Archive for December, 2013

Santa’s sleigh is ready for lift-off

The countdown is over. Santa and his elves have been preparing around the clock for the big day, opening up new pieces of Santa’s Village throughout the month. Santa’s been skydiving, the elves catapulted presents, and Santa even sent custom voice messages to friends and family.

The elves are now reporting that the sleigh is ready for takeoff!

Join Santa as he delivers presents around the globe. Whether you’re in Sydney or South Dakota, hop in the driver’s seat by checking out Santa’s Dash(er) Board. See where Santa’s been, where he’s going, and his real-time jolly status (“mmm, those cookies were delicious!”). Don’t forget to check out the photos and local info for places he visits on the route.
For the next 24 hours, tune in on your desktop, tablet, or phone to the Santa Tracker website. Still worried you’ll miss a minute of Santa’s big day? The developer elves have been hard at work so you can:

Stay updated on Santa’s real-time location with the Santa Tracker app for AndroidLight up your TV by casting from the Android appKeep tabs on Santa across the web with the Santa Tracker Chrome extensionView the journey in 3D in the Tour Guide feature of Google Earth and Google Earth mobileAnd follow Google Maps on Google+, Facebook and Twitter to get up-to-the-minute details on Santa’s journey around the world.

With more than 300,000 kilometers to go, Santa’s got a lot of the map to cover. So set out those cookies and a glass of milk and get ready to #tracksanta!

Posted by Brian McClendon, Vice President, Google Maps

Semiologic Fixes Version 2.3 Released

Version 2.3 of Semiologic Fixes is needed to run Semiologic on WordPress 3.7/3.8.    One of the features of this plugin is that is automatically configured the TinyMCE editor toolbar with additional commonly used buttons.   In doing this additional TinyMCE  plugins were bundled with the sem-fixes plugin.   Problem is that new major/minor releases of TinyMCE often required the need to upgrade the included plugins and provide different versions depending on what version of WordPress you were using.   Let's just say this is a pain.   So going forward I'm dropping the TinyMCE functionality and instead will rely on/recommend the TinyMCE Advanced plugin.    Semiologic Fixes will initialize the TinyMCE plugin for you.  After that you're free to alter as you see fit.

This version of Semiologic Fixes also includes:

  • Added custom wp_redirect function to better handle browser 301 caching glitches.
  • Disable automatic WordPress updating (sets AUTOMATIC_UPDATER_DISABLED to 'true').
  • Added back some post/page revision limiting.  If you do not specifically set the WP_POST_REVISIONS constant in your wp-config.php file, revisions will now be limited to 5 revisions deep.   If you do not wish to have any revisions set WP_POST_REVISIONS to false.  If you want unlimited revisions then set WP_POST_REVISIONS to true.  You can also specify your own number .  See Revisions in the WordPress Codex for more information.

And yes as you see from the list above I have disabled automatic updating of WordPress.    Having WordPress simply upgrade itself outside of the release cycles of themes and plugins just isn't a good idea.   A debate for another time.    If you would like to reenable upgrading set AUTOMATIC_UPDATER_DISABLED to 'false' in wp-config.php and then plugin will respect your wishes.

 

Semiologic

We launched the Transparency Report in 2010 to provide hard evidence of how laws and policies affect access to information online. Today, for the eighth time, we’re releasing new numbers showing requests from governments to remove content from our services. From January to June 2013, we received 3,846 government requests to remove 24,737 pieces of content—a 68 percent increase over the second half of 2012.

Over the past four years, one worrying trend has remained consistent: governments continue to ask us to remove political content. Judges have asked us to remove information that’s critical of them, police departments want us to take down videos or blogs that shine a light on their conduct, and local institutions like town councils don’t want people to be able to find information about their decision-making processes. These officials often cite defamation, privacy and even copyright laws in attempts to remove political speech from our services. In this particular reporting period, we received 93 requests to take down government criticism and removed content in response to less than one third of them. Four of the requests were submitted as copyright claims.

You can read more about these requests in the Notes section of the Transparency Report. In addition, we saw a significant increase in the number of requests we received from two countries in the first half of 2013:
There was a sharp increase in requests from Turkey. We received 1,673 requests from Turkish authorities to remove content from our platforms, nearly a tenfold increase over the second half of last year. About two-thirds of the total requests—1,126 to be exact—called for the removal of 1,345 pieces of content related to alleged violations of law 5651.Another place where we saw an increase was

Every day, around the world, we search. We want to find out more about our heroes, explore far-away destinations, or settle a dinner table dispute between friends. And sometimes we just search to find out how many calories are in an avocado.

In our annual Year-End Zeitgeist (“spirit of the times”), we reflect on the people, places, and moments that captured the world’s attention throughout the year. This year marks our most global Zeitgeist to date—with 1,000+ top 10 lists across categories like Trending People, Most-Searched Events and Top Trending Searches from 72 countries.

As we get ready to turn the page to 2014, we invite you to take a global journey through the biggest moments from the past 12 months in our Year in Review video:

It’s perhaps unsurprising that the #1 trending search of 2013 was an international symbol of strength and peace: Nelson Mandela. Global search interest in the former President of South Africa was already high this year, and after his passing, people from around the world turned to Google to learn more about Madiba and his legacy.

Tragedies like the Boston Marathon, the 6th trending term globally, and Typhoon Haiyan, #2 on our global events list, also captured the world’s attention. And our human desire to help came through, with [donate to the Philippines] ranking highly around the world.

2013 also had moments that made us move. People uploaded more than 1.7 million video versions of the Harlem Shake to YouTube, propelling it to the #5 spot

WordPress 3.8 “Parker”

Version 3.8 of WordPress, named “Parker” in honor of Charlie Parker, bebop innovator, is available for download or update in your WordPress dashboard. We hope you’ll think this is the most beautiful update yet.

Introducing a modern new design

overview

WordPress has gotten a facelift. 3.8 brings a fresh new look to the entire admin dashboard. Gone are overbearing gradients and dozens of shades of grey — bring on a bigger, bolder, more colorful design!

about-modern-wordpress

Modern aesthetic

The new WordPress dashboard has a fresh, uncluttered design that embraces clarity and simplicity.

Clean typography

The Open Sans typeface provides simple, friendly text that is optimized for both desktop and mobile viewing. It’s even open source, just like WordPress.

Refined contrast

We think beautiful design should never sacrifice legibility. With superior contrast and large, comfortable type, the new design is easy to read and a pleasure to navigate.


WordPress on every device

responsiveWe all access the internet in different ways. Smartphone, tablet, notebook, desktop — no matter what you use, WordPress will adapt and you’ll feel right at home.

High definition at high speed

WordPress is sharper than ever with new vector-based icons that scale to your screen. By ditching pixels, pages load significantly faster, too.


Admin color schemes to match your personality

colors

WordPress just got a colorful new update. We’ve included eight new admin color schemes so you can pick the one that suits you best.

Color schemes can be previewed and changed from your Profile page.


Refined theme management

themesThe new themes screen lets you survey your themes at a glance. Or want more information? Click to discover more. Then sit back and use your keyboard’s navigation arrows to flip through every theme you’ve got.

Smoother widget experience

Drag-drag-drag. Scroll-scroll-scroll. Widget management can be complicated. With the new design, we’ve worked to streamline the widgets screen.

Have a large monitor? Multiple widget areas stack side-by-side to use the available space. Using a tablet? Just tap a widget to add it.


Twenty Fourteen, a sleek new magazine theme

The new Twenty Fourteen theme displayed on a laptop. tablet and phone

Turn your blog into a magazine

Create a beautiful magazine-style site with WordPress and Twenty Fourteen. Choose a grid or a slider to display featured content on your homepage. Customize your site with three widget areas or change your layout with two page templates.

With a striking design that does not compromise our trademark simplicity, Twenty Fourteen is our most intrepid default theme yet.


Beginning of a new era

This release was led by Matt Mullenweg. This is our second release using the new plugin-first development process, with a much shorter timeframe than in the past. We think it’s been going great. You can check out the features currently in production on the make/core blog.

There are 188 contributors with props in this release:

Aaron Holbrook, Aaron Jorbin, adamsilverstein, admiralthrawn, Alexander Hoereth, Amy Hendrix (sabreuse), Andrew Nacin, Andrew Ozz, Andrey Kabakchiev, Andy Peatling, Ankit Gade, Anton Timmermans, Arkadiusz Rzadkowolski, Aubrey Portwood, bassgang, Ben Dunkle, Billy (bananastalktome), binarymoon, Brady Vercher, Brandon Kraft, Brian Richards, Bryan Petty, Calin Don, Carl Danley, Caroline Moore, Caspie, Chris Jean, Clinton Montague, Corphi, Dan Bernardic, Daniel Dudzic, datafeedrcom, Dave Whitley, Dion Hulse, Dominik Schilling (ocean90), Doug Wollison, Drew Jaynes, dziudek, Eric Andrew Lewis, Erick Hitter, Eric Mann, Evan Solomon, Faison, Frank Klein, Gary Jones, Gary Pendergast, Gennady Kovshenin, George Stephanis, gnarf37, Gregory Karpinsky, hanni, Helen Hou-Sandi, Ian Dunn, Ipstenu (Mika Epstein), Isaac Keyet, J.D. Grimes, Jack Lenox, janhenckens, Jeff Bowen, Jeff Chandler, Jen Mylo, Jeremy Buller, Jeremy Felt, Jeremy Herve, Jeremy Pry, Jesper Johansen (jayjdk), jhned, jim912, Joan Artes, Joe Dolson, Joen Asmussen, John Blackbourn, John Fish, John James Jacoby, Jon Cave, Joost de Valk, Joshua Abenazer, Junko Nukaga, Justin de Vesine, Justin Sainton, K.Adam White, Kailey (trepmal), Kat Hagan, Kelly Dwan, Kim Parsell, Kirk Wight, Konstantin Dankov, Konstantin Kovshenin, Konstantin Obenland, Krzysiek Drozdz, Lance Willett, Lee Willis, lessbloat, lite3, littlethingsstudio, LucP, Lutz Schroer, Mako, Mark Jaquith, Mark McWilliams, Marko Heijnen, Matias Ventura, Matthew Denton, Matthew Haines-Young, Matt Mullenweg, Matt Thomas, Matt Wiebe, megane9988, Mel Choyce, micahwave, Michael Cain, Michel, Michelle Langston, Mike Burns, Mike Hansen, Mike Little, Mike Schroder, Milan Dinic, mitcho (Michael Yoshitaka Erlewine), Morgan Estes, moto hachi, Naoko Takano, neil_pie, Nick Daugherty, Nick Halsey, Nikolay Bachiyski, ninio, ninnypants, nofearinc, Nowell VanHoesen, odyssey, OriginalEXE, Pascal Birchler, Paul de Wouters, pavelevap, Peter Westwood, Ptah Dunbar, Raam Dev, rachelbaker, Rachel Carden, Radices, Ram Ratan Maurya, Remkus de Vries, Rescuework Support, Ricky Lee Whittemore, Robert Dall, Robert Wetzlmayr, PHP-Programmierer, Rodrigo Primo, Ryan Boren, Samuel Wood (Otto), sanchothefat, sboisvert, Scott Basgaard, Scott Reilly, Scott Taylor, scribu, Sean Hayes, Sergey Biryukov, shaunandrews, Sheri Bigelow (designsimply), ShinichiN, Simon Wheatley, Siobhan, Siobhan Bamber (siobhyb), sirbrillig, solarissmoke, Stephen Edgar, Stephen Harris, Steven Word, Takashi Irie, Takayuki Miyauchi, Takuma Morikawa, Thomas Guillot, tierra, Till Kruss, TLA Media, TobiasBg, tommcfarlin, Torsten Landsiedel, Tracy Rotton, trishasalas, Tyler Smith, Ulrich, Vladimir, Weston Ruter, Yoav Farhi, yonasy, and Zack Tollman. Also thanks to Ben Morrison and Christine Webb for help with the video.

Thanks for choosing WordPress. See you soon for version 3.9!

WordPress News

Yippie! WordPress 3.8 is now out

Well just in time for Christmas the folks at wordpress.org have released WordPress 3.8.  It offers a whole new admin dashboard experience and bundled theme.   As far as semiologic compatibility everything still is working just fine.  There is one issue regarding the visual editor not working correctly due to tinymce addon updates needed.   I will be releasing a version of sem-fixes that drops the tinymce enhancement and instead will just defer to the TinyMCE Advanced plugin to deal with release to release compatibility issues.

Watch over the next fews weeks as update notifications start appearing.  If you'd like to use WP 3.8, just deactivate the sem-fixes plugin and you should be good to go.   Of course since 3.8 did just get released you may want to wait for 3.8.1 for the initial set of bugs to get found by other users.

 

 

 

 

Semiologic

Remembering Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela devoted his life to promoting democracy and equality, and he leaves behind a legacy of peaceful change. In advance of Mandela’s funeral service on Sunday in Qunu, South Africa, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Reverend Mpho Tutu, the first female Irish president, Mary Robinson, and Sir Richard Branson will come together for a digital eulogy using Google+ Hangouts.

Join them tomorrow morning at 7:30 a.m. EST. The conversation will be hosted by PeaceJam and The Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, and moderated by CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

Share your questions for the participants with #MandelaTribute. Tune in to celebrate the life of an individual who changed the world.
Posted by the Google Blog Team

‘Tis the season to give back

The holidays are here, and that means eggnog lattes, festive lights and spending time with the people you love. It’s also the season to give back and help make the world brighter for those in need. Today we’re unveiling six new Global Impact Awards—totaling $11.5 million in grants—to innovators using technology to tackle the world’s toughest challenges.

This year, we’re inviting you to get in the giving groove with 12 Days of Giving—an interactive holiday calendar where you can explore a Google-backed cause, donate to what inspires you and unwrap a surprise each day—such as meeting Pamela the polar bear or experiencing how far people walk to reach clean water. To spread cheer throughout the year, download OneToday for a daily reminder to give back.
The 12 Days of Giving include our six newest Global Impact Awardees. Join me in celebrating these tech-fueled initiatives:
Zooniverse: Advanced crowdsourced research hub that allows anyone, anywhere to help create scientific breakthroughs as a citizen scientist.Kiva: Finance lab that enables anyone to provide affordable loans to entrepreneurs, students and farmers in poor countries, to support people left out of traditional finance.Landesa and FrontlineSMS: Mobile system that transforms the inefficient and confusing process to establish land rights into an accessible, efficient way for poor farmers to get title to their land.Get Schooled: Online platform that provides free college prep for underserved students by aggregating resources on scholarships, tests and applications, and setting personal reminders for staying on track.Samasource: Platform to train data workers in developing countries and provide jobs.DoSomething.org: Comprehensive data initiative to empower more young people to lead and share powerful and effective social impact campaigns.
In 2013, we donated more than $100 million in grants, $1 billion in free ads and apps and 60,000 volunteer hours to nonprofits around the globe.

Posted by Jacquelline Fuller, Director of Google.org

Conquer the Lonely Mountain in Chrome

In “The Hobbit,” a company of Dwarves tries to reclaim the lost kingdom of Erebor from Smaug the Terrible, a fire-breathing Dragon. While the Dwarves’ quest is fraught with danger, your journey to Erebor is just a click away in “A Journey Through Middle-earth,” the Chrome Experiment released a few weeks ago from Warner Bros. Pictures, New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM).

You can now follow the Dwarves’ journey to Erebor and try to outsmart Smaug on your desktop, mobile phone or tablet. But it might be wise to first pay a little visit to the folks who live in nearby Thranduil’s Hall and Lake-town—locations that recently became accessible in this Chrome Experiment—just in case you need their help against the mighty Dragon.
To best equip you on your journey, you may want to stop by Google Play. There you’ll find

Whether you’re crunching big data or tracking your family budget, you don’t want to waste time waiting for files to load or re-doing edits that were lost because your Internet connection dropped. You can now get more done by switching to the new version of Google Sheets. It’s faster, supports larger spreadsheets, has a number of new features, and works offline.
Bigger, faster spreadsheets
The new Sheets supports millions of cells and kicks many of the old size and complexity limits to the curb. Scrolling, loading and calculation are all snappier, even in more complex spreadsheets.

New features based on your feedback and requests

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