September 2007


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Social networks… a criminals worst enemy?

Reports released today say that Facebook, the popular college social site, has helped to identify a attacker in a recent hate crime.

A student of Georgetown, the victim was able to search Facebook’s Georgetown database until he saw a recognizable face.

The police then created a photo line-up or similar faces, however the victim still pinpointed the original discovery.

The attacker has been taken into custody.

Read the story here.

And Remember: Just think of the Facebook possibilities in the future…

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I’ll admit I am an impulse buyer. In fact, my favorite part about shopping is the checkout lines which are filled with items that I didn’t think to pick up before, and yet now I can’t live without. So needless to say, I am not a coupon clipper.

However, I am not one to turn away a good deal either. I mean, if I see a discount that might be useful in the near future I may stick it in my wallet for safe keeping. The only problem is that I usually forget to actually use the coupon when I purchase the item.

images.jpgThus a website has swooped into the internet world to save my poor soul (or at least my poor wallet).

RetailMeNot.com is a host to thousands of valid coupon codes, ready for any shopper to redeem. Whether you are hankering for late night Papa John’s or searching for a Victoria’s Secret item for that special someone, RetailMeNot will have your back, ensuring you the best bargain.

To use it, simply type in the url of the merchant’s website to search for available coupons on the site. Immediately (well, depending on your internet speed) dozens of discount codes will be available at the click of a mouse. Just select the code that is relevant to your your purchase and receive deals on all of your necessities.

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But wait, there’s more!

  • Users can report on posted discounts and review their success rates with the product, thus ensuring a true value and not an advertising scam.
  • The website is designed for quick in and out access, not to trap you into gimmicks and confusing promotions.
  • Mozilla Firefox and other adopters are available for the service. A Firefox believer, I installed the extension which allows a pop-up at the top of my screen to inform me of discounts associated with the merchant’s page I am viewing.
  • Over 35,000 coupons are available on the site at this moment, and they are vastly expanding.
  • A tutorial video is available for more information:

And Remember: Not all coupons are worth the hassle…

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Want an iPhone but hate Cingular service?

DVDtoiPhone.net claims it can make iPhone available to the masses!

Try it out here.
or iUnlock’s version here.

Also Wired’s How To Wiki has a guide on Jailbreaking the ringtone and wallpaper features.

In another note, if you have unlocked it and want to re-lock it, view this guide.

Other useful tips for troubleshooting after 1.1.1 upgrade are here.

And Remember: Screw Cingular before they screw you…

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“The things you own end up owning you.” – Tyler Durden, Fight Club

Lately I have been on this minimalist, survivalist kick. Tackling one room at a time, I have sufficiently managed to wipe out all excess, unused clutter from my house. This amounted to two trips to Goodwill, trunk and backseat full each time, as well as many trips to the complex dumpster.

How does one end up acquiring so much clutter?

It’s easy to use items now and again, only to stash them away in an unseen place when finished. Sometimes you forget you owned it to begin with and lose the desire for the item over time, other times you go out and replace it with a new one.

However, once I forced myself to purge these undesired items, I found my home to feel more relaxed. When it is time to straighten up the house, I find a place for everything easily. Everything is much more organized, making cleaning time so much faster.

Additionally when I need to use a certain item, I can find it quickly as opposed to digging through a stash of junk. A recent survey reported that the average person spent 55 minutes a day just looking for items.

Now to the crucial ingredient…

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This same principle of purging should be applied to computer files and programs. This is the last thing on my list because I have dreaded it, but I know the result will be worthwhile. If I clean, organize, delete, or backup all of the random folders on my computer, it will function much quicker. All of your files can be in a systematic order so that any file you think of can be pulled up in 5 seconds or less. As well, with unnecessary or duplicate files deleted or backed up on a separate disk (to be loaded only when needed), the computer will have more free space for faster downloading and web browsing or gaming.

For anyone who is willing, but unsure of how to begin such a project, I have researched and found a few useful tips from wikiHow:

How to Organize Your Computer

If you have many pictures, documents and other files, you should know that they can become very unorganized. If you follow the steps below you can create a well organized, powerful computer system. These instructions are for Windows users, but instructions on other operating systems should be similar.

  1. Make note of the most unorganized folders. Find the trouble spots so you know where to start. The most commonly abused areas in Windows are the Desktop and the main “My Documents” folder. Other common trouble spots are folders created by the computer users in the C:\ directory.
  2. Select and delete the files you do not need. The biggest problem with computer organization is the computer’s enormous capacity for files that you don’t need anymore. Reduce the clutter by deleting files that you are sure you do not need. See the tips for an easy way to remove multiple files.
  3. Pick a Spot to store everything There should be a main folder to keep everything organized. Use My Documents, because all the Microsoft programs want to save files there by default. A big appeal of the one folder for everything is that it makes backups even easier if every file you want is in one place. Don’t forget to backup these files that you have deemed important.
  4. Create a few new categories. Make about four rough categories and make folders with those names in your chosen folder. Some good examples are: Work, Personal, Friends, Family. You can organize by date, by people involved, by motivation, by weather, by file type, by Geographic location, or anything really, just make sure it makes sense to you and anyone using the computer.
  5. Create subcategories. Subcategories should be clear. Try to keep the folders on the “flat” side. That means don’t make so many sub-sub-sub-sub categories, or you won’t be able to find anything. Avoid making folders that are too specific. Clever naming is the key.
  6. Start Sorting Sort the files you want to keep into your new, cleverly named folders. Sometimes it’s easier to combine the sorting and subcategories step, but make sure you can still see the big picture.
  7. Organize your shortcuts Shortcuts are in three places in most Windows computers. They can be found on the desktop, in the start menu, and in the quick launch bar to the right of the start menu (if you have it enabled). You don’t need them in all three do you? Keep your most common shortcuts in the quick launch bar (like internet, my documents, word, and excel). Keep the icons you want to drop things onto on the desktop Keep every program shortcut in the start menu. To move the shortcuts, just drag and drop your icons where you want them. See tips for more details.
  8. The most important step When you make new files, make sure you put them in your new spiffy folders, and make sure they are worthy to keep.

Just follow these steps and you should be well on your way to a faster functioning computer (yes, even if it is a Dell).

And Remember: If all the work sorting and deleting files wear you down, just think to yourself…

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So I have a love, hate relationship. Love to watch it, hate to play it.

The Game

What’s New in Halo 3

  • More weapons And meaner ones, too. Our favorite: the Spartan Laser. Modeled on a powerful real-life laser, it can destroy an enemy in one shot.
  • More vehicles The number of vehicles has been doubled, from eight to 16. These include the Brute Chopper, a monowheel-meets-hovercraft that can turn on a dime and mow right over Warthog ATVs.
  • Instant replay In Saved Films mode, a virtual-camera application lets you record any fight, view it from any angle, and then send it to friends on Xbox Live to show off your moments of triumph.
  • Enhanced audio The new sound engine can deliver up to 100 separate tracks at a time. You’ll hear bullets whiz past your ears, enemies creep up on you, and AI characters scream and curse during firefights — all in full 5.1 surround sound.
  • Vast levels You’ll battle through lush jungles and enormous hangars and maneuver atop alien ships. Bonus: a multiplayer level inspired by medieval cathedrals.
  • DIY game design Using the new Forge tool, players can customize multiplayer maps by dropping weapons, vehicles, and flags anywhere they choose. Always wanted to play a free-for-all round using only grenades? Now you can.
  • And Remember: Don’t try this at home…

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    Note: After the posting of this blog, my friends gathered for a Halo party as a warm-up for the upcoming release of Halo 3 (equipped with Game Fuel and all). Due to hours upon hours of forced practice and improvement, I now have relinquished some minor anger issues with the game.

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    Here’s a Wired article related to an earlier post I made about the virtual world Second Life:

    Bank Failure in Second Life Leads to Calls for Regulation

     

    Article Teaser:
    “I am really hoping that Real Life regulation does not come to Second Life because right now Second Life has the chance to sort out what type of oversight and regulation it wants,” Bloomfield said. “If the Real Life authorities or Linden Lab do start meddling with business affairs, it could ruin a golden opportunity for real innovation and creativity, a chance to recreate a world in a new image.”

    see also: Get into real and virtual debt with Second Life’s Metacard

    And Remember: Those aforementioned double D’s aren’t so cute when we’re dealing with real money…

    then again…

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    Television has become an entity to the lives of most Americans. Not simply for entertainment, TV is used for business, sports and provides an important news source.

    It is true that television has proven to be a dependable communication source, and recent legislation has taken measures to better present our media. Last February a bill was passed through Congress, which will make television technology of the past obsolete.

    Digital Television Transition will eliminate the use of all analog televisions, to incorporate digital broadcasting, beginning February 17, 2009. Digital Television (DTV) technology, more flexible and efficient than analog, will become the new source for television broadcasting. This impending switch to DTV will provide a sharp, high definition picture quality, and will enable multicasting, which provides several program streams simultaneously.

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    Additionally, DTV offers a better signal reception and many new features that will come free for those who are affected in the conversion. Probably one of the most valuable things DTV will do is open valuable broadcasting frequency, as analog television will be removed from the airways. This newly freed space will greatly advance other important services to our communities. Police, fire and other emergency rescue services, in consequence, will receive additional airspace for their emergency broadcasts and frequency communication, enabling more efficient and direct communication to assist those in need sooner. It will also grant additional access to wireless equipment.

    Although this improvement will provide many benefits, it may cause trouble to those who own analog televisions. Most people have television sets connected to cable, satellite, or other pay television service, or own televisions with a digital tuner. These televisions will fair well in the exchange.

    bugs-antenna.jpg However, if a television has “rabbit ears” or requires another type of antenna, and has been purchased more than five years ago, it may need a digital converter. A digital-to-analog converter can plug into any analog television, and allow it to continue functioning with the new technology. Although the new legislation will not be enforced until 2009 to provide people adequate time to update their televisions, a government program, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, has been established to assist those who are financially unable to afford the converter. Beginning January 1, 2008, this program will be supplying $40-off coupons to applicants for the basic converters. Up to two converters may be requested per household. Requests for coupons will not be taken before January, and will expire after 90 days.

    Coupons will not be valid for the purchase of the more advanced converters, which have additional features, such as a DVD player. Video game systems, DVD players, VCRs, camcorders and other devices that connect to a television will not be affected by the DTV transition. More information about DTV, including and FAQ, is provided at www.dtv.gov. Questions can be sent via e-mail to DTVinfo@fcc.gov.

    And Remember: TV does not always equal quality family time…

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