Monday, May 24, 2010

You just have to love unconventional advertising slogans

You just have to love unconventional advertising slogans.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A Day Without

When I got to college, I became an avid fan of cycling. Not because I liked cycling so much as I disliked walking. So when I learned that my bike's tires were intolerably flat yesterday, it had all the markings of a bad day.

But, it really wasn't.

Firstly, not having to wear a helmet was a trip. Leaving classes was even worse because my hand would always reach for the phantom helmet.

It's a surreal experience, going from zipping by everyone on the sidewalk in rush to get to class and leisurely walking where you're stuck following someone for at least some of the time. It reminded me of walking to class in high school, which thankfully didn't allow bikes in school.

There are also little things one notices while walking and not while biking. For example, there were plenty of advertisements for “Snow in the Quad,” but they were at walking intersections and written along the sidewalk. On a bike such scribblings would be invisible. I even had a little laugh when I saw an ad for “Shirtless Hotties in the Quad,” for the same day as the above event.

I also noticed that my pedometer got significantly more steps that day than a normal day when I bike everywhere. I know for a fact that my pedometer registers biking as steps, but evidently nowhere near as many steps as actual walking is.

All in all, I liked the change of pace not biking everywhere.

So the old adage still holds, that it's worth it to stop and smell the roses. It sounds like a brilliant epiphany. Still, I'm not looking forward to walking halfway across campus to my Organic Chemistry lab in an hour.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

At least it's been less than a year this time...

It's hard to go back. When you quit something, it's not accidental.

But when you come back, it's twice as purposeful.

My friend just posted “I'm the most viral person you know” as his Facebook status. And you know what? He's probably right. But it bothers me nonetheless. There was a time, not terribly far away, when I was the most viral person I knew. I'm somewhat certain I got into websites and blogging because I wanted to be internet famous. I've since passed up on that fruitless goal, but that doesn't mean my inner competitive spirit has dulled.

Did I say my friend posted a status update? Well, we were friends, until the dreaded awkward event that degraded us to friendship limbo. I would have been jealous even if he was my friend, doubly so now.

Yes, there was a time when I had 20 or so visitors a day come to my blog. It's since decayed, thanks for asking. I posted more than my fair share of videos to Youtube, and surprisingly got views to them too. Heck, some kids at my school found them and enjoyed them. The catch is, all of that's pretty smalltime. Not to mention it's pennies down the drain now.

So that's why I'm posting this new post; a feeble and desperate attempt to fight back.

Hey, I've read plenty of people's stories on the internet. Giving one back is just fair game.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

How to Identify a Catchphrase using Google

Catchphrases are all over the place. A quick Google search will reveal the origin and meaning of any catchphrase. ...So long as that's the original form. People just love to remix popular catchphrases, usually just changing one word at a time.

While reading an article in Wired called "The Giant Nerds of Sumatra," it just suddenly dawned on me how to identify where a catchphrase is from. The original form is "the giant rats of Sumatra," an obscure quote from Sherlock Holmes that inspired one if not more fan fictions. I realized that there's just one word difference between the two phrases.

So how does one figure out which word is changed? By performing five Google searches, each time omitting one of the words. For the above catchphrase, five Google searches;

"nerds of Sumatra"
the "nerds of Sumatra"
"the giant" "of Sumatra"
"the giant nerds" Sumatra
"the giant nerds of"

Be sure to use quotes to attempt to preserve the order of the words.

Google will then happily fill in the blanks. Looking at the Google Search results, it's something like 5, 5, 300k, 5, 5. It's immediately obvious which one is the original catchphrase.

Also, if it's an especially long catchphrase, I suppose one could use heuristics to decrease the number of required searches. For example, I don't suppose that eliminating the "the" from the catchphrase did a whole lot.

Additionally, if more than one word was substituted, you'd have to do even more Google searches.

I personally don't know if this has been published before or not, but it's just something really cool that I just figured out. Even if this is just a rudimentary brute force method for solving something, it gives answers where there used to be questions.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Wikipedia has an Error Message!

A while back I managed to stumble upon the Wolfram|Alpha error message, but I never thought I'd see the Wikipedia one.

Here's what it says;

Our servers are currently experiencing a technical problem. This is probably temporary and should be fixed soon. Please try again in a few minutes.

You may be able to get further information in the #wikipedia channel on the Freenode IRC network.

The Wikimedia Foundation is a non-profit organisation which hosts some of the most popular sites on the Internet, including Wikipedia. It has a constant need to purchase new hardware. If you would like to help, please donate.

If you report this error to the Wikimedia System Administrators, please include the details below.
Request: GET, from via (squid/2.7.STABLE6) to ()

Error: ERR_CANNOT_FORWARD, errno [No Error] at Fri, 31 Jul 2009 12:42:56 GMT

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Thousand Words / World Builder (on Vimeo)

It's not too often that I find one of these indie films that's really worth sharing, so finding two is something special.

After reading more internet comments than I ever should, I'm actually kind of glad this blog doesn't get comments.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A Wikipedia Article Definitely in Need of Cleanup

This article may need to be rewritten entirely to comply with Wikipedia's quality standards. You can help. The discussion page may contain suggestions.

Sometimes we see this at the top of Wikipedia articles, but what does it really mean?

This. Perfect for Facebook Quiz Enthusiasts

Do you LOVE Facebook quizzes? Do you LOVE the cryptic, vague, and questionably useful answers it gives you?

Then you'll LOVE, which is basically Facebook quizzes for REAL LIFE.

Monday, June 29, 2009

404 Error! Too many visitors!

Error 404 Visitors

Man, usually when I see the numbers 404, it means something's gone terribly wrong. Thankfully in this case, it's just Stumbleupon working its magic.

What's what? Never heard of Stumbleupon?

From the website;

About StumbleUpon
StumbleUpon helps you discover and share great websites. As you click Stumble!, we deliver high-quality pages matched to your personal preferences. These pages have been explicitly recommended by your friends or one of 6 million+ other websurfers with interests similar to you. Rating these sites you like automatically shares them with like-minded people – and helps you discover great sites your friends recommend.

How Does it Work?
StumbleUpon uses [thumbs up/thumbs down] ratings to form collaborative opinions on website quality. When you stumble, you will only see pages that friends and like-minded stumblers have recommended. This helps you discover great content you probably wouldn't find using a search engine.

I heartily recommend Stumbleupon.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Protip; Use Picture Messages to Get more Characters

TXT messages are great, but there's the pesky 160 character limit. If you send your message as a picture message instead, you get 1000 characters. A TXT-only picture message will essentially work like a regular TXT message, while drastically increasing your character limit.

Protip; Put Charging Cables in Ziploc Bags

If you put chargers and charger cables in Ziploc bags for trips, it keeps your suitcase or backpack very organized.

Protip; Hit Eggs Hard to Crack Them

Eggs crack more satisfactorily when you hit them against something hard. Hitting them against something softly usually results in a poor break, which risks eggshells getting into whatever you're cooking.

Food eaten between 13 June & 20 June 2009

Some have said that photographing your food is terribly narcisstic1. But then again, so is owning a blog.


We'll start off my food journey with a sushi restaurant.


I've always loved the special dressing quality sushi places put on their salads.


And here's some Miso Soup.


It was pretty good. Miso soup is good when done right.


But what is eating at a sushi place without the sushi?


I believe this is an order of Rainbow Rolls, but sushi names seem to be non-standard anyway.


Don't worry, I didn't eat all the sushi. Just... most of it.


On the road to Idaho, we stopped off at a steak place. They had some good bread.


The salad dressing was good. It was a very raspberry vinaigrette.


As someone pointed out, evidently I don't like carrots.


Then I ordered some bits of meat with sides.


It was the most ridiculously meaty meal I've ever had. The meat bits were a bit dissapointing, but the green beans tasted like meat. Apparently they were soaking in a bacon sauce long enough to taste like bacon. ...At least that made them edible.


Dude to the lack of quality, I was envious of my brother's pasta dish. When he admitted he couldn't finish it, I rushed to his aid.


Further down the road, we stayed at a motel. They had a continental breakfast.


I find that hotels all manage to have the same continental breakfast, while motels are all different. I had to stretch a little to make the bagel work, but the bread was excellent.


In retrospect, I don't know why I have a mostly empty butter on my plate. I don't remember putting butter on anything. Oh well, just a mystery of life, I suppose.


Further on our journey, we came across Lakey's Cafe. They know how to cook their patties, but they burgers tasted a bit spartan. The cheese was good, however.


That was a triple patty burger. I had to request it special. You'd be surprised how few people actually list a pound burger on their menus.


The first time around, I made the mistake of ordering just a plain shake for dessert.


I mean, there was nothing wrong with it. But there wasn't anything special about it. Still, it did take a long time to finish.


But the real fault of the shake is that I didn't get a pie, perhaps an apple pie. But don't despair, the next time we went there, I got an apple pie.


It was some pretty darn good pie.


Skipping forward a few meals... This is breakfast once we actually arrived at the cabin.


My mom thought I took too many. I laughed in her face.


This is the Jambalaya we had one night.


It wasn't actually as good as I thought it would be. I mean, on a base level it was jambalaya. But the things in it were too hard. Also, the cook didn't make it spicy enough, although that might be because wusses were eating it. I prefer my mom's version.


Sometime we went to a burger place. As is the norm, I ordered what is essentially a pound cheeseburger.


I'm not much of a fan of those thick pattied burgers. They're a bit too much like steak sandwiched between bread. I want a burger, not a steak.


And here comes a steak, so I can eat my words.


Its seasoning actually made it taste pretty good. I don't like steaks that rely on the flavor of the meat for all the flavor. Also, I guess I had corn or something.


On the way back, aside from going back to Lakey's Cafe again, we went to a place called "Rooster's." It seemed like a chain, but certainly not one that I know of. I ordered what's essentially creamed pesto chicken pasta.


It was amazing. Perhaps I'll have to look into this "Rooster's" place.

Well, that's it, that's a selection of the food I've had between 13 June & 20 June 2009.

And as always, here's an embedded slideshow of all the food I've posted to Flickr so far.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Is "Vector" a Scam?

So after I returned from my Idaho vacation, I received a week's mail all at once. A lot of it was the usual stuff I expected, but there was one weird thing; a letter from "Vector."

Make that two; the second letter didn't "Vector" stamped on the outside, but it had the same offer on the inside.

Well, mostly the same offer. The two letters different slightly in content, and one had random bolding.

So I looked on Google to see if this was actually a real company.

According to this entirely reputable sounding website, it was indeed a real job offer. Time to check Wikipedia.

For the most part, Vector Marketing's Wikipedia Page goes pretty smoothly. But I was alarmed when I saw,

Some former employees have accused Vector Marketing of unsavory business practices[7] and it has even been referred to as a "scam."[8]

What's this? The eery job that I got two letters from could possibly be a scam? Do tell!

This led me to a blogspot blog called "Humanity Blues" and a blog post called "Taking on the Vector Marketing Scam." It's pretty convincing.

Anyways, while I don't entirely know if this is a scam or not, I definitely know I will not be taking this job with "Vector."

As one last little bit;

On the poor anti-Vector Marketing guy's blog, there was a Google Ad for "Cutco Knives," the company that supplies Vector Marketing. Truly irony knows no bounds.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Mr Microns!

If this is wrong, then I don't want to be right!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Who or What is Philly Jilly?

So I'm about to go to my Comcast e-mail, when I notice this on the Comcast main page;

So I click on the Games link because I want to know why there is a tiny person on my Games link.

Apparently this... thing...'s name is Philly Jilly.

I don't know what the heck a Philly Jilly is. Do you?

A quick Google search revealed nothing. An even quicker Wolfram Alpha search revealed that "filly | a young female horse under the age of four." Also that Philly is short for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

I guess we can just assume that Philly Jilly is an example of an avatar for Comcast games. But still, she could be better designed and certainly could be better named.