Kamis, 30 Juni 2011

0 Google Calendar's Design Refresh

After Google Search and Google Maps, it's time for Google Calendar to switch to a Google+ interface. The new design is a lot cleaner, even if no important feature was removed. "Quick add" is now available if you click the arrow next to the "Create button" (not very intuitive), "Print" and "Refresh" are now buttons instead of links, the month view below the "Create" button can be collapsed, "Save" and "Discard" buttons are only displayed at the top of the page.

"Right now, the changes are just cosmetic and have not affected the way Calendar works. You can choose to turn off the new look by clicking the gear icon and choosing Use the classic look (you can turn it back on by going to the gear icon and choosing Try the new look)," explains Google. Obviously, at some point, Google Calendar will integrate with Google+ and we'll see even more changes.

{ Thanks, Andrew. }

0 A New Interface for Google Search Results Pages

The latest design refresh updated not only Google's homepage, but also search results pages. Google uses a new color scheme for the sidebar, adds grayscale icons next to the specialized search engines, replaces the standard search button with a label-less blue button, uses a smaller Google logo and adds a gray background color to the header.

Google says it has "muted the color of the tools and reserved the use of bolder colors to highlight key action buttons, tools and filters". Unfortunately, the change made the sidebar icons less useful and the search box too prominent. The new header could pave the way to a search results page that uses "infinite scrolling" instead of pagination.

Here's the old interface:

Can you find other changes?

{ Thanks, Kimnaii, Chris, Swen, Nikita. }

Rabu, 29 Juni 2011

0 People Widget and Other New Gmail Features

Gmail added a lot of new features lately. The People Widget, announced one month ago, should be available to everyone. The widget shows information about the people you're communicating with: profile photos, occupation, recent Buzz messages, recent email and documents shared with you, calendar availability and more.

If you already use Rapportive, you need to disable the extension to see the People Widget. You can also disable the People Widget from the settings page. Rapportive has more data sources than Gmail's widget: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, FriendFeed, Google Profiles, so you may find it more useful.

The action bar is displayed at the top of the page even when you scroll down, so you can quickly archive a conversation, label it or read the next conversation without scrolling to the bottom of the page or using keyboard shortcuts. A similar feature is available in Gmail's app for Android.

As you can see in the screenshot above, Gmail now shows additional information next to the sender's name to help you protect against email spoofing. When you receive a message from some who isn't in your address book, Gmail will show the email address next to the name. If a website sends an email on behalf of someone, Gmail adds "via domain.com" next to the email address so that you know that the message wasn't sent directly. Gmail uses email authentication to verify the source of the messages you receive, but this data was only used to detect spam and phishing. Now Gmail also shows a warning which informs you that "this message may not have sent" from the email address that appears in the "from" header.

Google Contacts learned a thing or two about structured addresses and it now allows users to separately list the street name, the city, state and postal code. Google tries to split the address automatically, but the results aren't great all the time. Just click "details" next to the address and a new pane lets you edit address fields:

{ Thanks, Steren, Bogdan, Sean, Alex, Vasu and Amit. }

0 More Free Storage in Picasa Web for Google+ Users

Picasa Web Albums offers more free storage if you are a Google+ user. According to Picasa Web's help center, "photos up to 2048 x 2048 pixels and videos up to 15 minutes won't count towards your free storage". If you upload photos from Google+, they're automatically resized to 2048 pixels on their longest edge, so they don't use the 1 GB of free storage that's available in Picasa Web Albums.

Most people can't use Google+ because it's invitation-only, so the current rules still apply to them: only the photos up to 800 x 800 won't count towards their free storage quota.

Like Google Buzz, Google+ uses Picasa Web Albums to store photos. You can upload photos from the Google+ interface and even automatically upload the photos taken with your Android phone. Google+ lets you add captions and name tags to your photos, rotate them and apply different filters using the built-in image editor. Now your friends can tag your photos and you'll receive a notification when someone tags you in a photo. The downside is that "tagging a person in one of your photos in Picasa Web Albums or Google+ will share the album with the person tagged".

{ Thanks, Калоян. }

Selasa, 28 Juni 2011

0 Powerful Ideas That Will Bring Greater Clarity into Your Life

In today’s busy world we very rarely have time to focus on what can truly bring us greater clarity and therefore greater meaning to our lives. We most often get caught up living our lives on automatic pilot and end up working extremely hard on just existing rather than consciously living. This seems to be accepted as the norm in today’s society and unfortunately we spend more time working on external things instead of our own internal well being.

Thankfully there are some fantastic resources out there to inspire positive thinking. It’s websites like DLM that help to inspire the change that I myself have been in search of for all these years.
Below I would like to share with you some (hopefully) insightful life lessons that if consciously practiced can also help to inspire positive change.

Here goes…
  • Happiness
    The secret to happiness is to accept everything in your life completely and to let go of the baggage. It only seems difficult, but it's not. Happiness is a choice we make regardless of the imperfections in our lives. Happiness cannot be ours until we wake up to the truth that we are perfect beings living in a world that presents imperfections.

    You are not your problems...problems are a fact of life, we all face them, we will always endure hard times, and this is never going to change. If you cannot be happy, it is simply because you have identified with your problems on an intimate level and made a home for them inside your mind. Wake up...change your thoughts...change your life...the only way to live your life is to accept that troubles are a part of it...only then can you let go and move on when they arise. I have never met a happy person that claimed to have zero problems.

  • Acceptance
    I don’t like to hear people use the phrases “this too will pass” or “time is a great healer.” I honestly believe that if we’re waiting for better times to come in the future or are waiting for sorrow to pass, then quite simply we are not doing anything to help ourselves move on. The only way to conquer sorrow or hard times is to accept they are here, to accept that we are hurting and once we completely accept it, only then can we let go and move on.

  • Limitless Mind
    I spend most of my waking moments, studying, analyzing, contemplating and questioning everything that I experience through my limited senses. I don’t rely on intellectual knowledge for the answers to reality. Reality is not what we think it is. Reality is what happens when we wake up to the fact that there is no truth, there is only perception, and our reality is a complete and utter fabricated lie if we don’t accept that our limitations are created in our mind.

  • Reaction Control
    We create our outside reality by the thoughts and beliefs we maintain about life in general. What we believe in our inner world will be duplicated in our outer world, not the other way around. We all have problems and often we are tested by circumstances and situations outside of our control, but when this happens, try to remember that even though you may not be in control of what’s going on outside of you all the time, you most definitely can control your reaction to whatever situation you are faced with…the power will always be in your control whether you realize it or not.

    We have the power because our inner world (cause) affects the influence we allow the outer world (effect) to have on us. So next time you hear somebody mention that you have great personal power, they are 100% correct, because you are always in control of your reality...always.

  • Perspective
    When you always expect your life to unfold in accordance to what is best for you at the time, then you will ultimately accept that every obstacle you face is a chance to grow and learn. Sometimes even the seemingly worst circumstances can turn out to be a blessing in disguise...life is a matter of perception - perception is a matter of mind.

  • Doubtful Mind
    We judge ourselves, doubt ourselves, criticize ourselves and pretty much tell ourselves why we aren’t good enough to go out and accomplish what we truly want in life. We wouldn’t allow anybody else to talk to us in that way so why do we allow our doubtful mind to. Monitor your self-talk and take the necessary steps to weed out this self-defeating behavior. You are NOT your mind, you are the controller of your mind.

  • Journey Well
    Try not to put too much of your focus on arriving at your destination. We know life is about the journey and not the arrival. We don’t need to arrive if we accept that we are already here. Be happy and content where you are today and don’t make the mistake of putting off being happy because you are waiting for the right moment to shine. Travel well today and consciously make the effort to enjoy the journey. It is better to travel well than it is to arrive. Not everyone woke up this morning and not everyone will go to bed tonight. Life has no guarantees, every minute you are living is a blessing that has to be experienced in the moment…in the now…it’s not always easy, but it’s always an option…a choice…your choice.

  • Detachment...
    We attach emotion and therefore meaning to the situations and circumstances in our lives, thus, we reinforce our beliefs about those things. I know this is obvious, but maybe it is not as clear-cut as we may think. If we step back and detach our emotions from situations and look at them purely from a logical standpoint, we will see that there is good and bad in everything we perceive. There is always two sides to the coin and each side is presented to us at different times. One person will perceive a situation as bad where another will perceive it as good. The situation itself is neutral but our beliefs, judgments and prejudices are the defining characteristics for the outcomes.

    Take a look at the troublesome circumstances you find yourself in on a regular basis and ask yourself if it is time to take a different approach. Sometimes we automatically react in the same way out of habit and never get past these problems. Ask yourself if it is really worth it to continue seeing these problems in the same way. Is it time to shift from the side of the coin you so often focus on to the other side.

    Remember…the situation will not change as a fact, but when your perspective changes then the situation will ultimately change in your mind’s eye, and we know that our mind creates reality. Even if it seems like an impossible task you must consciously make the effort. It will seem very difficult at times but always remember that it is just your perceptions you have to overcome and not the external task we face. This may not seem a plausible solution to every situation but any effort no matter how small is a step in the right direction. Retrain your mind to see your habitual reactions to troubles in your life from a new viewpoint. Have a wonderful and productive day.

  • Don't Exist...Live...
    It is very important for us to break free from the control of external things. We cannot fall victim to outside circumstances. It benefits our lives in no way when we willingly give up our own personal power to things outside of ourselves that we have little or no control over. We all have personal powerful, just make sure you don’t give up yours by not accepting you have power to begin with.

    Nobody on this entire planet has more rights to live their lives on their own terms than you do. Accept the world for what it IS and not for what you want it to be. You control the world by taking control of yourself…that’s how it’s done. Being who YOU are is all you have to be. I truly believe that it is a rare thing for people to “live”, simply because we are influenced more by the external than the internal. To be a victim to outside circumstances is to EXIST, but to be influenced by the internal is to LIVE . If you haven’t consciously done so yet, start today by making goddamn sure you give yourself the LOVE and RESPECT that you undoubtedly deserve. Give it to yourself FIRST, then accept it from the outside.

  • Own your Mind Business...
    Remember...'YOU' and not the events that happen today will determine how good or bad your day will be. Make it your goal to not let anyone or anything affect your day in a negative way...your mind is the government of the 50 trillion cells in your body and your thoughts will determine whether these cells live in a healthy community or a community of unease. Remember…You are NOT your mind, YOU are the controller of your mind.
These 10 tips have helped me dramatically and have had a huge impact in my life over the years. I sincerely hope they have been in some way helpful to you on your journey too.

Written on 5/29/2011 by Declan O' Flaherty. Declan runs a personal development blog at http://taught2think.com and lives by two basic rules which are to question often and to practice what he preaches. Photo Credit: JohnONolan

0 The Google+ Bar

A page from the Google+ help center explains the purpose of the new Google navigation bar:

The Google+ bar, which appears at the top of Google products, is your connection to Google+. You can share what's on your mind, view your Google+ notifications, access your profile, or jump to a variety of other Google products. For instance, to get to Google+, all you have to do is click +[your first name].

When you're signed in and look at the Google+ bar, you'll see your full name or email address displayed with a photo or avatar next to it. This helps you identify which account you're currently signed in to. You can sign in to multiple accounts at once and switch between them using the Google+ bar.

One of the most interesting feature of the bar is notifications:
When you receive a notification, the notification area in the Google+ bar will turn red and show the number of new notifications. If you click the notification area in the Google+ bar, you’ll see a summary of your recent notifications. When you click a notification, a preview of the event that generated the notification will appear in the drop-down menu. You can take action on each notification right from the notifications menu, like commenting on a post or adding someone to a circle.

The navigation bar has been morphed into the Google+ bar and it should be more useful. Maybe at some point the bar will include notifications for Gmail, Calendar, Google Docs and other Google services.

0 Google Takeout

Google wants to differentiate from Facebook by offering a lot of ways to export your data. Google Takeout is a feature that's included in Google+, but it's also available as a standalone service. You can use it to export your contacts, Google Buzz messages, Picasa Web photos and Profile data with one click.

"Google Takeout lets you take your data out of multiple Google products in one fell swoop. Moreover, you’ll find that all your data is in portable and open formats‚ so it's easy to import to other services quickly," mentions the Data Liberation blog.

I've downloaded my data in a huge ZIP archive that included all my Buzz posts saved as HTML files, VCF files for my Gmail groups and the first 100 photos from each of my Picasa Web album. What's the point of downloading the first 100 photos?

0 Google Swiffy Converts Flash to HTML5

Google Labs has a new useful tool for developers: Swiffy. The application allows you to convert Flash SWF files to HTML5, so you can use any supported modern browser to load the content, even if the browser happens to be Mobile Safari. "Swiffy currently supports a subset of SWF 8 and ActionScript 2.0, and the output works in all Webkit browsers such as Chrome and Mobile Safari."

Google's gallery includes two ads and two simple games that look pretty well when converted to HTML5, especially when you're using Chrome.

Swiffy uses some SVG features that are only available in WebKit browsers, so that's the reason why you can only use it in Chrome and Safari. Android's browser for smartphones doesn't support SVG and it's likely that the Android 3 implementation doesn't support the required features.

"A SWF file is converted in two phases: the Swiffy compiler (which you can use on this website) processes the SWF file and generates a JSON file. A client-side JavaScript runtime loads that JSON file and renders it using HTML, SVG and CSS. Swiffy supports many common SWF features such as vector graphics, embedded fonts, images and timeline animation. Basic ActionScript 2.0 code is also supported, but don't expect to convert your favorite Flash game yet. In general, Swiffy supports most of the features in Flash 5, so exporting your file as a Flash 5 will give the best results," explains Google.

Unfortunately, the code generated by Google is difficult to edit, so you still have to go back to the original Flash file. Adobe has its own tool for converting FLA files to HTML5.

0 More About Google+ Hangouts

Google's Justin Uberti has more information about Hangouts, the video conferencing app that will be available in Google+.

To support Hangouts, we built an all-new standards-based cloud video conferencing platform. This platform combines high quality, low latency, and strong security with the ease of use of a web application. Through the efficiency of this new platform, we're able to deliver a leading video conferencing experience at Google scale.

A few noteworthy technical points:
* Fully browser-based/cloud-based
* Client-server: leverages the power of Google's infrastructure
* Designed for low latency (< 100 ms) and high performance (multicore + hardware acceleration)
* Standards-based: XMPP, Jingle, RTP, ICE, STUN, SRTP
* Fully encrypted (HTTPS + SRTP)

Hangouts require the same plugin that's currently used for voice and video chat, it's limited to 10 participants and doesn't work on mobile devices yet. Another interesting thing is that "hangouts are created by one person, but everyone in the hangout shares the ability to invite others. Each hangout has a specific URL. That URL can be shared as a link to invite others." You can also use Hangout to watch a YouTube video with your friends.

Hangout looks like a great Google Talk feature and I don't see why it shouldn't be added to Gmail and to Google Apps. Video conferencing could make Google Apps a lot more useful.

0 Google's New Interfaces

After many weeks of testing, Google finally updated the homepage and search results pages. The changes aren't so radical, but they're still significant: there's a black navigation bar, two updated buttons for "Google Search" and "I'm Feeling Lucky", while the corporate links are moved to the bottom of the page.

Google says that this is just a small step from a redesign that will affect many other services. "The new Google experience that we've begun working toward is founded on three key design principles: focus, elasticity and effortlessness. (...) With the design changes in the coming weeks and months, we're bringing forward the stuff that matters to you and getting all the other clutter out of your way. Even simple changes, like using bolder colors for actionable buttons or hiding navigation buttons until they're actually needed, can help you better focus on only what you need at the moment."

The new navigation bar seems to draw unnecessary attention and some find it distracting, so it's not clear how it helps you "better focus on only what you need at the moment". Google's black bar is used in Google+, so it's likely that it will include other social features in the future.

Google also says that new design is flexible so that it can be used in the desktop interface, the smartphone interface, the tablet interface and even the interface for smart TVs. "The new design will soon allow you to seamlessly transition from one device to another and have a consistent visual experience." At the moment, I'm seeing a new mobile interface that doesn't have too much in common with the desktop interface:

While the interface continues to be simple and utilitarian, Google wants to use HTML5, WebGL and other new technologies to make Google's apps more powerful and better looking. "Our design philosophy is to combine power with simplicity. We want to keep our look simple and clean, but behind the seemingly simple design, use new technologies like HTML5, WebGL and the latest, fastest browsers to make sure you have all the power of the web behind you," explains Google.

Google promises to improve the user interface in Gmail in the coming months, but I think that many other apps will be redesigned and the main goal is to integrate with Google+. If you want a preview of Google's new interfaces, take a look at the Google+ project. Here's, for example, the new Google Maps design:

It's interesting to see that Google Maps added the label-less blue button from Google+, but Google Search still uses the regular button.

{ Thanks, Nikita. }

0 Trust

Everytime that I'm with my friends without Mike being there, if I call him I often ask suspiciously where he is, what he is doing, and whether he is cheating on me.

And without fail anyone who overhears my conversation will be like "OMG how can you not trust your own husband?"

LOL. I don't. Why should I? Name me ONE upside to blindly trusting ANYBODY. And my attitude has nothing to do with Mike. I'd explain.

Just look at all those who have suffered from being cheated upon. What do they say?

They say things like...

"I can't believe he would do this to me."

"I can't believe he has been sleeping with her for 4 freaking months and I didn't even know! How was I so blind and stupid?"

"All those times he said he was on a company dinner there was no dinner! I believed him for 18 freaking times and he went prostituting ALL THOSE TIMES!"

and most commonly of all...

"I can't believe I trusted him."

And this doesn't just apply to cheating. What about all those girls with sex tapes leaked out by their ex boyfriends? You think they are stupid and they trusted the wrong dudes? That your partner will NEVER do that to you? That you are the clever one? Wake up. I've seen the MOST unlikely men cheat.

Cecilia Cheung trusted Edison Chen to never show the close-up shots of her long-haired vagina to anyone. And there is it, on the net, forever. Sure he didn't mean to distribute it - but if she never trusted that he could safekeep it forever, this would never have happened to her.

So back to me and my attitude towards trust. It seems silly to me that people put so much heart into that little word. They say "He would never hurt me. I just know. I trust him. "

And I think... So what if you don't? Is it a bad thing, really? Is that supposed to be an insult on his character? Is he supposed to be ANGRY?

Nothing to be angry about what. Everyone needs to safeguard their self-interests.

You say you trust someone... To what extent do you do that? Do you give him your bank password? Would you let him do a video tour of your genitalia? Would you place him and Megan Fox on a deserted island with a condom? Probably not. Nobody trusts ANYBODY that much, unless they are completely naive.

As for me, I trust that Mike will never choose a banana over an orange. Because he hates bananas and these things don't change. I'm willing to put a $1,000 bet on it. But probably not my whole fortune.

I trust (not 100% but maybe 95%) that Mike will not, for example, see a girl at some event and go ask for her phone number. Because I know his character is shy and he is afraid someone might see him do this and report to me. But if he is drunk... Who knows?

Trust is such a funny thing. People always say it needs to be earned, needs to be built.

After some time of interacting with something, certain things can be depended on.

Like I trust that my blackberry will push my emails on time because it has never once failed to do it in 2 years. I trust that my McChicken will taste the same as it has always tasted.

Over the course of 5 years, never once has Mike flirted back with girls who show interest in him, whether online or in real life. Yet I don't trust that he would never cheat on me. Why?

1) People change. Today he is madly in love with you. Tomorrow he is bored. The next day he is bored AND drunk. Day after that he is bored, drunk, horny and had a fight with you. Who knows? The only thing you can depend on is... People change with time. Even if their personalities remain identical, their feelings towards you might change.

2) Circumstances change. Sure, in these 5 years Mike has never met a girl he liked so much he is willing to give up everything with me. Tomorrow... Who knows? If he meets and gets to know 1,000,000 girls, there has got to one he finds is better than me, no matter how much he loves me. Right?

3) Consequences are bigger. And this is the best reason not to trust that your partner will not stray. CONSEQUENCES. It is my fucking heart at stake here! And my marriage! It is easy to trust when the consequences are small. I pay $2 to my usual chicken rice stall because I trust it will be yummy as always. Not yummy no big deal, I'd buy from another stall - net loss $2 and some time.

But if I believe Mike will never stray, when he does, I'm gonna be fucked.

You are shaking your head, thinking, "You dumb blonde, even if you don't trust, either way you are fucked. If it happens it happens!"

You are wrong. Sure, I'd still be heartbroken. But wait...

Prevention is better than cure

I know I've mentioned this many times.

When you remain vigilant about your partners actions, you are working hard to PREVENT him from committing a mistake. He knows you are checking his phone - there goes flirty smses. He knows you have all his passwords - can't woo girls online.

If you know where he is every minute, he can't go to a hotel without arousing your suspicion. Sure he can work his way around all these but it is hard work. That's another deterrent. If he is willing to do all that to cheat, so be it. But I sure won't make it easy for him.

He wants to go to a dirty KTV bar with his gross colleague. He swears he won't do anything with the girls there. Put your foot down and don't allow! You want to trust he won't get a hooker or prevent him from meeting one? Which has worse consequences? Explain to him why it makes you uncomfortable, then placate him with a blowjob.

And if you find out some chick is mildly interested, you confront her, shame her, threaten her. You puff up your feathers and make sure she knows you will not go in peace. Worse come to worst you be nice to her so she gets so guilty she stops her nonsense.

When you are so suspicious, won't it piss him off?

If he has nothing to hide, he would not get angry. Obviously I don't do my routine checking in an awful way. I just log in to his fb, take up his phone to read when he is sleeping. He doesn't even know. If your man gets annoyed, it is the first sign that he IS possibly cheating on you. Maybe not full out cheating, but flirting, yes. Or that he wants to be able to. He is probably hiding something. Am I paranoid? Maybe. But from personal dating experience, those demanding privacy and space are the exact ones who are cheating.

Mike has never once got angry with me when I checked his phone or facebook. "Go ahead," he says. "You are just wasting your time." And he is right, I was. And he reads my shit too, in case you think this only goes one way.

Cheating is just like cancer - you want to win it, you've got to find out early. Half the battle is won when you kill the sapling before it turns into a full grown weed, throttling your relationship.

If he is just at the "getting to know" stage with some girl - you find out, you have a talk with him to resolve things. Make sure he won't see her again. You want to wait till he is in love? Too late.

If he is already sleeping with someone else, when you find out you can plan your next step. If you are married, you can hire a PI - submit evidence to court and get half his fortune. Cease sleeping with him in case you get some disease. Cut off his penis. Or forgive him, depending on the severity of his crime.

Why, do you want to wait till he had an affair for months and impregnated the slut before you say "OMGWTFBBQ KILL ME NOW MY KID HAS A STEP SIBLING AND I HAVE AIDS"?

Some of you might be saying... Why work so hard to prevent that seems unavoidable? If he cheats, he won't be worth it anyway.

Rubbish. ALL men would cheat if there are no consequences. I sincerely believe that. Some don't because they don't wanna hurt us. Some because they are scared of losing us. Some because of kids, social ramifications, anything.

Most commonly of all, men cheat because they made a mistake, thinking with their penis, enjoying the attention - THINKING THEY WON'T BE CAUGHT.

And when you blindly trust, that's when they are most certain they will never get caught.

Every few days I remind Mike how his life will be like if he is dumb enough to cheat. And I WILL find out. Money be gone/he will never find someone as good as me again/penis cut etc. Just in case he forgets.

I'm sure a lot of you don't agree with my school of thought, saying, "You must be all sad, paranoid and worrisome all the time. That's not how love is supposed to be like. I pity Mike."

LOL duncha worry. Mike and I are happy and in love.

Obviously I *do* trust him because he is a good man with principles. But just not enough to 1) fully believe he will NEVER cheat and 2) not do my best to try to prevent it from happening.

If the day comes and he strays, I'd say "Oh well at least I tried my best. And at least I was not duped for ages."

What do you think? Do you trust your partner?

Those of you who got cheated on, did you trust your partner? Do you still trust now?

0 The Google+ Project

Google revealed some details about the project that will make Google more social. It's called Google+ and it's an extension of the existing Google Profiles and Buzz, with many new features that make sharing more useful. Google's plan to compete with Facebook is to bring "the subtlety and substance of real-world interactions" to the Web.

Google+ means "Google + You", so it's all about your friends, your photos and videos, your interests and your conversations. The service introduces circles, a way to group your friends and share content with the right people. "Today's online services turn friendship into fast food—wrapping everyone in 'friend' paper — and sharing really suffers. From close family to foodies, we found that people already use real-life circles to express themselves, and to share with precisely the right folks. So we did the only thing that made sense: we brought Circles to software. Just make a circle, add your people, and share what's new."

To help you share content with your "circles" of friends, Google added an app called Sparks that shows interesting new Web pages related to your interests. It's like a feed reader that has a list of tags instead of subscriptions, so it's much easier to set up. "The web, of course, is filled with great content — from timely articles to vibrant photos to funny videos. And great content can lead to great conversations. We noticed, however, that it's still too hard to find and share the things we care about— not without lots of work, and lots of noise. So, we built an online sharing engine called Sparks. Thanks to Google's web expertise, Sparks delivers a feed of highly contagious content from across the Internet. On any topic you want, in over 40 languages. Simply add your interests, and you'll always have something to watch, read and share."

Google+ also comes with an online video conferencing tool called Hangouts. It's just like Google Talk, except that you can add multiple people and they can join the "chat room" without being invited. "With Google+ we wanted to make on-screen gatherings fun, fluid and serendipitous, so we created Hangouts. By combining the casual meetup with live multi-person video, Hangouts lets you stop by when you're free, and spend time with your Circles," explains Google.

Google's social networks is also available on your mobile phone using a dedicated Android app and an upcoming iPhone app. The mobile experience is all about location, photos and conversations. You can add your location to all your posts, share the photos from your phone's camera album immediately after they're created and chat with your friends using Huddle.

Google+ requires an invitation, but you can't get one right now. "We're testing with a small number of people, but it won't be long before the Google+ project is ready for everyone," explains Google.

The black navigation bar that's tested right now in Google's search results pages is all about Google+. Here's how the navigation bar will look:

After years of missing the value of social networking, Google tries to catch up with Facebook and show that it can still create amazing products. Google+ will be the first tab from Google's homepage and it will get a lot of exposure, but not many people associate Google with social products. Google will probably have to redesign many of its services and make Google+ a central part of the Google experience, which means that Google will change a lot in the coming months.

{ Thanks, Gorilla. }

Senin, 27 Juni 2011

0 Hongkong 2011

Woohoo!!!! As some of you already know I went on a trip to Hong Kong and Otaru, Hokkaido with Cheesie!

The reason why we went together is because this is a sponsored trip and the kind sponsor, Park Hotel Group, has a hotel in Hong kong as well as Otaru!!

THIS TRIP WAS AWESOME OMG. The service was fantastic, shopping was awesome, our hotels were so cozy, and I couldn't have asked for a better travel partner wtf.

Seriously! First, Cheesie and I have the same interests and like the same stuff be it food or shopping - so none of that visiting cultural sites crap. Then at the crack of dawn or something Cheesie bolts awake with her alarm (she does not EVER snooze) and by the time I'd done with my 15 min snooze she is already done with her makeup and has begun camwhoring. -_- And she plans everything. Usually planners are useful but picky and authoritative but she is super easy-going. And then she can speak fluent Cantonese (which I can too) AND Japanese (which I can't). Ok I'd stop with the Cheesie praise wtf this is not a cheesy advert.

Anyway I arrive about 30 mins before Cheesie who came from KL, so I picked her up at the airport:

And this is our matching luggage wtf. I was planning on bringing my American Tourister one but it's just a tad too small for a 7 day trip and I wanted to be matchy with Cheesie so I took my giant pink one!

Park Hotel staff picked us up in a LIMO so of course I just had to camwhore with the car.

Here's the interior of our room!! I was surprised at how spacious it is considering how small HK hotel rooms usually are! It had a living area and an extra toilet too! Love it.

Actually we were given a room each but we bunked together. Such a waste! We contemplated secretly selling out the other room to a random tourist, but didn't.

It was about 12am by the time we arrived so we went out for supper at a restaurant near the hotel. Super shocked that a lot of them are actually still open!

Park Hotel is located in Tsim Sha Tsui. Super convenient.

Here's my after-flight look. I brought only 1 comfy tee (which I am wearing) so that I'd be forced to look pretty the rest of the days. Fail. I wore this tee for about 4 times.

Cheesie and I with our dimsum. It's not bad but not crazy fantastic.

Siew mai with quail egg. Har kow.

After our meal we went to buy some dessert from a very famous chain called 許留山. We bought durian mochi and bird's nest egg pudding!!

... Only to realise that the hotel already provided us with blueberry cheesecake, cookies, and fruits for dessert. -_-

Durian mochi is yummy! Pudding I don't like... Has a gingery taste. Cheesie said "Eat the top, that's where the good stuff is", pointing to the birds' nest and proceeded to goggle it up.

Taiwanese sausage potato chips at the back really tastes like taiwanese sausage. LOL!!

Next day!! Can't believe purely by chance we brought such similar skirts to wear lol. Hers also has the same lace up thingy as mine. And I have that same bag and also almost took it to Hongkong wtf.

Here's my camwhoring shot again. Cheesie said my fringe is super weird and kept laughing at me. So I took a pair of scissors and trimmed it. Problem solved.

And since I'm using a lot of Cheesie's photos from her camera I thought I'd just include one of her camwhoring shots too, plus PS it swee swee for her.

LOL!! That woman seriously took like at least... 100? camwhoring self-shots!!

Us at the hotel brekkie!

Love their porridge!! You can put unlimited amount of whatever egg you want inside! :D

Will we ever stop?

Buffet line

And it's time for shopping!!!!! If it's your first time to HK, just remember that shopping malls there only open from like 12pm onwards. Some malls even open at 1 or 2! So plan your morning doing other nonsense.

Once you step out of the rather peaceful and quiet hotel, you will suddenly land in the bustling, noisy city outside:

It cannot be in a better location!! Super a lot of food, shopping, cabs... Anything you can possibly need. I love hotels that are close to convenience stalls too coz I love to buy food back to snack on.

Wanted to dine at this cafe but didn't have the chance to.

We wanted to go to this shopping mall called 新の城 which has supposedly awesome shopping with loads of gyaru stuff but we were in a bind wondering how to pronounce it when it has a Japanese "no" in it.

So I thought of writing it on the iphone and showing it to the cab driver:

Er... Turns out the の is pronounced as 之. Vomit blood.

It's located on Argyle Street. None of us could pronounce that word so we were just like "that Arrghhh place" the whole day. LOL

Cheesie and I buying matching mustard hair bows.

Both of us bought a super expensive maxi dress at about $50 at the first shop we went to, called "C.S"

And you guessed it. Only to realise every other shop was selling the same dress for LESS THAN HALF the price. We were so freaking pissed and Cheesie insisted on going to the shop to confront the salesgirl. I thought she'd be yelling and making a loud din, refusing to leave till we get another dress free or something but instead she spoke in such a soft little gentle voice lol the salegirl made up some excuse that her boss set the price not her so we had no choice but to leave. Oh well.

But don't buy from them!!

Otherwise the shopping went well, as you can see:

LOL a photo of me waiting outside the toilet for Cheesie. I couldn't take it anymore and had to sit down... Next to some lady's veggies. To her credit the veggies were very fresh-looking. But they were super out of place in a shopping mall!

Cabbing back to the hotel! I love HK because you can easily, and affordably cab everywhere. :)

After putting our shopping down Cheesie and I try a roast goose restaurant just below our hotel. It's a famous one!

Ok you see Cheesie smiling away very happily right? Wanna know the reason?

"He" is just at the right of the picture. There is very funny story attached to this picture ok and I swear, what is the best pun I've ever heard, at the end of it.

So basically, when Cheesie walked into the restaurant the dude, who is quite cute, smiled at her. For goodness knows what reason she chose to sit on that side of the booth, so I had a clear view of the dude while she doesn't.

Now throughout his entire meal (eating alone), the dude was giving this REALLY grumpy face. Like seriously, so grumpy that I considered maybe he got fired or was severely constipated.

I kept telling Cheesie I cannot believe he smiled at her coz he did not once look over at our direction nor give any indication he is capable of smiling.

And then the dude's straw dramatically rolled off his table. 

He tried to catch it but it fell on the ground. He considered picking it up, but decided to just scowl.

Like I've NEVER seen anyone give THAT exaggerated a reaction to something as silly as dropping a straw. He rolled his eyes to the back of his head and gave a giant sigh!

After I described his reaction to Cheesie, she looked at me for a moment... And she said...


"Maybe it's the last straw."

GOOD OR WHAT?? After this we laughed for a really long time and couldn't stop.

Super yummilicious double boiled soup

Vulgarly delicious looking roast goose. It could have been crispier but it's still good.

Erm and I spilled some food on my white top so I went to change into a new dress that I just bought:

Might as well change hairstyle too.

If you noticed Cheesie at the background ALSO changed her entire outfit (AND hair) - not out of necessity but vanity. LOL

Seriously lor she is one of the vainest girl I've ever met. Ok, she is not THAT vain, but usually when you think of a vain person they are mostly quite lazy, right? But Cheesie is vain AND hardworking. Which is a lethal combo lol.

I love it. Without her being so zealous about dolling up I'd have slacked the whole trip!

We are ready for part 2 of shopping!

DNA Mall... Located right smack beside Park Hotel!

Didn't take pictures inside. The shopping is good but it's most quirky stuff like ornaments and novelty gifts. Also menswear.

After that we proceed to fa yuen gai... Translated as Garden Street.

OMG! I love the fruits there!! I've never ever seen such ginormous lychees in my life! Bought a pound and seriously those are the juiciest, yummiest fruits I've ever had wtf. I love lychees but giant lychees are WAY better. Burst in your mouth and 100% sweet. Not sour at all. GAH want some now.

Us shopping for shoes...

And since we were not hungry for dinner yet, we decided to go for foot reflexology!

The water did not turn that colour due to my dirty feet.

Best decision EVER. After a long day of shopping, nothing feels better. Except that some weird old Arab dude was sitting next to Cheesie and chatted her up. I told her in Chinese: "Please stop talking to him or he will stalk us back to the hotel and rape you. Which is fine but he might rape me after." Cheesie replied that she is too polite for her own good.

We dine at this restaurant called Sweet Dynasty. I suspect Cheesie chose it coz it's also a pun.

For non-Chinese readers, the Chinese name of the place is "Tang Dynasty". Tang also means
sugar/sweet. #punexplained

SUPER yummy porridge!! Better than Crystal Jade's (which I think is already super nice).

Carrot cake very good too. But Dynasty's prices are not cheap so we were considering for a bit if we should order a "luxurious" dish. We gave in and did:

Broccoli with scallops. It was good but not luxuriously good.

For dessert this pudding thingy which tastes like soya beancurd

And back to the hotel for one more night... Because next morning... We fly to Otaru!

Rise and shine! Best part about the Hong Kong airport?


You don't even need to enter Disneyland to buy Disney stuff! And they have Duffy!

Here's Cheesie posing with a giant $200 Duffy. She wanted to buy it. Ridiculous. I told her Duffy is like so over, please don't.

Which is ironic coz I bought a little duffy to hang on my bag. LOL! What? I wanted a puffy thing to accompany me on lonely plane rides and this Duffy comes with a bag strap and a little zip where I can put stuff into! #excuses

OK I bought it because it is super cuddly and cute. Look, it's looking up at me with adoration!

And p/s: Our flight was SUPER empty so we both had a whole row to ourselves to lie down on!! BLISS x 100000

There's our plane! Next post will be about JAPAN! :D


Envious of my trip?

Don't need to be!!

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Want to win it? Just visit

Share you most memorable moment on the site and you may win!! If you upload a memorable photo you can even win $5,000!! CRAZY!!!!!

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