Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Google's New Clothes

Google has gotten a new look! The change is in the search results as shown below:

I never thought it particularly needed one. Thankfully the classic home page remains pristine and uncluttered as ever. But in the results page, the links to other types of search such as image search, have been moved into the sidebar rather than being in a row at the top. Facebook also went with a sidebar when it changed its layout a couple of weeks ago. My feelings about the change are conflicted. I'm not too crazy about the new design. The original format already had the PPC ads along the right. But now with the added links on the right, the actual space for search results seems more confined. I guess this does start the results a little higher on the pager. And there are some cool new features, though. There's the related searches links on the left. And if you scroll down to the bottom of the results...

... links to a few blog posts! Google Blog Search integrated into the main search! Though, I think they could put these somewhere nearer to the top instead of having us scroll down to the bottom for it. So at least, there are some redeeming qualities of the new layout. And I'll probably get used to it before long.

-- Arkajit

Friday, April 20, 2007

CPW Day 3 & Pictures

Ok, so I was going to wrap-up Saturday. But then I realized that it was mostly centered around dorm surfing. So I settled for a picture-oriented entry instead with pictures from the entire weekend.
I guess I had a bit of an obsession with the abstract sculpture and architecture at MIT :) I also had fun trying to find cool new angles and places to take pictures of buildings from. The rest of these pictures are in my facebook photo album.

And then there was Battle of the Bands on Saturday evening which was pretty awesome. I was right up in the front during Ben and Marilee's performance. So that means I had the speakers blaring about two feet away from me. During the "You Can't Get What You Want" song, I joined in the crowd with singing the chorus and swaying my hands from side to side. It was lucky that they chose that Rolling Stones song, since the only other song by them that I had heard was Satisfaction. The only bummer was that Tim the Beaver did not go crowd surfing and I did not have my camera on me :(

Oh also, Matt proposed finding anagrams of the name of Ben's band, The Red Decade. So the best I could come up on my own was "The Cared Deed". And then I ran it through an anagram machine like Ben suggested. Nothing too much better except for "Dated Cheered" which was pretty good. Another one that actually made sense was "The Dead Creed"; that one has more possible interpretations which I shall leave as an exercise for the reader. The full list of anagrams is here.

Sunday was the departure day, so there was only really time to do some breakfast-hopping through several of the dorms and spend the last of my TechCash at LaVerde's. I also swung by the Coop to get one of those drawstring backpacks :)

Well, ok, I think that wraps up CPW!

Monday, April 16, 2007

CPW Day 2

I guess the day-by-day blogging thing kind of stopped after day 1 :) So this will have to be a recap. Ok, the weather was definitely MUCH better on Friday (and esp. on Saturday)! Nice cool, breezy winds, partly cloudy, sun would peek through at times. (I did not mean to just sound like a weather reporter.)

First, let me fill in a few of the gaps in Thursday that I was too tired at the time to write about. After meeting up with my host at tEp in the morning, he showed me his room which was very cool. He showed me the laser light show in his room, playing it to the song "Such Great Heights" by the Postal Service. There was also a hanging couch and beds hanging from the ceiling. The people were amazingly friendly too :)

Ok, in the afternoon, I hopped through a tour of the Stata Center, grabbed a pizza from the cafe there, then swung through a panel on housing and dining. The gaps and interstices of time were filled with meeting and talking with people :) Then I had dinner at McCormick dining hall while being serenaded by the MIT/Wellesley Toons. There was a math mixer that disintegrated into hangman and math joke session when a group of us ended up in the wrong room.

The main event was the icebreaker and cpw fair at night. Half-way through the intro, the Logs storm the stage and start singing like I said in my last post. During one of the songs, a couple of them were rotating their hands like a windmill and I've since been trying to replicate that with partial success :)

Friday started with a morning trek down the Harvard bridge from tEp back to campus, minus the hail this time :) The day was spent mostly in the anticipation of the meet the bloggers event in the evening. But I still got in another panel, a couple of open houses, a class, and watching a pick-up game of ultimate. This is around the time when my cell phone batteries finally gave up the ghost and I had to recharge. And then to meeting all the awesome bloggers and having some ice cream to top :) A couple of them were a bit unrecognizable from their pictures, but it was nice to finally talk with them in person.

Then the night ended with tangerine tours which unfortunately got aborted before the final destination. But not before climbing several hundred stairs (hands to the outside! aye, aye Jack!), crawling into unimaginably small recesses, and going through 'hell', i.e. the underground steam chambers.

Ok, Saturday next!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

CPW Day 1: Or Bloody Hail!

Wow! Walking all across Cambridge and Boston in often severe rain and sometimes sleet/hail = interesting , shocking experience!

First casualty is when I'm walking back across the Harvard Bridge over the Charles River and I get caught in a hail storm (or at least it felt pretty bad too me, though others assure me its worse in the winter). My umbrella is useless in the fierce wind and it is promptly destroyed. For the rest of the trek, I'm peppered with surprisingly sharp little bits of hail :( Second casualty is when I buy a replacement umbrella. After several battles in which I try to prevent it from being dismantled by the wind as well, I acquire several more nicks and cuts - from the umbrella this time. At this time, I decide umbrellas are clearly not working. So eventually I get a raincoat. Lesson Learned: Raincoat (w/ hood) > Umbrella given fierce winds.

The weather glitch aside, a pretty fun day, running around, going on tours, watching panel discussions, fairs and so on. The Logs sang a few (awesome!) songs for us. And the highlight of the fair was re-enacting the lightsaber duel from Episode I: A Phantom Menace with duct-tape swords! But my sword movements were completely Empire Strikes Back Luke Skywalker :) Oh, and apparently I have some skill with throwing a soccer ball through a high target :)

Some picture(s) from when I actually remembered I have a camera:

The famous police-car in its new residence in Bldg. 32:

Well certainly an exciting day, but more to come yet! And somehow I'm not yet sleepy, but I'll try to get a few hours now.

-- Arkajit

Sunday, April 01, 2007

April Fool's From Google

Now presenting the latest Google product... Gmail Paper!

"Everyone loves Gmail. But not everyone loves email, or the digital era. What ever happened to stamps, filing cabinets, and the mailman? Well, you asked for it, and it’s here. We’re bringing it back."

"For every Gmail Paper we produce, the environment gets incrementally healthier."

"Keep it Secret, Keep it Safe" - straight out of LOTR when Gandalf says this to Frodo regarding the ring! :)

Haha, not a bad one as far as April Fool's jokes go! The Weasley twins would be proud! Happy Birthday to Fred and George!

-- Arkajit