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Paolo Amoroso
Non-viral space & Google gems
Non-viral space & Google gems

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Making a Google+ collection trailer
Book trailers are a common promotion tool in the publishing industry, especially among indie writers.

To learn about video making I thought it’d be fun to create a trailer for my collection Space Apps for Android and experiment with YouTube, outreach outside of Google+, and maybe play with that internet of experiences buzz. Here’s the collection:

This is the result, my very first edited video.

The story
Well, I’m no storyteller. But I tried to give some logic to the sequence of visuals and information.

The trailer opens with a series of space images that progressively reveal the user interface elements of Android apps. Then a screencast demonstrates searching for the collection on Google+ and browsing it, thus featuring the content itself.

The video ends with a call to action information panel listing the collection’s name and tagline, a capsule description of what content it features, and links.

As in the collection I added to the trailer a touch of branding and content cues by referencing a couple of Android elements, such as the collection’s Android green color and the Roboto font.

Call to action
The information panel has two links to the collection, a full link and one shortened with the URL shortener, which also provides useful analytics.

Remembering and typing a URL is not always practical, so for redundancy the trailer includes a video clip demonstrating how to search the collection’s name through the Google+ search box. Assuming this is more intuitive or memorable, of course.

I took the screenshots on my Android phones, recorded the screencast with and edited the video with Using cloud tools is a requirement for me -- and a choice -- as all my desktop devices run Chrome OS.

The video features static images animated through the Ken Burns effect, crossfades, a video clip, and a few text elements. Here are some notes on how I made the video:

Making a video with WeVideo: my experience

I linked the trailer from a post pinned to the collection:

About Space Apps for Android

I don’t own any communities but I guess trailers may be useful there too.

Lessons learned
Planning and production were easier and faster than I thought, possibly because I kept the story simple for both production and fruition reasons.

The legibility of the screencast videoclip is terrible on mobile, so it’s not clear it’s initially supposed to demonstrate how to search for the collection’s name on Google+.

But it’s a start.

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About the Google Play Newsstand collection
This is a collection of news, tips, tutorials, and resources on using the Google Play Newsstand news and magazine reading app and its publishing environment Producer.

My story
I’ve been using Google Play Newsstand and contributing to the official help forums since its predecessor Google Currents, which I first tried in 2012. In February, 2014 I became a Google Top Contributor for the Google Play Newsstand Producer Help Forum, i.e. a Google-recognized volunteer who helps users in the forum.

Here I share my experience as both a Newsstand user and publisher.

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Mars apps for Android
Are you interested in Mars, its motion in the sky, its surface and geology, and exploring the planet from space?

Here’s a list of the Mars-related apps I posted about among the many available space and astronomy ones. These apps let you examine detailed maps and globes, view images from space, plan your observations, and more.

Mars Xplorer
Explore the surface of the planet and fly over it

Space images
Mars View
View images of the surface and landscapes from the Curiosity rover

Mars Images
View images taken by NASA’s rovers

Curiosity Rover track map
Follow the path of the Curiosity rover as its moves on the surface

Weather and environment
Space Weather
Monitor the martian weather and environment

Hello Mars
Get basic martian weather and environment data

A panorama of Mars from the Curiosity rover in Mars Images on my Nexus 6P phone.

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About G+host Stories
Here I post facts, data, published analysis, and news to check the rumors and news stories claiming Google+ is a ghost town or dead. I focus on hints of platform activity and Google’s commitment to Google+.

My story
I’ve been on Google+, used it daily, and interacted with ordinary and influential users since day one. Now I’m a member of the Google+ Create program that recognizes creative users.

I likely logged more usage time on the platform than all the reporters claiming Google+ is dead, combined.

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Still no evidence Fuchsia is related to an Android-Chrome OS merger
"But instead of using evidence to form a coherent narrative, Fuchsia has become a case of a narrative driving a search for evidence."


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Pixlr editors no longer work with Chrome OS 56
After updating my ASUS Chromebox to Chrome OS 56 Pixlr Express and Pixlr Editor no longer work. I get a blank page prompting to install Flash as in the screenshot of Pixlr Express.

I know Chrome OS 56 disabled Flash by default, so this is not completely unexpected.

But, long before Chrome OS 56, I had already turned off Flash in the settings and added exceptions to the content settings for the Flash-based apps and website I use. Now Flash still works fine on the other whitelisted sites except Pixlr.

Is there any way of making Pixlr work again? Are the Pixlr editors lost for good on Chrome OS 56+?

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About Chrome OS Life
This collection shares my experience and lessons learned on using exclusively Chrome OS and the cloud on the desktop. I post tips, experiments, information, app and tool reviews, and resources.

My story
In February, 2015 I got curious about Chrome OS and the next month bought an Acer C720 Chromebook to learn about the operating system and the cloud lifestyle:


At the time I had a Linux PC and using the Chromebook I soon realized Chrome OS would perfectly fit all my desktop computing needs. By then I had gotten frustrated with the struggle of keeping Linux up to date without breaking support for my hardware, and the almost maintenance-free Chrome OS seemed even more appealing.

So in September of 2015 I took the plunge and bought an ASUS Chromebook to permanently replace my Linux box:

My fully Chrome OS desktop computing environment

I got hooked and Chrome OS is now my only desktop computing environment. Here I tell this journey and share what I’m learning.

The journey continues, follow this collection to learn how Chrome OS can improve your (computing) life.

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Google Play Newsstand overview article in Italian
Can you read Italian? If so have a look at this introductory Google Play Newsstand article I wrote for It provides an overview of the types of Newsstand publications and sources, how to access them, and their prices.

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View Earth satellite data with Earth Viewer for Android
Earth Viewer is an Android app for visualizing Earth observation satellite data:


Earth Viewer displays on a globe up to date environmental satellite data sets and weather forecasts. The data come from satellites of the major space agencies and environmental organizations.

The main screen shows a globe with a view of the Earth and its solar lighting conditions at the current time. Double-tap to start animating the data set, double-tap again to pause it.

The overflow menu has options for switching the view to a different data set, resetting time, turning off live lighting, and starting/pausing the animation.

Earth Viewer comes with no preloaded data sets as the ones it uses are continually updated. You have to explicitly download from the overflow menu the data sets you need. Downloading uses data and may take time, so be sure to do it on Wi-Fi.

XPLANET static is a beautiful data set that shows a realistic view of the Earth. But it’s just a static image and it doesn’t update.

The CCI Clouds (+48h) cloud coverage and forecast data set in Earth Viewer on my Nexus 6P phone.

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Missing device frames in Chrome developer tools
When I open the Chrome developer tools, turn on the device toolbar, and enable the device frame the frame is missing and only the device window is visible. Turning on the frame has the only effect of pushing down a bit the window.

The screenshot shows what it looks like on my ASUS Chromebox with Chrome OS Stable 56.0.2924.87 but frames were missing in 55 too.

I’m unable to make any frames show up regardless of what device I select, mobile or desktop. Any way of getting the frames?
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