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Hong Z
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Sunrise In The Office

http://www.500px.com/photo/33047399
I take you far away from skyscrapers and high rise buildings roof tops this time to somewhere much higher: welcome to my daily office ! This was my last flight as a 1st officer.Took this shot to immortalise the amazing moments i had the chance to experience flying on the right hand seat. It was time to move to the hot seat , the captain's seat ;) Make sure you look at it on a black background ;) Follow me on my Facebook Page THANK YOU ALL FO...
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Google+ Hangouts for iOS: phone calls, animated GIFs, and more

Today we're updating Google+ Hangouts for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. The new app includes the recent Android improvements (http://goo.gl/gd3By1), as well as some new goodies for iOS:

- You can now make calls to phones from the iOS app, and calls to the US and Canada are free! You can dial internationally too (with super low rates), but you'll first need some calling credit: google.com/voice/m/credit.

- If you're a Google Voice user, you can make and receive calls from any of your iOS devices with today's update. Outgoing calls will come from your Google Voice number, and incoming Voice calls can be answered from Google+ Hangouts.

- Incoming messages will no longer stop your music. Instead of interrupting your groove, Google+ Hangouts will now temporarily duck your music, then crank the volume back up.

- Aaand… animated GIFs will now play in-line.

Today's release contains lots of features based on your feedback (seeing who's reachable right now, early integrations with Google Voice), but we're always working to make the app better. So give the new version a go (http://goo.gl/FDOfq), and let us know your thoughts!

#googleplusupdate
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So, you all (hopefully) saw my photos yesterday; if you didn't, you may have seen the media coverage about my employer, Google Australia, installing 2 monorail carriages in our new office space yesterday (e.g. http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/google-installs-monorail-carriages-in-its-office-20131009-2v7fl.html)

Now! For those of you who don't know, confession (and story!) time: this was my fault.

At Google, we have (like most large companies do) an internal ticketing system for keeping track of jobs for our building management team ('Facilities', or 'REWS'). This system is usually populated with requests like, you know, 'the door on level X isn't working properly' or 'the pinball machine isn't working' or 'you know what would be awesome? An electric keyboard. We don't have one, can you buy us one please?' or whatever (all real, recent examples, which all got 'fixed').

Sometimes, though, this ticket system is abused by idiots* trying to be funny.

One such example of this was at the start of this year, when one particular idiot† submitted a ticket into this system pointing out that the NSW and Sydney governments had finally announced their long-anticipated plan to remove and scrap Sydney's defunct, expensive-but-useless monorail (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sydney_Monorail — a classic 'white elephant'). At the time, Google Australia had spread from one office building in Pyrmont to two, and there were rumours of a third coming soon, so this idiot suggested that maybe Google should buy the monorail and install it between the three buildings in a loop, because we're lazy and besides how cool would it be to have a monorail.

Everyone had a chuckle at this lame joke, and then that was it, until a particularly awesome member of our Facilities team, Alecia, replied to the ticket, giving an hilarious and clever feasibility study as to why purchasing the monorail would be a bad plan (and yes, it did include the phrase "more of a Shelbyville idea"). This reply (which I wish I could share with you, but if nothing else it's filled with Google in-jokes and wouldn't make sense to you all) elevated my stupid facilities ticket into legendary status, where it did the rounds of Google and after about a week I think the whole company had seen it.

Joke dies down, everyone's happy. Until about 3 months ago.

About 3 months ago, Alecia sent me an IM saying "Are you free for a meeting now? And by meeting, I mean 'road trip'." Naturally, I was. I arrived at Alecia's desk (Alecia: "I love that I say 'road trip' and you just turn up without asking what it is."), and we head off. Eventually I ask what we're actually doing, and another colleague who was in on the plan tells me: "Monorail shopping!"

Sure enough, Alecia takes us out to a junkyard near the airport, and we all help choose which two monorail carriages we want to purchase and install as meeting rooms in One Darling Island, our new workspace in Sydney (the aforementioned rumoured third building).

Eventually, this brings us to what happened yesterday. After an months of Herculean logistics (and, I'm quite sure, horrifying expense; the SMH article linked above estimates the costs of the installation at $250,000, though I have no idea if that's accurate), yesterday our 2 monorail carriages were brought to the office, and very carefully (I heard tell that the '20cm of clearance' figure in the SMH article was actually an OVER-estimate) lifted into place, where they will become 3 meeting rooms (each carriage will be its own room, and then there will be another casual meeting area at the back)‡. HOW COOL IS THAT??!?

Anyway, check out the linked article - the timelapse footage isn't brilliant, but it will give you an idea of the logistics involved (we actually took some footage of our own, hopefully I can share that with you soon).

So: next time I tell you (as I regularly do) that working at Google is like working at Wonka's Chocolate Factory: remember, I once made a stupid joke about buying a monorail, and MY COMPANY DID IT FOR ME. I bet not many of you can say that§.


* generally, me.
† specifically, me.
‡ you, all being nerds, will be delighted to know that the meeting rooms are to be named "Brockway", "Ogdenville", and "North Haverbrook".
§ my guess: zero.
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It is amusing that voters chose a congress with 10% approval rate and shutdown the government. #WAI  
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America's Cup Final Race
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DDG10001310 cloudy a2. The destroyer Zumwalt is one of the most strikingly different warships ever built, in any age. Angular and stealthy, the ship's lines are almost as different from other destroyers as the Monitor and Virginia/Merrimac were from the sailing ships of their era.
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The worst possible fingerprint scanner: hidden in the back, sitting next to camera, require wake up device first, require swipe, only works in certain directions. What can possibly go wrong? :(
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#EPIC bug
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Welcome to the Internet Age

I think this brings phones to the Internet Age. While the wired Internet has felt like a global network for a very long time, the phone networks have lagged.

+T-Mobile just changed the game, cutting the price of high-speed roaming data by 99+%, and adding unlimited 128kbps roaming data. They also took care of making international voice and messaging cheaper (free in many cases, 20 cents a minute otherwise).

And obviously, this being T-Mobile, all of that is available without a 2-year contract and without making me pay for a subsidized phone.

Everyone else, your move.
Find breaking news on the latest T-Mobile products, services, and events directly from the official source.
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China’s plans to cut coal pollution will unleash another environmental catastrophe instead.

http://qz.com/128181
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