Google+ Suspends Accounts

July 25, 2011 by  
Filed under Google

Google+ is the new shiny social network that was recently opened up by Google. I was as happy as every other geek who got an invite to get in. Within a week, I was addicted to the real-time status updates, happy photo-posting and tagging, and hacking, I mean, updating of my profile.

It was all fun and games until I saw “Your profile is suspended” when I logged in. Read more about my story on GeekBeat.TV..

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First Look at Google Instant

September 8, 2010 by  
Filed under Google

Talk about instant! Google just rolled out Google Instant this morning. Now search results display as you type, bringing you results much faster.

To see it in action, go to Google.com and start typing. The search box then turns into the results page. And as you keep typing, the search results change, bringing you a step closer to what you were looking for. It’s pretty nifty! Note: not all users have this option available yet. It may take a few days before everyone sees the new feature.

Google Instant is a new search enhancement that shows results as you type. We are pushing the limits of our technology and infrastructure to help you get better search results, faster. Our key technical insight was that people type slowly, but read quickly, typically taking 300 milliseconds between keystrokes, but only 30 milliseconds (a tenth of the time!) to glance at another part of the page. This means that you can scan a results page while you type. (Google.com/instant)

Introducing Google Instant Video

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Using Google Font API

June 4, 2010 by  
Filed under Code Snippets, Google, Links and Resources

One thing I learned at Google I/O that I thought was fun and exciting was their new Google Font API. What does this mean? It means I don’t have to add text to images using Photoshop anymore. I can just add it directly to the HTML code as plain text and it’ll look beautiful on the page.

This will (1) speed up page loads because text loads faster than images and (2) make the page more accessible (screen readers won’t need to piece together alt tags of images; instead, it’ll just read the text directly off the page. (3) The more text you have on a page, the more SEO-friendly it is.

Lucky for us, adding Google fonts to our webpage is quite easy. All you need is to know a bit of CSS and HTML, and how to copy and paste!

Step 1: Select Font

Go to the Google font directory and choose a font you would like to use. In the sample below, I picked the “Lobster” font.

Step 2: Get the Code

If you like the font, tab over to “Get the Code.” From there, you will get a sample code like this:

<link href='http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Lobster' rel='stylesheet' type='text/css'></link>

To include the code into your page, simply copy and paste this code into the header of your HTML page.

If you prefer to include the font it into your CSS stylesheet instead of your HTML header, you can use a code like this instead:

@import url("http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Lobster");

Step 3: Add some style!

Now that you have your font embedded onto your page, it’s time to give it some style. Create a CSS class and add in your font.

In this sample, I created a class called “prettyFont” and made it use the “Lobster” font to display, in huge red font. The alternative “arial and serif” font were added as a backup in case Google Font API was down; these web-safe fonts will display instead of Lobster in that case.

.prettyFont { font-family: 'Lobster', arial, serif; font-size: 3em; color:red; }

That’s pretty much it! Adding Google Fonts to your page is as simple as 1-2-3! You can also go even more wild and add shadows, shading, and anything else you can do with HTML + CSS.

For more information, see the Google Font API documentation. For more sample codes, check out Getting Started with Google Font API. And if you want to dive in deeper and add in italic, bold, and bold italic fonts, see their further reading section.

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Google I/O 2010 Overview

May 27, 2010 by  
Filed under Conferences, Google, Links and Resources

Google I/O 2010

Another Google I/O has come and gone, and I had a fabulous and geeky time there. The great thing about Google I/O is that it’s geared toward developers, so the sessions are usually code-based or overviews of new APIs and developments over in Google HQ.

Of all the things I learned about this year at the conference, the most exciting was learning what direction HTML 5 is heading in. Last year, I learned about the new <video> and <canvas> tags, but there’s so much more now.

This year’s conference was much bigger than the previous years. The conference sold out quickly with 5000 attendees. There were sessions going on in every room on the second floor of Moscone West Hall. I was most impressed with the bigger Developer’s Sandbox. It was 4 or 5 times bigger than last year’s. It was great talking to companies and developers who are already implementing Google products into their products.

Although I was drained from attending all the sessions, I didn’t want to miss the Google After Party. It’s actually a very geeky event with food and robots! The MakerFaire was in town and they had some amazing displays, robots, and man-powered machines all over the party.. definitely something you don’t want to miss while at the conference.

There was a lot of fun and excitement at this year’s Google I/O. There were many amazing announcements as well, including the Web-M project (standard video codec), new features in Android Froyo including support of Flash, Google TV, and our fabulous gifts for attending — the Sprint HTC Evo 4g — a gorgeous smartphone running Android!

Below is a summary of all the sessions I attended. For more information on each session, please follow the links to the Google Waves. The official YouTube videos will be coming soon. For more information about the conference, see the official Google I/O 2010 website.

Summary of each Session

Bringing Google to your SiteIn this session, we got many different examples on how we can add Google to our websites. Some examples were using custom searches (now with auto-completion), Google Feed API, Adsense with AJAX (new), SideWiki, Buzz API and Google Font API.

Beyond Design: Creating positive User Experiences – In this session, I learned that there are 7 principles for creating positive user experiences: 1) Be fast 2) Be yourself 3) Engage in conversations 4) Be willing to give up control 5) Be polite 6) Be prepared for failure 7) Be reliable. Examples of these principles were also talked about.

Developing with HTML 5 – This session was great since the presentation itself was written in all HTML 5 tags and coding. If you flip through the presentation, you can try out the bleeding edge features available for browsers in the near future. Some new HTML 5-specific tags and features are offline data storage, JS APIs, <head>, <hgroup>, <nav>, <section>, <article>, <aside>, <footer>, new form field types, <audio>, <video>, <canvas>, new CSS selectors and font support, transitions, and so much more. Run the presentation in a Chrome browser to see what lies ahead.

Ignite Google I/O – This session was a lot of fun. Ignite sessions capture geek cultures in a series of 5-minute speedy presentations. Each speaker gets 20 slides that auto-advances after 15 seconds. Topics were of various topics, from surviving the North Atlantic ocean and breaking world records, to our habits of searching on the internet, to playing battleships in a pond. It was very entertaining and super geeky.. and is best if you see the videos once they’re up.

Google Analytics APIs: End to end – This session was given by a UCR Alumni, Nick Mihailovski! This session demonstrated advance techniques of tracking statistics on your website using the Google Analytics API. For more information, see “What is Google Analytics

Surf the Steam: Google Buzz, Location, and Social Gaming was not my favorite session since they spent a few minutes talking about the new Buzz Api, and then started stepping through code on how to implement the BuzzBingo game. The one thing I learned from this session was that there’s a new Buzz API — great if you want to create a social game!

SEO Site Advice from the Experts was an excellent session. It was a panel of SEO experts who went through a list of submitted sites and let us know what the site is doing right and wrong about SEO. They talked about how important it was to use text on your webpages, how meta keywords aren’t indexed by Google because people inflate them, branding techniques starting with the domain name, content needing to be above the fold, page ranks, 301 redirects, and much more.

Optimize every bit of your site serving and web pages with Page Speed – In this session, I learned about a new project called Page Speed. It’s an open-source Firefox/Firebug Add-on. Developers can use Page Speed to evaluate the performance of their web pages and to get suggestions on how to improve them. Showslow.com is a demo website that shows the speed of websites. For more information, see Page Speed.

HTML 5 Status Update – In this session, the Chrome team went over new features in HTML 5 we should keep an eye out for. Their demo of the new Gmail was fun and quite intuitive. Drag and drop attachments as if it was a desktop app. New areas in HTML 5 include Offline storage, Media, Networking, CSS3, and Platform Integration (drag and drop, notifications, geolocation).

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5 iPhone Apps to Celebrate Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day! This should be an occasion to celebrate everyday and you can use the following iPhone/iPod Touch apps to do just that! Love Mother Nature and you’ll be surprised at how much she’ll love you back.

.The Power of Green by Con Edison Here’s a beautifully made app that has great tips on how to save money in your home and office while going green! Tips include Weatherization, Heating, Cooling, Water Heating, Lighting, and Appliances. Included are 101 flashcard tips, 6 videos, and a checklist for you to keep your updates.

.21st Office This app tests if you’re working in the 20th or 21st century! It asks you a series of questions in topics of Commuting, Business Meetings, and Reading. Then it examines your working habits and gives you a summary on what currently do, and how you can improve. There’s also a lot of great tips added by the community.

.GoodGuide is an app that helps you find safe, healthy, and sustainable products while you shop. How does it work? Simply scan the barcode of the item with your phone and the product’s details will display. These details include ratings for health, environment, and their social responsibility.

.The Lorax – Dr. Seuss is a wonderful ebook that’s perfect for Earth Day! It’s about a character who cuts down all the trees in the forest to make clothes. The Lorax warns him that his actions are hurting everyone, but he doesn’t listen. There’s a great moral to the story that will certainly engage young minds to help Mother Nature more. It’s a great story with beautiful animations and a narrator who reads to you!

.iRecycle an excellent app to find your nearest recycling centers and green events. Simply type in the item you want to recycle and it will find the nearest location that would accept it. Links to green tips and articles from Earth911.com can also be reached within the app.

iPad/iPhone App Review: Words With Friends

April 20, 2010 by  
Filed under Games, iPad, Reviews, Software and Web Apps

If you enjoy word games like Scrabble and Boggle, then you’ll love Words with Friends. One of the first games to be released on the iPad App store launch day, it has become a popular hit among iPhone, iPod Touch, and now iPad users.

The object of the game is to make as many words as you can with the 7 tiles given to you. Each game is between two players, where each player takes turns creating words by putting their tiles on the board. The board is filled with bonus spots — Double Letter, Triple Letter, Double Word, and Triple Word, so be careful where you put your words! Play all 7 of your tiles in one move and you get an extra 35 point bonus. Get the most points at the end of the game and you win!

This is a causal game that goes back and forth between the two players. There is no time limit for a move and you are notified via push notifications when it’s your turn. A great feature in the game is the chat window, where you can talk to your opponent in an sms-like window.

Like with most games, there are some improvements that can be made. One would be to increase the amount of games you can have queued up. Players do not need to respond to moves right away, which can be good and bad. It’s good because there’s no pressure on either players. It’s bad because players may forget about the game and not respond for a few days, weeks, and longer. This wouldn’t matter too much except that you can only have 20 games going on simultaneously. So if you want to play with more active people, you may need to resign some of the games. By resigning, you also lose that match.

Another improvement that needs to be made is the speed of the server’s response. When you submit a move or update your games, the data takes a while to transfer. I believe it depends on how many transactions are made, which can vary at different times of the day.

Also, there’s currently no built-in dictionary in the game. But players can arrange their tiles on the board and when they think they have a word, hit submit. The move will be made if it is a word, and will alert an error message if it is not.

Overall, this game is highly addictive and so much fun to play. It’s a great way to keep in touch with your friends and build your vocabulary while you’re at it! Try the free version for the iPhone/iPod touch and see how hooked you get!

The various versions are compatible with one another so you can play Words with Friends with your friends, no matter which versions they’re using. The difference between the HD version and the iPhone/iPod Touch version is that the board fills up the entire screen and the chat and menu panels appear as layers over the board game. In the iPhone/iPod Touch version, a new screen shows up for each task. The free version is optimized for the iPhone/iPod Touch and has ads on top of the board and a bigger ad once you make a move.

Words with Friends for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad versions are linked below:

If you want to play sometime, my username is ‘daynah.’ :)

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iBrite for your iPad!

April 19, 2010 by  
Filed under Games, iPad, Software and Web Apps

If you’re like me, this iPad app will bring you back to the good old days of your childhood. Remember the Lite Brite toy? It comes in fancy designs now, but I remember the old rectangle version. Check out iBrite the app for your iPad. I like this version since there’s not tiny pieces you need to pick up when you’re done playing. ;)

The app will be available in the iTunes App store on Friday, April 23rd. For more information, please see iBriteApp.com.

iBrite Trailer

Lite Brite Commercial from the 80′s

And just for fun, here’s an old Lite Brite commercial from the 80′s:

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Alice in Wonderland iPad eBook

April 19, 2010 by  
Filed under Games, iPad, Software and Web Apps

Have you ever read “Alice in Wonderland” like this? Tilt, shake, and tap your iPad to see what Alice and the Wonderland characters will do next. Try it out for free with the lite version on your iPad. If you like it, the full version is available for $8.99. It’s a fabulous way to read an eBook.. don’t you think? :)

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Google I/O Gives out Phones to Attendees

April 5, 2010 by  
Filed under Conferences, Google

Santa Google is delivering gifts early this year! Instead of being surprised at Google I/O’s keynote, attendees got an email this morning with a gift attached to it. Depending on the attendee’s country code, they will either receive a Motorola Droid or Nexus One phone as a gift.

Android will play a big role in this year’s Google I/O conference, so what better way to get developers excited than to give them an Android OS phone a month in advance. They’ll be able to familiarize themselves with the Android SDK way before the heading to the conference.

Google I/O would like the attendees to be put their new phones to work at the conference. A conference app will be available for download before May 19th, over 40 companies will be demo-ing their apps in the developer sandbox, so there will be more apps for us to test out, and they will continue the tradition of the SCVNGR game where attendees hunt and find hidden QR codes in the conference area.

More answers and questions about the Google I/O gift can be found here. And if you’re attending Google I/O 2010 in San Francisco, I’ll see you there!

Google Pillows at Google I/O

Photo by Albertech.net, May 2009, Google I/O 2009

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Tip: How to Create Gmail Filters

February 21, 2010 by  
Filed under Google, Tips and Tutorials

With the introduction of Google Buzz last week and the many emails it introduced, I’ve been actively creating more and more filters to keep my inbox clean. I thought it’d make a nice tip in case your inbox is flooded as well.

If you’re like me and signed up for newsletters, store ads, or other mailing lists, you may want to separate these emails from your more important ones. I personally think important emails should be sent to the inbox and maybe added to an additional label.

Other things from mailing lists can skip the inbox and be added under their own folder, or “label” as Google calls it.
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GameSalad – Create Games without Coding!

I attended MacWorld Expo 2010 recently and one of my favorite booths was GameSalad. They promised that I could make a game without any coding or programming at all. So yes, I was interested! I sat in for the beginner session to see how GameSalad works.

GameSalad at MacWorld 2010

Photo by Albertech.net/@dragonal; Taken at MacWorld Expo 2010; I’m in the lower right!

GameSalad is the world’s most advanced game creation tool for non-programmers. With GameSalad, game makers of all levels can bring their ideas to life without programming a single line of code. Build games visually using a drag-and-drop interface along with a robust behavior system. Publish your games quickly and easy to the iPhone, iPod Touch, Mac Desktop, and the Web.

If you want to learn how to make games for the iPhone (or Mac), try out GameSalad. They had training sessions on the expo floor, which I thought was a lot of fun. Sessions ranged from beginner to advanced, and didn’t require any programming knowledge at all.. just a bit of creativity.

Basically, you can import your graphics (let’s called these actors) into the GameSalad software. Then you can place your actors onto the canvas (like the background) and add in other pieces in layers. Add behaviors to these ‘actors’ and you got yourself a game!

For the beginner session, we made a pinball game. We added the game’s background, along with the flippers, pegs, and pinballs. The flippers behaviors were control by the Left and Right Arrows. When clicked, the flippers would move up in an angle. If the ball touched a peg, points would be added up in a scoreboard.

The creation you create with GameSalad is all yours. This also means if you are creating an iPhone version of the game, an Apple Developer’s license is also require since you are publishing it under your account.

If you’re a graphic designer with an eye for games, definitely consider GameSalad. The software starts at $99 a year. I was able to create a simple pinball game in under 30 minutes… just imagine what you can do with just a little more time.

For more information, see GameSalad.com and follow them on Twitter.

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A Glimpse at Droid

December 30, 2009 by  
Filed under Gadgets and Accessories, Google

Google Maps Navigation on Droid

Half of my day consisted of reading your tweets and reviewing apps and gadgets. It’s been quite productive. :) Pictured above is the Motorola Droid, running on the 2.0.1, and the free Google Maps Navigation service. This service alone is worth getting the phone. The turn-by-turn voice navigation is quite awesome. :) Stay tuned, a full review of the Droid to come soon!
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Goodbye 2009, Google Wave Style

December 22, 2009 by  
Filed under Geek Fun & Humor, Google, Multimedia

Wow, Whirled uses Google Wave to say goodbye to 2009. This is incredibly ingenious! Thanks for tweeting about it Robert!

iPhone Apps in iTunes

December 4, 2009 by  
Filed under Apple, Software and Web Apps

iTunesIn the latest version of iTunes (9.0.2.25), you’re now able to view all the iPhone / iPod Touch pages, even if it’s over 11 app pages. You might remember my previous problem of not being able to see all of my apps.

Now that I can easily sort my apps by dragging and dropping, only the ones I really use are on the first 11 pages. The apps on pages 12+ are displayed in iTunes, but not on the iPhone.

iPhone: View more than 11 pages in iTunes

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More Google Wave Invites!

December 1, 2009 by  
Filed under Google, Links and Resources

gwavelogoDecember is finally here. Happy Holidays! I thought I’d start off the month by giving away a few more Google Wave invites! I’ve been giving them away on a first comment, first serve basis, so I thought I’d change it up this time around.

If you would like a Google Wave invite, please answer the questions below. I will send invites to the most creative answers! Hint: longer answers help!

The reason why I do this is 1) I don’t want to give accounts to spammers and 2) I like to get to know my readers and 3) because it’s fun!

Note: Please leave your gmail account in the email field below (or another way for me to contact you!)

  1. How are you going to spend your holiday season?
  2. What is your favorite book, movie, or song?
  3. What is your favorite internet web show?
  4. What is your social media tool(s) of choice?
  5. What is one thing you know about me?
  6. What would you like to know more about me?

Good luck! I will start sending out the invites this weekend, and continue to while supplies last!

Books on Google Wave


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Google Wave Invites

November 12, 2009 by  
Filed under Google, Links and Resources

gwavelogoUpdate: 11/13/2009, 10am PST – I’m so sorry, but I am out of Google invites at this time. When I get a new batch of invites, I will announce it on Twitter. Please follow @daynah for updates. Thank you for understanding.

Would you like a Google Wave invite? I have some to give out! All you have to do is leave a comment answering these three quick questions:

  1. What are your favorite mobile games (games for iPhone, DS Lite, other smartphones, etc.)?
  2. What’s something you know about me?
  3. What would you use Google Wave for?

Be sure to leave your Gmail address somewhere also – either in the email field or comment — so I can send you the invite! This is on a first comment, first serve basis, so hurry before I run out of invites. ;)

For more tech news, giveaways, and updates, please follow my Twitter account @daynah. Google Wave ya later!

Note: Google Wave accounts are not activated right away. Activation may take up to a few days.

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Google Voice with Your Existing Number

October 26, 2009 by  
Filed under Google, Tech News

Now you can use Google Voice with your existing number! Before, in order to use Google Voice, you had to sign up for a new phone number. But with the recent changes, you can now add the Google Voice service to your existing phone number! Read the Google Voice blog for more information about this new service.

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Flickr: People in Photos

October 21, 2009 by  
Filed under Software and Web Apps, Tips and Tutorials

Flickr, a popular photography website, just launched their “People in Photos” feature today. And I love how it works. You simply type in a person’s name and it’ll add them into the photo. If you click on the little icon next to their name, you can create a square around their faces to identify them.

Here is a sample where I used the “People in Photos” feature. In the photo below, you can see Louis Gray, me, and Jesse Stay.

flickr-tag1

To start tagging people, type in their screen name, real name, or email address into the input box. A list of users will appear. If they are a Flickr contact, select the appropriate one. Else, finish typing and select either “Search this email address” or “send an email to this address.”

To add a square around people’s face, click on the icon shown in the image below:

flickr-tag3

Once the square is created, drag the square over the person’s face. Continue doing this for the next person, and the next.

flickr-tag2

You can read more about Flickr’s “People in Photos” here.

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Tekzilla Explains Google Wave

October 18, 2009 by  
Filed under Google, Multimedia, Software and Web Apps

tekzillaTekzilla explains what Google Wave is. Thanks so much for the shoutout Veronica! You can jump to the segment at 3:43 or go to the Google Wave segment notes.

Google Chrome Themes

October 7, 2009 by  
Filed under Google, Links and Resources

I’ve never really noticed the new Google Chrome Themes until I saw that cute corner fold at the bottom of the page today.

Why stick with this default theme:
chrome-defaulttheme

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