14 December, 2009

Rant Monday: Cellphones

It's rant time, folks. Brace yourselves.

It greatly irks me every time I see someone barely old enough to read with a mobile phone. Even worse are the ones that incessantly text, their phone spending more time out of their pocket than in. I already have to deal with this with the females of my own generation, and I shouldn't have to do so with the younger ones too.
And so I would like to propose a method by which we measure the proper age at which a girl should be allowed to have cellphones. Put simply, if they are not capable of storing it in their anatomy, they should not have it. If a girl, whatever age, does not have the proper cleavage in which to store her cellular device, she should not have said cellular device in the first place.

13 December, 2009

In class iPod

The following was written in one of my classes for a journal entry:

I find my iPod to be a very useful study tool. In 2 of my classes, my morale/mood is improved significantly. I’m often surprised that I still learn stuff in class while I play bejeweled. While also improving my mood, it also serves as a very useful tool for taking notes. Ever since my discovery of being able to use my iPod for notes, I actually learn stuff better (my handwriting is pathetic, and I type faster on my iPod than I can write.) I also find my iPod to be environmentally friendly (it doesn’t use paper, which also allows me to be more easily organized.) it’s sad that I am not trusted with my iPod in my other classes, as I’m sure my grades and morale would improve there as well. Unfortunately, I have been labeled with the teenage stereotype; that if I can have an iPod, I won’t pay attention. Oh well.

19 November, 2009

The dangers of a high-school hallway

The bell rings. One can hear the tide of voices begin to rise, like the first ripples in the middle of the ocean that will eventually turn into a tsunami. A few moments later, students pour out of their classrooms in a tide of jostling, bumping, yelling adolescents. If one does not have a class to get to, it is fascinating to watch the tides; the ebb and flow of the multitudes. I am sure there is a large career to be had in highschool fuel mechanics, in fact. But if there are experts in said field, I am sure they were not called upon to design my school and lay out its classrooms. You see, all the major classes except for science: Math, World Languages, English, and Social Studies, are all situated around one and a half stairwells. Because of this, stairwells B and C, as they are so creatively named, are often the only stairwells used by students during the day. Let me tell you, 2000 angry, rushed adolescents using one stairwell for five minutes is not a happy sight, and many feelings (and ribs, shoulders, and other body parts) have been hurt during the dreaded passing periods.
Now, there are three main ways to deal with this crowd of almost bovine masses. One, and clearly the least efficient, is to simply sit cowering in an unused and out-of-the-way corner waiting for the insanity to end before sprinting to class. As one would expect, this does not often turn out to be very successful and often ends in multitudes of tardies.
The second is the most dangerous method, but one that can be very successful, especially among those blessed with a larger stature and build. It is, namely, to brace oneself and shove through the people, often at a breakneck speed. I call it the snowplow method. As one would expect, this can result in a lot of elbows in the face and bruised ribs, along with the occasional full-body tackle if the snowplow-er happens to run into a football player who has been having a bad day. Despite these cons, however, the snowplow method is one of the most effective means of bypassing the passing-period crowd.
The third, and my personal favorite method is extremely useful for the less timid, but also less extreme in stature of us 9-12 students. This is what I call the train-car method: it is to grab on to the backpack handles of the snowplower mentioned above, and to hold on for dear life as they cut a swath through the crowds. This is almost as effective as the snowplow method, and results in much less minor injuries. Often one will see entire trains of students, one holding on to the backpack of his peer in front of him, all striving simply to get to class on time.

18 June, 2009

The Ringtone Wars


First it was roflcopter. Then chain comments. Then just yelling meaninglessly. There is a new virus in YouTube comment boards: ringtone ads. Practically any music video you go to will have comments that are ads for a ringtone site. These comments are all posted by the same sets of users (usually with standard given names in all caps then a long string of numbers), all come from the same list of standard comments (though it appears to be different every time, this is not the case, and they all refer to "this song"), and all refer to a website that appears to me to be some subsidiary of ringtones.com. This appears to be the new wave in annoying, useless, invasive ads, along the line of spam-mail and popups. Unfortunately for the companies, unless they have found a way to write a program to bypass captchas, this is probably not cost-effective, because, though YouTube accounts are free, the majority of these comments get marked as spam (image), and they still need to pay people to make these comments. Unfortunately for us YouTubers, if the companies have made a technological breakthrough that was just around the corner anyway, then this probably is cost-effective (their expenses would be practically zero), and will also probably continue to clog the comment fields unless Google can find a way to bypass it.
My suggestion to Google: apply Gmail's amazing spam-filter to comments on YouTube. This should fairly effectively make these spam-comments impossible. Unfortunately, this will probably also filter out some perfectly legitimate comments, but you know what they say about desperate times...

12 June, 2009

16-Year Old Kid Discovers, Then Breeds, Microorganism That Eats Plastic


If I told you that the plastic waste problem had been solved, you would probably think of a PhD scientist sitting in a university lab working nearly 24/7 on a solution. But this is not the case. 16-year old Daniel Burd has discovered a microbe that eats plastic, then bred it using natural selection to do it much more efficiently (43% in six weeks, to be exact). He won his school science fair, but I would bet this isn't the start for him. His bacteria-eating microbe, which produces nothing but water vapor and carbon dioxide as waste, would be an excellent idea for a startup company.

(image source = http://www.mnn.com/technology/research-innovations/blogs/boy-discovers-microbe-that-eats-plastic)

14 May, 2009

XBox Controller Soap


I just found this incredible bar of soap shaped like a life-size XBox 360 controller.

And, if that wasn't AMAZINGLY COOL enough... it smells like Mountain Dew.
These hand-crafted items of pure awesomeness go for $12.00 a pop on Etsy. They are made by a girl who makes and sells all sorts of awesome nerd-shaped soaps.

The Zune phone

The popular or maybe not so popular Zune may now have a phone.

Where did it start? Some blog on microsoft.com. Will it ever be? I hope so. But let’s first compare its competition. The iPhone, the most popular phone, is on AT&T, the best choice for a phone to be. With its minimal design and easy usability, many applications, it's a mighty fine phone. Next we have the G1, Google's phone. They made the most stupid decision of all and went with T-Mobile. Why in the world did Google choose T-mobile for the G1? Nevertheless it comes with a touch screen and something the iPhone didn't have. A full physical QWERTY keyboard.

I'm hoping if Microsoft ever does make a Zune phone, they go with Verizon, (because AT&T is already taken.) However I'm sure there’s a doubt to whether or not a phone like this could even survive, what with all the competition. The Zune itself stood no chance against the iPod, or even those crappy Scandisk MP3 players. So what would make a Zune phone work? If could somehow sync up with X-Box Live in some way, shape, or form.

Now with the "AddThis" button, so you can share me with your friends and random people!

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Image from jackenback.com

10 May, 2009

Human Horse Legs


A week ago, the 50-1 longshot racehorse Mine That Bird won the Kentucky Derby, which, it seems, has caused the entire nation to be crazy about horses. These delightfully strange extension horse-legs are a major sign of this.
When I first saw this picture of Seattle Artist Kim Graham's Digilegs, I assumed that they would be something to enhance your running or walking ability, maybe using springs to speed it up. I was wrong, however: she says that these legs are meant mainly for people like actors and the like to use them for...
Well, I don't know what they'll use them for. The satyr market is not the widest in the world, and I'm sure the cost of CGI is much less expensive than the pricey $1000 price tag on these custom fitted steel, cable, foam, and rigid plastic monstrosities.
However, walking with these legs (shown below) looks fairly graceful, and maybe they can find a niche in the Silicon-Valley Seguey-toting geek demographic.

Demo from YouTube:

Long-Exposure Roomba Shot

This picture comes from http://www.gizmodo.com/

On their site they say:

Ever wonder what the path of a Roomba looks like as it cleans your house? It's an amazing combination of randomness and precision, as shown by this long-exposure shot.
The shot was taken by shutting off all the lights in the room for 30 minutes and taking a long exposure of the path the Roomba took while cleaning up. It's beautiful and surprising. I always assumed it worked with using some sort of grid, but that clearly isn't the case at all.