Google Instant, Anyone?

I saw quite a significant number of tweets mentioning Google Instant, and decided to check it out. Some people might already be aware of it or heard of it before but I am outdated, that I am willing to admit.

First, I went to the Official Google Blog where I saw Search: now faster than the speed of type.

Next, I tried it myself on Google homepage. It’s really impressive.

google-instant

However, if you use a flaky connection like my Maxis Broadband you might see this:

google-instant-off

It says “Google Instant is off due to connection speed. Press Enter to search”. It’ll behave like normal search.

Which also means that it can be turned off.

The prediction feature is quite nicely programmed too. Notice that its suggestions included the word “mac” because I am on a Mac. Not surprising since this is easily detected by the browser’s user agent string.

I bet the prediction considers many other factors too, including Geo-location.

I find it interesting that I can see this now, since in its tweet Google mentioned that “Google Instant is rolling out to people w/ Instant-capable browsers in France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain, U.K. & U.S.

So the next time you see it, don’t be surprised!

… and tell me how you like it!

Secret Recipe at The Curve Damansara

My other half and I have always loved Secret Recipe. Among our favorite dishes are the Thai Fried Rice, Vietnamese Beef Noodle, Singapore Laksa, and not forgetting the cakes. It’s a Malaysian brand, and it provides good food.

However we have not been visiting any outlets since a couple of months ago because we had a bad experience at the Jusco Taman Equine outlet. The food was not fresh and tasted weird.

▼ A d v e r t i s e m e n t

On Saturday we decided to have Thai Fried Rice at The Curve outlet because we missed it. However when we tried to order it, the server roughly said, “Tak ada!” (It’s not available!). Well they should at least be more specific whether the menu item has been phased out or they are out of ingredients, or whatever reasons they may have. And the most important part is to say sorry. As customers, we were obviously disappointed because what we wanted to have was not available.

But that’s it. Not a word more from the server. He might also be the manager because he dresses differently from the others.

And so we bailed out. I said to my other half, “So it’s true Secret Recipe has turned bad and becoming worst. Furthermore they are always rude.”. Unfortunately (or fortunately) the guy heard me and rudely said “Dah tak ada, nak buat macam mana. Tak baik cakap macam tu.” (We don’t have it what can we do. It’s not good to say that).

I wanted to turn to him and tell him I was not talking to him but I quickly remembered where I am – Malaysia. A good friend of mine (who returned from the US for the Eid holidays) tried to confront a salesperson at Adonis Mid Valley because she was ignored (the salesperson was sitting doing nothing and not paying attention when assistance is needed), and my friend was asked to leave. Perhaps my friend forgot that she’s back in her own country where the shops and retailers are always correct.

The server did miss the point – they are rude not because something was not available, but because he didn’t greet and didn’t apologize. If he’s really the manager I think the HQ made a mistake hiring someone not bright enough.

It’s funny how the retail and food industry work in Malaysia. We have no choice but to pay 5% service charge, and we get crappy service. I would gladly pay 20% tip for a splendid service.

You know what, it’s all about customer service skills. This is definitely not the first time something is not available at a restaurant but the server should be quick enough to suggest other alternatives and be apologetic about it.

Right now I don’t think I have the appetite to visit any Secret Recipe… maybe some time in the future but definitely not the one in The Curve. Heck, I was not even this disappointed when a roach was in my drink.

Battery Powered Server

For real?

googleservermedium

The black box with two terminals is a 12V battery, and it looks like a lead-acid battery. Is it a DELL? Is it an IBM? Is it an HP? No, it is a Google. That’s right people, it’s a unit of many Google’s server inside its data center containers. It’s a 2U thick server, with a Gigabyte mainboard holding 2 CPUs, 2 hard disks, and 8 pieces of RAM.

It’s not really battery powered, but the battery kicks in once the main power is lost. This effectively eliminates the need for more expensive and space consuming giant UPS’s (uninterruptible power supplies) which are batteries anyway. Is this a better solution? You be the judge.

If you ask me, I’d like to have one of those Magnetek power supply unit to install on my PC. The battery can nicely fit in a tower casing, much better than having separate UPS units. However I think the mainboard itself must be custom because the 12V to 5V conversion takes place there. The power supply unit only outputs 12V (approximately 13.65V).

However I can’t find any info on how long can the battery can actually supply power.

Story found on CNET: http://news.cnet.com/8301-1001_3-10209580-92.html

Gmail Gone Offline

I have been actively glancing over to the settings page to see whether “Offline” has been activated for my account. And it was there so I decided to activate it:

The settings for Offline is displayed, but not changeable (except to enable or disable the feature):

I have no idea how the algorithm selects which labels to always synchronize.

Now I have enabled it and synced the emails:

When offline, this indicator is seen:

When using it offline I don’t really notice the difference, except when my Firefox gave me hiccups as it try to connect to the Internet for other websites.

Another AdSense Payment

Today I managed to cash out my latest AdSense payment via Western Union. This is just to show a prove, and to motivate the unmotivated. Although the amount is not that huge, it’s still money and after subtracting the hosting cost there is some profit.

Next objective is getting significant monthly payments (I currently put my account on hold until a few months).

Gmail Going Offline

Read the title again. Gmail is going offline soon and that’s the truth. Scared yet?

Gmail is actually testing out a new lab feature: Offline Gmail

The video featured in the official blog looks really cool, and they are currently opening the lab feature for testing in the UK and US. Seeing how many emails I store in my Gmail account, I am scared to test it out when it comes available for me. One thing for sure, all these emails require storage on the local hard disk.

The feature requires Google Gears to work, where local application files are cached in the local browser for immediate use. WordPress has this feature since the last available version and it has worked well for me.

I wonder if there is any option to only sync emails according to their age, so that I don’t have to sync the whole thing. I’ll wait and see.

Nevertheless, this is a very useful feature. Bravo!

Gmail Stickers!

I was casually browsing the Official Gmail Blog this morning and saw that Gmail is giving away free Gmail stickers. The only thing you need to do is to send a self-stamped envelope to:

Send me some Gmail stickers already
P.O. Box 391420
Mountain View, CA 94039-1420

For International requests, we need to send the envelope along with a International reply coupon.

Unfortunately for me and other Malaysians, Pos Malaysia does not sell IRC. Yes, I called them at 1 300 300 300 hotline and they said they don’t have the service. Bummer! I am so disappointed!

I wonder if Google accept cheques or deduct some from my Adsense account already!

Google @enstek

From conversations I had with my colleagues at work, and from other friends I heard that Google is going to have presence in Malaysia, specifically at @enstek in Sepang. It’s a new flagship area opening its wings to tech companies from all over the globe.

Is this really true? In some stories I even heard that construction work has started at the site. I would really appreciate it if anyone could point me to the right direction. Googling doesn’t help as the keywords are too common.

From my point of view, Google presence is definitely welcomed in Malaysia. There will be new job opportunities and I know for sure people will jump with joy and try their best to penetrate the company. As for me, I don’t think I am well qualified yet to work with a gigantic company like Google. But who knows… I don’t have a crystal ball to show my future.

What about you? Will you try your luck if Google starts recruiting in Malaysia?

Google Chrome: More Findings

Actually, if you really watch the 52-minutes video or read the whole manual you might already know about these cool features. And then again maybe not. I didn’t have the time to go thorough with the documents / videos so I am just documenting based on casual use.

One of most obvious feature would be the “Inspect element” contextual menu. As a Firebug user this screen is no stranger to me.

I have not figured out whether Chrome can display real time resources such as JavaScripts and CSS loading like what Firebug does in its “Net” panel.

Another interesting feature I just discovered is the “Open link in incognito window” contextual menu that will appear every time a right click is done on a link.
Continue reading Google Chrome: More Findings

Google Chrome: My Findings So Far

Like Rizal, I was also thrilled to try out Google Chrome when I saw the posts in nazham.com and dirn.name.

I am simply discussing my initial findings, and we all know it’s Beta. This is by no means an official or detailed review. This is what I have encountered so far while using it casually.
Continue reading Google Chrome: My Findings So Far

Google In Malaysia II

More than a year after I wrote this post: Google In Malaysia, and more than a year after Hanson Toh was appointed as Malaysia Google Consultant, we may actually have a real good news.

I just saw in TV3’s Buletin Utama that Malaysia Prime Minister met Google’s CEO in Switzerland (World Economic Forum) and they do have intention to have a physical presence in Malaysia.

For everyone who have ever dreamed of working for Google (to become a Googler), there might just be a chance soon. A chance is good enough – I doubt that it is going to be very easy to get into Google 🙂

GMail Labels Now With Color

This morning when I logged on to GMail, it was still the same.

However about half an hour ago I was surprised with some weird boxes around the label list. Clicking on them gave me the option to do only one thing: change the colors of my labels. Yay!

As an email organizing freak, I really welcome this feature as it makes my life easier by letting me spot my emails quickly.

Gmail Labels with Color

Have you logged into GMail today?