Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Geek-Out: I can't believe I'm saying this...

I'm excited about great technology from a PHONE COMPANY! (You know, those massive companies that charge you more in fees than for services were started back around Noah's time and were all once a part of AT&T)

Yesterday, I read that there were more cell phones than land lines in the US, and I thought it spelled D-O-O-M for these U.S. icons of communication. However, there may be a savior for all land line-based telco's, called fiber-optic broadband.

For months, Verizon has been marketing Fios, what I thought was just another alternative to cable and DSL. However, today I stumbled upon an evil marketing ploy advertisement that caught my attention... 30 megabits down and 2 megabits up. WOW. Ok, now I understand that it is very different! Have I lost you? Well, as Inigo Montoya said, "Let me 'splain... No, there is too much. Let me sum up."

Imagine that you were filling up an Olympic-sized pool with water. That act of filling represents the speed at which you download information from the internet (e-mail, illegal music, web pages, files, etc.) If you were using a drinking straw, it would be the equivalent of using a 56k dialup-modem connection, a garden hose would be the equivalent of a cable modem or higher-end DSL, and breaking down Hoover Dam would be the equivalent of the speed of Fios. Make sense? :) Ok, it's a little bit of an exaggeration, but you get the point.

So, listen up you phone companies... we (I) need you to get out there and install some fiber... and if you're not up to speed with Verizon, GET WITH IT (SPRINT)!

Link: Verizon Fios

Friday, July 8, 2005

Life on the inside track

Did you ever know someone who always knew some little trick that, had you known it, would have saved you time on some sort of job or project? Those little "tricks of the trade," as we call them can come in very handy, especially when you are trying to do something that you don't do for a living.

Tricks of the TradeToday, a LifeHacker article referenced a website that we will all find useful. The site, http://www.tradetricks.org, is a collection of user-submitted "tricks of the trade," covering everything from caulking techniques to maintaining order in a classroom.

I was surprised at how many useful tips there were on the site, and I'm sure that there will be many more to come. Take a look at the site and if you're one of those people who know something that the rest of us don't, feel free to send the tip their way.

Link: http://www.tradetricks.org

Tuesday, July 5, 2005

Independence Day

Welcome back from what I hope was a great weekend for you.

Upon my return from a weekend of fireworks, family, and friends, I spent some time reading a little bit about our nation's independence. As I read, I was surprised to learn that we might have just as much reason to celebrate July 2nd as we do July 4th. It seems that one of our founding fathers, John Adams, thought that July 2nd was the day to celebrate. He wrote:
"The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epocha in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward for evermore."
Isn't that interesting? We have been celebrating July 4th for over two centuries, but have we been celebrating the wrong date?

According to the entry for the U.S. Independence Day on Wikipedia.com, July 2nd was the date that the Continental Congress voted secretly for independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. After two days they authored a document, the Declaration of Independence, that was then ratified by 12 of our 13 colonies. That day, July 4th, 1776 became the day that we, the people, stood united as a new nation.

So we are celebrating the date that the people decided to ratify the Congress's decision as opposed to the date that a select few representatives secretly made a choice. We are celebrating a date when a decision was made that could not be made in silence and secrecy in order to have effect. This decision needed to be spoken with a voice that the whole world could hear... the voice of a nation.

For more information on our Independence Day, visit the "Independence Day (United States)" article on Wikipedia.com.

Friday, July 1, 2005

Google Maps and the "Eye in the Sky"

Online mapping utilities are so handy. Each time that I want to get a quick set of instructions on how to get somewhere, I can always get a pretty good idea of where I am going by using an online map site.

Recently Google launched their own map service called (what else?) Google Maps. Their rendition of an online map service has really impressed me. Not only do they offer an extremely intuitive interface by giving you the ability to "click and drag" the map in any direction, they also give you the ability to see what your map looks like from a "bird's eye view."
Google Maps Satellite Button
For example, when I searched for San Antonio, TX, it shows me a nice view of the city in a digitally rendered view... but when I click on the little "Satellite" button in the top right corner, I get a view that is straight from the clouds.

Google also just released a software program that allows you to view the entire globe in a similar "bird's eye view." The program, called Google Earth is a great tool to use to view the images that our satellites capture for us. As a special bonus, the program is a free download! A word of caution, the program is addicting! You may catch yourself spending hours spinning and searching your virtual planet Earth.

Links: Google Maps, Google Earth

Friday Fun: Retail Alphabet Game

It's Friday and I'm either in marketing mode, or fun mode. In either case, both apply to this web game. I was out and about, doing my morning web-stroll and I stumbled upon an article on Seth Godin's weblog that discusses a game called "Retail Alphabet Game." The game tests us to see just how many corporate logos we have burned into our minds.
Retail Alphabet Game
The game, called the Retail Alphabet Game, was created by Joey Katzen, who appears to be a freelance graphic artist and web developer. He has several versions of the game available, so check them out and give your memory a good workout. I averaged about 19 out of 26 over four of the tests, so I guess that means that marketers rule my mind. (yikes!) Enjoy your weekend!