Jul 242011
 

image

At Galaxiki.org, each star, each planet and each moon in this online fictional galaxy is represented by a wiki page that can be edited by its site members. Users can make changes to solar systems, add creatures and write stories. One of the main goals is to invent and write collaborative stories, which requires users to make sure their solar system histories remain compatible.

You can also edit most of the solar system physics, add or edit planetary rings as well. There are also social networking features including solar system ratings and comments, bookmarks, user awards and user status updates.

Galaxiki membership and editing community stars is free. Though some users want to own a personal solar system that cannot be edited by other members, you can get your own personal system by making a donation.

 Posted by at 9:54 am
Mar 302011
 

The following is a guest post from Lokesh Vishwakarma, an IT graduate from KC College, Mumbai, India. The topic is the role of social networking in the recent historical events occurring in some Arab countries.

From Morocco to Yemen the Arab world is burning, and fueling this fire of change is the 21st century panacea ‘The Social Networks’. These agents of change helped the Arab civilization achieve what they couldn’t, for decades, in just a few days or weeks. Be it Facebook, Twitter, Google or usual blogosphere, they have found themselves central to the action in an unprecedented way. Lets us take a look at how some of these new found tools have spurred the actions on the ground.

Facebook and Twitter – The cradle that rocked the despots

#Sidibouzid, this twitter hashtag gave rise to a movement which toppled not only the Ben Ali regime but also inspired a dozen other mutinies. The picture of Mohammed Bouazizi, the youth who set himself on fire in the Tunisian town ‘Sidi Bouzid’ in protest against the unemployment spread like wild fire on youtube and other social media. This was for the first time the internet spawned a feeling of enough is enough among the Tunisians.

Soon after Tunisia happened, Egypt was getting ready to herald in to the new dawn of democracy, the first salvo being “We are all Khaled Said” facebook page. Khaled Said was the young Egyptian man who was beaten to death by police in June 2010. The online activists began protest groups with Khaled as their ‘martyr’, some anonymous activist also came up with the Arabic version of the facebook page, who was later revealed as Google executive Wael Ghonim. #Jan25 made its presence felt on twitter, the day Wael called for young Egyptians to take to the streets. Twitter was abuzz with videos, pictures, data and links tagged with #jan25, which became an effective way to group together online information about the protest. The influence of social networking was such that, an Egyptian man named his newly born child as “facebook”. By now one thing was very clear, that the social networking websites have become a force to reckon with.

The events in Tunisia and Egypt inspired a whole lot of generation and Yemen was no different. The “Yemeni Anger Revolution” group has almost 20000 members on facebook, those who were not bitten by the social network bug were encouraged to pass on the word via traditional methods like SMS and cards. After the Yemeni government cracked down on internet, many nonresident Yemenis settled outside Yemen shared their contact numbers with their friends and relatives in Yemen in wake of internet shutdown, to help them share news about Yemen, many of NRYs tweeted and retweeted news and also links with the international media.

The hashtag #feb17 has categorized the Libyan movement and given a fresh identity to the Libyan protest amid unrest across the Arab world. Feb 17 is the date when the Libyan protest against the megalomaniac colonel began. Information – what little is accessible from the country – has been pouring in on Twitter and Youtube, where activists are uploading news the minute they are able to get online. A dedicated facebook page for the Libyan revolution has more than 82000 members and another key facebook page by the name of ‘RNN Libya’ has 22000 members. Libya being the most oppressed and closed nation of the region has caught the fever of Internet-driven dissent passed on from their friends in Tunisia and Egypt, as young Libyans are been exposed to the power of YouTube, Facebook, Twitter to voice opposition to the regime.

Just like the #feb17 Libyan protest, the Bahraini activists have #feb14 as their identity on twitter. Internet providers were shut down and facebook accounts were deleted across Algeria as thousands of Pro-democracy demonstrators were arrested in violent street demonstrations. President Abdelaziz Boutifleka’s government first cracked down on the internet to nip the protest in the bud.

In Morocco, the facebook group “Movement of freedom and democracy” has attracted more than 90000 members. The Iraqis had their own twitter tag as #iq4c but many of them tagged news of protest in Iraq with #feb25 so as to reach a larger audience of the internet by linking their cause with other popular revolts.

In Syria, the case is bit different; people are still learning about the arab revolution through facebook, media, twitter, newspapers and blogs. The facebook page “Syrian Revolution 2011” has received more than 25000 followers. People in Syria have slowly started to come out in open against the Syrian authorities.

As the crusade for democracy and basic human rights rages on, Today’s youth have a lot of tools at their disposal which the earlier crusaders didn’t posses. The Internet has become a conduit for disseminating the idea of democracy which was till now alien to the Arab civilization. For a change the Internet is applauded for its power to influence and change history for the better.

 Posted by at 6:02 am
Aug 112009
 

definr

I stumbled across a site that describes itself as an “incredibly fast dictionary”. It’s known as definr (http://definr.com/).

The first question I asked myself is whether we need yet another online dictionary. Some folks use Wiktionary, much like Wikipedia it’s only as accurate as the folks making the entries want it to be, so most folks probably leverage something they trust: Compact Oxford, American Heritage, Merriam-Webster’s to name a few.

Yes definr is fast, blazingly so partly because it caches the top 10,000 definitions in memory. It also tries to guess what you’re typing as you’re typing a word to search, by the time you click Enter it’s got a definition at the ready.

The quality of the answers is ok, nothing to write home about when I compared some sample words to three dictionaries I trust listed above, but it’s better than some. While it’s not the best, it is worth taking a look at in my opinion. The value of seeing it propose possible words as you’re typing is interesting because it offers me an opportunity to discover new words previously unknown to me and that gets me excited because I’m a word geek. For instance, when I tried testing it’s ability to handle Gen Y lexicon such as “Fark”, by the time I got to the ‘k’ it offered the word farkleberry. Where the heck else would I have been offered an opportunity to learn about the farkleberry and sparkleberry bushes from eastern United States? :-)

BTW, ‘Fark’ was not in the definr dictionary, this is a good thing. The database is based on Princeton’s open WordNet 2.0, believe it or not you can download this lexical database yourself.

The verdict? I’m going to stick with OneLook as my first stop for dictionary searches, but I’m adding definr to my browser’s search plugins as a quick/available alternative because I think it has promise and it offers me a learning opportunity.

UPDATE Jan 2015:

Samuel Chong from Pasadena City College has assembled an amazing collection of wordnets for many languages. Check it out.

 Posted by at 4:37 pm
Jul 132009
 

Shelf Life

James Spencer from pixel eyes productions alerted me to a new machinima series they’ve posted called Shelf Life, it uses the models from Half Life 2. I honestly think this stuff is a masterpiece! The quality if this video blows me away.

The audio is spot on and the music adds to the creepiness factor of this mind-bending thriller. The cinematic aspects are something you’d expect right out of Hollywood movie, not a machinima. For instance there’s a couple of pan shots early on, one of them is pretty complex that occurs outside the protaganist’s house and i recall thinking at the time ‘now this is what’s cool about this medium, there aren’t many films that attempt something like this’.

Synopsis:

It’s about two scientists, one with the ability to visualize advanced theories related to the power of memory and the human brain, and one with the determination to do whatever it takes to reach a scientific breakthrough. They are both parts of one big puzzle, a puzzle that is a project that poses a bigger danger to humanity than anything else in history, and it’s up to one of them to expose the danger, even if it means putting himself at great risk.

Here’s part 1 below, go to their youtube channel and subscribe to keep up with each part to this thriller.

 Posted by at 9:04 pm
Jun 232009
 

The World Series of Poker is happening right now, this 40th annual event started May 26 and ends July 15th. If you’re like me and not a good poker player but want a couple of tips to get involved in the game, I tracked down a few resources to get you going.

First, get yourself a copy of Winning at Internet Poker For Dummies. Once you think you have knack of it, find an online poker room. For god’s sake, spend within your limits :-)

Bonus tip:

Follow all the poker Tweets to keep up with your favorite players and events during WSOP: http://www.bluffmagazine.com/poker-twitter.asp

 Posted by at 9:30 pm
Jun 212009
 

poker

Poker players bluffing opponents at the table and via tweets?

Snippet:

Doyle Brunson is seventy six years old and he says he was up late last night in Vegas. He’s in a $10k game on the 24th day of the World Series of Poker and he just sent out a Tweet. "Still in 10k split," he said. "Didn’t sleep much but feel OK…." Is that an intimate look inside the minute by minute, high-stakes life of a poker veteran – or is that a head-trip of a bluff intended to make his opponents think he could be slow on his game today?

 Posted by at 10:23 am
Apr 052009
 

dead_pixel

We’ve all heard of, or even had dead pixels on the digital displays of various electronic devices we use on a daily basis.  And, I can say with near certainty that most people don’t want that.  I know that the small gaps on my nintendo DS drive me crazy whenever I use it.  However, an ingenious Dutch artist, Helmut Smits, thought of an entertaining idea for the upcoming image scanning in his area for use in Google Earth.  He cut out an 82 x 82 cm square of grass in an open field, so that when that area is scanned from the height of 1km, it would look just like a dead pixel in the image.  I’d love to be a fly on the wall in Google HQ when they see that and wonder if their equipment is bad 😉

I’ll keep an eye on the area, and update this post when the image is available!

Mar 132009
 

Fuzzfind

What’s FuzzFind?

FuzzFind is a web search mashup that combines the power of the leading search engines and social bookmarking sites to make it easier for you to locate and identify the most relevant information. All results are grouped together and sorted according to the search engine rankings plus the popularity of the sites according to the social bookmarking community.

As  you can see in the user interface screenshot above, you can tune the search results for various search engines by moving a slider left or right based on your personal preferences. This is cool and I’d love to see more engines included hear like Stumbleupon for instance. Or to do an image and video search as well.

I’m looking forward to see more like this, so far I’m liking what I’m seeing.

 Posted by at 10:13 am
Feb 232009
 

Here’s a new take on Street Fighter to help alleviate those Wall Street meltdown blues we’ve all been suffering from recently. It originates from a fresh young video crew in Hong Kong, visit them at CBFresh.

 Posted by at 12:04 am
Feb 182009
 

Social Networking

Businessweek is reporting on the Facebook issue of the week and this particular issue has privacy groups up in arms.

When social media site Facebook casually slipped in a clause that gave them rights in perpetuity to users’ content, consumer watchdog groups and privacy experts cried foul.

Essentially Facebook owns everything you upload to the site…forever, no matter what you do with the content after it’s touched their server.

Nice.

 Posted by at 12:03 am
Jan 182009
 

 wiki

EmuWiki.com launched Jan 1 2009 and is already vying for the location of choice on everything related to software emulators. The admin for the wiki contacted me and provided some very interesting points about the site. The intent of the site is to:

  • Provide the user with quality information and quality emulators.
  • Preserve, collect and classify the artifacts of the emulation scene.
  • Produce interactive software that will allow browsing and analyzing the historical events that lead to the creation and existence of the emulation scene.

In the mail I received I learned the following about their focus on history:

So instead of just allowing leeching Emuz & Romz like most site, what I’m looking for is a true historical perspective on emulation. The Emulation Timeline is the part of the site where this perspective is most apparent; every event in emulation history is placed on a timeline… So I can ask : what were the news released about emulation on January 3rd 1999 ? What emulators running on Dreamcast were released between 2003 and 2004 ? What YouTube videos about NES were released in 2007 ? Of course the timeline is far from complete. As data is added to the encyclopedia through history pages of certain emulators like this one : http://www.emuwiki.com/index.php?title=History_of_Final_Burn, the data is automatically added to the timeline. So in 1 or 2 years, at my current pace and if I find some people to help me build the project, we should have a complete timeline of all emulation-related events from the 90’s, or even before, up to now.

The great thing about this particular wiki isn’t just that it’s your typical user-generated content site. It’s also hosting thousands of emulators, videos, documents, archived news items and more:

And at the same time of being a good tool for historical preservation, EmuWiki is just a huge emulation website for the everyday user. I’ve been working on it pretty much by myself for a year, and it only opened officially on January 1st, 2009, but the encyclopedia already contains 4280 archived emulators, 839 documents, 500 videos, 1869 current emulators, and 1321 Emulation Camp news archived (we’re trying to archive and classify all news of emulation websites that are not online anymore and emucamp just disappeared so we started with this one). Of course this is just the tip of the iceberg.

 Posted by at 5:01 pm
Dec 282008
 

Here’s one of the best machinima videos I’ve ever seen: “The Craft of War: Blind“.

I don’t have much in the way of constructive criticism other than the transition in music early on didn’t seem appropriate, but the song used for a majority of the vid (Hide & Seek by Namie Amuro) added to the vibe the animator was trying to set.

The lighting was spot on, the use of WoW models was brilliant, the SFX are great, the plot had me hooked and I’m anxiously awaiting to see more on this assassin vs. Dragon theme.


The Craft of War: BLIND from percula on Vimeo.

 Posted by at 2:33 pm  Tagged with:
Dec 222008
 

We all know one of those super nice people. They help old women across the street, never leave the toilet seat up and give you their last French fry. It’s those charity working, compliment giving, birthday remembering niceys.  Or maybe you know one of those bad-ass naughty doers—the no good, rotten, nasty meanheads.  They’ve flipped us the bird, flirted with our significant others, AND stole your friggin’ parking spot yesterday.

  image_3979

Well, it’s holiday time and just as Santa would have it – here’s your chance to put those peeps on the Global Naughty or Nice List – and give credit or a kick to the balls where it’s due.  So join your fellow geeks in a  quest to expose, for better and for worse, the goody goody…and the not so well behaved…

What’s the funniest thing about the whole list?  Check out where Jesus sits in the list….

Dec 222008
 

GreenDino

Found on Digg:  Scientists discover new forest, species on Google Earth.

Best Digg comments:

– FTA: "…a new member of the Gaboon viper family of snakes that can kill a human in a single bite." Thanks Google. Thanks a lot.
– Google, saving all our ***** one thing at a time
– Oil companies and poachers have Google Earth Pro. The possibilities are endless…
– Wake me up when they find dinosaurs… or dragons.

 Posted by at 9:14 am
Dec 162008
 

Marc Castejon is the main developer for Umibozu, a meta-search engine. He contacted me today to tell you about his public alpha release and see if you can try it out and spread the word. If you’re not familiar with the concept of a meta-search engine think of it this way – have you ever made the same search query at Google, Yahoo and Live while trying to locate something on the web?

And have you wished you could improve the results?

Welp, you can with Umibozu. Umibozu leverages the public APIs provided by Google, Yahoo and Live to query those engines using your one query. It then returns the top results from each and displays them side by side, allowing you to choose the one that suits you, and if you create an Umibozu account you can vote on the results.

Here’s a snapshot of my search for “Geeknews” on Umibozu –

umibozu

 

Well done Marc!

 Posted by at 12:22 am
Nov 242008
 

Internet

Several days ago Abraham Biggs, 19 years old, took a cocktail of medications after he had chatted online about killing himself for most of the day during a video conversation with strangers. He died. While some of the folks in the forum pleaded with him to get help, some of them urge him on, laughing at him, calling him “faggot” and “coward.”.

Now the police are looking at the role played by the site, Justin.tv that hosted the video and BodyBuilding.net that hosted the chat bulletin board and whether the moderators and discussion board members acted inappropriately. Apparently one of the moderators at BodyBuilding.net called him an attention whore which certainly could be interpreted as contributing to the delays in trying to get this kid help.

One of the threads Abraham started discussing his suicide was on BodyBuilding.net, on this thread (“I’m gonna have 40 2mg bars of Xanax Tonight!“) he uses the alias CandyJunkie, and starts soliciting people to watch him online.

In my opinion, the streaming provider may not be culpable, but I’d need to see more details on when they learned of the event and the actions taken or not taken. Bodybuilding.net on the other hand appears to be more at risk here to legal action from the family. Also, I suspect any individuals that may have spurred this event along can or should be held accountable under the “duty to rescue” laws (note: i’m no experts in Torts law, there appears to be wiggle room in the interpretation of this).

 Posted by at 9:19 am
Nov 042008
 

 Sushi Model

Vanity Fair has an interesting piece from a woman that dove head first into naked sushi modeling recently. Not familiar with this Japanese practice? Read on:

Utterly exposed before a group of strangers, I do my best to fight off the impending toe cramp and a fierce desire to wince. This is all very new to me. You see, it’s my first time as a naked body sushi model.

In fairness, you might wonder how one becomes a naked body sushi model. More specifically, you might wonder how one with zero experience of undressing in public becomes a naked body sushi model.

 Posted by at 12:25 am