Google Design Minutes

google has started a new series of videos titled Google Design Minutes — here’s a few they posted with some of the lead designers over at google talking about the challenges behind the projects they’re working on.

Search: The beauty of speed

Maps: Putting the user front and center

Glass: Make it simple

i’ve really liked the direction that google as been going in over the past couple years on the design front, so it’s interesting to see and hear some of the people behind it all.

Google Street View Now Lets You Go Back In Time

#goodstuff

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HBO On Amazon

HBO Shows Will Soon Stream on Amazon, in Blow to Netflix

Soon you’ll be able to get Tony Soprano with one click.

The Wire

In a surprise move on Wednesday morning, Amazon announced that it had acquired the rights to stream HBO shows like The Sopranos and Six Feet Under as part of its Amazon Prime Instant Video subscription service, a huge acquisition in its ongoing battle against Netflix.

The agreement will make HBO shows available to stream to non-HBO subscribers for the first time ever.

i’ve always kind of wondered why HBO didn’t broaden access to their shows via Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc… though i guess it makes sense from a business standpoint since they obviously want you to sign-up and pay for HBO.

this is great news though — i don’t see any mention of Game of Thrones though… i’d happily cancel my HBO subscription if i could watch it for free on amazon.

#bastards

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A Nonprofit In Queens Makes A Difference

A nonprofit in Queens taught people to write iPhone apps — and their incomes jumped from $15k to $72k

There’s a booming tech scene in New York City with over 70,000 open jobs, but it’s always been somewhat insulated from the city itself — a problem that’s led to only one in four of those jobs getting filled.

Student Grid

That situation led the non-profit Coalition for Queens to start Access Code, a unique training program that teaches people from the Queens community to code iOS apps, while receiving mentorship and guidance on career development and entrepreneurship from notable figures from the New York startup scene. Six months after the first Access Code class of 21 students completed the 18 week course, the 15 graduates who accepted job offers have seen their income rise from under $15,000 to an average of $72,190; the other six students are either still in college or have chosen to launch their own startups. And the class as a whole is commendably diverse in an industry that has been struggling to attract women and minorities: it’s 50 percent women, 50 percent underrepresented minorities, and 40 percent immigrants.

i just thought this was a pretty good story about what a non-profit in NYC is doing to help… and not to get overly political here, but it also falls inline with “teach a man to fish…” philosophy versus just handing them some food stamps.

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Titty Tuesday

thought i’d take a quick moment out of my day for a funbag moment.

my twitter feed’s been overrun with mentions of “earth day”, which is apparently today… so… ummm, yeah… dunno why, but does Earth Day seem a little cheesy at this point or is it just me?

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VW R400

CONFIRMED: VW’s Burly-Ass, 395-hp Golf R 400 Concept Will Be Built!

love’n the sound of a 395-hp golf, sure does sound pretty tasty… on the flipside, i’m sure it’ll be over $30k and at that pricepoint, i think most people would start looking at BMW’s or Audi’s — i know i would.

p.s. not sure about that yellow trim either.

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Rape of Thrones

That Game of Thrones Scene Wasn’t a “Turn-On,” It Was Rape

In last night’s episode of Game of Thrones, the character Jaime Lannister rapes his sister and long-time lover, Cersei, beside the corpse of their dead son. As she repeatedly yells “no” and “stop,” he tears off her clothes, pushes her to the ground, and says, “I don’t care.”

This isn’t the first rape scene in Game of Thrones—far from it. And there’s been controversy over the show’s use of rape before. But what makes this scene the most upsetting one yet is that the director didn’t realize he was filming a rape scene. This is what Alex Graves told Alan Sepinwall over at Hitfix:

Well, it becomes consensual by the end, because anything for them ultimately results in a turn-on, especially a power struggle. Nobody really wanted to talk about what was going on between the two characters, so we had a rehearsal that was a blocking rehearsal. …Nikolaj (Coster-Waldau, who plays Jaime) came in and we just went through one physical progression and digression of what they went through, but also how to do it with only one hand, because it was Nikolaj. By the time you do that and you walk through it, the actors feel comfortable going home to think about it. The only other thing I did was that ordinarily, you rehearse the night before, and I wanted to rehearse that scene four days before, so that we could think about everything. And it worked out really well. That’s one of my favorite scenes I’ve ever done.

I’ve seen a lot of disturbing things on Game of Thrones. I’ve seen people burned alive. I’ve seen men castrated. I’ve seen prostitutes forced to torture each other. I’ve seen pregnant women stabbed in the stomach. But none of that holds a candle to how disturbing the above comment is to me.

i just watched the re-run of the episode late lastnight on HBO, and it was just as disturbing the second time around as the first… then again, it really isn’t the first rape scene in the show, which i’d almost completely forgot about — sad to say.

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AT&T’s Pony Show

AT&T’s “Expansion” of 1 Gbps to 100 Cities is a Big, Fat Bluff

AT&T today announced that the company is “eyeing” 100 potential target cities as locations they may deploy faster 1 Gbps “Gigapower” service. According to the company’s press release, this “major initiative” will target 100 “candidate cities and municipalities” across 21 metropolitan areas nationwide. Those users could then get AT&T’s $70-$100 per month 1 Gbps service, currently only available in a very small portion of Austin, Texas.

Before you get too excited, you need to understand that this is a bluff of immense proportion. It’s what I affectionately refer to as “fiber to the press release.”

Ever since Google Fiber came on the scene, AT&T’s response has been highly theatrical in nature. What AT&T would have the press and public believe is that they’re engaged in a massive new deployment of fiber to the home service. What’s actually happening is that AT&T is upgrading a few high-end developments where fiber was already in the ground (these users were previously capped at DSL speeds) and pretending it’s a serious expansion of fixed-line broadband.

It’s not. At the same time AT&T is promising a massive expansion in fixed line broadband, they’re telling investors they aren’t spending much money on the initiative, because they aren’t. AT&T’s focus is on more profitable wireless. “Gigapower” is a show pony designed to help the company pretend they’re not being outmaneuvered in their core business by a search engine company.

well that’s a damn shame really.

#mofos

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Pied Piper

Fake Startup Landing Page From HBO’s ‘Silicon Valley’ Is Better Than Many Real Startup Landing Pages

to be honest, it really does look better than most real start-up pages doesn’t it?

love that it comes on right after Game of Thrones… another show that cracks me up?

Sirens.

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3 Ways Forward For Xbox One

The Three Ways Forward For Microsoft And The Xbox One

My colleague Mark Rogowsky recently published a piece that contained a rather worrying chart, which showed the growing disparity between PS4 and Xbox One sales. Though the gap was a million consoles a few months ago in favor of Sony , now the gulf has widened, with Microsoft MSFT +0.03% more or less refusing to publish actual sales, giving only a units shipped number that forces everyone to compare apples to oranges.

Sony is bursting with pride, announcing that 7 million PS4s have been sold to consumers, while Microsoft seems reluctant to admit that “just” 5 million Xbox One have been shipped to stores, which means total sales are even lower. As seen by the chart, the gulf is widening, and the fact that Microsoft is destroying 360 sales at the same point in time doesn’t seem to matter.

So, what to do?

introducing a smaller, disk-less version of the Xbox One this fall sounds pretty good to me… but at the end of the day, they really need to get the price down so it’s at least the same price as the PS4. period.

they were taking a gamble, and it’s not paying off as far as sales numbers go… seems pretty damn obvious why to me… hell, i know i struggled with paying an extra $100 for the damn kinect, but ended up biting the bullet and going with it anyways.

after using it for a few months, i think it’s a bit gimmicky and not really worth the extra money.

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What Happened To Denise Richards?

Whoa… WTF Happened To Denise Richards?

someone hand that lady a sandwich… this is what happens when chicks (and guys i guess) go a little too ape-shit crazy on the fitness/diet kick.

on a related note, i think i gained 5 pounds this weekend.

{{{ insert happy budda smile }}}

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Easter Egg Assault

Man Arrested for Assaulting Girlfriend With Easter Eggs

A man is charged with aggravated assault against his girlfriend after an Easter egg decorating party went horribly awry Sunday, leaving the woman with a black eye and the man under arrest after attacking cops with a sword.

When his girlfriend accused him of cheating, Aaron Goempel, a 27-year-old Pittsburgh resident, allegedly attacked her by throwing the hardboiled Easter eggs they were dyeing together. When police arrived, the victim’s eye was red and swollen, and Goempel had locked himself in a bedroom with “a makeshift barricade.”

As police pushed their way into the room, he reached for a sword from his knife-and-sword collection (why do these guys always seem to keep swords around?) and tried to stab officers. He only succeeded in yelling racist slurs and kicking one cop in the groin, the Pittsburgh Tribune reports.

well damn, comparitively speaking, easter with my family was a bore breeze… though it wouldn’t be a family get-together without a little drama, thanks to my sister who can be a bit high strung at times.

how was your easter?

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Happy 25, Gameboy!

Nintendo’s original Game Boy is now 25 years old

almost hard to believe it’s been 25 years since the nintendo gameboy was released.

April 21, 1989, Nintendo released the original Game Boy in Japan. It was built like a brick and rendered a mixture of black and gray pixels on a muddy green background. The console wasn’t light, slender or powerful, but it was the trigger for a new culture around video games and changed people’s perception of the interactive medium.

damn i’m feeling old.

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Don’t Fuck Up the Culture

i got a kick out of reading this post by brian chesky, co-founder of AirbnbDon’t Fuck Up the Culture

Hey team,

Our next team meeting is dedicated to Core Values, which are essential to building our culture. It occurred to me that before this meeting, I should write you a short letter on why culture is so important to Joe, Nate, and me.

After we closed our Series C with Peter Thiel in 2012, we invited him to our office. This was late last year, and we were in the Berlin room showing him various metrics. Midway through the conversation, I asked him what was the single most important piece of advice he had for us.

He replied, “Don’t fuck up the culture.”

This wasn’t what we were expecting from someone who just gave us $150M. I asked him to elaborate on this. He said one of the reasons he invested in us was our culture. But he had a somewhat cynical view that it was practically inevitable once a company gets to a certain size to “fuck it up.” Hmm.. How depressing I thought.

i’ll be honest, the culture is one of the big reasons i’ve stuck around addthis for the last 6 years — much longer than i probably thought in the beginning, and longer than any other job i’ve had over the past twenty.

hard to put a pricetag or some metric on it, but culture sure does go a long way, mang.

It’s a fucking startup. Why are you here?

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Game of Thrones: Breaker of Chains

Game of Thrones’ Horrible Humans Somehow Get More Horrible

One of the great strengths of Game of Thrones is that it isn’t afraid to change. Not only has it killed off some of its most popular characters, but over the last three seasons we’ve seen many—perhaps even most—of the cast evolve tremendously. And not just heroes like Daenerys, who started as a powerless victim and became a fearsome commander, but also several unpleasant villains who developed enough layers and dimensions that they suddenly didn’t seem quite as bad as they did before.

But let’s keep it in perspective. Sure, Jaime saved Brienne—but he’s also the man who pushed Bran out a window. Yes, the Hound saved Arya repeatedly (and even gave her a horse!), but he’s also the guy who murdered her friend Mycah in cold blood. And yes, Littlefinger tried to save Sansa, but he’s also the man who betrayed Ned and put a knife to his neck. It’s easy to develop a selective memory, to remember the first part and not the second part, because one of those stories is a lot more pleasant than the other.

Like Sansa and Arya, we slowly want to turn this back into the good story, the one about noble knights or at least the rogues with hearts of gold who did the right thing in the end. This week’s episode is here to remind both of those girls, and us, of the truth: this is not a pleasant story.

another good episode lastnight… and as usual, the end came way to damn quickly — seriously, felt like i just sat down and started to get into it when the ending credits came. damnit.

this new faced “dario” is still messing with me, though… oh, and i swear i was pick’n up an irish accent at one point, which is sort of weird.

related news:

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Jesus Got Booed

Jesus booed at TD Garden, on Easter Sunday, by the worst people alive

If you’ve read the New Testament, you probably know by now that Jesus is a big fan of gardens. The last place he went before his arrest was the Garden of Gethsemane. And most recently, he was spotted at the TD Garden, where the Bruins and Red Wings duked it out for Game 2 of their first-round series.

In other words, if you skipped Easter Sunday service to attend this one, you’re not alone: so did the Lord.

“Jesus”, in this case, is a guy named Thor, who knew just how to get invited to the game. [...]

But if you know the story of Jesus, you know eventually the people turn on him. That happened here as well. In the second period, Jesus was escorted out of the Garden in some horrible deja vu. To a smattering of boos.

curious… but it sure seems to me like “jesus” got escorted out because he light up and started smoking.

c’mon man.

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