Blog Archive

20 March 2007

Google Personalized Homepage Easter Eggs

Google announced an update to their personalized homepage today, which allows users to select from six custom themes (or skins). I’ve seen several blogs report that Marissa Mayer hinted at some “Easter Eggs” hidden in the themes. Well, here are the ones I’ve found so far:

Beach City Scape Sweet Dreams Tea House Winter Scape Spring Scape

Update: 6 November 2007 (13:15)

Aja Tiger Autumn Hong Kong JR

Update: 18 December 2007 (22:15)

Holiday Village

Basically, the XML file for each of the “time skins” seems to contain a time-specific entry that will trigger at 3:14 AM – which is Pi to 2 decimal places, as shown in the sky of the “Sweet Dreams” theme – for what is presumably a duration of 1 minute:


I assume these are set to trigger when the user’s local time reaches 3:14 AM, but I can’t be sure. And there doesn’t seem to be an easter egg for “Bus Stop” weather skin.

I guess it’s possible these values might change too. If you’re really that bothered, you could monitor the XML files for each theme in case they make any changes:

Update: 6 November 2007 (13:15)

Update: 18 December 2007 (22:15)

Has anyone found any more?

Update: 21 March 2007 (20:11)

By the way, if you want to see any of the easter eggs without installing Greasemonkey or any other extensions, just paste this code into your browser’s address bar and hit enter (remove the line break though):

For Beach:

For City Scape:

For Sweet Dreams:

For Tea House:

For Winter Scape:

For Spring Scape:

In fact, you can replace the /ig/skins/sweetdreams/sweetdreams_3.14am.css part with any of the other stylesheets found in the XML files above if you want to see what the other themes look like at different times of day or during different weather conditions!

Update: 28 April 2007 (9:45)
Added the new “Spring Scape” theme and changed “Seasonal Scape” to “Winter Scape”.

Update: 6 November 2007 (13:15)

Added the new Aja Tiger, Autumn, Hong Kong, JR and Solar System themes. If you want to see the Easter eggs for these themes, here’s the code to paste into your browser’s address bar:

For Aja Tiger:

For Autumn:

For Hong Kong:

For JR:

For more information on how to enable the new themes if they’re not showing in your iGoogle homepage, see my post on Google Blogoscoped.

Update: 18 December 2007 (22:15)

Added the new Holiday Village theme. If you want to see the Easter eggs for this, here’s the code to paste into your browser’s address bar:


If you want to read about some Secret iGoogle Themes, see my post on Google Blogoscoped.


13 March 2007

UK Government assumes everyone uses Google

I heard a radio advert this morning telling my that if I blow my car tyres up to the correct pressure, I’ll be helping to reduce global warming. At least, I think that’s what the point was. It was early. Anyway, the ad finished by saying something along the lines of:

Search the web for [act on co2] for more information.

It seems that this is the latest campaign from the UK Government to help educate people about ways in which we can prevent global warming. (I think.) And since they were restricted to a 30-second advert, someone had the bright idea of telling people to search the web to find out more. What a great idea!

So let’s take a look at the results returned by the four most popular search engines...


Whilst some of the information you find when searching for [act on co2] on any search engine could potentially be useful, I think it’s obvious that the UK government intended people to use Google and find the Department for Transport’s website.

Why didn’t they just grab (which is available) or another similar domain? Or just tell people “to google” for [act on co2] instead?

(Maybe they wanted to avoid parody sites being setup using similar domains like what happened when they launched their Preparing for Emergencies campaign a few years ago...)

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8 March 2007

On being materialistic...

As I mentioned previously, I’ve been listening to more music and playing my guitar again, and this has made me think about the guitars I own.

There’s my first guitar, a cheap Hohner Rockwood Strat copy; my cheap acoustic guitar which I covered in Budweiser labels to make it look cool when I was younger; my Epiphone Les Paul, the one I played most back in the days when I was gigging; and a Charvel electric guitar which I’ve probably only played a handful of times.

I’ve since discovered – thanks to those Jackson/Charvel experts at JCF Online – that the neglected guitar is a Charvel 375 Deluxe with a flamed (maple?) cherry sunburst body. If you’re actually interested, it looks like the orange one in the bottom right hand corner of this catalogue. The reason I bothered to find out its exact model was because I was going to sell it.

Here’s the problem though. I like to keep (almost) everything. I have thousands of emails cluttering my mailbox dating back to 1997 because I don’t want to delete them. I have letters and cards from old school friends in a box in the roof because I can’t throw them away. My first car – a bright orange 1974 VW Beetle – has been rotting on my parents’ drive since around 1998. And I never want to get rid of my first guitar, even though it’s really crap and I’ll probably never play it every again, because it’s my first guitar!

All these things obviously have sentimental value and they’re really not worth anything to anyone else. However, the Charvel doesn’t have the same feeling about it. I hardly ever played it after all. And even though it’s probably still worth a couple of hundred quid, I’m not sure I can bring myself to get rid of it. Also, in the process of finding out its exact model I discovered that the Jackson/Charvel experts think the 375DLX was a great guitar, so I’d surely be mad to get rid of it... wouldn’t I!?

So does that make me materialistic, a sentimental old fool or just a hoarder?

What do you reckon? Should I just stick it on eBay and say goodbye?

(Actually... is anyone out there interested in buying it?)

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On turning animals into meat...

For the past few nights, BBC Three have been showing Kill It, Cook It, Eat It in which they’ve shown the slaughter process for cows, pigs and sheep in great detail. As a meat-eater, I felt almost obliged to watch this programme.

I’ve not much else to say about this really, other than I found it very insightful and it hasn’t changed my views on eating meat, except for making me wish that I had a really good butcher on my doorstep. In fact, the butcher explaining where the different cuts of meats come from and how to identify good quality meat was probably the best part of the programme.

Anyway, here’s a random-but-related fact: The butcher who appeared on the programme – John Mettrick – owns the butcher’s shop that was used for the special-stuff-selling Hilary Briss and Son in The League of Gentlemen TV series. (And you can view a photo of his shop in Hadfield which I took when I visited the real Royston Vasey in January 2001!)

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On Shakespeare and the English language...

(This was going to be one big post containing a few things I kept meaning to blog about because I couldn’t be bothered to write separate posts, but once I started writing I realised they were long enough to be posts on their own... so get ready whilst I open the post flood gates!)

Last month, I took Suzy to see Shakespeare’s romantic comedy “As You Like It” at the Crucible for Valentine’s Day. The play was alright; the usual minimal sets were used and there was some decent acting by young actors. (We didn’t understand all parts of the play though due to all that crazy Shakespeare language.) However, the main thing I took away from the evening was the realisation that young people today don’t have the same flair for language as the older generations.

This struck me when we were making our way to out seats and decided that rather than disturb the several elderly people already sitting on our row, we’d walk down the row behind and step over the backs of our seats. Upon doing this, the gentlemen sitting next to Suzy said:

Your kindness is only exceeded by your athletic ability.

Now that’s miles betterer than how da kids spk 2day innit.

D’ya get me?

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