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Allen “Prisoner” Firstenberg


Allen Firstenberg

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Google+ and Macbeth
Full of Sound and Fury

Everyone is all aBuzz about the comments made by +Sundar Pichai  today and the announcement that +Bradley Horowitz is now the head of the “Photos and Streams” team. “Google+ is being broken up!” everyone is proclaiming! “This is the end of Google+!”

Stuff and nonsense, on several levels.

For starters, let’s think about what this means. It means that Photos and the Google+ Stream, which have been pretty separate products for almost four years… will continue along this track. Yes, they’ve been part of the same app… but most Android and Web users saw them as two separate apps already. And Bradley being the “head” of both teams… doesn’t change that there has always been two teams.

Does this surprise anyone, really? Way back in the early days of Google+, it was always pretty clear that Photos were separate. The permission system for them was slightly different, for example. There were separate Community Leaders for Photos vs Hangouts vs “the rest of Google+” (ie - the Stream). Yes… Photos showed up in the Stream… but so did YouTube and Drive.

So what has changed? As far as I can tell - nothing. And +Yonatan Zunger has seemed to confirm this.

If something has changed, I’m all ears to hear what.

But I think everyone has overlooked two very important questions:
1) What has happened to +Dave Besbris 
2) Sundar said “Google+ was always two things, a stream and a social layer.” which is a little different than what +Eric Schmidt said in August 2011 that Google+ was “an Identity Service”. So what happened to the Identity Service?

Google+ Sign-In still carries the Google+ branding and is still listed under the Google+ APIs. At I/O last year, Bez and Bradley were seen at the session on the Google+ Sign-In. And yet, neither Sundar nor Bradley mention Identity anywhere when talking about the future of Google+. This doesn’t worry me, personally… but I do find it interesting.

So what will change? The future is the future. But to quote a different play from the bard, a rose by any other name will smell just as sweet.

(PS - +Bradley Horowitz - Congrats on the new role! Any time you want to appear on +Dan McDermott's show, +Google Plus Week TV Show, we'll be happy to have you!) 
George Kozi's profile photoCaptain Euro's profile photoTyson Kemp's profile photoAllen Firstenberg's profile photo
+Tyson Kemp - as I said... nothing new. {:
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CIA Visit to Pangea - 27 Feb 2015

The Culinary Institute of America is a real school, training the next generation of chefs. As part of the students experience, they help run the restaurants on campus, giving them real-world experience in addition to what they're learning in the classroom.

The CIA normally has three restaurants on campus: Nouveaux French, Italian, and American. But this can't possibly cover the entire range of cuisine the students are learning about. So when they had a "pop-up" restaurant for a few months this year, I wanted to make sure +Lisa Bauer and I could try it out.

The staff at Pangea provided a most excellent and delicious meal, as I hope these pictures begin to illustrate. Each course was pre-determined, we had very little choice in what we were eating. There was an individual serving which went with the family-style dish to accompany it. Flavors were perfectly matched, portions were ideally sized, and pacing was pleasantly leisurely. It is tempting to want to eat there again.
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Well she's actually interested in the other CIA right now and we were cooking at the time. I told her there's another CIA but it's a school where you learn about food and cooking, she thought that was pretty awesome. Then I looked at my stream and was like ... O.O AWESOME!
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There's an xkcd for That
This one simple picture explains everything you need to know about (and one more thing than you need to care about) that dress.
Warning: this comic occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors). BTC 1FhCLQK2ZXtCUQDtG98p6fVH7S6mxAsEey ...
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+Daniel Bentley - Most people agree on that.
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Allen Firstenberg

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Lots of Google Announcements Today

Some links and my (overly cynical) take on these announcements.

Google Wallet and US Carriers

The "tap to pay" feature of Google Wallet (not to be confused with other products with the same name) was one of the niftiest applications that nobody wanted. Especially the US mobile carriers, who came up with their own product and app. Well... everyone is back on the same page and now most of the major carriers will be installing Google Wallet starting later this year. Except now Google Wallet is this incredibly clunky app which is significantly more difficult to use than most other forms of payment. Maybe tap-to-pay may become decent... eventually. Someone let me know when it has - I've given up on this flavor of +Google Wallet.

Inbox for Work

I was fortunate to get in on +Inbox by Gmail early in the public beta, and I'm sold. Totally sold. An inbox that used to have over 100 items is now routinely empty. Unfortunately, this isn't my main email... my mail email has a few thousand messages desperately in need of the organization that Inbox can provide... but its in a Google Apps domain.

Fortunately, according to a post today, Apps uses will get Inbox! Someday. In a few months, they'll open it up to a very limited set of companies to try. Then, eventually, they'll open it up to even more.

Given they haven't made any of the changes I've seen people asking about so far, I'm not sure why they're saying they're asking for feedback, and then not actually... you know... opening this up for people to provide feedback. I'm also not sure why they specifically want companies who use mobile a lot... seems to me like a lot of companies would be using the desktop version. I'm applying... but I strongly doubt I'll see this for six months, at least.

YouTube Kids

I don't think I've seen a single write-up today that doesn't praise Google for this app. And truly - it is about time they released something like this. Now... if they only did this for everything else including GMail, Google+, and  Android they might have something. But as it stands... there are issues. It continues to blur age-level needs, parental needs, and the tech savvy abilities of kids these days. This is a good first effort, and they need to iterate very very quickly on this and other similar tools. +YouTube should be credited for doing something... but I'll really be cheering when this is a more integral part of the entire system and this gives parents real tools.
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Allen Firstenberg

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Thyme Lord

+Lisa Bauer +Dan Rice 
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I saw this on Facebook, and I still adore that you sent it to me :-)
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Allen Firstenberg

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+Lisa Bauer is playing a question/letter game, and gave me the letter Q, because today is the 17th of course. So... my annotated answers...

Something I hate: Queries. Very much a necessity in my line of work, but years of doing them and I never seem to really grok them.
Something I love: Quiet. Not necessarily solitude, tho.
Somewhere I'd like to go: on a Quest. Not sure for what, tho.
Someone I know: Seriously? With a Q? People who are Quirky
Favorite movie: I.Q. This is far from my favorite movie, but the only one I can think of with a Q in it. And come on... a love story that includes Albert Einstein as a character? With Walter Matheau and Meg Ryan as actors?

I'm wondering if X would have been easier, actually... but if you want to play, plus the post and we'll see what letter you get. {:
Lisa Bauer's profile photoMichael Ellis's profile photoAllen Firstenberg's profile photo
Seems like your type of movie as well, +Michael Ellis. Flying creatures and the Chrystler Building
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Allen Firstenberg

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But did it come with his towels?

(Always interesting to see what Google offices are doing.)

cc: +Bard Bloom 
Google London: Googlers in our London office pooled funds to buy this bathtub (now a coffee table), which once belonged to the writer Douglas Adams. Check out our openings there and apply here: #tourtuesday  
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It never left his home, without it!
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Allen Firstenberg

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Allen Firstenberg

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Leonard Nimoy dies at age 83

I still have vivid memories of my father, +David Firstenberg, and my grandmother introducing me to Star Trek when I was young. The adventures through the stars were wonderful, but equally touching to me were the people. And, among those, the most powerful to me was Spock. He was clearly the brains behind the Captain, but was no slouch when it came to action. He was emotionless... yet passionate and dedicated.

Over the years, I saw or heard Leonard Nimoy in other roles. As Paris in Mission: Impossible. The narrator in In Search Of... And, again, as Spock in the Trek movies.

His final tweet was just a few days ago... and it is most telling and touching: "A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory.  LLAP"

But the final quote has to go to Kirk, of course, speaking of Spock: "Of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most... human."

Farewell in your journey to this final frontier.
“A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP”
Allen Firstenberg's profile photoLinda Lawton's profile photoDaniel Bentley's profile photoFrank Daelmans's profile photo
I am crushed. His Twitter account has also tweeted it. Along with the star trek account 
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Allen Firstenberg

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Pebble Time and the Timeline
I have this feeling of Deja Vu

For starters, check out the new Pebble Time watch on Kickstarter. Color e-ink with a 7 day battery life. Already taking Kickstarter by storm, and the early bird tier is already sold out.

But then take a look at the new UX they have for Pebble Time (and existing Pebble watches eventually). They realized that app management was a problem. In their words "no one wants to manage another homescreen". Their solution? The Timeline

Which seems pretty similar to the Glass timeline and, to a lesser extent, the Wear timeline. From the description, apps will be able to add content to the "past, present, and future" on the timeline. They can "pin" things in the timeline. There is a Web API. This content will also be "actionable", allowing you to glance at it, but also expand into more content.

Why do this? So you can keep tabs on your life "without taking you out of the moment" (their quote!).

All of this should sound very familiar.

For me - this provides even more validation that the +Google Glass team and Android Wear are solidly on the right track. Wearables are meant to compliment our lives, not suck us into their world. Humans want to live our lives - not run apps.
Pebble Technology is raising funds for Pebble Time - Awesome Smartwatch, No Compromises on Kickstarter! Color e-paper smartwatch with up to 7 days of battery and a new timeline interface that highlights what's important in your day.
Allen Firstenberg's profile photoChris Wachtman's profile photoJeff Bond's profile photoAntonio Zugaldia's profile photo
really well made point +Allen Firstenberg !

i believe it's especially important ideas are shared early stage, to ensure best practices do follow ... just like you said, know actions inside/out, logical solutions (apps, widgets, integration, whatever) naturally follow !

my "questioning" of a timeline is purely creative exploration, it is a GREAT paradigm, it sticks, and it WORKS, but ...

there i was, still wondering if something round, used as an abstraction, might also have ADD some value ?

i keep thinking clock face paradigm, center hub, and either 4 or 6 "points" (3,6,9,12 positions OR 2,4,6,8,10,12 positions) ... it's ironic how this naturally ties into wear ;)

basically, head gestures via glass move focus to one of these "points" which triggers an event "action" ...

the way i look at the problem is 2 stage ... the short-term actions, unique to each unique "problem", and long-term solutions that provide intelligent archiving/access to these short-term actions.

so ... maybe a timeline for the long-term, and centerhub short-term actions available on individual cards ?

everything stays the same with respect to the existing timeline, it just ADDS one more standardized card available to developers (that presents either a 4-point or 6-point selection tool on the card) to support ACTIONS instantiated through glass (or wear maybe)

for example ... i'd tap to open app, swipe to an action card and tip my head left to photo, right to video, up to voice input, and down to exit back one level (this definitely reveals the power of glass ;)

ALL this occurs in one app, EXACTLY as you mention ... and the way people learn is by losing money !!!

so smart developers solve people's problems, many times in a fundamental manner (just like +Vodo ;)

and that is what is best for everyone, so thank you for making this fundamentally important point, we all know we should exercise but there we find ourselves "comfortable on our couch" ... no pain no gain, just gotta do it

... and you really made me wince allen, describing that hypothetical app nightmare, you win !
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Allen Firstenberg

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Rover? Is that you?

No Village is complete without one!

Attn: +Keith Barrett 
Though it looks more like a stability ball that you’d see at the gym, GuardBot is actually a spherical, amphibious robot with many potential uses for broadcasting, reconnaissance, or security. GuardBot was developed by a Connecticut-based company of the same name. Though it began as a potential bot for missions to Mars, it is now being tested by the United States military to possibly assist in future patrolling duties.
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Climbing up a 30 degree slope isn't bad!
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Allen Firstenberg

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Products not to buy...
Allen Firstenberg's profile photoDon Key's profile photoMark Barrus's profile photoChristine Guest's profile photo
My great grandma picked the biggest eye glasses she could find so that she could see the reflection of her class in them while she wrote on the blackboard.  They got scared when she'd rebuke them by name for naughtyness without even turning around.

And that is one freaky photo you found there Allen.
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Let me tell you a story...
...or tell me one of yours.

Our lives are made up of stories, and is a story in itself.  Stories are fact or fiction, can be told by a wandering minstrel or projected on the big screen, are written in books or woven into games, are heard through poetry or prose in many styles, let us experience the tale with sound or silence, and can stimulate any or every one of our senses and emotions.

It has been my goal in life to understand stories and storytellers, to help people tell stories, to explore new ways to tell those stories, and to enjoy and appreciate the stories swirling around us.

So come... sit by the fire.  Let us share a story for a little while.
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Other names
Prisoner, Allen Firstenberg, Allen "Prisoner" Firstenberg, Jean Valjean
Apps with Google+ Sign-in
Software Visioning and Development
I was a kickstarter backer of this store, but actually trying their donuts exceeded my expectations. It is clear that the staff both care about the quality of their donuts, coffee, and other drinks, and want to make sure their customers enjoy themselves. From the quirky and interactive decor (wifi still isn't working on that typewriter?) to explaining every step of their pour-over coffee if you ask, the attention to detail is outstanding. Their Maple-Bacon donut is their signature item, but I have yet to find a flavor from their ever-changing menu that I have not thoroughly enjoyed. I'm not a coffee drinker, but they have plenty of other varieties of quality drinks to quench your thirst. Visit. Enjoy. Share.
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Public - 2 years ago
reviewed 2 years ago
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