Essjayar.Com Rotating Header Image

Sites

I’m On Goodreads

Yes, like many “bloggers” I can get pretty loose with the actual blogging part. It’s not unusual to go weeks, months – even years – without a post. It’s not really procrastination, lack of motivation, laziness, or disinterest. It’s just firing up the web browser and typing something, without getting distracted. Let’s chalk it down to that modern malady of the internet age… pretty poor attention spans.

But I still love to read, and lately I’ve been keeping track of the books I’ve read with Goodreads , a social reading group of sorts, not that I actually use the social part much, but feel free to add me!. I’ve been rating the books I’ve enjoyed and entering some quick reviews if I remember to. I’ve also been adding in those books I can remember reading from the past, i.e. pre-goodreads.

This is actually pretty helpful. You can keep track of your reads, sure, but you can also notice other users who like the books you did. You can follow these reviewers or befriend them. You can also become a fan of your favorite authors. There’s lots of lists there too to help you see what’s popular, as well as quizzes and other frivolous stuff, but the best part is all those ratings you diligently enter will help the Goodreads recommendation engine find you something cool to read next.

Of course recommendation engines aren’t perfect, but this one is pretty darned good. With the lists and other reviewers you’ll never waste time on a useless book or miss an excellent one again. Your mileage may vary.

Anyway. There’s a few techniques I use to find new stuff to read, from award winners (e.g. Hugo and Nebula for scifi), recommendations from blogs, bestsellers, newsworthy titles, even that tried and tested Cool Cover coin toss, but Goodreads makes it all nice and simple. You may even find that holy grail, a new author you love with a long and interesting series of books you’ve yet to sample… No more waiting for the next title, yay!

Goodreads is part of the Amazon empire these days (a controversial step for some) and there’s also a good app for Android / Apple which is doubly good if you read on a tablet.

Here’s a widget from Goodreads and I’ve also put a button on the sidebar. See you there 😉

Stuart’s bookshelf: read

5 of 5 stars
This is one of the classics of cyberpunk literature along with William Gibson’s "Sprawl" trilogy that started with Neuromancer. It’s also one of the books I put off reading for whatever reason, but I’m so glad I did get around to it now….
tagged:
sci-fi

5 of 5 stars
Ok. I’m guessing this "review" will be pretty similar to others here. Basically, if you meet the target demographic, you’ll love this.

That is, if you’re a geeky 80’s kid and love technology, gaming, classic arcade machines, eighties mu…

tagged:
sci-fi

5 of 5 stars
Avery Cates is a Gunner, a hitman for hire in a grimy slum that was once New York City. Post Unification, the world is policed by the System Cops ("Pigs") who answer to no-one except their head of internal affairs, Richard Marin – the re…
tagged:
sci-fi

5 of 5 stars
Set in a post apocalypse London (Metrozone) Samuel Petrovitch keeps his past a secret as he carves out a career as a brilliant physicist.

Since the civilized world has been devastated by a series of bomb attacks by Armageddonists much …

tagged:
sci-fi

5 of 5 stars
In my eyes this is the best of the Dagmar Shaw series (so far?) even though here we really follow Sean Makin in first person and Dagmar is relegated to a bit player, albeit an important one.

Sean is a washed up ex-child star, appearing …

tagged:
sci-fi and crime

3 of 5 stars
If you liked "This Is Not A Game" then you’ll *maybe* like this. Most of the characters from the first book return, but this time Dagmar is head of Great Big Idea and she’s running an ARG in Turkey – first to promote the new James Bond m…
tagged:
crime and sci-fi

4 of 5 stars
Very interesting, and although I came to this from the Dread Empires Fall series by Walter Jon Williams I wasn’t disappointed in the least that it’s a totally different beast!

Dagmar Shaw runs ARGs – Actual Reality Games – but after bei…

tagged:
sci-fi and crime




goodreads.com

The Web is 25 Years Old

 

Tim Berners-Lee’s “Information Management: A Proposal” was written in March 1989 and it launched what we now think of as the World Wide Web , a hyperlinked document system providing a much more user friendly experience than previous internet technologies.

 

Tim Berners-Lee: The World Wide Web - Opportun...

Tim Berners-Lee: The World Wide Web – Opportunity, Challenge, Responsibility (Photo credit: Anna L. Schiller)

The web is now incorporated pretty tightly into our daily lives. We use it for entertainment in all it’s forms such as gaming, watching video, reading, and listening. We use it for shopping, allowing us unparalleled access to massive catalogs of goods and a way to find the best prices possible. We use it to simplify our lives, to keep in contact with people, and as a source of all knowledge. It’s still evolving, and the scale of the content out there is pretty mind boggling – even if sometimes its incorrect, or even shared without our knowledge. Never have we been so eager to reveal so much about ourselves!

 

Congratulations Sir Tim, the original ethos of a free web still stands even if it has had to shrug off a few blows. Where would we be without our Wikipedia, Ebay, Facebook and Google? The future is going to be even more exciting with semantic web technologies making use of the torrent of data – what will it be like when it hits 50…?

 

 

 

 

The Web, circa 1998

The Official Space Jam Website

 

I couldn’t tell whether it’s a parody or not, but it’s on the warner brothers domain. Repeating background, frames, low res, waves, even realaudio. Yep, this ticks all the boxes!

 

C’mon, we all had sites like this once… *cough* on geocities *cough*

 

(PS. The movie wasn’t much cop either)

 


Space Jam

Space Jam (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Enhanced by Zemanta

Graham Hughes Odyssey

Graham Hughes managed to travel around the entire world, without using air transport . He did this in the period Jan 1st 2009 to November 2012. He holds the Guinness World Record for this feat.

On a tight budget Hughes traveled by public transport including trains, buses, boats and whatever he could blag. His accommodation was similarly sourced. He kept a video blog which has been published via YouTube and also used for a National Geographic Channel series.

In his epic journey Graham Hughes managed to visit all the UN recognized countries plus a few extras, totalling 201 nations. He managed to visit 133 in one year. As he states, ten years ago this wouldn’t have been possible, but in todays climate [albeit with a few hiccups] the world is a much freer place.

Here’s the start of his video blog, and you can follow the entire journey via Youtube…

 

Still Here…

Oh, how easy it is to let a site go, yet continue with all intentions of starting back up, paying hosting keeping the URL, etc…

And there’s loads I’d like to discuss, movies, books, some excellent new TV series such as Fringe, Eureka, Warehouse 13 etc.

Not to mention the odd game, a ton of interesting sites and services… but the fact is I’ve just been too lazy. That stands for here, plus my Internet Marketing sites that once made money – yet I still let them stall.

Anyway — I mention websites, which brings me to Google and it’s new Google+ Social Network. It’s been both praised and dismissed as a replacement for the ill-fated Wave, or an attempt to take on Facebook. It is of course neither. It’s simply it’s own thing, a very interesting service meant to bring like minded people together, as well as “+1” (vote for) pages, have discussions, share photos, whatever you like. You have complete control over WHAT you share, and WHO you share it with through a very simple concept, yet powerful, “circle” method. It’s easier to see than it is to explain.

So, before I get back into these blogs and sites of mine gathering dust, it’s worth noting my Google+ Profile where’ll you find my posts on that particular service.

I also started a Google Fansite! Well… I figured Google doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. You probably use it every day, like me. May use an Android Smartphone, like me, or Tablet, yep – me again. Google Mail is probably the best in the business, not to mention Google Maps and Streetview, and Google Earth, and even it’s acquisitions like YouTube or Blogger.

Yet it doesn’t really get “fans” as such. Facebook does, as does Linux, even Microsoft, an often demonised corporation. Linux, well, they’re true believers, not fans, and Apple – they’re fanatics 🙂 The point is once in Google’s sphere of influence, you’re likely to stay there. Use it’s start page, it’s e-mail, it’s Calender, perhaps it’s browser Chrome which has morphed into an OS of sorts itself. Throw in Android, which through sheer number of devices is taking over the mobile market fast, and Google can be felt everywhere.

It means people might not like it being that big and powerful. In exchange for these services, which are all free, you are essentially giving them your data. It’s a fair exchange – the data is anonymous, used for advertising (Google’s main revenue) so for Google it’s sole aim is to get as many web users in as many services as it can. But it doesn’t cut corners, or plaster the services with ads – and they’re not really “tracking” you as such though you get the odd creepy moment where you were just shopping for something and it starts popping up in ads… You don’t even have to share this data in the first place, Google is pretty open, and if you took the time, you’d find out how top opt out of, say, search history, or certain cookies often used, even benign ones used by Google Analytics (a free service for webmasters) which are simply used to tell the site owner what kind of visitors they get.

This kind of discussion, as well as product-specific discussions, tips,  advice, and much more can be used on my Google+ Fan Page

 

You’ll also find the link to my personal profile there, since Google+ interestingly treats each page, or person, as it’s own entity. Give it a go – and take a second to think of how much Google has helped you, your life, your internet usage over the years versus any media-overblown negatives. See you there!

The Top 75 Spaceships in TV and Movies

75 Iconic Spacecraft

75 Iconic Spacecraft

Over at Den Of Geek Martin Anderson has written this great article.

Although Den Of Geek is a fanboys paradise, posting on everything and anything to do with Games, Comics, TV and Movies, especially if its SciFi and Fantasy, this article has raised the bar in the quality of the content.

You see, Martin hasn’t just posted pictures and quick reviews of these iconic starships. He’s included a lot of background material: from many interviews with the FX people, modellers, directors and designers to links to more resources, histories, and even models and CGI renderings of each ship.

This is the kind of content the web was made for. In many ways, it’s a waste to hide it at Den of Geek. It could easily be a standalone site in it’s own right or even a coffee table book. The writing and in depth details are that good . Quality like this deserves at least to bring in new readers to Den of Geek .

Go visit this collection now. You might not agree with the rankings, and you might spot a few omissions, but if you have even a cursory affinity with Science Fiction you’ll find it very interesting. Just be warned – it can be a marathon reading the whole lot in one go!

The Top 75 Spaceships in TV and Movies.

“Total Eclipse” Literal Video

Here’s another of those Literal Music Videos – this time, a version of Bonnie Tyler’s classic “Total Eclipse Of The Heart”.

This Jim Steinman produced song is full of theatrics and overblown visuals, and as such is ideal for this, erm, affectionate parody… One of the best I’ve seen so far!

You can see other similar videos here and here .

A Timeline Of Memes

This is a rather interesting timeline of internet memes. It starts right at 1970 with “Internet” and moves onto “Susan Boyle” in 2009. Give it time to load, and you’re probably better off using the slider at the bottom rather than dragging the screen.

Click the link after the embedded widget to see the original site in full size. This small box really doesn’t do it justice!



Google Zeitgeist 2008 Published

Google’s annual year-end Zeitgeist has been published and it provides an interesting snapshot of what people have searched for over the past year. In a wider context, it’s also an indication of general matters of interest throughout the world. You can even get country-specific lists.

Most of the searches, to be honest, are pretty self explanatory. Sites such as Facebook rank top as a search, because people tend to just type “facebook” into their search bar or address bar, then click the link that appears in the listings rather than type “www.facebook.com” directly. But at least this way Google can track it 🙂

The interesting lists though are the specific ones. Martinis, Mojitos and Margaritas are the top cocktails, for example. And American Idol, Lost, and SNL are the top shows. Man Utd, Chelsea, and Chivi (?) were the top “soccer” teams, and in the UK Facebook, Iplayer and BBC were the top.

Nothing surprising then, really, but it does at least show the most popular are now very well entrenched.

The Akinator

This is a simple web-based knowledge game, where the computer will try to guess any character or person you think of.

You’ve probably played something like this before – it’s based on knowledge trees where the program builds up a database of questions that link to the answer (eventually). What’s great about this one is how much it actually “knows”. I must have tried tons to try and catch it out!

Of course, essentially this is ” 20 Questions ” 🙂

The Akinator

PS.I found this site from the wonderful B3TA newsletter. Along with Popbitch , well worth subscribing too…