Google Reader Review

I have spent much of the last 5 years designing news reading and data mining applications. I haven’t really mentioned work in this blog before but our NewsRaider application is a really smart bit of kit. But… its an installed application and so its days are really numbered. Its all going web.

What’s making its days even more numbered in my eyes is a newish service from Google. It isn’t google news – even though that would be the obvious choice. Google news is The Google's attempt to provide news that interests you. Its OK. Its not great. It searches over a trillion news sources (NewsRaider does about fifty) and doesn’t really come up with anything that particular to you.

The real innovation is Google Reader. Perhaps the most underrated of Googles stock. There are just about half as many RSS readers and websites as there are new feeds in google reader. So why anyone would bring out another is anyone’s google.

But google did, and its so much more.You access it from your normal gmail or google account page. And you fiddle with it… explore a bit over a few days. I started adding my fave sites. News. Podcasts. Mags etc. And they are all just there, in this one page, in this really well designed way. Its so easy to add new feeds and change stuff.

You can get feed pages and super-feed pages like netvibes, but if you like that interface purity and simplicity that gmail has or amazon shopping and you like news and info sites, google reader is groundbreaking

You know, it might be thought that I am a bit of a googlephile. I’m not in any significant sense - I’d like another company to come and really challenge google. But the extent to which google will effect online life really is astounding. Its getting like they own the roads and the power and the media…. And the literature of the online world. Right or wrong, I think it’s a fascinating topic.

With Google, we don’t know if we are in Germany in 1933 or Italy in 1500, in a tech sense.

The Evolution of Beauty

Check out this video, which takes a girl next door without make up and turns her into the girl next door with make up and 2 cans of hair spray.

YouTube - The Evolution Of Beauty

Its almost as if the notion of beauty is somehow relevant to the perceiver.

(Thanks to my friend Jahufar who had this on his blog)

powered by performancing firefox

The First Cut is not necessarily the deepest.

This blog is not art, nor science, nor literature, nor tech. It is growing ever more into a platform for me to show what a duplicitous turncoat I am. Examples:

In February 2006 I posted this review of the Gillette Mach 3 Power Nitro.

And in it I derided the potential for further development in the shaving domain. Then, as I posted I found out about a new Gillette, the Mach 5 Mega Laser Razor. I can’t actually remember the proper name, but that’s not important. So, the new razor was out before I had posted the blog post about the last new razor.

I was miffed, and a little part of me (My Dignity) made a pact with another little part of me (My Rationality) never to suckle upon the corporate salami of Gillette’s relentless drive into absurd marketing ploys.

That’s the thought provoking intro over with…

Roll back three weeks. I needed some new blades for my 8 month old Gillette. I went to Ebay. I brought some. They were the wrong kind, these were for the new Gillette that I assured myself I would never get. But now I was trapped. I had inadvertently signed a pact with the close-shave devil, and thus was forced to buy the actual razo.

Yes, I was hoodwinked into this turncoatery but, my dear reader, I am sure you agree it would be wrong for me not to review the aforementioned hateful implement. I may have done my self in the razor ‘rongun, but you guys deserve this self-sodomised review.

If I die today the revelations of this post will be my Magum Opus. This new blade hasn’t only taken me closer, its taken me deeper…. into a very important aspect of my life.

Before we continue…

Ladies, I love you all, but this post is strictly for men. Do not read this if you are easily offended by distilled masculine conversation or references to male grooming. I just found this website,, so go play some girly games there until the shoe-shops open and leave the rest of this post for the dudes.

The Review (Men Only)

Gillette have skipped the 4 blades and made that evolutionary step into The Fifth Blade. Five blades, aligned so close together - and so sharp - that you can almost feel the cells gracefully part between the metal. It vibrates, as did the previous Model. The vibration feels good but I am still an outsider on if the vibe is actually good for the shave’s effectiveness. It’s a moot notion that will no doubt perplex razologists for aeons.

On the back of the razor head is a sixth blade. The sixth blade, much like the sense equivalent, is very handy if you have it but you wouldn’t expect to need it. It is angled perfectly to get that bit where your nose joins your top lip (Phew! Good job there are no women reading this bit, they would be sooooo lost) and it just does the job.

The blade feels good, looks that weird Alienware spooky but is ultimately a nice objet d’consumption.

I have been using it for three weeks – the shave has stayed nano close and though it irks me to admit it, its great. It really is a bigger jump between this and the last one than the last one and the penultimate

Post review Deconstruction of the previous review’s core premise.

I don’t feel as turncoat in this sense because I like the new blade(s), or because I showed blogbased exasperation at my first encounter with it. The reason for the anisotropy of my opinion is that I am forced now to embrace the endeavor to perfect the razor.

Millions… billions is spent on the evolution of the razor. I have been one of the no doubt millions of people who have seen 3 blades, or 4 or 5 and winced at the ridiculousness of it. And yet, the fact remains that new stages in razor development are self-experimentally better than the last.

And you would expect this, all this investment would not work if the results were not a discernible improvement. I remember when I first had a shave in a mach III and I know many friends and family members - including my wife ;) - who swear by the thing.

This fact is incontrovertible. I wont be there in 40 years with my grandson saying “Son, in my day shaves were closer…”

Millions may be dying of famine and disease. We are rubbing Carbon salt into the planet’s wounds. Even more people, every day, experience their WiFi drop out. These issues are not exclusive. They don’t mean we cant waste at least a few billion squid and scientists brain cells on the perfection of the razor.

The Future Of Humanity

As a baseline for technological evolution I propose the razor, being a device or method for the removal of body hair. The litmus test for the relentless march of the tech. To measure progress by numbers is to overlook progress’s intimate effects on culture.

Shaving is so very human. It is functionally pointless but important. It effects how others see us, how we see ourselves and importantly how we feel ourselves. To shave is to live.

Keep an eye on the shelf and a finger on your cheek

Perfection of the Razor

A task so meaningless it is significant.

The smoothness of a strangers face.

The muddy roots of the lotus.

The glide. The cut.

The lines that grow until we die.

Shatter shell and Cutthroat angles.

One blade, two blade, three blade,


Yoono when its good for you, because it feels so right.

I always liked stumbleupon , the website which tells you stuff you might be interested in. But you had to be proactive, you had to say "I want to stumbleupon".

The next generation of this kind of thing had just arrived, and its called Yoono, and it is really good.

If your on a web page about French chateaus, this unobtrusive bar across your Firefox browser will scroll and say other sites about French Chateaus will be displayed. Or Honda Jazz, or anything you are on a web page about. If something on the list catches your eye ever, you just click it and visit the page.

It has a side bar that you don’t really need and a random site feature as well. All in I really recommend Yoono and a nifty way to open up the internet without any hassle.

Install it for Firefox from here.

This is funny

Little Life Changing Thing

I use Google calender and have been for since day one in April. Its great, etc. One of the super key mega features for me is the quick add feature where you type:

Tomorrow call join at 14.00
Next march visit peter
Weapons Inspection report by next Thursday
14th April 2009 Sell XBOX 360 on Ebay...

Thats all very good. But you have to be on the Google calender home page to use it. Which is a bit crappy.

But not anymore, this extension for Firefox means you just press Ctrl+; and this window pops up, you enter the quick add and hey presto, its there in your calender.

Because the "downtime" for adding a calender has gone from a few seconds to zero, everything is better. Its a bit like some benevolent creator has taken my life and added just a drop more honey....

Gosh I'm easy pleased.

The Mystical Missing Attachment of Disassociation

I would like my email program to scan all outgoing mail for the word "attach" in any setting. If the email does not have an attachment then the email program should ask if the email should have an attachment.

Life would be better.

I'm kind of out of touch with this blog right now. Work is busy and writing is busy and all that jazz. I'm not taking a break. I'm not stopping it. I'm just busy.