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Gavin McGinty
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Gavin McGinty

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I'm fairly certain by this point, many of you have seen the news reports vilifying Google and Ingress for portals in historic locations that people are finding offensive...mainly concentration camps. To say that only one side of the story is being written is an understatement. Here is another perspective...

First and foremost, Google didn't "send" anybody, anywhere. These portals were submitted by players, for players to voluntarily CHOOSE to go to. Furthermore, the players that typically submit these types of portals are doing so for their historic value. Let me be more specific: Different people preserve history in different ways. Has anyone bothered to ask how many more people now have an awareness of a history that they previously never considered?

The more time that passes, the less and less people remember. In today's day and age of technology, younger generations are largely unimpressed with things that do not come to them via their laptops, internet or, in this case, their smartphones. 

I have spoken to Holocaust survivors and their family members over the years.  Growing up, my next door neighbors were a German and Polish Jewish couple who survived the concentration camps.  The vast majority of them do not care how they are remembered, only that they not be forgotten.

+The Independent​​, to say that "Google sent players to concentration camps to play" is not only grossly inaccurate reporting, but it is also a LIE. As a journalist, +Andrew Griffin​​, you have a responsibility to learn the facts and report on them accordingly-without your personal spin involved in an attempt to make Google or Ingress out to be bad entities. Ask the Ingress players who went to these places what they walked away with. Ask them what they now know and have learned as a result of them going to these concentration camps. Has anyone bothered to contact the players that submitted the portals?  Is it possible they themselves may be survivors, or related to survivors, and this is how they choose to be memorialized?

If I'm not mistaken, the goal of the curators of these camps is to preserve history and raise awareness of the struggles of people who have come before. Like it or not, that must now include exposure to digital media.  Ingress isn't about just "playing a game", it is about connecting the world through unique places, interactive events, and historical sites. It is about learning the story of these sites, remembering the history, cataloging the past for the present and future generations. Perhaps if people were to take a step back and set aside their indignation (which is further fueled by irresponsible articles such as the one written by Mr. Griffin), they would realize that the individuals who submitted these portals have the same goals in mind as the curators of these places: preserve history, share the story, raise awareness. I promise you that NOT ONCE did it occur to them when submitting these that,  "Hey cool! A concentration camp!  What an awesome place this would be to play!" 
It was probably more like, "People need to see this. There's a story here, a history. We need to share this with the world." 

Interestingly enough, when you take a peek at the website moderated by these curators, http://www.aushwitz.org, you will see many of the same pictures that were turned into "portals".  These pictures all tell the same story, it's just being done in different ways.  As a newer generation, I apologize on behalf of all my peers that our way of identifying and remembering history offends you, but you're missing the bigger picture....

We are the generation that will need to carry the history forth. We are the generation that will remind the generations that follow using digital media that they can relate to.  We not only tried to do so with pictures and detailed descriptions of the history, but with specific GPS coordinate positions to their exact locations....something that their very own website does not even do.

In closing, for those of us who are involved in Ingress, it is so much more than what others minimalize as "a game". It is our way to record history, interact with others who might be able to show us a new place or location that we never thought of exploring, and most of all, our way to learn the history of places that are quickly becoming forgotten.

See you on the field of history...

Sincerely,
An Ingresser

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/googleowned-ingress-game-sent-players-to-concentration-camps-to-take-part-10361551.html

http://www.zeit.de/zeit-magazin/leben/2015-07/ingress-smartphone-game-google-niantic-labs-nazis-concentration-camp

+Tillmann Prüfer​​ +The Independent​​​ +ZEIT ONLINE​​ 

NOTE: non-productive, inflammatory, or disrespectful commentary will be deleted for the sake of staying on topic. Thank you.
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Gavin McGinty

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I love our new Chromebox setup in the kitchen.

It's replacing an old iMac that basically couldn't even run a browser any more. 

I was just going to replace it with a new iMac. Then the new Google Photos launched, and I decided I didn't really need iPhoto, iMovie or photo editing software any more. At that point I couldn't justify spending 1600+ GBP on a computer that would spend 99% of its time running a browser. 

Instead, I spent 400 GBP on an HP Chromebox and lovely Samsung monitor to go with it, and couldn't be happier. It looks great, and I love using it in Portrait mode. Awesome / thrifty WIN!
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Have you received calls from people claiming to work for or with Google, typically with some type of sales pitch about updating, improving, or finalizing Google listings?
Hopefully you hung up on them.

http://andrij.co/blog/google-is-not-calling
Beware of calls from people claiming to work for or with Google. Chances are you are about to be scammed.
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Are you guys eating cake? I like cake. Bwaaaawk. 
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no, we're having scrambled eggs...
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Watching the West Wing through for probably the sixth time now. Still the best, THE BEST, TV series I've ever seen.


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Definitely Rose! We'd just finished series 3 of the Newsroom (finally hit its stride, though by that point had already been cancelled). But the West Wing is in a different league. 
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Unbelievable tennis #heatherwatson   #wimbledon2015  

Serena showed why she is the champion she is, but Heather was sensational - amazing grit and never-say-die attitude.
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Awesome stuff about being a parent: unlearning. 

I know how to write. But I'm Right-Handed. Tom is Left-Handed. 

Wow, is it different. It's amazing how much he has taught me (and how much I still need to learn). 

I already noticed that Tom holds the pen much higher up, so he can see over what they've already written. His grip is also different to mine (though according to www.lefthandedchildren.org I still need to help him out on it). Smudging will always be a problem (because he's always moving his hand over what he's just written), but super fast drying inks will help with that. 

And as for other things - its amazing how many things are so much harder in the other hand. I don't want to go all Ned Flanders, but it's amazing how hard some every-day objects are to use left-handed (scissors etc). 

This is something Tom will easily learn to cope with, as left-handers have for years, but it's a great reminder of how different the most simple tasks are when you put just the slightest twist on them from your "norm". 
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Gets me every time. Though still not figured out if this was the beginning of the end, or the end of the beginning. [Admittedly "Parisian Love" https://goo.gl/249b1W came first, but it was different somehow].  
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I'm going all in on Chromebook/boxes.

Our family iMac is done. It's 6 years old, and despite stripping almost all the software and files off it, it needs regular reboots to run the browser at anything approaching usable speed.

I bought it shortly after Eva was born, and it was designated as our "big" computer for photo and video editing. It served that purpose well, for a while... but for the last ~3 years I have dreaded opening iPhoto or iMovie for the crippling performance hit it would take. So we installed it on a nice swivel arm in our kitchen, and it's mostly been a browser for pulling up recipes, playing music from Google Play Music, and other assorted web browsing. But increasingly it can't even manage that stuff any more. 

It does look nice (and has a fairly prominent position) so I was initially inclined to replace it like for like. And when I started looking at the 4k iMac, I knew I couldn't buy anything less. But that's pushing 2000 of the Queen's finest great british pounds (including the ridiculous have-to-have-it-specially-built-with-a-vesa-mount option). And I just couldn't stomach that.

At the same time, I've just uploaded all our photos from iPhoto to the new Google Photos and I love it. So I can really no longer justify having a big slow machine to run photo editing software for what is, in all reality, occasional tinkering with family photos. In all reality, I don't need to open anything that isn't a browser any more. 

So for a fifth of a price of the iMac, I've just ordered a very pretty curved white Samsung monitor, and a very capable Chromebox to run on it. It's not 4k (though I could have done that for not much more money, but the 4k monitors all seem to be black plastic, boxy and ugly). But I doubt we'll really notice the difference. What we will notice is that we can actually get websites to load without waiting for 20 seconds. 

I've used a Chromebook Pixel as my work laptop for ~3 years, and haven't felt I've missed out. And the kids are starting to use Chromebooks more at school. What felt slightly radical and limited 4 years ago, is increasingly becoming 'the norm'. And I'm all for it. 
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Top Gear lives! 

A great decision by the BBC. Evans will be perfect. And while all the talk now is about "filling Clarkson's shoes", that's not what he needs to do at all. Evans is easily Clarkson's equal in terms of TV entertainment and love of cars. A breath of fresh air will be good - there were just as many people put off by Clarkson and endured him, as found him the reason to watch (I was in the former camp). 

Hammond and May are the true losses from the show - but at the same time there'll be plenty of other good candidates to replace them. They were nobodies in 2002 (in fact, May didn't join until season 2, after an unsuccessful season 1 with Jason Dawlish). I hope people give the new group a season or two to bed in (again, the 2002 Season 1 was really pretty poor when you look back on it now).

And besides, if you really miss them, Clarkson, Hammond and May will pop up in "Full Throttle" [or whatever it is called] on Netflix in 9 months when their non-competes with the BBC expire. 
TV and radio personality Chris Evans will replace Jeremy Clarkson as the lead presenter of an all-new Top Gear line-up, the BBC announces.
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I'd be pretty sure [at least] one of the other presenter spots will go to a woman. And hopefully they'll all be seen as equal / a team. One of the most depressing things about the whole Clarkson coverage is how much it seems people perceived him as the center of the show. That's not how I viewed it (albeit, I did tend to fast forward through the 10 minutes of "star in a reasonably priced car" crap, so maybe that gave more of a balanced view). 
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Solar Impulse is pretty amazing. But that's nothing compared to the headless security guards they employ.
 
The moment the zero-fuel Solar Impulse plane begins its Pacific crossing http://bbc.in/1I1vEm0
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The Verge names the Moto G (v2) as the best cheap smartphone you can buy. I couldn't agree more - it's an astonishingly good phone, at a very realistic price. I've given up on buying expensive smartphones, because I seem to be going through a phase of killing them at an alarming rate. But even if I weren't, I still reckon the Moto G is all the phone I need.

My only two caveats on the Verge's conclusion: (1) the very latest version includes LTE, which works great and doesn't seem to affect battery; (2) avoid the Lollipop upgrade if you can. It's much better now that Moto has disabled the default encryption, but still noticably laggier in regular use than when it ran on KitKat (and it's not an SD card issue). 
If you took stock of all of the products that you own and use every day, chances are the most-used thing in your life is a smartphone. These ubiquitous pocket computers keep us constantly informed,...
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Work
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  • Google
    2007 - present
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    2001 - 2007
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Lawyer with geek tendencies. Father with childish tendencies.
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Bransgore
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San Francisco - Ayr - Glasgow - Dublin - London - Zurich
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Gavin McGinty's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
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Gmail is email that's intuitive, efficient, and useful. 15 GB of storage, less spam, and mobile access.

Why is this song used in so many GoPro videos?
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February 23rd, 2012. Electronic violinist Lindsey Stirling uploads the official music video for "Crystallize" to YouTube. Two days later, us

NYC Mayor: ‘Reconcile Yourselves With Your God, For All Will Perish In T...
www.theonion.com

NEW YORK—As a major winter storm continued its advance toward New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio advised residents Monday to make peace wit

An open letter to Russell Brand.
blog.squandertwo.net

Dear Russell, Hi. I'm Jo. You may remember me. You may even have filmed me. On Friday, you staged a publicity stunt at an RBS office, inconv

The Last Policeman: A Novel, Book 1
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Winner of the 2013 Edgar® Award Winner for Best Paperback Original! What’s the point in solving murders if we’re all going to die soon, any

Ready Player One
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In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he's jacked into the virtual utopia

The Grand Budapest Hotel
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THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL recounts the adventures of legendary concierge Gustave H. and Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy who becomes his most tru

The Gruffalo
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This enchanting film tells the story of a mouse who goes in search of a nut. Along the way, he is confronted by three hungry animals who thi

Google Lat Long: Go back in time with Street View
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Wednesday, April 23, 2014 at 6:00 AM. If you've ever dreamt of being a time traveler like Doc Brown, now's your chance. Starting today, you

John Lewis
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Welcome to the official John Lewis Google+ page.

The Room Two
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Welcome to The Room Two, a physical puzzler, wrapped in a mystery game, inside a beautifully tactile 3D world. The much anticipated sequel t

Frozen (2013)
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In "Frozen," fearless optimist Anna teams up with rugged mountain man Kristoff and his loyal reindeer Sven in an epic journey, encountering

Redemption
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Jason Statham stars as an ex-Special Forces officer who comes home from the Afghan war a shattered man. Broke, homeless and lost in a haze o

Sherlock
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Sherlock Holmes is updated for a new generation with Benedict Cumberbatch in the title role and Martin Freeman as Watson. The combination of

Netflix
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Netflix es el servicio líder mundial de suscripción para ver películas y series en tu teléfono. Esta aplicación móvil de Netflix está diseña

The World's End
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Five lifelong friends reunite to complete a historic pub crawl from their youth, and find that reaching the fabled World's End tavern will b

The Lone Ranger (2013)
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Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer star in The Lone Ranger, from Jerry Bruckheimer Films and Director Gore Verbinski. It's a wild ride of high-vel

Red 2
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Frank (Bruce Willis), Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker), and Marvin (John Malkovich) fight an unrelenting onslaught of hired killers, heavily armed

Olympus Has Fallen
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An ex-Special Forces operative and former presidential bodyguard must fight to take back the White House from terrorists who have kidnapped

Overall good experience at this busy branch of a dependable chain. There's always a risk that staff at locations like this view customers as disposable tourists, but that didn't seem to be a problem here. Food and service both good.
Public - a month ago
reviewed a month ago
We saw the Alice in Wonderland kids version of the show, and loved it. It was just the right mix of fun / silliness / jeopardy for our 4 and 6 year olds. Very well acted, very well put-together. I'd love to go back to the adult version.
Public - a month ago
reviewed a month ago
Amazing location. Perfect for families and couples visiting London. Studio rooms are perfect for families, with two separate (though not physically separated or soundproofed) sleeping areas, and a kitchenette. Iconic View studios and suites probably have some of the best views in all of London, especially the Duplex Suites which are truly stunning. Communal areas of the hotel are very well kept, rooms are starting to fray around the edges just a little - but that's fine given the 4 star rating and very accessible pricing. The gym is good. Spa is average. Swimming pool is small for the size of hotel, and quickly gets crowded especially if there are lots of families. At the same time, finding a hotel with a swimming pool in central london at this price is a bonus - so consider it on those terms and you won't be disappointed. Overall, this is now our default choice for family weekend stays in London (which we do ~monthly). Park Plaza County Hall over the road is almost as good, but lacks the swimming pool and views.
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Public - a month ago
reviewed a month ago
Nice gastropub food downstairs, with more of a fine-dining menu and feel upstairs, though still fairly casual. The bar can get very busy, even on weeknights - testament to the fact that there's not really very much else around, despite it being an affluent area with lots of offices nearby.
Public - a month ago
reviewed a month ago
102 reviews
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Stupidly we ate here at 6pm on a bank holiday monday. Even still, I won't be back. I should have known better, and avoided the area entirely - but here we were, the kids were hungry, and the queues at Wagamama and Giraffe were too long to contemplate. The food was thrown together, it felt like in the rush they'd given up on quality control or portioning. The kids menu felt like they were trying to cram in too many elements within a price, but none of them actually worth it. The adult meals were massively disappointing. I know it's a chain, but chains can do so much better. We eat at Pizza Express pretty regularly, and I've never felt it drop in quality when things got busy the way I felt it drop here. That said, this was nothing to do with the staff - who were doing a good job. It was pure and simple a management failure, and that's partly the problem of a venue that caters to a captive market (people going to shows at Southbank) and non-returning visitors (Southbank tourists). As neither of those, though, we certainly won't be back to this restaurant, and we won't be visiting another Strada any time soon.
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Public - a month ago
reviewed a month ago
Good location for tourists. My room was small but beautifully appointed and very recently renovated. Great gym and swimming pool (albeit could be busy as it's also a regular members gym). I found it very odd that there was no bellman on the door when I arrived - not only that but I (and several others) had to buzz for entry - it was only 11pm. Not a great first impression: that's the sort of thing I'd expect of one of the 2 star places around Victoria, not a 5 star carrying the Waldorf brand. But overall, a good choice if the price is right.
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Public - a month ago
reviewed a month ago
This hotel is all about the location. If you want to stay smack-dab in the epicenter of tourist London, with the best of Regent Street, Bond Street and Mayfair high-end shopping on your doorstep, then look no further. In terms of the hotel itself though, as an officially rated five-star hotel, it's just OK. The common areas (lobby, bar, restaurant) are nice and recently renovated. The rooms are ok, and look like they might have had a lick of paint and some fresh upholstery recently. But the bathroom was looking pretty dated, and like they keep trying to paint over problems rather than fixing them. The gym is huge, and reasonably well equipped, but also a little dated and grubby. The swimming pool is also huge, and has the capacity to be stunning (huge vaulted roof etc), but is also in need of a month or two's shut down and complete overhaul. Service overall was good. If this were listed as a 4-star hotel rather than a 5-star, I'd have rated it as Good rather than just OK. But as a 5-star hotel, they need to work harder. In terms of price, it's the same story. Don't pay 5-star prices, or you'll be disappointed. But pay 4-star prices, and you'll be quite happy.
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Public - a month ago
reviewed a month ago