Posts tagged google

Fast Company Fast Company
image from Fast Company
I've been using this Simplify Gmail chrome plugin for a week now and I highly recommend it. I've been accidentally clicking compose ever since Gmail added the fly-in-on-hover navigation on the left. This plugin removes that and adds a floating compose button in the lower right. It removes several distractions around the edges and lets you focus on reading email—which is what you're there to do.
the-camera-in-the-mirror.tumblr.com the-camera-in-the-mirror.tumblr.com
Google Maps has had indoor street view for seven or eight years now. This site collects images of the Google Maps robot caught in the mirrors of those interiors. The juxtaposition of lavish preserved 18th century decor with the utilitarian machine eye feels like something out of a Kubrik movie. And the lack of humans in most pictures makes it look like a post-depopulation survey.
Gizmodo Gizmodo
image from Gizmodo
I never get tired of these stories where people change their digital habits. This piece by Kashmir Hill is an extreme example, but also a good illustration of how ubiquitous the major tech companies are. Understanding the often hidden architecture of our tech environment helps us make mindful decisions. A couple other posts in this genre I've enjoyed lately: Bye, Bye, Google by Bogdan Popa and Pulling the plug on Facebook by Drupal founder Dries Buytaert.
The Verge The Verge
image from The Verge
Not following the daily long scream of social media news? This article is a good way to catch up on the fresh horrors. Facebook is really leading the way in ethical absence: But don't count Google out yet! The Verge: Apple blocks Google from running its internal iOS apps. And why is Apple suddenly the arbiter of justice? Shouldn't that be the role of our government? Yes, says Apple: Tim Cook Calls for ‘Data-Broker Clearinghouse’ in Push for Privacy Rules. This is all happening while Facebook's stock is soaring: Facebook keeps growing despite scandals and privacy outrage. The Market will not fix this. I guess there's nothing anyone can do. Let's just get weird again.

Link Defragmentation

I save links in Safari's Reading List on my iPhone so I can reference them later. Sharing them here on my blog is their final resting place. Once posted here, I remove the links from my reading list and the cycle of cruft can begin again. It's a similar process to—and as exciting as—defragmenting your hard drive. How many hours did I spend watching the defrag visualization colors rearrange themselves in Windows Disk Defragmenter? That's rhetorical, but many. Many hours. Of watching. Now you too can watch the metaphorical defrag colors along with me:

First, go listen to the latest episode of Matt Haughey's podcast Hobby Horse where he interviews people about their side projects. In Episode 4 he talks with Erica Baker about ancestry and geneology and it absolutely changed the way I look at family trees. We’re all connected in ways I hadn’t thought about before. So great—go listen!

While I'm talking podcasts, Gimlet has a new one out called The Habitat that I'm hooked on after one episode. It's about a NASA study to determine how six humans live together for a year in a confined space. They're trying to simulate the conditions that people would live in on a mission to Mars. You can binge the whole thing.

Last week I posted about the SmugMug/Flickr exchange and I've been enjoying the takes: Tom Coates, Ben Cerveny, Jim Ray, and for context this 2012 article (cold take?) by Mat Honan: How Yahoo Killed Flickr and Lost the Internet.

Did you know you can look up at least some of the interests Twitter has assigned to you for personalized advertising? I was surprised at how accurate some of the more obscure interests were but I shouldn't be. We need more privacy and dumber phones.

Google set up a new way to query information in books called Talk to Books. As an introvert I feel like Google really gets me with this project, you know? I'll just be over here talking to books.

@lhl found a tumblr dedicated to gathering depictions of floppy disks in anime. It's even better than it sounds.

ok, off to delete my reading list. Defrag complete!

onfocus is AMPed

I have officially jumped on the Accelerated Mobile Pages bandwagon. Every post page here at onfocus now has an AMP version. (You can append /amp to any post URL to see it in action. This post, AMPed. I'll wait here.)

Pretty similar, eh? I thought it would be good to get a sense of how AMP pages are different from standard HTML. There are some proprietary tags and some required JavaScript dependencies. I guess if you're loading a dozen JS libraries and a million lines of CSS, going through the AMP conversion process could help get you thinking about minimalism. Not much to change here. I could probably combine a couple JavaScript files into one.

In 2003 I added WAP cards to this site. Those are long gone. Maybe AMP is the new future.

Update from the future: Hello from 2019. At some point I removed AMP from my site because I think it's a walled garden that doesn't necessarily improve performance—especially for a small site like this. AMP gives Google more control in a world where they have enough.
  • Rushkoff's talk at WebVisions last month. His premise: our underlying economic system is never disrupted and it's bad business.
  • Anil talks about the tightening APIs that are forcing ThinkUp to shut down. I've been a ThinkUp user since the days you installed it on your own server. ThinkUp tried to help you understand how you use services like Twitter and Facebook. Big thanks to Anil and Gina for helping us do that for so long.
  • Dang, we ended up with a top-down Internet anyway. "Today, Google and a handful of other major Internet corporations like Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon fulfill much the same role that Otlet envisioned for the Mundaneum—channeling the world’s intellectual output." [via RF]
  • Excellent Google Reader rant. "We need to keep pushing forward without them, and do what we’ve always done before: route around the obstructions and maintain what’s great about the web."
  • Google Reader's massive database is full of Web history that no longer exists anywhere else. The Archive Team is trying to pull as much out as they can, but they need lists of feeds. I just shared my list of subscriptions. If you have an OPML file sitting around gathering dust, consider donating.
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