I accidentally deleted all of my Gmail contacts with my Android phone…

…but this is why I use Gmail instead of, say, Hmail or Ymail. I restored all 1,000+ of my contacts by logging into Gmail on a PC and doing the following:

  1. Click Contacts.
  2. From the More actions drop-down menu, choose Restore contacts.
  3. Choose the time you’d like to revert your contacts list to (e.g. 10 minutes ago, one hour ago, one week ago, etc). We suggest that you also make a note of the time that you restore your contacts, in case you’d like to return to where you started.
  4. Click Restore. You’ll see a confirmation at the top of the screen when the rollback is complete.

You can perform a restore from up to 30 days ago.

This info plus more can be found on the relevant Google support page.

YouTube iframe embedding

It seems that the new way of embedding YouTube videos is really slow to render when you have multiple videos on a single page. Offhand, I can’t remember tweaking anything else that would cause this blog to be loading in segments like this. The thing is, I don’t really have time to test it now, so I guess I’ll just refrain from posting so many vids for a while and let the ones below fall off the front page.

Specifying a starting point in YouTube’s Flash 5 Player

In my previous post, I set an embedded video to start from a determined point partway through. The video was embedded with the new iframe tags (specifying HTML 5 instead of a Flash player, which is usable by a broader range of devices, but hasn’t been fully accepted by big developers like WordPress and ebay due to inherent security concerns).

This is the new parameter, which is to be appended to the end of the video link in the embed code:
#t=5m55s

(above, m equals minutes and s equals seconds)

——————————-

So in my previous post, the embed video code looks like this:
<iframe title=”YouTube video player” width=”560″ height=”349″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/VLuHMB438gc#t=6m17s” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen ></iframe>

———————————

Google states that the actual starting point may vary by up to a couple seconds, so you should take this into account.

Why Android is the best for now

Two words: Google Maps

Yes, I know you have it on the iCrap, too, but Google will never make it as good for you. Fact.

I’m heading off on a trip to visit some 3rd year students interning in Saraburi, Trat, and Koh Chang for a few days. Leaving at 5AM tomorrow, so I’m starring destinations and saving route info (toll and non-toll, with different ferry options to the island)  in Google Maps on my PC. Tomorrow, I’ll be able to access it all from my phone. This is the kind of techno-wienery I’ve been dreaming about since I was 7.

Day 1: Maha Sarakham to Saraburi and Trat (city)

View Larger Map

Day 2: Trat (city) to Koh Chang Destinations

View Larger Map

The Accidental Motorcycle Thief

The other day, I wanted to go for a quick lunch at the canteen (cafeteria), so I asked one of the students interning for the Japanese course if I could borrow her scooter. She gave me the key and told me where it was parked, along with a description. She said the license plate number was 85, and that it was a 100cc Honda Wave, with a manual transmission, in gray.

I found the 100cc manual Honda Wave almost immediately, but noticed that the license plate was actually 58 and that it was blue with gray accents. I chalked it up to the student remembering it wrong, or me hearing it wrong, and decided to test it by trying to start it up: No problem. I rode off in the direction of lunch, happily upshifting with my foot in this age of boring automatic plastic bi-wheeled conveyances.

When I got back on the scooter after lunch, the key was harder to turn. I had to work at it a bit. Then, when I got back to my building, I couldn’t turn the key to the far left to lock the steering column. I tried for a few minutes doing the jiggle-turn maneuver, but finally just gave up. When I went back to my office, I told the intern that I couldn’t lock her bike and asked if she’d had problems with her key, but she had no idea what I was talking about. A warning sign flashed briefly in my head.

“You said your plate number was 5-8, right?” I asked.

“No, I said 8-5,” she said.

Uh-oh.

I  looked down at where I’d parked the bike and saw a girl wiping tears from her eyes, our building’s custodian trying to console her, and a security guard talking into a walkie talkie.

I went down and apologized, and in the end, everyone except the victim had a good laugh about it (she was still in shock at having her scooter stolen). I felt bad for making her feel bad, but also because the first time I stole a bike, [A.] it was only 100cc, [B.] it required no skill because of the worn lock, and [C.] it provided zero exhilaration because IT WAS A TOTAL ACCIDENT.

RIP Bloglines, wistrab Loris

So Bloglines is dead. Just as well, since it seems the owners are busy licking Twitterific balls. I’m glad I switched, even though it was a couple years late.

Feeling nostalgic, I logged in one last time and encountered a captcha – a brilliant one. Inspired by a series of captcha cartoons my brother showed me last week, I spent a whole five minutes creating my own:

…I guess I’ll be keeping my day job.

The best spam to make it through my Gmail filters in recent times

It’s apparently Persian; I just think it looks cool. Reminds me of starting out in DTP straight out of Japanese university and learning how to lay out these texts running right to left.

Dropbox vs. Google Docs for document backup

Hey, that rhymes, yo.

Before Dropbox came along (I actually tried 3 or 4 similar services, but Dropbox was the best), I was backing up all of my Office documents (MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint) in Google docs, which replaced the time-honored practice of e-mailing documents to myself… As it turns out, I was better off doing just that, because I recently discovered that a lot of the formatting in the documents (particularly tables and tabs) were being corrupted by Google docs, whereas I haven’t had a problem with e-mail attachments for many years.

But all of that is moot now because Dropbox has largely replaced both e-mail backups and flash drive transfers (for “small” files) between all of my PCs. Don’t get me wrong, I still use Google docs on a regular basis and prefer it to any other Microsoft Office alternative (although not to Office itself), but for pre-existing Office document backup and fidelity, I prefer Dropbox.

Deleting Gmail Trash

Today is Mother’s Day in Thailand since it’s the Queen’s birthday, and the Queen is mother to all Thais. Nam and Max went to Khon Kaen with my mother-in-law and I spent the day watching Mina. She basically slept on me all day, only waking to feed and put everything within reach in her mouth before throwing it on the ground.

While she slept, I trashed several thousand mailing list messages in Gmail that I’ve no longer got time or interest in keeping up with, and hit the Empty Trash Now link. The following message ran across the status ticker thingy up top:

Oops… the system encountered a problem (#793) – Retrying now…

Gmail continued to suffer from Excedrin headache #793 for a few minutes, after which the beautifully empty trash page appeared with this message in the middle:

No conversations in the Trash. Who needs to delete when you have over 7000 MB of storage?!

Cheeky.

On a related note, I don’t really like the new Gmail interface (mainly, the Compose mail button sticks out like a wart), but I can live with it. If you can’t there’s a way to switch back to a much older version of the interface, albeit without Labs support.

Stolen Laptop Finder

I’m so installing Prey:

“Prey is a lightweight application that will help you track and find your laptop if it ever gets stolen. It works in all operating systems and not only is it Open Source but also completely free.”

It reminds me of the script used to surreptitiously take photos in Cryptonomicon.