April 1, 2012

Google's Jokes of 2012

It's nearly the end of 1 April for another year. So have you found Google's jokes for this year? Let me list a few that I have found so far.

8-bit Google Maps
Google Maps featured a 8-bit version of the maps as well as Street View in full 8-bit color. It hurt my eyes. In addition, Google supposedly annouced 'Google Maps for NES' which basically Google Maps on a NES. They even went that far to make a promotional video embedded below.

Simplified IME for Japanese
Google Japan came up with a simplied IME for Japanese that only uses a single key: space.

Google China changed the search results page for [Qingming], but you'll only see the beautiful animated wallpaper if you use Chrome.

Underwater Search
Google China also released a 'underwater' search function to its main page. It's so much fun typing your query in the floating box!

Street Roo
Google Australia found a way to capture more Street View images for Australia: Google Street Roo. "Over the next four weeks, more than a thousand Big Red kangaroos will be equipped with a 360-degree head camera that will automatically capture images when the marsupial is on the move during daylight hours. The cameras on our Street Roo collection team will be powered by solar panels stitched into the back pocket of custom-made roo jackets. Images will be wired to Google in real-time. A GPS tracker embedded into the jacket will match the location of the kangaroo to ensure the image is accurately uploaded onto the new Street View layer."

Gmail Tap
Inspired by the Japanese IME and the Morse Code, Gmail's team introduces a new way to type on a mobile device. "Gmail Tap takes the keyboard from 26 keys to just two. Every letter of the alphabet is represented by a simple pattern of dots and dashes, and once you know them you can type without even looking at your screen. This makes it ideal for situations where you need to discreetly send emails, such as when you're on a date or in a meeting with your boss."

Google Chrome Multitask
Now you can multitask in your Google Chrome browser with more than one mice. Chrome Multitask Mode lets you browse the web with multiple cursors at the same time, so you can get more done, faster. Welcome to the ambinavigation revolution.

So that's what I found so far. Have I missed anything? Let me know if you do by commenting below. Have fun with Google! I can't wait for next year's jokes.

Anime Review: Steins;Gate

A very entertaining anime about a mad scientist who successfully manipulates time that allows him to travel to the past to change the future. I deep sci-fi anime that requires lots of knowledge about time travel, science and chaos theory.

Steins;Gate is set in the summer of 2010, approximately one year after the events that took place in Chaos;Head, in Akihabara.

Steins;Gate is about a group of friends who have customized their microwave into a device that can send text messages to the past. As they perform different experiments, an organization named SERN, who has been doing their own research on time travel, tracks them down and now the characters have to find a way to avoid being captured by them.

Time travel sci-fi has always fascinated me and Steins;Gate has no doubt satisfied my every curiosity about time travel and chaos theory. In fact, I pretty well understood the anime right from the start. If you have never heard of John Titor, the LHC and the 'Butterfly effect' then its best to do some pre-reading on those topics. Then, you may understand a bit more about Steins;Gate. Also, some internet culture would help as well as the anime does touch on some internet meme aspects. Well, enough of the background, time to talk about the story. Three words: I loved it. It was just what I wanted from a time travel anime. Manipulating time and changing the past to effect the future just hooked me from the very start. Such anime obviously brings out many questions such as 'How does changing the past effect the future?' and 'What about time paradoxes?' or 'What about the memories of the people who time travel?'. These questions are more or less answered as you watch the anime. Hence, most explanations are clearly explained in scientific and logical detail. To a degree, it makes realistic sense, but at the same time, this is just a fictitious anime so don't take it seriously.

The art was was well illustrated. The characters all looked aesthetically pleasing and natural. The time leap effects and nostalgic flashbacks all looked wonderful with their own respective use of dark overtones and flashy effects. Overall, I have nothing to complain about the art. It was good.

The voice acting was perfect. Although, the main character, Rintarou got a bit annoying due to his 'mad scientist' personality. It may get on your nerve sometimes at how naive he is to a current situation. Other than that, the other characters were well voiced. I loved Rumiho with her constant cuteness and the use of 'nyan' in almost every sentence she says. Let me talk about the theme songs. They were good! So catchy that I even downloaded the OST. This adds to my anime music collection which only consists of K-On, Angel Beats! and Gosick. Very well compiled soundtrack throughout the whole series.

I loved the characters, except for Rintarou. Well, I didn't mind him, but his attitude gets slightly annoying from the constant 'mad scientist' rave and delusional monologue he always does. Foe most of the anime you will be seeing him talking on his phone to himself. You might call him 'mad' alright. Moving on, the other main character, Mayuri is always cute and cheerful as ever. With her constant 'du du lu' greetings to everyone she meets and her naive attitude just gets to you, Speaking of cuteness, Rumiho is also cute with her constant use of the word 'nyan' in many of her sentences. Finally, Kurisu is just cool. Plain cool. Her clothing style just speaks for itself. Anyhow, that's my quick round-up of the characters.

Overall, I loved this anime. Anything with time travel just interests me. So if you are a totally sci-fi anime fan, you will love the action, time travel and chaos theory all mentioned in this anime. Be warned though, it may seem a bit confusing at first, but if you know a bit about John Titor and internet culture then you should be fine.

Loved it! Never got boring. The story just made sense.

ART: 9
Really well illustrated and animated. Expected from such a good anime.

Voice acting was superb and the theme songs were really catchy.

The characters were varied, even though they were all on different world lines, you still felt an attachment to them.

Sci-fi + time travel + chaos theory + internet culture = one awesome nerd anime series.

Loved it. Captivated me from start to end.

Minecraft Server is Back

Hey all!

Great news. With Minecraft 1.2.4 released a little over a week ago. I'm happy to announce the relaunch of the Minecraft server! The new server will be more powerful than ever before, with over 4GB RAM to handle many players. The new IP address of the server will be released soon.

With this exciting update along with many new features, its going to be more fun than ever before.

Some earlier features released in 1.2:

  • Ladders have regained their collision box
  • Maximum height increased to 256 (from 128)
  • Ladders come as 3 instead of two when crafting
  • Vines are scalable if you push into a block while nest to them
  • Dispensers dispensing eggs will spawn the mob
  • Dead bushes can be obtained with shears
  • Torches and Redstone torches can be placed on the top of Glass.
  • Mob Eggs are now stackable
  • When crafting Slabs, you now get 6 instead of 3.
  • Villagers have children which sprint
  • New world format: 'Anvil'
  • Lava has sounds
  • Villagers repopulate a village depending on house availability

Have fun!