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Archive for the ‘Internet’ Category

Facebook is scary

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When I logged into my Facebook account earlier I found a friend of mine in the “people you might know” box in the right upper corner. I clicked myself through to her profile, noticed that it was indeed this one friend I had with that particular name and sent a friendship request.
So far nothing out of the ordinary.

Then I realized that the both of us didn’t actually have anything in common. At least nothing which Facebook should know.

At least nothing I could put my finger on.

She is living in a completely different part of the country now, never went to school or university with me, we didn’t even meet until we both workedtogether for a NGO a few years back. The closest that we actually got in our profiles was that her high school was about 40km away from mine.
Neither me nor her actually put the occasion where we met online.
So how come she appeared as the top suggestion all of a sudden? A place which for the last few days was held by a girl from my Uni that shares two  of my friends with me.

Now, I know that one or two years back, when I started to use Facebook a bit more extensively, I did a search on her name in Facebook. I didn’t find her back then and actually didn’t think about that too much anymore. Does Facebook really save all those searches I did for people I knew over the last few years? And do I really want them to remember all that stuff for such a long time? Keeps me thinking what else they have on me…

Written by G. Neuner

10. June 2009 at 12:12 am

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Resources IV

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A Greasemonkey script for your Facebook pleasure: removing all those damn Quiz updates.

North Korean Anti-U.S. propaganda posters: They are offensive towards the U.S. of course, but they also show that North Korea seems to be stuck in the 1960s even in terms of propaganda. Of course when you have the highest percentage of the population in the army AND the bomb you might not actually care about that. Although lately what they seem to do is pissing against the legs of everybody they can.

A collection of links to Medieval Cookbooks: I really have to go through that at one point. Still, I suppose there are far more than just those linked somewhere.

And: a Lifehacker guide on how to build a computer from scratch for people who never have done that before. Something I might try as soon as I have some spare money to get the parts. I always wanted to have a computer I built myself. I’m such a geek. Even though being a history student.

Written by G. Neuner

9. June 2009 at 7:32 pm

…by any other name…

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GetACoder is a freelancer marketplace. People can post job offers for small software projects they need to get written but don’t have time or patience enough to do themselves. Coders can bid on these offers, seeing as to who can do the job the best with the least cost.
That said the concept is perfect for people to get some code they need, and for coders to get some direly needed money (although they normally are at a slight disadvantage).
Of course some people somehow misunderstand how much work actually goes into programming, as can be seen with this pearl of a job offer:

I need someone to program me a new OS (Operasting System) that looks different than Ms Windows XP etc. but has the same style. It does not need to run on a mac but all the other PCs. It’s supposed to have a stylish look with clear edges etc. And ITS NOT SUPPOSED TO BE JUST A REDESIGNED WINDOWS as I’m going to sell that operating system later on.
These are some important points :

It should have ALL THE FEATURES that Windows Xp Professional has.
ALL the files that run on Windows XP ust also run on the BlueOrb OS.
It must have a very user-friendly interface (like MS WINDOWS XP)
When it gets Installed, the user needs to insert a serial number.
It must be quick and good looking.

This, of course, was posted with an offer for 20$ to 100$ to complete the task. How could one even dare to demand more for this basic kind of programming work? An operating system? Don’t coders do stuff like that all the time?!
Interesting that nobody really bothered to respond yet…

Written by G. Neuner

27. March 2009 at 2:02 am

Resources III

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The Catalogue of Digitized Medieval Manuscripts actually cares about a problem which I have found to be quite serious in digital scholarship: Loads of manuscripts are digitized and available on the net, yet if you don’t know they are there you also can’t work with them. A problem which I have encountered rather often lately when thinking about actually working with the original sources. I just can’t afford a short trip to London just to look up a 10-page apocalypse in the library there… as much as I want to. So having a way of FINDING any of those documents available on the net is like a gift from heaven.

Not really something historical, but fascinating noneteheless… a Russian artist made medieval looking woodcuts of various fantasy and science fiction movies. Oddly fascinating to look at, even though I can’t read a word of what is written there. Makes me wish he actually made a book of these things. Or maybe illustrate one.

People interested in photography and addicted to caffeine (or anyone with the lack of funds for digicams and a professional photolab) might be interested in the fact that one actually can develop films using freshly brewed coffee and a dash of fresh orange juice. Only black and white (even with color film), but the pictures still look fantastic.

If one might not be that interested in photography but rather, let’s say, fashion, coffee obviously also can get used to dye clothes, for example to give jeans a nice vintage look; although of course the REAL jeans affectionado would never actually do that: there is  a trend of wearing dry/raw denim in by just wearing it. Raw denim means jeans which never have been treated (stonewashed or otherwise altered) before being sold. And people try to fade them naturally themselves, meaning they wear them down themselves to make them look good and wear comfortably by only having the natural wear and tear of daily use have an effect on their trousers. This includes in some cases wearing them for half a year, maybe a year, without ever washing them (some of them actually have a phobia of ruining their effort by that). Which just might be a bit too much if the only reason for that is to get a jeans that fits and suits only it’s owner. But then… they have their own forums in whih they actually post pictures of the progress they are making, and some of them look, well, pretty fantastic

Sometimes I wonder if there is really a fetish for everything, and on other days I just believe there is.

Written by G. Neuner

24. March 2009 at 7:47 pm

Resources II

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Jason R. Briggs, Snake Wrangling For Kids, [Link]

A nice little book about programming in Python. Written in a try to be easy to read and understand by children (although failing to be in some of the later chapters), I think if I will ever have kids they will get this book printed out together with their first computer. It might be helpful for them. Most likely I think that because I always would have liked to have some skill in programming my PC when I was a kid.

Jeffrey Elkner, Allen B. Downey, Chris Meyers, How to Think Like a Computer Scientist. Learning with Python, [Link]

Something like the former, just with an emphasis on a more mature crowd. I will definitely try to use the book to understanding  some of the concepts of programming. Somehow even after years of using these machines like a pro, I never understood some of the most basic concepts in theit programming.

bookn3rd has a howto on making your own quill [Link]. Now, where do I get feathers? She says it is harder than it looks to master it, but how would I know if I would’t try?

And lifehacker has the idea to use vintage calendars as new ones [Link]. After all the Gregorian calendar is repeating itself every 14 years or so, and some of these old calendars just look really, really good. The lazy breed of course finds another lifehack in that: just put up 14 different calendars on your wall and you will never have to buy a new one.

Written by G. Neuner

19. January 2009 at 1:23 am

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Resources I

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11949859501893671626open_book_01svgmedDaniel J. Cohen, Roy Rosenzweig, Digital History. A Guide to Gathering, Preserving, and Presenting the Past on the Web [Link]

This is a nice little introduction to all the basics of the digital age, mostly intended for an audience of historians. For me the book has a lot of redundancies as I grew up with the Internet already in place, but most likely someone not as used to the web as I am might find certain points in it very useful. Even though I am a child of the digital age some hints and tips were very interesting. I found especially the parts in which the discussed the use of advertisement for a historic website very illuminating. I think the key here is to know that if you don’t advertise a website for no other reason than it being inappropriate to your status as a historian, then nobody will find you and use your theses either.

William J. Turkel, Alan Mac Eachern, The Programming Historian [Link]

This book (a work in progress) is a fascinating introduction into programming (mostly Python) by and for historians. Python might be the best way to learn this as it is supposed to be a rather logical and easy-to-learn language with huge user base all Read the rest of this entry »

Written by G. Neuner

12. January 2009 at 2:39 pm

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Tweetdeck is the new black

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screenshot-tweetdeckSomehow Tweetdeck is the new black in twitter. So to speak. Everyone seems to use it lately. According to one source 11% of tweets are sent by it already. If already is a word which can be used on a service less than 2 years old.

Enough incentive for me to try it out as well, after all the web-interface of twitter buggered me from the start.

Not that there was anything really wrong with it, but I am not someone who likes to have the same tab open all the time just to check for updates and be able to post. This actually took me off twitter the first time I tried it very quickly.

What can I say? I like comfort!

Tweetdeck on the other hand is exactly what I was looking for in this respect; actually even a bit more: It has the ability to post new tweets, the ability to autoupdate in certain intervals, and it actually divides all the tweets I receive in general ones, replies, and direct messages. It even has a nice profile view and an integrated search. And all that presented in a nice and tidy way (which coincidentally fits perfect to the theme I use).

The interface is rather comfortable and intuitive, it is a pleasure to write and send tweets. Hitting enter actually sends the tweet instead of just pushing the cursor to another line. That was something I never understood in the web interface. I think I will stay with this app for a while.

So, anything bad about it? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by G. Neuner

6. January 2009 at 4:12 pm

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