Picasa Desktop Users Prompted To Move To Google Photos Backup Instead


As part of the transition to Google’s new photo hosting and sharing service, Google Photos, launched this May, users of Google’s older Picasa desktop software are now being prompted to upgrade to Google Photos Backup for saving their images to Google’s cloud storage. The change could signal the beginning of a plan to migrate Picasa users over to the newer Google Photos web service.

However, Google Photos Backup is a desktop uploader program only – it’s not a replacement for Picasa’s desktop software, which also features tools for organizing photos into albums, favoriting items, or filtering by photos or videos, and more.

Some Picasa users may have spotted this change following a…

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Google Ventures Joins $60M Round For Members-Only Travel Site, Secret Escapes


U.K.-based members-only luxury travel site, Secret Escapes, has pulled in a $60 million funding round, with investment coming from new investor Google Ventures, along with existing investors including Index Ventures and Octopus Investments.

Google Ventures’ partner Tom Hulme noted Google’s participation in the new funding in a tweet earlier today:

The startup last raised back in 2012, when it took in $8 million with a plan to bolster its position in the domestic market and expand into the U.S., Germany and the Nordic countries. In the past few years it’s made several small acquisitions, either rivals in the online travel space or aimed at expanding the events side of its business.

More acquisitions for Secret Escapes look likely, given its new cash injection and stated aim of accelerating its global growth. The IBT reports Secret Escapes…

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Frank Herbert’s ‘Dune’

glad to see someone taking Frank Herbert seriously, but hey, he’s not saying this is Utopia! and definitely NOT something we should aspire to become! if you could notice beyond the surface and beyond the obvious, it is a deliberate rant on what keeps us humans morally inept for thousands of years, and what might happen to us 10,000 from now if we continue to live with our WRONG assumptions, obsession with materialism, cult of identity, our own hypocrisy, and inhuman treatment of “other” people..

DUNE and its prequels and sequels are essentially a critique of human civilization today and a writer’s creative extrapolation of what might happen into the future without our conscious and collective intervention, and as you might have noticed, it was deliberately poking fun at us, our WRONG assumptions and double standards, everything that has been wrong with us so far, it is all-encompassing

Weekday Blues

Dune is a science fiction novel by Frank Herbert, first published in 1985 and subsequently a winner of both the Nebula and the Hugo Awards.

Most of the novel is set on ‘Dune’, a desert planet named Arrakis. Its natives are people called Fremen, who are discernible by their all-blue eyes with no whites. The desert wildlife consists mostly of small mice, a few birds, oh, and giant killer sandworms. The planet is important namely because it is the only known source of ‘mélange-spice’, a substance that is used in everything from cooking to space travel.

The main character is Paul Atreides, heir to the Atreides Dukedom, and his mother Lady Jessica. Paul Atreides is part of a secret breeding programme conducted by a shadowy sisterhood known as the Bene Gesserit (of which his mother is a member) to create a superhuman. While on Arrakis, the Atreides are betrayed, Paul’s…

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Have You Read the Qur’an?

Defend the Modern World


Last week, a commenter on this blog stressed how important it was for those concerned with the resurgence of Islam to read the Qur’an in its complete form. He was correct to do so, and his recommendation is sound.

I bought a Qur’an many years ago – the Penguin translation by NJ Dawood – and read most of the Suras in a random order. This was before I started writing about Islam, and my only motivation in visiting the text was to see how intolerant it was against Women. As you’ll know, there is a notorious Sura titled ‘Women’, and this contains most of the references to sexual equality in the whole work. The most famous passage from this chapter is undoubtedly verse 4:34 –

“Men have authority over women because God has made one superior to the other, and because they spend their wealth to maintain them. Good women…

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Professor Arberry’s debt to the Qur’an


This Ramadan I am reading Arthur J. Arberry’s translation of the Qur’an. I first came across Professor Arberry’s translation ‘The Koran Interpreted’ at university. I had borrowed it from the uni library and read it over the summer of 1989. Btw, somewhere out there is a Pakistani chap I worked alongside in a summer job that year who borrowed that library copy from me and never returned it! I had to pay the library to replace that copy. Grrr.

Anyway, in the introduction to the World Classics edition of his translation of the Qur’an, Arberry mentions that he thinks his work is distinguished from earlier translations because of the length he went to to capture the ‘intricacies’ and ‘rhythmic patterns’ in the original Arabic Qur’an.

I mentioned last Ramadan that all of us non-Arabic speakers owe a huge debt to translators of the Qur’an such as Arberry, Abdullah Yusuf Ali…

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