Archives for October 2009

Gaping hole costume for Halloween 2009

This year for Halloween I tried to do a see-through hole in your body costume:

Gaping hole costume

It worked okay, but not great. The biggest problem was that I didn’t have a gadget lying around the house that could output live composite video. Both my normal video camera and my digital camera had exhausted batteries that wouldn’t recharge, which is a gadget fail on my part. And while my Flip video camera is tiny and it can output pre-recorded video through a composite cable, it can’t output live video (?!). Lame. I didn’t care enough to buy a new battery-operated gadget that could send out out live video. I settled for projecting scary Halloween images and video, but it wasn’t the same as a hole going right through your body.

I found a plastic “Roman centurion” breastplate for $10, but that led to the second problem: the breastplate was too bulky. I trimmed the breastplate down a lot, but it still was too substantial:

Gaping hole costume

Next time, I’d go with just cardboard and duct tape. On the bright side, the costume was comfortable and quick to take on and off. It wasn’t that hard to make, either. Just a little bit of cutting and duct tape did the trick:

Gaping hole costume

I might circle back to this idea down the road, but I think it’s safe to call Halloween 2009 a mixed bag.

Export your Google Docs data

One of my favorite personal blog posts is about not trapping users’ data. In late 2006, Eric Schmidt declared “We would never trap user data.” Many of the major Google properties (search, Gmail, Calendar) make it trivial to export or download your data.

In the past, Google Docs would let you export a single doc at a time, but Google Operating System runs down exactly how to batch export your Google Docs. For each type of document (text document, presentation, spreadsheet, etc.) you can choose what file format to get.

I had about 81 personal docs (~13MB) and it only took about a minute to bundle the files up into a .zip file that my browser automatically downloaded. If you have a ton of files, you can choose to get an email when the .zip file is ready.

I really like this feature. By making it easy to leave Google, I think people are actually less likely to leave Google. Or as Jason Calacanis noted lots of people are happy just to get a backup.

By the way, read more about how Google lets you export your data at if you’re interested.

One million video views!

This year we’ve been making and posting videos on an official webmaster video channel, and earlier today we hit our one millionth video view. Making these little movies has been a ton of fun and we’ve covered dozens of topics for site owners.

We decided to celebrate in a couple ways. First, we added captions to all 150+ videos (over 11 hours of information). That’s important because for movies with captions, you can translate the captions into different languages. Now if you want to watch my videos but see the captions in Portuguese or German or Turkish, you can!

The second way we celebrated is with a fun video. As you may know, I recently lost a bet with my team and they shaved off all my hair. Click to see the 30 second explanation of why I’m bald. But you may not know that my team recorded a video as I lost my hair. Now you can watch and laugh along too:

I hope that you enjoy the video! You may want to subscribe to the webmaster video channel to see more free webmaster videos in the future.

Happy Diwali for 2009!

Hey everybody, I just wanted to wish you a Happy Diwali! I hope that everyone has a wonderful festival of lights. 🙂 It’s a good time today for introspection and reflection on the past year, and for hope for the year to come. Whether you celebrate with firecrackers, sweets, or appreciation for what you hold to be good and true–I hope you have a wonderful Diwali!

Learn more about robots.txt

We made a video about how Google handles the robots.txt file. You can watch it if you want:

This answers a couple questions such as:
– Why is my url showing up in Google when I blocked it in robots.txt? Did you fetch that url?
– How do I make that url disappear from Google?

I hope the video helps if you have questions.