Archive for the ‘Site of the Day’ Category

New Web Address Endings coming soon?

Posted on April 16th, 2009 in Computer software/hardware, Historic Technology, Site of the Day, Software/Hardware Reviews, Tech News, Webpage/SEO | No Comments »

According to an article in USA today,

“The familiar .com, .net, .org and 18 other suffixes — officially “generic top-level domains” — could be joined by a seemingly endless stream of new ones next year under a landmark change approved last summer.

The current TLDs are :
.aero  –  Air-transport industry
.asia  – Asia-Pacific region
.biz  – Business
.cat  – Catalan language sites
.com –  Commercial entities (open to anyone)
.coop – Cooperatives
.edu –  Educational
.gov  – Governmental
.info –  Information
.int  – International organizations
.jobs –  Companies
.mil – U.S. military
.mobi –  Mobile devices
.museum – Museums
.name –  Individuals, by name
.net –  Network
.org – Organization
.pro – Professions
.tel – Internet communication services
.travel – Travel and tourism industry related

(List of TLDs from here)

What the ICANN is proposing would allow anyone to register .”anything”.  Instead of DietCoke.com it could be diet.coke.  That’s it.  Our website could be flash.ladybug.  Explosiontheory.com could become Explosiontheory.bang.   Google could have .google  Mail.google, maps.google, search.google.

On one hand, this could open up some interesting web addresses.  No more adding in “.com” after mail.google to check my email.  On the other hand, this chage is removing one of most important orginizing features of the internet.  So that I’m not turning this post into a product pitch, I’m going to use Slum Cola from Futarama as my example product.

slurm

Right now, Slurms website would be Slurm.Com.  That’s their main site.  Slurm would probably also own Slurm.Net, Slurm.biz, and maybe Slurm.Info as well.  All of those sites re-direct you back to Slurm.Com, so that there’s almost no chance of someone missing the Slurm website.  Along with “Slurm,” there’s probably SlurmCola, SlurmIsAddicting, and numerous other promotional sites registered under the .com, .net, and .biz domains.  The last thing someone wants is for a brand to get hijacked.  Companies work hard to make sure that they’ve got as many different combinations of names and phrases that they might want under their control.  So, as things stand now, Slurm only needs to worry about 4 or 5 major domains (Slurm. _____)

Now, under the changes the ICANN is proposing, they’d have to worry about a lot more.  There could be Slurm.Cola.  Slurm.Soda  Slurm.diet  DietSlum.Soda.  GetAddictedToSlurm.Soda  Drink.Slurm  SlurmIsDa.Bomb.  Slurm.Pop  Slurm.Drink    The list could go on and on and on.  So what happens to corporate identity then?  If I’m looking for Slurm now, its probably going to be a .com.  But if I’m looking for Slurm online  in the future, it could be ANYWHERE.  It wouldn’t have to be .com.

It might not seem very important when it comes to buying Slurm.  But the same problem of brand identity could hit your bank.  Scammers and phishers could find ways to mimic the banks official website.  As things stand now, the banks website is .com  In the future, it could be .bank, .banking, .financial, etc.  It would be very easy for a scammer to create a website that was .financial, or .banking to mimic a real page that was supposed to be .bank.

This quote from the USA Today article really worries me :

“To beat a competitor to the punch, a company might decide it needs to control a new generic domain, such as .cereal or .detergent, but it would be costly. The currently proposed application fee is $185,000, says Levins, plus an annual “continuance” fee of $25,000. If more than one company wants a suffix, there could be a bidding war.”

It would cost almost $200,000 to register a different TLD ending??? There are millions of businesses out there that could, in theory, benefit from more specific domains – like having .hardware as an ending.  But what if I giant chain buys up the .hardware ending?  That creates a major problem for all the other hardware stores out there, especially since a lot of web users might mistakenly think that .hardware is somehow better, more professional, or just the authoratitive source for harware information, when in reality, its the same old .com it was before, just $200,000 more expensive.

I don’t like this idea at all.

-Confusion between domain names could make it hard to find things

-Scammers could take control or create fishing websites that mimic originals, but could end in anything.

-Companies will have to spend more money guarding their corporate images (and the expenses will get passed on to us, the conumers.)

-With something as large as the internet, some organization is a good thing.  Libraries have the dewy decimal system.  Graphic designers have different standardized color codes to organize and share specifici colors.  The internet needs its top level domains.

Read the original USA Today Article Here

http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/2009-04-06-web-site-domain-names_N.htm?csp=usat.me

Launch of Affliated Sites

Posted on February 5th, 2009 in Dumb Things That Happen, Site of the Day, Time Wasters | 1 Comment »

As a partial reason/excuse for the low activity here these past weeks, a few of our affiliated pages have been developed and are currently in their nascent forms. We have been working on these rather hard and hope they will be become popular and useful.
Now, please keep in mind that both of these sites are for curiosity, information, and entertainment, not a license to go out and actually *do* them.
I am please to announce the beginning of the two sites: Explosiontheory.com and Explodes.us. These two sites complement each other. Explosiontheory.com has the theory, the mechanism of how explosives work, while Explodes.us provides you the stunning media, such as images and video of such explosions in action. We hope both of these sites will grow with time and become an entertaining and safe online compendium of the ever enthralling explosion.

The Cardboard Bike

Posted on June 27th, 2008 in Labs/Experiments, Lacking a Category, Photos/Videoes, Science!, Site of the Day, The Never Ending Story/Other FLB Events, Things we should do more of | 1 Comment »

“Phil Bridge, 21, of Sheffield Hallam
University, said the bike was strong enough for a rider weighing up to 12
stones and would not go soft in the rain, although it has a life expectancy
of only about six months.”

One one hand, I want to really applaud this design for being very affordable, and I could easily see this as a means of transportation for people who don’t have the resources to afford standard metal bikes, but need a means of getting around other then walking. I’m thinking along the lines of One Laptop per Child, or the person-powered water pump we blogged about a few months ago. I mean, whats better then a bike thats made of cardboard, could be easily shipped and stored, or carried on a bus, boat, by hand through non-bikeable conditions? And its cardboard. Who’d really want to steal it? Its not like you could sell it for scrap.

On the other hand, I’m ready to say that this is just another embodiment of our use-for-a-while-and-throw-away society. I mean, who buys a bike they know will last them only 6 months? Granted, it IS only cardboard, so it will decompose in landfills, and the metal parts are supposed to be recyclable.

What I think would be a really interesting design would be to make metal parts as well as cardboard parts – this way, people in poor countries could buy the cardboard bike to get around, and buy the rest of the bike in metal form piece by piece – you could litterall buy it wheel by wheel, then get a real metal frame, a real seat, real handlebars, and then you’ve worked your way up to a real bike. It couldn’t be that hard to break the design down into four or five individual parts that places could stock in metal.

Read the rest of the article here
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article4221806.ece

Travel from any point on the Earth to any other point in only 42 minutes!

Posted on June 19th, 2008 in Labs/Experiments, Photos/Videoes, Science!, Site of the Day, Things we should do more of | No Comments »

So, what happens if you dig a tunnel straight through the center of the Earth, and jump in?
How long will it take you to come out the other side?

Turns out its 42 minutes.
No matter if the tunnel goes straight through the center of the Earth, or goes at an angle between New York and Seattle.

BBSpots top 11 WORST Firefox extensions

Posted on June 17th, 2008 in Site of the Day, Software/Hardware Reviews, Time Wasters | No Comments »

These would have to be my favorite worst FF extensions :

11.
Spyware Accelerator – Speeds spyware download and installation
8.
JS Crash – Prevents any page with Javascript from running by crashing the browser
5.
RandomTab – Moves tab order around randomly
4.
KidProtector – Replaces every single image with a picture of a bunny wearing a top hat
1.
Redirector – Any link you click is redirected to a random MySpace profile.

Now, the REAL evil would be #11 set to dowload #5, and #2 (sorry, you’re gonna have to click the link to find out what #2 is. . .I can’t totally steal this post.)

Read the full list here
http://www.bbspot.com/News/2006/03/top-11-worst-firefox-extensions.html

51-year-old TV wired for the “digital age”

Posted on June 12th, 2008 in Historic Technology, Picture of the Day, Site of the Day, Time Wasters | 1 Comment »

Richard Howard is an antique enthusiast and a furniture restorer from Norfolk, England. He’s got a passion for old things, like old cars, his 1920s house (which his grandfather built), and his old telelvision set – the same Walnut-encased unit his father bought in 1957.

“”It was my family’s first TV”, Mr Howard said.

“My father was
walking past the store and was just taken by it. I think there were
cheaper ones available but he liked the way it looked like a piece of
furniture instead of just a big screen sitting in corner of the room.”

He has even kept and framed the receipt for the £113 purchase of the Bush Television Receiver.

“I
was away at boarding school at the time but I remember coming home and
being amazed. I think the first programme I saw on it was the Lone
Ranger.

“I have a lot of fond memories of Christmas time when the
whole family would gather round and watch it together. I could never
bear to throw it away it had too much value attached to it.””

Mr. Howard can even continue to watch his television after a 200-pound revamp, including a converter so the classic unit can decode the new digital TV signal and display it in the correct format on the 1957-vintage television.

Photo, quotes, article from

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1025143/

Pictured-The-51-year-old-television-set-wired-digital-age.html



More music from random old computer equipment

Posted on June 11th, 2008 in Dumb Things That Happen, Labs/Experiments, Lacking a Category, Site of the Day, Time Wasters | 1 Comment »


“Radiohead held an online contest to remix “Nude” from their album – “In Rainbows” This was quite a difficult task for everybody that entered, as Nude is in 6/8 timing, and 63bpm. Most music that’s played in clubs is around 120bpm and usually 4/4 timing. It’s pretty difficult to seamlessly mix a waltz beat into a DJ set.

This resulted in lots of generic entries consisting of a typical 4/4 beat, but with arbitrary clips from “Nude” thrown in so that they qualified for the contest.

Thom Yorke joked at the ridiculousness of it in an interview for NPR radio, hinting that they set the competition to find out how people would approach such a challenging task.

I decided to take the piss a bit, as the contest seemed to be in that spirit.

Based on the lyric (and alternate title) “Big Ideas: Don’t get any” I grouped together a collection of old redundant hardware, and placed them in a situation where they’re trying their best to do something that they’re not exactly designed to do, and not quite getting there.

It doesn’t sound great, as it’s not supposed to.

Sinclair ZX Spectrum – Guitars (rhythm & lead)
Epson LX-81 Dot Matrix Printer – Drums
HP Scanjet 3c – Bass Guitar
Hard Drive array – Act as a collection of bad speakers – Vocals & FX

Thanks to Afrotech and Dr Roland Shregle (ganjatron)”

(From the video description)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pmfHHLfbjNQ

Yellow Drum Machine

Posted on June 7th, 2008 in Computer software/hardware, Labs/Experiments, Lacking a Category, Photos/Videoes, Robots!, Site of the Day, Time Wasters | 1 Comment »

This little robot searches for things to drum on, drives up to them, and starts playing.

Zac Web Browser for Austistic Children

Posted on June 5th, 2008 in Computer software/hardware, Labs/Experiments, PSA-Types, Site of the Day, Tech News | 1 Comment »

John LsSieur had trouble finding good software and computer programs for his autistic grandson, Zac. Using a computer (and the internet) was just too fustrating. Zach threw the mouse in fustration. So John built a custom interface. And its free to use or download – for anyone who wants it.

“The Zac Browser greatly simplifies the experience of using a computer.
It seals off most Web sites from view, to block violent, sexual or
otherwise adult-themed material. Instead it presents a hand-picked
slate of choices from free, public Web sites, with an emphasis on
educational games, music, videos and visually entertaining images, like
a virtual aquarium. . .

. . .the Zac Browser disables extraneous keyboard buttons like “Print
Screen” and turns off the right button on the mouse. That eliminates
commands most children don’t need anyway, and it reduces the chance an
autistic child will lose confidence after making a counterproductive
click.Children using the Zac Browser select activities by
clicking on bigger-than-normal icons, like a soccer ball for games and
a stack of books for “stories.””

Read the Boston Globe article here
http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2008/06/03/grandfather
_builds_web_browser_for_autistic_boy/?page=1

Get the Zac Browser here
http://www.zacbrowser.com/

Hampshire GLUG Apps

Posted on May 9th, 2008 in Computer software/hardware, Downloads, For Macs, Site of the Day | 1 Comment »

This is something I have been meaning to post for a while…

Hampshire College’s GNU+Linux Users Group has gathered together an extensive list of useful and/or interesting applications including detailed reviews, version and license information, and download links. Some of these applications are fairly well known ; many are cross-platform and all are open source.

Hampshire is no stranger to the free software movement: alum Benjamin Mako Hill  is a leading advocate GNU/Linux and among other distinctions, serves as an adviser to One Laptop per Child project and the Wikimedia Foundation.