Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Why I don’t like iGoogle’s new look

A while back I was writing how I’m waiting for iGoogle’s new look, and now when it’s here, I’m a bit disappointed.

The main Google applications that I use are Gmail and Reader. Using Gmail in iGoogle for reading email is OK, but when writing I miss some of the features that are in the standalone Gmail (e.g. the paragraph direction). With Reader, I find the lack of left navigation bar a bit of a problem. It takes just too many clicks to get to the RSS feed that I want. So I usually just use the standalone apps instead of the iGoogle integrated ones.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Picasa Web Albums People Tagging Experience

Picasa Web Albums have a new feature – Name Tags. All you have to do is enable this feature from the Settings page. Picasa Web will then process your albums and identify people’s faces. That sounded exciting, as I am spending a lot of time tagging my pictures in a photo cataloging software. I had some albums in Picasa Web, so I decided to try this feature.

After a few minutes of progress bar Picasa Web completed the identification stage. It found around 800 faces. Picasa Web will try to identify the same faces and place them in a group, so that you can easily tag several faces at once. For me it worked great for around 120 faces. Afterwards the matching got worse, but still the tagging process is easier than other cataloging software that I previously used.

Picasa Web also caused my son to laugh hysterically a few times, when it placed wrong faces in some groups (for example, a girl from his kindergarten with several pictures of him). There were also a few cases of faces which weren’t faces, and faces which were faces, but not of real people. Here are the top face “failures”:

Psychedelic face:




Cat jacket face


Puppet face


Airline face


And at number one:

Lego fireman face


Friday, October 3, 2008

Flying from Israel to Australia in FSX

I’ve completed the long journey of flying from Israel to Australia in MS Flight Simulator X (or FSX in short). I flew using the Beechcraft King Air 350. You can see the route in Google Maps, here. Overall it was fun. Most of the flight was using the autopilot, except of course for takeoff and landing. Most of the flights were at night, as I set the clock to the current time at the departure airport. I also flew using the current weather (FSX does that), but the weather was generally good. I could have made fewer stops, but I only had limited time. My next project would be with the Learjet. I’ve already made a few practice flights (I usually don’t fly jets), and I’m just looking for a destination :-)

HTC Diamond, a month later

About a month ago I got the HTC Diamond Smartphone. After a month I can say that this is the best Smartphone I have ever had. First, for the battery issue that I had, I replaced the battery and the battery life is much better now (around a day and a half of moderate use). The best way to measure success is if it replaces my regular, old cellular phone, and my old phone is resting peacefully in the car for almost a month now! The phone is small and a perfect fit for the pocket. As a phone it works great, and I hardly missed a phone call (Smartphones tend to delay the ring), and it’s not too slow at all. I use it regularly for push-mail, and I haven’t had any hiccups at that end as well. While its camera is not that great, it is certainly enough for a phone. So bottom line, I wouldn’t mind keeping it for a while (that is, until the next hot gadget arrives!).

Paul McCartney in Quebec

Just got a look at the bootleg video of the concert (recorded from TV). It’s the closest thing we have for the concert in Tel-Aviv, as they were only two months apart, and both were outside. If Paul wants to make money out of his recent concerts, it would be a good idea to combine Quebec, Kiev, and Tel-Aviv in one DVD. Only if he does that, I really hope he doesn’t produce the DVD the same he has done lately. All his recent concert DVDs show more audience then Paul & band, and it’s quite annoying.

Anyway, here is a nice video from YouTube of Live and Let Die, from Quebec. There’s a part there where he misses a few notes, and bursts up laughing.