25 May 2010 ~ 0 Comments

BP’s Oil

BP Oil SpillElmer’s Island Wildlife Refuge, even after all the warnings, looks worse than I imagined. Pools of oil black and deep stretch down the beach; when cleanup workers drag their rakes along an already-cleaned patch of sand, more auburn crude oozes up. Beneath the surface lie slimy washed-up globules that, one worker says, are “so big you could park a car on them.”

It’s Saturday, May 22nd, a month into the BP spill, and I’ve been trying to get to Elmer’s Island for the past two days. I’ve been stymied at every turn by Jefferson Parish sheriff’s deputies brought in to supplement the local police force of Grand Isle, a 300-year-old settlement here at the very southern tip of Louisiana. Just seven miles long and so narrow in some spots that you can see from the Gulf side to the inland side, Grand Isle is all new clapboard and vinyl-sided bungalows since Katrina, but still scrappy—population 1,500, octuple that in tourist season. It’s also home to the only route to Elmer’s, a barrier island to the west. I arrived on Thursday with my former University of New Orleans lit prof, John Hazlett; a tandem kayak is strapped to his Toyota Tacoma. At the turn to Elmer’s Island Road, a deputy flags us down. Can’t go to Elmer’s; he’s just “doing what they told me to do.” We continue on to Grand Isle beach, where toddlers splash in the surf. Only after I’ve stepped in a blob of crude do I realize that the sheen on the waves and the blackness covering a little blue heron from the neck down is oil. […]

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19 May 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Big Announcements at Google I/O

Google I/OToday is the Google I/O Conference in San Francisco. The search giant is making several announcements on Google Wave and many of its other products.

Here are my live notes on today’s keynote:

Google I/O Keynote: Live Notes

– VP of Engineering Vic Gundotra is addressing the crowd with some housekeeping notes and an introduction to Google I/O

– HTML5 has gained momentum

– Now Vic is asking: “How can we make the web faster?”

– Now Sundar Pichai, VP of Product Management, has taken the stage. He is discussing he evolution of desktop applications.

– Web apps are becoming more powerful due to HTML5. Google’s goal is to move more apps from the desktop to the web.

– Now they are doing a demo of HTML5 and Gmail in Chrome to show off its power.

– New demos: MugTug, an image/photo editing software, and Clicker.com. The focus is on the power of Chrome and HTML5

– Clicker is now showing off Clicker.tv, a new version of Clicker built for the TV. It’s a lot like YouTube XL. […]

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