Showing posts from January, 2011

Learn about Net Neutrality and then DO something about it (UPDATED)

Do you know what Net Neutrality is? It's the idea that all data on a network is treated equally. In the web world, that means that all information transmitted over the Interwebs are given the same treatment: whether it's Facebook, Netflix or pr0n. In a neutral environment, the ISPs can't monitor traffic for say, P2P activity, and throttle it in particular. They have to treat all data and traffic the same.

I used to work for a company that had a tool to dynamically manage bandwidth usage on their servers. Years after the product became owned by a spin-off, it was licensed for use by Bell Canada and other local ISPs. Even back then, I knew it was only a matter of time before people realized throttling was going on by ISPs and it started affecting the general population — not just high volume downloaders.
Why should you care? Because the CRTC just approved usage-based billing for ISPs that deliver residential Internet access. That means, that not only are you going to pay a …

Cartoon Says It All: The State of the Web

I love The Oatmeal. They have the best cartoons on the interwebs, some of which I've featured before (see links below).

Their most recent one, "The State of the Internet", made me laugh out loud and not just in an LOL kind of way. Below is my fave part of the cartoon:

View the entire cartoon at The Oatmeal

Related Links:
What your email address says about your computer skills15 Things Worth Knowing About Coffee

Friday Fun: Chase Scene on Your Desktop

This is almost like Animator vs. Animation but only with real life footage. (See links below)

Would you believe that this is an Intel ad for the new i5 processor? According to the write-up on YouTube, The spot demonstrates the performance capabilities of the new processors by creating an action-movie style chase sequence that takes place through a wide variety of program windows on a computer desktoHonestly, ad or no ad, this is just plain fun. Enjoy!

(Source: One Cool Thing A Day)

Animator vs AnimationAnimator vs Animation part 2

Kewl Design Alert: Perpetual LEGO Dice Thrower (video)

This is possibly one of the most ingenious little machines I've seen in a while. Let alone a LEGO machine. It's a perpetual die thrower: constantly throwing and reloading the dice with each move. Just brilliant. So I have just 2 questions:
Is there anything LEGO can't do?Anyone up for a game of Yahtzee?

(Source: Ubergizmo)

Tweet Ring: Would you wear your fave Tweet on your finger?

Ever love one of your tweets so much that you thought it was worthy of keeping somewhere safe? How about on a ring you can wear?

TweetRings look a bit like engineering rings, and on the edge (not the outside like you'd expect) bear the text of your favourite tweet. They are available in steel, silver and titanium, starting at 89 Euros.

Anyone else consider it weird to have your own words commemorated in a ring? I almost see it making more sense to capture someome else's tweet on a ring, say a Twitter marriage proposal or an inspiring quote from one of your heroes.

What do you think? Would you consider getting one of these? What would you put on it?

(Source: Mashable)

Friday Fun: 17 Second Video is Pure Snowy Star Wars Geekiness

I clearly show the Dude too many videos online. Luckily his "Mom, do I have to watch the whole thing...?" was quickly followed by "Is that remote control?" "How did they do that?" "Can I see it again?"

One of the comments on YouTube was:
"This is the greatest 17 seconds in the history of 17 seconds." - PerhapsPossiblyI tend to agree. You?

(Source: One Cool Thing A Day)

Google Sends Android to Space

In case you missed it, right before Christmas, those fun-loving Googlers sent a Droid phone into near space to see if it would work up there.

Using weather balloons and foam coolers, they sent a few Nexus S as high as 100,000 feet into the air, at speeds up to 140mph. And they shot the whole thing on HD cameras.

So who cares? Seems Google was able to run a bunch of apps and track their data, including Google Maps and Sky Maps (an astronomy app that is much loved in my house). They will be doing more with the data over time, but for now we have this great footage we can enjoy:

Sadly, that cute little Droid figurine fell off the platform during descent and might now be a dangerous piece of space junk, or — I hope — burnt up on re-entry...

(Source: Internet's Best Secrets)

Google Wants To Wish You a Happy Birthday

On your next birthday, make sure you're logged into Google and check the Google search page. It should come as no surprise that the mothership Google can check your user profile to determine if it's your birthday on a given day, and change the search page Doodle accordingly. The surprise is that they actually bother.

Here's Google's take on it:
Because doodles are such a fun part of the search experience, we thought we’d share a fun little way Google will help celebrate your birthday. When you include your date of birth on your Google profile, you may notice a special treat on the Google homepage on your birthday (be sure to sign in). Click on the doodle for another birthday surprise! A nice little touch for those of you who have a detailed Google profile.

So, check it out. And then come back and tell me what you see. In true tin foil hat form, I keep my Google profile devoid of my personal info. Too visible to marketers and the general populous. As a true geek though…

Kewl Design Alert: Window Refrigerator

Anyone with kids will love this.

Yanko Design has done it again: a fridge with a window and turning levels, so you can do all your thinking without cooling the kitchen.

Imagine never having to say: "Shut the fridge door!" again. :)

(Source: Yanko Design)

The Secret Life of Toys Photo Series

Toys are just like us. They raise their kids, they play with their toys... we're just not paying attention. Fortunately, artist Marcos Minuchin is paying attention and has captured pics of our favourite toys in their natural environment.

Check out the first set and the second set of pics. Fun, fun, fun!


Google Goggles: Sudoku Master

I like crosswords, not Sudoku (insert Barbie "math is hard" comment here). No seriously, in those moments when I want to unwind, I would rather do word puzzles than numbers puzzles. But Google Goggles? Yep - it prefers Sudoku.

Check out this match up between a Goggles-enabled smart phone and a National Sudoku champion. Guess who won? ;)

So what's Google Goggles really for? Augmented reality. Scan stuff (bar codes, QR codes, ads) or take a pic of the street you're on, and get additional info. Translate menus on the fly. As Google says, "Use pictures to surf the web".

(Source: Internet's Best Secrets)

5-Year-Old iPhone App Designer

Not only is this 5 year old adorable, he also knows how to follow proper design processes: concept, prototyping, iteration, etc. And he's agile! This kid is a future design rockstar. Wonder how much he charges for contract work? ;)

(Source: Jeffio - Anim's Dad)

Kewl Design Alert: TRON-Inspired Segway

What do you get when you combine a Segway with a roll of reflective tape and some blue LED lights? The ultimate geek machine.

Isn't that kewl!? For more pics, check out the design site. Or see it in detail in the video below.

(Source: Gizmodo)

Round-up: A Geeky Look at CES (Um, wait, that's redundant)

So for reasons that always escape me, CES (the Consumer Electronics Show) always takes place immediately after the new year, launching hundreds of new consumer products just after all the geeks went out and bought themselves gadgetry for Christmas. It's a full on geekgasm of TVs, computers, mobile devices, and every geeky gadget you can imagine. Last year, it was the forum for the iPad launch.

There are a few key trends to CES: sales-pitchy keynotes, long line-ups, booth babes, celebrity endorsements and gadgets, gadgets and more gadgets. PC World put together a great slideshow for people who want to get a sense of the experience.

This year, everyone seemed to be coming out with some sort of tablet to try competing with the iPad and of course there were lots and lots of smartphones. But also some real gems, outside of the mainstream.

Here are some fun highlights:
iCade: This was an April Fool's joke on ThinkGeek, but it garnered enough interest to become a product. A product t…

Watch This and Tell Me if You'll Ever Text and Drive Again

AT&T might be having lots of iPhone downtime, but they know what the kids are really doing with their cellphones. Texting and Driving. You know you've done it too. And you know it's dangerous, even if you're just glancing down to read. Hell even talking on your cellphone is incredibly distracting (remember the study about the unicycling clown?).

What if this video played every time you got in our car? With cars having built-in screens, it would be possible. Would it be enough to remind us to put on our Bluetooth headsets and leave the phone in our pockets/ purses?

And if that didn't do it, maybe this one from the UK will do the trick.

Seen any other good ones? Please share your links in the comments.

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Kewl Design Alert: LEGO USB Flash Drive

If you love LEGO as much as we love LEGO in my house, you will definitely want one of these awesome LEGO USB keys from ZipZip. However, before you get as excited as I did, understand that a 2GB key will cost you as much as a deluxe LEGO set.

(Seriously: $35 for 2GB stick? Shipping is included anywhere in the world, but that's still pretty steep.)

So, despite the price, I still love it. I'll just never own one.


NASA Builds Website to Debunk 2012 Fears

@scilib posted a Tweet earlier today that stopped me dead in my tracks, the urge to click was completely overwhelming.
"NASA had to put up a special FAQ page because so many people were asking them if the world would end in 2012" This story is so absurd it's hilarious. According to this article in the Toronto Star, so many people believe — and fear — the storyline of the movie2012 that NASA actually had to build a website to debunk their concerns.
“The agency is getting so many questions from people terrified that the world is going to end in 2012 that we have had to put up a special website to challenge the myths. We have never had to do this before.” The site called "2012: Beginning of the End or Why the World Won't End?" is basically an FAQ of (how do I put this nicely) common sense.

It compares the concerns of 2012 to the "whimper" that was Y2K. Interesting approach. They use some pretty strong languages such as "th…

New Year, New Look (Updated)

Last January, I gave my blog a little makeover. It made my blog feel fresh and new and served as additional motivation to keep plugging away on new, shiny, geeky content. This week I thought, another new year, why not another refresh?

So welcome to my new look. Here's what I've done:
redesigned the header (see below)changed the colour scheme including a little depth to the backgroundadded "Popular Posts" to right navigation (listing the most read posts in last 30 days),
added my contact info to my profile (vs. just commenting :)added a Facebook "Like" button to my posts. If you're logged into Facebook, it will automatically add the post to your newsfeed and share with your friends. Of course, the ShareThis button is still available if you prefer to share on a different platform.removed some of the clutter from the right columnSpecial shout-out to Rob Taylor (@Daegurth) for working with me on the colour scheme and background.

I've got more changes pla…

PSA: I am SPAM. (Or at least gMail thinks so...)

Just a quick public service announcement:

As we all know, there are certain words that can get a person spammed out by email filters. And I used one of those words in the blog post title for Kewl Design Alert: MASSIVE Optimus Prime Ice Sculpture. I even capitalized it.

So for all of you who normally follow my blog via email updates, please check your SPAM folder. I might just have been quarantined in there.

Lesson learned. Sorry for the inconvenience!

Now move along... and check out my last post "Start the year by Stopping".

Start the year by stopping (video)

So this could be a post about unplugging and getting outside, or finding time in your life to reconnect to your family members whose faces you haven't seen in a while since they (and you) always have their heads down looking at screens. And it kind of is.

But it's also way more than that.

My friend, @KiaMousavi shared this today on Facebook and I thought it was the most inspiring way to start they year. It's not an incredibly geeky message, but it's a very important (and moving) one from Tweep extraordinaire Scott Stratten (of Unmarketing).

Take 15 minutes and watch it.
Right now.
And then stop.

Best of 2010: Most Read Posts

A look back: What were you reading in 2010?Well, 2010 was a great year for spydergrrl on the web. Thank you to all of you who come back week after week to geek out with me. I'm planning to keep it up in 2011, so stay tuned for more of the latest and greatest in geekdom.

What better way to kick off the new year than by looking back? With that in mind, below is a list of my Top 10 Most Read Posts in 2010. A bit of a blast from the past for me; hope you enjoy it too.
Why are bloggers male? Umm, we're NOT.Spydergrrl's 2010 Top Geeky Xmas GiftsGeek Girl Ink: Not just another pretty flowerA Geeky Shower CurtainIs your blog worth the effort? Watch this.Kewl App Alert: Conference Notetaking with Google DocsI'm a finalist! The 2010 CWAsThe Social Media Paradox: Circling the wagons on a global scale?It's Back! Doodle for Google Competition for KidsKewl Design Alert: Star Wars SnowflakesOlder posts that keep 'em coming backInterestingly (or not ;), a number of last year&#…