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!

Bookmark and Share


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.

08 May, 2009

My big hang-up with email programs.


Email. Probably the best thing since sliced bread. Being able to send messages to people without having to pay money. But there is a big issue I have with email programs. They give you waaaaaay too much space for storing things. I use Gmail, which as of this writing gives me 7+ gigabytes for storage space. Now I ask; do I really need all that? Seven thousand megabytes?

Let's say that on average an email message is 100 kilobytes. 1 gigabyte = 1000 megabytes, a megabyte = 1000 kilobytes. With each email using 100kb, it would take 10 emails for just 1 MB, 10,000 emails for 1 GB, so 70,000 emails would be needed to fill an inbox. In my case I have about 250 emails in my inbox, using 90 MB of my allowed space. With that it would take ~21,076 emails to fill my inbox. So do we really need all that space? I'm thinking no. Maybe 1 or 2 gigs of space would be enough. So what to do with all the extra space? Put it to use in an FTP program.

I am a web developer and a movie maker, so transferring files is something I often have to do. What I would love to see is some sort of Google FTP. It could be powered by the extra space in Gmail. I mean, why not? Sure it could use a lot of bandwidth, but it’s Google! And I think even bandwidth wouldn’t be an issue for Google; it would be more of an issue for the people using it. Some internet service providers are putting on bandwidth limits these days.

09 April, 2009

The Walmart Paradox

We are all familiar with the big store chain Walmart. But it brings up a deep, possibly philosophical question: is Walmart good or bad for the people of the US? At first we think "no duh", yes it's good. It's good because of its awesome prices. It's good because you can do everything in one place. Shop, eat, or whatever. But Walmart has a dark side to it, and this applies to more than just one store. Almost everything is made in china. To the uneducated rednecks of the world, this is bad because when something is made in China, it's not being made in America.
Getting deeper, this means Americans aren't making the money. China is. Now I like China, it's a very lovely place. But I like America better. Nevertheless, we need to acknowledge the fact that a lot of American jobs are going over seas. If you've seen Discovery's "The Peoples' Republic of Capitalism," then you know the problem. But what's the solution? We as Americans need to accept lower wages. We don't accept low wages.  That's why companies tend to move over seas. 
Now the companies play a major part in this too. Big executive douche-bags need to accept lower wages as well. Back to workers. Union workers are one of my pet peeves. They have easy jobs that easly make more than real jobs such as being a nurse, and in my case it's true. My dad is a hard working nurse in Colorado, who makes a good wage, although I don't know how much. Somewhere on our trip to Yellowstone, we came accross some construction, and my dad said that that union worker makes more than him, just by standing there, holding that sign. 
Let's go to factory workers. They're there working hard making their product, whatever it may be. Someone thinks they deserve a higher wage, and go to their boss, and demand a higher wage. The boss says no, and the disgruntled worker goes back to work, and gets everyone else riled up to a strike. They come the next day with signs saying that their boss is unfair. This why I don't like union workers; they want more and more. And that's not even it. They want to make sure no one else gets their jobs, so they also protest in the builidings, or a sitdown strike. In this case they deserve pay cuts, in my opinion. 
They just don't think: what if they end up losing their jobs to China, because if they just have to have $40 an hour and the company can't afford that.  If  the company ends up relocating to China or some other country, the workers end up losing their jobs, all because they weren't satified with a good wage. 
This brings us to what I like to call the Walmart Paradox, which can breifly state that when you shop at Walmart, you are selling your job. Here's how it works: first you are a good worker, living off of a good wage that you are satisfied with, and then the boss says you and the rest of the employees will be losing their jobs because the company wants to save money. You're out of a job, so to save money, you shop at Walmart, where you see almost everything saying "Made in China", including what you used to make. When you buy that stuff that's made in China, you are paying the people that made that, and if you're buying the product that you once made but that is now made in China, your basically selling your job.

08 April, 2009

School & Wikipedia

Wikipedia. Anyone with half a brain uses it. Anyone who has never heard of it really needs to see it. Wikipedia is an open source encyclopedia in wiki form, in which people are open to come in and edit or put in information on just about everything. Some people view this as a problem. They say if anyone can come in and edit info, then it's automatically wrong.

In school I have been told not to use Wikipedia. I asked why and they gave me the same un-provable reason: it's not correct. They FAIL!!! Wikipedia is the most trustworthy source you can use. If I can't use Wikipedia, then what do I use? Some old book from the last century? Losing confidence in that teacher, I go use Wikipedia anyway. Sure, people can go on and edit it, but if they do anything stupid, then Wikipedia blocks them, and Wikipedia has people that check everything out to make sure everything is ok.

So use it. Seriously

25 March, 2009

OnLive

With the advent of software such as Netflix and the iTunes Music Store, more and more things are being downloaded. Valve software's Steam platform allows users to purchase and download games very similarly to how they do for movies and music. But a new startup OnLive, which very recently came out into the public and is releasing a closed beta this summer, takes this one step further.
OnLive promises "Any game, instantly" with "no big downloads or installs". They plan to do this with a PC or Mac - based browser plugin that uses cloud computing and their massive server speeds to provide any game instantly to their users.
They also provide their "OnLive MicroConsole" to do the same with TV, making it more like a video game. This comes with a very nice-looking controller, which seems like it is halfway between the XBox and the XBox 360 controller. From the images they provide of the console it seems to have two USB ports and a video out, which I assume means it will connect via WiFi. This adds a limitation on target audience, as not everyone has WiFi.
Overall, OnLive is an excellent idea with great potential, with its only shortcomings being client-side: no WiFi or slow internet. I am very excited to see where this goes; in fact I am so excited that I am currently signed up for their beta program, and will post back with more information if I am accepted

08 March, 2009

Wikipedia Haters
























This happens to be EXACTLY how I feel about all those Wikipedia-haters out there


(side note: if you happen to be the source of this image, or know who is, please tell me, so I can give credit where credit is due)

08 February, 2009

Highschool

High school. the prime of life, your last years of school, the supposedly,"happiest days of your life." But they are also the most stressful. in this post I'm going to compare the pros and cons of high school.

A pro to high school: its where you finally learn something useful. Sometimes you learn something useful in middle school, but here is where it really picks up. The con: they still teach you allot of useless bull crap. I don't need half the classes I take, although they prove themselves useful, but only because they're there. I'm saying I can go without them. I never really need them.

Another pro: it's the next step to adulthood. In high school you finally learn to drive, and maybe get a job. Awesome, right? Now you have freedom, and cash. But here's the con: you're one step closer to adulthood! Soon your gonna have to move out, get a real job, and live in your own house. Sounds fun, but then once you get the house, if you don't have a good job, you realize you can't get that brand new X-Box that all your friends that still live with their moms have. I bet something like that's going to happen to me.

Pro: a new building, new friends, and new teachers. So basically a fresh start in a new school, sounds good. Con: a new everything. When you go to a new school, you're gonna lose some friends. On top of that, you have to get used to a new school, with a new schedule, and new teachers. New can be good or bad. For me it's just plain frustrating.

Pro/Con: Dances, dating, and sports. Dances, they are fun, but only if you have a date! It can be very stressful. Dating; OK, so its not too high school related, but romance, at this point in time, is a very big part of your life. So dating is a big part of high school. Sports for most are the biggest part of high school. But you gotta keep your grades up.

The last con: increased risk of substance abuse; drugs and alcohol. According to most PSAs about drugs, this is something even 5 year-olds deal with. But in high school you got peer pressure, and the wanting to be cool. I've never actually seen drugs. Sex is a bit more of a problem in my school, but i digress. The pro to this: there is none. It could kill you, when you lose your buzz, you feel like like crap. But again, i digress.

High school sounds fun, huh?

Post By: Will J.

Image from: http://bosquechica.wordpress.com/tag/geese/

07 February, 2009

The HP Touchsmart

Featuring a new writer, Will Janz. Image from Google.

When I first saw this come out on TV, I was shocked. It completely baffled me. I mean, how could you have a giant, touch screen monitor??! Either way, I thought it was freakin’ awesome. Immediately I wanted one. But they run for at least $1200. Costly, but better than a Mac.

From Google product search:

"The next-generation, touch-enabled PC combines a 22" diagonal hi-def wide screen with a powerful energy efficient Intel Core 2 Duo processor in a single, integrated design. Includes HP TouchSmart software, web cam, media card reader, and premium speakers for fast, easy access to photos, videos, music and applications."

I mean, this computer sounds awesome. I'm actually surprised a bunch of knockoffs haven't popped up yet. How much do you think one of these made by Mac would cost? I'm guessing based that a $500 PC = a $2000 Mac, I'm thinking $4500. But i digress. I have no idea how it works, but I'm guessing its the same setup as the iPhone. Come to think of it, it looks a lot like the iPod touch.

Now why is this so cool? I mean if you've ever been to a hospital, you may have noticed the nurses carrying around a touchscreen, but you don't see a keyboard. So if we've seen those, why is this so cool? Because now even select red-necks can afford this! This is just one more step to giant floating monitors that pop out of nowhere, like in Futurama.