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The Schmidt has hit the fan…

Eric Schmidt from Google

Last night in Japan, Google’s executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, spoke openly about Google Maps and Apple products without holding much back.

It all started with a simple question of if Google was working on a ‘Maps’ application for the iPhone5 (or iOS 6).

Schmidt’s response was very frank and left no wiggle room for the press:

“We have not done anything yet.”

If that wasn’t open enough the questions pushed on about Google’s involvement with the choice to remove the “Maps” app and switch to Apple’s own rudimentary ‘Navigation’ app.

Eric continued to oblige with another great reply:

“We think it would have been better if they had kept ours. But what do I know?”

“What were we going to do, force them not to change their mind? It’s their call.”

It could just be me, but when the executive chairman employed by one of the most successful and important companies on the planet tosses out a phrase like ‘But what do I know?’, there’s very little modesty and a lot of sarcasm involved.

Further questions seemed to annoy Eric and he did make it clear that the two companies have an open dialog, stating that they ‘talk daily’, in one form or the other.

After a bit more ‘Apple’ questions, Mr.Schmidt gave what could be considered an annoyed remark:

“Apple is the exception, and the Android system is the common model, which is why our market share is so much higher…”

He went on to indicate his feelings that Android’s success was often ignored by the media, which he claims is often:

“obsessed with Apple’s marketing events and Apple’s branding.”

Android Logo eating the Apple Logo

Indeed with over 500 million users of the Android OS (including more than just phones), the numbers are on Google’s side.

To get things back on track, after-all Mr.Schmidt was in Japan to show off the latest Nexus tablet, Eric finished the press conference with a quick demonstration of a Nexus tablet controlling Google Maps via movements of the tablet.

This allows the user to ‘look around’ the map in a more natural way that is lots of fun and very intuitive.

As a final jab Eric tossed out:

Take that Apple,” .. adding quickly, “That was a joke by the way.

But the Joke is on Apple; As they deal with the throngs of die-hard fans who paid way too much for easy to scratch (or pre-scratched) phones, that leak light, and can’t run the best mapping apps.

Good times! ;)

SEO news blog post by @ 11:14 am on September 25, 2012


Google-a-gram? Insta-oogle? Google-Shop?

Do you like pictures? Pretty pictures?

Google just purchased an online graphics startup called ‘Snapseed‘, adding the outstanding features of it’s tools to Google’s already growing list of image editing options.
A photo of Blueberries with the Google logo hidden in the middle
While we like to get people’s attention, this news does not require Snapseed to suddenly be elevated to the status of ‘Instagram rival‘ just for the sake of writing an article.

In fact Snapseed was popular with photographers, not just ‘people taking pictures of their cats’; Something which already declassifies it from comparison to Instagram; Above and beyond the fact that photographers actually paid for Snapseed’s services.

In fact I don’t even need to pretend that:

Google and Facebook Inc are locked in a battle for social network followers bolster this article either, but thanks for your attempt at ‘journalism’ Reuters.

The truth is that G+ isn’t for the MySpace holdouts, nor has it been designed to force people off of FB.

Heck I’m sure there’s users of both systems who will never make the switch and I’m just as sure that the developers working on G+ are fine with that.

You heard it here folks:

  • Google+ is not Facebook.
  • Does Facebook allow me to video chat with my GMail contacts?
  • Can anyone guarantee efforts on Facebook will always be favored by Google?
  • Do FB business pages give me the same professional exposure that a company page on G+ would provide?
  • Would it be worth it to setup rel=author links for employees FB profiles when G+ is far more business worthy?
  • Etc.. etc..

People keep saying things like, “Google is playing catch up in social…“, which is true if you completely ignore the innovations and ways that they are leading social tech.

Google already has some great graphics options like SketchUp:

[iframe alt="Google SketchUp Model of heavy equipment" src="" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" width="550" height="413"]

.. and SVG Edit which is great for HTML5 authoring:

(This is a 3kb SVG script)SVG Edit Logo in SVG Format

.. and Picasa for photos:

Picasa logo

Oreo the Cat - Politely explaining his deepening interest in eating some of his owner's food.
(Which in version 3.9 has a lot of image filters already!)

Heck, speaking of Picasa and Google+, with Picasa installed locally I can organize/edit photos on my desktop and have that organization flow seamlessly to email contacts/friends/public.

With multiple PCs at my disposal, having my efforts tied to a single online sharing point is ‘huge’ to say the least.

In fact, some tools, like SVG Edit, are directly available online, making it a very accessible tool for quick web design work on-the-fly.

If Nik Software’s Snapseed adds even more options to the process then I’m super happy to be a G+ user.

Thanks for all the free love Google!

SEO news blog post by @ 12:43 pm on September 18, 2012


Mmmmmm Bacon..

Did that get your attention? Some crispy fresh smoky bacon?

It’s a pity then that the story isn’t about hot pork but instead about degrees of bacon.

Degrees of Kevin Bacon to be exact.

Google has given us yet another nerdy Easter Egg, not unlike the StarCraft inspired ZergRush or StarFox inspired BarrelRoll, Easter Eggs. (Shame on PCWorld for their typo this morning!).

If you add ‘bacon number’ to an actor’s name in a Google Search, Google will tell you the degrees of separation between the actor and Kevin Bacon.

Heck it even works with actresses!

Try a Google search for: “Oliva Wilde bacon number should get a Bacon Number of “2″!

This is because Oliva worked with Ryan Reynolds in ‘The Change-Up’..

Ryan Reynolds is working with Kevin Bacon on the action/comedy film ‘R.I.P.D.’ that’s coming out in early 2013.

Thus Oliva Wild’s ‘degree of separation’ with Kevin Bacon would be a 2.

All Oliva needs to do now is add her Bacon number to her profile page like so:

Since you’d need to be pretty famous to have a Bacon Number I expect that it will be *the* thing to have, if you’re a movie star.

Fat Hacker – Cosmo the God & UGNazi

This is not my best segway(seguay?) between stories, but I was simply blown away by the tale of a chubby 15 year old hacker in California who is in jail for widespread hacking and mischief.

This inventive teen, with poor supervision, has managed to hack a wide cross-section of some of the worlds biggest companies including:

Amazon, Apple, AT&T, PayPal, AOL, Netflix, Network Solutions, and Microsoft

`Cosmo`, as he is called online, likes to point out that none of these hacks were particularly tricky, and is calling on companies to fix their easily exploitable systems, while he sits in a juvenile detention center after admitting to many of his `hacks`.

The story I read on was so well written I’m not even going to try and do any excerpts, I’m just going to drop the link and insist you give it a read.

Nicely done Mat Honan, from a victim to a sympathizer, all in one interview. This is great investigative journalism, and we need more like it.

SEO news blog post by @ 1:01 pm on September 13, 2012


The value of a lie: Nokia Lumina 920′s Free Press

The Nokia Lumina 920 is easily one of the most successful technical product launches I’ve personally seen in a long time. I haven’t witnessed this much media buzz around a Nokia phone since, well, ever?

Nokia managed to turn a technology demonstration into a massive marketing wind-fall by simply not marking video/images as ‘simulated’ and letting the internet chew on the potential story that ‘Nokia sells lies’.

The video that caused all the fuss has been de-listed (not removed/deleted) and annotations were added via YouTube to clearly mark the ‘simulated’ scenes in the advert:

After the video started raising questions folks who live in the part of town where the advert was shot also started questioning the lighting of the still images suggesting that Nokia faked those as well.

Sure enough, the only pictures that are taken with the Nokia Lumina 920 are clearly marked as you can see here:
Demonstration image from a Nokia Lumina 920
Nokia quickly admitted that the video (and sample images) allowed people to come to the wrong conclusions of the actual phone’s capabillities and released a side-by-side comparison of video shot with the phone showing off both the hardware and the OIS software:

Wireless Charging

With all this hype over OIS the fact that the phone charges without needing to be plugged in seems to have flown right under the radar? As someone who has used a phone to the point where it can’t even charge properly due to wear on the connection, the idea of not plugging in my phone is very appealing!

Last month Intel was even blogging about WCT (Wireless Charging Technology) with a 2013 estimate of including it in their laptops/ultrabooks so that mobile users only need to pack one power cord, and everything nearby (~1 inch distance) will charge up as well.

With this tech all we need now are coffee shops with WCT tables so we can surf and re-charge our phones as we re-charge our caffeine levels.

SEO news blog post by @ 2:11 pm on September 6, 2012




It’s Hard To Do The Right Thing

For anyone who’s ever found themselves blocked while trying to do the right thing, this post is for you.

Some time ago we were contacted by a company (Eyewear Pros to be specific) that wanted to make a donation to charity.  Now that doesn’t sound hard and I suppose it’s not but there was a twist, the owner of the business is passionate about the need for glasses – especially to those less fortunate and so he asked us to help him setup a campaign in which he would make a donation to New Eyes For The Needy for each pair of glasses he sold off his website.  The folks at the charity were easy to work with and that side of things worked itself out very quickly.  But he wanted to take it further, he didn’t want to simply give money to the charity, he wanted them to end up with more glasses to distribute and so on top of the donation he offered to pay the shipping for his customers to send their old glasses.  In fact, to incentivize people further – he wanted to offer an additional donation based on the number of pairs sent in.

Once again we found the folks at New Eyes For The Needy to be easy to work with, the problem arose when we contacted both USPS and to try to arrange some type of pre-paid shipping solution.  We’ve all had envelopes sent to us with pre-paid postage so this has to be easy right?  Wrong.

After weeks of communication with both companies we are still unable to provide any type of acceptable solution.  the best we’ve got so far is a choice between either:

  1. Send full shipping to every client and simply hope they use it to ship their glasses, or
  2. Send them an unpaid shipping label and not cover the costs

Can you see the problem?  We know it must be possible but there’s no clear solution that anyone we’ve talked at either company to can provide.

If any of our valued readers know of a solution or a company that we should talk to, your input would be greatly appreciated.  It’s frustrating when you have a client who’s trying hard to do the right thing and can’t, especially when you regularly get pre-paid envelops included with mailings and are doing exactly what you’re trying to.

If you have any suggestions please feel free to contact us with your thoughts.

And because our client is so passionate about the charity, here’s a bit more information on it:

SEO news blog post by @ 8:28 am on July 31, 2012



Google Earth Engine and 40 years of Landsat data

As Apple and other companies continue to sue Google to slow/halt their growth into certain markets, Google is still finding ways to help the entire planet by sharing their technical infrastructure.

NASA started collecting images of Earth using the Landsat satellite system in 1972, and in the last 40 years the amount of data that has been accumulated is quite enormous.

The Landsat system is capable of mapping the entire planet surface every 16 days which means that there are 912 complete 1.7-terapixel images of our planet at a 30-meter resolution that not only need to be built/combined but the completed data maps also need to be compared over time.

Google’s infrastructure makes it possible to not only process the data much faster, but they can also make the information accessible to the public web where discovery and analysis can be crowd-sourced for free.

So far there’s been some very interesting work derived from the Landsat data using Google’s Earth Engine, and here’s three examples of human impacts on the planet that have been visualized by Landsat data analysis:

This time-lapse, built from Landsat captured satellite imagery from 1999 to 2011, shows the amazingly rapid growth of Las Vegas, Nevada. After watching the video it’s easy to see how Vegas is the fastest growing city in the United States for the past two decades.

Due to water diversion for irrigation and farming needs, the inland Aral Sea is shrinking at an amazing pace. Large portions were completely absent of water by as early as 2009 and these dry areas continue to grow today.

Providing land for farming, and clearing land for raising cattle, has caused the Amazon rainforest to shrink at a very shocking rate as you can see in this video.

For more time-line based Landsat data analysis you can go right to the Google Earth Engine page.

Sadly there’s zero examples of human activity improving the planet, which isn’t startling, but rather depressing. Perhaps someone wants to go take a look for something positive, like a rebuild of coral reef or something beneficial to the planet that humans have undertaken? I know I’d make a link to that.

UPDATE: Ahh speaking of 40 years of data, Greenland just hit a melt cycle that occurs roughly every ~150 years. The cycle this year will be the first time we’ve had satellite observation of the melt; all previous information is based on ice core samples.

SEO news blog post by @ 11:04 am on July 24, 2012


Happy Nikola Tesla Day

Nikola Tesla and his Tesla coils.

Today marks the birth of one of the finest brains the planet Earth has offered up.  When we think of the great minds of science Nikola Tesla too often gets lost among the names of often lesser minds who happen to have been more marketable (I’m looking at you Edison).  I should note that after Da Vinci, Tesla is my personal favorite among the scientists of the modern world.  As I type that I realize how incredibly nerdy that sounds/is but I thought it relevant to the note my bias. :)

What Makes Nikola Tesla Great?

I’ll keep things short and sweet in today’s post and link below to a ton of great resources (many funny and/or edgy so the read shouldn’t be too dry in case you’re worried).  Here’s what he’s known for among those that even know his name:

  • He held 111 patents.
  • He invented the radio.
  • He invented the AC motor.  He was in a battle with Edison who championed the DC motor.  Tesla was right, Edison was remembered.
  • He invented devices for X-rays.
  • Dramatically improved the efficiency of the movement of electricity through cables (basically making it possible to power homes).
  • Robots. (seriously … he invented the first robot)
  • And of course, he invented the Tesla Coil (image above).

There’s more to the man than just a few inventions.  Reading his story is filled with intrigue (he was screwed out of $50,000 by Edison) to sadness (he died poor and alone in a hotel room) to just curiosities in a “how does a person end up like that” kind of way.  If you’re interested (and I hope you are) you can read more about Nikola Tesla at:

Nikola Tesla Resources:

And so very much more.

You can just search on Google to find huge numbers of resources on a geek who’s known among geeks but very few others.  Credit where it’s due … the world would not be what it is without Nikola Tesla.

Now rarely do I put potentially questionable materials in our blog but a couple of my favorite comedians hosted a series in which they get a historian drunk and then act out the tale he tells.  One such story is on Nikola Tesla.  Warning: there is some language that may be offensive but it definitely gets to the point.

Drunk History vol. 6 w/ John C. Reilly & Crispin Glover from Drunk History

SEO news blog post by @ 9:49 am on July 10, 2012

Categories:just for fun,Misc


Robotic Asteroid Mining for Rare Elements

avi neodymium sub

When I was a teenager the coolest speakers on the planet were made by AVI Sound International in Vancouver BC and they stood out from other manufacturers because of how they used rare earth neodymium magnet structures.

Using these rare materials in speakers intended for bass was a first in the world of audio products, and AVI has helped many enthusiasts win at international competitions with their exotic products and no-compromise ideas. Even at the time the cost of using these rare minerals was really crazy, and AVI only produced limited quantities before totally stopping production.

Fast forward to 2012 and US federal authorities tasked with resource forecasts are already predicting a world-wide shortage of neodymium, and other rare minerals, that will be outpaced by our needs as early as 2015! The transition away from these magnets for things like traditional physical HDDs will help, but our needs in just the electric-vehicle industry alone is causing concerns.

Enter: Planetary Resources

It is speculation at the moment, but when you take someone with the resources and imagination of James Cameron, pick Peter Diamandis (the X Prize founder) to lead the operation, stir in some wealthy Google executives, and call it ‘Planetary Resources’ you are begging for speculation.

planetary resources logo

When Earth runs low on rare resources, the value of reaching into space for those resources starts to match up with the cost of doing so.

Bruce Willis - Armageddon

The trick is to find a way to mine without having it cost more than the minerals are worth.

It’s for this reason that we’re not likely to send Bruce Willis, or any humans, off to space with a pickaxe any-time soon.

The first industrial space mining is almost certainly going to be done by robotics, and guess who’s behind a new robot fighting show on TV called “Robogeddon”? Yes indeed, James Cameron is lending his experience in robotic battle cinema to the new show which will be hosted by Mark Burnett from Survivor and Shark Tank.

Is it really financially feasible to mine asteroids?
Back in 2005 Peter Diamandis did a TED video discussing how a single asteroid full of nickel-iron alloy could be worth “$20 Trillion” on the precious metals market:
[jwplayer config="550x437 Classic" mediaid="3821"]

(Oh Canada .. @ 8:35m)

When you look at the resources we need to continue advancing clean energy technologies like photovoltaic panels, electric motors, batteries, etc.., these items are all based on rare minerals we are rapidly running out of on this planet. By as early as 2020 we will start hitting a crisis of supply that nobody doubts will impact our current clean energy initiatives drastically.

So at this point we already know we can’t afford to not take this next step into space exploration and mining. The gains in science and development of the entire human race alone make the case for this work.

Another factor is the privatization of space exploration with NASA stepping out of the publicly funded access to space. This lack of a publicly financed effort makes room for all the private companies who now can see the value of the investment and competing for the business in this new sector.

I don’t need to tell the reader how excited and eager I am to hear the full ‘official’ announcement of Planetary Resources’ plans which should be coming as early as next week!

Speaking of Competitions..

April 15th was the final day of our Beanstalk map making contest in Minecraft.

While we were really impressed with all the effort going into the maps we know that most map makers are still trying to finish the maps they started.

At this point we have confirmation that all entries past the date of our prize change are interested in extending the competition.

To make things as fair as possible Dave has agreed that we will give out the original $50 prize to the best map we have now, and then give everyone until May 31st to finish their maps for the main prize.

This should be plenty of time to finish all those ‘runaway trains’ of details and tweaks that map makers find as they start to complete a major build. I know that on the demo map I could probably spend a week just detailing the cloud structures and leaves on the Beanstalk leading up to the giant’s castle.

Congrats to Faragilus for his floating castle and beanstalk map submission! We’ve sent out an email to confirm your win and will be shipping out your prize once we’ve confirmed your address info.

Faragilus’ map will also be featured along with the top finalists, and he is welcome to re-submit an updated map at any time if he wishes to also compete for the grand prize. Because the competition is still on-going we won’t be featuring any winning map content until the May 31st closing date.

Good luck and have a great time making your maps!

SEO news blog post by @ 1:49 pm on April 19, 2012


Google develops ARGs for Pirates

Google Glass

“Arrrgh! Shiver me timbers! Mizen the topsail! Be that land I see through my metal eye?!”

Okay so Google’s new Augmented Reality Glasses aren’t just for one-eyed pirates, heck even a two eyed pirate can find a use for these ‘La Forge’ inspired techno goggles.

Yesterday Google was showing off a working prototype of their Augmented Reality Glasses which have been a two year labour of love running under the code name: ‘Project Glass‘.


Until yesterday we had little info on this Google[x] project, and there was speculation that the end project might come out as a digital contact lens instead of the pair of black and white frames we are seeing demonstrated this week.

At the moment however even the frames are in the ‘styling’ phase of prototyping, looking a bit like a slice of an iPhone, with a very tiny camera hole, hooked up to a thumbnail sized display.

We also know that they have touch controls on the top of the glasses, one of which is for capturing an image of whatever is in-front of you. My guess is that the first ‘mod’ for these will be a flip down shield that ‘alarmists’ can use to guarantee nobody is spying on them.

Shut up and take my money

As if pictures weren’t enough to get our hands reaching for our wallets, there was also a ‘concept’ video demonstrating the Android based UI that the glasses will use to interact with the user.

After watching the video I have to wonder how they would display something in the middle of your visual perspective using a tiny little screen?

This resulted in me spending about 35 seconds bending a paper clip into the rough shape of the screen. I plopped this mock-up onto my glasses and took a look at what area the ‘display’ would have.

The current display would actually have quite a bit of space to display info, but there’s no way I can ‘see’ that it would be able to display something in the middle of your view?

Virtual retinal displays, even the most advanced laser based units, still haven’t found their way into ‘production’, even within military channels like DARPA where such a technology should be very tempting to adopt.

So for now I’m in the camp of nay-sayers who feel that the tech needs a bit more work before it can deliver what’s in the promotional video, and even then there’s certainly some kinks to work out of the system for obvious safety reasons.

Pity though, some of the style pics look so cool..
Borg version of Google Glasses

SEO news blog post by @ 11:42 am on April 5, 2012


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