Monthly Archives: October 2007

15 Unreasonably Useful Websites

Written by Garrett B Santos

A list of 15 websites that are either useful or entertaining. This is the second edition of a series of articles.

The following is a continuance of my previous article, “15 Ridiculously Useful Websites.” The response to that article was overwhelming. The comments left by those who read it made one thing very clear: the list was incomplete. Although I did not initially write the article with the intention of listing the 15 best sites on the web, that is how my message came across – my fault. I have decided to respond to your comments with a series of follow-on lists containing more useful and entertaining corners of the web. I hope you enjoy them:

  1. Musictheory

    A grass roots website that contains lessons, trainers, as well as several other utilities.

  2. iLike

    iLike is a music site where you can organize share and discover new music. There is an iLike side bar available for Windows Media Player as well as iTunes. You can even upload your own music to the site if you would like to.

  3. Youtube

    This is an obvious one. Watch videos of just about anything for free.

  4. Freedocumentaries

    This is an awesome catalog of documentaries about many different subjects. You can browse the films by region, theme, or title. The videos are free and are accompanied by a brief description, comments, and sometimes a link to a related page.

  5. Buzzillions

    Product reviews by consumers who have been verified by the retailer they purchased the item from. You can search for specific items or go through a preference-based menu to find products and reviews that are lined up with your intentions/interests/user level.

  6. Craigslist

    No matter what you need, chances are, you can probably find it here.

  7. Farecast

    Farecast provides predictions and trend analysis for airfares and hotel fees. In their own words, “Know When to Buy?: Our airfare prediction shows if fares are rising or dropping. Based on the prediction, we provide a recommendation to buy now or buy later. Know Where to Stay?: Our Rate Key? indicates whether or not today’s rate for a specific hotel is a deal. It compares an individual hotel’s current rate found to its observed historical rates.”

  8. Download

    Offers a central location to find free downloads for subjects ranging from antivirus/firewall to audio/video & gaming software.

  9. Pixalo

    A great photography site that helps photographers no matter their skill level. It has a community forum were you can get equipment reviews and answers to your questions. The site also offers a free members gallery where you can upload your own photos.

  10. Rutomail

    This site is full of links to other sites. The links are organized into various categories including business, lifestyle, and Internet, etc…

  11. Gyminee

    A fitness website that allows you to set goals, track your progress, monitor and plan nutrition, and even invite or find new friends to coordinate with.

  12. Roughguides

    A pretty good travel website that provides many different ways of researching destinations.

  13. Bugmenot

    Type in a website that requires a username and password; Bugmenot provides you with a name and password to use?free. Useful for big websites, not really for obscure ones.

  14. Wikipedia

    Another seemingly obvious site?A user-dependant research site. Wikipedia is very adaptive in that you can cruise through a subject by clicking on embedded links to visit related articles and topics. This allows the researcher to see the topic from many different perspectives.

  15. IMDB

    Seriously, this is one of the most comprehensive movie information databases on the net. It is very, very thorough.

14 of the Worlds Strangest Alarm Clocks for Those Early Morning Risers

Written By PHerber

Whats worse than having to get up early every morning? Waking up to one of these weird devices going off, of course. Alarm clocks are bad enough, but now manufacturers insist on making them as strange and annoying as possible.

Puzzle Alarm Clock

Puzzle Alarm Clock We all remember the days when you could just hit the snooze button a few more times, these days waking up requires a bit more work. This fun little puzzle alarm clock works like any other morning alarm, except that when it goes off, it fires these puzzle pieces into the air.

Oh and by the way, the alarm clock doesn’t stop going off until you find all of the pieces and put them back together. Should be a fun project when you are half asleep. You can get one of these online at for $67 dollars.

The Sunrise Creator

The Sunrise Creator

This is a nice change from chasing your alarm clock around the room, but still kinda’ weird. Th Sunrise Creator is considered to be the worlds first dawn simulating alarm clock.

Basically what it does is connects to any bedside lamp and gently increases the lighting as the alarm goes off, allowing you to wake up calmly, as if the sun is rising. If you need a little peace in the morning you can get one of these for $80 dollars at

The Flying Alarm Clock

The Flying Alarm Clock Here is another one for you to chase down when you rise and shine. The flying alarm clock, starts going off like any other alar, that is until the top portion flies off the base and lands somewhere in your room.

The alarm will not stop going off until you find the piece that flew off and place it back onto the base. If you are a sucker for punishment you can get one of these at for $71 dollars.

Drag Racing Alarm Clock

Drag Racing Alarm Clock Designed to look like the Christmas Tree at your favorite drag strip, this drag racing alarm clock is a fun way to wake up. All the lights, sounds and actions of the dragster are here. It starts with the engine revving and the tires warming up, the staging lights show the racer positioned and the starting lights go off in sequence until 8000 horsepower screams into action sending the dragster hurtling down the strip

This also has working temperature and humidity gauges to add to the effect. You can get one for $29 dollars at

Memory Ball Alarm and Radio

Memory Ball Alarm and RadioWho knew you could have so much fun changing radio stations. This unique little alarm has a grid on top and each intersection of lines is a radio station. By simply touching the magnetized ball and rolling it another spot on the grid, you can instantly change the radio station.

This alarm/clock runs on batteries or standard plug and you can get one for $60 dollars at

Numbers LED Alarm Clock

Numbers LED Alarm Clock Check out this de-constructed black LED alarm clock, each number occupies an inpidual block, which allows you to stack them, hang em’ or place them how ever you want.

This is a usable alarm clock and it makes a great decoration. You can get one online at for $85 dollars.

Nobby Voice Recognition Clock

Nobby Alarm Clock

Now this is a really fun alarm clock. The clock responds to several voice commands such as ‘How are you feeling?’,’Sing me a song’,’Make a decision’, ‘How do I look?’,’Are you hungry?’ and ‘Go to sleep’.

As for the alarm, before you go to bed simply tell Nobby what time you want to get up, and he will repeat the time for confirmation. In the morning he will start beeping and chatting at you, so you can either say ‘alarm off’ or grab him by the neck and shake him until he shuts up, depends on what kind of morning you are having. You can get this online at Gizoo.

The Bomb Alarm Clock

The Bomb Alarm Clock How could you not want to wake up with a bomb going off next to your head? This is actually a pretty cool little alarm clock. Three minutes before your alarm clock is set to go off, a voice starts a count down, you then have those three minutes do disconnect a wire corresponding to the blinking light. If you don’t make your time limit, get ready for a bang loud enough to wake up everyone in your house. This is from a Japanese site but my source is

The Anemone Alarm Clock

The Anemone Alarm Clock Aside from the strange appearance, the Anemone clock is designed to wake up your senses. It uses sound, light, movement and interaction to get you going in the morning.

When the alarm goes off it starts rumbling and bouncing and rolls off your table. The vibration not only makes it difficult to find, but also difficult turn-off. This was found online at

Sonic Grenade Alarm

Sonic Grenade Alarm Alright, so this one isn’t actually an alarm clock, but how much fun would it be to wake up your friends, or maybe even family with this.

This alarm grenade has three ear piercing volume levels. After you pull the pin you have twenty seconds before the alarm sounds, so plan your attacks strategically. It runs on 3 AAA batteries and can be purchased at for around $10 dollars.

Sfera Alarm Clock

Sfera Alarm Clock This one will make you get up in the mornin, whether you like it or not. The Sfera mounts to the ceiling above your bed, when it goes off in the morning you simply reach up and touch it to go off. Heres the sneaky part, it then retracts towards the ceiling and goes off again, getting a little higher each time. It will keep doing this until you finally find yourself standing on the bed trying to turn it off. This information is via

Water Powered Alarm Clock

Water Powered Alarm Clock Pretty much like any other alarm clock, oh except that it’s powered by good ol’ water. Just fill the reservoir and this clock is set to run for two or three months before it needs a refill.

This product also has a built in countdown timer and thermometer. You can get one online at for $23 dollars.

Clocky Alarm Clock

Clocky Alarm Clock One of the biggest reasons I originally wanted to work at home was to get rid of my old alarm clock, I hate them. I can’t stand being woken up in the morning and this little gadget makes the process even worse. For those of you that just can’t help but hit the snooze button every morning, this alarm clock is for you. It works like any other alarm but when you hit the snooze button it jumps off the night stand and cruises around your bedroom finding a place to hide. Once it stops moving, the alarm goes off again until you crawl out of bed, find the clock and shut it off.

This alarm clock was also featured in 8 Strange Gadgets We Can All Live Without. It is available online for $50 dollars at

Beetle Clock/Radio and Stereo for iPod

Beetle Alarm ClockI guess this is pretty cool if you are a V-Dub lover, but for the rest of us it’s probably a little strange.

The beetle has working headlights and taillights and the speakers are hidden in the tires. It has a digital AM/FM tuner, iPod dock and alarm with snooze. You can get it online at Sharper Image for around $70 dollars.

Top 10 Most Unusual College Degrees

Written by ScholarPoint Connect

We talk to a lot college students here at ScholarPoint and have seen a very wide range of different college majors. We’re often blown away by some of the weird degrees we hear about. Here’s a list of some of the more unusual ones that we’ve come across.

1. Master Ranching – Showing up to college wearing spurs and riding a horse probably isn’t the best idea, unless you go to Texas A&M-Kingsville’s Institute for Ranch Management. The university is offering the first ever master degree program for ranchers. What was once a profession passed on from generation to generation is now getting sophisticated enough that it may actually require an MBA. Go figure. Graduates can expect salaries in the $50,000-$75,000 range.

2. Astrobiology – ET phone home. The University of Glamorgan in the UK offers a degree in Astrobiology, which is the search for life beyond earth. So if hunting for alien life is your thing consider a career in Astrobiology.

3. Retail Floristry – I bet you never thought working at your local flower shop required a college degree. Well, it probably doesn’t, but that doesn’t mean you can’t major in Retail Floristry anyway. Career opportunities are a step above working the cash register and include wholesaling, special event designing, and display gardening. This program is offered through Mississippi State University and graduates can expect a 90% job placement rate.

4. Professional Nanny – Sullivan University in Louisville Kentucky offers a professional nanny program, which prepares graduates to work in private residences, day care centers, children’s hospitals, and country clubs. This is a perfect career for those girls who grew up babysitting all the neighborhood kids that now want to make more than $2 per hour.

5. Sports Ministry – Graduates from this program are prepared for positions in non-profit organizations seeking to use sports as an avenue for teaching religion. This program is offered through Campbellsville University in Campbellsville Kentucky.

6. Adventure Recreation – Do you like snowboarding, scuba diving, ice climbing, or whitewater rafting? If you answered yes, perhaps you should consider doing what you love for a job and start by making it your college major. Green Mountain College in Vermont is offering major and minor programs in Adventure Recreation, which aims to place graduates in a variety of outdoor recreation careers such as those listed above.

7. Golf & Sports Turf Management – Just because you were never good at football doesn’t mean you can’t make it your job. Only you’ll be repairing the grass they tear apart every week. The course curriculum offered by Mississippi Sate University will prepare you for a career as a golf superintendent or a sports turf manager at city, school, and professional sports arenas. Graduates in this field also enjoy a 90% job placement rate.

8. Comedy: Writing and Performance – Here’s a degree program that actually requires ” a great sense of humor” as an admission requirement. Humber College in Canada offers this program to help naturally talented students hone their craft and learn the commercial side of the business. Students learn stand-up, improv, scriptwriting, and sketch comedy.

9. Organic Agriculture – Organic foods make up more than 2.5% of all food and drink sales nationwide and have been increasing by 20% per year since 1990. This makes organic farming an attractive career opportunity. This is the first organic agriculture major in the nation and is offered through Washington State University.

10. Fishing Sciences and Management – This masters program is offered by Colorado State University and focuses on fish populations for recreational and commercial fishing purposes to ensure adequate conservation and utilization. If nothing else the courses on fish psychology should at the very least help you catch more fish.

Become a millionaire: Start saving in your youth

Written by Jay MacDonald

Being young and financially irresponsible is great fun, but being old and broke stinks.

Still, that doesn’t mean you have to become a shut-in and put every spare cent into your retirement plan. Tuck away a little bit on a regular basis and you can party when you’re 19 and 99.

The turbulent 20s, that sometimes pleasurable, often painful transition from carefree adolescence to responsible adulthood, is admittedly a difficult time for anyone to focus on saving for retirement.

“It’s tough to start talking too many numbers with young people because a lot of times they’re also overwhelmed — it’s their first job, their first real paycheck, their first apartment, their first time dealing with health insurance,” says Derek Avdul, financial consultant and author of “Real Life 101: The Workbook.”

“When you have all these variables going on and they’re trying to be grown-ups, retirement just takes a back burner for a lot of them.”

Small sacrifices
Saving a little bit each month from the time you are young doesn’t require great sacrifice, yet it can make the difference between prosperity and poverty in the second half of your life.

Put retirement front and center

1. Cut the financial umbilical cord
2. Make affordable sacrifices
3. Women: Pay close attention
4. Make it, but don’t take it
5. Don’t pass up free-money 401(k) plans
6. Live within your means

The reason their parents’ generation continues to harp on it, with the best of intentions of course, is that many of them wish they’d started saving earlier, when they could have made smaller sacrifices and let compound interest do the heavy lifting. Compound interest, you may recall, is interest that is calculated on the initial principal and the accumulated interest of prior periods.

But that sage advice, as sound as it is timeless, still mostly falls on deaf ears.

“You can’t talk to them about 30 years from now and how compound interest is going to benefit them, because, as we all know, at that age you know a lot more than anybody older than you and you’re not going to need retirement money because you’re going to make it big on your own,” Avdul says.

Cut the financial umbilical cord
Unrealistic money expectations are rampant among young people today, according to author Nicholas Aretakis, who interviewed hundreds of 20-somethings coast to coast for his tough-talking survival guide, “No More Ramen.”

“Why don’t they save? The short version is, they never had to do it before. Their parents, the baby boomers and just after, have done so well economically that they’ve never had to have a budget before,” he says.

“The problem is, when they’re living at home, they take for granted that room and board is free, transportation is relatively free, most of their expenses are gratis on the parents, so they’ve got that financial umbilical cord. When they do break out on their own, they find out that everything has an associated cost. It’s a really tough concept for them that they just got done with college and they already have to save for retirement, so some of them are frozen in time and they just don’t start saving,” Aretakis says.

Make affordable sacrifices
Peg Downey, a fee-only Certified Financial Planner and partner in Money Plans, of Silver Spring, Md., says it only takes a small lifestyle adjustment early on, not a major commitment, to get this saving party started.

“If they just saved what they spend everyday at Starbucks, they would have a million dollars right there when they retired,” she says. “It’s phenomenal.”

Maybe not a million — but a half million, easy. Why quit the daily stop at Starbucks? You can brew that good stuff at home much more cheaply.

Let’s say that, beginning at age 25, you put the equivalent of seven $4 grande lattes a week toward retirement, setting aside $121 a month. If you invest it in a stock mutual fund with annualized returns of 9 percent, you would see $23,415 after 10 years, $80,814 after 20 years, $221,520 after 30 years and a whopping half-mil, or $566,440, when you retire at age 65.

Similarly, you can add even more to your retirement funds if you routinely set aside the price of small purchases.

Small trade-offs to make for future security:

  • A couple of movie dates a month.
  • An occasional manicure or tanning session.
  • Music CDs.
  • A couple of appletinis a week.

    Women: Pay close attention
    Of course, historically, investing in a stock fund that mimics an index such as the Standard & Poor’s 500 has offered returns of 10 percent, but there is no guarantee that it will continue to do so in the future. Nevertheless, young folks are in the best position to weather the storms of volatile markets because they have more time to recoup losses.

    Downey says young women in particular need to start socking away the latte cash sooner rather than later.

    “They’re going to live longer, they’re going to earn less, and they may need to fund their own retirement,” she says. “The way that jobs work now, you don’t stay at one job more than a couple of years, so nobody is going to be building up any kind of pension, even if there was one.”

    Make it, but don’t take it
    The easiest way to make affordable sacrifices on a regular basis? Take the money out of your paycheck before it hits your hand.

    “Get them to open up a savings account and, even if it’s $20 a paycheck, just siphon that off so that it automatically goes in there,” says Avdul.

    “The first goal is to get them to take it out so they don’t have to think about it.”

    Downey agrees: “It’s rare that people actually think to have money taken out of their check automatically every month; it can go into a money market account or a mutual fund.

    “When I say that, people are just amazed. You never see it so you won’t spend it.”

    Don’t pass up free-money 401(k) plans
    Employer-match 401(k) plans work well that way for many. Although some young workers bristle at tying up their money for so long, an employer match is one of life’s rare free-money opportunities that are too good to pass up.

    “So many people tell me, ‘I can’t afford the 401(k), I’ll do that in a couple years when I’m settled,'” says Aretakis. “You can’t afford to wait.”

    Say your company will match 50 percent of your contributions, up to 6 percent of your salary. And let’s imagine you earn $40,000. If you agree to contribute 6 percent, or $2,400, your company would add another $1,200 to the pot. That’s a 50 percent return on your money without even putting it into a risky stock fund.

    On top of that, you’re putting away money on a pretax basis, which lowers your income base when it comes to paying the tax piper.

    “If you’re getting taxed maybe 25 percent state and federal, you just made 25 percent on your money, plus whatever cumulative interest you’re going to make on top of that every year by putting it into a diversified account. You can’t get any better return than that,” says Aretakis.

    Of course, you will have to pay taxes on that money eventually, but in the meantime it can grow unfettered by taxes.

    Live within your means
    To find the scratch to sock away, Aretakis offers some suggestions.

    Ways to increase income or lower expenses:

  • Get a roommate.
  • Work a second job.
  • Drive a fuel-efficient, secondhand car.
  • Use an online telephone service like Skype or Vonage to lower communications costs.
  • Cook in rather than eat out.
  • Ditch credit cards and use cash.

    Above all, strive to live within your means — not some Hollywood fantasy.

    “Put together a budget and live beneath that budget,” Aretakis advises. Open up a brokerage account and start socking money away, he adds.

    “Every young person is going to want to present themselves well, drive a fancy car, but it’s just not pragmatic in the early days. You have to be a lot more sensible, with the escalation of tuition and housing costs. If you don’t pattern yourself well early on, you’re just going to set yourself back.

    “You can’t be keeping up with the Joneses.”

The 10 Videos to Change How You View the World

Written by Scott H Young


I believe that a sign of good information is that it makes you think. If reading a book, listening to a lecture or watching a video doesn’t change how you think, it probably isn’t that important. But if you encounter something that forces you to change your views, even if you don’t completely agree with it, you’ve found something valuable.

The problem is where do you find these ideas? Better yet, where do you find the time to consume this information?

Recently I found a great place to get started. TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is a huge conference held each year. The best thinkers come together and share their ideas. Their website,, has hundreds of free speeches. Here’s ten that might just change how you view the world:

1) The Myth of Violence – Steven Pinker

In this video, Steven Pinker tackles the myth that today is a more violent era than in the past. Using historical data and information from pre-industrialized tribes, Pinker shows that violence has dramatically declined in our history.

Pinker believes that a more sensitive reporting system has led us to believe violence has increased, when it has actually dropped. Not only will it make you feel a bit better about the present times, but it gives hope that the future might be a more peaceful place.

2) 10 Ways the World Could End – Stephen Petranek

Particle accelerators producing black holes that could destroy the world? While some of Petranek’s top ten doomsday problems might seem a bit farfetched, many are definitely worth a look. The future has a tendency to sneak up on us from behind, so preparing in advance might be a good idea.

Plus, who doesn’t want to terraform Mars?

3) New Insights on Poverty and Life Around the World – Hans Rosling

Statistics generally aren’t described as beautiful, but Hans Rosling comes close in showing the information about our changing world. The world has changed a lot in the last few decades, as Rosling will update you on how poverty in Asia has dramatically declined.

4) Toys That Make Worlds – Will Wright

Are games becoming a serious medium? (or are the already?) With all the debate around violence in games, it seems hard to believe that they could actually compete with film and literature for artistic merit. But as technology increases and games compete with movies for market share, this might start becoming the case. Will Wright’s talk around Spore might just persuade a few more people.

5) Technology’s Long Tail – Chris Anderson

WIRED editor, Chris Anderson talks about the four key shifts that occur with most new technologies. First, Anderson points out, technology approaches a critical price where it becomes viable for consumers. Next it approaches a critical mass and then displaces a pre-existing technology (VCR to DVD). Finally it becomes close to free.

Using various examples, Anderson shows how technologies are at different stages along this four-part continuum. This is a must see for anyone who works, invests or benefits from high-tech.

6) Why Are We Happy? Or Not? – Daniel Gilbert

Bestselling author of, Stumbling on Happiness, Daniel Gilbert describes some surprising information about your happiness.

Gilbert describes a study where patients suffering from amnesia were asked to rank several paintings in the order they like them. They were then told they could keep a painting from the middle of their rankings. After the researchers left the room the patients quickly forgot about the whole encounter. When asked to rank the paintings again, however, they ranked the one they owned as being the best.

This means that our tastes are often sculpted by what we have available. As Gilbert points out, our psychological immune system can keep us happy even through depressing circumstances.

7) Universe is Queerer Than We Can Suppose – Richard Dawkins

In this talk notable evolutionary biologist, Richard Dawkins points out just how weird reality might be. He talks about how we have evolved to fit into a so-called “Middle World” where we can’t observe the very large or very small. The universe might just be a whole lot queerer than we suppose. Or, as Dawkins points out, than we even can suppose.

8 ) Sliced Bread – Seth Godin

Here, influential blogger, writer and speaker Seth Godin shares some of his ideas on marketing.

9) Redefining the Dictionary – Erin McKean

Never had the chance to use “synecdochical” in a sentence before? Here Erin McKean speaks with passion about how the dictionary and the English language is changing. She believes the web, and more importantly, you, will help in changing how the English language is recorded.

10) What’s So Funny About the Web? – Ze Frank

Okay, perhaps this one isn’t as life-transforming, but Ze Frank is a funny guy with great ideas. Between riffing on spam, Google rankings and web toys Ze will make you laugh as he makes you think.

The talks vary in length from ten to twenty minutes. You might want to bookmark this page so you can watch some of them later. Ted has many other fascinating speakers who talk about a huge range of subjects. You might just learn something. Better yet, you might just think.

1997-2007: The 10 Year Apple Comeback

Written by Scrivs

In 1997 Steve Jobs was named the interim CEO of Apple after haven been “ousted” in 1985 by the same company. It was a year of uncertainty and doom for Apple. You couldn’t go a month without reading an article by a major publication proclaiming the death of Apple. Back then you had to wonder why Steve Jobs would take on such a task, but now the answer is clear: because he knew he could make it work.

In June 1997, Wired published 101 Ways to Save Apple. Looking over the list there are some solid suggestions and no one could blame Apple for listening to most, if not all of them. You do have to chuckle at the very first item though:

1. Admit it. You’re out of the hardware game. Outsource your hardware production, or scrap it entirely, to compete more directly with Microsoft without the liability of manufacturing boxes.

Some other gems on the list

2. License the Apple name/technology to appliance manufacturers and build GUIs for every possible device – from washing machines to telephones to WebTV. Have them all use the same communications protocol. Result: you monopolize the market for smart devices/homes.

21. Sell yourself to IBM or Motorola, the PowerPC makers. You can become the computer division that Motorola wants or the alternative within IBM. This would give the company volume for its PowerPC devices and leverage for other PowerPC offerings.

27. Relocate the company to Bangalore and make it cheap, cheap, cheap.

42. Organize a telethon. Hire Jerry Lewis to get dewy-eyed over the new line of Mac products.

81. Merge with Sega and become a game company.

101. Don’t worry. You’ll survive. It’s Netscape we should really worry about. (Too true)

In July Dave Winer wrote The Sure Road to Bankruptcy and if you read it back then there is good reason to believe all of his points. My favorite though has to be his thoughts on Steve Jobs.

Jobs was the wrong person to choose to turn around Apple because that isn’t what he wants. He wants to turn around Next. And he’s willing to lose Apple to do it. Jobs calls the shots at Apple, Amelio has no power. Eventually I expect a bankruptcy and a shoulder shrug from Jobs as he leaves. “I tried,” he’ll say.

Finally we have BusinessWeek asking Is Apple Mincemeat?

Macworld Boston 1997

The first parts are depressing showcasing the type of media coverage Apple was receiving around the time. Then five minutes in Steve Jobs gets introduced and even watching the video you can feel the electricity that he brings to the crowd. Same Steve walk and basically the same Steve outfit. What is interesting about this talk is that unlike most leaders who would try to hide what is wrong, Steve talks about them head on and offers solutions.

It is funny to watch the crowds reaction to the change in the Board of Directors. Just listen to the reactions that Larry Ellison receives. At the 27 minute mark he talks about the Microsoft partnership and the crowd gives an unsure reaction. Their reaction to Internet Explorer? Boooooooooooooooo.

To put 1997 into perspective it could have easily gone one of two ways. Apple could have folded and become known as a great company that doomed itself or they could have found a way to turn things around and lucky for us it seems they have done so.

Here are some major events that have occurred between 1997-2006:

1998 iMac/233 Released

1999 iBook tops notebooks sales

2000 PowerMac Cube Released and Steve Jobs becomes permanent CEO

2001 The Second Year of the Turnaround

I call 2001 the 2nd year because if 1997 was the first step by hiring Steve Jobs, then 2001 was the 2nd step of the comeback and 1st to actually get into the minds of the public. Sure most people knew about Apple, but the public at large really had nothing to care about with regards to Apple. They had their PCs and life was good. In 2001 Apple released both the iPod and OS X and laid the foundation for dominance in the music business and the return to relevance for the desktop.

To see how some people in the industry reacted to the release of the iPod look no further than Slashdot.

No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame.

Another noteworthy event was the first Apple store opening in MacLean, Va. People were unsure of how good of an idea the Apple Store was, but they have been nothing short of a resounding success for the company.

2002 iMac G4 Released (Who didn’t want one of these badboys?) and less notable, but even more important they buy music software company Emagic.

2003 iTunes music store opens and the digital music empire is complete.

2004 iMac G5 released

2005 iPod Nano and the video iPod are released along with the announced partnership with Intel

2007 Another deciding year

This year Apple has given us the iPhone, one of the most celebrated pieces of technology in recent memory. However, this could also be the product that causes people to lose their faith in Apple. People have claimed that this product shows the arrogance that Apple has now gained from their newfound dominance in certain markets. People loved the Apple comeback story, but now that they are the top dogs people want to love them for doing the right thing for them, not the greedy thing for stockholders.

October is another big month for Apple with the release of Leopard, which was delayed because Apple had to put more developers on the iPhone to get things perfect. Will they release a SDK for the iPhone with it? Will there be some remarkable unannounced features to go along with it? We can only wait to see.

10 years from now will we look at 2007 as the year Apple made the mistake of partnering with the wrong companies and upsetting part of its loyal fanbase? Or will it be the year they almost fell, but gathered themselves for another strong 10 year run? One thing is for certain, Apple has produced one of the most remarkable comebacks of any company in U.S. history.

21 Facts About The Internet You Should Know!

Written by Titus Hoskins

You probably use it every day but how well do you know your Internet?

Ever wonder how all this foolishness got started in the
first place and why? How big it really is? How many present
users there are? The average time spent on a website?
Here are 21 facts you might or might not want to know
about the Internet.

1. Who coined the phrase ‘World Wide Web’?

Tim Berners-Lee in 1990.

2. How did the Internet Start and Why?

It all started with the time-sharing of IBM computers in the early
60’s at universities such as Dartmouth and Berkeley in the States.
People would share the same computer for their computing tasks. The
Internet also got help from Sputnik! After this Russian Satellite
was launched in 1957; President Eisenhower formed ARPA to advance
computer networking and communication.

3. Who was J.C.R. Licklider?

Licklider is often referred to as the father of the Internet because
his ideas of interactive computing and a “Galactic Network” were
the seeds for the Internet. His ideas would be developed thru
DARPA,(Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) in 1962. Later he
would help form ARPANET and the Internet was on it’s way.

4. What was ARPANET?

ARPANET stands for ‘Advanced Research Projects Agency Network’
Came about in the arena of Sputnik and the cold war. The military
needed a method of communicating and sharing all the information on
computers for research and development. It would also be a handy
communication system if all traditional ways were wiped out in
a nuclear attack!

5. What was the First long distance Connection?

In 1965 using a low speed dial-up telephone line, MIT
researcher Lawrence G. Roberts working with Thomas Merrill,
connected the TX-2 computer in Massachusetts to the Q-32
in California. The phone lines weren’t quite up to the task!

6. Who was Leonard Kleinrock?

Kleinrock came up with the theory of packet switching,
the basic form of Internet connections. With a group
of UCLA graduate students on Oct. 29, 1969, Kleinrock
connected with the Stanford Research Institute but as
they typed in the G in LOGIN — the system crashed!

7.What is an Ethernet?

It’s a protocol for by many local networks, (LAN Local-area Networks)
the origins of which came from Bob Metcalfe’s Harvard’s dissertation
on “Packet Networks”.

8. When was the first mouse introduced?

The first computer mouse was introduced in 1968 by
Douglas Engelbart at the Fall Joint Computer Expo
in San Francisco.

9. Did Al Gore really invent the Internet? No, but give
credit where credit is due. He did the most of any elected
official to actively promote the Internet. However, he wasn’t
even in Congress when ARPANET was formed in 1969 or even when
the term ‘Internet’ came into use in 1974. Gore was first
elected in 1976.

10. Who coined the phrase ‘information super highway’?

Wikipedia says Nam June Paik coined the phrase “information superhighway”
in 1974.

Al Gore popularized the phrase in the early 1990’s.

11. Which decade really saw the explosion of the net?

The 90’s! The Internet exploded in or around 1993.

12. How fast is the Internet growing?

Very fast! It took 38 years for radio to reach 50 million users,
13 years for TV, and only 5 years for the Internet. Source:

13. Number of Internet Users and Breakdown.

The Internet is roughly 35% English, 65% Non-English with
the Chinese at 14%. Yet only 13% of world’s population,
812 million are Internet users as of Dec. ’04. North America
has the highest continental concentration with 70% of the people
using the Internet.

14. Country with the highest percentage of net users?

Sweden at 75%.

15. How big is the Internet’s surfing world?

Google’s index now stands at 8 billion pages.

16. What was the Net’s first index called?

Archie, other than library catalogs, this was the first
index created in 1989 by Peter Deutsch at McGill in Montreal.
Although it spouted such others as Veronica and Jughead, Archie
was short for Archiver and had nothing to do with the
comic strip.

Backrub was the original name for Google! Larry Page and Sergey
Brin used this term for their search engine in 1996, Google as we
know it debuted in 1998. The name Google is a twist on the word Googol,
a number represented as 1 followed by 100 zeros.

17. Who coined the phrase ‘The Web might be better than sex’?

Bob Metcalfe in 1995.

18. What does HTTP stand for?

HyperText Transfer Protocol — it’s the protocol for moving files
across the net; it requires two client programs. The HTTP client and the server.

19. What is an ISP?

Internet Service Provider — This is the service or company you use to
access the Internet.

20. What is HTML?

Hypertext Markup Language — it’s the coded format language for
transmitting and creating hypertext
web pages.

21. What are your average surfing habits according to Nielsen

Each month you usually visit 59 domains, view 1,050 pages allocating 45
seconds for each page and spend about 25 hours doing all this net activity!
Each surfing session lasts 51 minutes.

One last thought – Henry Edward Hardy in his Master’s Thesis (1993) on
The History of the Net stated “The Net is Immortal”. Ever wonder what
this baby will be like in a 100 years? a 1000 years? Just something
to think about as you keep your eye on that cursor.

How to Photograph White Object on White Background

Written by

White Object on White Background

First, let’s see what I used: a white textile (canvas or so) and not a paper. Why? Because I want the result to be realistic and not plane. Also, it’s important that the background surface should not be glossy.
Natural light plus a tungsten light (two of them would be even better) and fill flash. Because the flash might overexpose some ares of the photo (usually the central area), I use a diffuser made from a very transparent soft plastic or canvas piece.
Usually this kind of thing refers to macro shots, so you may want to shoot in macro mode or manual.

Now let’s see the tips:
1. Use a textile background that makes a few soft “natural waves”
2. Use one little colored piece in your white composition as a reference
3. Use lights from all sides to avoid big dark shadows
4. Use fill flash (better with diffuser on it) to naturally brighten up the scene and reveal the details
5. Use custom white balance to ensure real white
6. Only use matrix light metering
7. Do not overexpose the picture in the attempt of getting pure white
8. Use manual focus if the auto does not find the desired focus point
9. Do not completely remove the shadows – let the shapes be visible
10. Use a software to remove dark corners that may form

Sometimes, even if I use custom white balance, I still need to cool the picture a bit later. The whole task of photographing white objects on white background can be very difficult and require allot of practice. On the other hand, shooting in RAW format may let you change the exposure even after the shot was taken.

White Object on White Background
White Object on White Background

GODDAMNIT: Stop Wearing Stupid Slogan Shirts

Written by Anthony Burch

Quick – what’s the quickest, easiest way to make a person you’ve just met hate you with the fire of a thousand suns? Why, wear a t-shirt with a banal, pointless slogan on it, of course! Not the funny, ironic, quasi-offensive stuff you might find at Snorg, BustedTees, or T-Shirt Hell, mind you, but the sort of pathetic, pointless crap which embarrasses not only the shirt-wearer, but everyone who has to come into contact with him. Here’s why you shouldn’t wear crap like that.

First off, the shirts aren’t fucking funny. Period. Never have been, never will be. Most of these shirts contain either stupid, dated catchphrases (I once actually saw someone with a shirt reading, “Houston, we have a problem”), or absurdly out-of-style slang (“Don’t hate the playa, hate the game”). It’s one thing to wear a shirt with a cool symbol or idea like, say, Viva La Stewart. It’s another to wear something which will become dated and unfunny roughly two weeks after you’ve bought it. Will Ferrell fans: I hate to break it to you, but your “I LOVE LAMP” shirt isn’t even remotely grin-inducing anymore.

We’ve all seen the movies, we all get the catchphrases — simply wearing words taken from a film or song do not make you as clever as the people who originally came up with them. Okay, great: you really liked Superbad. So did I. But wearing a shirt that reads, “I am McLovin” doesn’t really mean anything, does it? Wearing a catchphrase from a great movie does indeed signal to your peers that you’ve seen and enjoyed a film which everyone and their goddamn mother has seen and enjoyed, but it also says that you aren’t original enough to come up with things of your own to say. Now, I’m not suggesting we all go out and make our own t-shirts (though Cafepress does exist for a reason), but wearing a shirt with a film quote which will get old in less than a few months just seems an exercise in futility. If you’re going to cover your torso with something people will either find irritating or wholly irrelevant within ten weeks of your purchasing it, you’d be better off just wearing a blank shirt.

Disregarding film quotes, though, there’s always the ridiculous shirts which include culturally devoid sayings which somehow manage to be smarmy and pretentious whilst simultaneously appealing to the lowest common denominator. For example:

The above panel, taken from the truly brilliant xkcd, is almost horrifically depressing in that all but two or three of those truly exist. And people buy them.

Perhaps the most irritating thing about these fucking shirts is that the people who wear them don’t experience the same amount of irritation and anger that the rest of us – the ones who actually have to see the damn shirts – feel everytime they come within fifty feet. They get to walk around life, oblivious to the endless banality of their torso slogan, while the rest of us are constantly confronted with smug horseshit like “If I throw a bone, will you leave?” I mean, really, how does one respond to crap like that? If someone was to come up to your face and say it to you personally, harsh words or fisticuffs would be exchanged – whatever the method of conflict resolution, the person making the insult would have to take responsibility for their words. Wearing these absurdly unnecessary and condescending shirts, however, seems to give these douchebags a pass: they’re insulting everyone, and yet it would be considered socially unacceptable to kick someone in the stomach just for wearing a shirt that reads, “If you were me, you’d be awesome.” Why is that? Seems like a rather irritating double-standard.

Even if these shirts were effective, even if they did tell observers a great many positive things about your personality, would that even be a good thing? Why would anyone want to tell every single passerby who might happen to glance at his chest so much unnecessary information about his personality? Don’t you people have any concept of subtlety, of nuance? Of getting to know people through real human conversation and debate and discussion? No, of course not – why engage in actual human contact when you can reduce all information gathering into compact, meaningless soundbytes taken from a third party?

Thankfully, that’s not really a question the slogan shirt-wearers have to answer, considering (A) nobody actually cares about their damned shirts, so nobody ends up learning anything about the shirt-wearer’s personality, and (B) the shirt-wearer probably has no personality of his or her own to speak of, anyhow. If they did, they wouldn’t wear shirts which serve only to regurgitate stupid cultural slogans and catchphrases. As these shirt-wearers do indeed have no free will or creativity of their own, it is with an unusual amount of confidence that I suggest, in the hopes that they might for once take some positive advice which might be beneficial to them, that they heed the following advice:


Get Smart: How to Boost your IQ by 10 points

Written by ririanproject

“It is not enough to have a good mind; the main thing is to use it well.”

– Rene Descartes

Boost your iqA person’s IQ was thought to be a fixed commodity largely determined by genetics. But is your IQ really set in stone or can you cheat a few extra points? Recent hints suggest that a very basic brain function called working memory might underlie our general intelligence, opening up the intriguing possibility that if you improve your working memory, you could boost your IQ too.

Genetics determines a lot and so does the early gestation period. On top of that, there is a few percent that can be improved by training. So if what you want is results, and not an argument about the definition of intelligence, try some of the following tips and boost your brain power.

1. Game on

Turn on your PC. Modern games are great for making your mind work at amazing speeds. It gives your brain a chance to think strategically, and keeps it working.

2. Spin it

If you want to be a da Vinci or Edison, keep a sketch diary. Imagine seeing an object from every angle and sketch the views afterwards. Thinking in pictures is essential for complex reasoning.

3. Buy the paper

While browsing through the sports pages, take a peek at the crossword. It’s a perfect exercise for sharpening your mind. Puzzles with creative solutions exercise and extend your dendrites – the branch-like parts of nerve cells that carry information and promote processing.

4. Have a sniff

Certain fragrances help you think clearly and cut down on mistakes. Lemon scents stimulate your hippocampus, the brain region that controls your ability to concentrate; lavender helps you relax and think more clearly; jasmine has the ability to excite, resulting in quicker thinking.

5. Turn on

A recent study in the UK found that watching The Weakest Link for 30 minutes can raise your IQ by six points. A documentary produced a four-point rise; Friends a rise of one point.

6. Deep Breath

This is one of the easiest and most effective tip to improve the functioning of your brain immediately. More air in means more oxygen in the blood and therefore in the brain. Low oxygen levels in the blood have been shown to decrease it. Since most of us are in the habit of breathing too shallowly, this is a quick way to boost your IQ. One hint: if you breath through your nose, you are more likely to breath deeply.

7. Daydream

Letting your brain run free is the best way of truly expanding your brain power. Every day, consciously defocus for 10 minutes, and see where it takes you.

8. Detox

To make sure you’re thinking clearly, avoid caffeine – just one cup can cause a sharp rise in feelings of anxiety, US scientists have found. And like smoking, caffeine also prevents the absorption of key vitamins essential for optimum brain function. Replace coffee or tea with water and if you smoke, don’t.

9. Multi-task

Performing two tasks simultaneously provides you with invaluable brain tools. Put a TV next to a radio and try to take in information from both, then try to concentrate on each individually. You’ll find you can focus on any single problem much better.

10. Sit up straight, and close your mouth

Good posture affects our state of mind, and helps us to think more clearly. Wanna prove it to yourself? Try solving some math in your head while slouching, looking at the floor and letting your mouth hang open. Then do the mental math while sitting up straight, keeping your mouth closed and looking forward or slightly upwards. You’ll get the point.

11. Stretch yourself

Think of two unconnected objects? a frog and a moped, say? and try to think of as many links between them as you can. This breaks down the critical ability that interferes with the flow of ideas.

12. And? relax

Simply relaxing increases your ability to learn. In tests, systematically flexing every muscle for 30 minutes boosted subjects’ ability to solve puzzles by up to 25 percent.

13. Spell it out

Facing a problem? Write it down and draw lines radiating out to words and ideas linked to each one. Your mind will be able to visualize an answer far more easily.

14. Make connections

To grow longer dendrites, do something new. Try learning a new language or developing a skill such as drawing, and you’ll see instant changes in how you think.

15. Step it up

Aerobic fitness helps fluid intelligence (learning new things), frontal lobes (planning ahead) and your ability to make rapid-fire decisions. Go for at least three 30-minute cardio sessions a week.

16. Get dreaming

You knew this one, right? Uninterrupted sleep is key to information-processing. Avoid caffeine six hours before bed and relax with a hot bath and a milky drink (packed with sleep-inducing tryptophans).

17. Take a stroll

A recent study found that just 45 minutes of walking three times a week increased subjects’ ability to perform multiple tasks by up to 15 percent, improving bloodflow to the frontal lobes of the brain.

18. Watch the clock

Use your brain when it’s at its sharpest – early in the morning. Research shows that taking tests before midday boosts success rates by up to five percent.

19. Consume ginkgo biloba

Whether in capsules or tea or off a neighbors tree, ginkgo leaves have been shown to increase blood flow to the brain, helping memory and concentration. The effect is quick, and doesn’t seem to diminish with regular use.

20. Graze

To give your brain a steady supply of energy and minerals, eat little and often. Eating large meals shunts blood to your digestive tract, away from your brain.

21. Go classical

In a US study, listening to a Mozart piano sonata improved students’ 3-D problem solving abilities (as opposed to verbal or language skills) by 15 percent. Aim for 10 minutes of Classic FM a day.

22. Practice

IQ tests are just one form of measuring intelligence, so if you’re really trying to impress, the answer is simply to practice again and again and again.

23. Eat your meat

A meal that’s overloaded with carbohydrates can spell trouble for the brain. In a Harvard study, people who ate pure carbohydrates had up to twice the difficulty concentrating and performing mental tasks as those who’d eaten turkey, which is practically carb-free. This is due to the insulin that is dumped into your veins after the sugar is. Don’t eat white flour, sugar, potatoes, and other carbs before an important meeting.

24. Freshen up

Chewing gum improves memory and thinking, UK researchers have found. Chewing raises your heart rate, delivering more oxygen and glucose to the brain, while saliva triggers a surge of insulin, stimulating learning and memory receptors in the brain.

25. Make friends

Preferably ones with large amounts of frizzy grey hair. Recent research showed that hanging out with boffins can boost your IQ by up to 10 percent.

26. Go herbal

Plants naturally encourage your brain and body to work together. Rosemary increases bloodflow to the brain and sage improves concentration.

27. Head for the bees

To boost your brain power look for vitamin B, found in oats, tuna, chicken, wholewheat and bananas. Vitamin B6 aids memory, while 1, 2, 3 and 12 help manufacture and repair brain tissue.

Let the “experts” argue about whether you can boost IQ or not, in any absolute sense. If you slept well, exercised, then sat up straight and breathed deeply as you took the test, don’t you think you would score a few points higher on an intelligence quotient test? More importantly, wouldn’t you be better prepared for whatever mental tasks you faced?