Imablog Perspectives of a Canadian in the Old/Deep/New/Geographic South: This is where I ramble on about nothing in particular and post a few nice pictures.

Posts from WWW things

Resurrected website concepts

Those of you who were surfing the web a few years ago might remember a website called SixDegrees, circa 1998-2000.

It was an interesting website based on the '6 degrees of Kevin Bacon' idea. You created an account and linked yourself to friends, who were linked to other people and so on and so on. that way you and your friends formed a network with all the other thousands of people signed on as well. Pick any two people, and the website would compute how many 'degrees' away the two of you were. I always thought it was pretty cool. It shut down at the end of 2000, for reasons I've not been able to find out yet.

Recently a friend of mine sent me a link to a similar site, Friendster.com which is based on a similar concept. It's not quite as full-featured or as easy to find people to link to as the old SixDegrees site was, but this one still seems interesting and worth checking out.

People interested in more ways to meet others (for purposes other than dating) with common interests should check out another website with an interesting concept that I ran into a little while ago: Meetup.

The idea behind this one is simple. They have a big long list of things people are interested in. Software, programming, Slashdot, gardening, etc. Go to the Meetup site, register and tell them where you are. Then search the list for things that interest you, and see who else is interested in the same thing in your location. Then once a month, you vote on a location to 'Meetup' (usually restaurants or bars) and if there are enough of you, you all meet at that location and get together to discuss whatever.

A good concept I think, providing a way for people who probably otherwise wouldn't have the opportunity to meet each other in regular life. I've been to a couple of Slashdot meetups in the Charleston area, although haven't been able to make it to much more for other reasons.

Eeewww

I've been around the Net for almost 15 years now, and I've seen some really strange things posted online. Then I ran across this site about an exploding whale and just had to check it out. Not the wierdest thing I've seen online, but it ranks up there with the good ones.

According to the Urban Legends Reference Pages, the incident actually happened.

Download the video and watch. Particularly amusing is the newscaster's description of the aftermath. I can't believe nobody thought about that before they started...

Geoblogging?

Found something new (to me) on the web. GeoURL is a place that lets you do location/URL lookups. Adding your blog or site is pretty easy. Just look up your location (latitude/longitude) on a site like the US Census Tiger Map Service, add a couple of meta tags to your index page and submit it to the GeoURL site. They'll add it to their index in a litte bit, and give you a link showing other URLs in your geographic vicinity. Clicking on the map at GeoURL gives you a big long list of websites in the vicinity of where you clicked.

There's another site, GeoTags that does something similar also.

Kinda neat I think. Then again, simple things amuse me.

Too busy

I have this bad habit of taking on too many projects at the same time. The end result is a to-do list that just keeps on growing.

A sampling of my to-do list

  • VB interface between my equipment test spreadsheets and MySQL database
  • Dosimetry for monoclonal antibody lymphoma therapy
  • Research for a dopamine receptor imaging project
  • Website maintenance
  • Converting wedding video to VCD/DVD
  • Converting graduation video of one of my wife's friends to VCD/DVD
  • Converting in-law's vacation video to VCD/DVD
  • Documenting various database projects I've started
  • Finish the rest of this year's x-ray surveys (about 20 more units left to do)
  • Attenuation correction method comparison between two of our gamma cameras (another research project)
  • Optimize the acquisition protocol for thyroid scans on another one of our gamma cameras
  • Optimize the acquisition protocol for brain scans on one of our new gamma cameras

And this is only the small part of my list that I can remember off the top of my head.

ok, back to work...

New photo gallery

I decided to put up my own photo gallery using the most excellent Gallery software. Look out for more albums in the coming days...

Additions to the photo gallery

Added a new Bugs album to my photo gallery to show off some of my pictures of the more interesting insects I run across. Also added a couple of new flower pictures that I snapped last weekend. Go check them out.

Stick figures

Go check out the Stick Figure Death Theatre site. There are some hilariously funny animations of stick figures getting disposed of in all sorts of ways. Some are Flash movies, others are animated GIFs. Some are a riot to watch, others are rather cheesy. But all in all, it's an amusing place to check out if you have time to kill.

Changing looks with stylesheets

I've taken the 7 default style sheets that come with MovableType and added them in as alternate stylesheets to the template for my main page.

So, those of you with browsers that can deal with alternate style sheets like Mozilla or Firebird (don't know if IE or NS do alt style sheets) can use the little Style button at the bottom right of your status bar (Firebird) or the View/Use Style menu (Mozilla) to switch between the different styles and see what the different CSS styles look like.

One of these days I'll get around to learning enough CSS to create my own styles.

Talk like a Pirate Day

My friend Rick emailed me and told me it was Talk like a Pirate Day. Aaarrr, matey!

And NASA has a very cool satellite picture of Hurricane Isabel. It shows very nicely just how large a storm it was, even if it didn't pack as big a punch as it did swirling over the ocean.

Urban Dictionary

While writing my last blog entry, I stumbled onto an interesting website. Urban Dictionary seems to be a rather unconventional dictionary website. According to the website,

The Urban Dictionary is a slang dictionary with words contributed by users.

Most of the content I've seen in it so far is slang that you probably might not find in other online dictionaries like Merriam-Webster, or those stupid words that people make up by adding suffixes to the end. You can add words to the dictionary (along with your definition), or you can add definitions to other words. Some of them make for pretty funny reading. Definitely not a site for young kids to surf to though.

Star Trek Apartment

Well, this is certainly interesting. My friend Rick sent me a couple of links to some guy who's remodeled his apartment to look like Star Trek: TNG quarters. Complete with panels, transporter pad and brig. It actually looks surprisingly good, although the kitchen looks a little too dimly lit and too blue to be very functional. It does look cool though.

It is also up for sale at EBay. Now if only I could come up with $2M and get my wife to move to England...

Counting the days

The few people who surf their way here might notice a new block in the side bar, Counting the days. I set it up using the MTCountdown plugin by David Raynes. It's a pretty cool plugin, and easy to use. Just seemed like it would be a neat thing to set up. It'll be one of those things that changes every now and then when there's something significant for me to count down to (or count up from).

This, along with the People Visited From and the weather blocks are done using cool MT plugins.

Blogshares

What is this Blogshares thing? A lot of blogs I've run into seem to be listed there. It looks to be some kind of stock market thing for blogs, where you can buy and sell shares in particular blogs.

From their homepage,

BlogShares is a fantasy stock market where weblogs are the companies. Players invest fictional dollars on shares in blogs. Blogs are valued by their incoming links and add value to other blogs by linking to them. Prices can go up or down based on trading and the underlying value of the blog.

So, to find out more about this Blogshares thing, I decided to list my own blog. So far, what I've found out is that a blog can appear on Blogshares without being submitted by the owner. If you happen to find your blog on Blogshares, you can claim it by registering and adding their official button to your blog somewhere. The actual image itself doesn't seem to be that important, since I've seen others using alternate graphics on their blogs. I'm still waiting for Blogshares to show me that I've claimed my blog. It hasn't been that long since I put the Blogshares link on my page though, so I'll check back later on today and see what happens.

There's even a MovableType Blogshares plugin so you can show off to everyone else how your blog is doing.

We'll see how things go down the road. I certainly don't expect much, but it might be interesting to see what happens.

More Pumpkins

More pumpkins to enjoy. These ones are pretty cool and creative.

Found at The Right Half of My Brain.

More Blogshares

Hey, somebody over at Geek Rants bought shares in my blog!

So what happens if somebody comes along and snaps up a majority or all the shares in your blog? Do they own your blog? Does that give them decision making power over your blog or what you write in it? Do you have to have shareholder meetings?

Saving Bandwidth

Just putting this here so I remember it when I get to work.
Saving Bandwidth
WebCompression.org

Bandwidth Conservation...it's not just for the bandwidth challenged.

Blogshares

Hmm, the guy over at Geek Rants bought up all the remaining shares in my blog.

I wonder if this has any significance, other than boosting my blog share price. I wonder what I should do now...issue more shares? Have I been taken over? Oh what to do, what to do...

More Blogshares

It seems that to increase the price of your blog in Blogshares, you need to comment on blogs. On a lot of blogs. Blogs that are also in Blogshares. Or have people link to your blog. Blogshares only seems to care what's on the main index page of the blog, and with comments being transitory things, you need to do a lot of commenting. Which usually means a lot of blog reading. Now, I don't know about other people, but I work during the day, and have other things to do in the evening so my blog reading is usually a spare time thing. And I generally don't have much to say about to other bloggers in their comments.

And aside from search engines, I think I might have 2 or 3 regular readers (myself included), so I don't think too many people are linking to my blog. Not that I care that much.

So I guess my blog will be relegated to Blogshares mediocrity, and my blog valuation will remain at $1000, aside from occasional spikes when I find something interesting enough to comment on.

I guess it's a good thing there's no real money involved.

MT style sheets

Oooh, now here's a promising site. Movable Style is a collection of different style sheets that can be used to customize the look of a Movable Type blog. There are the default styles, and a few interesting looking ones. I'll have to keep an eye on this one.

MT 2.66 released

Just saw that MovableType released a new version, MT 2.66. Looks like it's mostly to deal with the comment spam problem. Hopefully this will help keep comment spam manageble until 3.0 comes out.

Mars Scorecard

The Mars Scorecard is a pretty funny play-by-play summary of the our record with Martian probes over the past 40 years. So far, the Martians are winning.

2003 True Stella Awards

The winners of the 2003 Stella Awards have just been announced! This is the real thing now, not the fake ones that have been making the rounds.

And the winner is...

The City of Madera, Calif. Madera police officer Marcy Noriega had the suspect from a minor disturbance handcuffed in the back of her patrol car. When the suspect started to kick at the car's windows, Officer Noriega decided to subdue him with her Taser. Incredibly, instead of pulling her stun gun from her belt, she pulled her service sidearm and shot the man in the chest, killing him instantly. The city, however, says the killing is not the officer's fault; it argues that "any reasonable police officer" could "mistakenly draw and fire a handgun instead of the Taser device" and has filed suit against Taser, arguing the company should pay for any award from the wrongful death lawsuit the man's family has filed. What a slur against every professionally trained police officer who knows the difference between a real gun and a stun gun! And what a cowardly attempt to escape responsibility for the actions of its own under-trained officer.

RSS Feed validating

Over at Dive into Mark, he talks about RSS Feed validating, and how even with feed validating services, there are still plenty of RSS feeds with badly formed XML. So there's this nifty feed validator that's simple to use, and offers suggestions to fix your bad feeds. Very neat. Worth checking out.

My Yahoo! has RSS aggregating!

Learned from Jeremy Zawodny that My Yahoo! now has an RSS aggregator module you can put on your My Yahoo! page. I might actually start using the thing again now. It's only in beta, but I haven't seen anything resembling a problem yet in the 5 minutes I've been casually using it. And you can even ping it.

Comet and Galaxy conjunction

APOD had a very cool photo yesterday showing the near conjunction of the Andromeda galaxy and Comet Ikeya-Zhang. More of the photographer's very cool pictures can be seen at http://www.skylook.net.

MT 3.0 ready for alpha testing soon

Looks like SixApart is ready to start alpha testing MovableType 3.0 soon. I'll probably wait for beta testing to start, seeing as how there isn't much activity on this blog to warrant being on the bleeding edge. But ifyou're interested, drop them a line.

RSS compatibility history

I had no idea RSS had such a storied history. Over at DiveIntoMark he writes about the 9 different incompatible RSS versions. There's a lot more to RSS than I originally thought. Must make it tough on people who write software to read RSS feeds.

For bubble wrap addicts

A friend of mine emailed this to me. It's a little something for all you bubble wrap addicts who just ran out.

Virtual bubblewrap

You'll never run out of bubble wrap again. I particularly like Manic Mode. I know it's not quite the real thing, but it's good for a little mindless entertainment.

TopicExchange: Conversing via Trackbacks

Discovered this interesting website that takes Trackbacks to another level. TopicExchange.

The concept seems to be kind of similar to Usenet newsgroups, but not nearly as many newsgroups at the moment. To post to a topic channel as they're called, you make an entry in your trackback-enabled blog, and ping the URL for the group. Or you can create a new topic channel. Each channel also has an RSS feed, making it easy to keep track of with your favourite RSS aggregator.

A very nifty concept. Shall have to keep track of this one.

I'm in Physics Today: Web Watch!

A few days ago, I noticed several referrals to this weblog from Physics Today while browsing through the server access logs. Had a quick look, and didn't see anything pointing to my weblog right away.

Looked again later on after seeing a few more referrals, and then I saw it in the Web Watch (subscriber sign-in required) section of the March issue! There it was, a link to my weblog! Web Watch is a little side column in Physics Today that highlights 2 or 3 interesting physics related websites. Have no idea how my weblog ended up there or even why since I haven't really put much of any physics content here yet, aside from my Journal club postings. But still, very cool.

For those of you who don't have access to the latest issue online and just can't wait for it to show up in your local library, here it is.

http://blog.imabug.net

Eugene Mah, a medical physicist at the Medical University of South Carolina, keeps a daily weblog called IMABLOG. With a soupçon of physics, Mah logs the minutiae of his daily life and reflects on the world in general.

ick, it looks like crap

Hmm, just noticed that my weblog looks like crap under Netscape 7. It's mostly ok in IE 6. Looks just fine in Mozilla/Firefox. I must have style sheet and DIV issues. Wish someone would tell me these things.

Website CMS'

So today I ended up spending pretty much the entire day taking our department website and stuffing it into a web CMS (Content Management System), specifically phpWebSite.

The existing site is a series of individual webpages I created using DreamWeaver MX (6.1) and a custom template. I think it looks pretty good. DW templates make maintainng the look and feel of a website much easier. Using a CMS makes it even easier.

The whole process went pretty smoothly. Looks reasonably good too. Now I just have to figure out how to create custom themes for phpWebSite. I already have our intradepartment website running on phpWebSite, and I figured using it for the public site would make it easier on me to update and maintain.

The downside of it is that my dynamically generated pages won't work inside the CMS. I'll have to find a workaround for that.

Haven't released it yet since I'm still playing, testing and tweaking. I hope to have it all ready soon.

Physics discussion

Here's an interesting looking resource for physics type geeks.
Physics Forums. Kind of like the sci.physics newsgroups but probably with a higher SNR and a pretty wide range of topics. Haven't spent too much time browsing it yet, but it looks interesting. Need to spend some more time checking it out.

Don't see anything in my field though. Maybe it's not so great after all... :)

Diet? I don't need no steekin diet!

This Flash cartoon was sent to me by my wife. I thought it was pretty funny.

Fatkins diet

Warning: Language is not appropriate for young or sensitive ears.

Google recruiting

I've really been getting a kick out of Google's recent recruiting ads, such as their GLAT booklet and their big question billboards. The most recent ad is one that I saw in the latest issue of Physics Today.

It's a big full page ad titled "How to Care for Your Big, Wonderful High-Performance Brain". It looks like one of those full-page ads for weight loss or hair growing products, or maybe an old fashioned PSA ad, or even one of those big anatomical charts you might see in your doctor's office but way more amusing.

There are sections titled "Big Brains Crave Algae and Acid", "Lead is Big-Brain Kryptonite", "Get Your Nap On" to name a few. I think they're actually pretty clever and creative.

Referer spam

Lately I've been getting a lot of referer spam: hits to web pages on the server using spammy HTTP_REFERER URLs. Most of them for some reason are hitting non-existent scripts and pages, but there are a bunch of them hitting things like my photo galleries and such.

It's gotten to the point where the Referring URL stats collected by Awstats is pretty much useless because all the 'Links from External Pages' is nothing but a list of spammy URLs.

Not entirely sure what the point of it all is. But I'm not the only one.

I wonder if there's a way to tap into the MT Blacklist database to block them. Something I'll have to think on.

GeoURL is back!

GeoURL is back! The 2.0 version is still in beta, but just as easy to use as before. In fact the required tags haven't changed at all and seems to function in pretty much the same way it did before. It was cool when I discovered it back in July 2003, and still is now that it's back.

Pop-unders are back

Those pesky pop-under ads are back. After switching to Firefox, it was so nice never having to see pop-up/under ads anymore. But someone's figured out a way around Firefox's pop-up/under ad blocking and now they're polluting my eyeballs again.

Argh.

So far only one website I (used to) visit on a regular basis (which I won't be anymore) has these new pop-up ads. Web advertising has become one of those necessary evils. I can live with ads plastered all over a website (obviously the less obtrusive and annoying, the better), but making ads pop up windows all over my screen like weeds is a guaranteed way of driving my eyeballs away from a site. I'm sure the same goes for many other geeks too.

Pop-up ads...just say no.

Will you be my neighblogger?

Here's a neat idea that goes along with GeoURL. Blog Map created by Chandu Thota.

You simply add GeoURL or GeoTags meta tags to your weblog index page. Then go to BlogMap and sumbit your weblog URL. Then you're rewarded with linkage that gives you a map of your blogging neighbours (or neighbloggers). Pretty nifty, I think.

I don't seem to have many neighbloggers yet.

Found via J Bentley

GMail keeps growing and growing

Google Mail is up to 2089 MB plus change of storage, and still growing. Ever since April 1, the storage space counter they've had has been going up and up. Slower now than it was before. So how much higher will it go? Is it all real?

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