Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category
So, I accidentally let my contract with the web hosting to expire, and the site was down for a short period of time. But in the interim, I was afraid that I might have lost months of posts from whenever I last backed up the website. Happily and thanks to the good folks at IXWebhosting, the site is back up, and none of the files were lost. Now, I’m off to back up the server.
Nielsen, the media-analytics and ratings firm, has published an important new study this week on the state of social media. Its insights are trenchant and wide-ranging, and they have given the media much to digest. You’ve got gender disparities in the amount of time spent on social media. You’ve got the rise of Twitter as a second screen. You’ve gotPinterest as the fastest-growing social network. But most importantly by far, you’ve got nothing short of a paradigm shift in how Americans use the bathroom.
Yes, according to Nielsen, 32 percent of young Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 report that they engage in social networking while on the pot. Nielsen did not report the numbers for other demographics. But it’s well-understood in the technology industry that the behavior of this bellwether group heralds the shape of things to come for the nation as a whole. In short, our days of leafing through newspapers and magazines on the commode are numbered.
Here is a slideshow of some of my favorite fractals rendered in Apophysis or Manelbulb 3D. And I finally figured out the correct dimensions for the opening signature. Success! [Background music credit: The Album Leaf, "Wet the Day."]
So, I’m not really a “Redditor” as they call themselves. I only began perusing the site a few months ago, but from checking out the various and seemingly endless stream of — what are the kids calling them these days? Memes? — I think it’s fair to say civilization as we know it is devolving fairly rapidly.
Apparently, Reddit users have concocted a new time-wasting activity. Basically, instead of grabbing an interesting or otherwise noteworthy image from Imgur.com that defines them as a person and posting it, Redditors are now grabbing random images and posting them. When I say random, I mean they type five random characters on the keyboard — all consonants, all vowels or letters, it doesn’t matter — and then post whatever picture Imgur regurgitates. Not too gross; just a gross waste of time.
Yes, folks. This is where the age of the Internet has led us. I think a lot about the work of T.S. Eliot, and this Eliot passage seems poignant:
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.
But hey, if it’s ending any time soon, might as well waste what little time we have left.
Here are three of my “random” Imgur vomits. I was highly entertained by the ironic first random selection:
Thanks to BraveNewCode, the site is now smartphone-ready, and you can easily browse and read when visiting from your iPhone, Blackberry or other smartphone.
I was just doing some stumbling around today and found a few nifty sites. Here’s some random examples of coolness from Cyberspace:
Fractal Lab: Here, you can play around with fractal art without having to download a program onto your computer. Just create the fractal right in the web browser. Of course, since fractals are fairly complicated digital images rendered using algorithms, push the settings too high and your browser and/or computer might freeze, depending on the badassery (or not) of your particular system. I created this image while playing around:
B-Rhymes: This is a handy tool for poets or song writers. Plug a word into the search, and the site returns words that rhyme but those that might not be so obvious. Unless a person is trying to write a terrible poem or song, for instance, one probably should not rhyme “fun” with “sun.” This search returns more uniquely crafted rhymes. For instance, I entered “stereotactic” and got such gems as “peripatetic” (Consequently, this is my screen name in Counter Strike: Source with one letter variation), “extragalactic” and “bacteriostatic.”
Flickr Related Tag Browser: This is a different kind of browser that works within a more spatial context, grabbing images based on whatever word a person enters into the search field. I put in the word, “poo,” and here is a screenshot of the result:
Each of the words in the white rectangles can be clicked to get their respective search results.
And my favorite of the day …
Conflict History: This site offers an interactive map that traces all the battles and conflicts on the planet dating back to B.C. The timeline at the bottom is scrollable, and when loaded, the battles for the particular time periods are highlighted in red and more information is available for each of them. The first war that I could find was the Kurkshetra War, dating back to 2993 B.C.
I’ve been meaning to mention this for a couple weeks, but the Google Chrome browser comes with a slew of add-ons, called “extensions,” to enhance and make users’ browsing experience more productive. One of the more unique and aesthetic extensions is called Cooliris, which is sort of a visually pleasing way to browse the Internet. Once installed in Chrome (which takes only seconds), users see a large menu to the left with items ranging from “Photos of the Day” to “News” to “Sports” to “Movies and Trailers” to “Games” and more. Once a menu item is clicked, the user is then able to scroll through items of interest in sort of a visual vortex or a tunnel-esque collage. To see what I mean, here is a screenshot:
Items scroll from left to right or vice versa and users can use the mouse to cycle through the selections. Clicking on a picture or news item of interest takes a person to the actual website. For the record, I highly recommend Google Chrome for general Web viewing. It has proven, at least to me, to be quite fast (faster and less glitchy than Explorer), although, since the code for many websites is written with the assumption that most people use Explorer, certain features within websites may not work in Chrome. I’ve found such cases to be rare.
Whereas Bill O’Reilly has his “The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day,” I present the first installment of “El artículo más loco del día” (titled in Spanish for no reason whatsoever, other than for my own amusement: the craziest item of the day), in which I will attempt on a daily basis, as much as possible, to bring to light a piece of news that is, in my mind and in some way, nuttier than a fruit cake on Christmas.
And here’s the primer elemento.
Facebook, at it happens, is attempting to become more ubicuo than it already is (I will also, occasionally slip into Spanish occasionally, at my leisure and for my pleasure, so keep the English-Spanish dictionary handy). According to this article, the social networking hub is attempting to — sit down for this one — trademark the word, “face.”
“If you search the patent database, there are thousands of marks that contain the word ‘face,’” Greenspan said. “I understand where Facebook is coming from, but this move has big implications for my company and for others.”((1))
Henry Sneath, a patent and trademark lawyer in Pittsburgh, Penn., doesn’t seem confident in Facebook’s chances of success in trademarking the word.
I’d bet against “face” being awarded to Facebook. You cannot overtake the use of a generic word people use in everyday speech.
The same, I can only imagine, would apply to “book,” lest we are, in the future, relegated to referring to constructs that resemble former books as “written works of significant length, bounded and packaged as a cohesive whole.” “Book” seems like a more workable modelo.
My first foray into the Internet was at some point around 1997-98, when I gained access at Lander University and obtained my first e-mail address from Hotmail, which is still my main address, consequently.
As it turns out, at the time, less than 5 percent were using the Internet in South America, most of Europe and Asia. Today, with the exception of parts of Africa and Asia, 31 percent or more are online.
The BBC recently released the interesting, interactive maps detailing the spread of the Internet across the world from the late 1990s to the present. Today, an astounding 298,000,000 folks are currently on the Internet in China, as opposed to 230,630,000 in the U.S. Here’s a screenshot from the 2008 data:
And here’s another graphic on the workings of the Internet and some data on Internet users worldwide: