Archive for category Tech Stuff

Social Media Unites to Feed The Hungry With #HoHoTO

HoHoTo

Image by Matthew Burpee via Flickr

In 2008 some twitter friends decided to do something about people who couldn’t afford to eat. Through social media connections HoHoTO was created, and was a big success.

HoHoTO is a big party held each year in december to raise money and collect food donations for the Toronto Daily Bread Food Bank so people who can’t afford a Christmas (or any other holiday) dinner, can have one. Each year millions of people go to the Daily Bread Food Bank and HoHoTO is a great way for you to help out… and attend a great holiday party.

So get tweeting, blogging and networking, donate if you can, or find some other way to help out. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #HoHoTO. Lets make the world suck a little less.

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Social Media I Just Don’t Get

On the Internet today there are countless types of social media. There’s twitter (my favorite), facebook, google+, YouTube, news site commenting and of course, blogging. I have tried all of the above. All but one I have been able to use properly and do relatively well in. That one is blogging.

Blogging is the one form of social media I have just never managed to get the hang of. I write and write but get about a month or two in to it and then just stop. Don’t know why. Perhaps it’s because all the others don’t require much thought or time. Twitter is only 140 characters which is a thought with perhaps a picture or link. Blogging on the other hand requires more than a couple of seconds thought. It needs an idea and then you have to expand on it slightly. Then add a picture and links.

I guess I’m just a bit too fast paced for blogging but I’ll try my best. Let’s do this.

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Why You Always Want To Drive Yourself

The Concept Image of The Autonomobile

I was watching Top Gear recently, and they mentioned a proposed car called the “Autonomobile” which is proposed to be build by 2040. It’s an electric car made to go low speeds and… it drives itself.

Now you might think this is a great idea. You never have to worry about the strain of driving, you can just sit back and relax while the car takes you there. But it is a terrible idea. It has been said that half of all plane crashes are caused by pilot error. We all know that planes can fly by themselves and they can take off and land using instruments. So theoretically, planes should be able to take off, land, and fly, on their own. And this should theoretically lower plane crashes by 50%.

But…

Would you want to get on a plane without a pilot?

Its the same thing with cars that drive themselves. No matter how smart the man or woman who designed this is, you still don’t have control of the car. I don’t know about you but I kind of like being in control of machines. There have been too many movies about machines trying to kill us for us to really trust machines that much. And as Jeremy Clarkson put it,

“its a brilliant idea, designed by very smart people, but one day you know that this will be bought by a man named Keith, and he is going to wake up one morning and think he can service it himself and you won’t be able to relax in your autonomobile because you know that Keith is in his, coming the other way”

And you won’t be able to steer out of the way of Keith because the car is driving itself.

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Stuff For Twitter People

Tomorrow (june 20th) is the tenth Tweetgasm, a monthly tweetup for twitter people of toronto. It takes place at the gladstone hotel usually in the melody bar at 7:30. This month the theme is “Pretty In Pink” which means that if you are wearing pink you get in free. If not you have to pay a $5 cover.

Here are some pictures from a previous Tweetgasm

Tweeting

 

A performance by @misslatejuly

Dancing

The always present DJ's

Thats just a taste of some of the things that go on at tweetgasm. You should all consider dropping by this month or maybe another time. Theres a facebook event here or follow @photojunkie who organizes it and will give you more information

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A Good Reason To Buy A Map

Earthcache De Slufter

Image via Wikipedia

There have been reports of many problems with GPS units recently. Some units have been leading people into situations that people usually avoid by using GPS. Quite a few people have been following the directions that are being given to them and then driving into lakes, or ditches or off of bridges. Little things like that.

At what point did these people think that the GPS was right and that the big lake in front of them wasn’t that much of an issue. Did they think “maybe there is a road across the lake and we just can’t see it”. Didn’t they think to hit the brakes when the road ended or when they hit the barricade that usually blocks the end of the road that is there to stop you from driving in the lake.

I understand that some of these incidents happened in the dark but there are headlights on most cars these days. Maybe you’ve heard of them. These are the big lights on the front of the car that allow you to see what’s in front of you when its dark.

How on earth does this happen? I understand that when you don’t know where you are going it is good to have directions so you don’t get lost. But that doesn’t mean you don’t pay attention to whats around you. When you see news reports on TV or in the newspaper, the people always blame the GPS for them turning right in the middle of a bridge or crashing into a wall at the end of a dead end. These people should not only have their drivers licenses taken away and be banned from any form of transportation that exists, forcing them to walk everywhere, but they should also be banned from using any form of electronic device ever again. If you are so dependent on electronics that you will listen to them even if they are putting you in situations that could very well lead to your death then you shouldn’t be allowed to use any electronic device.

The reason I like maps is because they let you make your own directions. Directions that make sense to you. They allow you to find short cuts and avoid traffic.

Recently I have been walking a lot as a way to get exercise (i’ll explain how i feel about jogging in another post). One day I tried out the feature on google maps that gives you directions if you are walking somewhere. Not only did it have me winding through the small side streets in the not so nice area of the city but it conveniently forgot to tell me to go through the park instead of actually turning on to and continuing on the street i was on (“turn left on to….” means i’m following the street, “cut through…” or “walk into the park” should be fine). This left me quite a long way off the path it had set for me. Luckily I know my way around well enough to meet up with the route elsewhere and still beat the estimated 2 hours and 18 minute time that it was supposed to take me.

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Cutting the Fat out of Social Networking

There is just too much social networking going on today. It all started with e-mail many, many years ago (seems just like yesterday) and then expanded into MySpace and now there are hundreds of sites devoted to social networking of some kind. There’s basic social networking like Twitter, check-in based sites like Foursquare, music sharing from Ping and blip.fm and photo sharing form Flickr. Anything you want to share with friends or total strangers, theres a site for it.

Of course how could I forget the one site at the top of the big pile of sites. Facebook. Facebook is every one of these sites combined into one. It started a lot like MySpace and then just started adding features until it reached where it is today. But has it gone too far? With Facebook you can share your thoughts, pictures, videos, what you’re watching on TV, what games you’re playing. There are thousands of web applications that are built into Facebook that do everything from tell your fortune to tell you which character you are most like from your favourite show. And now. You can tell people where you are and who you are with.

Thats quite a lot for one site isn’t it. Oh, did I mention there is a movie about Facebook? Thats right. Its called The Social Network and it is about the creation of Facebook. It really should be called Facebook: The Movie.

All this is becoming too much for me. It seems that every time I log into Facebook something has changed. Wether it’s a button has been moved or the whole layout has been changed (remember “old Facebook vs. new Facebook” and everyone preferred old Facebook). I don’t mind a change once in a while but it has reached a point where they are changing so often that they don’t even tell you that they have changed something. I remember when if someone did anything that somehow involved you on Facebook there was a section at the side that had every possible notification right there. Then they split them up so friend notifications were in one place and “likes” or “comments” were in another place and then photo notifications were in another place. I can’t even find notifications from applications any more (I’m not complaining. I hated getting Farmville requests as much as everyone else).

The problem is that it’s not simple any more. This is the main reason I use Twitter (I hear you all groaning). It is simple. I send a tweet thats 140 characters and thats it. I can send messages to people and I can still post photos and read what everyone else is doing. Thats all I need. I am fed up of people liking pages that are things they say they do which they are mostly lying about anyways, or things they should be doing instead of “liking” them on Facebook (“I think about you even when I don’t call you”. Just call him so I don’t have to read about it) or big posts about your achievements on Farmville of Mafia Wars.

If Facebook was just statuses, wall posts, messages, and photos like it used to be then I would be quite happy but there is just too much for me to keep up with.

Unfortunately like most of you, I am addicted to Facebook (although not as much as some people. You know who you are) and will continue to use it until most people stop using it and switch to Twitter.

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Stories from Downtown

Here are a couple of incidents I observed today while I was downtown that I think are quite amusing. Most of them happened in HMV.

1. While in HMV there was a little boy with his dad. A Justin Bieber song started playing and I heard the kid say “Daddy, why is this song making my ears hurt?”. That kid is awesome. I felt like going up to the dad and saying how awesome his son is. (In a non creeper way)

2. There were three girls dressed like Taylor Swift (Nerdy glasses (same style and colour), blonde hair, that style of clothes) walking side by side through the Eaton Centre who walked up to a guy standing a few feet from me in HMV and said stuff (not sure, wasn’t really listening, I’m not that much of a creeper) words were exchanged and he ended up saying “I don’t like Taylor Swift” loudly enough for me to hear, to them and one (seemed to be his girlfriend) actually slapped him. It was hilarious. It was like a scene out of a movie. I tried so hard not to laugh out loud.

3. You know how when you were young your parents would come up with ways of not letting you have that toy you wanted without actually saying “No, you can’t have it”‘. There was a kid throwing a tantrum because his mom wouldn’t get him a game he “Really wanted”. She went through the usual things like “put it on your christmas list” which always worked on me. Then when he wouldn’t listen she used on I’ve never heard used and I think she was bluffing but it worked, she said “Fine, you can have it but we’re not going to the game if you get it and I know how much you want to go”. This made the kid go crazy because you could tell he wanted the video game but at the same time he wanted to go to the game equally as much. It was really funny seeing him trying to figure out if his mom was bluffing or if she really was going to not take him. She topped it off by saying “I’ll just phone dad and tell him to give away the tickets”. Sadly (in my opinion) he still considered getting the video game but it was funny to watch him thinking of the pros and cons. It was like his head was going to explode. You had to be there.

4. There was actually a huge line outside of the apple store today, of people waiting for the iPhone 4. No, they didn’t get a new shipment. These people were waiting in the hope that the truck would arrive so they might get one. I heard one of the store employees saying to one of the people asking about the iPhone 4 that if the truck didn’t arrive today that these people would be back tomorrow hoping the truck would show up. Nutters or what?

More of these will be posted when I see them. Try finding some yourself. Just listen to the people wherever you are. Don’t eavesdrop just don’t ignore whats going on around you. You might be surprised.

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