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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Bringing Google+ comments to Blogger

Cross-posted from the Google Official blog

Posted by +Yonatan Zunger, Principal Engineer

Reading and responding to comments can be one of the most rewarding aspects of blogging. Not only do they help you connect with your readers, they can also inspire later blog entries. The challenge, oftentimes, is following all the conversations around your content—on Google+, for instance, as well as on your website. So we're making things a lot simpler.

Starting today, you can bring Google+ Comments to your Blogger blog. Once you've enabled the feature through your Blogger Dashboard, you'll enjoy a number of important benefits:

View your blog and Google+ comments, all in one place

Now when you're browsing your blog's comment threads, you'll see activity from direct visitors, and from people talking about your content on Google+. For example, if there's a public Google+ discussion about one of your blog entries, those comments and replies will also appear on your Blogger blog. This way you can engage with more of your readers, all in one place.

Help readers comment and connect with their circles

Your blog readers will now have the option to comment publicly, or privately to their circles on Google+. And when they're browsing blog comments, they can view all of them, just the top ones, or only those from the people in their circles.

In all cases, you and your readers will only see the comments you have permission to see. Giving people these kinds of controls not only encourages more meaningful sharing—it can lead to more blog traffic.

To get started with Google+ Comments, just visit the Google+ tab of your Blogger Dashboard, and check “Use Google+ Comments.” (Older comments will continue to appear in the new widget.)

You can also visit any post on the Official Google Blog (like this one), or on Blogger Buzz (like this one), to see Google+ Comments in action.

Happy commenting!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Coincidence? I think not.

Seems like the current chart No.9 (Down this week from No.4 pop-pickers) happens to be talking about the work we've been doing for the last year or so...
I was left to my own devices
Many days fell away with nothing to show
And the walls kept tumbling down
In the city that we love
Great clouds roll over the hills
Bringing darkness from above
But if you close your eyes,
Does it almost feel like
Nothing changed at all?
And if you close your eyes,
Does it almost feel like
You've been here before?
How am I gonna be an optimist about this?
How am I gonna be an optimist about this?

I am still struggling to know how I'm going to be an optimist about this - Current DefCon level: "Officially Livid"

Here's the video:

Friday, April 19, 2013

Defcon Mental

Some complicated and ridiculous things going on with the work of late - and as much as I'd love to rant and rave about them in public, I'm afraid I can't. Sadly all I can do is tell you that like some of my colleagues, I'm close to being "Weapons Grade Pissed Off", but for the time being I'll settle for "Generally Aggravated". Lets not discuss it further until such times as we can.


I did find myself in the unenviable position of spending the entire week in the city this time round though, and while I love the place in doses, I don't enjoy it as much in long stretches. I miss my family. With the phrase "it won't last forever" ringing in my ears, I can only hope it doesn't.


So what of any social element of my week? Well, the was a little in between the painful bits. Monday night saw us leaving the office around 19.30 because Me and the Hedge had to visit a small grocery shop just around the corner from the hotel to collect a parcel we'd jointly ordered from the boys at amazon. All went to plan despite our concerns over the use of a "drop box" in unknown enemy territory and we are now the proud owners of stereo Bluetooth headsets with hardly a wire in sight. Very geeky - and very cool.


After the collection from the "safe house" we managed to get Greth-the-Spreader, The Tall Fella, The Church Seating and the Duleymeister to all make the journey to the "The Queens" for two beers and a burger (well that's what I had) - which I have to say - was pretty bloody good actually. The stroll back across Primrose Hill was most pleasant with a great view of the city from the top. A good start to the week, and suitably refreshing for the 8am start in the office the next day.


Tuesday night was another early one - this time around 19:00 - not least because we were all "mildly annoyed" with the state of things in general. We ventured out onto the streets of Swiss Cottage and took a curry on board in "Eriki". Not bad if a little overpriced but it didn't settle well and as a result, sleep was something I could only dream of. (Oh, I see what you did there -Ed).


In fact, the lack of sleep was particularly hard when combined with an 8am start and a 10pm finish on Wednesday. Food was almost an after thought, but we did manage to throw some Tapas down our necks in "Mar y Terra", a tiny Spanish bar in Blackfriars which was actually excellent. Not sure if that was because we were soooo hungry, or it genuinely was excellent. Only way to know for sure, it's to pay it a return visit at some point preferably a little earlier in the evening next time though.


Thursday brought with it a 7.30 (in the office) start and what we'd planned to be a short day. In point of fact, it was - although events conspired against us to try and reverse this decision. As it worked out, I was able to slope off early and meet up with Stan - who was in the vicinity on business and we took a wander round the city sampling a few ales from various alehouses. By 6.30 the tall fella and the church seating joined us (The Hedge having an appointment with his sister) and once Stan legged it to the station to catch the last train home, we slipped into "Wong Kei's" in china town for some below average Chinese food.


Another early start today - 7.30 again, and to be honest, I am now knackered. It's been yet another roller-coaster of a week, which at times has left us despairing of the very existence of this job - and yet we battle on like the brave fools we are. I managed to catch the 5pm train out of Paddington so not all bad - and home is calling me louder than even my new headphones can block out.


"Come, sweet slumber, enshroud me in thy purple cloak" as "The Art of Noise" (assisted by Max Headroom, once put it.


Until next time...


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Monday, April 15, 2013

Earwig "O" again

Yet more of the same as I board the good old 6.46 to Paddington - late by a mere 5 minutes - as is the way with Last Poor Western trains. It's a bright start insofar as there is daylight and I'm getting used to what it's like to not travel in the dark now that summer has finally arrived.  You can tell its summer because I'm not wearing wellingtons - other than that, you'd never know.

The Stroud valley is resplendent in the spring green and browns making for an enjoyable trundle on the way to pig-town to join the mainline. I often think I wouldn't mind living out here - but then I see the state of some of the places and think again. Stroud is "artistic" in that its full of people claiming to be artists. On a more down to earth note - the ageing ex-hippies of Stroud like making tie-die t-shirts and wind chimes using the traditional Glastonbury methods of being stoned out of their heads during the manufacturing process.

Fair enough - that is a gross generalisation of the people of Stroud and I apologise to many of them - but it's accurate enough for you to understand the "vibe" of the place. It's a disused textiles town - with many a mechanic / furniture retailer / used-car salesman / pizza deliverer operating from ex-warehouses which are themselves, ex-mills.   That's not to say its not a "vibrant" town. There's certainly enough entertainment to keep the local police fully employed, it's just not the brightest button in the box, shall we say. Don't get me wrong - the valley is beautiful - the town, less so. In summary, you're not missing much.

By the time we reach Swine-town, the train is fully laden and the hard core commuters are joined by those taking the short hop to Reading.  It's days like this that I'm glad there's no wi-fi on board - a chance to clear my head (by writing this) before it becomes full of the whys and wherefores that the week will bring.

This week sees all four of us located in the red coloured hotel chain which will make a pleasant change from the grey. We have a plate load of things to do - starting today with some executive "help". Always interesting - and usually not quite as bad as you imagine it will be - but I'm not counting any chickens this time. We're in a pickle and whilst this is not a pickle that we have made, were still expected to find a way out of the jar. Challenging.

The Hedge has also persuaded me to invest in some new Bluetooth headphones. I've been looking for a set for a while, but on Thursday he discovered that the cost of a pair of stereo and very lightweight with integrated microphone for use on the telephone, had come down a fair bit and we both merrily parted with about 45 quid. The annoying tangle of headphone cable is nearing its end.

The interesting part of this transaction though, is the delivery method. They are to be left at a "drop box" in the city for us to collect. This is an Amazon feature service for when you're travelling and not able to accept delivery at home. Assuming we can find it, and assuming the drop hasn't been compromised by those behind the iron curtain, the collection should be made later today. "Zee Red Fox is sleeping in zee woods" - to which the obvious response is - "but only while zee Blue Badger hunts in zee springtime" - or something... All very cloak and dagger.

In other news - well, the isn't much other news actually. I got home on Thursday, managed a beer on Thursday night. Slogged through a mahoosive spreadsheet in between conference calls for most of the day on Friday. Cooked a curry. Played Taxi driver for daughter, Mrs G and the Lodger. Failed to win the lottery. Re-painted the middle bathroom. Watched the Hobbit in 3D. Helped with various hangovers on Sunday (not mine I might add). Reviewed some numbers ahead of today's meeting. Got out on the bike for a bit. Saw the Chinese Grand Prix and some of the Masters Golf. Cooked a Lasagne. Saw "Endeavour" - "Inspector Morse" when he was young and that was about it. All pretty quiet really.

The Hobbit - much better than I'd expected. I think all the reviews of it being long in the telling, and stretching the story to its limits had put me off the idea, but actually I really enjoyed it. The 3D version is split across 2 discs (which is unusual) but then at a running time of 3 hours, to be expected I suppose. This break perhaps makes it more digestible than a single 3 hour stint - but to be honest, I barely noticed. Magical landscapes of New Zealand and nice story telling work all round. I wish I didn't have to wait for the next "instalment" but Peter Jackson has clearly been to the George Lucas school of Film Farming, having learnt how to really milk-it. Still, it's more than worth a watch - 8/10.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Up and Coming 2....

Movies due for release during Quarter Two of 2012... Continuing on from the Up and Coming post at the back end of last year, here's the list of stuff that was scheduled for the next three months. Some of this is about now of course, but there's plenty still to come...


A Late Quartet
Dir: Yaron Zilberman - Starring: Christopher Walken, Philip Seymour Hoffman.
Age Rating: TBC Runtime: 105 mins

Dir: Kimberly Peirce - Starring Grace Moretz, Julianne Moore.
Age Rating: TBC     

Dir: Carlo Carlei - Starring: Damian Lewis, Stellan Skarsgård.
Age Rating: TBC    

Dir: Ric Roman Waugh - Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Nadine Velazquez, Jon Bernthal.
Age Rating: TBC 

Dir: Mat Whitecross - Starring: Elliott Tittensor, Nico Mirallegro.
Age Rating: TBC     

Dir: Paul Feig - Starring: Sandra Bullock, Melissa McCarthy.
Age Rating: TBC

Dir: Peter Hedges - Starring: Jennifer Garner, Joel Edgerton, Ron Livingston.
Age Rating: U    Runtime: 105 mins  

Dir: Joseph Kosinski - Starring: Tom Cruise, Olga Kurylenko, Andrea Riseborough.
Age Rating: TBC     

Dir: Malcolm D Lee - Starring: Marisa Saks, Charlie Sheen, Molly Shannon.
Age Rating: TBC     

Dir: Fede Alvarez - Starring: Shiloh Fernandez, Jessica Lucas.
Age Rating: TBC     

Dir: Antoine Fuqua - Starring: Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman, Radha Mitchell.
Age Rating: TBC     

Dir: Gus Van Sant - Starring: Matt Damon, John Krasinski, Frances McDormand.
Age Rating: TBC

Dir: Shane Black - Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle.
Age Rating: TBC   


Dir: Joss Whedon - Starring: Anthony Mackie, Jeremy Renner, Chris Hemsworth.
Age Rating: TBC     

Dir: Alastair Fothergill and Mark Linfield - Starring: Tim Allen
Age Rating: TBC    Runtime: 78 mins

Dir: Steven Knight - Starring: Jason Statham, Lee Asquith-Coe, Vicky McClure
Age Rating: TBC   

Dir: Michael Bay - Starring: Rebel Wilson, Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson.
Age Rating: TBC     

Dir: J.J. Abrams - Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana.
Age Rating: TBC
Tickets have already been acquired :-)     

Dir: Baz Luhrmann - Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Isla Fisher, Carey Mulligan...
Age Rating: TBC
Very much looking forward to catching this new interpretation of the classic American novel.

Dir: Chris Wedge - Starring: Aziz Ansari, Judah Friedlander, Jason Sudeikis.
Age Rating: TBC     

Dir: Mike Disa - Starring: David Tennant, Rupert Grint, Jim Broadbent...
Age Rating: TBC


Sixth Gear
Dir: Justin Lin - Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson.
Age Rating: TBC 
Surely some kind of joke....

Hangover 3
Dir: Todd Phillips - Starring: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis.
Age Rating: TBC

The Wedding
Dir: Justin Zackham
Starring: Robert De Niro, Katherine Heigl...
Releasing in UK cinemas Friday 31st May 2013
Age Rating: TBC   


1000 A.E.
Dir: M. Night Shyamalan
Starring: Will Smith, Jaden Smith, Sophie Okonedo...
Releasing in UK cinemas Friday 7th June 2013
Age Rating: TBC     

Dir: Ariel Vromen
Starring: Michael Shannon, Ray Liotta, David Schwimmer...
Releasing in UK cinemas Friday 7th June 2013
Age Rating: TBC  


Dir: Zack Snyder
Starring: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Russell Crowe...
Releasing in UK cinemas Friday 14th June 2013
Age Rating: TBC   

Dir: Louis Leterrier
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Morgan Freeman...
Releasing in UK cinemas Friday 21st June 2013
Age Rating: TBC 


Dir: Robert Schwentke
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Jeff Bridges, Kevin Bacon...
Releasing in UK cinemas Friday 21st June 2013
Age Rating: TBC 


Dir: Marc Forster
Starring: Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, James Badge Dale...
Releasing in UK cinemas Friday 21st June 2013
Age Rating: TBC     

Dir: Chris Renaud and Pierre Coffin
Starring: Dana Gaier, Miranda Cosgrove, Steve Carell...
Releasing in UK cinemas Friday 28th June 2013
Age Rating: TBC     

The Apocalypse
Dir: Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen
Starring: Jonah Hill, James Franco, Seth Rogen...
Releasing in UK cinemas Friday 28th June 2013
Age Rating: TBC     


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