Nov 2, 2008

Where the hell do you go on the internet!?

Sometimes, in confronting my internet addiction I consider where I spend my time and how I can really sink 6 hours surfing the net I must preform an audit of my wasted time. So here it is, a day in the life of my firefox browser.

Firefox starts up and restores the tabs I had open last time I closed it. Usually this consists of an article or two, and/or something I need to fill out or do.

First I open Meebo so I can see who is online. As that loads I open my RSS reader in another tab and that shows me what new items have come from my favorite websites. Feeds I like include:
Any of the comics listed over on the right.
Reuters Science, Disinfo, Ars Technica, Infowars, and FileShareFreak for most of my news.
I enjoy the previously mentioned Things of Interest blog and also the 365 tomorrows short fiction site.

While I do this Mozilla Thunderbird, my Email client fetches all of my emails and i go through those too.

Next I check in on my Human Age character that Mandy got me hooked on. Then after that I chase the green dragon (no, thats not a drug term). I see if any posts I have been following have been updated or replied to. If I got an email telling me that something happened on Facebook, I check that now too.

Once I have the basics covered, comics and news items read, facebook, email, and games checked, the serious business can commence.... By this time, I have either started listening to my music library from Amarok or fired up the songs Last.FM thinks that I will like, and I usually do. By this time I've taken 10-20 minutes and I have already covered a lot of virtual ground. But with all of my usual stomping grounds conquered, where do I go next, how does a person discover NEW stuff on the internet?

At this point I open a few new tabs;, two or three blank tabs to start using StumbleUpon with, Google Calendar to check my upcoming events, and Spreeder, so I can read articles more quickly when I come upon them...

When I come over something that I like I bookmark and tag it with firefox's bookmark tagger, which makes it easier to find them again and I don't have to think as much about where to store the bookmark. Also I "thumbs up" any page I like with the stumble upon "thumbs up" button (aka 'I like it!'). Sometimes the page hasn't been submitted to StumbleUpon yet, so I fill out the form (only takes 20 seconds) and submit the new article or other webpage.

I continue to peruse digg and stumble for an hour or more until I feel I am caught up on the current events of the country, world, technology field, science community, and internet meme time wasters. At this point I close any tabs I don't want to re-open next time I start firefox, I say goodbye to the people I was talking to on Meebo. I check my Email one last time, and then exit firefox & thunderbird. I get my bugle out and play taps for a good internet session done. Shutdown my computer, and close the laptop.

Then I get out my bugle, play taps, and then go outside and play.

Aug 29, 2008

My Ubuntu

This time I am going to list and discuss all of the cool things that makes using linux Ubuntu so pretty and so fun. We will go with form over function and talk about the pretty things first.

Compiz Fusion and Metacity are the two main "window managers" in ubuntu. They control the rules that windows follow and how they behave on screen. Compiz comes with every beautiful option in the book and is very, very pleasing on the eyes. However, compiz does get into fights with some full screen apps, so I would be sure to remember this handy code: "metacity --replace" which can be entered from the run app menu(alt + F2) or from the command line. If using compiz you can use the Emerald Theme Manager to make your windows truly stunning, just do a quick google search to see all of the cool and pretty themes for your windows.

Here is a cool Compiz & Emerald Demo video

Also, every color, icon, pointer, splash screen, and anyhting else you can think of can be suited to your tastes. I've been through an ocean phase where everything was set to remind me so much of the ocean I could almost smell it. I've had a communist red set-up, dark set ups, Macintosh clone (looks just like a mac book :P), and even a set up to look exactly like Windows XP!

And now for the FUNCTION! Why on earth would you leave your super comfortable zone of Windows (or maybe even Mac) for something as nerdy as linux? Ubuntu is the answer, and you will love it if you give it a shot. Here are the highlights:

-Everything is free, F-R-E-E. Open source software is free, so anyone can use it and it gets updated quite often.

-Resources! Ubuntu can run REALLY well even on old computers. Maybe that PC in your attic deserves another chance.

-If there is a program for it in Windoze, then there is an app for it in Ubuntu. Like Photoshop? Try GIMP. Microsoft Office, try OpenOffice, AbiWord, Kexi, and many other office suites/applications.

-Games? There are a TON of free games. They may not be the most cutting edge, but there are ways around that... Emulators to play Playstation One and Two games, Super Nintendo, and just about any other system you could want... On your computer. And if you absolutely need those windows games, try WINE (windows emulator), VirtualBox, or dual booting.

-Compatibility. Ubuntu is AWESOME at picking up new hardware, devices, printers, wireless cards et cetera. If it doesn't get picked up right away google it, odds are that some one has had the problem already and a solution exists. Unlike Windows, people involved with Ubuntu and Linux WANT to help each other and share innovation and solutions.

-Penguins. The official mascot of Linux. They are damn cute.

-Upgrades and Updates. These are easy and pain free. You RARELY have to restart your computer

-Security. This one is the hardest for new users to understand. People ask: "Where do I get antivirus for Ubunut" and the answer is "NOWHERE!" There are no anti virus, spyware, malware, or any other of those kind of applications because there are not any viruses, spyware, or malwares for linux. This is because of the way Linux works. On windows, a program has permission to change it's envirnoment to make it run. It can tell itself to turn on at start up, to add itself to different places and so on. On Linux, every program needs permission (you typing in your password) to be installed, to change settings of the computer etc. So without you the program can't do much. It doesn't need to work as hard either because Linux uses shared libraries of program parts(think of it as gears) and windows programs bring all of the parts with them. So if two programs on windows are almost the same, they double up on a lot of parts. On linux they share, and so they save space and are more secure. Whew!

If you know me personally, and you switch to Ubuntu, I will help you with all of your problems and help you get used to the new operating system. People with windows, you're on your own :P The newest release of Ubuntu, Intrepid Ibex just came out. For those of you who would like to try it pain free, try a LiveCD(download and burn to CD) or Wubi(install into windows like a program).

I hope you try this out and enjoy it as much as I do!

Jul 15, 2008

Video Blitz! Science-Fest!

OK OK OK! I know it has been quite awhile but I don't surf as much during the summer when there is no school and nice weather, like a perfect storm of procrastination for posting. So without further adieu, here is the line up of videos.

First we will take the easy way out with the weed vids, they are always there for a cheap laugh (like your mom) and supply endless material. We all remember our first time, mine went something like this, as I am sure your first time did too. Although I've never been high at work, I am sure it would be really fun if I worked at the High Times Editorial Office. Nick Swardson did something amazing by smoking all day, everyday... Shit. Finally, Jon Lajoie expresses what every stoner has gone through at the store in his High as Fuck music video. I think I had one more video... but I must of forgotten it... I wonder why...

This mockumentary on the martian peen worm is flat out amazing if you like science and sciencey words... But personally the peen worm pales in comparison to this gorilla that rocked the UK advert world. Who knew milk could be sold so well? For those of you that have heard of the big honey bee crisis will like this funny video. I decided to vote republican too!

As for the aforementioned science....
Here is some FREAKING AMAZING short story Science Fiction. Even if you don't like Sci-Fi (I don't that much) you will like this. I personally like the "Fine Structure" series as it kinda blows my mind. But in reality mankind may be on the verge of some truly amazing science at the CERN Large Hadron Collider, which was delayed since last year after the magnets ripped out of their mounts and flooded the facilutly with helium. You don't have to tell me how hardcore it is, I already know. Something I found exciting was the prospect and promise of living on the moon, and if we do it we are going to have to do it here, a place where there is light all year.

Not related, but I just couldn't not post this. Here are some interesting facts about how we are not really free when it comes to voting. Sometimes, this world really scares me.