J.K. Rowling releases new Harry Potter short story [download]

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Sweet nostalgia.

I was introduce to the world of Harry Potter when I was in 7th grade and I missed the magical world of Harry Potter when the series ended.

And after all this time, a new book!
Okay, it’s not really a book, or a novella. It’s a news Column by Rita Skeeter.

And it’s not really a story about Harry Potter.
It is an news snippet about Quidditch which happen to talk about Harry and his friends.

It felt extremely good to go back to the magical world of Harry Potter. This news snippet gives us, the fans, a tiny peak into the lives of our heroes.

Stop whatever you are doing and spend two minutes of your time reading this Harry Potter update.

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You can download and read the story here.

I saved the best for the last – we are getting another Harry Potter story!

But let us not be severe. Harry Potter and his cohorts never claimed to be perfect! And for those who want to know exactly how imperfect they are, my new biography: Dumbledore’s Army: The Dark Side of the Demob will be available from Flourish and Blotts on July 31.

I can’t wait to get my hands on the new book. It’s going to be like a pensieve for me. Taking me back into the magical world.

Blurring the line between web & apps with Google Now

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Now cards

Google Now everywhere along with deep linking is going to make Android platform very powerful.

For instance, I am reading an article about top movies to watch this summer and I want to add some of those movies to my watchlist in IMDb.

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Earlier, I had to go to the home screen, open IMDb app and search for the name of the movie.

With Google Now all I have to do is say – ‘OK Google’ and the name of the movie. Google displays the search results and with deep linking clicking on the result takes you directly to the movie page in IMDb app.

Deep Linking was exclusive to Google Apps and a few selected developers and Google has opened it for all the developers. Some other examples of Google Now & Deep Linking -

  1. OK Google – Define ‘word’ & not only get the definition read out to you but you also get the option to read the definition in the dictionary app installed in your device.
  2. OK Google – what are the current scores? Get the scores in the sports app that you have installed.
  3. Read about a restaurant in Facebook, say OK Google ‘name of the restaurant’ and open the restaurant page in Yelp, zomato or the restaurant’s own app, in case it’s installed.
  4. Search for a person and open his LinkedIn or Facebook profile directly in the respective app.
  5. Search for a book and add them directly to read later list in the Goodreads app.
  6. Search for a route and open them directly in maps app.
  7. Search for a place and directly book a cab to that place from the Uber app.

Voice actions are everywhere, no matter in which app you are, just say – OK Google. Example – OK Google, remind me to buy milk tomorrow at Walmart.

Google is in the search business, it gets business when people search for stuff. Google can’t let search be fragmented by apps. With Google Now everywhere Google is working towards ensuring that you are Googling it on the phone instead of going to individual apps.

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This blurs the line between the web and the apps. The transition between web and apps will be seamless with Android L’s 60 frames per second buttery smoothness. You no longer have to go into the app to get information, just Google it!

The Legend of Korra: Book 3

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The Legend of Korra season 3 premier has been a bit wonky with the leaks and all but Nickelodeon has been generous towards its fans. Season 3 started off with three new spectacular episodes –

  1. A Breath of Fresh Air
  2. Rebirth
  3. The Earth Queen

Book 3 is titled Change appropriately.

After the intense battle between Korra and Vaatu/Unalaq, the Avatar decides to leave the spirit portals open which leads to unintended consequences.

The spirit world has started bleeding through to the mortal world and people are not too happy about it because the spirit vines have overgrown Republic City and Korra is not able to get rid of it. She has to deal with the angry people of Republic City and is upset about her low approval rating.

Because of Korra’s lack of success, she is kicked out of Republic city which is a good thing for us because we get to see other Kingdoms now.

Another unintended but welcome consequence is that people are popping up all over the world with Airbending skills. Though, in the wrong hands that won’t be such a good thing.

Which brings us to the villains that this season has put up against the Avatar.

  • Zaheer – Zaheer is a very powerful airbender who despite getting his abilities recently, seems to have mastered it.
  • Ghazan – Ghazan is a very talented and powerful earthbender who is able to phase-change earth and bend it into lava.
  • Ming-Hua – Mign-Hua is a skilled, armless waterbender. She uses waterbending to create two tentacle-like arms strong enough to support her body weight and act as a weapon.
  • P’Li – P’Li is Zaheer’s girlfriend. She is a skilled combatant and a powerful firebender, capable of performing the rare technique of combustion.

Zaheer believes in a new world order, one without the Order of the White Lotus or the Avatar.

After being banished from the Republic City. Korra decides that her time will be better utilized in finding and training new airbenders. So Team Avatar (Korra, Mako, Bolin, and Asami) along with Tenzin and Jinora start the mission to rebuilt the Air Nation but people are not very enthusiastic about becoming Air Nomads. The team, disheartened, eventually goes to Ba Sing Se, the Earth Kingdom to find people with airbending skills. Korra goes to the Earth Queen to find airbenders but it seems the queen has a different plan for the airbenders.

Some additional stuff that we get to see in this season are –

  • More Earthbending.
  • Lin is going to play a larger role in this season and we might even get a peek into her family life.
  • You’ll get to see a lot more Bumi.
  • Book 3 is going to be more like Avatar: The Last Airbender.

Season 3 is also going to be action packed –