Nov 7, 2009
Amber

99 DARPA balloons for the Internet’s birthday

Did you know DARPA is still around? You know, those guys that basically invented the Internet (hint: not Al Gore). I always assumed it was sort of absorbed by other government agencies/bureaucracies but apparently they are alive and kicking. Sadly, their Web site is a little boring and unimpressive, but that’s beside the point.

I only found this out because I heard of the DARPA Network Challenge. Apparently it’s the 40th anniversary of the Internet (woo hoo!) and to mark this event they’re giving away $40,000 cash to one person. The contest is basically a way to show how the Internet has evolved into a social networking, information gathering, communication beast:

The challenge is to be the first to submit the locations of 10 moored, 8-foot, red, weather balloons at 10 fixed locations in the continental United States. The balloons will be in readily accessible locations and visible from nearby roads.”

A-whaaa?

A $40,000 cash prize will be awarded to the first entrant to submit the latitude and longitude of all ten balloons.”

So basically people have to work together in order to find all these balloons so that one person can get a load of dough? Seems more like a social experiment into what people will do for money. I wonder how many people are going to be giving fake coordinates of balloon sightings to throw off contestants?

HOW TO COMPETE

  1. Register on this web site on December 1.
  2. Find other people interested in helping you solve the DARPA Network Challenge.
  3. Starting December 5, submit locations to the web site immediately after you find them.
  4. For updates, follow us on Twitter.”

I’m interested in seeing how this whole thing plays out because right now there’s some serious confusion. Registration opens Dec. 1, balloons are launched Dec. 5 and submission deadline is Dec. 14. There will be no other prizes but if one person doesn’t get all of the correct coordinates it goes to the person with the largest number of correct entries.

It’s all sort of weird but exactly what I’d expect from a bunch of nerds who invented the Internet. Keep it up, you glorious geeks.

Share and share alike
  • email
  • Google Reader
  • Reddit
  • Tumblr
Nov 5, 2009
Amber

Fanny faux pas

You think you get a lot of spam e-mails? Try being an editor for a newspaper.

The amount of spam I receive is astounding, and most of it is written like a press release trying to entice me into thinking their product is awesome enough to let the entire population of Hugo, Okla. know about through our fair publication.

Needless to say, I check my e-mails with one finger over the delete button. I read in the Oklahoma Press Association publication awhile back that one paper decided to start sending e-mails back asking to send a sample of their product. Surprisingly, this method has worked and the paper has received items like coffee pots and make up. They then review the items, good or bad. This is a fun idea, but I just don’t have the patience right now.

One junk e-mail has stuck out for me as I have received it about three times now and the product just sort of blows my mind.

Meet the SPIbelt: screen-shot-2009-11-04-at-110117-pm


Look at that handy little pack. She can fit so many things in it, too! A phone, a wallet, some keys … And it fits right on your hips, one might even say it fits snugly above the fanny. Oh wait, I’ve seen this before:

fannypack

It’s a fanny pack, people! I’m only an assistant editor not a miracle worker, I cannot bring the ’80s back for you.

Share and share alike
  • email
  • Google Reader
  • Reddit
  • Tumblr
Jul 17, 2009
Amber

Life Update

This post is going to be a bit of a life update since I have neglected my blog for so long, but do not stress for it will also directly relate to the Internet.

I haven’t updated my blog since April because May became quite hectic for me.

I graduated.

mecrowd

My family came to visit.

collage

And I got a job within the same week. In a few short days, all of our stuff had to be packed and moved 484 miles to my new home in Hugo, Oklahoma.

Internet was a necessary utility of course, so I went in to the local cable company, SuddenLink, and signed up for the high speed Internet/cable TV package. We had cable in Columbia and though we had a few connection issues, overall we were happy with the package. We had phone, 10 mbps Internet and cable that included a DVR box.

I was surprised for the price of the package (~$79 a month) that we weren’t getting any deals. Only 56 channels and no DVR or cable box of any kind. It was the Internet, however, which really irritated me. After using it for a few days we were confused why YouTube videos wouldn’t load and we’d get kicked off any online games. We checked the speed and were amazed that we were topping out at only 128 k. We visited the SuddenLink office and discovered that our package was, in fact, for 128 k. I guess I should have clarified what “high speed” meant. To upgrade just a little in speed was going to be $15 more.

Frustrated, we decided to do our research. Turns out that in this small town DSL is actually faster than cable. So at the beginning of this week we took the plunge, ditched SuddenLink for good and got an AT&T/DirecTV package. For the same price, we get 200 channels with a DVR box and a lovely 6 mbps download speed. Joyous day! I am all about getting the most for my money so I think this was a wise switch.

Also, our SlingBox now works.

What’s sad is the lady who works at SuddenLink didn’t even bother trying to convince us to stay, she even admitted to having AT&T herself.

I am, however, frustrated that I did not know about the Blizzard deal running with DirecTV before purchasing everything. I could have gotten a free in-game WoW pet and got to watch BlizzCon for free. :(  It’s always something.

Share and share alike
  • email
  • Google Reader
  • Reddit
  • Tumblr
Apr 29, 2009
Amber

Fun with Java: Unicorn power!

Something amazing, even magical, happened to ESPN.com — unicorns. It seems that the code has been purged now from the site, but when you entered the infamous Konami cheat code (up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, enter) on any ESPN.com page a plethora of sparkly unicorns and rainbows would appear.

Don’t’ believe me?
unicornpower1

The more you pressed enter, the more unicorns would appear. It seems the source of the Java script came from cornify.com, which prides itself on being “the #1 unicorn and rainbow service worldwide, giving websites sparkle around the world.”

Missed the unicorns on ESPN? You can enter this code into your browser’s address bar and cornify any page:
javascript:(function(){var%20d=document,j=d.getElementById('__cornify_nodes'),k=null;
var%20files=['http://cornify.com/js/cornify.js','http://cornify.com
/js/cornify_run.js'];if(j){cornify_add();}else{k=d.createElement('div');
k.id='__cornify_nodes';d.getElementsByTagName('body')[0].appendChild(k);
for(var%20l=0;l
k.appendChild(j);}}})();

Or, for more fun with Java, enter this code into your browser bar while on any image-heavy Web page:
javascript:R=0; x1=.1; y1=.05; x2=.25; y2=.24; x3=1.6; y3=.24; x4=300; y4=200; x5=300; y5=200; DI=document.getElementsByTagName("img"); DIL=DI.length; function A(){for(i=0; i-DIL; i++){DIS=DI[ i ].style; DIS.position='absolute'; DIS.left=(Math.sin(R*x1+i*x2+x3)*x4+x5)+ "px"; DIS.top=(Math.cos(R*y1+i*y2+y3)*y4+y5)+" px"}R++}setInterval('A()',5); void(0)

now watch the images dance around the screen.

Share and share alike
  • email
  • Google Reader
  • Reddit
  • Tumblr
Apr 21, 2009
Amber

Be an online fashionista

Fashion is not my strong suit. I think I have a general idea of what’s cute but for the last four years of college my regular wardrobe has mostly consisted of Mizzou T-shirts and jeans. My footwear is usually flip flops or a pair of flats in the warm months and Converse or snow boots when it gets cooler. Now, I’m about to graduate (yay!) and am thinking I should probably be a bit more stylish and adult in my dress. But this world of fashion can be so confusing!

So, being the nerd that I am, I of course turned to the Internet. I found http://www.polyvore.com/, a site where you can create sets of clothing, bags and accessories to get ideas for outfits.

I am clearly no fashionista but within about 30 minutes I had created:

The cool thing about Polyvore is people can comment and critique your outfits. You also can view other people’s Polyvores to get some ideas. Here’s a few popular ones today:
As you can see, you can pick your outfit right down to the perfume and make up. The site also gives you prices and links to where you can buy the items, but some of them are a bit outrageous. Those wedge teal sandals I picked out? Yeah, they’re $438.84. That’s definitely out of my price range for clothes.
However, it is a great way to get ideas to take to the more affordable places like Kohl’s and Target in your search. I’m pretty positive I can find something similar in the mall if I were in love with that piece.
Go out and be fabulous, Webophiles!
Share and share alike
  • email
  • Google Reader
  • Reddit
  • Tumblr
Apr 13, 2009
Amber

Likaholix: What do you like?

I got onto the beta for a new kind of social network site, Likaholix. You create your page and begin listing things that you like. You can add comments to go along with your liked items (books, music, movies, parks, restaurants, products, Web sites, cities, etc.) and say why you like them. You also can view other people’s pages and like items on their list, or just learn more about things people like. After awhile, Likaholix will begin recommending things you might like and is usually fairly accurate. The more you like, the more personalized the recommendations become. Of course, the coolest part is being the first to like something.

At first, it was like Facebook or Twitter (read: crack), in that I couldn’t stop. Within the first week of  joining, I was liking like a mad woman:

activity

I was the first to like 52 individual items and 113 people liked things that I liked. I’m thinking, I’m pretty popular. Plus there’s a neat contest giving away Kindles for top beta users. Rockin’, I can do that. Then I realized there were people with literally thousands of likes. I don’t even know if I like thousands of things. Am I just a pessimist? It appears not. I noticed that many people were “liking” items but then their comments would be negative about the product or often along the lines of, “I haven’t seen this movie/read this book but I want to.” Kind of defeats the purpose of the recommendation part of the site. Continue reading »

Share and share alike
  • email
  • Google Reader
  • Reddit
  • Tumblr
Pages:«1234567»