Google Assistant Ride at CES 2019

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I’ve always had a healthy obsession with Disney Imagineers, so seeing a project like this outside of the shadow of The Mouse gets me super excited. Given the trend for consumers has shifted towards experiences, I wish more brands would create experiences like this. Yes, it’s Google. Yes, they have a ton of money. Yes, it was for CES, which is a big deal. I do think there’s something to take away from the general production of this idea for smaller brands. I hope we see more experiences like this pop up in the future.

GitHub free users now have unlimited private repositories

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GitHub Free now includes unlimited private repositories. For the first time, developers can use GitHub for their private projects with up to three collaborators per repository for free. Many developers want to use private repos to apply for a job, work on a side project, or try something out in private before releasing it publicly. Starting today, those scenarios, and many more, are possible on GitHub at no cost. Public repositories are still free (of course—no changes there) and include unlimited collaborators.

This is awesome news. Now I can move all my stuff from BitBucket to my free GitHub account!

Read the full post on GitHub’s blog.

twinkling stars

Twinkling Stars in After Effects

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The design for a client’s evening gala included a starry night with some brushed type, but they didn’t feel like that was enough. So I started to mess around with some different effects on the stars in After Effects to make the design come to life. I tried a few options that had a cartoon-style animation on the stars to accentuate the motion and shine, but that didn’t really fit the brand. So I used a turbulent noise to create a twinkle that mirrors the twinkle of stars when you’re under a real night sky. A fun little experiment.

Raspberry Pi made a cheaper version of its most powerful PC

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The Raspberry Pi Foundation’s goal is to make computing as cheap and accessible as possible, so today, it’s introducing a new $25 computer that shares many of the highlights as its top-of-the-line $35 device . The new model, called the Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+ , uses the same quad-core 1.4GHz Broadcom processor as the high-end Model B+.

I’ve messed around with an UNO Arduino and really see the potential just after an hour or so of playing with it. This new Raspberry Pi might be a reason for me to finally jump on buying a pi.

Source: Raspberry Pi made a cheaper version of its most powerful PC

A .New Trick

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Google recently announced a pretty sweet new series of shortcuts for creating new Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Sites, and Forms. Just enter the document type in the address bar of Google Chrome, followed by .new and you have a new document!

It only saves a few steps (i.e. open a new tab, go to drive.google.com, click New, click the new document type), but this is pretty wonderful considering the number of Google Documents that are created each week.

I’ve been using it for the past few days and it works great. The only issue I’ve run into is using multiple Google accounts in the same Chrome browser. The new documents default to the first account you’ve signed into in the browser, which happens to be my personal account instead of my work account. If it get too annoying, I may just switch between my default accounts in Chrome.

Here’s a full list of the new shortcuts:

Docs: doc.new, docs.new, document.new

Forms: form.new, forms.new

Sheets: sheet.new, sheets.new, spreadsheet.new

Sites: site.new, sites.new, website.new

Slides: slides.new, deck.new, presentation.new

Data Studio PDF Export is Finally Here

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Last month, Google announced that Data Studio is no longer in beta, which seems to be an accelerated schedule compared to other Google products (Gmail was in beta for five years). To add a cherry on top of all the progress Data Studio has made in 2018, Google released the native ability to download Data Studio reports as PDF. Although Data Studio is really meant to be a live, interactive dashboard, I get client requests all the time for a PDF of the dashboard so they can print it out and/or forward it to other people on their team. Personally, I don’t think a PDF of a dashboard is very useful since it’s difficult to get a complete idea of what you’re looking at without being able to review the data using the hover states in the dashboard.

All that being said, this is another great addition to Google Data Studio. If you haven’t tried it out yet, head on over there to see what’s up.

Is Google’s AMP Worth the Effort?

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Today, Digiday posted a piece about the AMP’s dominance over Facebook’s Instant Articles (which isn’t a surprise) give the issues a lot publishers have had with it.

At my current agency, we’ve add AMP to a number of our client websites but have yet to really see a giant jump in their mobile traffic to AMP pages, even with SEO efforts specifically driving to those pages.

It’s actually been a significant amount of effort for minimal return. Even though the pages load a lot faster, I’m not totally sure it’s worth the effort right now.

Adobe Acrobat Content Preparation Progress

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Ever since updating to Adobe Creative Cloud and Acrobat Pro DC, there has been something that has annoyed the crap out of me: the Content Preparation Progress pop-up window that appears when opening any document.

Acrobat Content Preparation Progress

Today, after almost two years of enduring this insufferable popup, I couldn’t take it anymore. So I did a quick Google search and it was, of course, the first result: (Hide the message Content Preparation Progress when opening a PDF file)[https://helpx.adobe.com/acrobat/kb/message-content-preparation-progress-opening.html].

Acrobat Pro Reading Preferences
It was a simple checkbox within the Reading Preferences.

It felt like years of frustration and angry just drifted away. It was so obvious. So simple. But why did this happen in the first place? Why would the default be a popup that the user may not be quite sure of its purpose? Sometimes, it seems like Adobe just piles on features with little explanation. At least I’ve gotten rid of that popup. I hope this helps someone else too.

Link Bait 2018-05-31

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I normally stick to tech news, but I’ve been looking for some personal help lately. I think the fact that scientists found the “spiritual” part of the human brain is super fascinating. Historically, scientists, sociologists, and the like have claimed that people of “lesser intelligence” are more spiritual, so it will be interesting to see how scientists try to quantify “spirituality.”
The most interesting post in this link bait is article on Quartz on how Resilience is the new happiness. Happiness has been something that’s been hard to come by for me lately. I’m just working and working (and working at home) with little reprieve from everything. I’d be curious to know if anyone else feels like they’re striving for resilience over happiness. I know I have been.

Whether your transcendent state involves a church, nature, or a stadium full of sports fans, it appears to have the same effect on the brain.
40-year-old SS7 is being actively used to track user locations and communications.
To be happy, you have to first learn how to be strong.
Gates has recommended 186 books on his blog since Jan. 2010. So get cracking.
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