New Google Calendar Features

I was adding a few appointments to Google Calendar this morning and saw that they have released some new and very slick features to their Calendar product. Now, when you set up an appointment, there is a mini calendar view that enables you to quickly, visually, see your calendar and what times you have available. You can then add the other people you want to invite to this view and see their availabilities, to find the best time that works for all people attending the event. It appears that the “attendee” has to have their calendar synced with Google Calendar in order for you to view their calendar, but this is ideal for Small Businesses or groups that are using Google Calendar and everyone in the organization uses the application. As you move the translucent “event preview” area (the blue striped area in the screen grab below), it changes from striped to a clear display depending on if there are any conflicts for the meeting time. Very slick. Here is a screen grab of it:


Google Launching Chrome Extensions

From Techcrunch, it appears that Google will be launching extensions for the Google Chrome browser.  I am a huge Firefox fan however from a web development perspective, Chrome is amazingly fast.  I can edit an area of my site and while it takes Firefox a few minutes for it to pull the update from the server, Chrome does it instantly.  Its a significant difference and much faster.  If the Extensions for Chrome as as good and useful as they are for Firefox, this could get very interesting.  Google is taking over the online world!

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Tweets of the Week

  • World Cup draw announced. US in a great group. Match vs. England could be a classic! Is it Summer 2010 yet!?! #
  • Oh Tiger, Tiger, Tiger. #
  • Pats are cooked. Makes the Indy loss and decision look that much worse. #
  • OK, strap on the seat belts for the MNF game tonite – Pats vs. Saints. The Saints are the 'aints no more! #
  • Some Cool Keyboard Tricks That Few People Know About #
  • I just generated my #TweetCloud out of 3 months of my tweets. Top three words: weekend, football, orange – #
  • I just generated my #TweetCloud out of 3 months of my tweets. Top three words: weekend, football, orange – #
  • RT @FreelanceFolder 25 Blogs To Help You Stay Current With Social Media | FreelanceFolder #

Tweets of the Week

  • Say Hi (band name – aka "Say Hi To Your Mom") – Album: Ferocious Mopes. Love the album + sound. Plan to buy more. #MusicMonday #mm #
  • Got an invite to Google Wave! Pretty cool. Unfortunately, have to wait to get home since its blocked at work. #googlewave #
  • Great weekend for Syracuse sports. Hoops with big win vs UNC on Friday and football team with really good win vs Rutgers! Go Orange! #

Pinball Wizards

A very interesting and insightful article about pinball machines and the economic drivers that led to their demise.

In 1980, pinball went digital, multi-ball, and multi-media starting with the game Black Knight. Black Knight brought pinball to a new level, literally speaking because it was among the first games with ramps and elevated flippers, but even more importantly because it brought a new challenge that drew in and solidified a pinball crowd. In doing so it also set the pinball market on a path that would eventually lead to its demise.

The article goes on to describe how the algorithms of the machines and the physical limitations of the machines themselves became the barrier to entry for new players, while at the same time video games were on the rise and they gave its users the ability to practice at the lower levels and get better as they advanced.

Every year I go to the Pinball Wizards Convention in Allentown, PA and marvel at the enthusiasm of the people playing the pinball machines, as well as the “chewing gum and paperclip” appearance of how the machines are wired and constructed. The irony is that the advanced (for the time) calculations and logic baked into these machines (not to mention the artwork and design that made up the visual and physical presentation of the machines themselves…there was one guy who said he spent over 500 hours drawing a design for a game!) may have done more damage than good.

Tweets of the Week

  • outta Bkyn. Lets you connect and curate conversations around live events. #
  • photos of how LA would look completly empty of people #
  • The Irish were robbed by the French in the World Cup qualifying. FIFA needs to have the match replayed – #
  • Say it aint so! Ken Ober, host of MTV's Remote Control show back in the day died. "Dead or Alive" ? Dead – #
  • s #
  • I can't believe the Patriots blew that game. 4th down call not the brightest move but the fumble and int at the goal line did not help #
  • Patriots are looking sharp so far tonite! #
  • I need to go Paul b #

A DM Piece. From Google.

Google DM

Check this out. I got a direct mail piece from Google, offering me $100 coupon for AdSense. The poster child for the Internet and all things online and digital is using the old fashioned, dreadfully offline, less than 1% response rate channel of Direct Mail to drum up business. Oh, the irony.

One piece of feedback: I’d advise them to actually know the recipient’s name rather than addressing it to “Adsense Customer”.

A Gadget For Twitter

The folks at Twitter have partnered with Peek to create a device called the Twitter Peek, a device that is built specifically for the “type A” Twitter user. Not that we all need another device to juggle alongside our iPhones, Blackberries, Droids, et al.

Personally, I’m more than happy with the downloadable applications built for Twitter such as TweetDeck, TwitterBerry, UberTwitter, and all the others, not to mention the Twitter site itself.

In fact, I think the beauty of Twitter is how it functions as a communications platform and is so device agnostic – building a dedicated device for the service almost seems counter intuitive to me.

Bad Move, Mr. Leno

The move of former “Tonight Show” host Jay Leno to his new “Jay Leno Show” at 10PM weekdays is looking more and more like a fiasco of epic proportions for NBC. His ratings have fallen off the shelf as he is averaging only 4-5 Million viewers, off from a high of 18 Million viewers when the show first started out in September, and compared to the other shows in that time-slot that are bringing in 11-14MM viewers.

When I was out in California last week, we took a tour of the NBC studios in Burbank. What struck me during the tour was the cringe of the tour guide’s face when he spoke of “former ‘Tonight Show’ host Jay Leno”. He looked like he was smelling rotten fish. It was also interesting that Leno’s face and “Tonight Show” murals were still all over the studio, which implies to me that maybe NBC is hedging its bets and may be planning on some sort of course correction, because this experiment has been dead on arrival. The hard part here is to figure out how they will handle Conan O’Brien if they do in fact move Jay back to the “Tonight Show”.

But maybe this will be Comcast’s problem soon, if the rumors of them buying a controlling stake in NBC are true. I’d hate to be in the NBC board room when this is the topic of the day.

Back From Cali

The lack of activity this week was because I was out on vacation in Southern California, visiting Anaheim, Disneyland and Los Angeles. Just a great time and, boy oh boy, the weather out there is just spectacular. I definitely did not enjoy waking up from the red eye this morning to “Welcome to Newark Airport, where the temperature is 38 degrees”.