UK Cinema Release Dates for your GCal/iCal

Like going to the Cinema? Use Google Calendar? Then you might find this just a little bit useful.

Presenting –  ‘The COMING SOON Calendar’

coming_soon

Like going to the Cinema?
Use Google Calendar, Outlook, or iCal?
Then you might find this just a little bit useful.

Over the summer, I subscribed to a Google Calendar RSS feed that populated my diary with all the various games from the World Cup. What was great about it was that it kept itself up to date with scores, updated group matches, and even made sure the right teams were in the right spots come the finals.

Smart stuff.

I’m not really a football person (I just like the International stuff) but, as is often the case with these kinds of things, it got my cogs whirring and I set about trying to work out how it was done (it didn’t take long) and then decided I wanted to make my own version.

And I have.

But instead of football matches, what I’ve done is plotted the release dates of all the upcoming films that [I think] might be worth seeing over the coming months.

Calendar example

I write about film a fair bit on this blog of mine and I figured that if you like the kind of stuff that I see, then you might be interested in the stuff that I’m looking forward to too.

Ready?

If you want a regularly updated Google Calendar event for the decent films coming out over the coming months then…

This is what you need to do:

  1. Go to your GCAL
  2. Then go to OTHER CALENDARS
  3. Then click on the little arrow next to OTHER CALENDARS
  4. Then click ‘ADD BY URL’
  5. Copy and paste this URL
  6. Hit ‘Add Calendar’ and you’re done!

UPDATE – iCal users can use this link to get the same result – (thanks Simon)
UPDATE 2: iCal link works for Outlook too! (thanks Julian)

CAVEATS AND OTHER INFO

1. Its fallible
I’m updating it as and when I see stuff that I want to see. This means I might miss stuff and if there’s that crazy french film that you’ve been DYING to see for months and I’ve missed it out, by all means Tweet me or something and I’ll add it.

2. It’s an experiment
Consider this an open beta. I’ve given it to a couple of people already and they’re finding it quite handy. I’m still dicking about with the settings (currently all events go out with a link to either Empire or IMDb or something, this might change). I also reserve the right to end the experiment at any point.

3. Feel free to feedback
Got an idea on how to make this better? Leave a comment below, send me an email, drop me a tweet – whatever. Just let me know and if I can, I’ll fix it.

Currently the calendar runs up into January.

I’ll add more when I know/see/look forward to more.

Let me know what you think.

 

 

 

 

 

Exhibiting at the Saatchi Gallery

Yup.

Whatley @ The Saatchi

BACK STORY

In March I wrote a post about the reason why I use Google+. In short, it’s only really down to one thing, and that thing is a little feature known as ‘Auto Awesome‘.

What Auto Awesome does is automatically add special effects to the photos that it thinks could do with them. Obviously this is all done separately from your main folder, so you don’t ruin your originals, but the net effect is actually quite fun and cool.

The awesomes themselves vary but my favourite is definitely when Google+ spots a batch of photos that look similar, and then throws them together to create an animated gif.

Like so:


THE COMPETITION

Shortly after that post went live, I was alerted to a Google-sponsored Motion Photography competition at the Saatchi Gallery (that obviously lent itself to the creation of these Auto Awesomes).

Google+ Motion Photography

Of the six categories available, I entered this one into the Urban category –

 

I didn’t win.

Boo.

_________

BUT I DID MAKE IT AS A FINALIST!

Which means:

  1. My work was judged by film director Baz Luhrmann, artists Tracey Emin, Shezad Dawood and Cindy Sherman, and Saatchi Gallery CEO, Nigel Hurst – AMAZING!
  2. I got my name in The LondonistBRILLIANT!
  3. My work is at this very moment on display in the Saatchi Gallery – SPEECHLESS!

 


And that’s pretty darn awesome.

As you can see, I’ve already been to see my stuff (and the rest of the entries, including the rather excellent winning entrants) and the whole exhibition is pretty special.

It’s an odd feeling, having work up in the Saatchi. It didn’t really hit me until I was leaving, just how lucky I am to have stuff there. The other work that has appeared in that building. The other artists. The effort.

I’m still a bit dumbfounded by it all really.

_______________

The Motion Photography Prize is on display on the top floor of Saatchi Gallery, King’s Road, SW3 4RY until 24 May.

The reason why I use Google+

Auto-awesome. That’s it.

 

A few things:

  1. Thanks Alfie, for getting me into the habit.
  2. I’ve done quite a few already now (the tube is a hobby, clearly).
  3. The Auto-Awesome community on Google+ is worth a look.

As features go, this is fantastic. Download Google+ (on iOS or Android), turn on Google+ Auto-Backup of photos (I have mine switched to ‘Wi-fi only’), line up a decent sequence shot, and then Google+ will do the rest.

Great stuff.

On Chromecast

UPDATE: Chromecast is now on sale in the UK and at £30, it’s a steal.

BUY IT NOW.

– Original Review –

I bought a Chromecast.

Chromecast - Whatleydude

Image via The Verge

What’s a Chromecast?

It’s like a USB dongle but with an HDMI port on the end [instead of a USB bit] which plugs into your TV and you can broadcast stuff to it, from Chrome. Chromecast, geddit?

Anyway, I’ve been umming and ah-ing about getting one for a good while now. When they were first announced, back in July 2013, I thought it was ace but I couldn’t really put my finger on why I’d need one. A few months later, in November, when I visited the ‘Google House‘, I spotted it again. And again my interest was piqued. This time I came so very close to purchasing one, and a good friend of mine even offered to send me one from the States.

Shipping fees happened, life happened… stuff happened.

Long story short, fast forward to February and I ended up picking one up off ebay for the grand total of £32.49, and I still didn’t know why I needed one.

 

But I’ve already got a Smart TV!

If you read the feature list for Chromecast you can see that it supports a number of [mainly USA-based] media services. Out of those relevant to my market (the UK) you can see that it does Netflix. But I already have Netflix, on my PS4, my Xbox 360, and as an app built into my TV. Chromecast also does Youtube, but I have a YouTube app available to me in the same ways listed above. There is a third feature that’s available too, but this one’s the clincher: screen mirroring from Chrome.

With the installation of one simple Chrome extension, sharing your browser to the TV is again, one click away. Which means any video, not just YouTube or Netflix, any video can play on the big screen. Tonight, for example, I wanted to watch the amazing hour long interview with Bill Murray that had been doing the rounds. I really wanted to watch it on my TV, but it was on Hulu. For some reason, this normally-restricted-to-the-US piece of content was available to watch in my browser so I opened a new tab, casted to my TV, and carried on internetting.

Chromecast - Bill Murray

It really is a great interview, you should watch it.

Ever since getting my Chromecast I’ve used it pretty much every day. This isn’t about features and services, this is simply about ease of use/access. For the 2-screen generation, browsing the web and watching TV at the same time go hand in hand. When that awesome video appears in your stream limiting content to a small-to-tiny screen is rubbish.

If you want to watch it, nay, share it properly and it’s literally one click, and your content appears on the TV. Easy as.

Chromecast is awesome.

 

UPDATE: For those of you uncomfortable with importing a US version (in case of any future region locking), rumours are afoot that Chromcast will be formally launching in the UK early next month. The UK version is available NOW.

On Gmail? Here’s how to prevent ‘anyone on Google+’ from being able to email you

Have you heard the news? Google just launched a new Gmail ‘feature’ that basically allows anyone to email you if they know your Google+ handle.

OH NO

Given that your Google+ handle nearly pretty much has to be your full name, the potential for abuse here is not insignificant.

Fortunately (for you) there’s a handy way to get around this and you can thank Mr Will Oremus for the tip off. Ready?

And that’s that. Why oh why Google think this is a good idea, I don’t know. Alas, there it is. Question for you, dear reader, will you be adjusting your settings? Or will you be leaving ‘as is’? Which way and why. Leave a comment and let me know. I’m intrigued.

______

Update: Further clarification from a Google employee makes light of this. I guess the difference between having your contact details on your website and Google making you email-able by anyone on Google+ is that Google didn’t make the decision in the first instance, you did.

 

Hanging out at the #GoogleHouse

See what I did there?

GOOGLE_HOUSE_2013-23

Last week, a friend of a friend at Google invited me along to find out how Google will change the future. The pitch?

Let’s face it, we’re all busy. Whether you’re plotting the fastest public transport route across London, trying to order a drink in Paris en Français, or cheating at a pub quiz, Google is there to help you get the information you need. Fast. We’d like to invite you to Google House, where you’ll see first-hand how Google can help make the lives of you and your customers easier.

And they weren’t wrong. But first, let’s take look awesome #GoogleHouse is (or was).

GOOGLE_HOUSE_2013-21

The Kitchen

GOOGLE_HOUSE_2013-1

The Teenager Bedroom

GOOGLE_HOUSE_2013-14

The Living Room

Basically, this beautiful four storey house in London’s Fitzrovia was turned into a Googley-fied house of the future.

And it was awesome.

Glass.... and me. #googlehouse

Obligatory ‘Whatley wearing Google Glass’ photo.

Three things I learnt:

  1. Google Chromecast? I want one of those. It’s a bit cheeky of Google to demo a product that isn’t currently available in the UK (EDIT: Amazon UK has Chromecast available now!) but still, it was really cool.  In fact, any of you reading this in the US, I’ll PayPal you the money right now. Come on, let’s do this.
  2. Google’s voice-activated search and translation is incredible. It’s unbelievable how much it has come on over the past year or so and it easily blows Siri out of the water. Everything from contextual awareness re previous/current searches, through to actually translating a conversation between two people, LIVE, is amazing. Very, very impressive indeed.
  3. Google Glass was cool, but not for me (yet). I used someone else’s set, and it was a noisy room, and they weren’t connected to my device (which is a key part of the experience). So yeah, not yet.

Overall? I had a LOT of fun and it’s great to see Google step up their game in the consumer-facing market here in the UK.

Long may it continue.


PS. Big love to the amazing guys over at the Sorted Food. They ran the Google/Kitchen demo and I’ve been watching their videos ever since. Check them out.

PPS. More photos over on Google+ (natch).

 

Google Reader is shutting down on July 1st, 2013

Planning on updating this post as new GReader options start to appear and I get to play with each of them according.

This is not a drill.
(last updated 20:10, March 14th).

Goodbye GReader

AGAIN: Google is closing down Google Reader on July 1st.

Take a moment to process that… then read on.

Marketing Land, where I first read the news (before The Verge got it up, before Techcrunch nailed it too), is building up a list of replacements (all of which I am yet to try). So far they have:

Other notables are

Edit 1: LifeHacker has a good transfer guide too. 

Edit 2: Feedly is swiftly becoming the new Reader of choice. Here’s why:

‘Google announced today that they will be shutting down Google Reader. This is something we have been expecting for some time: We have been working on a project called Normandy which is a feedly clone of the Google Reader API – running on Google App Engine. When Google Reader shuts down, feedly will seamlessly transition to the Normandy back end. So if you are a Google Reader user and using feedly, you are covered: the transition will be seamless.’

Thanks to GigaOm and JMac (comments) for the tip.

Edit 3: RussB’s Magnet.io is now open for sign ups

Outside of those, go follow Russell Beattie. He’s been working on a Google Reader replacement for a while – aka Magnet.io – and if we all go give him our support, it might just make it out before Google hit the shutdown button.

Edit 4: Former Google Reader Product Manager, Brian Shih, explains what he thinks what happened over on Quora

I’m just sad. So sad. Google Reader is where I get my news. It’s where I find my random. It’s what drove my Five things on Friday last year, and it’s what drives my weekend link blasts over Twitter.

It sounds dramatic but, I genuinely am distraught. Anyone who knows my blogging habits knows that I am a news hound. I search for the new, the unknown, the esoteric.. and I share it. Google Reader has been my weapon of choice for as long as I can remember and now, quite literally, its days are numbered.

No good can come of this.

 — – — 

Right now, I don’t know which service to switch to. To be perfectly honest a lot of it will depend on whether a) the next platform can take the weird-ass download file Google gave me, and b) if Reeder App will support it too.

Google Reader was great. Then it was good. Soon it will be gone. 

For now, we mourn.