Category Archives: Google

Google Wave Invites

Update: As of 10/13 17:05 Central Time, I’m out of Google Wave invites.

Please only request an invite from one location. That way there will be more invites to go around. I doubt that accumulating invite requests would get you one any quicker.

Hey guys,

I have 7 Google Wave invites left. Just leave a comment and fill your email in on the email section. I’ll then send you one right away. First seven people that reply. It may take awhile for Google to send you one. Don’t know if this means hours or days…

Here’s the disclaimer that Google gives:
“Google Wave is more fun when you have others to wave with, so please nominate people you would like to add. Keep in mind that this is a preview so it could be a bit rocky at times.

Invitations will not be sent immediately. We have a lot of stamps to lick.

Happy waving!”

I read about a tweet from a Google Wave engineer who said that invites might take a couple of days to go out. Just so you know.


PS For you iPhone users out there, this is kind of cool.

Google Flu Trends

Google has analyzed their billions of searches and discovered that flu-related searches correlate with actual CDC epidemiological data. From their FAQ,

We have found a close relationship between how many people search for flu-related topics and how many people actually have flu symptoms. Of course, not every person who searches for “flu” is actually sick, but a pattern emerges when all the flu-related search queries from each state and region are added together. We compared our query counts with data from a surveillance system managed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and discovered that some search queries tend to be popular exactly when flu season is happening. By counting how often we see these search queries, we can estimate how much flu is circulating in various regions of the United States.

During the 2007-2008 flu season, an early version of Google Flu Trends was used to share results each week with the Epidemiology and Prevention Branch of the Influenza Division at CDC. Across each of the nine surveillance regions of the United States, we were able to accurately estimate current flu levels one to two weeks faster than published CDC reports.

This year Google has released their flu trends data to the public. Epidemiologists hope that early outbreaks of influenza may be detected with this method vs. relying on traditional CDC data.

Two-way syncing of Google Calendar and iCal

In the past I just used Google’s online calendar. It was simple and fast to use, yet provided some powerful features. However, since upgrading to Leopard and using the new version if iCal (version 3), I looked for a way to do a two-sync of Google Calendar and iCal. There are a number of programs (some for pay and some free) that do this. The solution that I chose was GCALDaemon. It was quite difficult to set up and, at least when I was using it, required some tweaking to get it working on Leopard. Also, I had to set up a bash script on my desktop that I needed to run anytime I wanted to sync. It worked okay but sometimes would get confused and mess up some entries.

Just yesterday I read that Google added CalDAV support to Google Calendar. This is completely free and has worked perfectly so far.

Rather than explain it anymore, here are Google’s setup instructions.

Google Transit now in Milwaukee

Google Maps for a few years now has offered the ability to search for a route taking public transportation. This service, called Google Transit, is now offered in dozens of US and world cities, including the city that I have been living in for the past two years. Having recently experienced the excellent public transportation system in Prague, I hope that this service will make the Milwaukee system more popular for everyone. When I lived in Madison, WI for undergrad, I used the public transportation system all the time. It was free or very cheap for students. I’ve yet to use the Milwaukee public transportation system because I have my own car and because it would have been scary to ride the buses without having a specific idea of where they are going or the approximate time frame. This is probably the biggest hurdle for a system of only buses (like in Milwaukee)…in Prague everyone rides the public transit system (trams, buses, and subway). It was also very cheap in Prague. If buying a set of day passes for an entire week, the cost was about $6-7 a day for unlimited travel on any of the public transit options. In Milwaukee, the cost for an adult is $2 per ride and residents only get the choice of bus. And, I’m sure that the quality of our bus system cannot compare to the service that I had in Prague. But, services like Google Transit are a start. I hope they help inspire improvements in public transportation across the US.

One more thing. Sign this petition to ask Google to add a “Bike There” option to Google Maps.
Here are some sites with more info about this:
“Bike There” petition for Google Maps gets support
I Want Google to Keep Me Out of A Pickle
Big News (regarding Austin and Google)

17,530% on Google on Friday

Options traders who predicted Google Inc. would beat estimates earned as much as 17,530 percent on their investments today, the most-profitable bet among all U.S. equity derivatives.

Contracts giving the right to buy Google shares for $530 before the close of trading today jumped as high as $17.63 from their 10-cent closing price yesterday. That gain almost matched the 18,760 percent advance in the Dow Jones Industrial Average since the beginning of 1900, according to Bloomberg data.

Source: Bloomberg (Google Earnings Gave Options Traders a 17,530% Gain)

There’s a good Google Group’s discussion about this here.

Wow!! As soon as I get some disposable “play money,” options trading looks like it could be fun or at least the closest thing to Vegas without actually being there. I wonder if there’s a conservative way to trade options? Would that be buying puts and calls? (At this point I only know enough about options to know that those things exist…for what purpose yet I don’t know.)

Quotes in Google News

I just saw this post entitled, Words Matter, on one of the Google blogs that I follow. This new addition to Google News allows you to type in a person’s full name on the standard Google News search to display recent things that person said. Then you can even search within those, possibly thousands of quotes, for a quote that includes a specific word. For example, here’s a list of the quotes that John McCain made regarding Iraq. Seems like a pretty useful feature.

My complaint about Gmail

I love Gmail. Yeah, I know the title is regarding a complaint. However, no other email application either online or through a standalone program on the hard drive is as good. It is fast, free, has a ton of space, and is very easy to use with a consistent uncomplicated interface. I even set my Grandma up with PCLinuxOS (she does emails and uses the word processor). I had previously tried to get Evolution or Mozilla Thunderbird working for her but something would always go wrong. She would accidentally click somewhere and the program would change to something that she was not familiar with. Gmail is so simple to use that I don’t think she is having much trouble anymore. In fact, I think that she is even starting to enjoy emailing people.

Back to my complaint. I have used Gmail daily since April 23, 2004. Yes, 22 days after Gmail was first announced. It took me that long to secure an invite. I was trying to get one since release day 1. I’m the kind of guy that likes to try new programs and have contributed suggestions and bug reports for many Google products. As I’m sure many of you know, a team at Google is working on the next generation of Gmail. Gmail 2.0, as it is being called by the bloggers. It is supposed to be significantly faster with a completely rebuilt and optimized back-end. Being the tech guy that I am (another example, I still think that BeOS had multimedia capabilities that Leopard is finally starting to touch and only because processors are much faster than they were back then), I am not happy with the roll out strategy that Google has for new Gmail versions/features. I’m not sure what things Google takes into account when determining in what order accounts get new features. However, my account, which had to be among the first, seems like it is always a few weeks behind in getting the new stuff. Case in point: 1) I received Gmail Chat a couple of weeks after people started getting it and a couple of days after a friend who I had invited had already received. 2) I received POP3 or, more recently, IMAP support significantly later than many people. 3) Google is allowing a certain percentage of accounts try the new version of Gmail.

I don’t know… Being an early adopter of technology, especially Google’s products, I feel that people who got an account the earliest should be given high priority in “demoing” the new features. It makes sense to me.

Update (11/6/2007): I just got the “newer version” (Gmail 2.0). Thanks Google! It is a nice improvement. I’m glad that they didn’t try to significantly change the interface because it is nice and simple how it is now. I can already feel the speed improvement. Also, the Google Chat integrated into Gmail is now finally working on Safari!!!

Why I love my homepage

For the last few years my homepage has been Google News. It provides a quick, simple, unbiased look at the most important news issues. It scours news sites from all over the country and world, from small town newspapers to major news groups like the Associated Press and the New York Times. They’ve recently updated their site to decrease redundancy by linking to original stories from the source. So, “instead of 20 ‘different’ articles (which actually used the exact same content), [Google News will show] the definitive original copy and give credit to the original journalist.” By removing the duplicate articles, more space on Google News will be taken up with original stories and viewpoints from around the world.
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Should Google Go Nuclear?

Google Tech Talks November 9, 2006

ABSTRACT This is not your father’s fusion reactor! Forget everything you know about conventional … all ยป thinking on nuclear fusion: high-temperature plasmas, steam turbines, neutron radiation and even nuclear waste are a thing of the past. Goodbye thermonuclear fusion; hello inertial electrostatic confinement fusion (IEC), an old idea that’s been made new. While the international community debates the fate of the politically-turmoiled $12 billion ITER (an experimental thermonuclear reactor), simple IEC reactors are being built as high-school science fair projects.

Dr. Robert Bussard, former Asst. Director of the Atomic Energy Commission and founder of Energy Matter Conversion Corporation (EMC2), has spent 17 years perfecting IEC, a fusion process that converts hydrogen and boron directly into electricity producing helium as the only waste product. Most of this work was funded by the Department of Defense, the details of which have been under seal… until now.

Dr. Bussard will discuss his recent results and details of this potentially world-altering technology, whose conception dates back as far as 1924, and even includes a reactor design by Philo T. Farnsworth (inventor of the scanning television).

Can a 100 MW fusion reactor be built for less than Google’s annual electricity bill? Come see what’s possible when you think outside the thermonuclear box and ignore the herd.

Source (link to video): Should Google Go Nuclear? Clean, cheap, nuclear power (no, really)

Message board thread: Interesting fusion talk at google with space related aspects

I haven’t finished watching the video yet (it’s over 1 hour 30 mins) but what I’ve seen looks very interesting. This is not some creating energy from nothing free energy technology, but actual science. I’d love to see his further research get funded.