iamom: (Default)
For the second time in as many weeks, I had bad insomnia last night and couldn't go to sleep until almost 4 AM. This is an experience that is rare to the point of near obscurity for me, and after laying in bed for 90 minutes and still feeling like it was 2 in the afternoon, I went downstairs to the computer, read for awhile, then starting surfing Google Video for racing footage. I found LOTS.

The first time I did this was last September, so I can console myself with the knowledge that I'm not wasting a lot of time on it. But the proceeds of my search are below. And take note that these are the best of my search -- I probably viewed a hundred or more videos throughout the night.

Speed bike at the Nurburgring
Different experience than in a car. Cornering speeds are much higher and more exciting, and this bike has a digital speedometer that seems to be in km/h and not mph, but sometimes I'm not sure.

Reversing a rolled-over Porsche 911 on the Nurburgring
A sad sight: requiring a tow truck to slowly right an highly-modified upside-down Porsche 911 next to the track.

The wipeout that led up to this
I found this video much later: it's the actual wipeout that required the tow truck to right the Porsche.

A terrible, flaming crash

Another audacious crash, with air

In-car commentary plus a roll
A unique in-car view of a rollover, with some choice words from the driver after full stop.

Crashes in a Russian tunnel       
A long series of ridiculous and crazy crashes inside an underwater tunnel in Russia -- all taken by a CC camera.

Ridiculous, long rally crash footage
Ridiculous as in good, but a long video to watch, this is a Japanese montage of dozens of spectacular rally car driving moments and lots of incredible spills and rollovers. It's astounding how much abuse rally cars can take and still keep driving.

Car Crash Kings Part 1
Self-explanatory, but good.

Car Crash Kings Part 2
More of the same goodness.

Insane downhill cycling race
This has to be seen to be believed, but be forewarned that there's a slightly nauseating crash partway through when the rider's front end falls apart on his bike. These downhillers ride full-suspension mountain bikes down a 45-degree slope and reach speeds of up to 172 kph!!!

That famous Plug-N-Play blue screen of death video (Win98)
I thought this story was urban legend, but this is a short clip demonstrating how Windows 98's famous "Plug And Pray" technology crashed when Bill Gates was unveiling it at a tradeshow.

SCARY crash montage

BMX roof crash
Some whackjob tries to ride a BMX up a ramp to land on the roof of a house and... fails.

The corniest rap video EVAR
I'm pretty sure these dudes are taking themselves seriously, but it's impossible to take them seriously as a viewer. Yikes.

Wild car chase in Houston
Texas Highway Patrol versus BMW M Series -- the Beamer lasts almost forever!

The unstoppable one
This guy goes on forever...
iamom: (sage muzzle)
I've been waiting for this...

Click the image for a full-size screenshot or
go to the Google Calendar Start Page

On [livejournal.com profile] wickenden's reco, I started using Upcoming.org's online calendar service, but although I really dug the RSS feed of my schedule (which I could slip oh-so-easily onto my NetVibes start page (NetVibes was also a great tip from [livejournal.com profile] wickenden, and it's a service which I love more than words can say -- especially since they added tabbed pages this week)), I found Upcoming.org's usability to be poor. Takes too long to create appointment entries and there's no feature to schedule recurring tasks at all.

Google Calendar solves all that with a super intuitive "Quick Add" entry field that parses a simple sentence into an event. Type "Lunch meeting with Don on Apr 30 from 12:00-14:00 at Salvatore's" and it creates an appointment for exactly that date and time and puts "Salvatore's" into the location field. Reminders can be sent by e-mail, SMS or phone, and the nifty "Agenda" view displays all of your upcoming appointments (the Agenda can also be mailed to you each morning at 5 AM if you like). It's beautiful! The GUI is also à la Gmail and integrates nicely into the whole deal.

If Google adds a decent project/task management/scheduling component to this and then rolls out a full release of Writely (the free, web-based document editing tool which Google recently bought) and then adds a simple spreadsheet app that covers the most common functions used by most folks, then we'll finally have a possible choice to migrate from MS Office for a fully-integrated productivity app. I'm very impressed, and very happy.

After using Google Calendar for a half-hour, I already have a hit list of usability improvements they could make, but knowing from my experience with Gmail how long it takes those suggestions to get implemented, I won't waste much time on that for now. I sure wish I could work on a usability team for Google Labs, though. I know I could help improve their interfaces and features really quickly.
iamom: (pink)
These are Google's words on the new service, and this is the Google Base Homepage.

Usability freak Greg Raiz wrote about the new service here, with a quick follow-up here about how he thinks this service could spawn a new Google Wallet e-payment platform.

More info by Google about it is here. Apparently you can upload RSS feeds to it too, which must have implications to people who want to broaden their audience from blogs. But I don't think I understand the true value of this yet. Info has to be specifically uploaded to Google Base and it's not automatically included in the Google search index unless it becomes highly relevant by web links. But people will have to know about Google Base and search it separately for stuff. And if this stuff is so important, why isn't it already being found in the index? Ostensibly it's because it's not relevant enough, isn't it? Is that because the information hasn't been found yet? Is this then just a way to get your own personal information and resources online and searchable with Google? Maybe it's as simple as that.
iamom: (sage)
Google's beta Print search engine is not without its opponents. Without obtaining copyright permission, it allows people to search the actual text within offline printed books and then displays the scanned pages of your search results. I think it's an interesting tool though. Try it yourself to find books which contain terms of your choosing.

iamom: (portrait)
I'm quite enjoying the use of Google's personalized home page to display my most commonly used bookmarks, snippets from the first 6-7 messages in my Inbox, 3-4 of my favourite news and other syndicated feeds, plus the live results from two of my current favourite Google News searches (examples 1 and 2), although I'm brimming over with suggestions for additions and improvements. If I have time, I'll see if I can find a quick yet effective (i.e. impactful) way to send these suggestions to the developers at Google Labs who are the ones responsible for these new add-ons.

(On a related note, Google's blog search engine returns several results from my LJ community [livejournal.com profile] nonduality for its blog search on nonduality. Trippiness abounds. This is a reminder to me that I should be more active in that community, too.)

Anyway, a recent crime fiction news search (see example 1 above) yielded an interesting article and interview about UK poet David Harsent's recent Forward prize win for his collection of war poems called Legion. What I found most interesting was that this poet also writes crime fiction under the pseudonym Stella Mooney. From the interview:
excerpt starts here )

All poets have to have day jobs. I used to be a bookseller and then a publisher, a lot of people teach and we all have to try and make a living as nobody can make a living just from poetry. For example, Robin Robertson is a publisher, the poetry editor of Cape, and Don Patterson is the poetry editor of Picador. I didn't want to teach or go on being a publisher because it was too demanding of my time. So I decided to try to make my living by my pen and I quite like thrillers.

excerpt continues here )
Now, it's fairly common to read about crime fiction writers (and many other kinds of fiction writers, for that matter) who haven't been successful enough to quit their day jobs yet. (And as author James Lincoln Warren points out, practically nobody except Edward D. Hoch actually makes a living at short crime fiction.) But it's another thing entirely to hear about a poet who has a day job as a crime fiction novelist. Lucky bastard.

(In personal writing news, my short murder story is still progressing quite well, although I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a bit concerned at its growing length. It's currently sitting at over 10,000 words and the murder itself is probably 1,000 words away. My approach right now is to keep writing until the whole story is down, and then I'll start an aggressive editing process to cut out the dead wood and tighten the language overall. I'm still hoping to have a good working draft completed by the end of November, with crits (from writing friends, from this LJ and from OWW-SFF) plus subsequent revisions completed by year-end. Then I'll start peddling it to prospective publishers, and as yet I have no idea what to expect from that process...)
iamom: (zoesad)
This Slashdot article addresses something I've been thinking about re Google since I started using Gmail as my primary e-mail client a couple months ago. Gmail is such a fantastic e-mail client and contact manager that I can't help thinking that if they would just add a few more features such as a calendar, scheduler and to-do list manager, then nobody would have any need to use Outlook. All they'd have to do is add the functionality of sharing contacts, appointments, tasks, etc. and you'd have Outlook beat.

But apparently I'm not the only one who's thinking about that.
iamom: (flying)
I know [livejournal.com profile] vyoma's got a big hate on for Google right now (and he has some valid points for this, too), but I still have a little crush on the company for all the useful shit it can do for us.

Here are some great examples. I always forget to use it as a calculator and conversion tool.

Also, from Google itself, its cheat sheet:
iamom: (flying)
I've just found a substitute for racing games. It's watching in-car videos of racing, courtesy of Google's video search engine. Here are some of the highlights I've found, most of which made my palms sweat within seconds.

Motorcycle vs rush-hour traffic
There's not much to say about this except that this guy is nuts. And very exciting to watch.

Tuned Toyota Supra in pursuit of a Porsche 911 GT2
This one is wild -- they routinely drive at speeds of more than 160 mph, and the clip ends when the Supra driver exits the interstate after spotting a police helicopter following them overhead.

Intense rally-car action in a Peugeot
This driver is fantastic; I can't believe how hard he pushes this little car, and his technique is flawless.

911 GT3 drifts
Gorgeous drifts and in-car views of the race-ready stock Porsche that doesn't offer traction control as a factory option.

911 GT3 on the Nurburgring
A ferocious full circuit of one of Germany's most legendary road race courses (apart from the Autobahn, of course)

911 GT3 at Nordschleife
Another circuit in a GT3 at another of Germany's famed courses, but this driver is a monster, and drives exactly the way I'd want to if I had that car.

Rally-car highlights
Some truly amazing rally-car race footage + some incredible spills and rolls

Evo drift
Nice hard drift in Mitsubishi's fastest sport compact

Rally-car racing
Excellent driving on a dirt course that includes the navigator's instructions (the navigator's the passenger in all rally-car events, and he calls out the degree and direction of each upcoming curve -- a critical component to every rally race)

From the Gumball, I think
The Gumball is a modern-day version of the Cannonball Run, and this footage shows police evasions and more in this high-speed cross-country race

Stock car racing, in-car
Good in-car footage of a stock car race

Motorcycle road race in Germany
Beautiful banks and accelerations in this clip

911 C4 on a skidpad
Some nice technical work around the pylons by driver Terry Riedel in a 4WD Porsche 911 Carrera 4

How to kill a Porsche 911
Sacrilige to me and also hard to watch, but still entertaining in the end

Motorcycle track racing
Miscellaneous footage on the track

Rally-car technique
In-car footage of US rally champion Leon Styles' driving technique -- fun to watch

Brett Wolfe, mountain biker
Brett Wolfe is a one-legged mountain bike racer who has completed La Ruta de los Conquistadores twice: a 300-mile, 24,000-foot climb mountain bike race in Costa Rica.
iamom: (flying)

From their download page: They say talk is cheap. Google thinks it should be free. Google Talk enables you to call or send instant messages to your friends for free–anytime, anywhere in the world. Google Talk offers you:

  • Choice: Get in touch how and when you want to–over email, IM or a call

  • Quality: Talk through your computer but hear your friends as if they were in the same room

  • Convenience: Your Gmail contacts are pre-loaded into Google Talk so inviting or talking to your friends is just a clickaway

I just installed it; it's a nice-looking GUI and apparently handles voice calls too. If anyone else here gets it rolling, add me to your contacts via dlindensmith@gmail.com and IM me to add you to mine.
iamom: (sage)
Those who use this, will use it a lot. Somebody has written a nice hack for the beautiful Google Maps which calculates real distances from routes that you lay out yourself onto a Google map. Runners, walkers and cyclists will find this useful to calculate the precise lengths of their running routes.

Just one more amazing thing you can do with Google.

Here's the site:


iamom: (Default)
Dustin LindenSmith

January 2013

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