Archive for February 2011

5 Great Links for LB   Leave a comment

On Saturday we had some beautiful sunny weather here in Knoxville, Tennessee. LB, I hope the bike event went well! Sunday was overcast with thunderstorms. It was a good grass growing day for my backyard and a good couch day for the Oscars. I’m glad Natalie Portman and Colin Firth won awards, even if The Social Network didn’t take home Best Picture (oh well). And now it’s Monday, which means the weather doesn’t matter, because you’re at work (although there is a tornado warning today, so be careful!). So here are some links to alleviate that gloom…

POTD: You can never go wrong with one stunning photo per day! Especially when it’s an underwater oasis.

Silly Mind Tricks: Spoiler alert! I thought of broccoli. Hope that doesn’t ruin it for you.

Snowflake What?!: I don’t believe this. This is not possible. Ok, maybe it is. But I have my doubts. Is this a hoax?

Popular Mechanics: Slash that utility bill! SLASH IT! A list of 19 ways to stop spending money on useless stuff.

Adam Savage’s Obsessions: TED gives us another great talk on a fascinating person. 15 minutes long, but really, really cool.

Enjoy the week!


How Do You Game?   1 comment


Do any of you play online games? Who here does not play some sort of mobile or online game? For the vast majority of technology-equipped humans that do take the time to indulge, what are you playing? Do you partake in the simply addictive Farmville, Mafia Wars, or Angry Birds mobile apps? Are you a classic solitaire or minesweeper loyalist? Or are you more of an Xbox 360 Call of Duty: Black Ops or PC World of Warcraft enthusiast? When you play, do you like the mobility of an app game, or do you look forward to donning the headset and controller and parking yourself in front of the TV or PC for several dedicated hours? (Junk food & chronic sore back and/or thumbs available almost everywhere for no additional fee) Do you like teaming up with others, or leveling up alone?

Call of Duty: Black Ops

Single player games such as Farmville allow social interaction through adding real friends as “neighbors.” The higher level a player is, the more crops or animals are available for purchase at the market. In Call of Duty: Black Ops, you and your friends all log onto to Xbox Live and “party up.” Parties can either play side by side or against one another in the quest for experience points (XP), which allows for the purchase of more advanced weapons. A third type of gaming experience comes from the popular Nintendo Wii or Xbox Kinect, where players can get off the couch and interact with yoga, tennis, boxing, dancing, and other adventure games.

Angry Birds

With over 40,000 game apps available from the iPhone app store, there’s no shortage of mobile games to choose from. And not to be left behind in the mobile world, console games for the PS3 or Xbox have associated mobile apps where players can monitor or make live in-game purchases and tweak their characters. The ability to immerse oneself in a game from multiple avenues is what players want and developers hope for: New opportunities to interact with a game means people will invest more time in the game and won’t move onto the next Game Du Jour so quickly.

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm

Back in the day, games were (and still are) sold as-is without the potential for patches or upgrades. Mixed in with all the good stuff, gamers would invariably experience glitches and less than stellar features. Updates would take months or years to come out, if at all. Things have changed for the better. Today, people expect games to be cheap, easily downloadable (via a mobile device or console) and socially interactive. Through discussions on various social media platforms, gamers can discuss the pros and cons of their gaming experiences, and be heard. Developers are taking note of this return on engagement, and aren’t shy to deliver what people want. Scott Steinberg wrote a great article for The Daily Beast on Sept 19, 2010 on the future of social gaming. He noted: “By connecting developers directly with fans and giving creators the tools to change game features rapidly based on real-time feedback, digital game distribution shatters the fiberglass ceiling.”

If you’re interested in more of what Scott Steinberg and his writers are talking about, I highly recommend checking out his blog and website, GameTheory. It’s packed with fascinating daily articles that run the gamut of the gaming world. From geek speak to business news and stats, his crack team leaves nothing to wonder about.

And finally, to wrap this post up, are you still unsure what Farmville is? Here’s a video that covers everything you need to know about it…

And as for Call of Duty: Black Ops (and a guide for n00b rage quitters), I can’t think of a better explanation than this really fantastic audiovisual story, that is completely Not Safe For Work (language & drug references).

Until next time, happy gaming. But do try to go outside once in a while – the weather is really nice this time of year.


What Would You Store Underground?   4 comments

I was browsing Wired Magazine this morning and found a really cool article by Erin Biba about some new uses for “retired” underground mines or caverns. If you have 10 minutes, check it out here. It’s an amazing picture gallery with brief explanations. It’s really interesting to hear about these places –  I thought they only existed in movies! I guess for some organizations (like Wikileaks), security, safety, and relative obscurity from the public are top priorities.

If you had  beaucoup bucks to squirrel stuff away inside a secret underground facility, what would you keep there? Personally I don’t own anything that requires protection from potential nuclear fallout, so instead, I guess I’d want an emergency underground bunker in the event that nuclear fallout does happen. I’d kit it out with all the essentials – tons of nonperishable food, some kind of perpetual motion geothermal heating and cooling system, enough beds and couches for me and all my friends, a swimming pool and hot tub…I could go on and on. But really, what would you guys do with an empty, secure, underground cavern? Remember, money is no object in this hypothetical situation!


At my previous job as a TV producer, I conducted a lot of archive acquisitions – digital photo and video clip licensing – for use in the various episodes we produced. Corbis was one of my main sources for these archives. I remember at least two instances  when my Corbis rep explained to me that a particular photograph would take longer to deliver than usual, because someone would have to “go into the vault” to retrieve it. After reading this article, I now know what she was talking about! The image below shows where Corbis keeps its collection. Inside Iron Mountain, Pennsylvania. At sub-zero temperatures. Wow. Just, wow. That’s so cool. Literally. 🙂

Where Corbis stores its archives. Wired Magazine

Here’s a news report on Iron Mountain by KOMO 4 News, a local station out of Seattle, Washington. The reporter takes her viewers inside the mountain for an intriguing look at what’s being stored underground, and why.


Posted February 23, 2011 by Elfawin in Random

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5 Great Links For LB   1 comment

Good morning, LB. Are you at work yet? Great! Here are some links for you to check out once you fill out that TPS report.

An Internet Timeline – This is just funny, and also useful for you people under 18.

The Good Guide – Ever wondered how your shampoo scientifically & environmentally ranks against other shampoos? Well now you can find out!

You Grow Girl – For the resourceful and humble gardener with little gardening space and even less money.

The Dangerous Sports Club – Pretty much explains itself.

Energy Fiend – So you really think you can drink that much Vanilla Coke and survive, huh? How much hot cocoa do you think it would take to keel you over?



Aussie Slang Word Of The Day   Leave a comment

“Shark Biscuit”

Pronunciation: As it sounds

Meaning: A new or inexperienced surfer. Shark attacks happen pretty frequently in the cold current waters around Australia. To a Great White, surfers or body boarders are bite-sized! That’s why wetsuits come in an array of neon danger colors like Tennessee orange, lime green, and electric blue. South of Adelaide, where I’m from, there’s a sleepy coastal town called Victor Harbor. Part of the shoreline is a steep and rocky cliff line, and the Southern Ocean is merciless when the currents are coming in. Translate: It’s perfect for morning surf sessions. My mates Tom and Chris would go surfing there every weekend. I went up there with them once to try it out, but I was too terrified of getting bit by a shark to get in the water. Yeah, I’m a real go-getter.

Usage example: “You’re not going to see many shark biscuits at today’s surfing competition. These guys are all pro.”

A body boarder takes the wave. South Coast Register

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