31 July 2014

Google Drive's Quota Page

The new Google Drive interface has a cool feature: it shows all the files you've uploaded, sorted by file size. Mouse over the storage stats at the bottom of the page ("X GB of Y GB used"), click "Drive" and you'll get to this page that shows the quota used by your files, so you can quickly delete some of the files you no longer need. Interestingly, the URL: http://ift.tt/1pr94ua also works in the old Google Drive interface.

The page doesn't include the documents, spreadsheets, forms, presentations, drawings created with Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings or converted to the Google formats.

The old Google Drive interface also had this feature. You had to click an arrow icon next to "owner", pick "quota used" and sort by quota. Google Drive only displayed the files from the current folder, so you had to use this URL: http://ift.tt/1fkeQ8U to see all your files. The new quota page is more convenient, but the new Google Drive interface no longer lets you sort folders by quota used.

64-Bit Chrome for Windows, Now in Beta

2 months after the Dev/Canary channels, the 64-bit version of Chrome for Windows is now available in the beta channel. It's still limited to Windows 7 and Windows 8+ and you obviously need a 64-bit operating system.

"To try it out, download the 64-bit installer from our Beta download pages. The new version replaces the existing version while preserving all your settings and bookmarks, so there's no need to uninstall a current installation of Chrome," informs Google.

The 64-bit Chrome brings some actual improvements: better performance and fewer crashes. 5 years after releasing the 64-bit Chrome for Linux, it's time for Windows users to upgrade to a 64-bit browser.

Paul Buchheit on Startups

Paul Buchheit, the ex-Googler who created Gmail, gave a talk at Startup School. There are a lot of interesting ideas and many of them have something to do with Google.

Paul talks about the danger of experience and dogma: "Just because it didn't work in the past doesn't mean it won't work in the future. Likewise, what worked before may not work again. The best opportunities live in our collective blind spots. To most, they appear to be bad ideas, or simply unimportant." For example, many people thought that writing the Gmail interface in JavaScript was a bad idea, but Gmail worked well, browsers improved and now web apps are commonplace.

The man who came up with Gmail says that "to be innovative, we need to evade the limitations of established thinking. Creating an innovative new product often means spending years working on something that most people doubt the value of." To be able to do this, you really need to love what you are doing and ignore the voices that tell you that what you are trying to achieve is impossible. As Larry Page says, maintain a healthy disregard for the impossible.

Trying to solve interesting problems also helps. "Interestingness is a sign of unexplored or under-explored territory. If I already know what the outcome is going to be, that's not very interesting. (...) But I find that great startups exist in a space of productive uncertainty. Regardless whether they succeed or fail, I'm likely to learn something interesting," says Paul Buchheit. That's one of the reasons why he picked Google back in 1999: he believed that Google couldn't compete with Alta Vista, but at least he'll learn something from the smart people at Google.

Google as a startup was different from the way people perceived it. Even if Google was mostly a search engine, Google founders had bigger ambitions. "Larry wanted to store and search the whole web in memory, even though our machines only had 1/4 GB of RAM. It was unrealistic at the time, but Moore's law moves fast and very soon we were doing it, but only because everyone's thinking was already oriented in that direction. He also wanted self-driving cars that would deliver hamburgers. That hasn't happened yet, but I bet it will."

For Paul Buchheit, money are only the "fuel" that helps you achieve a mission, not the main goal of a business. "For me, startups are more than just a clever way to make money. They are machines for harnessing the fire of human self-interest, creating a self-sustaining reaction capable of rapidly transforming the world."

28 July 2014

Tambola Tickets Made With Emojis

We were choosing a game for an upcoming kids party and tambola (or housie or bingo depending on which part of the world you live) was a clear and unanimous choice. The rules of game are simple, you can download the PDFs and print the tickets at home and even adults are likely to enjoy this game.

The regular tambola tickets contain numbers but for this party, we wanted a little variation. How about replacing numbers on the ticket with the more visual emojis (see example) that almost everyone can instantly recognize now thanks to the growing popularity of Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger and other instant messaging apps that all support these emoticons.

There were no online generators that supported Emoji tickets so I put together a little PHP script that outputs the Bingo tickets using Emojis instead of numbers. If you would also like to try this, go to ctrlq.org and hit the “Ticket Sheet” button to create your own tamobola sheets. It generates a set of 2×5 tickets and you can create as many you like. They’ll all be unique.

Here’re some photographs of the Emoji tickets printed on photo paper. The full emoji sheet can be downloaded from imgur.com.



This story, Tambola Tickets Made With Emojis, was originally published at Digital Inspiration on 28/07/2014 under Games, Internet

New URL for Google Docs

If you go to docs.google.com, you might see this message: "Soon, docs.google.com will start taking you to the Google Docs application, not Google Drive. You can always get to Google Drive by using drive.google.com." Until now, docs.google.com redirected to drive.google.com without displaying this message.

"You may be using docs.google.com to access Google Drive. With the launch of the new Google Docs editors home screens, docs.google.com will redirect to the Docs home screen, where you'll find all of your Google Docs and Word files," explains Google.

Some useful URLs:

* docs.google.com, google.com/docs - Google Docs (the first URL still redirects to Drive for now)

* sheets.google.com, google.com/sheets - Google Sheets

* slides.google.com, google.com/slides - Google Slides

Google Tests Timeline View for Knowledge Graph

Google tests a timeline view for Knowledge Graph cards. For a query like [World War I], Google's experimental interface displays a chronological list of important events obtained from Wikipedia articles.

Mouse over an event and Google shows more information, including images, relevant dates and snippets from Wikipedia articles. Click the event to perform a Google search.

By default, Google only highlights some of the most important events, but you can zoom in to explore to see even more events. Google uses colors and parallel axis to distinguish between different types of information.

Here's a video that shows this feature in action. Right now, the timeline view looks like a tool for power users and Google will have to create a simplified interface when this feature is publicly released.

Back in 2007, Google Labs added a timeline view for Google Search. Google News Archive also had a timeline view. These features displayed relevant search results about important events related to your query.

{ via Florian Kiersch - translation }

Animated YouTube Channel Art

YouTube now lets you upload animated GIFs for channel art. The maximum file size is 2MB and the minimum dimension is 2048 x 1152. "For optimal results on all devices we recommend uploading a single 2560 X 1440 px image," informs YouTube.

Here's an example of channel that uses animated GIFs and a video that explains how to create animated channel art using Photoshop:

{ Thanks, Sterling. }

Gmail Setup Widget

When you create a new Gmail account, Google now shows a widget that helps you learn how to use Gmail, choose a theme, import contacts and mail, change profile image and more.

"Gmail now has a setup gadget to help people new to Gmail get started. This gadget helps people set up their Gmail account with actions like adding a profile picture and creating an email signature, and teaches them to use features like undo send and creating an auto-responder. The setup gadget is hidden once the person completes all actions, dismisses the gadget or after two weeks. It can be relaunched from Settings," informs Google.

{ Thanks, Herin. }