Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Favorite nerd stuff of 2007

Yes, everyone seems to be doing something like this. And probably got it finished a week ago. So sue me.
  • StumbleUpon: I first heard about it as an up-and-coming search-like engine in Wired. Effectively, it is a psuedo search engine that relies on user generated interests - not passively as Google does with link backs, but with actual intentional voting. There is something similar on the open source front (Wikia). Link
  • xkcd: How did I miss this gem before? Link.
  • DS R4: Play movies, listen to music, emulate classic games, and back up your whole DS game library for a little more than the cost of a single DS game. No mincing words, you want one of these if you own a DS. If you plan on buying one you'd be a fool not to get an R4 (or an M3, which I've been told does basically the same thing). Link.
  • Mozilla Firefox 3 beta - It is still beta but amazingly stable. Automatically restarts with the tabs you had open when you closed it, prettier search bar, and way better multi tab support (no slowdowns or crashes with the 987,345 tabs I tend to have open). Bad news: perhaps it is just me, but the bookmarking isn't as good and more difficult to manage. Still really nice for beta.
  • A finished Methods section draft: It is a good feeling having this thing 1/2 to 2/3rds done. Lets see how viciously my thesis chair, Bob Hickey, tears it apart. I think I might post it and have the 0 people that visit the site mock it.
  • Ubuntu/QGIS: Though not ready to take over the huge ESRI-house I work for or actually threatening Windows desktop domination, the speed and good looks of the new open source GIS platforms that can be created for zero cost (and without having to reformat your computer - use use VMWare Player to create a virtual machine).
  • Death of DRM music: For those that don't know, DRM is the reason you can't move around music you buy off iTunes to whatever you want as many times as you like. All of the major music content holders have realized what people on the internet have been telling them for years - only legitimate customers are hurt by DRM. Pirates - a term with already includes probably everyone younger than 20 - simply hack it or rip CDs their friends get during parties. Video will be next as it is easily as trivial to defeat.
  • @GoogleTalks: It will be a supreme challenge for Google to keep its relatively good public image even as it grows more massive and run by more suits than engineers. They have given the internet many, many good things. One that is less commonly mentioned is this series of talks which include all of the major candidates, many famous/influential authors, and some other folks. Link.
  • Portal: Game of the year out of nowhere. Witty dialog, excellent ending, and interesting mechanics.

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