Tuesday, November 23, 2004

my yahoo

my.yahoo.com updated recently -- including rss feed aggregation. Worth scoping out, but still not as hot as bloglines. On the other hand, yahoo can display lots of other types of information, like ticket fares and their calendar. So it's still spicing things up.

state of the union

I had some time to reflect and watch some non-primetime television this weekend. Some strange and pessimistic musings resulted:

  • Britney Spears is releasing a "greatest hits" CD/DVD entitled "My Prerogative". Greatest Hits. This is a performer in her young 20s (no, I don't know how old she is, and I'm happy that I don't) who puts words like "prerogative" in album titles. How does she have a greatest hits album already? I'm left flabbergasted.
  • My favorite gelato place in the country used to charge $2.25 for two scoops, no charge for the cone. That was August of 2003. Now it charges $2.75 for two scoops, $0.25 for the cone.
  • The number one movie in the US this weekend features a plot line focusing around a character named "Benjamin Franklin Gates". How serious a lack of creativity do you suffer from that you go about naming a character that? Let alone your main character. Runner up, Sponge-Bob. They should just re-release "Kangaroo Jack" and ban everyone who shows up to theaters from ever buying a movie ticket again.

Not to mention, I forgot poland.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

10 x 10

another cool way of digesting the news -- 10x10. Very graphical and does news-correlating so you don't read the same story in 4 different manifestations. Heard about it from my man rich. Screen shot courtesy of Josh Rubin's "Cool Hunting"

Sunday, November 14, 2004

feeding my information addiction

I've recently become hooked on using Bloglines.com. It feeds my information addiction like no other website.

The story:
I surf the web more than I should. I read The New York Times online, sometimes browse BBC World to get some outside takes on international news, read some online comics, and try to check out blogs for a few friends. Squinting at pages to figure out what's new, or spending time loading up a blog only to find out your friend hasn't updated recently is annoying.
Well, it turns out that all of these things put out RSS feeds. RSS = online format that makes it easy for computers to understand website content. You can then use an RSS aggregator to watch all these RSS feeds for updates. This way, You just open up one window and immediately see the state of all websites you care about.
So, anyways, bloglines does that for me. There are other nice aggregators out there, but what's nice about this one is that it keeps track of what i've seen across all computers, so when I open up my page on another computer, it still only shows me the stories I haven't seen. You can see all the sites I keep track of here. (Note, that if this was your account, it wouldn't show you all stories, just the stories that have been added/updated since you last logged in.... don't be scared by the information overload. Embrace it)

Thursday, November 11, 2004

crazy like a fox

Get Firefox! Firefox 1.0 launched February 9th. I'm a great fan of the web browser and use it (along with thunderbird) all the time.

One exceedingly useful feature of Firefox is the ability to add extensions to the program. My all-time-favorite is AdBlock which squashes website advertisements. For some reason, the default download doesn't include a list of filters, so I'm publshing my filters list here. enjoy!

my hero

A website saved my laptop's life today. If, when booting, you get the error:

"Windows XP could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM"

then How to recover from a corrupted registry that prevents Windows XP from starting will have you tear-ing up in gratitude.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

visualizing our nation's political landscape

This is nothing new, but it's certainly still interesting.
Since election day, there have been a number of attempts to rationalize and visualize the policial landscape of our country. I've been pointed to a number of useful visualizations which are worth noting:

purple america

this map loses the "red/blue state" menality and shows just exactly how each part of the country voted, to the highest resolution possible. It was created by Robert J. Vanderbei using information publically availible through USA Today and the US Census's Tiger Database. Click on the image for more details as well as variants on the map.

Another interesting technique is to weigh the political map by population density. There have been two different approaches which have caught my eye:

warped view

The first is this cartogram approach which actually distorts the map to make area match population. This graphic was made by Suresh Venkatasubramanian.

The second is the "dotty" approach by the New York Times. They don't have a screen shot imeediately availible, but you can view their visualization via this plug-in

a first whisper into a noisy net

Inspired by the ever informative, useful, and surprisingly well read web-log of my friend Jesse Ruderman, I've decided to overcome my long distaste for the "xanga" and take a stab at blogging in what has certainly become a very crowded and noisy net. Hopefully this blog "revolution" of sorts has not peaked and there is still room on the self-publication bandwagon for one more quiet voice of self-proclaimed reason.