Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Facebook Psycho Overreacting about eBook Inadequacies

Dear Facebook Marketing professional:  Thank you.  This is by far the best advertisement I have seen on Facebook today.  Not only does the coked up psycho make me want to click your ad, it also makes me wonder, "if I am not getting the results promoting ebooks should I yell at a laptop as loud as I can to get better results."  It was then that I realized that I should no longer fight through my ebook promoting woes through elicit screaming.  There is a time and a place for screaming and it isn't at my netbook while wondering about my ebook promotional inadequacies.  My yelling should be saved for old people in front of me at the grocery store and lady bugs who land on me while walking to my car.  I know you know better lady bug but I do loathe you…

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Don't Find Out Who Views Your Facebook Profile

Consider this a public service announcement for Facebook users: No matter how many groups you join, pages you become a fan, friends you annoy with requests - there is no program that will allow you to see who views your Facebook profile.

Let's take a quick tour of how the client-server model works and the difference between the client and the server.  When you open up your Web browser and view the Internet, you are acting as a client accessing resources from a server.  In this example, let's use Facebook as our Web server.  The Facebook Web server is where your Facebook profile is housed.  When you go to look at someone's profile page, your Web client is accessing that server.

Since that is the case, the Web server will be the equipment that is not only hosting your profile page but also is keeping the information about who views this information.  Facebook has made it crystal clear that they will never open up the ability for developers to create anything that would be able to access that information as it would go against their privacy policy.

Speaking as a developer, I suppose it would be possible that a developer could create a tool that if someone was scoping your profile, clicked the tool, it could set some sort of cookie with information that could be read later or could write to a database.  However, since the profile page is static, it won't automatically write anything and would require some sort of action by the person stalking you, and that would defeat the whole purpose.  In other words, it would never do what the phishing and malware sites claim to do. short, stop becoming a victim of possible phishing schemes and malware because - IT IS NOT POSSIBLE TO FIND OUT WHO LOOKS AT YOUR PROFILE IN FACEBOOK!!!!  Don't know if I was clear?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Looking for a Job: Start by Cleaning your Online Reputation

Many college students are taking time this week to get into all kinds of debauchery while on Spring Break. For seniors, returning back to campus will find graduation approaching followed by looking for work in a less than flattering job market. Perhaps photos and descriptions of what happened on Spring Break may be best kept off of the Internet and out of the prying eyes of future employers. As a matter of fact, keeping all private information off the Internet is a good rule of thumb when looking for a job.

A 2009 study by Microsoft found that 79% of employers have said they have looked up potential applicants online prior to hiring. On top of that, 70% have stated that they have rejected candidates based on their findings.

High schoolers, don't think that you are out of the woods here. The more prestigious the college, the more they will use the same tactics to weed out potential troublemakers prior to acceptance into their program.

What to do?
Start out simple. Plug your name in quotes in the big three search engines, Yahoo!, Bing, and Google. See what comes up. If you have a common name like I do, you may want to throw a little bit more information in the search query such as the state you live (outside of the quotes). If you have used your middle name, etc. search that way as well.

Maybe plug in some other information, search for your e-mail address, phone number, even address. These are common things that perspective employers will have in front of them from your resume.

Did you find very little about yourself that could be incriminating?
Good. Now keep it that way and make it part of your routine to check up on your online presence at least monthly. Most employers have a six month "probationary period". They may do this check again at the end of the six months.

Did you find some things that you may not want the prying eyes of a potential college recruiter or employer to find?
Get rid of it. Go to the site that is hosting this information and write the site's Webmaster. Ask them to take down the comment you may have made or to remove any pictures or blog post that may involve you.

What about Facebook?
While you may feel that the default settings are fine, I would recommend making some changes to tighten them up. Doing some simple searching with some of the default security functions, I was able to do a search for a random name and could see the following:

- The individual's profile picture.
- The individual's friends, and more importantly their friend's profile pictures (just because your picture is pristine doesn't mean it won't play a role of what your friends are doing. You can have a picture of you sitting on a pew in church but just to the right is a picture of your Facebook friend polishing a beer bong and you will be guilty by association).
- Pages that the individual is a fan of (so being a fan of 'If you've ever called peach a slut while playing mario kart 64' may not be the best call).

I have two GeekyClown posts that you need to read to start out with:

1.) The most important thing is to keep Google from searching your Facebook page so you do not come up in their results - Tell Google to Stop Searching your Facebook Page. This page also details how to turn Facebook's search results to 'Only Friends' so they can't go into Facebook and search for you.

2.) Switch all of your privacy settings to 'Only Friends'. You can do that here - Update your Facebook Privacy Already. This will keep photos of you posted by others who may have tagged you out of the eyes of anyone you haven't become friends with.

NOTE: Once you get the job, be very careful who you become friends with on social networking sites. You don't want to invite your private and personal information into the work place. If you get that coworker friend request just ignore it and if they ask about it, tell them you don't ever use it and didn't even know that you got requested.

What about Twitter?
Twitter has more risk since anyone can follow you without you even knowing much about them. My recommendation would be to simply keep your personal name out of Twitter. Make your Twitter name something that is unique but not easily recognizable via Twitter. You can change it through the settings. If you feel it is important to keep your name on Twitter easily recognizable, protect your Tweets under the settings so that only people you approve will be able to see your Tweets.

Following this will keep employers from seeing your activities to keep you from getting that job or into college. Now, anything you do offline is up to you and common sense.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Totally Worthless Survey Shows: Gamers Get More Action than Non-gamers

I can take just a little bit of solace with a new study released by Giant Realm basically stating that gamers have moved out of their parent's basement and actually have some sort of social lives.

To sum up the survey quickly, 2700 men aged 18-34 found: 75% have at least one gaming console in their home; 57% are the first to be asked by family and friends about their opinion on new technology, movies, music, and TV; 67.4% have gone out with friends in the past week (as compared to 54.9% of non-gamers); gamers are more likely than non-gamers to take care of themselves, i.e. shower, shave, etc.; gamers are more likely to go to the gym - 28.1% to 22.1%; one-third of gamers have gone out on a date in the past week compared to a quarter of non-gamers - 35.6% to 25.1%.

What does this mean?  Geeks are cooler than non-geeks.  I knew it.  Now, why couldn't this of held true in the late 80's/early 90's.  My entire high school life would have been much different. I would have been the guy with the ladies, going to the gym and, well, showering instead of working through all 96 levels of Super Mario World in my parent's basement talking on a bulletin board service using a 2800 baud modem.

Sarcasm aside, this study actually finds that video games have become more mainstream than they were ten/fifteen years ago.  Games like Guitar Hero, Rock Band, and dozens of party games have made even the non-gamer a gamer.  Couple the non-gamer games with the introduction of the Wii and it made it cool to be a gamer (really Microsoft Word, you think I should have changed 'cool' to 'cools' in this sentence - great grammar check there Mr. English). 

The main question in my mind is, what is the need for this survey?  Is there really still a stereotypical view that people who play video games are pocket-protector wearing nerds who sit around with only other of society's geeky waste.  Anyone who has walked through a college dorm in the last fifteen years knows that video games are not only common, they are prevalent among students, both male and female.  Why would that end after college? 

Anyone born around the NES era of gaming and beyond more than likely grew up with at least one form of video game in their house.  If nothing else, at least a Game Boy probably floated through the home at some point.  For some, gaming may become a passion and for others, just an occasional fun thing to do on a Tuesday night.  Either way, the survey itself is skewed by the first question of 'do you have a video game console in your home' as most people do.  A 2008 study by the Electronic Software Association found that 65% of households have a video game console and that the average age of the gamer was 35 (which wouldn't have even been applicable for the Giant Realm survey). did their own study in 2008 and found that over 50% of adults play video games and 75% of 18-29 have a gaming console and 68% play on the computer.  In the end, this means more people in America play video games than don't.

The need for this survey is more of a slap in the face at gamers by having to announce to the world that gamers are regular people and not the two guys walking down the street with a huge wooden box of computer equipment being called 'Nerds' by Ogre and the rest of the fraternity.  Maybe I am wrong, did the stereotype of video game players come back from the 80's like the return of Ratt and Motley Crue?  Or did Giant Realm come up with a survey that would garner a ton of attention to get their brand out?  Glad I could contribute.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Site Specific Searching in Search Engines

I just taught this to my class this week and thought I would share with my devoted readers (who didn't pay for the class but we will deal with logistics later).  One way to search a specific Web site when using a search engine is to use the site: command.  For an example (I'll use Google as my search engine), if you know that you would like to search a specific Web site when using your favorite search engine, go to your search engine (Google) and type in: search terms

Note, there is no space between : and the site name but is a space between the .com and the search term.  So for this example, let's use: nintendo

The resulting hit list will just be results from

You also can do this and specify the top level domain (.com, .gov, .edu, etc.).  With tax season here, this is a good way of getting only .gov Web sites when trying to get answers to your questions.  You can do that by the same ideology:

site:top level domain search terms

Example: tax forms

This can save you time searching when you can plan what you are looking for in advance.  Happy searching!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Dear Nintendo, Can We Have A Two Player Double Dragon for Virtual Console?

In a glamorous time often referred to as "the 80's" there lived a special place where those who were unable to get dates would find refuge with other mullet having, Dokken t-shirt wearing, dateless individuals.  A place where the scent of popcorn was as pungent as the cacophony of electronic fuzz.  A place long obsolete known as the arcade.

While arcades have made their way into the annals of history for such classics as Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, and, Space Invaders, there was one title that would change classic gaming and show a darker side.  A side where you can use a baseball bat on a woman and throw dynamite in the face of impossibly large men.  A side where you and your buddy can team up and take on the punks that took your lady.  That title: Double Dragon.

People would line up to play it.  It swallowed quarters like college freshman swallow Milwaukee’s Best. Besides its blatant violent nature, what really grabbed the impressionable player was the ability for a friend to join in and help take on the machine gun toting Willy.

As a pre-teen exposed to this, it was magical.  It had all the debauchery of a rated R movie without having the need to sneak it around my clueless parents.  I couldn't wait until I could get it at home and my brother and I could team up to tear up the Double Dragon bad guys.  It came out for the Sega Master System and it was a good port.  Two player action and the basic elements of the arcade but I didn't have an SMS at home and the house of the friend in the neighborhood who did smelled like moth balls and stale cigar smoke so I needed to wait until the NES version would become available.

When it finally arrived, I was stoked.  We sat down with it and pushed two players and instantly said WTF???!!!??  This wasn't two player Double Dragon, it was a stupid battle that was worthless.  You can only play the main game as one player?  I was crushed.  Now, don't get me wrong, in the end Double Dragon on NES was a great game and it does deserve its spot on Virtual Console.

But Nintendo, come on, release the arcade version.  Altered Beast, Gaplus, Golden Axe, Mappy, Ninja Gaiden (both NES and arcade versions available), Rygar, Shinobi, Soloman's Key, Space Harrier, Starforce, Tecmo Bowl (both NES and arcade versions available), and The Tower of Druaga are all ported arcade games, why not Double Dragon?  Retrogamers beg to you Nintendo...give us our two player Double Dragon.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Geeky Rant - Politics in Facebook: Political Podium or Friend Offender

The health care debacle was put to a close this week and I knew that it was going to set off a tirade of political agenda posts on Facebook both for and against the health care bill. While I work diligently to keep my political beliefs as far away from this blog as I possibly can, I do have to bring up the use of Facebook as an appropriate forum to spew your political beliefs.

Let's be 100% honest, we need more political opinion in this world like we need another TV medical drama. I remember when Obama won the presidency and I literally had pages upon pages of 'congratulations Obama' posts meshed with 'the country is going to hell' posts. Of course, mutual friends on different ends of the spectrum began to use the comments section of these status updates as their own little political debate sucking in all of us innocent bystanders. Each concurrent political maneuver followed suit.

The question, is Facebook a good forum to spread your political agenda? The answer, it all depends on what you use Facebook for and the realization that you may be either offending or neutralizing friends who may disagree with you. A few years back, our whole company was forced to endure a day of sensitivity training in the office to keep all of us in line (a complete and utter waste of time). One of the key points I remember from that, the roughly forty-five seconds I wasn't playing out an episode of 'The Simpsons' in my head, was they told us to keep our political opinions to ourselves. Actually I remember two things, that and don't comment on any of your coworkers body parts (the billboard for sensitivity training should be: Sensitivity Training - Making the Obvious Happen).

Now, in my office, it lasted all of a day before our MSNBC-ers crossed with our Fox News-ers with me keeping a very safe distance not wanting to voice an opinion either way knowing the potential consequences.

Why you shouldn't
If you use Facebook as a tool to deal with any coworkers, potential clients, or for any other business means, I would highly recommend keeping your political (as well as your religious) beliefs to yourself. It isn't to say you don't have them or don't have a right to express them; it may leave a preconceived notion in the minds of potential business associates. Especially those who run a small-business, do you really want potential clients you friend reading about your agenda? What if they have different beliefs than you do?

That is the potential of Facebook that people don't see. You get a friend request from a coworker, boss, potential client, or anyone you don't have close ties, add them, and don't think about them again. You post for your close-knit group of friends who, generally, are the reason you log onto Facebook in the first place. However, you may not remember that those others who don't know you as well are reading the same posts.

Kinda like this (

When I teach my Intro to Internet classes, one of the things I drill into their heads is to avoid sarcasm at all costs while using the Internet because those who don't know you well may not pick up on it. The same goes with your political agenda. Voicing your political opinion may feel necessary, especially when there is a constant struggle between the parties, but you can come off like Glenn Beck or Dylan Ratigan to those that may disagree.

Why you should
Hey, Facebook is a place where everyone does have a right and freedom to voice their opinion and it is a good opportunity to voice that opinion, especially if you use Facebook strictly for personal means. And, let's face it, those who are going to scream their opinion are going to find any venue they can to voice that opinion.

However, if you are going to force feed your political agenda on your Facebook friends, please do us all a favor and be informative and accurate. I have seen so many status updates that simply state, 'Obama is ruining our nation'. Well, that doesn't do a whole lot for anyone. Below it, there will be five 'likes' from people who are happy someone is saying something negative they can jump on, an argumentative comment or two from those who just can't hold back an argument, and the rest of your friends who may disagree who simply will ignore that post (and probably the next half dozen until you say something with some sort of merit or they may even 'Hide' you and not tell you since they didn't want to hurt your feelings). Here's an idea, how about saying, 'Obama is ruining our nation because...' and actually say something that people may be able to form their own opinion about instead of listening to your expert opinion that shows no evidence of the point being made.

Also, don't regurgitate information you hear on radio and TV shows, what your dad or coworkers tell you, or what you think you heard is accurate without doing some research on your own first. Nothing entertains me more then when I read something that is blatantly false and the author's argument is that they heard it from someone else. Both sides of the political media spin facts to make their point, that doesn't mean spouting those facts to others without research is in your best interest. If you feel strongly enough about your opinion to subject all of your Facebook friends to it, at least do the research to make sure what you are spouting is accurate. One obviously false statement will leave a lasting impression with all of your friends and especially those who may disagree with you on future arguments (people love to throw, "you also said this and that was wrong so why should anyone believe you now" when making their point).

In closing, this ended up being a much longer rant than I originally anticipated, my suggestion, keep your political opinions to yourself if you use Facebook for any means other than personal means. If you are going to use Facebook as a podium to speak your political thoughts, make sure that you are informative and that you know what you are talking about. You would hate to upset you Facebook friends, they may stop sending Farkle chips or requests for Mafia Wars.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Somehow...I Doubt This

For some reason, I am doubting that they will be paying $67 an hour for game testers for NES games seeing as the system as been obsolete since the early 1990's.  Unless by game testers they mean people who can sell a new pin to get the old ones to work without blinking.  Sorry Facebook - try again.  And, BTW, stop looking at me, pointing, and laughing Obama and Pelosi.

Facebook: Link To Your Friend's Profile In Your Feed

Wow, I am on a Facebook kick this week.  I see that some people do not know how make a friend's name in their 'News Feed' a link to their profile.  It is simple.

When you are typing in your friend's name, put an @ before their name.  When Facebook sees the @ symbol, it will give you a drop down of your friends that you can choose from.  Click on the friend's name and the @ symbol disappears and the person's name is now a link to their profile. 

Is it an obvious rip off of Twitter?  Yes.

Make Sure Your Picture Doesn't End Up On A Facebook Ad

I noticed another little privacy default in Facebook that allows for the potential of private information to be leaked to your friends by allowing your name or picture to be placed in their ads.  At this point, Facebook strictly says 'Facebook does not give third party applications or ad networks the right to use your name or picture in ads.  If this is allowed in the future, this setting will govern the usage of your information.'  In other words, we do not allow this at this point but if we decide to change that policy, we won't tell you and you will find out when someone writes to let you know your picture is on a Viagra ad. 

To turn off this setting:

- Launch Facebook. 

- Click the arrow just to the right of 'Account' (in the upper-right-hand corner).

- Click 'Account Settings'.

- Click on 'Facebook Ads' tab.

- Change the drop-down from 'Only my Friends' to 'No one'.

Yet another privacy hole averted.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Dealing With Too Much Information (TMI)

You log into Facebook and you see it again. And it's the same person again. It starts out alright, a recap of some basic happenings of their day, "had a dr. appt this afternoon." Fair enough. "They found out that I have to have some tests done." Ok. "They need to check my phlegm for intestinal parasites." Oh, come on, too much information (TMI).

It has turned into a plague with social networking taking over as a component of everyday life. Back in the early 90's, this wasn't too much of a concern when using a BBS but since then, TMI has slowly become an epidemic.

Which then requires the ultimate of decisions - when do you cut the TMI abuser off? When to cut the cord and let them sail into TMI oblivion?

You start out by answering THE simple question: does this individual ever have anything relevant to say? Or, is every single post information you simply don't care about and way too detailed than you care to know. If that is the case, the simplest solution is to remove the friend from your social networking circle.

However, what if they occasionally do have some little tidbits of interesting knowledge, then what...

Twitter & Buzz
Twitter and Buzz are a little different since you tend to have more people that you follow. It isn't as personal a medium as say Facebook so, that in itself, makes TMI a greater violation to its uses. In Twitter & Buzz, I simply use the three strike rule. First TMI, I think about how often this person posts relevant and useful information. If the answer to that is not too often, then I wait for strike two. Still nothing relevant, last strike. If still do not get myself a link or anything of interest, it is time to let them go and unfollow them.

Break out a hint
When dealing with more tight-knit and personal sites, such as Facebook, you may want to break out a hint to show the person that maybe, the entire world does not care about their personal business. Maybe throw an, "ew" as a reply to a rather unsavory description. How about a, "I really didn't need to know that" but put a nice smiley at the end to show that you did find it inappropriate but were kind enough to say it in a joking manner. A simple, "TMI" may suffice a medium savvy social networking user.

In Facebook, you can always hide them
If you don't feel right deleting the user as a friend, you can always just hide the user's posts from your homepage (I explain how to do this here). This way, you won't be off of their friend list but you don't need to succumb to hearing all about their digestive issues. If they are repeat offenders writing TMI on your wall, remove their ability to comment on your wall. If they decide to message you about it, you may have to do the unthinkable...

Confront them
They are human. Let them know that they have a habit of saying just a bit too much for the social networking community. Let them know that the girl you met at that party and drunkenly friended or the guy who sat next to you in social studies in the eighth grade may not care about your long, dysfunctional relationship with your father. Break it to them gently but firmly. If that doesn't work...

Unfriend them
It is time. You dropped a hint, you tried to hide them, you even confronted them. Now, as Sting said, "if you love somebody, set them free". It is time that they go on without you. They can continue to tell their bathroom stories and about their family problems but no longer to you. But, at least you tried to solve a friend's TMI problem. It was your version of an intervention. Not everyone can be saved.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

New Rodriguez 'Predators' Trailer Filled With Geeky Goodness

I kept meaning to get to this after it came out earlier this week and while this may not be the most appropriate place to put a movie trailer, it is a geeky classic so I am putting it here anyway. Here is a sneak peek at the new Robert Rodriguez 'Predators' due out in July. I have been a fan of Rodriguez since working at a movie theater in the early 90's and seeing 'El Mariachi'. What can he bring to the Predator franchise remains to be seen. Also, can The Pianist and Morpheus really be able to take on the Predator reigns held tightly by Schwarzenegger, Apollo Creed, and the governor of Minnesota? Either way...check out the Predator-y goodness.

Google Chrome Extension Must Have - FastestChrome

Over the course of the last couple of months I have shown a relatively strong commitment to Google Chrome. Since it has added extensions, that commitment has just grown. I have recommended a few extensions to you and have a new one that any Chrome user should have named, FastestChrome.

In a nutshell, it is one of the most useful extensions I have grabbed thus far. It takes on the role of Internet Explorer 8's Accelerator concept with the ability to highlight words and then search them in Google, Wikipedia, and a few other sites.

The other major component is the ability to have one continuous page load without having to go and click the next page button. I have become accustomed to having all of my search engine results on one page that I don't know if I could ever go back to traditional browsing.

Chrome users, if you don't have it, drop what you are doing and go here to get FastestChrome. You will be sooo happy you did.

Monday, March 15, 2010


Ok, I am a huge fan of being a full-fledged movie collectible fanatic.  Hell, I grew up with so many Star Wars action figures that it probably pushed back my first date by half-a-decade.  But, this is just wrong on so many levels.   Two things that should never be mixed is Twilight and action figures.

Reliving One Of My Favorite Epic Fails

After being forced to tweak a proprietary version of Word 2007 all day today, I decided to throw a classic epic fail on the part of Microsoft.  It is worthy of its meme status and a good end to my day.


And a bonus thank you to Mr. Gates.

View HTML Source in Word 2007

In Word 2000, I could go into view and select HTML source and then go and delete some of the HTML tags. I don't see the HTML Source in 2007. Do you know where it is or do I need to go into notepad to do it?

I got that from a user over the weekend. Microsoft took out the ability to view the HTML source from its 2007 series of Office products. It is annoying as can be for developers who have to use Word as one of the means of creating online pages. Now, if you create a document in 2007, you save it as Web Page, filtered and then have to go into TextPad or NotePad and adjust the markup.

You can adjuster Word 2007 so that it will give you an option to view HTML source when the document is opened.

- Click on the Office logo (upper-left-hand corner).

- Choose 'Word Options'.

- Choose the 'Advanced' tab on the left.

- Scroll down to the 'General' section and choose 'Confirm file format conversion on open'.

- Then, when you open a HTML file, it will ask you what format you would like to open it.  If you choose, 'Plain Text' it will show you the HTML code.

Unlike 2000's version, you won't be able to check the source on an active document.  You will need to close it so that you will be given the option on open for 'Plain Text'.

Friday, March 12, 2010

6 Sites To Download Free Music

I hate to play the old man card but, back in my day if I wanted to listen to live performances, rarities, or import CDs of my favorite bands, I would have to go to a specialty record store and spend $35+ for it. Since the invention known as "the Internet" has become commonplace for music lovers, I no longer have to shell out the big dollars and can download the same CDs for free.

Here are six sites that I go to in order to do just that. I break them down by torrented versus direct download sites, if you need an account, if they tell the source of the music or not, and if it is lossy (mp3). If you don't know what any of that means, may I suggest a little site called Google. Enjoy!

- eTree - Torrent Site. You do not need to have an account. Gives the source information. Lossless. Probably my favorite torrent site. Here is where all the hippies flock to grab some Grateful Dead, Phish, and other jam band-esque music. A must for anyone into that type of music.

- Jam To This - Torrent Site. You need to have an account. Gives the source information. Lossless. Another torrent site. This one has changed a bit over the years. It now has a great deal of 80's and 90's hair metal. If you wanna rock, I mean really, this is a good place to start.

- Guitars 101 - Direct download from RapidShare or MegaUpload. You do not need to have an account. Generally doesn't give the source information. Lossless and Lossy. I like this site because it has a range of just about everything from Prince to the Dead, Van Halen to Frank Sinatra. On top of which, it does offer lossy if you want to grab stuff for your mp3 player.

- Pure Live Gigs - Torrent Site. You do need to have an account. Usually gives the source information. Lossless. Another rather general site. Has a lot of different stuff that I don't see anywhere else. It is a smaller community so some of the downloads may take a little longer to get a seeder.

- The Traders Den - Torrent Site. You do need to have an account. Give the source information. Lossless. This has a nice array of things. You can get your Medeski Martin & Wood, Prince, Metallica, and Sarah McLachlan all in one place. Worth checking out.

- Dime-A-Dozen - Torrent Site. You need to have an account. Gives the source information. Lossless. I included this but I will warn you it is one of the best torrent sites for its range of different music and the quantity is unreal but getting an account is a real pain. Basically, you have to wait until someone gets kicked off so you just have to keep trying until you get one. Good luck.

Any sites that you would like to recommend, go ahead and leave it in the comments section.  Happy listening.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Coping with the Loss of a Facebook Friend

It has happened to the best of us. You log into Facebook and suddenly you are one friend less than you were 24 short hours ago. Your pulse races, you begin to sweat, thoughts of, "who doesn't like me" run through your mind. It is an instant transformation to high school and the discovery that there are people in this world who may not like everything you may have to say.

Facebook is not like Twitter or Buzz, this is more personal. If it's the random guy you met at a bar, a fellow Mafia Wars player, or the girl who sat across from you in Geography class fifteen years ago - not such a big deal. But if it's someone you thought you had a connection with - it has the potential of destroying your social networking confidence. Alas, I have some suggestions that can help to cope with the loss of that special Facebook friend.

See if they have left Facebook
Perhaps it wasn't you, it was them. Maybe they didn't enjoy the Facebook experience. Maybe they were getting some creepy friend requests and split. Search for them. If they have left Facebook completely then you can breathe a sigh of relief and move on without a care in the world. You are still a Facebook connoisseur.

Is this person a Facebook nOOb?
I had a friend that I had since high school that I had a good rapport with: wall postings, messages, the works. However, I woke up one morning and found we were no longer friends. Risking my Facebook dignity, I added him as a friend again and he accepted and sent me a message asking why I sent another friend request since we were still friends. I alerted him we weren't and he still had no idea. Either a.) I am naive and he did delete me and played dumb or; b.) he just is tech dumb and deleted me without his knowledge or; c.) he didn't follow the coveted, "don't drink and Facebook" rule and woke up the next morning in a puddle of his own vomit, all of his friends deleted off of Facebook after losing his cool due to a heated debate he had with another intoxicated Facebook friend over the amount of Chicken McNuggets that can come from a whole chicken.

Make a desperate plea for amends
Like George Costanza, you can take the fact that someone may not like you to heart and do everything in your power to win back the heart of your fallen Facebook friend. You can write this person a heartfelt message begging for forgiveness for whatever Facebook error you may have made that cost you your Facebook friend. Beg, plead, and possibly cry your way back into this individual's Facebook life. Let them know that you can change for them and that you will do your best to be a better Facebook friend. A tear or two may need to be shed, or at least assumed since you can't see tears in a Facebook message, but get that Facebook friend back at all costs.

Let them know that you aren't going to take it
Who the hell does this person think they are? You went out of your way to be a good Facebook friend. You wished them a happy birthday on their birthday, you sent them Farkle chips, you even asked them to read your note, "25 Things I do every day" and then asked them to write their own so you could read it. And what did you get for your hard Facebook work, a silent dismissal from this person's Facebook universe. Well, you let them know that isn't right. Go ahead and send them a message. Tell them that you were the best damn Facebook friend there can be and tell them that it wasn't you, it was them. Perhaps throw some swearing in for good measure. Let them know that this isn't the way you treat a Facebook friend.

Spread rumors about them
If you have sent them the angry message but no reply, find mutual Facebook friends and let them know what is going on. Why should they get to be an innocent bystander? This is Facebook, there are no innocents, they all signed up for this...they knew what they were getting into. Start spreading rumors and lies. Berate your friends with all kinds of accusations and plea your side of the Facebook friend loss. If you lose any of those Facebook friends because of your ranting and berating, go ahead berate them too. This is the Internet, it was meant for this type of thing.

Accept the loss
Maybe you didn't communicate enough. Maybe you communicated too often. Maybe every other status update about how much you love your wife, husband, best friend, dog, cat, daughter, son, mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, sister, brother was too much for them to take. Maybe they didn't like being hammered with Mafia Wars requests. Maybe they just don't like you, hell not everyone has to like you - it is time to move on. Let the person go. You had some good times, you played some Scrabble, you send some Farmville requests…you have the memories. Let them go and realize that there are more fish in Fishville. Take the grown up approach and accept the loss. If that doesn't work, you can always send them that nasty message or start spreading rumors about them. Really, the possibilities are endless.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Ok, What Is The Deal With This Guy?!?

Every time I go on Facebook now, I get this guy with the crazy hair, full beard, and perma-stoned eyes staring at me.  Is it the only ad they have or does Facebook's ad engine feel that this would be the best advertisement for me? 

Blast from the Past: Video Game TV Marketing Through the Years

Being a child of the 80's, I got to see video games come from their infancy, being a nice perk that parent's shunned to a household item (that parent's still shun).  Over the years and with the increase in sales, as video game companies began seeing gaming as a formidable business model, I have always been fascinated at the way that they went about marketing gaming.  Atari started out as a "computer" for family gaming that could be enjoyed by kids of all ages.  That morphed into Nintendo which targeted younger ages.  Then Sega, Turbo-Grafix, and Super NES were EXTREME and out for the high school crowds.  Now, gaming marketing is aimed at a general population using themes from popular culture that doesn't necessarily have a genre.  As sales increased so did the quality of the marketing.  There was real money to be made and the marketing of new products was the first step.  Take a look at some of the TV commercials through the last thirty years to get a feel of how companies changed their perspective on video game marketing.

This oil tycoon took a minute away from drilling for more oil in Texas to make this commercial.

Super Pong is a real Atari


Don't you worry, it is listed in the Yellow Pages


Pac-Man? Who's he?


This is where hip-hop originated.

Even in the early 80's, Luigi was a bitch.

They are right, it will be fun.

Ahhhh...arcade controls. Love the Mr. Roboto feel to the music.

I am not sure if this is a commercial, it seems more like a trade show piece but I included it anyway.  Atari HAS reinvented the video game, that is until the NES comes out and then they fall into obscurity.

Well, if the Captain of the U.S. Video Game Team says so...

Gotta say...R.O.B. never worked. That is all.  I had the original NES with R.O.B. and the Zapper but no Super Mario Bros.  Tell me that doesn't suck??!!??

'Hang On! Hang On!'  Take a breath there Ricky Shroder.

Robocop lookalike, check. Denim jacket, check. 80's hair band metal, check.  An OUTRAGEOUS new game called Tetris, check.

Just don't sit on it...

Beware, some serious catchy tuneage going on here and a creepy Joe Montana to boot.


Stay calm. 3-D graphics, 360 degree rotation, 96 levels, 32,000 colors, even more enemies. Win.

It's like a Jackie Chan movie, but with better acting.

WTF?!? Is that Alton Brown with a ponytail?

Very 'Hackers'-esque, just missing Angelina Jolie.

This commercial ruined Christmas.

Grandpa at the end kind of looks like my high school algebra teacher.

The reason the Dreamcast failed...they spent all their money on this commercial.

Crouching Tiger, hidden Mario?

Marketing Professional: I got it...the perfect tagline...'Life's a game.' (Room bursts with applause).

Pretty snazzy Microsoft...pretty snazzy

Since David Lynch directed this, did you expect it to make sense or be actually about video games?

This baby REALLY freaked me out...

I'm not going to lie to you...this commercial always annoyed me...

Apparently the XBox 360 makes you want to throw water balloons at someone.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Bored? Learn to Draw 20 of my Favorite Cartoon Characters

Whether it be a long, dull lecture, a staff meeting to discuss items that do not involve you, a conference required for work, we are all forced to sit through events that it is nearly impossible to stay awake. I have recently discovered one easy thing to do that has unlimited future potential - work on drawings of my famous cartoon characters. Nothing impresses people more than being able to draw a perfect Bart Simpson.

Here is a list of 20 tutorials of my favorites from to help you get started:

- Bart Simpson
- Calvin (Calvin and Hobbes)
- Charlie Brown
- Fred Flintstone
- Hello Kitty
- Hobbes (Calvin and Hobbes)
- Homer Simpson
- Jerry (Tom and Jerry)
- The Joker
- Master Splinter (TMNT)
- Otto (The Simpsons)
- Scooby Doo
- Shaggy (Scooby Doo)
- Snoopy
- Sonic the Hedgehog
- Spongebob
- Stweie (Family Guy)
- Tom (Tom and Jerry)
- Woody Woodpecker
- Yoshi (SMB)

Friday, March 5, 2010

Geeky Round-Up: 2/27-3/5/10

Another boring week in the world of are the highlights...

You Shouldn't Have Buried Me, I'm Not Dead
They held a funeral for Internet Explorer 6 this week in Colorado. While it was nothing more than symbolic, we can all hope that people will upgrade to a different browser, but let's face it, they won't. If they have been using IE6 since 2001, why would they change now. It doesn't matter how many viruses they get or how slow the browser is, it came preloaded in Windows XP and dammit, it is going to stay on their computer. Of course, these are the same people who get to Facebook by going to Google and then typing Facebook as a search query. They are the bottom rung of the technological food chain.

Apple Announces Release Date for iPad
The iPad will be released in the U.S. on April 3 so trendy geeks better start getting their nickels together and get in line now because it is sure to have the crazy people camping out over the next couple of weeks. I stated a few weeks ago that I wasn't sold on the iPad and still am on the fence. I think that it will be a cool little extension of the iPhone but any heavy computing will be lacking. Also, lack of Flash support will hurt. That being said, if anyone would like to purchase one for me so that I can make a more educated decision, please feel free.

Yahoo! and Facebook Make Cyberbabies
Yahoo! is turning rather promiscuous. Two weeks ago it got it on with Bing, last week it hooked up with Twitter, and this week it is making a sweet, sweet partnership with Facebook. For the two people in the world who actually still use Yahoo!'s e-mail services, you will be able to start merging your Facebook contacts into your Yahoo! e-mail account. It would have been a great feature say, four years ago when Facebook was still rather new. At this point, don't most of us have the important contact information for our friends from Facebook in our e-mail contact list. And, if we don't, do I really want the e-mail address of the dude that sat across from me in Biology class fifteen years ago? Probably not. The good thing is, next week Yahoo! will shake its slutty self onto some other company just to fall short to Google. Poor, poor Yahoo!

Virtual Console Game This Week: Fatal Fury Special
Pretty cool fighting game that was released on the Neo Geo in 1993. It slipped under the radar for a lot of people seeing as the rest of the world were still enthralled with Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat. For anyone who is a fan of Fatal Fury, a must. For the rest of us, not too shabby and worth the points.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Asking for a RT? Was it for this my life I sought?

Over the last couple of weeks, I have been asked for an abundance of retweets (RT) on Twitter. From straight out begging, "please, please, please RT" to bribing with the promise of a "super prize", "RT & Follow for a chance to win an all paid vacation to beautiful Macomb, IL".

For Twitter nOObs, a RT is simply asking your followers to tweet your tweet to their followers hence, in all likelihood, getting you more followers (and some think Twitter is complicated).

I generally have never asked for a RT. Actually, up until last week, I never have but after receiving a good fifteen requests for RTs, I went ahead and sent a tongue-in-cheek, "let me join in the fun...RT and Follow @bbradley1975 for a chance to get really good karma."

Is asking for a RT bad netiquette? That is the tough question. Make you look desperate? Maybe. Bad netiquette? Probably not. The purpose of Twitter is to spread information (and to find out what you are eating at this exact minute or what time you plan to go to bed tonight) and if your information is worth the world to see, asking for a RT is acceptable.

That being said, please use this criteria before asking for a RT.

1.) Current content. I try to stay on top of current geeky happenings as they happen. I even have a weekly round-up of things that happen at the end of the week. Posting a link to last week's Geeky Round-up three months from now would be poor netiquette. And, asking for a RT would be really bad netiquette.

2.) Good content. Asking for a RT on an article that is two paragraphs long about the author's favorite flavor of Popsicle may not be the greatest example of the power of the RT. Asking for RT should be reserved for links or tweets that either, a.) you feel is entertaining; b.) is a useful link; c.) shows something unique that your followers may take interest.

3.) The prizes are real. I keep getting the "RT & Follow for a chance to win..." and always instantly wonder, how do I know there is even a prize to win? If you think about it, if some random user posts a, "RT @myname and follow to win a iPad" and you do it. Then some time goes by and you don't think about it again. Neither does the twelve-hundred other followers this user got from the promised prize that no one won. But you will be swamped with spam until you unfollow that user. I try to reserve my "RT & Follow to win" for sites that are established and I may actually win the prize promised.

In the end, asking for a RT should be reserved for the rare occasion where you feel your content is directly worth it. Doing it too often may make your followers feel used and make you look desperate. That being said...for the love of all that is worth anything in this world - - - please, please, please RT this article for a chance to win four delicious fruity pebbles.

To follow me on Twitter

And for those curious about the title of this post, I just grabbed this from eTree and was listening while I wrote this - Phish 4/24/93 (SBD) - Give it a listen

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Stewart and Colbert Pulled from Hulu: A Sign of Things to Come?

As a coincidental follow-up to yesterday's post, Viacom announced that they will be pulling 'The Daily Show' and 'The Colbert Report' from Hulu as of March 9, 2010, and forcing online users to only be able to view the streaming media via the show's Web site or through Could this be a trend of things to come, especially if Hulu and others like it begin to start charging for its services (as it had announced in late 2009)?

On top of that, will this change Hulu's business model? Daily Show and Colbert are both popular titles on Hulu. But I am not sure that they are big enough for Hulu to consider scrapping their plans to begin charging users for its services. If anything, since the decision to cancel these programs on Hulu was a financial decision, it may make the chances of Hulu to start charging more of a possibility to keep current and potential programming happy by having more of a revenue stream to offer.

The downside for us as users is that the player doesn't allow for HD like the Hulu player. Also, users who have come to depend on the Hulu desktop will lose out on these programs.

However, as much as I hate to say it, I have a feeling this is just the beginning of things to come. As online intellectual property becomes more and more of a commodity, the companies that own the rights may begin to tighten their belts on who accesses it. Why send traffic to another site and give advertising dollars to that site's ad partners without proper compensation? That was Viacom's claim - the compensation wasn't worth giving the property to a third-party. The question is, will others follow suit or is this just a setback for Hulu. These programs may be the first to demand a higher compensation and Hulu balked but what if others start to follow? We will have to wait and see what the numbers look like for and once they regain control of this programming on their respected sites. If it spikes, don't be surprised that this is just the beginning and some of your favorite shows begin to leave Hulu.

To visit -here

To visit - here

Monday, March 1, 2010

IT Departments Old Way of Thinking Hurting the Industry

I have to admit, after working in IT for over a decade, I am still completely taken aback on some of the thinking that goes on when talking with other IT professionals. There is a sort of 'old school' thinking that so many of them have that is not only outdated but has put the entire industry in a funk.

Internet Explorer 6
Let's start simple, Internet Explorer 6. I keep taking calls about Web projects that aren't performing properly because the user is still running IE6. IE6 was and is buggy, and it always will be. It is an old program that has been outdated. When I ask, "why don't you upgrade," the answer I always get, "our IT department won't let us." I am beyond confused on why an IT department would restrict upgrading an old, security laden program with a newer and more secure version.

I talked in my blog 'The Internet Explorer 6 Conundrum: Part 1' here that one of the reasons is that there are third-party proprietary software packages that is built into IE6 that won't run on IE7 or IE8. These companies feel they invested the money in this software and it needs to be used. When is it time to bite the bullet and upgrade that software as well? What kind of thinking is based on hopes that an outdated and buggy program is a better solution than reconstructing third-party software to work with newer browsers. How many security breaches do you need to have before it is time to upgrade?

The Internet
I am always interested at the level of thinking that goes behind restricting all Internet access. This was more prevalent in the early 2000's where IT departments do not allow its users to surf the Internet to any other sites besides those that are allowed. In most cases, this starts with a power hungry VP somewhere who trickles down these rules through HR and eventually to IT.

But, there are other cases where I have seen IT departments shut off a good portion of the Internet as a security concern. To start with, if you don't have IE6, you may not have as strong a concern. That being said, there is a precedent that gets set when you restrict users. It is as if the IT department is saying, "you have been hired to do a job, yet we don't trust you do that job and think that you will be spending your day on the Internet." It tells coworkers we are in charge and don't mess with the bull. This is just one of many reasons that IT departments are given a bad rep.

That being said, some studies have hinted that allowing employees some freedom to surf during breaks and lunch actually increases productivity. Now, don't get me wrong, I understand shutting down streaming media sites for bandwidth concerns and do understand that some users have a tendency to get viruses, etc. more than others. However, I don't think that shutting down the Internet is the answer. Perhaps training would be a better solution. It may also create a better employee.

Staying on top of IT
I was talking with a gentleman at a bar a few months ago who also worked in IT. I brought up a couple of ideas and current topics and it was obvious he had no idea what I was talking about. The concept of Moore's Law doesn't just apply to computer memory and speed but in the technology itself. Getting a CS degree in 1978 doesn't mean you will understand growing trends and new technology of 2010. It is the responsibility of the IT professional to stay on top of this current technology. Lawyers, doctors, teachers, social workers, and dozens of other professions require continuing education courses to stay on top of their fields. Generally, IT departments don't require this so it is up to the individual. And, if you aren't interested in educating yourself, then don't be surprised when it is your infrastructure that has a security breach because you are using outdated software or haven't properly plugged some security holes.