NO TEXTING! Alamo Drafthouse fights back (NSFW)

Warning: this is the uncensored version (ie NSFW) –

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I made it into Google+…first impressions

Today I finally got into Google+ after trying to catch the invite windows. I’d been sitting on 2 invites since day one, but never managed to hit registration when it was unlocked. Today that all changed, and now I get to experience what other techies have been on about.

My first impressions:

  • UI – an emphatic +1. I’ve already changed my gmail theme to ‘Preview (dense)’ because I love the clean simplicity and minimalism; beyond that everything is beautiful and make excellent use of HTML5, CSS3, and all those other web goodies to provide a beautiful interface.
  • UX – again, an emphatic +1. Here, I would have to use the word ‘graceful’ to describe their use of HTML5, CSS3, et al to provide an exceptional user experience. Nothing is in your face about its activity; but the more you look, the more you see.
  • Circles – I like this implementation of what many are calling Facebook Groups. Other than the lovely way of implementing your groups, the UI provides for much better control and understanding of both your own Circles, as well as the Circles that you have been added to. +1 from me.
  • Hangouts – the hangouts interface is smooth. An intuitive, clean interface that doesn’t beg for lots of assistance. It just gets down and does what it’s meant to do. I’ll have to wait til I’m at a real computer (with a web-cam), but then I’m all up for some serious testing of this.
  • Chat – pretty much just the same as Gmail Chat from my first look. That said, gmail chat is a good IM client anyway, so all good.
  • Photos – again, the interface is well implemented. I’ll need to have a decent play over the next few days, but I can’t say I expect to be disappointed at all.

It’s pretty obvious that the word-of-mouth surrounding Google+ and the features it is offering forced Facebook’s hand and made them bring forward the “awesome announcement” that they were integrating Skype into their framework. However, it already makes them look like they’re playing catch-up to Google+; as XYZ said the other day: “they aren’t the first to integrate video calling with social, MySpace did it in 2007, but now it’s the right timing for the product”. Google+ seems to have opened the gate first, if only by a couple of days. Facebook is already having to justify why their implementation is better (“most people only want to use person-to-person”).

The converse is also true though, as it seems Google+ is already fast-forwarding their Beta schedule and allowing more and more invites to be cashed in. This is possibly in response to Facebook’s moves; or, it could just be a response to public demand and the quality performance of Google+ internally for Google. They would much rather offer a schedule of months, and deliver in days or weeks, than the other way around. This is afterall the Google who still had gmail in beta 5 years after launch, but had been fully open to the public for 2 and 1/2 years of that 5 years (Wikipedia).

I’m going to be having a dive into the features as much as possible this weekend, I can’t wait. Here’s a vid:

New Year, new job, lots of new goings on…

I started my new role as Software Developer/Engineer on Monday. A very exciting start to the new year. A steady start to the pace with the first week or so set to be all about the induction process. I spent much of Monday and Tuesday meeting new people, going into meetings to get more information, and watching videos, reading PPTs, and reviewing LOTS of documentation. Today was more getting into looking at the actual product we make, and having an explore. Also starting automating some tests for it to get a bit of a handle on what it actually entails. So much to take in – not just the code (which I haven’t actually gotten into yet), but also the actually industry we are working for.

The company is Productivity Software, which supplies and supports a very large MIS for the printing industry. Most of my learning so far has been about printing, and the processes involved. All an integral part of understanding what we are trying to assist with and deliver for the clients.The office space I’m in great; it’s a big, open-plan, area with about 20 desks. Polished hard-wood floors, in an old warehouse-type building. Now it’s been refurbished and filled with advertising agencies etc. Very cool. I’m using a serious dev box, with a 64-bit OS running 8GB @ 2.67GHz on a 1TB HDD. The screen’s “only” a 30-inch widescreen LCD – hahaha!! Nice people to work with, very non-hierarchical and level, so anyone is happy to be asked questions and take the time to answer them. All-in-all a not unpleasant environment to be working as a developer finally.

Other than this excitement, I spent the last few weeks on Christmas holidays but stayed busy with planning and preparing for my upcoming wedding. It is absolutely amazing how fast the budget grows without even trying (and that’s just for the wedding itself!!), so if anyone wants to donate some cash this way it will be gratefully received [or stuff for the house too – I am more than happy to do a bit of product placement and “positive” reviewing here and anywhere else I can]. We’ve been quite well behaved and conservative with our planning and expenses for both the wedding and honeymoon (apparently we are running a wedding bill of between 1/2 and 2/3 of a normal wedding – depending on what a normal wedding costs…), and for kitting out the house, but it all still mounts up. Haven’t actually got a place yet, as there’s no point renting somewhere now, and anything we find now will be gone in a few months time (or if it isn’t, we don’t want it!).

Doing a bit of a surf on Etsy the last week or so also, and got very inspired to build some of our furniture myself; nothing too flash, but I’m going to be making some nice solid rustic bookshelves with concrete blocks and big slabs of kauri or other reclaimed wood, as well as some cute side tables for the lounge which will take a little of my wood-working skills to do (pics will be posted once made). One of these weekends I will be doing a bit of a cruise of industrial recycling yards to find some nice chunky units to refurb a little into side dressers and other furniture. I’m not just going for 2nd-hand, I’m going to be properly bringing them back to life – but they will definitely have character and a story to tell.

As part of starting the new year, starting a new job, and preparing for the next great adventure part of my life, I did a review of my eating and fitness habits (or lack thereof, ahem) and set myself some goals and some rules. For eating, I have got myself kitted out to take all the fixings for making healthy sandwiches at work for lunch (so much cheaper too!!) and I also have a supply of rice cakes for snacking, as well as finding some fantastic dried fruit bars that were also cheap (means I can have a week’s fruit supply without worrying about it staying fresh; and each bar is the equivalent of 2x minimum daily fruit intake requirement).

Also established myself a routine for walking at least every 2nd day, with plans to progress this to jogging/running pretty quickly [thanks to Rob’s blog post here -> @noozeeland]. Pulled out the weights bar, and setting up a dips block too. I’m definitely on a mission to get back to the old style lean Cameron – who knows, I may be actually able to be proudly flaunting abs on the beach soon.

I’ve got a few YouTube videos to post up as well, as I didn’t get any posting done while I was away – I really do need to get my iPad WordPress app configured ASAP – but I’ll do a separate post for them shortly.

Stephanie Abrams does it again

And, in the gymnastics section of weather reporting today, we have Stephanie Abrams with a triple double entendre totally obliterating the competition.

[thanks to BuzzFeed for pointing this one out]

Snowpocalypse (including dumbest NYC workers yet)

So, the #snowpocalypse hit New York, and shut the city down for a while (lucky it wasn’t London, or a while could mean a month or two). Best video I’ve seen is this one by Michael Black showing 20 hours of blizzard in 1 frame per 5 minutes time-lapse glory. There’s also the one below by WNYCradio:

Biggest back-slap for stupidity and absolute CBF-ness goes to these NYC Sanitation workers for the effort below to destroy a Ford Explorer:

The next Angry Birds update – Mighty Eagle!

After a long wait, the Mighty Eagle is almost here! This legendary and mysterious bird will be included in the next Angry Birds update, due to be released in the next few days. The update includes 15 levels in a hot new desert themed episode, Ham ‘Em High, with a brand new shiny golden egg, and all the usual goodies we love to see from Angry Birds.

The Mighty Eagle is downloadable content. If you get stuck in the game, you have the opportunity to purchase a can of sardines, which you use to lure out the elusive Mighty Eagle. This phenomenal creature will the soar from the skies to wreak havoc and smash the pesky pigs into oblivion!

Mighty Eagle will help you skip the toughest obstacles, but there’s a limit: you can only use the aid of Mighty Eagle to pass a level once per hour. In other words, when you pass a level with Mighty Eagle, you need to wait an hour to use him again to pass another level.

Is that all? Far from it! Mighty Eagle includes all new gameplay goals and achievements! In each level that you already cleared using the regular birds, you can smash away freely and try to fill up the destruction gauge! If you want to smash your way through every level leaving nothing behind, you have every incentive to do so!

Mighty Eagle is an in-app purchase in Angry Birds and costs $0.99/£0.59/€0.79NZ$1.29 to download.

Here’s a sneak peek

[text from Angry Birds press release]

Brilliance

Sheer brilliance. Every beat and step synched perfectly.