Why I Read Slashdot

September 17, 2010 | Posted in Web Stuff | By

I guess I could be grouped into the category of “nerd” and claim that I am interested in “stuff that matters” but more often than not I find myself coming back to /. to read the witty and sarcastic comments left by the very large and intriguing community that the site maintains. So, I’m betting that it would be helpful if I gave an example of this humour instead of leaving you to wander over to the site and find some on your own … so wait no longer … here is a screen capture from my Google Reader:

There you have it – an absolutely classic example – where a snippet from a technology article on harvesting sound for energy and *BOOM* right off the bat a commenter takes the stereotypical jab at his jabber jaw wife claiming that he has an endless source of power right at home.

Funny? Well, depending on your stance or gender you may or may not find this example as LOL as I did but the joke is relatively clean and apparently quick because it was the first post on the article.

The Internet is full of this kind of stuff and even though you may have to peruse the comment threads a bit to find them, personally, I find that Slashdot is usually good for a few quips per topic. If you happen to come across any please share them!

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Facebook Is Like Television – In Reverse

BG-facebook-tv

August 11, 2010 | Posted in Computers, Web Stuff | By

From one of the commenters at Slashdot on an article about Social Data:

The funny thing about Facebook is that it is similar to television: You’ve been given the impression you’re the customer, but you’re actually the product being sold to the real customers – advertisers.

Facebook just takes it another step, because you’re voluntarily giving them extensive data about who you are as an individual, as well as involuntarily (or unknowingly for most people) letting the technology create profiles of your browsing habits. If that weren’t enough, there is the further twist – at least on TV there are professional artists and actors and creative types who are producing the content you enjoy. On Facebook, the content is created by you and your friends and given away for free to the website owners.

So all they have to do is create a database infrastructure, then you and your friends come along and do almost all the Data Entry, and while you’re doing it they’re watching you and adding meta-data to their private database, then they can turn around and sell all the aggregate data to their customers. Profit!

At the peak of the show “Friends”, Jennifer Aniston was getting paid a million dollars for pretending to be Rachel whatsherface for each 30 minute episode. The million dollars ultimately came from advertisers who bought airtime from the network.

We are now self-creating global databases with billions of entries and in return are getting… the ability to “poke” someone from your 10th grade Health class. Meanwhile, how much money is Google, Facebook, BlackPlanet, etc. making from both the ads already on their sites, and the immediate/future revenue from the data we are giving them?

Quite an interesting insight and food for thought. Any comments on this comment?

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Importing Shape Files into MySQL

July 14, 2010 | Posted in Uncategorized | By

I recently was interested in getting some shapefile information quickly into a MySQL database. It seems like it should be a relatively simple task but you never know until you try, right? Well, thanks to the wonderful GDAL there is a great command that should be shared with the world:

ogr2ogr -f "MySQL" MySQL:"geospatial,user=user,host=localhost,password=password" -lco engine=MYISAM shapes.shp

It’s a thing of beauty! One little command line entry will take the entire contents of the shape file and push it into a MySQL database with the geometry. The only catch that I have run into so far was needing to increase a setting for increasing the MySQL allowed packet size. To change that just edit the /etc/my.inf file to include something like:

max_allowed_packet=100M

Works like a dream.

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Inside the Fake PC Recycling Market

July 8, 2010 | Posted in Computers | By

From Slashdot,

Companies called “fake recyclers” approach well-meaning organizations — charities, churches, and community organizations — and offer to hold a Recycling Day. The charity provides publicity, legitimacy, and a parking lot for the event. On the designated day, well-meaning residents drop off their old electronics for recycling. The fake recycler picks it up in their trucks, hauls it away for shipping, and makes money by exporting it to Chinese or African “recycling” centers. Nobody’s the wiser

This is horrible … I have a bunch of old computers, monitors and peripherals crammed away into my garage because I have not found a decent way to dispose of them. Now even the thought of using a charitable service is not a viable route! The United States and all of the “green” talk needs to turn into actions and, in my opinion, the ease of recycling electronics show be extremely high on the priority list!

via Inside the Fake PC Recycling Market.

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Microsoft Hohm vs. Mint.com

April 23, 2010 | Posted in Web Stuff | By

Hey Microsoft,

Mint.com just called and said they want their website design back. Seriously Microsoft … do you have an original idea of your own, ever? I mean, the very first thing I thought of when I heard about Microsoft Hohm was Google’s existing effort called Power Meter and I said to myself, “Once again, Microsoft is attempting to play catchup with Google. How are they going to miss the mark this time?” Then I decided to check out their web site to see the spin they were doing with their service and, immediately, upon first glance I thought I was sent to mint.com by accident.

Take a look for yourself and decide …

Mint.com Front Page

Microsoft Hohm Front Page

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Track Me Not

February 16, 2010 | Posted in Web Stuff | By

I came across this FireFox extension while reading a post on Slashdot about losing our privacy. It looks like a different spin on how to fight back against those that data mine such as search engines and other entities out on the web. The approach that Track Me Not takes is to add noise and obfuscate instead of hide  and encrypt your information. I haven’t tried it out yet but probably will give it go in the coming days.

If you have any thoughts on your privacy in general or this FireFox add-on let me know!

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Putting a Spin on Maps

February 10, 2010 | Posted in Web Stuff | By

One thing that I love to see in web development is the advancement of the open standards that drives the web forward and their adoption by the browser community (excluding MS IE of course). This demo is a great example of a CSS3 capability being applied to Google Maps using jQuery which will allow you to simply rotate the map.

At first glance it may appear to be rather boring and pointless demonstration but if you think about it this is absolutely fantastic! In order to pull this off back in “the old days” you would resort to Flash or some other browser plug-in to display such wizardry on a web page … but now it is possible with only the web browser!

To me the future of web development looks very bright as coders create little gems like this and keep sharing their talents with the world. Very bright indeed.

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Busch Gardens and Water Country USA Street View

January 22, 2010 | Posted in Web Stuff | By

View Larger Map
View Larger Map

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Bluegrass Tribute to The Goonies – The Whiskey Rebellion

November 1, 2009 | Posted in Uncategorized | By

My brother-in-law, Jared Pool, with the band “The Whiskey Rebellion” released on Halloween their tribute to the classic movie – “The Goonies”.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DBchiNAZexw

A wonderfully done video and song if I do say so myself. Check it out and passit on!

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Google Building Maker

October 13, 2009 | Posted in Uncategorized | By

Wow.  Seriously … just wow.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JI6wVtCY99E

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