27 November 2009

New event scheduler in Google Calendar

Since last week, Google Calendar previews a new interface for advanced events options, which helps users to easily find suitable times for meetings with other people. Of course, all of the guests have to use Google Calendar and share their schedules between them for this to work. TechCrunch calls the newly introduced feature “Sneak Preview”, but I see no indication that’s an actual name. Google Calendar sneak previewFor the moment, the feature is opt-in; you must explicitly enable it once you open the edit event page, but everyone should have access to it now. Google Calendar turn on the sneak preview

21 November 2009

Hey, Twitter, is that a RT or a like?

The Twitter team has been busy lately, introducing lists and updating them with descriptions and changing their catchphrase to a more social-oriented “What’s happening?”. The latest beta feature to be rolled out to users is the popular Retweet function, although somewhat different from what third-party client offered so far. Earlier this week I also became a member of the beta group receiving this feature, like the welcome message informs us. There must be a lot of NASA fans at the Twitter headquarters! Or could this be the first form of advertising we see on their home page?Twitter beta retweet welcome screen

15 November 2009

Direct access to Facebook’s update streams

The interface overhaul Facebook unveiled last month presented the users with two new ways to receive updates about their friends, via the “News Feed” sorted by some cryptic algorithm or the “Live Feed” filled with too many connection updates. I mentioned in a previous article that the site remembers where you left off last time, but this behavior could be annoying if you prefer one of the view and only occasionally check out the other one. I for example use the “Live Feed” most of the time, because I find the chronological sort more natural.

Fortunately, each of the two views can be accessed through a custom URL:

Facebook Live Feed

These addresses can be easily bookmarked, so you can start with the same Facebook home page every time, even if you use different browsers or computers.

Update: As of September 2011, with the new redesign, merging the news feed and live feed, these links no longer have any effect. You can instead sort the unified feed by either Top Stories or Recent First.

14 November 2009

First integration between FeedBurner and Google Analytics

Yesterday, Friday the 13th, was not an unlucky day at all for fans of Google services, as two of them made the first steps towards a long-awaited integration. Like the official announcement states: It's about time these two neighbors got to talking to each other. – in this case FeedBurner and Google Analytics. More specifically, after enabling the feature, FeedBurner tags your links with parameters like “Source” and “Medium” so that any click is more clearly presented in Google Analytics, along with the application it originated from (e.g. Google Reader). The article also shows how to enable it and customize the available variables. Of course, the real benefit from such an integration would be to share information about feed views, not merely clicks, so that this can be compared and tracked through the powerful filters and goals from Analytics. We can still hope this will see the light of day, since Google promises this is only the first of a series of updates scheduled in the coming weeks.Customize FeedBurner-Analytics integration

07 November 2009

Starred items count in Google Reader

Despite being a great webapp and probably the best feed reader currently available on the Internet, Google Reader has it’s share of quirks and missing features, probably the most (in)famous of them being the inability to rename folders without complicated workarounds. Another one is the lack of a starred items count anywhere in the interface. It’s a small thing and can probably be easily justified by the fact that starred items are private, as opposed to likes and shares, but people are still asking for a solution. From the “Trends” page you can find out how many items you starred in the past month, but not the total count. Sharing setting in Google Reader

Google reader information in the Dashboard But after the launch of Google Dashboard earlier this week, this small piece of information surfaced there. If you visit https://www.google.com/dashboard/ and scroll down to the “Reader” section, you will find the number of items you have starred throughout the years (in my case, at least), along with other statistics, that are easier to discover. What kind of “secrets” have you discovered through Google Dashboard?

06 November 2009

Brizzly integrates Twitter lists

My favorite Twitter client, brizzly, finalized the integration of the new Twitter lists today, as promised a month ago. After the initial announcement in the morning (at least in my time zone), the process was completed in the afternoon, when I logged into the app. Only a week has passed since the lists were officially rolled out to all the twitter users worldwide. From the countless clients you can find on the web, brizzly is second only to Seesmic Desktop to support the new lists and most likely the first among the web-based clients.Brizzly groups converted to twitter lists

03 November 2009

Robert Charles Wilson - Turbion

in Bucharest, Romania

Coperta prima editie Spin de Robert Charles Wilson După o aşteptare de aproximativ trei luni, biblioteca din cartierul meu s-a redeschis în sfîrşit în urma unei actualizări de software. Am profitat deci ca să revin la vechiul meu obicei de a lua la rând rafturile ei în căutare de “material” nou. De data asta am descoperit, printre altele, un roman SF pe care îl aşteptam de ceva vreme, “Turbion” de Robert Charles Wilson.

Pământul din “Turbion” e mai mult sau mai puţin identic cu cel familiar nouă, până la un eveniment crucial: dispariţia bruscă a stelelor de pe cerul nopţii. Trăită de cele trei personaje principale simultan la sfîrşitul copilăriei, le va marca profund următorii 30 de ani din viaţă, ca şi întregul glob de altfel. Sub acest spectru ameninţător şi misterios, evoluţia celor trei copii e oarecum stereotipă. Cei doi gemeni mai în vârstă se îndepărtează tot mai mult: băiatul Jason se dedică complet cercetării Turbionului în cadrul fundaţiei Periheliu, sprijinit de influenţa economică şi politică a tatălui lor, în timp ce Diane se alătură diverselor mişcări fundamentalist-creştine care văd în fenomen vestitorul Judecăţii de Apoi. Tyler, ruda săracă a casei Lawton, se îndreaptă spre o carieră de medic. Aceasta îl poartă pentru mulţi ani la Periheliu, unde tratează scleroza multiplă atipică pe care Jason încearcă s-o ascundă de restul lumii şi în principal de tatăl său.