Monthly Archives: November 2013

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Growing up Geek: Timothy J. Seppala

Welcome to Growing Up Geek, an ongoing feature where we take a look back at our youth and tell stories of growing up to be the nerds that we are. Today, we have our very own Timothy J. Seppala.

I was 7 years old the first time I read Jaws. I was in second grade, and like most boys that age, I was absurdly fascinated by sharks and dinosaurs. I still am. What made me want to read it was spending an afternoon watching the flick on LaserDisc with my dad. By the time the end credits rolled, I was filled with a sense of wonder that I still get when I watch it on Blu-ray. It left me wanting more, though, so I checked the novel out from the library.

I don’t remember how long it took me to read, but I recall not being able to put it down; it was unlike anything I’d ever encountered before. Mostly because it was an adult novel and I was still a kid. There was blood! There was swearing! There were entire chapters written from a shark’s perspective! After finishing it, there was no way I could go back to the steady diet of whatever it was my classmates were reading, so I skipped youth fiction almost entirely. My next read was Jurassic Park. After that, the rest of Crichton’s and Benchley’s works kept me busy until high school where I discovered Tolkien and King.

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Get Email Alerts for Free Kindle Ebooks in Favorite Genres with IFTTT

If you want to build up a collection of great ebooks on your Kindle without spending a dime, Red Ferret has a simple but neat trick to using Amazon’s individual RSS feeds and our favorite web automator, IFTTT.

It’s basically all about finding the right RSS subscription link based on the genre you like and then creating an IFTTT recipe to send alerts to your inbox when a new recipe is added to it. The alert is crucial, since many times, these ebooks are free only for a day or a short period, and you’d be kicking yourself if you missed it because you didn’t check your RSS feed that day.

Go to Amazon.com (or .co.uk) and choose your favorite book genre:

1. Go here – http://www.amazon.com/Best-Sellers-K… (substitute amazon.co.uk for the UK store)

2. Click on Kindle eBooks in sidebar (or Books in UK)

3. Click on your favorite genre – e.g. Romance

4. Select sub topic if wanted (optional) (e.g. romance – vampires)

5. Scroll to the bottom of the page and copy the Subscribe to: Top Free > [Your genre] link

[Optionally you can click on the link, and then copy it into your clipboard from the address bar]

It will look something like this, with a different number depending on genre chosen:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/rss/top-fre…

Once you have the link, set up an IFTTT recipe for it as instructed in the video above and you’ll be all set to get notified of free ebooks. Yup, IFTTT is fantastic to ensure you never miss a deal.

Amazon Hack: how to get free Amazon eBooks in your favorite genre delivered to your inbox every week | Red Ferret

Your Ridiculously Awesome Pontiac Firebird Wallpaper Is Here

Your Ridiculously Awesome Pontiac Firebird Wallpaper Is Here

Some may call it sacrilege, but I actually found the Pontiac Firebird to be the prettier, albeit more overlooked sister of the Chevrolet Camaro. Especially in the second generation, when you could get that silly and wonderful flaming chicken on the hood. But now you can have the tailpipes right on your computer.

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Gallery: Disorienting audiovisual show prepares you for teleportation

Daydrea V.02 Insanitus—Nonotak Studio

This disorientating audiovisual installation has been created by the Nonotak Studio for the Insanitus Festival 2013 in Kaunas, Lithuania. Daydream V.2 generates space distortions that look like teleportation beams and encourage the viewer to be more aware of their passive state.

“This installation is aimed at establishing a physical connection between the virtual space and the real space, blurring the limits and submerging the audience into a short detachment from reality. Lights generate abstract spaces while sounds define the echoes of virtual spaces. Daydream is an invitation to contemplation,” says the Studio about the project.

Watch the video above to see the full effect of Daydream, and click through the gallery for more images.

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Go “Back to the Future” to Make Better Decisions

Go “Back to the Future” to Make Better Decisions

When you are facing a difficult choice, take a moment and imagine yourself in a successful or failed outcome to gain some clarity, suggests Robert Sutton, author of Scaling Up Excellence: Getting To More Without Settling For Less.

Try going "back to the future." Sometimes they call it a "pre-mortem". Imagine it’s 2015 and we failed at rolling out our IT implementation. Just that simple sort of cognitive switch leads people to be much more realistic, and more fine-grained in the analysis of what they need to do. Or instead of thinking how nice (a vacation might be), imagine you’re there and sort of looking back from the future. Gary Klein, the psychologist who has been pushing this, has studies that show people make better decisions when they do this.

It won’t come as easily as Sutton suggests, so you will have to spend some time clearing your thoughts and putting yourself in that imaginary situation. But once you do, it should help come to a better decision about what you do now. And if you’re still stuck, you can try these four tricks, such as contradicting yourself and reversing your assumptions.

The Leadership Secret Steve Jobs And Mark Zuckerberg Have In Common | Barking Up The Wrong Tree

Nokia’s Verizon-bound Lumia 929 shows up again in leaked photo

We’re quickly losing count on how many times we have seen leaks of the Nokia Lumia 929. Still, something tells us Verizon subscribers won’t mind getting as many looks as possible at what’s rumored to be a pretty high-end smartphone. Now, courtesy of a forum member on Windows Phone Central, we’re seeing the Lumia 929 from a slightly different angle than in previous occasions. As a refresher, Nokia’s unannounced handset is rumored to come with a 5-inch, 1080p display, 32GB of built-in storage and a 20-megapixel PureView shooter. Previous reports suggested it could hit Verizon around Thanksgiving, but according to the person behind the most recent leak, this Windows Phone device won’t be official until sometime in mid-to-late December.

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Source: Windows Phone Central

Belt.io Syncs Text & Links Across Devices and Browsers

Belt.io Syncs Text & Links Across Devices and Browsers

Web/Chrome/Firefox/iOS/Android: If you want a simple cloud-based clipboard that syncs notes across different devices, then Belt.io gets the job done without much fuss.

Sign up for the webapp, get the Chrome or Firefox extensions, and download it across your iOS or Android devices. Once you have it set up on all these, you can copy-paste any text or links into individual notes, which are instantly synced across the app. It works just as it says and even gives you a notification when there’s an update.

What I didn’t like about the app was its sharing feature, which lets you share your notes only with other Belt.io users. There’s no reason a simple text note can’t be shared on other platforms like email, text messaging or IM. But hey, it’s still a neat app apart from that, especially since it’s free!

Belt.io

Xbox One’s 500GB HDD swapped for bigger, faster drives, and tested for performance

The Xbox One arrives with a 500GB HDD built-in, and in contrast to the PlayStation 4′s easily-accessed storage, it’s not meant to be accessed or replaced by the user, ever. While we’ll probably leave ours in place to keep from voiding the warranty or risk a ban from Xbox Live, a few folks have already cracked open the console to see what else will fit. iFixit noted during its teardown that there’s an off-the-shelf 2.5-inch Samsung HDD inside connected via SATA II inside, and swapping that out isn’t much of an issue. Brian Williams has already tried out the system with two alternate drives: a 500GB Samsung EVO SSD, and a Seagate 1TB hybrid SSHD. As you can see in his video (embedded after the break) boot time from off to the dashboard only improved slightly, with the SSD loading in 46.1 seconds compared to 50.5 stock. A test with Call of Duty: Ghosts revealed similar results, with the SSD loading up in 27 seconds and the hybrid drive close behind in 27.7, compared to 33.5 seconds stock. We’ll need tests with more games to be sure, but so far it’s not showing the improvements seen after swapping the PS4′s hard drive out for speedier options. The folks at Tested report doing so improved level load times in Killzone: Shadow Fall from 60 seconds to 39 seconds.

So, if it’s not a ton faster, why would you want to take the chance of prying Microsoft’s box open? To get more space. Brian’s drives were simply copies of the original transferred by Clonezilla, but an individual named Juvenal1 has already worked out how to get the system to actually recognize and make use of drives bigger than 500GB. By copying files from your original drive and using their Linux-compatible tool to repartition the new HDD, you can be up and running with more capacity after just a reboot or two. Of course, this carries significant risks and we don’t recommend it for most, as Microsoft’s Albert Penello has already revealed support for external drives is coming in a future update, along with the ability to do crazy things like see how much storage you actually have left. Still, if you just need to live on the edge (or store every game released so far and record hours of clean Upload Studio clips) the instructions can be found here.

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Source: Juvenal1 (Github), Brian Williams

China All Set To Launch Its First Lunar Rover Tomorrow

China All Set To Launch Its First Lunar Rover Tomorrow

As China has grown in prosperity, it’s felt the need to expand upon its space program, like all prosperous nations do. And like all prosperous nations, it’s felt the need to send something to the moon. And now, it’s sending its first lunar rover, which should send back some pretty neat pictures and science.

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Buy Cheaper Stuff First to Avoid Splurging on Shopping

Buy Cheaper Stuff First to Avoid Splurging on Shopping

Instead of heading straight for the MacBooks and 4K TVs, buy all the less expensive items on your holiday shopping list first. It stops you from having a distorted perception of value, researchers say.

Once you shell out for something costly, your brain loses perspective on what’s a good price, says Scott Huettel, an associate professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University, in Durham, North Carolina. So once you’ve paid $250 for a PlayStation 3, doling out $40 instead of $30 for a Lego set may no longer faze you.

The full post at Real Simple has some other cool tips on avoiding spending too much. For example, try not to go to attractive salespersons as studies suggest you are more likely to find them trustworthy.

One-Day Holiday and Christmas Shopping Plan | Real Simple