Blog Archive

15 November 2006

Search Public Events from Google Calendar

It seems that the Search Public Events button in Google Calendar that I briefly spotted two days ago is now live.

Simply open your calendar, enter a search term, hit the new Search Public Events button and you’ll then be able to view upcoming events using the list view (which looks like a standard Google results page) or by day, week or month. Clicking an event description allows you to view the full details and copy it to your calendar. You can view the New Features! page for a little bit more information.

On a related note, the “Visible only to Google Internal IPs” Recent Changes file that I also found (view a copy here) now displays just one word:



13 November 2006

Google Calendar: Search Public Events and Internal IP Visible Info?

I just signed in to Google Calendar and saw this:

Search Public Events / Google Internal IP Visible Info: Changes | VarZ |  DOM 2 | log |

And here’s the code that generated those links.

There are two things worth mentioning here:

  1. Search Public Events – perhaps this is a new feature they’re planning to add soon. (It reminds me of the Google Events service I found in the sandbox and posted about in July.)

    Entering a search term and clicking the button took me here (which returns an error):

    Update: 13 November 2006 (18:17)
    And after a bit more digging around, I managed to see the search results when searching for [google] (on today’s date) using the Search Public Events button. You can view a copy here. (Sorry about the formatting – I was unable to download the CSS, JS and image files...)

    Update: 15 November 2006 (09:15)
    Search Public Events is now live!

  2. Google Internal IP Visible Info: Changes | VarZ | DOM 2 | log | – these look like debugging text links meant for internal use only.

    Clicking the links did nothing, apart from the Changes link that lead here (which returns a “Sorry, Calendar is unavailable right now” error):

    Update: 13 November 2006 (17:25)
    After a bit of poking around, I’ve managed to find the Recent Changes file that the Changes link points to. It’s titled “Visible only to Google Internal IPs“ and you can view a copy here.

I was seeing this in both Internet Explorer and Firefox but it’s disappeared again now. Weird, eh?


Amazing Web Race: Final Route

Niraj Sanghvi and Dave Fymbo released the Amazing Web Race: Final Route – a follow up to the original Amazing Web Race – on Saturday 11/11/2006 at 1:11 PM Eastern time. I started it around 20:00 GMT and finished it around 4 hours later, claiming 4th place on the leader board.

I recommend you give your brain a serious workout and try it for yourself. And if you like exercising your grey matter, you might want to try these too:


12 November 2006

Browser Wars: Internet Explorer 7

I finally took the plunge and installed Windows Internet Explorer 7 this evening. (Why they changed the name from Microsoft Internet Explorer to Windows Internet Explorer, I have no idea. Nor do I care really; it was just an observation...)

Despite how other people reported that they needed to reboot as many as three times (or more) following installation, I only had to reboot once. In fact, the installation was quite painless really. My biggest issue was the time it took to download the update and finally install it. It was probably going on for 20 or 30 minutes. By comparison, Firefox 2 took seconds to download and another few seconds to install. I guess that’s the price Microsoft has to pay when it integrates the web browser with the operating system so tightly. Whatever the reason, it’s one point to Firefox.

I’ve only tried using it for a couple of hours now and there are some quite things that are already annoying me. The first and most obvious change that’s causing a problem is the interface. I’ve read numerous other reports about how bad everyone thinks this is too – so how the heck did it ever get passed usability testing? Microsoft, please don’t make me think. And if you absolutely must include some snazzy new navigation, please provide me with a “classic” option to change it back to what I know. Firefox didn’t change their interface between versions, so they get another point.

One of the first things I did was activate the Menu Bar (File, Edit, View, etc.) only to find that it sticks it under the Address Bar! Fortunately, I’d already read this post on Anthony’s blog so I knew how to stop it doing that. That makes things a little bit better but it’s still getting on my nerves. Why they decided to stop users from moving their toolbars around like they’ve always been able to, I’ll never know. As far as I’m concerned, an essential feature has been removed. Another point to Firefox.

It seems Internet Explorer now has tabbed browser, eh? Personally, I can take or leave tabbed browsing. I still don’t fully understand the difference between using tabs in a browser and using buttons in your task bar. But thousands of people rant and rave about how good they are, so I guess they must be right. What really confuses me is why there’s no option to “Open in New Tab” when you right-click a link. (And that “Open” option has always been pointless; why would anyone not just left-click?) Of course, Firefox already has that option. Yet another point to Firefox.

After trying out a few of my websites in it, I realised that there were a couple of small changes I needed to make. When I followed my shortcut to the FTP site, it opened in IE7 rather than Windows Explorer. I then had to find the “Open FTP site in Windows Explorer” option, as the page suggested. (Why couldn’t they just give me a link to click that would do that instead of making me go hunting around for it?) So that was pretty annoying... and it was even more annoying when I realised that it does this every time! Minus one point to Internet Explorer.

One thing I do quite like though is the ClearType feature. I do find it strange how they make text appear clearer by actually making it more blurred though. Either way, it seems to work. But at least you can switch it off if you don’t like it. At last – one point to Internet Explorer!

And at the end of that round, Firefox has 4 points but Internet Explorer has zero!

Ever since around 1999, my default browser has always been Internet Explorer. And before that, I think it was Netscape 4. I guess I just never got around to switching to Firefox. I didn’t really have a good reason to do so either. However, with IE7 being so different to IE6, I’m now being forced to make a change.

Should I switch to Windows Internet Explorer 7 or Mozilla Firefox 2...?

Update: 14 November 2006 (21:58)

After switching between the two quite a bit tonight, I’ve just made a decision and changed my default browser to Firefox 2. I’ve also deleted any shortcuts to Internet Explorer as I know that my mouse would automatically go for the little blue “e” icon without even thinking about it...

If Firefox 2 annoys me too much in the next week, I may even try Opera 9 and see how I cope with that – IE7 was irritating me too much though after just two days!

(And I’ve already benefited from the spell check feature of Firefox 2 just whilst typing this – and yet I’ve not seen one single benefit of using IE7 in two days!)

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9 November 2006

Migrating to Blogger Beta

Back in August I posted about Blogger Beta being released. Yesterday, they finally announced that users with FTP-publishing blogs could migrate to the new system (using a Google Account) and benefit from some of the improved features.

I’ve just migrated my blog to use Blogger Beta and have discovered a few bugs / issues with it:

Previous Posts

When using the <BloggerPreviousItems> tag in your Blogger template to display previous posts on your individual item pages, this used to display a list of all the posts you made prior to the post that was on the current page. This meant that you could easily use this list of links to go back through your blog archive. This is no longer the case. Instead, it simply shows your 10 most recent posts. If you never re-publish your blog, this wouldn’t be such an issue, but they really shouldn’t have changed this functionality.

Update: 10 November 2006 (13:08)
The Blogger Team sez: We’re aware of the Previous Posts issue. I don’t have an ETA for when this will be fixed, though.

Encoding HTML entities

They are no longer encoding the ampersands in the links created by the <$BlogItemCreate$> template tag. For example, this:;postID=1234567890

will now appear as:

Which means any XHTML validation will obviously fail. And they’re still converting line breaks in comments as <BR/> instead of <br /> despite the settings page saying that “single hard-returns entered in the Post Editor will be replaced with single <br /> tags in your blog. [...] This also applies to the comment-posting form.”

Update: 10 November 2006 (13:08)
The Blogger Team sez: We did not know about the URL encoding; I’ll add that to our internal bugs tracking system. (We generally don’t report tiny stuff on the Known Issues blog.

Posting comments

Clicking the link to post a comment on a Blogger Beta blog now takes you to a page served over HTTPS instead of HTTP. This page contains both secure and nonsecure items, which means that Internet Explorer users get an annoying popup. (Who cares about those losers though, right?)

Update: 10 November 2006 (13:08)
The Blogger Team sez: I’m not familiar with the IE problem on posting comments. (I mean, I didn’t get a popup the last time I tried this.) Can you send the URL of an example page that gave you this alert? [Which I’ve done...]

There are probably loads of other issues that I haven’t even noticed yet but hopefully all the extra features and improvements will overshadow those though. I just hope that the Blogger team don’t let the development of any new features overshadow the need to fix any bugs...

Update: 10 November 2006 (13:08)
As you may have seen in my comments, Blogger Beta also seems to generate the blog feed differently. Instead of including the most recently created posts in the feed, it now includes the most recently updated posts. If you’re one of the people who subscribes to my feed and received a load of old posts in your feed reader yesterday, please accept my apologies; I was just taking advantage of one of the new Blogger Beta features and adding labels to all my old posts. (I’ve asked the Blogger Team whether that’s behaviour by design or a bug.)

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6 November 2006

Running 2.0

Out of all the different sports and types of physical exercise imaginable, there’s always been one that I’ve never really understood. Running. Run away from someone threatening to beat you up? Yes, that’s allowed. Run to the kebab shop 20 seconds before closing time? Yes, that’s allowed too – unless there’s a taxi rank nearby. Run for fun? No way!

I think my opinion on running was heavily influenced by my attempt at trying to run the 1500m race at my school sports day in 1995. I stepped in on the last minute because the lad who was supposed to be running it had chickened out and I was team captain (for some unknown reason). I remember getting lapped by all the other runners twice and hallucinating when I crossed the finish line with an acidic taste in my mouth. That firmly confirmed my suspicions that there was nothing fun about going for a run. And that’s why I was pretty damn shocked when I found myself saying that I wanted to do the Sheffield Half Marathon next year!

Here’s the problem. When I said that I wanted to run the half marathon, it was back in August when I’d been out drinking since about 18:00 and happened to mention it whilst in a taxi on the way home at around 02:00. As part of the new training schedule, I’d also arranged to go for a run that Sunday. My brain might not have been fully functional, but I remembered to set an alarm to remind me about what I’d said – and I actually went for a run for the first time in over 11 years!

So why am I posting about all this now? Because the reality of what I’m doing suddenly hit me when I got home from work to find an envelope containing my first ever running number – you know, the sort that people wear on their chest when you see them running on the telly! It’s for the Percy Pud 10km race (organised by Steel City Striders) that some of us applied for a few weeks ago. Since it’s “South Yorkshire's most popular 10km” we were advised to get our applications in as soon as possible, which I did. Bearing in mind that 3 months ago I’d never run further than 1500m, I’m now feeling somewhat nervous about running 10km with a huge number 6 on my front! (I thought they reserved the single digit numbers for the serious runners! Is everybody’s going to expect me to come 6 out of around 1000 runners now?)

If you’re interested, you can see the two routes I’ve been following on my MapMyRun Profile. (Thanks Chris!) I’m now running around 4.7km with a couple of stops. With just under 4 weeks to go, I think I may need to start pushing myself a bit more – especially if I’m going to come sixth.

Perhaps I should be running to the kebab shop on the other side of town instead of the one that’s just around the corner...?

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