Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Web 2.0... It's coming!!

When using Flickr, they have a "tag cloud" on the front page. A tag cloud is a link to sites. People put words that may resemble what they are talking about, which are called tags. The most popular tags are shown inside the tag cloud, and the size of the words font means that there are more people having blogs/sites that have the tag of that word. Tags are nice for people who are just browsing around and looking for something that is about a specific topic. They just have to click on that word, and then they can browse through the different sites to see what had been written.

The following are some cool pictures that I came across on Flickr. A light symbol, Tree man, Dark side dog, Pretty Flower, and Nice Horizon.

The site Flickr has some mashups that are pretty intriguing. The following site has a bunch of colors that can be selected and each color has about 6+ pictures that you can select from, which send you over to the sites that they originate from. This type of feature is quite neat to have because it not only lets you have fun selecting different colors, but the colors that you select are actually the color of the image, and it lets you check out pictures quick, especially if your just browsing and have no idea what your really looking for.

Another cool site on Flickr is the following, here you can type in any word that comes to your mind in the box, and the site will generate blocks of letters in that word with different designs. The following is an example of what this site results in.

L O V is For ? E

This other site on flickr, is quite neat as well. It uses the map from Google maps, and it non-stop updates where and when a new picture has been uploaded, and which country it is in. This is a cool idea, because it is not just showing you the photos, but it is giving you an idea on how many people actually use this site, and the range of people across the world as well.

This website has developed a game involving pictures on flickr. It displays a bunch of pictures and you have to guess the common word that illustrates what they are showing. It is very intriguing and can get addicting depending on what your doing. I think it is a neat feature that has been developed. The use of this also lets people's pictures get shown to a variety of people quicker then maybe before and can have people link to your site to see your other photos that you have as well.

This individuals' creativity is astounding , she has incorporated the use of pictures into a old fashion sudoku game. So instead of using numbers, your using pictures from peoples sites. If you want to change what type of pictures you want for the game, you can just search and a list will come up. This is probably the best out of the sites I visited because I am a huge fan of Sudoku, and it was one of those things that I get addicted to and ended up playing a few games of it.

Overall mashups are a pretty neat idea here, some of them are very brilliant and interactive, and that is what draws people to these programs.

The following are a few examples of what you can do with online generators for web 2.0. These are all examples that were made from the following site, which is located here. Personally, online generator blogs are a neat concept to have fun and experiment with, they contain neat features and are a good way to make nice designs in a simple way. The generators that I prefered are the ones from below, this was because it did not involve having to sign up for complete access to the program. I get annoyed when companies want you to sign up with them all the time, because I hate having to give out information just so I can use a simple little program for fun. Especially when I have no idea what company or organization is controlling the program, and what their policies are. Making a throw-away email address is still a hassle to sign up for, so I rather just be able to use something without any complications. Overall, the use of the online generators are easy, because they just require you to input a picture, or word for most cases to generate the outcome. For instance with the rippling effect of the Spider-man picture, I just needed to upload a picture and the program did the rest. These are neat features to use, but most cases they seem worthless. Although a lot of the options can be worth while to use, like from this site where you can create puzzles, and calendars of pictures. So if you wanted to make a puzzle to do on your spare time, you can. If you wanted to make a calendar for people, you can. There are many options to do, and because of the nice variety, it allows everyone to maybe find something that they will like. I probably wont do this again, because it was something that was new and cool to see, but it did not really catch any interest from me.

Photo Sharing

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The wave of new technology!

There was a day that my grandpa once stated that they had to "walk up hills both ways in the ice cold winter with 5 feet of snow on the roads in their underwear to get to school". Well if they had to do this, what about having to get to libraries or the mill to get a paper or book. They did not really have television at that time yet, and they surely had never come across a home computer, for the costs were very excruciating on the pockets of average households. I believe that with the opportunities to now read/listen to books on the computer from companies is a wonderful idea, as well as the use of podcasts that let you listen to news, recaps of sports and other neat topics that may of some interest to you. These are neat features because it allows individuals to hear what is going on when they have the time, without recording shows or missing an episode.

The three podcasts that I enjoyed listening to were from tsn, Leafs game recaps, and IGN game reviews (they are from i-tunes). The use of podcasts I found intriguing because for certain things that I have no idea what is going on, and may not be on T.V, it allows me to hear what others think about what they feel is happening. For instance the latest tsn broadcast had a review on a hockey player David Boougard drawing a relationship of Vancouver's Captain and their twin players to Pinky and the Brain. This happened after one of his players got a vicious slash to his ankle, and it was more like a threat to know that he is there and they should watch out for his presence. I missed this the other night because of school, so it was nice to be able to catch up. Same with the hockey, it gives me a full depth post game recap rather then a 10 second clip that the T.V broadcasts. This will be something that I will use on a regular basis, just so I can listen to new things and get a full version of what is going on rather then a quick snippet.

I find that podcasts is a better source to get information then blogging to a certain parameter. If you are looking for something that maybe a few minutes long, or it deals on certain topics that people talk about rather then write, it is the way to go. Podcasts are nice to listen to get information from the outside world of news on certain things quick. It is not better or worst then newspapers or blogging because it has a different cross section. Newspapers give us a broad understanding of different things that are happening in the world, T.V's do the same, but if you miss it, you wont be able to see it again unless you record it. Blogging is more of a personal experience that people experience and want to share. So all options are a good source of information, and they both are ideal to be used if you want a bit of everything.

Another useful tool for people that enjoy books are the use of audiobooks. Personally what I like about the audiobook industry is that they have a good variety of books, especially ones that maybe hard to find in a book store in certain areas because of the popularity value or country restrictions. They give a reasonable pricing for the books as well, in some instances they are the same price as a book that you buy from a store, or might be cheaper depending on the book and plan that you may buy as well. It is nice also if you are working and want to hear a nice book and for people that can not read that well but understand the language, having someone else read the book to you is a nice treat, and some people also are able to sink into a book better with hearing rather then reading. The disadvantages in my opinion for audiobooks is that some of the people that read the stories seem bland and may cause the listener to become bored of the book because the reader does not seem to add emphasis where they expect. They can be more costly at times depending on the books, and it loses the touch of a book when it on a CD because you do not have a physical object to hold on to. I like being able to read a book on the run or away from my computer, but with a CD you need a CD player, a car, or your computer to hear it, so it becomes more of a problem to get into a book.

I-tunes has audio books that you can buy, they are usually ranging from $13.00 + depending on their books, but i-tunes is good for having the same price or cheaper of a song or audiobook as the store might sell it for. Other companies that have audio books are which have links to sites that have prices, but they also offer free samples of books that are a good length. This site for audio books has nice plans, they make it that 1 credit is equal to one audio book, and they have different plans like one right now where you pay $7.95 per for 3 months and can get 3 credits, for 3 books. So you can get a book for 40 dollars at that price. A pretty nice deal I would say. A final place I checked out was Librivox, here audiobooks are in mp3 format and are free for people. So it may not have the biggest selection but it is nice to be able to listen to a book on your free time without having to buy it all the time. I feel that the free site will be most useful until they really are looking for a book that in unavailable there and then they may go the second site where it has the nice deals going on to get books.

Youtube and Google Video are both two services that allow people to post videos and music videos on the site for people to use. Google video is not as popular as Youtube and the videos they have usually are linked from sites on peoples myspace, and mostly youtube, they sometimes have their own work, but not as much. Youtube and Google video both allow people to embed videos on their blogs. Google video in my opinion is also more choppier and not as good quality, the buffering speed is pretty slow as well. Also Google does not show different links that are related to the movie you are watching on the side like youtube, and the search engine is not as simple. The search engine does not find the proper movies that you are looking for the same. Youtube I believe is the better online video broadcaster, because the quality on it is so much clearer, and it is rarely ever choppy. Although Youtube maybe powered/owned by Google now, it is not the same, youtube just overall performance is nicer, it allows people to leave comments and rate what they think of the movie, and by rating it, it makes it easier for people to find the video. This site explains it so well on why Youtube has grown and Google video seems to be like the backlash where people go for odd reasons. Youtube in my opinion also seems to have blossomed as Nate Elliot has shown, they were the first source of uploading videos that allowed others to embed them into their posts.

There are many different forms of high definition, ranging from 480p all the way to 1080p. The biggest differences between Standard deviation and High def is the ratio of the screen size, SD (Standard Deviation) is 4:3 and Hi-Def (High Definition) can be up to 16:9. SD has up to 480 pixels in height and 640 in width. While Hi-Def can have up to 1080 pixels in height and 1920 pixels in width. The amount of pixels allows for more detail to be projected because they have more dots to construct an image and so they are not as stretched out. With more pixels it allows not only for more detail on texture but more colors are displayed allowing for a more crisp and clear picture. The article by Michael Miller shows the comparisons with a clear table.

When I watch the trailers of movies, there is a significant difference between Standard and High Definition quality. The high def resolutions show more detail on objects, and it makes you feel like your closer to the experience then in standard quality. Both are fine, but when you watch High Def it seems like you were lost before and will never be able to go back to a normal setting, just the color differences, texture and overall picture is brighter and more intense.

The trailers that I took a glance at were Beowolf, I am Legend, Golden Compass, and Jumper (link on side). From what I have seen I am Legend, and Beowolf look to be really good and ones that I would go see in the theaters. Jumper I will wait because the trailer was nothing fantastic but it has Samuel l. Jackson, who is a great actor and the directors from Bourne Identity which are great movies did it, so it will be one I see. Golden Compass is one I would take my little sister to watch in the movies but not for me. Having trailers in high definition is nice because you see a nicer picture and you feel more in depth with it, rather then it be blurry. Every little bit of quality counts and marketing companies know that this will make people want to see the movie more when they seem to get more into the trailer.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Googles' RSS reader

Google has developed a nice tool that can be added with your Google account which allows an individual to add sites that they visit on a regular basis into one section. The RSS reader I found very useful because everyday I go back and forth to ten different websites about twenty times a day to see what is new. Google reader updates my account continuously, so instead of searching through websites, I can just click on my feeds and read a quick caption and then if it is interesting I can click on the link to read the full document. This option saves me probably a good hour or two each day of just browsing by having all my information in one section.

Google Reader is really easy to use, they list all your feeds that you subscribe to on the left hand side, plus they have three different steps on subscribing to feeds. Feeds are just the websites that you visit, and by subscribing to them, you get automatic updates. One of the ways that you can subscribe to a feed is by going to the website and clicking on the icon that is orange/brown and looks like sound waves. Sometimes it will be under the search engine or will be inside on the top of the web page. Another way is by going into your Google reader account and where it says add subscription, just click that link and add the website URL in the box, now you will get feeds from the website. The final way that you can try and sign up for a feed is by clicking on the browse icon beside the add subscription link, then at the bottom of the page you can type a generic name of what you are interested in, and Google reader will find many different websites that may interest you, and here you can choose to subscribe to them.

The first step of signing up for a feed is the easiest way because your usually already at the site anyways. The second way is used if you do not have the option to assign the website from the sound wave type icon. The final way would be used if you have no idea what the site is and you just want to find something that might be of interest to you.

I am going to use Google reader everyday to get my information for the day because not only does it save me time, but it allows me to see everything at once, and I can choose what I want to read without having to do much searching and digging. It would be nice if they made it so if you missed a day you wont have a billion entries to scroll through, instead they should have an option that if it exceeds a certain time frame that it will be discarded. Other then that, its a great tool to have, and has made things easier. Overall Google reader gets two thumbs up, and should be used on a daily basis by people, it keeps things simple and lets people that enjoy browsing through the Internet and looking at many sites with high density still get their readings in a shorter time frame.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

The role of ...... of our main source of communication today!

My first activity assignment for Computer Science for University.

Now you may wonder what am I talking about, well, if you have not tried to determine what the title is yet, then that is alright, your not suppose to. This blog post will be portraying thoughts and ideas towards blogger, interests on articles from other blogs that I enjoy reading,
and last but not least, the significance of something that many feel is the more appropriate structure for talking nowadays, this would be a system called "Twitter", and I will discuss the difference, when the surge of it came, and will it destroy Blogger, or will it just have it's own branch of people.

As I was saying, the Internet is the primary source of talking, retrieving information from news, sports, and a way to construct businesses. With that we would have to say that
'The role of the Internet in today's society is what we use as one of our main source of communication today'.

Blogger is a place where people write about anything, it varies from controversial economical actions, life, diplomatic issues, jokes and humor, even play by play reports of sports; for example what happens in the hockey world. I have a hockey blog (
Ode to Low-Life Drunks) with my roommate that we started up last year, and are kicking off with it once again for the upcoming season, we have done some changes to the html template to try and adjust the appearance a bit, so it does not look like all the rest of the blogs here. It would be nice if I still could remember the coding, it has been so long since I last looked at it, it one of those things that I learned for a temporary bases. The things I find that Blogger are really strong for is they allow a user to maintain more then one blog with the same user account by having it in a nice layout "dashboard" style so you can just click your blog and jump to the site. I enjoy the capability to adjust the appearance with using different color schemes and fonts. Another nice feature that Blogger allows you to do is they have the option to add sidebar icons, so you can add different links to website, add a picture of yourself, conduct a survey, and many other features. If you want to add something, it will allow you. With the positive side of Blogger put aside, like many things there will be some disadvantages to it.

It would be nice if they allowed you to have more control. If you understand html, it allows you to adjust some aspects to the template, but you can only change some of the appearance, you can change the look of boxes by filling them in with color (note you can have more color then what Blogger offers), rounding the edges of posts and boxes, making borders for the boxes. Now although you may adjust somethings, you still will have a similar blog layout to others because they wont let you change the core structure of the template, which can be disturbing if you want to have a unique style and not look similar to someone else's blog. My proposal is they need to have the option that you can create your own blog from scratch with some help in what to do, or they need to add more templates then what they have to offer. Overall though, I would say that Blogger is a nice place to share thoughts with people, and although at times it may feel like a letdown when no one is coming to read your articles, you need to realize that, your new, and if you keep posting, your postings will be easier to find by others because Blogger will put you up higher when they see that your more active, and when you get your first comment, you will be extremely happy and just get a jolt of energy to keep going.

With my perception towards Blogger being stated, I will now talk about the four blogs that I found intriguing and have a nice sense of variety, they were of the following
James Mirtle's, and Tricks are Here ..., Damien Cox, and Outside the Box

James Mirtle is an author of the Globe and Mail, he writes about news in the hockey world, and is my main source for getting knowledge that has not been released yet by CBC and TSN. This blog is well set up, in that it may not be all flashy and bright but it has a great amount of information on what has happened up to date in the NHL. He also has a list on the right side of his panel that links to many other related blogs that are big hits, he has hockey blogs, and personal blogs, and if you click on full list of the hockey blogs, it will direct you over to where there is a list of blogs for each hockey team in the NHL. Mirtles' blog shows people that are new to blogging what features can be added and how simple is still good. The article that I just recently read was about a young player named Steve Downie who during a pre-season game against the Ottawa Senators charged Dean McAmmond and jumped in the air, and elbowed him in the face. This resulted in a huge brawl, but the biggest concern was that McAmmond did not get up and was not moving, he ended up being put on a stretcher and rushed to the hospital. Dean ended up getting a concussion from the hit and is now out for a huge part of the season, this coming after he just recovered from his last concussion which occurred in the Stanley Cup finals against Anaheim last season. Dean left the hospital later that night, and although he takes the apologies from Steve acceptably, he is still disturbed in why he would do that. Well a few days later, the league reviewed the incident and ended up dishing out a 20 game suspension towards Downie. As
James Mirtle states this was the fifth longest suspension in league history, and it was not even during the regular season.

Below is a clip of the Downie hit on McAmmond :

The Blog "and Tricks are Here ..." was a blog that I found while looking for something to do with computers, and well it might not be the typical type of computer "nerd" talking, it does have some interesting knowledge that some people might not know about. This blogger points out in their latest post that you can in fact hibernate Windows XP for your PC. Its just a simple little trick that you do and changes the icon 'standby' to hibernate. When you go to turn your computer off, you just have to press shift while the menu pops up, and there you go, the option to hibernate is there. For a picture and other related neat information you should check out the blog
here. This blog is useful to many people that are reading because if they are wanting to see what neat things can be done on the computer or get information on how to increase the lifespan of their printer, or how to use cell phones, as well learn any updated news relating companies and new products this person usually has relevant information in that area.

Damien Cox is a sports editor and a hockey columnist for Stars. This blog caught my eye because it is about the hockey team that I love, which of course is the Toronto Maple Leafs. Damien suggests in his article "Who's the Man?" that Paul Maurice, the head coach for the Leafs is in a dilemma once again, and it was supposed to be the spot that the GM had cured, every leaf fan was excited to hear about the trade for goalie Vesa Toskala from San Jose.... even me to an extent. Well with Toskala losing his first two games with a goals against average of over 5 and both Toskala and Raycroft having save percentage below .900, the number one position is still in question. Paul now has a difficult situation to endure with, what will he do?, and who will be the number one guy to start of the season against the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday October 3rd?. Will it be Raycroft? or Toskala?, we will have to watch and see what happens. I personally enjoy this blog, because although he might be a Leaf fan, he is at least showing both sides of a perspective other than being straight bias, and not focusing on only the good things for the Leafs, he is showing what concerns lie ahead, and what needs to be fixed to help get them into the playoffs. This blog is useful because he does not only write information related to the Leafs but there is an option that allows people to ask questions and get an answer back about them, plus it shows links to other blogs, and let's a new blogger see that most blogs have it, and it is a good thing to eventually do with your blog, when you have blogs that you enjoy and want others to read as well.

The last blog that I have visited was 'Outside the Box'. This blogger writes all his material with great research and passion, he seems to focus on what is going on in the world, and his main aspect is researching into many different religions and see what they are doing, and how people live their lives differently, and the differences that each type of religion possesses. In his latest article, written on September 27th as you can see
here, shows how religion is being used to try and rule out the state laws, and try and get a stand where they can be heard. This article I found was amazing, and the opening statement is what grabbed my attention as you can see here:

It's very clear that the Burmese people are no longer afraid of the Burmese military. The violence and killing of Buddhist monks have taken away their fear of confrontation.
"Religious institutions as a counterweight to the state", 09/25/07

As you may have determined already, you can tell that religion has just caused the Burmese citizens to stand up to the government and it's army, all because the monks came out and stood up, this resulted in many injured monks and deaths as well, but their effort is not being flushed down the toilet, it has caused a rejuvenation of hope, and now the people feel that they have control and can start taking more control of their lives, and not have as much fear for standing up to the military anymore.

These four blogs have shown me a variety of different aspects of people, some are talking about hockey, another is introducing little techniques and hints on computer, peripherals, cell phones and cameras on how to make them last longer, or just little ideas in how to change settings or understand the procedures in fixing and getting items repaired. Then the last blog, which is one of my favorites, is written by a logical man, and with his research constructs well written entries that have depth and raw material. All the blogs are good, and show a new blogger what type of things can be done to make their blogs more appealing, as well as the type of context that people write, it is nice knowing that other people might have same ideas and opinions as your own at times.

Now to conclude with this post, I will finish it off with what Twitter is and how it is different from Blogger. Blogger is mostly used for writing more detailed ideas, a lot of people write about topics that they have researched during the day or for the past few days and want to put it out where others can read and see what is happening outside in the world. People also might talk about what happened in their day or what interesting things have happened in their life as of recent. This is where I communicate a lot with family, when I can not call them or get to busy, I post information on my day or week, and it lets my family see how things are going and what knowledge I am learning. My family sends me comments and emotional help through my posts as well, which encourages me to keep going and just try my best. Blogger has been around for a few years now, while Twitter was just developed last year in March.

Twitter is like "micro-blogging" which means that you send a quick little message to indicate what you are doing at the present moment, you can only send a maximum of a 140 character message. It is useful to see what is going on with your friends and to locating them when wanting to meet up with them for a movie or just for hanging out purposes. You get your on website when you sign up, and when you add your friends you have many options for how to communicate with them. Twitter allows you to message each one of your friends on their phones for free, so if you want to send a quick message, all your friends that you have listed to get your message on their phone from your main page on your website will receive it, plus everyone else will see what your doing on your web. This shows that Twitter has some similarities of blogging because it deals with writing posts, but to a very small context. Twitter I find is more aimed for younger generation of children because they want the quick "Hey, where are you?" or "I did well on test". Where as Blogger is more focused for the older type generation, although I am not old, but it is more or less for people that are patient and want to write and not just make a quick snap and be done with it. I will stick with Blogger, and keep away from Twitter, because Blogger seems to have more security involved, by that when you post it does not go to the main page for everyone to read it, instead people have to find your blog and read the content. None the less, Twitter is a neat program and I can see why it has gained a very popular crowd, it gives everyone a detailed idea of what is going on at that present time, plus a easy way to communicate with others like your loved ones, when they on the road. Also just a little side not, Twitter became such a huge hit drastically that the server has been shutdown a few times to try and compensate for the mass amount of users.