Tag Archive for look

The New New Google

If you haven’t noticed, Google has been revamping their look. Unifying the feel of all their sites. So far, I like it, with my only real complaint being the over abundance of white space. Luckily, most of the apps offer the ability to select a “compact” look that eliminates much of that, squeezing everything in closer together. These days, I prefer whenever possible to hang out over on Google+ instead of Facebook, largely because of its much cleaner look and lack of crap I don’t like.

But all isn’t roses in the land of search and honey. Google’s latest moves have started to bother me. The first being the new YouTube. The pages for any individual video is much improved. It’s cleaner, nicer, and with the new size buttons of regular, large and full screen, it simplifies in all the best possible ways. Which makes the atrocity of their main page such a disheartening failure. I used to be able to quickly review my subscriptions while scrolling, but now, with one or two prolific video posters (I’m looking at you machinima!) my front page is pretty just one or two people, with the odd other video thrown in. Maybe it’ll grow on me, but I don’t see how.

Rolling out to select people now but eventually to everyone is the new Google Bar. Not one of those you install on your browser, but that black bar that has existed at the top of the majority of Google pages for a while now. A short while ago, probably prepping for the new bar, they juggled the apps around. Now that you can see the new design, the reorder of the apps remains. I’m certain that somewhere is a guy at Google who has lots of metrics that informed on which apps made the cut of being on the first level and which ones got hidden behind the “more” entry, at least I hope there is so that I have someone to properly hate.

The New New Google

It's sort of like an upside-down Start Button in Windows.

You see, one of the apps I use all the time is Google Reader (RSS feeds are awesome!) and when they performed their juggling act, Reader dropped off the main app selection. And with this latest revision, Calendar didn’t make the cut. It’s just insanity that Google hasn’t yet, even back in the black bar days, implemented a way to let each user decide the order of apps.

The new prime apps are Google+, Search, Images, Maps, YouTube, News, Gmail and Documents. To begin with I use Google+ a bunch, probably keep it open most of the day. Next I literally cannot recall the last time I when to the Search main page with the intent to search. I go there to see the new logos. (To be fair, I use Bing now for searching just because I earn points that I can spend on Xbox Live spacebucks, so when I used the Chrome address bar to search it goes to Bing, but before that it used Google, and I still can by typing “g” and a space then my search query.) Same with Images, since it’s basically search – I usually just do a regular web search (from the address bar) and then click the image link on the left of the results. Or, you know, I type “i” followed by a space in the address bar, which is my short cut to image searches at Google. I use maps, but not very often. I do use YouTube quite a bit. News works like Search and Images, “n” followed by a space in the address bar. Gmail and Documents are both deserving. So of the 8, I’ve identified 4 that could easily move beneath the “more” and I’d barely notice.

Meanwhile, I use Music every couple of days, Calendar daily, and Reader I use easily 4 or 5 times a day. And yet, with the new design, I have to click the Google icon on the new bar, then hover over the “More” entry and then select my app. Or I ignore the menu altogether just use the address bar to pull up the site. Maybe I’m just not the target audience. I don’t know.

Anyway, enough rambling out of me, though I do hope they allow for some customization soon.

Aaah! Zombies!!

In my quest to fill time on the odd occasion the wife has to work on the weekend, I browse Netflix in search of movies that I know she has no interest in watching.  This past weekend I stumbled on Aaah! Zombies!!  Take a look…

As you can see in the trailer, the movie takes a unique approach to the genre.  When the film is in color the main characters appear alive and everyone around them is infected by something that makes them act funny and move rapidly.  When the film goes black & white we see things as they really are with the characters being zombies that are moving slowly while everyone else moves at a normal pace.

Overall the movie isn’t great, but it was good enough.  I enjoyed the hour and a half I spent watching it.  It’s available on Netflix Instant, so if you have the time and the inclination, check it out.

A Week of Tweets on 2011-03-06

  • 5 years enganged, 5 years married. #fivebyfive #
  • I've now dumped Aero completely and gone to a desktop look circa 2000 because it is ten times faster. #thankswin7yourock #
  • I makes me both happy and sad when people I spy on finally wise up and make their Facebook private. #
  • I'm so happy to hear people are having fun with Rift. Perhaps I'll play about 10 days after launch when the queues settle down. #
  • I just wrote my first bit of AJAX. I feel like a real web developer. #
  • @Krystalle @rootwyrm Adding that to my arsenal. The Internet is made of cats, indeed. in reply to Krystalle #
  • The Last Lovecraft: Relic of Cthulhu turned out to be better than I expected. Reviewed for @Shakefire http://bit.ly/eh5E6F #
  • Need a super simple way for random customers to be able to share their desktop with me for support. Suggestions? #
  • The biggest hit to journalism as it moves from newspapers to internet is the loss of copy editors. The spelling and grammar make me cry. #
  • I too am an F-18. #imwithcharlie #
  • Anyone been to http://atlantafair.com before? Is it worth going to? #
  • Less than a month to @scriptfrenzy, anyone else planning to play along? 100 pages in 30 days, had lots of fun last year. #
  • Take Me Home Tonight opens tomorrow, but you can read my review on @Shakefire today. http://bit.ly/g6YZSp #
  • I laughed. http://goodnightdune.com/ #
  • .ti ekam uoy tahw si efiL #

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Sneakin’ Around: My Country for a Horse

Kaens in leather.

It was the only clean outfit, or something like that.

I need a new look.  I suppose I could always go with the dinner suit or the dress from last week, but I’d rather not.  To the left you’ll see a picture of me in my adventuring attire.  It looks like standard leather stuff, and that’s the problem.  I need to find a way to look less like I’m itching for a fight, while still retaining some stats so that I can survive the occasions when I’m trying to run away from one.

Browsing my way through the auction house, I’ve pretty much come to the conclusion that remaining in leather is going to be hard if I want to get a look that I like, and might instead have to go with cloth in a few areas.  Obviously, as I level I will have more options, but for now I can only wear what I can wear, restricted by level, and so I am limited in my choices.  Still, there has to be something better than this.

Another issue I’ve been having is that my desire to leave town was bottoming out.  I mean, in Stormwind I can safely earn a few thousand exp every day and never have to worry.  But I decided to venture out and checked in with the Hero’s Call board to see where I should go for a level appropriate challenge.  I suspect I’ll constantly be back tracking, looking for old low level quests to pad out my growth, but I wanted something exciting and challenging.  The board said to go to Darkshire in Duskwood.  So I flew out to the logging camp and then headed out on foot.

I love exploring, but sometimes, running on foot through places you’ve already explored can be boring, but what option do I have?  Anyway, after a long trek there, I discovered that like much of the world the people of Darkshire just want me to kill stuff.  Everyone, that is, except Abercrombie.  He had a great series where I was sent out to deliver or gather things and everything was going swimmingly until he asked for some ghoul ribs, which you can’t find just laying around.  I was very disappointed to not be able to continue working with him, but on the bright side, I made a couple of levels and got past 20.

The horse.

My feet thank you, Abercrombie.

Level 21 and riding high…

Friday Night Lights

Back in 2006 when I took a look at the upcoming fall TV season, I said:

Friday Night Lights? Didn’t enjoy the movie, I’ll probably not enjoy the show.

At the time, that was accurate.  I’d seen the movie and while “didn’t enjoy” might have been a tad harsh, the movie was decent but it didn’t blow me away.  I certainly didn’t see why it would be turned into a TV show.  Later on, people would tell me how good of a show it was, but I still avoided watching it.  I didn’t want to watch a show about football.

Thanks to Netflix’s Instant streaming service and my Xbox 360, I’ve caught up on 4 seasons of the show and am now watching season 5.

Surprised is just too small a word to describe my reaction to Friday Night Lights.  I was naive to have dismissed the show as being “about football” when football is just the backdrop for this story about people living in a small town.  The drama depicted here is just so well done, so deftly written and played out, I’m kicking myself for having waited so long.

And it isn’t just the story or the writing, the performances by the actors here is amazing.  I suppose it helps that many of them are people I don’t recognize.  Outside of Kyle Chandler (who I know from various places including Early Edition) and Connie Britton (from Spin City), I don’t think I’d seen any of them before, and if I did it was clearly not enough for me to remember them.  But each of them clearly understands their characters and their scenes play out so naturally, so real.

The main reason I write about the show now though is that this season, the fifth, is going to be the last.  And it will be missed.  If you have the opportunity, I highly recommend watching Friday Night Lights.

The clothes make the hero.

Lord of the Rings OnlineArguably, the title is true for most MMOs since they are all pretty heavily gear/item based.  But what I’m talking about here is just the look of your character in game.  Over two years ago I wrote a post trying to find drawbacks in implementing a system that divorced form from function.  And just four months ago, I made another post on appearance items.  Now, thanks to Melmoth over at KiaSA, I’ve learned that Lord of the Rings Online is implementing a Wardrobe System.

What’s really interesting here is that they even went a step farther with their design than I imagined anyone would.  First, putting an item in the wardrobe will copy the name and look (no stats) and then you can sell, give away or even destroy the original item.  Let me say that again, if you like the look of an item but don’t care for it for any other reason, you can copy it to the wardrobe and then get rid of it.  Second, with some restrictions, your wardrobe is available to all the characters on your account on the same server.  Got an awesome looking hat that you want to wear on all your alts but it requires doing a high level quest and having certain reputation?  No problem!  Just put it in the wardrobe and all your alts can wear it!

This is one of those features that every MMO from here on out needs to copy.  The days of mismatched, ugly but good gear or self gimping with weak gear to look good should be over now.  As Melmoth says, no excuses any more.

The Princess isn’t in another castle

A colorful look at the reality of saving the Princess…

My Guild Isn’t Your Guild

Continuing on with my look into Facebook games, and in my look into why I dislike them…

When I played EverQuest, I met a person, we played together a little, and then I joined his guild.  Joining a guild attached me to a social unit and my one new friend turned into thirty new friends.  Now, I didn’t get along with all of them, but being bonded by the unit meant that we were at least civil, because he often wound up grouped together and working together toward goals.

In Facebook games, I invite a friend of mine into my super team, or as my neighbor, or whatever social unit the game has, and that’s the end of it.  I have 12 people in my zombie apocalypse survivor colony.  One of those 12 only have 3 people in his colony.  One of them has 50.  And so on.  Each of us has a unique view of the game world.  Our social unit is fictional, not real.

Facebook games are designed to make you grow your social units outside the game.  You are encouraged to post achievements on your wall, to share them with the world, and the idea is that a friend of yours will see it and decide to play the game also, hopefully joining your game social unit too, and that also a friend of your friend who saw your comment on that picture of your friend’s dog will click your name, see your wall, see your post from the game, and decide to be your friend and join you in game also.

This is completely backwards from the normal Online game socialization model.  Normally, you make friends in game and that friendship can grow outward.  On Faceback, you make friends outside of the game and hope to grow that friendship inward to the game.  That just seems wrong to me.

Movie Round-Up: February 26th, 2010

The Crazies:

Remakes. You tend to either love them or hate them, and it largely depends on how you view the original. Sometimes the remakes deviate enough from the original to be able to be held up on their own, at least as long as those deviations don’t totally suck. I can’t comment here as I’ve never seen the original, nor yet seen this remake.  But I can say that I like the look of the trailer and if I get a chance, I’m going to go see it.  Since it is a horror film, however, I doubt it will be in the theater unless I can find some guys to go with because I know the wife won’t go.  I may have to catch this one on DVD or Netflix, but out of necessity not desire.

Cop Out:

I’m a huge Bruce Willis fan.  I’m also a huge Kevin Smith fan (I even like Jersey Girl, which everyone else seems to hate mainly because it was more about romance, drama and family than his usual sex and crude jokes fare).  I’m not much of a Tracy Morgan fan though, so that dragged down my desire to see this movie.  So I jumped at the chance when I managed to snag a free screening pass from gofobo.  I’m so glad I did.  So glad, in fact, that I’m considering going and paying to see this movie again.  This movie is like Lethal Weapon and Beverly Hills Cop.  It has comedy and action and is just fun.  This movie deserves a blockbuster opening weekend, so go out and see it.

White Night

Nine months after reading the eighth book in the series, I finally got around to reading book number nine of the Dresden Files.  By now, it should be fairly clear that I love these books.  They aren’t “High Art” (whatever the hell that is supposed to mean), but damn it if they aren’t fun.

White Night doesn’t mess with the formula that works as Dresden gets dragged in to trouble, this time helping out an old flame look into the deaths of some lesser talented practitioners and protect those that are still alive.  We also get to see that Harry has been training Molly, and he’s been continuing his work as a Warden of the White Council and fight in the war with the vampires.  But the kicker here is that someone has been trying to make it look like a Warden has been killing off the little witches, while some other reports put Harry’s half brother, a vampire of the White Court, at the scene of the crime.

While this book doesn’t have quite as many knock down drag out fights as the last couple in the series it certainly doesn’t lack action.  Plus, I don’t mind spending time getting to know more about the characters.

As always, I enjoyed my trip to Butcher’s Chicago.