Google Goggles Magic

Last night a friend complained about a curry recipe gone wrong, so I decided to offer up the one I used to make with a certain amount of frequency. It’s from a 1970s Time Life cookbook that I vaguely remember swiping from my friend Jehan in college. I took a picture on my cell phone to send it along.


The page is sufficiently stained with turmeric to realize how often it was made.

A little while later I noticed a Goggles Alert on my cell phone, it had scanned the image, and returned the following URL as a hit:

Dead on. The future is pretty awesome some times.

Mobile Browsing with Addons

One of the things that I liked a lot about Android 4.x is that Chrome was now a browser option. It meant that I got an almost Desktop quality browser on my phone and tablet. The almost bit has gotten pretty annoying of late though, because mobile Chrome doesn’t support extensions.

About a year ago I converted over to using Lastpass, which means all my passwords for various websites are unique, and 12+ characters of randomness. Huge security improvement. However, it means every time I try to log in on the mobile web it’s a multi step process to jump over to the lastpass App enter master password, enter it again to get username and password copied, jump back over to mobile Chrome, copy paste into the input fields, and finally log in. This is in contrast to the Desktop experience of feeding my master password ever couple of hours, and it automatically detecting and logging me into sites when I visit them. The mobile browsing experience feels clunky and broken compared to the desktop.

How I wish Mobile Chrome supported extensions, but it’s not clear they are ever going to change that.

However, Mobile Firefox does.

Over Christmas break I figured out that lastpass actually works in mobile firefox, and after a little configuration started using Mobile Firefox instead of Mobile Chrome on both my Nexus 7 and S3. The overall browser seems roughly the same speed (maybe slightly slower), however the experience is much better. You get Ad Block, which turns the web back into something vaguely sane, and my browsing experience is now akin to the Desktop. Enough so that I’ll now use my Nexus 7 over my laptop for many browsing tasks.

Hopefully Google will eventually bring these features to their platform, but for now, the Firefox mobile strategy seems to be bearing some fruit, and reopening mobile browsers to innovation.

Year in Weather

Dr Jeff Masters, who created Weather Underground, has a “year in” post on the weather of 2012. Which also tells the story in this remarkable video, showing a year in weather over the US in just 3 1/2 minutes (it slows down for some of the more dramatic events, which are kind of amazing). The Derecho that took out power in West Virgina, Virginia, and DC is by far the most amazing.