life and in many situations it's used as a coping mechanism as well.

  • Jealousy
    Most times people won't admit to this as it's a rather unbecoming trait. They may also not admit to it because they truly don't recognize it as jealousy. This ties in with the first point of life not being fair. The emotion that can come out of that is jealousy. When you wish you had the new car, or the new job or the high salary there is a tendency to complain, either that the other people are getting this or that you're not.

  • Lack of empathy.
    A lot of times we complain because we lack empathy for others. Think about this: You complain that someone isn't doing something "right", they should be doing it this way because that's what we would do if we were in that position. When we lack empathy we aren't able to fully put ourself in the other persons place. We don't know the thoughts going through their head or what other complexities they are facing in their lives at that moment.
What can we do about it?
  • Think before we speak.
    Before blurting out a complaint really give some thought to what you're going to say. Is it a complaint for the sake of complaining? Are you really unhappy with your situation? Is there any benefit to expressing this view point? If you are looking for insight from the person you're speaking with then by all means go for it. If you're mentioning it to spark a debate or initiate a conversation, OK. Just be aware of what you're saying and why you're saying it and also be mindful of the person you're speaking with. Are they rolling their eyes? ;)

  • Have a plan.
    I find it quite irritating when people complain about their job or people they work with or how they're bored with whatever it is they're doing at the moment. I find it even more irritating when people have no answer to the question "and what are you doing about it?" Some people have given it some thought and others just stare blankly as if to say "There's something I can do?" If you're unhappy with any situation make a plan on how you can change it. How are you going to take control and make your situation better? You can brush up your resume and start applying to new jobs. Look at how you can possibly move within the company you're in now. Can you go back to school or get specific training for what you'd like to do?

    Don't just moan about it do something!

  • Change your perspective.
    Maybe you're complaining because you lack empathy for someone. Change your perspective and really put yourself in their shoes (and not just in one particular situation, but overall). Your thoughts, expectations and judgments may change and you may see the other person in a better light and not complain so much about how they're handling things.

    A change in perspective could also be helpful when we're complaining about what we don't have or how we don't measure up. First of all we shouldn't spend so much time comparing ourselves to others in the first place but if you do why is always with people who have more? Why not compare with those who aren't as fortunate as you. Look around you and really see what you have. There are a lot of people who would love to be in your position. Which leads me to my final point ...

  • Be grateful.
    Be grateful for what you have and for what others have. Life isn't a race to see who can collect the most money, cars or other shiny objects. Ever told anyone to mind their own business? Well same goes for you. Focus on you and what makes you happy and how you can add value to your own life. Show appreciation for all that you currently have and for what you've been blessed with. Don't worry about all the other people odds are they're looking at you and wishing for something you have and that you may even be taking for granted.
When we complain it's usually because we're so focused on what we're lacking in certain aspects of our lives. The easiest way to curb our own complaining is to focus on the positive and go with the flow.

Do you have any other ideas on why we tend to complain and what we can do about it to make it stop?

Written on 10/25/2010 by Sherri Kruger. Sherri writes at Zen Family Habits, a blog celebrating all things family. Sherri also writes on personal development at Serene Journey, a blog dedicated to sharing simple tips to enjoy lifePhoto Credit: Leo MF

Minggu, 24 Oktober 2010

0 7 Powerful and Amazingly Motivational Quotes from Zig Ziglar

Zig Ziglar was born in 1926 in Coffee County, Alabama, United States. He is an American author, salesperson and a motivational speaker. He is over 80 years old and still travels around the world attending motivation seminars to help people get stuff done.

Sometimes, a simple quote can change the way you see something, and that is what Zig Ziglar does so well.

With all that said, enjoy the 7 quotes below and think about how you can apply them to your own life. Is there something that can be improved? What steps can you take today to improve what you already have?

  1. "You can have everything in life that you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want."
    Being selfish in life might make you happy in the short-term, but sooner or later you’ll realize that what really matters is helping others.

    It is what brings joy into your life and gets you up in the morning. As I went from a professional poker player to a more service oriented business, I started feeling a lot better.

    I am by no means saying to neglect yourself, because if you do not help yourself, you cannot help others, so there’s always a fine line of balance.

  2. "The greatest good we can do for others is not just to share our riches with them, but to reveal theirs."
    Everyone has at least one gift and one passion in this life, usually more. Sometimes we’re blind to what’s in front of us, and we need someone else to point out the obvious.

    It took me a long time to realize that I really liked writing. Writing is something that comes naturally to me, and I love it. If it is one of my riches I do not know, but for now it certainly seems like it.

  3. "Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude."
    It is not your inherent ability that determines your success, but your attitude. I’ve seen people have everything delivered to them on a silver platter and fail miserably. They gave up at the first sign of trouble.

    I’ve also seen people succeed with very little. If you’re determined to succeed, you won’t stop until you do. That’s the way I learned to play poker, and that’s the way I’ve learned to make a living online.

    I didn’t see myself having any other option than to succeed. I really like what I do, and I wasn’t going to give it up easily.

  4. "Every choice you make has an end result."
    What kind of choices are you making today, and how will they affect your life one day, one month, one year, or ten years from now?

    Are you constantly avoiding going after your passion because you’re afraid of what might happen? Are you waiting for the stars to align so you can go after your dreams?

    The decisions you make today are the ones that shape your life, so choose wisely.

  5. "If you learn from defeat, you haven't really lost."
    I failed a lot before I succeeded and started making a living online. Although failing hurts, I no longer look at it as defeat. I learn from each failure, and from each mistake I make.

    It may not be obvious what I’m learning all the time, but sooner or later it dawns on me. When you’re starting out with anything new, such as going after your passion and your dreams, you will make a lot of mistakes, and it will feel like you’re failing, but in reality, you’re making progress.

  6. "If you wait until all the lights are "green" before you leave home, you'll never get started on your trip to the top."
    This is an excellent quote, because a lot of people want to wait until things are perfect until they start going after their dreams.

    If you’re one of them, you most likely will be waiting your whole life. If you want to do something other than you’re doing now, then go after it, and start doing it in any little way you can.

    Stop waiting for permission. Stop waiting for things to work out. Start doing what you can do today, conquer your fears and take things from there.

  7. "Sometimes adversity is what you need to face in order to become successful."
    Adversity doesn’t feel nice, but it is sometimes just what you need in order to be successful. We don’t have a crystal ball, so we can’t really see that today’s adversity is tomorrow’s success.

    Don’t judge the mistakes you make, the failures you have and the adversity you run into, because you never know if all of those things lead to something wonderful.
Written on 10/24/2010 by Henri Junttila. Henri blogs at, Wake Up Cloud, where he shows you how you can earn money online ethically. You can also get the Passion Blogging Guide, which is free, but really shouldn't be.Photo Credit: ziglar.com

0 Google's Spam Report Extension

If you want to improve Google's results and report spammy web pages, there's a Chrome extension for you. Google Webspam Report adds a link next to each Google search result and automatically fills the spam report form with information like the URL of the page and your query.

You can also use the button from Chrome's toolbar to report pages. The most interesting feature is the integration with Chrome's browsing history that lets you select recently visited pages and recent Google searches.

Google links to a feedback form at the bottom of the search results pages and some of the options let you report spam, irrelevant pages and dead links. Unfortunately, Google doesn't make it easy to select the pages you want to report.

{ via Matt Cutts }

0 Larry Page's Business Card

A Reddit user writes:
I met both Carl Page and Larry Page at a party hosted by a Stanford friend of mine in 1998. Carl gave me his card for eGroups and said "we're hiring". Larry gave me his card for Google — a flimsy bit of paper obviously printed by bubble jet — and said "we're hiring". I said, "Nah, who needs another search engine?" and went to graduate school. I still have the card.

He wasn't the only one who thought that search engines aren't very useful. Google's founders faced difficulties in convincing investors that a search engine is a good business. Sun's co-founder Andy Bechtolsheim was the first Google investor, back in September 1998. "Andy Bechtolsheim was one of the few to see the true potential of what Brin and Page had wrought. During their presentation to him, Bechtolsheim said he had to duck out for another meeting and offered to write them a check. It was that hundred-grander, made out to Google Inc., that got the ball (and the bank) rolling. Brin and Page incorporated, managing to attract other investors, with an initial investment of around $1 million."

{ via waxy.org }

Sabtu, 23 Oktober 2010

0 Which Expenses Will Increase Your Happiness?

If spending less than you earned was all there was to personal finance, it’s hard to imagine that there would be over 2,000 personal finance blogs, talk shows, and hundreds of books written on the subject.

There is something else, something bigger, something more complex than this simple advice of spending less than your earn. If there wasn’t, all we'd have to do is control an impulse and we would all be debt-free and on our way to early retirement.

The reason over 2,000 personal finance bloggers can exist in this world, is that money is a daily struggle.

What Does Everyone Have in Common?

Everyone reading this post, no matter the income, gender, marriage status, has one thing in common; we’re all trying to get the most out of every dollar spent

You can even give this concept its own equation: Output/Input.

Your goal is to maximize the output, or what money brings to you, and minimize the input, or the dollars you spend. If you can find away to maximize the equation, money will no longer have to be a daily struggle. Instead, you can use money as a source of happiness.

Expenses that Increase Happiness
For the first time in history, there is a wealth of research on the correlation between money and happiness. In other words, we now know what expenses bring the most value to maximize our output.

One recent article in Psychology Today discusses a study that tracked the expenses and corresponding happiness of over 5,000 households. The researchers were able to draw two conclusions from their effort.

First, happiness increased when money was spent on creating positive experiences. Second, which I found somewhat surprising, was that, “The best way to increase happiness, though, was to make a series of smaller purchases rather than one big one.” says Art Markman PHD.

Why Smaller Purchases?
Why is it that the greater number of smaller purchases are better for your happiness than one big one? I struggled for this question for a good two hours. I was always one to think that taking one dream vacation which costs $5,000, was better than taking 5 smaller vacations which cost $1,000 each.

The whole time, I was missing the point, and that is that life is meant to be shared. Happiness has nothing to do with how much a new experience costs. It has everything to do with being there, in the moment, with the people you want to be with. It has to do with shutting down your job and focusing on you.

The more times you can create a new experience for yourself, means the greater amount of time you’re spending with close friends and family. This is more time you’re with people who you care about and care about you. A true recipe for happiness.

Your Homework Assignment
Spending less doesn’t necessarily mean experiencing less. The goal is to get maximum output, for minimum input.

Make a list of what you can experience with others today. I find it helpful to give yourself a small budget, of say $20. Brainstorm a list of 20 new experiences that can be had for $20 or less. Plan at least one of those activities for this weekend.

OH - and share your ideas here. Thousands of people will read this article today and if each leaves a new experience, we're all super rich!

Written on 10/23/2010 by RJ Weiss. RJ Weiss writes at GenYwealth.com. A blog focused on helping you finance a remarkable life. Photo Credit: ^@^ina

Jumat, 22 Oktober 2010

0 Google's Mobile App Search Engine

Google started to index Android and iOS apps in June, but the results were only displayed as part of an OneBox. Now you can select "Android apps" or "iPhone apps" from Google's sidebar and restrict the results to mobile apps from the Android Market or the Apple App Store. Obviously, this option is only available if you use an Android or an iOS device.

Google uses a different way to rank applications than the app stores, so this feature could help users find new applications. Unfortunately, Google's snippets aren't always useful because they include the first sentences from the descriptions, which are sometimes used to announce new features or promote other applications.

0 Google Music Search India

Google launched a new music service, this time for India. Google Music India helps you find Hindi songs and play them in your browser. Google aggregates the results from 3 partner sites: in.com, Saavn and Saregama, but it doesn't offer too many additional features.

"Google Music Search (India) Labs licenses meta-data of thousands of songs owned or licensed by partners to make them searchable on Internet. Once you search and find the music you want, our partners stream the music directly from their websites to your computer," explains the FAQ.

The US version of the service is similar and it focuses on finding music. Most of the audio previews are from iLike, a MySpace service. There's also a Chinese Google Music, which is less restrictive: it lets you find songs, play them and even download them for free.

Google plans to launch a music store for Android. "Rubin, Google's vice president of engineering, hopes to have the service up and running by Christmas," according to some sources.

{ Thanks, Kapil, Pulkit and Abhijeet. }

0 Are you a shooting star?


Woohoo! Had great fun a few Saturdays ago... Was invited to be a guest judge for Laurier's "Are You a Shooting Star" Challenge, together with Jessica and Zoe!

This is Laurier’s first ever all girls’ Amazing race-like challenge! Tasks were designed to test everyone’s creativity, wit, confidence and resourcefulness. There were teams of friends, sisters and mother-daughter!

Arrived at Cineleisure at 1030am... It was a nice day, bright and sunny!

The tentage

And check out all the participants obediently queuing up! Gotta love their spirit, waking up so early for a challenge.

These name-tags are for the 60 lucky selected teams.

What are the boxes for? You'd soon find out. :)

Zoe and I camwhoring after changing into our Laurier tank tops :D

And that's how we look like from the back!! Loving the daisy dukes... HOT!

Jess and I camwhoring with our team - no. 61. Technically since we were judges we were not included in the competition but it's still fun to do the challenges!

Every girl there was given a goodie bag:

And check out what's inside!

Poncho, water, facial blotters, wet wipes, UV protection and a fan! So thoughtful

The best present was a freaking polaroid camera!! Everyone loves those!

The girls waiting for their clues!

Why all so young and chio!! Being girls we (Zoe, Jess and I) had a fun time observing what people were wearing. One of the teams came in sporty FBT shorts and serious running shoes! Complete with sporty sunglasses, toned arms, a perfect tan and smart hair cuts etc. I was saying they confirm gonna win and they were indeed one of the top! LOL

Camwhoring again. Side note: Love my Shibuya boots

AND IT'S TIME TO GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Real simple: Guess the location, get there, snap a photo with the given polaroid camera, and be FAST AND ACCURATE Amazing Race style!

Since we were not going to be able to win, I said "Guys I wanna go 7/11 to buy candy first can?". When I was queuing, I had an epiphany and asked the people behind me "Hey do any of you have dimples???" (Clue 8)

Surprisingly enough some guy did and he allowed us to snap a picture!!

Encouraging start lol.

Btw I freaking love Clue 8. All the boys with double dimples look sooooo cute in the final pictures!

Gotta say I was really impressed with Zoe... She knew where everything was!! She pulled us to F21 for clue 7: Photo of team-mate in leopard print. To think I almost wore a leopard print skirt that day!

But then I'd never turn down any reason to go into F21 lah...

And that's that. Jess went into the fitting room to sneakily snap a pic but the polaroid's flash accidentally turned on and was reflected in the mirror so the whole photo turned out BLACK! LOL Lucky we are not really contestants!

Next task was to go to NTUC Finest to snap a pic with... Joanne Peh - Laurier's brand ambassador. By that I mean a angelic life-size cardboard stand up of her. She hiding in the back of the store, very sneaky!

Stopped by Ben and Jerry's to snap a pic with Woody the Cow. Till today I don't know what that is. Which cow? So we just snapped with any cow there...

Next challenge - having found a make up store kind enough to loan us BLACK LIPSTICK, we had to pick a team-mate to do it!!

So we did Orh peh som and Jess lost!! Check out her classic face LOL!!

But being nice friends we decided to all put together. :D

Zoe braving it

Hey we look not bad leh!!

It was 1pm by the time we were done with these tasks and we decided to forgo the rest and just EAT!!

Check out the cute polaroids we took:

Our Mr Dimples

Woody the cow??

Camwhoring shots!!

And that's it, we head back to the tent... It's time to judge!!

Most of the participants were already back! I LOVED how the tent looks so nice with all the interesting polaroids everyone took. Some of the girls even took the effort to use markers to decorate their photos. Too bad no extra points for that!!

This is the before - it was just bits of double sided tape!

Us girls gave scores based on accuracy and speed... The winners:

Team 42!

All the contestants! :D It was a fun day of bonding.

Contest proudly organized by Laurier Super Slimguard

This right here is my favourite napkin in the world. I swear even before writing this advert I always use this every single time I get my period. Sometimes when it's sold out in the supermarkets I'd be mad pissed off so when I do see them I always buy a lot haha.

At 1mm thin, it is the thinniest napkin in the market and yet it is 200x ultra absorbent!

The reason why I love the day use napkins is coz it is BARELY there (no wings and completely fuss free), yet has never ever failed me (ie the dreaded "S" word that ends with "tain").

If girls tell me they don't use pads as they are chunky, I know they are just not using the right superslim ones. Nothing can make you feel more secure than an ultra absorbent napkin which also gives you the freedom to do whatever you want in the clothes you wanna wear. :)

If you think this contest is fun and wanna join more contests, be sure to
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