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Infinitesimals

Voicemail has its uses, for example, when one won't be able to pick up the phone for awhile, but needs to relay a message immediately, or when other forms of communication are not possible, i.e. e-mail or texting is inconvenient or irrelevant.

However, I still usually end up ignoring it, thus rendering most of the pros as moot.

(1) Oct 10, 08 - 11:18 AM

On the subject of high school friends, just because you're different, doesn't mean you can't be friends.

(0) Jun 17, 07 - 11:41 PM

Pi is wrong.

Well, actually, maybe it would just be better to use what is currently known as 2*pi. I've always thought it would be easier if sine and cosine had periods that were just pi, not 2pi.

So should pi be 6.283185...? Should pi be the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its radius, instead of diameter? If so, it would take about 50 years for this to gain any momentum in the mathematical community.

(0) Apr 20, 07 - 1:07 AM

What's with Twitter?

Thursday, January 18, 2007 | 9:08:17 PM

There's a new sort of craze going round. That's Twitter. People send updates to twitter and that's received by other people. It's simple enough. So what's the big deal?

Twitter is a site full of everyone's thoughts. One can send a message simply relaying their status, location, desires, or general thoughts and anyone who wants to know will get it. So who would want to do it? A lot of people. Looking at my MySpace bulletin list, at least 50% of these bulletins are about how their day was, how bored they are, or just because they felt like letting people know something completely random.

People tend to be very nosy, always wanting to know what other people are doing. Some people are also the reverse, wanting to let everyone know how their life is right then. Twitter has an advantage over IM in that it's a many-to-many sort of communication. All the talkative people can let the nosy people know what their doing with a single message. Twitter is also designed for this sort of thing, "away" (status) messages for IM can be utilized as such, as well as MySpace bulletins, though that's not exactly their primary functions.

Stalker-ish? A little. This isn't really something that private or reserved people would use so much. But then, the same can be said for MySpace, Facebook, Friendster, and the dozens of other social networking sites. Twitter is social too, but in a much simpler way. There's also an option to make your updates available to friends only, but your friends might really be stalkers too.

A big time waste? Perhaps, but it only takes 5 seconds to update, which can be done by web, IM, or text. The latter also makes twitter more mobile being able to update without having internet access and receive others' updates similarly. Twitter can also be used in more constuctive ways, for example, to update others in a group collaborating on a single project, as a vacation log to your family, to say when you're doing something then track how long it actually to you to start, or such.

So what's Twitter to me? It's where I send messages that are too insignificant to start a conversation with, or not big enough to blog/bulletin. It's a place to complain or exclaim. It's "microblogging". It's nothing important, just a little added entertainment (distraction).

Why not try it? And for those interested, here's my twitter.

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Wiki Wiki Weirdness

Tuesday, August 29, 2006 | 1:24:32 AM
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I recently discovered a chart listing the most popular Wikipedia entries since its inception (about 3 days ago). This Wikipedia Chart reveals some interesting information. The top includes the main page, Wiki, Wikipedia, as well as popular news items (JonBenét Ramsey and Pluto). Next surprised me: Pokemon. The fad is long gone, but it's number 7!?

After that, you notice a few trends. The top 100 consists mostly of things that recently appeared on the news, celebrities, anime, and sex/porn-related items. A lot of the last item. People's minds seem to be rather predictable, perhaps? Or possibly this is just a subset of people with similar tastes. Another interesting note is that the list of gay porn stars ranks higher than the list of female ones.

So that list was interesting enough, but then I stumbled across another similar list... but it was for Wiktionary this time. The Wiktionary Top 100 was a lot more... predictable. Sex related terms make up a significant percent of the top pages and become more distributed towards the end. In fact, of the top 15 pages, there are 8 such terms.

It seems obvious what people consider the internet to be for... well, at least the Wikimedia area of the internet.

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The internet and the public

Tuesday, August 15, 2006 | 2:11:25 AM
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While at school, the subject about one's online identity came up with regards to interviews. Some colleges look up applicants on the internet as a sort of prescreen. Many employers do as well. Some high schools even suspend students based on myspace profiles and a few private schools completely ban the site.

Is this ok? Can employers, school administrators, etc. penalize a worker/student over something they wrote on the internet?

A blogger, Dooce, got fired for writing about her job without consent of the company or coworkers. Another blog, Waiter Rant, is completely about his job, but he keeps just about all identifiable information as secret as possible, as well as having gotten permission to write.

There have also been stories of kids getting suspended because of myspace. These students, however, engaged in these activities outside of school and not directly concerning school (aside from another student in the first story). Thus, should the school intervene? It seems more appropriate, to me, that parents or the police/authorities get involved with those examples of hate crimes and underage drinking. Since it didn't happen on school grounds or involved a school threat, the school, I believe, should not have the authority except to pass on the information.

Then there are also the cases of job interviewers doing a quick google search of the applicant. This seems to be valid. It's a quick background check and can give insight to the person's personality when outside of an interview. Blogs and such are different, in that information goes online and stays there, unlike a conversation between friends in a bar. This might be bad, however, for people who can easily separate their social life from their business life. As technology progresses, some lines lose their definition.

I feel as though I'm digressing. Perhaps it's that it's late. Perhaps I'm tired. Perhaps I'm just forcing myself to write without actually thinking about what I'm typing. In any case. I'll leave this open to see what other people think about this.

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omghi2u - On online chat-speak

Sunday, July 30, 2006 | 4:03:30 AM
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AOL speak. How infamous. It can be summed up in this quote: "Relationships are so easy on the internet: it all starts with 'asl' and ends with 'stfu'." That's not exactly verbatim... but still. I've heard "wtf" be used at school and "brb" on occasions, both jokingly and not. "wtf" I can see used as a euphemism, "brb" I can see used as an abbreviation (but it's 3 syllables still, unless pronounced "burb"... which I've heard). But when one gets to "lol"...

I may occasionally abbreviate words when typing. "brb", "btw", "imo" and "wrt" are examples of ones that I use... relatively often. I never use "lol" though. It never seemed right to me since I would always read it as "lohl" or "lawl" or so. I said that I didn't use it because I wouldn't say it in real life. Which is true, but I was incorrect with my reasoning.

When I type, I'm thinking of what I'm typing. If I encounter a phrase that could be initialized or otherwise abbreviated, I'll abbreviate it. One would (hopefully) not laugh by saying "laugh out loud! laugh out loud out loud out loud!" My abbreviations are just shortened formats of the words that I'm thinking of. In addition, I only abbreviate using initialisms, unless I would otherwise speak it in an abbreviated form ('cuz, wha, etc), and in general, I type how I talk.

Being on the internet so much, I'm used to reading posts with internet abbreviations. Oddly, I read them slightly slower than those with proper grammar and such. It's actually harder for me to type like that because I have to think about it. It's just natural for me to type out everything. It's become habit.

Now, as to why I do the same for texts (yeah, apostrophes too), I don't know. It's more proper? It looks better? In any case, I'm willing to go the extra mile. I can understand why people would shorten their messages for texts. Space limits and the general inconvenience to enter messages are convincing arguments. Regardless, I don't.

And as for abbreviations on the keyboard, is "u" that much better? "cu l8r" is code-like to me. If it's speed that's the problem, practice proper typing! Such abbreviations would likely actually hinder typing speed, at least for formal documents.

In any case, that's how I use it, and I don't muchly care if you do it differently. As long as I can read it, it's fine... for IMs and texts. E-mails and forum posts should have proper grammar. Those are asynchronus versions of communication, giving plenty of time to spell check. It's just a pet peeve, really. I can live with it... but not contently.

Strong Bad and Mr. Period agree... scalawag.

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On MySpace and Online Safety

Monday, June 26, 2006 | 3:29:26 AM
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Awhile ago, I put forth my view on MySpace from a web design standpoint. This will overview why myspace is not inherently bad.

You may have seen it on the news: Woman Raped by Man She Met on MySpace, Man Robbed by 14- and 15-year-old Girls He Met on MySpace, but is that really because of MySpace?

All personal information is optional. It's not necessary to put your name, age, location, income, favorite movie, job, school, and favorite type of smoothie. Would you just give out your social security number? Sure these pieces of information aren't as telling on their own, but by putting the pieces together, dedicated people can find out a lot of information.

So maybe you didn't put your city or true age on your profile. What if you put up a survey that asks your western and eastern astrological sign and your school. You've just given off enough information to guess age and city. Typing your full name backwards or with your nose, etc. just revealed your last name. Now they can try to look you up in the phone book. The problem is, people may not realize that they're giving this much information away.

You know the password request information on e-mails? "What's the name of your first pet?" Well, someone can start a conversation, lead it into animals, and stealthily ask that question. One probably won't remember that they put that question up. Now this social engineer has access to someone else's email.

That seems like a digression, but it's the same principle. People need to realize that trivial information in the hands of one that is dedicated can reveal too much information.

Now, is that the fault of MySpace? No. It's the same idea that follows when parents (who take no notice to the ESRB) blame video game developers that their 7 year old son is playing Grand Theft Auto. People need to learn to accept blame rather than rely on a scapegoat.

Now the educational section. How to have a safer myspace.

  1. Make your profile private.
  2. Don't accept friend request from strangers.
  3. Don't send any personally identifyable information to the internet in (public) blogs, bulletins, and in the public profile.
  4. Don't go over to the house of a person you just met online last week.

The reward of making new friends is accompanied by the risk of getting hurt. If you break these rules and wonder why you are the victim of robbery or rape, don't blame MySpace.

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