Google App Engine Video Overview

sxswDuring the SXSW conference in Austin this week, Google held an all day hackathon event. The idea behind the hackathon is to allow developers to create applications in one day and also get help from Google employees on applications they are developing.

I recorded the session that discussed Google App Engine and the video is below. You can also download all of the “code labs” which are simple tutorials on how to use a variety of Google APIs and services including Google App Engine.

Picasa Facial Recognition

A few weeks ago, I started playing around with Picasa to create a photo album. I let it import all of the photos on my computer (approximately 10,000 photos taken over a six or seven year period) and then started looking through all of them. While messing around, I decided to turn on the facial recognition feature and was absolutely amazed at how well Picasa was able to detect faces.

Out of all of the photographs on my computer, the overwhelming majority of which contain multiple faces, Picasa only identified a small handful of items that weren’t actually faces. Then, when I started assigning names to the faces that had been identified, I was flabbergasted at how accurately Picasa was able to identify the same person’s face in other photographs. Within minutes, I had nearly 5,000 faces identified and labeled within my Picasa installation.

Amazon Adds Versioning Support for S3 Storage

amazon web servicesAmazon Web Services has announced the launch of versioning support for their S3 cloud storage product. By using the versioning function, it will help make sure you (or your users) never accidentally remove or update an object. The S3 versioning will allow you to rollback to a safe version if needed. You can also use the versioning option for storage and archiving as you can now just keep writing to the same file name and each new write will create a version.

Amazon notes, “Once you enable Versioning for a bucket, Amazon S3 preserves existing objects anytime you perform a PUT, POST, COPY, or DELETE operation on them. By default, GET requests will retrieve the most recently written version. Older versions of an overwritten or deleted object can be retrieved by specifying a version in the request.”

The AWS S3 versioning is available for the standard data storage rates. So if you store 2 versions of an image, you will be charged for the storage of both objects. To use versioning, you MUST set the bucket to use it – otherwise it will be the same bucket as you’ve had previously.

ObjectDock – Add a Dock/Toolbar to Windows 7

A few weeks ago, I bought Windows 7 and installed it on my computer at home. After installing, I started trying to organize things the way I want them. On all of my computers, one of the first things I do is to move the taskbar to the top of the screen and create a quicklaunch toolbar docked at the bottom of the screen. Unfortunately, after a lot of playing around and a lot of research online, I found there was no way to do that; until I discovered ObjectDock.

Tipsy – Nice, Simple jQuery Tooltips

Today, I found a nice little script called Tipsy. Tipsy, by default, pulls the text from the “title” attribute of any HTML element and turns it into a nicely styled tooltip. The script is easy to configure and offers some nice customization options.

If you would prefer to display an attribute other than the title, you can actually choose any attribute or even indicate custom text to be displayed. You can set the tooltip to display on top of, underneath, to the right or to the left of the element being hovered over. You can even tell Tipsy to dynamically decide which direction to display the tooltip, based on the current position of the element within the window.

If you’re looking for a nice, simple, attractive way to show tooltips on your page, I would highly recommend using Tipsy.

OpenSUSE 11.3 Milestone 1

A few days ago, the OpenSUSE team released the first milestone of OpenSUSE 11.3. One of the biggest changes in this new version of SUSE is the inclusion of the LXDE desktop environment. LXDE is supposed to be fast, lightweight desktop environment. I’ve not heard of LXDE previously, but I have to admit that the screenshots I’ve seen make me very curious about it.┬áMilestone 1 also includes the first RC of KDE 4.4 and the brand new 2.29.5 version of Gnome.

This new release also includes the latest beta versions of OpenOffice and VirtualBox, along with the newest stable release (3.6) of Firefox. If you are a fan of OpenSUSE, or you’re interested in trying out beta software and operating systems, I would definitely recommend you give it a shot. It looks like SUSE is making great strides forward in their development.