Pixel Overlord

Home Page Overload. Wednesday, June 9th, 2010. An instant centithread has emerged on eng-misc following the radical insurgent change of our home page. "Oh, wow. That's hideous." "The tech blogs are going to lose their sh*t over this, but the regular users are going to love it." "I don't like it." "Shut up, nerd!" "It kind of feels like the 90s called, and they want their website back." "WTF?" New Coke didn't last long, this won't either... Update: Indeed gone fast ... phew... good ridance.

Behind the Scenes - Production Pushes

And another busy morning coordinating with engineers and product marketing folks who are anxious to see their feature live. Is it done? Is it done yet? Its the end of a long process for many of the people involved, months of planning and designing, weeks of coding and testing back and forth. And then an hour or so to see it become live in front of many users. People often ask, what exactly do release engineers do. The short answer is, we help make software development an engineering grade industrial strength activity. In all aspects of it, from the design and planning through the execution and finally in days like this pushing all the right switches to make things come to life in front of an audience in a smooth way. Without interruption. Without downtime. Today's push - AdSense UI for interest-based advertising. This is a feature which is covered with wide interest and, as I flip the bits, has already received coverage in The New York Times and other news organizations. Here in

The Man From Mars

I was looking around our image search site following a launch. Looking for things related to planet Mars, space exploration and the Space Shuttle. But then I stumbled onto this - "The Man From Mars". Click here for a high res version of the above Martian. The source Life Magazine, 1951 has more shots with high resolution detail. Has anyone a clue what's going on here?! Go figure.

SpaceX at Google's Zeitgeist 2008

A capsule from SpaceX appeared at the Googleplex today. Here's a couple of pictures. Rumor has it that SpaceX founder Elon Musk will show up at Zeitgeist and talk about private initiative and space exploration. Given the company boasts the world's lowest cost flight to orbit he'll likely receive some attention from the audience. The capsule on these pictures is codenamed Dragon. At first glance the hatch hinges and rubber rings seem a bit weak, but this being a prototype, I am sure it'll change eventually. Here are some of the highlights of the capsule: Fully autonomous rendezvous and docking with manual override capability in crewed configuration Pressurized Cargo/Crew capacity of >2500 kg and 14 cubic meters Down-cargo capability (equal to up-cargo) Supports up to 7 passengers in Crew configuration Two-fault tolerant avionics system with extensive heritage Reaction control system with 18 MMH/NTO thrusters designed and built in-house; these thrusters are used for


A compelling way to interact with information available on the Internet was released yesterday by Mozilla developers - Ubiquity . Removing clunkiness is laudable but more than that I hope this further steers developers into leaving the immediate interface issues and starts them on thinking structurally about the information they process or/and publish. I expect plenty of privacy and security concerns to arise soon. It's one thing to email ascii and its another to send rich markup over unencrypted links.

Gmail on Mobile Clients Communication Issue

If you decide to switch your Gmail preferences to always use https for all connections to Google servers, do not forget to do the same on your mobile devices, with the mobile client. Note: Yes, you should be using https, its a bad idea to let attackers close to your cookies sent unencrypted over your sessions - any sessions - not just Google ones. For the time being things can get out of sync and your mobile client will get server errors when trying to access your account. Here's a read from the Gmail google group. I noticed this after my blackberry stopped sending emails, or performing searches on my Gmail account. After a fresh install it pretty much stopped doing anything.

The Theory of Bullshit

I haven't read H.G. Frankfurter's book yet, but I find interesting his assertion that "we" (society?) have no theory of it yet. Stepping away from it's literal meaning, describing feces of a bull, bullshit describes a type of speech and statements correlated with incorrect, false, misleading or made up arguments. A common misperception is that such language is often used and needed in politics and advertising, it is however certainty that bullshit is not confined exclusively to any particular area of human activity. "One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit. Everyone knows this. Each of us contributes his share. But we tend to take the situation for granted. Most people are rather confident of their ability to recognize bullshit and to avoid being taken in by it. So the phenomenon has not aroused much deliberate concern. We have no clear understanding of what bullshit is, why there is so much of it, or what functions