Flames to dust, lov­ers to friends.

Look­ing back­wards through the win­dow of time, it’s always tempt­ing to focus just on the good times, and want­ing more of those. If someone offered you a life­time of good times and noth­ing else, who wouldn’t take that?

But life isn’t like that.

It’s like how you have to eat the lettuce along with the bacon bits in a Caesar salad. If you wanted to invent a new salad, com­posed just of bacon bits, that’s prob­ably a bad idea.

Yin and yang.

I’m not say­ing it’s bad to look through that win­dow, gaz­ing at close memor­ies, and peer­ing at those fur­ther away, hazy through the fog of time. It’s import­ant to hold onto those memor­ies, those exper­i­ences with trav­el­lers whose paths no longer cross yours – because without them, what is left?

Yes­ter­day, I packed up six years of memor­ies into two suit­cases and a few boxes, and drove them back to my par­ents’ house. We did the things that had to be done, had a farewell hug, and said good bye.

It’s funny to think that two suit­cases and a few boxes is the entire phys­ic­al mani­fest­a­tion of six years. But I leave with more than just that, and I hope you do too.

It will be tempt­ing to think, what if? But time con­tin­ues for­ward, as it always has and always will. This isn’t the time for regret; it is the time for us to grow, albeit apart.

I gave a talk at Google I/​O in June this year with fel­low Goo­gler Brendan Kenny, on the top­ic of Spa­tial Data Visu­al­iz­a­tion using the Google Maps API:

If you’re inter­ested in play­ing with the demos your­self, fol­low along with the slides, and per­haps even take a look at the source code!

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Pho­tos from the Sculp­ture by the Sea exhib­i­tion at Bondi on a beau­ti­ful, warm spring day. (Click the images to enlarge.)

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Cross­pos­ted from Google Geo Developers Blog

With a paper map, you can truly make it your own by get­ting out a pen or a pen­cil, and adding your own annota­tions to it. You could circle all the museums that you want to vis­it, or trace the route that you will take on your road trip.

Maps API applic­a­tions can now offer users this sort of tact­ile inter­activ­ity using the new Draw­ing Lib­rary. The Draw­ing Lib­rary provides a tool­box which enables users to draw mark­ers, lines, and shapes on the map, much as they would in any draw­ing applic­a­tion. The tools can be used for col­lect­ing annota­tions from users, or for select­ing regions to search or high­light. Applic­a­tions can listen for events when over­lays are added and respond accord­ingly, such as issu­ing the search query or sav­ing the annota­tions to a data­base.

Shapes on a map, includ­ing shapes users have just drawn using draw­ing tools, can also be made edit­able so that users can modi­fy or cor­rect them. For example, the user could change the bounds for a geo­spa­tial query with the drag of a mouse. The Poly­line, Poly­gon, Circle, and Rect­angle classes have a new edit­able prop­erty, which toggles the vis­ib­il­ity of con­trol points on these shapes.

For more inform­a­tion on using the draw­ing lib­rary and edit­able shapes, please refer to the Maps API doc­u­ment­a­tion. The Maps API for­um is a great place to dis­cuss these new fea­tures, or raise any oth­er Maps API issues that you may have. We hope that these new fea­tures will res­ult in even great­er inter­activ­ity for applic­a­tions built on top of the Maps API.

Chrome advertisement on NYTimes.com

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At around 3am Sydney time, You­Tube went down:

Google’s mon­keys are still slav­ing away at it as I write this. And it looks like it’s just affect­ing Aus­tralia:

For future ref­er­ence, if you’ve got a box out­side Aus­tralia with ssh access, you can always quickly set up a proxy like so:

ssh -D 1337 username@example.com

This sets up a SOCKS proxy on loc­al­host (your own com­puter) at port 1337 (sub­sti­tute port num­ber to taste) — then simply point your browser at it. With this, I veri­fied that the You­Tube out­age at the very least didn’t affect the United States, by ssh-ing into nointrigue​.com, which is hos­ted in the US.

Related post from a while ago: Sil­ver­hawks: Get­ting around con­tent restric­tions. (Using -D with ssh is easi­er than the meth­od with Privoxy men­tioned in that post, though.)

Happy Aus­tralia Day.

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Just over two years ago, I cre­ated the inaug­ur­al nointrigue​.com Aus­trali­an Law Firm Rank­ings, which worked on the basic assump­tion that the big­ger and the more not­able a law firm is, the more people would be want­ing to talk about it. And what bet­ter way to meas­ure this than to ask Google.

Here are the rank­ings updated, for 2011.

There have been some slight changes in meth­od­o­logy, in an attempt to focus the search res­ults down to the pages that truly mat­ter. Start­ing with what we used for the 2009 rank­ings:

"law firm name" law site:.au

this has been sup­ple­men­ted by search terms that remove pages from the law firm’s own web site and from some par­tic­u­lar web-based dir­ect­or­ies (the list of which is arbit­rary and could well be improved). For example:

"Allens Arthur Robinson" law site:.au -site:yellowpages.com.au -site:truelocal.com.au -site:findlaw.com.au -site:lawyerlist.com.au -site:hotfrog.com.au -site:aar.com.au

For law firms with an ampersand or a plus sign in their name, addi­tion­al search terms were inser­ted to allow for vari­ations in spelling, like so:

("Gilbert + Tobin" OR "Gilbert and Tobin" OR "Gilbert & Tobin" OR "Gilbert Tobin") law site:.au -site:yellowpages.com.au -site:truelocal.com.au -site:findlaw.com.au -site:lawyerlist.com.au -site:hotfrog.com.au -site:gtlaw.com.au

Now, without fur­ther ado:

Law Firm  Pages  Part­ners1 ’09 
1 Clayton Utz 78,900 201 6 Up
2 DLA Phil­lips Fox 72,400 149 10 Up
3 Minter Ellis­on 66,100 291 4 Up
4 Blake Dawson 57,400 175 8 Up
5 Free­hills 48,500 202 1 Down
6 Mal­lesons Steph­en Jaques 46,600 186 2 Down
7 Allens Arthur Robin­son 37,900 177 3 Down
8 Corrs Cham­bers West­garth 25,700 108 9 Up
9 Mad­docks 23,500 53 12 Up
10 Baker & McK­en­zie 21,200 90 13 Up
11 Norton Rose2 19,800 146 5 Down
12 Middletons 18,900 67 17 Up
13 Sparke Hel­more 18,500 49 16 Up
14 Cooper Grace Ward 16,000 24
15 Hold­ing Red­lich 15,600 55 14 Down
16 Henry Dav­is York 10,100 52 22 Up
17 Gil­bert + Tobin 9,470 55 15 Down
18 Piper Alder­man 9,170 57 21 Up
19 Hunt & Hunt 7,130 55 7 Down
20 Arnold Bloch Lei­bler 6,990 29 20
21 McCul­lough Robertson 6,490 46 19 Down
22 HWL Ebsworth 5,320 120 27 Up
23 Kennedy Strang3 4,970 72 31 Up
24 Grif­fith Hack 4,890 30
25 Gadens 4,470 125 11 Down
26 TressCox 4,270 35 23 Down
27 Dav­ies Col­lis­on Cave 2,990 36 24 Down
28 Hall & Wil­cox 1,780 30 28
29 Thom­sons Law­yers4 1,250 47 30 Up
30 Lander & Rogers 815 47 26 Down
31 Moray & Agnew 596 59 29 Down
32 Macpherson+Kelley 340 51
33 Colin Big­gers & Pais­ley 324 29

1 The num­ber of part­ners is the pro­jec­ted fig­ure for 2 Janu­ary 2011, as repor­ted by the Aus­trali­an Fin­an­cial Review on 10 Decem­ber 2010, page 47.
2 Norton Rose merged with Dea­cons, which was #5 in the 2009 rank­ings.
3 Kennedy Strang is a group of law firms (Kemp Strang, Rus­sell Kennedy, Thynne & Macart­ney, Lynch Mey­er). The repor­ted page count is the total count for these law firms.
4 Thom­sons Law­yers was called Thom­son Play­ford Cut­lers at the time of the 2009 rank­ings.

To get a feel for the “noise” in the page count, that is, the num­ber of pages in the res­ult set that do not actu­ally refer to the law firm in ques­tion, I manu­ally examined the top 30 search res­ults for each law firm. For only three firms was 1 out of the 30 pages iden­ti­fied as spuri­ous; the oth­er law firms had no spuri­ous res­ults. This, of course, doesn’t mean the sig­nal-to-noise ratio remains con­stant as one pro­gresses towards the tail end of the search res­ults; Google’s algorithms, by now, are prob­ably quite good at get­ting the more rel­ev­ant pages to appear in earli­er search res­ults.

Man­dat­ory read­ing (for those of you who have read this far and have taken everything ser­i­ously): xkcd on using Google to meas­ure things

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Happy New Year… to all my read­ers! May 2010 bring world peace, per­petu­al hap­pi­ness and an Apple slate com­puter. – Enoch, in Rome.

05 Jan 2010 | 4 comments

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