July 09, 2011

Over the last few weeks Google have been updating everything! All their websites from Google, to Maps to their new social network Google+ & the new look Gmail, everything has changed and i was wondering if they would touch YouTube. Today i saw that Google have been working on a huge overhaul for YouTube and from what i have seen so far, its a great update.

The new update is code-named ‘CosmicPanda’, i have had a quick look at the main new features which come with this next update to YouTube. There are 3 main parts that i would use with the new update and they have introduced huge GUI changes. The sections which have changed the most are user profiles, the video page where you actually watch the videos and then they have also updated playlists slightly.

Welcome To YT CosmicPanda

Each user as you know have their own channel, if you are a partner with YouTube you are allowed to change the default thumbnail of each video to any image you like, with the new update to the channels it takes advantage of these pictures, the channel page shows the latest videos uploaded just by displaying the thumbnails of the videos. There are a few different options you can have for your page now, one is to simply show all the video thumbnails, another is to show a list of  you playlists. Below is how the old YouTube channels look with the new version below it (click them to see a bigger version!)

YT User Profile Old

YT User Profile New (CosmicPanda)


A huge difference as you can see, but looking through other YouTube channels will give you a better feel of the other options that are now available to YouTube users! If you haven’t already noticed, Google have also updated the navigation bar, its much more simple looking.

New Youtube Navigation (CosmicPanda)

The page itself where you watch all your videos has been given a big update. The video player bar is now black along with a large black strip going the full width of the screen behind the video, the black strip works on the same principle of the ‘turn the light off’ feature a lot of sites use, it makes you focus more on the content they want you to, such as the video. The related videos to the right of the page have also been changed to a list of related thumbnails. Images old and new below! (click them to see a bigger version!)

YT Video Page Old

YT Video Page New (CosmicPanda)


The third big change that has been made to the site is a feature of the video play page too, it is the playlist feature. Instead of having an annoying video strip along the bottom of your screen as a pop up, it has now been change to a video strip below the video. Images below old and new (click them to see a bigger version!)

YT Video Playlist Old

YT Video Playlist Old (CosmicPanda)

I really like the changes that have been made. Another great thing that you can now do is when you are watching a video, you can click into your account page or go onto the channel of the video you are watching or onto another persons page who has a left a comment on the video you are watching, if you do thing the video you are currently watching will continue to play at the top left of the page! After you are done browsing you can click the video again and it will bring you back to the video page! One of the greatest features of this update i think, but it would be great if it worked the same way if you try to search, at the moment it does not allow it.

Browse site while watching videos - Youtube CosmicPanda

A great change for YouTube, you can read about these features on Googles support fourms. You can also opt in yourself if you want to have a good look at this new update, all you have to do is go to and click Try it Out!

Into To YT CosmicPanda

Edinburgh City Panorama

June 20, 2011

The last time i was over in Edinburgh i took the opportunity to grab a few pictures when walking about. I ended up on a small mountain that had a great view of the city, the only camera which i took with me on the trip was my iPhone!

I knew the iPhone camera was great and would do the job of taking a panorama. I took about 10 individual photographs using the HDR function on the iPhone, it gives the image a slightly better colour by adjusting the brightness levels.

Once i got home from Edinburgh i imported all the images off my phone and into Photoshop and then used a feature called Photomerge. Photomerge will analyse all the photos and detect where they should join up. The end result will be a very jagged edged picture, all you have to do is crop the main part of the image and you have your panorama!

Below is a small version of the Edinburgh City panorama, you can either click the image or the link below for a larger version.

Edinburgh City Panorama

View larger version.

back to Scotland again

June 09, 2011

First off, apologies for the lack of posts lately, i have no excuse as to why i have not been updating this blog over the last few weeks, but i am hoping to get a bit more time to update it more frequently over the next few weeks.

To kick things off i am just going to throw up a quick post. Last weekend i went away on a short trip to Edinburgh, Scotland. I have been there before, this time i was going over to help my friend with some luggage who is moving to Edinburgh.

Instead of taking the plane as i would usually, this time it was the ferry. The reason is that since we had a few bags to carry over, they would be too heavy and cost too much to take on a plane, also tickets for a ferry are remarkably cheap compared to a flight. The main difference between the ferry and a plane is that the boat journey in total takes about 10 hours, that includes leaving from my house, driving to Belfast, taking the ferry over to Scotland and then taking a 4 hour bus trip to Edinburgh city as opposed to about a 40 minute flight.

I was actually looking forward to taking the ferry, i think the last time i was on a ferry was when i was 8! Up until i was 8 i always travelled by boats, but then planes became the norm each year from then on. It was interesting being back on the boat, its great that you have the freedom of walking around and you have a lot more leg room, a lot more! The ferry takes 3 hours to cross the sea, during those 3 hours, me and my friends just had some breakfast, watched a film in the cinema (the film was Tron Legacy),  and then just went out on deck and walked about.

We arrived in Edinburgh city just after lunchtime on Sunday after having a pretty epic 1 and a half hour chess game on the bus. Originally we were due to come back the next day, Monday, but managed to get our tickets changed to Tuesday which gave us a bit more time to enjoy Edinburgh.


A few things we got up to included watching a film, going to a Tapas restaurant which had great food, entering a table quiz where the word appalling would probably be an understatement as to how we done 😀 but fun none the less and we also went up a sort of mountain, not sure what it was called but gave a great overview of the City. I hope to have a panoramic view up soon, i have lots of photos i took which i hope i can turn into a panoramic view.


The trip home was not as bad as going over i think, the reason was that i had only 1 hour of sleep before going over and on the way back i had a proper sleep so i was not tired in any way once i got home. I really enjoyed the trip and look forward to the next time i head over.

Here a some pics of the trip and once i get the panoramic done i might have a few more to throw up!



Exams Begin, 1 of 5

May 09, 2011

Image by Nelson Piedra (nopiedra) via Flickr

Today I began the first of my 5 final exams for college. As I thought, today’s exam (in Service Orientated Architecture) was very difficult. I was confident going in, I had covered everything that I needed to, but the thing that always gets me with exams is the way the questions are written. Questions are always written using words that I don’t always fully understand; I don’t know why lecturers insist with trying to confuse us! I know that on numerous occasions we have said to some of our lecturers that some of the language is a bit to hard to understand, and yet they still refuse to do anything about it, maybe they just do it to annoy us!

I made a decent enough attempt at the exam anyway and I am confident that I have done enough to pass. Whether or not I get a high score is debatable, but for this module I would simply be happy to pass it. On the other-hand, I am happy to know that the hardest exam out of the 5 is out of the way!

exam tactics

Image by smemon87 via Flickr

Tomorrow I have no exams so I will be putting together all my notes into one organised file for Wednesday exam, because my next exam is open book! It is strange to have an open book exam for a final exam; I never had one before, other than in class open book exams. The thing about open book exams is that more is expected from students, it is easy to think that there is no need to study for it, but I wouldn’t be happy if I didn’t at least take a look at the notes!

So tomorrow I will be making sure I revise for that open book exam. People always say that since it is open book that it will be easier, I don’t agree at all with that, I think it might have easy questions, but for the answers a lot more is required so an extra difficulty level is added in!