Please stop cluttering inboxes, start blogging

There are still lots of people out there who continue to send far too many emails to friends, coworkers, family, etc. Many of these emails are usually mass-forwards to laundry lists of people. While I’m sure some of these are quite amusing/interesting/inflammatory, they all frequently have the same effect:  clutterying up inboxes.

To these people, I would like to  suggest they do what so many other net-savvy people have done, specifically blogging. Blogging is essentially the same thing as sending out that armada of email, except that it is seen when and how the end user desires. If you haven’t quite figured out the whole blog thing, or think that its too technical, rest assured its actually quite simple. In fact, websites like WordPress, blogspot, and livejournal do all the work for you. And this tutorial explains how to get started on your new blogging adventure.

After you’ve created your new blog, don’t immediately send out a barrage of ‘Check out my new Intarweb!’ emails.  First try to find your friends’ blogs and comment on them, leaving a link to your own.  Its a little more polite.

Don’t think you need to abandon your friendly emails though, these can still be quite pleasant when not sent in bulk. A few rules of thumb for writing a blog instead of an email:

  1. Is your mailing list large enough that you need to use BCC?
  2. Do you have to think about to whom you want to write the email?
  3. Does it envolve sending an image or video?
  4. Are there more people than just your recipients that might find the email interesting?

If you found this useful, then you might also do a quick google on RSS or go take a peek at Google Reader. Most blog platforms allow you to subscribe using RSS and use software like Google Reader to read all your blogs in one simple interface.

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Demoing Mind Control Game Controller for Fox

Recently the local Fox affiliat approached me about helping with an article about the new game controllers that use mind control.  The device we reviewed is the Neural Impulse Actuator or NIA by OCZ Technology.  It works by sensing the electrical signals given off by your brain and facial muscles.  Its a fantastic piece of technology, though rough around the corners, and I think in another couple of years we may see wide spread use of such devices.

Cool though they may be, I don’t see technology like this replacing current mainstays like the joystick and keyboard/mouse. More likely, they will fall into the “add on” category like the gaming keypads and 6 button mice. 

That said, it is truely a piece of interesting technology and I look forward to playing with them in the future.

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Cable TV is broken

I recently got a cable TV package when I switched my service and decided to try it out. Mind you, I never watch TV and haven’t watched it regularly since I was a kid. After playing around with the service for a few minutes I became convinced that the product is faulty and here is why.

  1. There are over 500 channels listed, and I only have access to around 50. This is fine in itself, but there is no way to determine if I have access until I try to view the channel. There is no option to filter out the channels that are inaccessable
  2. There is no way to search through the shows except manually. Scrolling through pages upon pages of listings just to find one thing to watch is extremely tedious, especially when trying to relax.
  3. Once I finally found a show, I had to watch it from somewhere in the middle. Why is it starting halfway through? Wait, I need an additional, expensive piece of equipment to fix this? Bad business. Sell a broken product, and then sell another product which fixes the original flaws.
  4. Commercials are far too long, I have to watch about 5 minutes of commercials for each 20 minutes of show. There is something wrong with this.
  5. Overpriced. I’m paying ~$25 / month for this service with all these failings and I still have to watch commercials.

How can such a service compete with the likes of Hulu, youtube, megavideo and sidereel? I suppose it will die off as soon as people realize how broken it is.

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