Thursday, September 28, 2006

New reading: Why Gender Matters

[Image: cover of Why Gender Matters]With a new report assignment comes a new book that I have to read. Last time I was blessed with being able to read a book by Bill Bryson. This time, we got to choose the book that we wanted to read; I chose "Why Gender Matters."

When the librarian went through the selection at our grasps, this was one of the ones that caught my attention. The basic idea that she explained was that he book goes through how even though they teach that both genders should be treated the same, they shouldn't. I only took a quick glance at it, but I think that this could be fairly interesting.

Completely by chance, I opened to the following part of the book:
-"How can a gay guy have sex with a girl?" Paul asked.
-"Easy," I said. "The guy just imagines that he's having sex with another guy."

Although not the entire book is this way, I think that I can come to enjoy this.

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4:38 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Blogging ways that annoy me

There are several things about many of the blogs on the internet day that really annoy me. I understand that there are people who enjoy that sort of thing, but I wish I could filter them out of me surfing.
  • Random images - I hate it when people just fill of space in the posts with random images. It's one thing to use a related image, like how I use logos and such in my posts, but when you use images that have no relevence at all to the topic it bothers me.
  • Videos in every post - It's one thing to post a really interesting video that you just found, but when every post consists entirely of a video, it get on my nerves.
  • Not making complete sentences - It's really not that hard to make a complete sentence, but when it looks like you typed out every word that came to your mind and posted without even rereading it for clarity, it makes no sense at all.
  • Naming people with letters - I can understand why you wouldn't use names to protect that person's identity, but couldn't you make up a name rather than to use a letter? I come across blogs where entire posts consisted of things like: H went over to B's house where we met up with W. It would be much clearer if you said Tom...
  • Using colors in posts - The only text color should be the page default color. Individual posts should always be the same color, and should be readable against the background. Nothing bothers me more than not even being able to see what someone says.
I may someday end up being guilty of one or two of these, but I don't expect to ever make a habit.

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4:47 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Hot new sexiness

[Image: RAZR phone]My parents and I did some shopping yesterday after dinner. First we went to Sam's Club to get some smoothie mix, but of course nothing is anywhere near where it was a few weeks ago.[Image: iPod Nano] It's so annoying how they reorganise everything every couple of days. Anyhow, we didn't ever find it, but we got some new cell phones while we were there, from one of those kiosks they set up. Our contract is near up, so we renewed and got RAZRs seeing as how they are pratically free with the rebate.

Then we went over to Best Buy. My mom offered to buy me an iPod since they were cheap, and available. If you were to wait for the holidays, they'll all be gone. I saw my old soccer coach (the one I liked) and we talked a little bit, discussed the iPod, and then he sold us a nano. The night went well. It did come back to bite me, shuffle wasn't enough.

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12:12 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Schools and evolution

I always have to laugh at the stupidity of these "problems" that people come up with. One thing that seems to have plagued the schools for years is the issue of whether or not schools should teach evolution, and the same for creationism. I only bring this up after the conflict was mentioned in one of my school textbooks.

I am always afraid to put out my opinion as people go crazy about it all. The great thing that annoys me is the people that bring the bible into it. People need to learn to look at things other than the way a book says, as I'm sure in many places you could interpret things differently, thus use it to fit any point of view. The way that I see it closely mirrors that of my biology teacher from two years ago. "Even if you don't believe in evolution, you should still learn about it so that you know what you're not believing in."

Also, the fact that people are quoting things from the bible trying to make their argument about why it should be banned is a poor argument. The school system should be free of religion. People other than christians go to the public school system, and thus the opinions of christians should not be a deciding factor. Where I stand, teach it, and if you think that it is a load of bologna, ignore it.

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5:31 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Four-year-old drummer

'nuff said

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10:14 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Video Day

Here are some videos that I have come across today. The best are ready to play here, and the other good ones are linked to Google.


How to see a girl naked ! Great Ad !

Best penalty ever! :D

russian climbing

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5:08 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Engadget website update

Engadget, the popular tech blog with a seemingly endless supply of information has done a complete overhaul of their website design. For the most part, it's pretty great to see the changes, but other things annoy me.

Starting with the good: the focus is more on the content. Right from the top of the page, it goes from the logo, straight into the first post. There is also a section just to the right that has features which are nice to put a little emphasis on big events, and not letting them fall off the page so quickly. Tags: they didn't really do anything with them other than an ocassional link in a post, but other than that you wouldn't know they existed, and now they get a least a little box. Engadget Mobile headlines are a good idea, seeing as how the banner was never enough to convince me to wander over there, now a headline may catch my eye.

The bad: width, while it is great, that is only to an extent. I don't like to have to read a line all the way across the page; narrow columns are easier. Column-wide images are just annoying. The way it is done, the browser will attempt to resize it, resulting in a terrible looking image.


4:17 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Monday, September 18, 2006

Why I think school is a waste of time

How often do you find yourself wondering how to calculate the frequency based on the period of a wave? My guess, only while in school, or never at all. So much of what they want us to learn in school has little to no effect on our future.

Looking at just the classes that I am taking this year, my junior year, I see the waste. Math, you should know how it works, but I don't really see the necessity of learning everything there is, as you'll probably never use it. Language arts class is sort of a balance. I understand that you should be required to be able to form comprehendable sentences, but beyond that it should be optional. I have no intentions of writing a book, so I shouldn't need to know everything anout the mess that is the english language. Economics, you should understand the concept, but there's no need for a whole course on it, and the same with statistics. I doubt that I'll ever use any physics ever again in my life after this year. Then the foreign language, you shouldn't be pushed into it unless you plan to travel to a foreign country.

What schools really need to do is get people's decisions on what they plan to persue in terms of a career, then teach them what they need for that line of work, anything beyond that should be optional, and encouraged, not required.

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4:32 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (1)

Friday, September 15, 2006

Google improves personalised homepage

[Image: Google homepage with tabs]Google, in the past few days, has released an update to their personalised homepage. First, it was the addition of a minimise button to hide a majority of the section, followed by tabs.

While you are logged into your account, you are given the option to add tabs to your homepage. These new tabs are great because they make it easier to sort the information on your homepage into categories. For instance, I made a new tabs to list feeds for blogs. As far as I'm aware, there isn't any limit on the number of tabs you can create, but I haven't tested that. You can also move sections from tab to tab by drag-dropping them on the desired tab. I'll be on the lookout for other hidden little bits that they put out.

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8:18 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Small, yet sexy

[Image: iPod shuffle]Over at Engadget they just post the new iPod shuffle. It is so small and sexy. This is something that I want, and I'm putting it on my Christmas list for this year.

I think that my music collection has the potential to be scaled down enough to fit on a 1GB mp3. My dad said that he would take my old mini if I got the shuffle, which is fine with me as it is ever losing battery life, and for all the more I use it, I could easily pass it off.

This will probably come back and bite me in the ass, but I think that the new shuffle will meet my needs for at least the next two years, and then I can get a new mp3 when I head off to college. Update: It did.

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8:51 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Monday, September 11, 2006

I can't afford to drive

I don't have much to say at the moment, but this one thing. I had to fill up my car because it was down to a quarter tank. I got to the station where it was the lowest: US$2.55, but still a bit much. I got a whopping 7 gallons out of my twenty bucks. What really sucks about that is that it was only about a week and a half's worth of driving. I can't afford to pay out that much all the time.


5:56 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 7, 2006

Blogger is starting to annoy

I lived with some of the shortcomings and probelms of Blogger because of the fact that the platform is just that great, but recently they're really starting to annoy me.

First of all, they have everyone all hyped up for this great new thing, but they're taking forever to actually launch it. I would have much rather been surprised with the new system than I would to be sitting here for so long waiting for the things they promised. They really should have completed all the major features before releasing anything new.

Secondly, they're breaking things. I had no problem with the times or anything until just recently, now I had to adjust the time zone to CST, which it is not, just to compensate for their fault. Now just today, I noticed that they have broken the previous post lists. They used to show the post that came before the page you were viewing, now they just show the ten most recent.

Maybe things will be done in a few weeks, which I somewhat doubt. There was something that I read after Blogger in Beta was just released, some one comment "now it's going to be in beta for years," and I can really see this. Look how long GMail has been in beta. Google seems to be doing great at starting up these big things but it takes them much too long to finish.

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10:21 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Schools are starting to blog

While I was wasting away in school today, there was something that caught my attention. Part of what we are going to do to help with studying spanish is blogging.

I guess what she is trying to do is to allow us to use our skills (or lack of) in spanish in a medium that many people prefer over writing. So far I can see this probably isn't going to work that great because she doesn't really know much of anything about computers or how the internet works. Granted that the blog is hosted on blogspot, it will be interesting to see if it will even be accessible. Additionally, it currently requires you to have a Blogger account; I'm not sure if that will help anything.

Of course, that's not the only part of the school that wants to be in the whole blog thing. The administration has one that is set up. They don't really use it like a blog, but more like a message board to discuss school issues, publicly.

School staff is not capable of understanding technology, and they just need to figure that out.

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2:54 AM | Posted by mike | Comments (2)

Monday, September 4, 2006

Things to make Blogger better

I recently made a feature request to Blogger about getting something that I really want. Here is a comeplete list of things that I would like to see from Blogger some day:
  • Tags/labels/categories - They're getting there, but they still lack in the ability to allow it in custom templates. Once this is implemented, it will make me so much happier.
  • Customizable search template - Currently, there are conditional tags for templates that allow you to give you more template control for the main page, archives, and post pages. Now that search has been added so that it is built into the blog template, I would like to be able to customize what goes on. For example, it would be nice to be able make it just titles, or the other thing that would make me happy would be allowing pagination, which could be a number set in the settings.
  • Blogger for domains - Google just made a big step with Gmail by allowing you to use your own domains for Gmail, calendar, and chat. Now I would like to see that happen with Blogger. I would be overjoyed if they listen to this. With the new Blogger in Beta version, the whole idea is dynamic serving. If you want to have your own domain, you have to host it. By allowing you to use your domain through Blogger, you get the best of both worlds. You get the domain for your blog and all the dynamics of Blog*Spot. This would even be something that I would be willing to pay for. - 1/5/07
  • Built-in commenting forms - One of the things that I like to have is the ability to keep a consistant design across the entire site, but currently that is somewhat ruined by having to shift to in order to make a comment.
  • Page-by-page browsing - This would be in much the same fashion of other places like how the high-profile Engadget does. This would include allowing you to add something like: # Older posts.
  • Search operators - Now that search and labels are built into the blog, it would be nice to see the option to use operators in the search like -label:blogger to see anything not labeled blogger. -Added 9/19/06
  • Labels by draft/etc - Now that there has been a list of labels added to the side of the control panel, it would be much prefered if there were a way to limit that by whether or not it was published. Right now it always included everything, no options. -Added 10/19/06
If even a few of these end up happening, I would be that much happier sticking with Blogger. Blogger is a great platform, but I think that there is still much room for improvement.

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4:40 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Sunday, September 3, 2006

Google Images game

It appears that Google is trying to get user-to-user connections going. I have just come across Google Image labeler, a little game where you give labels to a little picture and try to match them up with another person with the same image.

I gave it a try, and to say the least, it was slightly addicting to play. I will admit that I did terrible, but I think part of that comes from lag, as I noticed it saying that my partner had no labels, then it would jump to four or more at one time.

Apparently from what I could pick up from the introduction, Google is using this as a new way to link keywords to images. By the way it sounds they will then use what you suggest as ways to imrove their images index.

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11:05 AM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Saturday, September 2, 2006

The myth of homework

[Image: Time logo]In the most recent issue of time magazine, there was an article about how homework, to some extent, does more harm than good when it comes to education; when it comes to ruining your life, it's perfect.

In the article it mentions how so much homework actually hurts your grades more than it helps. Basicly what they get at is that teachers now assign so much homework that you burn out and start to hate learning. They said in the article how nations that score better than the US, like Japan, assign less homework, while others that score lower, assign loads.

To me, homework is wrong for a variety of reasons. For one, there is so much that teachers assign that you burn out to the point that you don't want to do anything. It is also hard to put forth effort when you learn just as much from it as you would have if you just stared at the wall. Then, of course, there's always the fact that doing it does so little in terms of helping your grade.

From all of my classes last year, most everything that I learned came from sitting in class and just soaking in the information, everything beyond that was a waste. The only time that I can think that homework actually did any good was for chemistry while doing stoichiometry, and that was because the only way to really know what you're doing was to do it over and over until it made sense.

Maybe someday people will notice that homework kills your brain and ruins your life. It makes so much more sense to pile on it in class, but you have to leave it there, never take it home.

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9:56 AM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)
Barack Obama for President