Saturday, December 20, 2008

Snow in Seattle, 2008

Winter's officially here in Seattle. After schools were closed on Wednesday on the possibility of snow, we got a few inches on Thursday, which promptly made driving an interesting physics experiment. Today, it was 13 degrees outside when I woke up, and the forecast calls for 4-8 more inches of snow and winds up to 50 MPH. Brrr....
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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Google Seattle Holiday Party 2008

Photo credit: Steve Lacey

There weren't any casino tables this year, but the classic video games were back in force. Playing Tempest or the original Star Wars while dance music is pulsing is a wild ride...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Google Android robot, full size

Just got back from a visit to the Mountain View campus.
Our green mascot keeps watch over one of the Charleston Rd buildings.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Tuesday Mailbag

Thanks to everyone who wrote in. Some of the top questions about Gmail voice and video chat from the past few weeks:

Q: I can't hear the other person, but they can hear me. How do I fix this?
A: Your sound output device may be muted. On Windows, go to Control Panel -> Sounds and Audio Devices, and click the "Advanced..." button. Make sure the mute checkboxes for both "Master Volume" and "Wave" are not checked.

Q: When I go to Gmail Settings -> Chat, I just see a "Detecting devices" message. How do I fix this?
A: This issue should be fixed in the recently released 1.0.3 version.

Q: On my Mac, I don't see my video or my friend's video. How do I fix this?
A: Some Mac incompatibilities were fixed in version 1.0.3. One issue remains where PostgreSQL, if installed, can use up all the system's shared memory. You can workaround for now by stopping PostgreSQL or changing its shared memory usage. We expect to have a fix for this in an upcoming release.

Q: Do you support the macam camera driver?
A: macam is not supported in version 1.0.3. However, we expect to release a fix for this shortly.

Q: Is a Linux version available?
A: Gmail voice and video chat is not currently available for Linux. If you would be interested in testing a Linux version, you can sign up at

If you have a question that's not answered here, please check the Gmail voice and video chat FAQ, and if that doesn't answer your question, feel free to email me directly.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Gmail voice and video v1.0.3

On Thursday, we released a 1.0.3 update to the Gmail voice and video chat software to version 1.0.3. If you go to Gmail settings, and select the "Chat" tab, you should see the text "Google Talk plugin v1.0.3.0" indicating that your software has been updated. If, for some reason, you see a previous version (or the dreaded "Detecting devices") text, you can run the updater manually by downloading from

Here's what's new in version 1.0.3:

Windows related fixes
  • Fixed issue where the browser would be unable to communicate with the plugin, resulting in "Detecting devices..." forever.
  • Resolved incompatibility with Creative camera drivers and software that could result in browser crashes.
  • Implemented first fix for issue where users saw green bars and plugin crashes on machines without support for SSE2, such as Athlon XP, Pentium III, and previous. For these machines, only avatar images will be displayed during a video call, as if no camera is present. We are continuing to work on this issue.
  • Fixed issue where users could select the known incompatible "Asus virtual Camera" driver.

Mac related fixes
  • Fixed issue where the "Default device" option may not actually select the default microphone.
  • Fixed issue where installer could incorrectly report a successful install when it actually failed.
  • Fixed issue where users with high UID values could only see black video (AKA the "black box" issue).
  • Fixed issue where the installer misidentified some Intel machines as PPC.
  • Made made several internal improvements to the installer.

Thanks to everyone who wrote in or posted to the Gmail chat forum. Your feedback is extremely helpful in allowing us to identify and diagnose these issues. I'll do a new mailbag with some of the other reports and suggestions later this week.