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{ Category Archives } Google

In the land of the sheep…

I wrote this post while in New Zealand but never posted it, now I’m at I have time to finish it up.

Well its been a long time since I have posted on my blog. As I lasted mentioned I now work at Google, which has been going well but keeping me fairly busy. For the last month (October, 2009) I have been back in Mountain View, California. While I was there for mainly work purposes, I did get the chance to go to both the Summer of Code Mentor Summit and the GitTogether. Both where a lot of fun but tiering.

It was good to see the BZFlag guys again – they even had cool t-shirts this year. Not as cool as our Thousand Parsec shirts, however. 🙂 I was finally able to meet kblin who I had know through the WorldForge project for many years. As always he looked nothing like I expected.

At the GitTogther I was mainly interested in trying to make git usable with large media repositories. This is one area which Subversion still has an advantage. After much discussion we came up with a solution to the problem which I gave a short presentation.

It also gave me a chance to catch up with the Open Source Progams Office. It was great to catch up with Leslie Hawthorn and her fabulous crew.

No sooner had I gotten back from the states, I headed of to New Zealand. Lee Begg who I also first met through the WorldForge project and was the co-founder of the Thousand Parsec project, is getting married and I will be a grooms man.

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My three weeks on a Mac

As everyone knows, I recently started at Google. When I started I was given a MacBook Pro to use as the company laptop before I had a chance to change it, I had to head off to Mountain View for training. This meant I ended up using a Mac for 3 and half weeks.

Now I am back in Australia I have decided to trade in my Mac for a nice PC running Linux. People have continually told me that Macs are the epitome for polished UI and once you get use to them, there is no going back. When I suggested that this might not be the case, I was told “but you have never used Mac” – well now I have and I have specific examples of why Apple’s are less usable then Linux.

My first bone to pick is with the unlock screen. As I work at Google and might have the codes for the orbital space laser on my laptop, I need to lock my screen anytime I walk away from my desk. In gnome on Linux I can just walk back to my computer and start typing my password, it makes sure that all the keys end up in the password box – no so on a Mac. When I get back, I first have to move the mouse or hit a key, I then have to wait for the twirling multi-color ball and then I get to type my password. If I just start typing I loose the first 3 or more characters of the password.

Next is the useless wireless indicator that Mac has. On Linux I can clearly see if I am connected, trying to connect or waiting, I can also see if I am on wireless or wired network. This is all thanks to Network Manager which is very, very cool. On Mac, you can’t tell if you are connected or the Mac is having a shit and still trying to connect. Often, I had to bring up a ping program to see if the wireless bars meant I was actually connected or not. If I plug in the ethernet, without specifically disabling the Airport how do I know where my packets are going?

The twirling ball of doom. Normally programs either lock hard or work. Not on Mac, instead you get a ball which twirls forever. After waiting for 15 minutes I just hard reset my computer. At least if I knew the computer was locked up I wouldn’t have to wait that 15 minutes.

I have often gotten this error “You cannot move any item to the Trash because it is being emptied” when doing a secure empty of my trash bin. How hard is it to put things in the trash while emptying it?

Alt Tab doesn’t work. It doesn’t change between windows, only applications. Often I have multiple windows open in one application. I first have to “alt tab” to the correct application, then I have to “command tab” to the correct window. How annoying!

So that was just a few issues I have had. Overall, I am much happier with Ubuntu and it keeps getting even better.

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Tech Talk at Google – Gaming for Freedom

Last week on friday, I gave a Tech Talk about Open Source Gaming as part of Leslie Hawthorn’sOpen Source Developers @ Google” talk series. For those who were silly enough to miss it, it should be soon coming to a YouTube near you.

I had given a similar talk at my local LUG only recently, I think that version went a little better but it was quite a different crowd. The first part of my talk came across way more preachy then I had hoped. I also see now how I can better use Thousand Parsec as examples of the tips I came up for releasing FOSS games. I guess practice makes perfect, maybe I’ll get it right to one day be able to give it at

At the beginning this time I tried some of the “one word per slide quick succession” talk which Anthony Baxter had suggested. I think however think I ended up just insulting every American! I don’t think I speak fast enough to make this type of talk successful, but I’ll keep experimenting.

If you have any feedback on the talk, please do send me an email!

The real reason for this post is to upload the slides for the tech talk so they can be linked from the YouTube video.

Edit: The talk has now been uploaded, you can access it via the following link or see it below,

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I will survive…

It’s been a hectic week, but I have managed to survive my first week as a Noogler. As everyone knows, I started at Google last week. The first week has been quite hectic as I started at the Sydney office and then in the middle of week flew to the Googleplex in Mountain View, California (if anyone is located in this area and wants to have lunch, feel free to look me up!).

The week has been a little bit of a mess for a number of reasons. I’m joining the PSO group at Google which is only just started to establish a presence at the Sydney office, this has meant not a lot of people know what I should be doing. To make matters worse, I managed to arrive for the Memorial Day weekend (public holiday on Monday) which means the normal schedule for training (which starts on a Monday) is all changed. It’s still be very demanding and interesting anyway.

I arrived here in San Francisco on a Thursday (before I actually left according to wall time, Yay timezones!)  and after sleeping for about 18 hours straight managed to make it into the office on the Friday. The jet lag didn’t really end up hitting me until the weekend, so I’ve spent the last three days trying to reset my body clock instead of doing anything interesting.

I’m very pleased with the transparency inside of Google. I have yet to find a door which my keycard won’t open or a website which I can not access with my login. Of course I can’t tell anyone outside of Google what I have found out which is annoying, there is a lot of cool stuff going on.

Having worked mainly for small companies in the past, it’s nice to be able to walk into TechStop (Google’s tech support department) and get both hardware and support. It’s nice having small things like beverages (such as that all important coffee) and food provided. The food in the Sydney office is not bad, but it pales in comparison to the variety and quality that you get here at the Googleplex.

I have heard that people worry that with all the food at Google you just end up going to lunch with your work mates, I don’t think that is something having food provided creates. At the my previous work I ended up in that situation, always having lunch with the same people at the same locations, the only difference is that I was paying for it! Google is liberal about letting you invite friends to have lunch at their free cafeteria’s too.

Over all, it has been a very busy and interesting week. I’m looking forward to what tomorrow (and the rest of this week) holds.

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Packing your bags…

About 6 months ago I started interviewing with Google Australia and about a month ago they made me a job offer that I could not refuse. So now I’m packing my bags and heading to Sydney, I start work in about three weeks but I am being sent to the States for some training first. Unlike most of the Googlers in Sydney, I’m not going to be working on Google Maps.

I’m very excited too start working with Google but it has been pretty big decision to make. I have never moved anywhere permanently before and I’m currently still living at home with my parents. I did live in Sweden for 6 months, but that was always with the intention of coming back home. On the other hand, it is not like I am moving to totally a different country and I already have loads of friends and family living in Sydney.

I have been thinking that I want to move to a big city for a number of reasons. An example of this that I often use, is that “I want to be able to order pizza after midnight”. It is annoying that just when I’ve started getting more involved in the local FOSS groups I’m leaving for another state. I do hope to continually be involved with SLUG and other FOSS events going on in Sydney too.

I’ve spent most of this ANZAC Day long weekend trying to organize all my stuff. You never realize how much crap you have until you decide to move and I don’t even own any furniture yet! Luckily my parents have plenty of storage space. Having never done this before, I’m sure that I’m probably doing it all wrong.

I’m a little bit of a technology pack rat (like most geeks) but I have been trying to give away all the old computer bits that I had always being meaning to fix or use. There should be plenty of happy Adelaide FOSS people soon 😉

If you are in Adelaide and want to catch up before I head off (Friday the 16th), or in Sydney (or even the Mountain View, USA) and want to come and say “Hi!” please feel free to email me.

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Google Summer of Code on again!

Leslie Hawthorn has announced that the Google Summer of Code is on again. Like, nobody saw that comming! Hopefully, Thousand Parsec will be a mentor organisation again. Have to keep those southern hemisphere mentor numbers up!

Google Patchwork

I live in Adelaide and have been playing around with Google maps recently. I have no sense of direction which makes Google quite useful for getting to places. It appears that Google has some problems with satellite images for South Australia. If you take a look at the map below, you should see that it is built out of three totally different captures, you can even see a few clouds.

Google patchwork.

If you zoom out one more level, the map data totally change,

Google Transsision

I wonder how they decided what data to use?