Quick Note: Sorry for Any Hassle

Just a very quick note regarding some updates/changes on the website. I’ve activated a few new counter spam measures due to the recent influx of comment spam that I have been seeing. First off, I’ve been using Askimet for a while now with pretty decent success, but it’s time to step up the protection. Next on the list is a new solution (to this blog at least) called Bad Behavior. Viewers shouldn’t see any kind of detrimental impact due to this particular plugin as it only blocks spam bots from accessing the site. If you are blocked for some reason (not that you’d even be able to read this post) please drop me an email. The final line of defense is reCAPTCHA. You’ll notice a red box when you try to leave a comment. This system works like the traditional CAPTCHA check in that you will need to enter the words that are randomly display to verify that you’re human. The twist comes from what happens with those words that you enter: they are fed back to the Internet Archive to increase the accuracy of there OCR processing. Pretty cool huh? I could have used a standard CAPTCHA, but I thought I’d try and help out in small part to a great cause (the Internet Archive project). In summary, I apologize for any inconvenience that these new systems might cause, but it was time to hopefully deal with those heartless, spineless, degenerate bastards (AKA spammers) once and for all.

Interesting Links 10.19.07

  • A beautiful mind – Schizophrenia is potentially a very creative tool which, as yet, has not been understood or recognised and is mistreated and so its powerful symptoms manifest as confusion and destruction.
  • Schizophrenics gain by practice, not meds – A U.S. study suggested cognitive gains in schizophrenic patients treated with newer antipsychotic medications are due to practice effects, not the drugs.
  • How schizophrenia develops: Major clues discovered – Schizophrenia may occur, in part, because of a problem in an intermittent on/off switch for a gene involved in making a key chemical messenger in the brain, scientists have found in a study of human brain tissue.
  • Brain cell growth diminishes long before old age strikes – While other research groups have made similar observations in the brains of rodents, this is the first time the decrease in new cell growth, known as neurogenesis, has been noted in a primate, the biological order that also includes apes and humans.
  • Light shone within brains of mice reveals secrets of sleep-wake cycle – By flickering a special light inside the brains of sleeping mice to wake them up, Stanford researchers have shown that they can induce behavior in a living mammal by directly controlling specific neural cells.

It’s been a crazy week between papers, quizzes, work, running 5 sessions of my independent research…Needless to say, I haven’t had an opportunity to post any of the links before now. The first group is entirely psych related links (mostly Schizophrenia), and it’s very interesting stuff that is worth the read. The article that I thought was particularly interesting/sad was the one regarding individuals with Schizophrenia showing progress based on practice effects, not the wonderful meds everyone thought were so effective. That would really suck if that’s true (which it seems like it probably is).

  • 250+ Tools and Resources For Coding the Web – We’re all living on the web, and we all seem to be starting our own websites, so it’s time we all learned the languages that make it run.
  • CSS Vertical Bar Graphs – Eric Meyer has been keeping a secret since 2005 about CSS Vertical Bar Graphs. Well, not really, but it is good that he has come out with a nifty demo on how to do this.
  • A List Apart: Findings From the Web Design Survey – In April 2007, A List Apart and An Event Apart conducted a survey of people who make websites. Close to 33,000 web professionals answered the survey’s 37 questions, providing the first data ever collected on the business of web design and development as practiced in the U.S. and worldwide.
  • 21 Facts About The Internet You Should Know – You probably use it every day but how well do you know your Internet?
  • Verizon Wireless: If you don’t opt out, we get to share your CPNI call data – Over the weekend, a small storm erupted over new legal language that Verizon Wireless is passing quietly on to its subscribers. It appears as though the cellular provider is changing its terms of service to give the company the right to share sensitive calling data with third parties.
  • BitLet – the BitTorrent Applet – download a torrent without using a desktop application. perfect when you’re at work…

The second group is the normal miscellaneous tech links. The ALA Web Design Survey is worth the read if you’re a web designer. If you are a Verizon subscriber be sure and read the article linked above. Verizon sucks my ass. There I said it. I can definitely see BitLet being very useful. I could have used it a few times in the past…

Interesting Links 10.9.07

This is definitely an eclectic collection of links. I won’t talk about all the links. I’ll just say that Windows Home Server is one of the best things to come from Microsoft in nearly 10 years (since Windows XP). If you have ever downloaded any music *cough* illegally you will definitely want to read the article about how/why the RIAA won this particular trial. It could be very important for you in the future.

Interesting Links 10.5.07

  • Colors of the Top 20 Magazine Covers -I’ve always been fascinated with the cover font color choices magazine editors make. …we thought we would look at some of the most iconic covers in history.
  • notMac Challenge – A free .Mac alternative. This is the winning application from a $8,000 competition.
  • Best of Screensavers -In fact, we don’t need screensavers any more, however we tend to use them as eye-candy for our coffee breaks.
  • Liveblogging the big iPhone 1.1.1 hack -By using symbolic links before doing a 1.1.1 upgrade, they were able to gain access to the entire 1.1.1 file tree.

The first link is pretty interesting in my opinion, but then again I am basically a typography nerd who finds this kind of thing cool. The notMac application has possibilities, but I’ve failed to get it up and running so far. Ideally you want to have a separate server to run this from, and then you connect using the client on your Mac. It has potential, but give it a month or two to mature a bit. Screensavers are always pretty, and as the article correctly points out: we really don’t even need screensavers any more, but people like eye candy as we all know. The final link regarding the iPhone v1.1.1 hack is interesting to me just because I have an iPod touch. In theory any hack for the iPod v1.1.1 would also result in a hack for my iPod touch…so that’s exciting. It’s a fairly handy device, but 3rd party applications would be incredibely useful (considering they intentionally maimed the calendar…no add event? really?).

Interesting Links 9.30.07

  • CSS Sprite Generator – a CSS Sprite is a single image file which contains several graphics. Using CSS background positions it’s possible to display any one of the graphics. By using a sprite you save on multiple http requests which helps speed up the rendering of your page.
  • How To Do How to Block your Cell Phone Number -There might be many reasons why you want to block your cell phone number from showing up on other people’s caller IDs. Whatever the reason is, it’s very simple to block your cell phone number.
  • Touchdev -This website is dedicated to finding additional uses for the iPod Touch by (legitimately) enabling its potential capabilities.
  • iPhone and iPod touch Application Gallery – AppSafari.com is a gallery of over 500 applications built for Apple’s iPhone and iPod touch with new apps added daily.

Just a few quick links, including several related to the iPod touch that I acquired recently. I am still holding out hope that hackers will figure out how to jailbreak the iPod touch in the near future. I know I mentioned that I’d write up this interesting article about neuron communication, but I got lazy…hopefully Tuesday night things will calm down in my schedule.

Interesting Links: 9.25.07

  • You convert it – Upload any format, image, documents, audio & video without buying or installing anything on your PC.
  • Mango – The first Free enterprise language learning course available on the Internet. Eleven of our courses are now available in our beta release.
  • Experiencing Windows Vista Service Pack 1 Beta: Today Microsoft is releasing the Beta of Windows Vista Service Pack 1…
  • First look at Windows Vista SP1 (build 6001.16659) – Earlier today I downloaded the standalone installer for Windows Vista SP1 build 6001.16659 and installed it on a few systems to see what it was like…
  • Amazon.com MP3 Downloads – For starters, songs are priced at a low 89 cents on up to 99 cents with albums as low as $4.99. They’re also DRM-free in case you were wondering.
  • 5 Step Failsafe upgrade for WordPress – This is going to be very useful once I get the time to upgrade to WordPress v2.3

It’s amazing what you can do when you’re procrastinating the writing a paper and studying for a test. Anyways…enjoy the links. I have something very interesting to post last this week regarding how neurons avoid talking to themselves…very cool stuff.

Interesting Links: 9.13.07

  • 13 things that do not make sense – 19 March 2005 – particularly interesting because even though this was originally written in 2005 these still do not make sense. Interesting read.
  • 7 Amazing Holes – I know it sounds like holes wouldn’t be all that interesting, but look at the “glory hole” in particular. It looks insane. I want dive the Great Blue Hole in Belize also (someday).
  • Totally Scored – This is a very handy site that lets you create a custom RSS feed that will spit out your favorite sport teams scores (all your teams in 1 feed).

This is a a very brief wrap up. It’s kinda been a slow week for interesting links, and classes have been fairly busy.

Microsoft Office 2007 Ultimate for $60 (for students)

Office Ultimate 2007: Just $60! (for students):

Microsoft will begin offering Microsoft Office Ultimate 2007 for students for the amazing price of just sixty dollars. This special offer for students only represents a $620 discount off the retail price of $680, a 91% savings.

This is an insane deal for any student who was planning on buying Microsoft Office 2007. The deal runs until April 30, 2008 so take your time, but definitely take advantage of this deal.

Web 2.0 Changed how I use the Web

Here is a short list (with a brief description) of Web 2.0 sites I visit on a daily basis:

  • Box.net – simple and generous free file storage, easily share files as well.
  • CallWave – voicemail the way it should be, similar to the iPhone’s so-called visual voicemail, but CallWave has been around for years.
  • Jaiku – similar to Twitter, but also lets you pull it outside feeds. I use Jaiku as a life blog instead.
  • Jott – Jott has a wide variety of functions, but you can send yourself reminders, send email to other people, post to your blog, post to your Twitter page, post to Jaiku, etc
  • Toodledo – simple to-do lists without extra fluff that gets in your way. Sure, it’s not the prettiest thing in the world, but it also integrates into Google Calendar
  • Twitter– the original and the still the reigning champion for micro blogging. Does one thing (micro blogging) and does it very well, also has a better API better than any competitor.
  • Flickr – this almost doesn’t even need a description: easy, free, unlimited storage photo sharing/storage.
  • Google Calendar – I still prefer to use 30boxes, but the integration between Google Calendar and Gmail is pretty hard to beat.
  • Google Mail – I use Gmail, but not because I love it. Gmail is pretty much the best of the worst in my opinion.
  • Google Reader – Again, I prefer to read my RSS feeds elsewhere, but Google Reader’s integration with Gmail is though to beat.
  • Last.fm – track the music you listen to, see what friends are listening to, find new music, listen to a radio station custom made based on your music preferences
  • Netvibes – ful customizable webpage that lets you read all your RSS feeds in a single page, also several powerful addons to do other things like check mail, weather, Twitter.
  • Digg – Digg is one of those things that I hate to love. It’s a great site to find information, but I’d highly recommend not even looking at the comments for each posting…they are useless.
  • Streamy – I recently got into the private beta for this, and it’s great…just like Digg, but without most of the immature people (so far)

You get the point…Web 2.0 has pretty much changed the entire way I use the web today. Hate it or love it, Web 2.0 has been nothing short of dramatic.

Interesting Links: 8.12.07

It’s been another one of those weeks where way too much is going on during the week so I collect bookmarks to read and post about individually, but we know that doesn’t happen. So here is a week in review:

  1. Regular expression can seem scary, but they can be very useful in the right situation.
  2. If the default system applications in Windows can’t do something that you’d like to do then look for alternatives. You will find a plethora of great alternatives (and they are usually free too).
  3. Cygwin is an interesting thing, and I won’t lie: I still don’t think I have quite got my head around when/why I’d use it. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve tried to do a “ls” at the Windows crapline command line.
  4. CSS layouts can be an easy thing to code, but the initial planning to decide which type of layout to use is always the biggest challenge. This is a great summary of the trade offs for each type of layout.
  5. HTML 5 is still a ways off in the future, I realize that, but I am still intrigued by the possibilities that it might will bring when it’s ready. Mark my words, Microsoft will join the development effort eventually.