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.

Dragon*Con 2010: Day One

Ahh… Day One of “Oh my, this is early…”  If you are down at the con and looking for me, I’ll be in the Sheraton in the Savannah room most of the day.  There is the MMO Track kick off at 10 am, then the MMO Roundtable at 11:30 am, Funcom 101 at 1 pm, New MMO Showcase at 2:30 pm, and MMO Failures and Flops at 4 pm.  If all goes well, at that point I’m off for the day, but I’ll still be sticking around for The Guild with Vork and Zaboo at 5:30 pm in the Grand Ballroom of the Sheraton, then back down to Savannah for Breaking into the MMO Industry at 7 pm and Machinima at 8:30 pm.  After that, you’ll probably find me in the lobby of the Marriott or maybe at the Zombie Prom.

As for yesterday, I showed up, got badge, gave blood, and then met with the track staff.  We set up, got given a lecture, and then ate some food.  All is good and right with the world.

Movie Round-Up: January 8th, 2010

Skipped last week because, oddly, nothing opened on New Year’s Day…  anyway, onward!

Youth in Revolt:

Just as I’m getting tired of seeing Michael Cera play Michael Cera over and over, it looks like he finally decided to take a project which might prove he can act.  Sort of.  As Nick, he’s Michael Cera as usual.  But from the bits you can see in the trailer, when he’s Francois he’s actually not Michael Cera.  The movie looks entertaining, but as surprised as I am to see him acting, I’m not about to drop money at box office prices for another Michael Cera film.  I’ll see you on DVD, Michael Cera.  Perhaps I should revise this review, because I don’t think I said Michael Cera enough.  Michael Cera.

Leap Year:

Amy Adams in a romantic comedy about two people who are wrong for each other turning out to be right for each other.  The wife deserves a date night every now and then, and I can use it as an excuse to feed my addiction to chick flicks.  Yeah, I’m in.


It is really nice to see someone do something interesting with vampires now and then.  Hush, you Twilight fanatics… vampires who sparkle like diamonds in sunlight are many things, but interesting is not one of them.  Now, Daybreakers, on the other hand, takes us to a world where vampires run everything, and they hunted humans down nearly to extinction.  One vampire is looking for a way to make high quality synthetic blood to save his race.  But a group of humans have stumbled on something else: a cure.  In addition to just sounding cool, the movie looks cool, and it’s got Ethan Hawke, Sam Neill and Willem Dafoe, all of whom I enjoy watching work.  I think this followed by The Book of Eli next week are going to be a nice one-two punch of awesome at the theater.  I’ll be there.

Michael Cera.

Movie Round-Up: November 20th, 2009

Not only am I under the weather, but its November and I’m trying (and failing) to do the NaNoWriMo… but enough about me and my lack of posting, on to the week’s releases.

New Moon:

I’ve never read the books, and doubt I ever will.  The first movie was horrible, and I suspect this one will be horrible too.  You would have to pay me to see this in the theater, my rates begin at $30 per hour.

Planet 51:

It looks like a fun family movie… and that’s all I have to say about that.

The Blind Side:

A better family movie, if you are inclined to see one, would be The Blind Side.  It follows the story of Michael Oher, a boy who is taken in by a wealthy family and plays football.  Based on a true story, it is funny and heart warming, and frankly I enjoyed it far more than I expected to.  I can’t say for sure if I would pay full price to go see this in the theater, but if you are already taking the family out to see a movie, already willing to pay money for a couple hours of entertainment, you can do much worse than this inspiring tale.

A New Project for Myself

Not so long ago I started up a project here where I would post doodles.  I did it for a few weeks and then stopped.  I’ve still been doodling, but work and other things have kept me from it more often than not and I’ve found if I don’t get right into doodling early on Saturday mornings, then I don’t produce anything worth posting.  If I start late, I end up just screwing around and trying to learn some of the functions of GIMP and not actually drawing anything.  I’ll still keep doing it when I can, but I’ve missed enough weeks to realize that I’m not going to be regular about it.

Plus, I still can’t draw for shit, so while I’m working at it, I don’t impress myself very often.  I’m more apt to delete an image than share it.  I’m working on not doing that.

Anyway, I decided that I also wanted to start something to work on writing.  So, today, in just a few minutes I’m going to post the first in what I hope to be a long series of posts.  This new project will involve me going to one of the many places on the Internet where you can find photos that people take and allow to be used by others (here is a list of places to look), and finding one that inspires something in me.  I’ll then write what I’m inspired to write and post it with the accompanying photo (and a link to where I got the photo so that credit is given along with whatever text they require for use).  I hope this works out well… if not… well, then I only hope I don’t get sued.

Movie Round-Up: September 25th, 2009


In 1980, Fame hit the screen with a story that followed four students through the New York City High School for the Performing Arts.  I remember seeing it years later on HBO or Cinemax, sneaking a rated R film while my parents were out.  I watched the TV show too.  Part of me was excited to see the remake, and part of me dreaded it.  This new 2009 version of Fame is fun, but dumb.  Frankly, there are too many characters in the foreground here.  You don’t get to know any of them well enough to care about them, and while the musical numbers are interesting to watch they stand out so much from the bland non-musical parts that they primarily serve to remind you of how lame this new Fame is.  If I rated with thumbs, this would be a thumbs down.


I love me some haunted house movies.  I especially love it when the house in question is a space ship.  Add on top of that Dennis Quaid and Ben Foster and  I would see this movie in a heartbeat, if not for…


This is going to be my must see movie of the weekend.  Firstly, its Bruce Willis, and I pretty much love every movie he’s ever done, especially the action films.  Second, the plot here just looks to be awesome.  So, my hard earned $10 will get spent here.  Hells yeah.

Welcome to 2007

So, how did you ring in the New Year?

Me? I went to my brother’s house because he and his wife were having a party. I was introduced to Dead Rising, which, honestly, was just plain mean since I don’t own an Xbox 360… now I’m going to have to go buy one. And I got to witness the Wii in person… now I’m going to have to go buy one of those too. There was food and drink, and there was karaoke. All I have to say is… I rock. We watched Dick Clark count in the last seconds of 2006, and mostly we were, as always, amazed by his recovery and saddened by the fact that he’s now a huge buzzkill for festivities.

Now that it is 2007, what does that mean?

Well, it used to mean putting the wrong date on my checks for a couple months, but I’ve switched over to electronic billing for everything but my garbage collection, and I only have to pay them every three months. As with every year, despite my loathing for New Year’s Resolutions, I’m still making a couple… mostly the same ones I always make. But I figure, if I have almost a dozen friends and family who have decided to quit smoking, I think I can manage working out three times a week and eating a little less crap.

Also in 2007… I think I’m almost done with PC games. Frankly, the alure of MMOs is finally wearing off. New games just don’t appeal to me much. WoW has been fun, and I still might pick up the expansion to play around, but most games on the horizon my computer can’t play (I’m in the Vanguard beta, or rather, I got accepted but I haven’t been able to log in and actually create a character), and rather than paying two thousand plus dollars to upgrade my and my wife’s machines, I think I’ll just invest that same money into a Wii, a 360 and an HD projection TV. And hey, bonus, the new TV makes watching movies and television shows better too. The list of non-MMO PC exclusive games has practically vanished, and with the consoles you never have to worry about compatibility issues.

I’m still interested in MMOs as a theory and design, but nothing out there for the next year is really gripping me. Largely it looks like the same old grind, and if I’m going to play in a fantasy world, I’d rather be sitting around a table with a half dozen friends these days instead of staring at my monitor pushing buttons for rewards.

It looks like 2007 is also going to bring a flood of superhero books to the market. I’m guessing the successes of Hollywood and both Marvel and DC’s initial forays into paperback books have paid off enough that it seems like a new book is coming out from somebody each week. Though, the landscape is still lacking in original material. Its all book adaptations of existing characters from the comic books. Perhaps in 2007 I’ll work toward changing that and actually finish a writing project or two.

And on the business front… lets just say that aught seven is looking pretty good.

Finally, we come to the end of my ramblings and musing, and I welcome you, heartily, to two thousand seven.