Friday, April 27, 2007

New found music

Recently, a friend of mine, Trevor, has led me to a new genre of music. A genre of jam sessions, kickin' guitar solos, and a medley of all great musicians. It started with the Allman Brothers Band, then it led to Gov't Mule, and now I'm hooked on the Grateful Dead. I am by no means a Deadhead but they're music is just so awesome. For some of you, this music may be old stuff but it is very new to me and I think it is just awesome.

The style of this music is just so laid back and easy goin', all you can do is sit back and enjoy the passion these guys put in their music. At the top of this page is a link to some video clips of a few of the Allman Brothers Band songs. The first album that my friend gave me was entitled "At Fillmore East" and he said the reason he lent me it was because it is considered the 'godfather' of all live shows. At first I was a little skeptical, but after listening to it I have to agree that it is a pretty great album. The most impressive song on this album is called "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" which is a 13 minute long jazz fest with an extended guitar solo by the famous Duane Allman that brought comparisons to famous tenor sax player John Coltrane. You can listen to this song for free here. Not only does this song feature an amazing solo by Duane but some masterful writing by Dickey Betts, especially the transition at around 2:30 into the song. For the last week this has been all I have listened to because it is pretty amazing. Go ahead, give it a try. It is definitely worth listening to.

Gov't Mule started out as a side project for the Allman Brothers Band but it soon took a life of its own. It is a jam band that fuses music from all genres into one big package. Gov't Mule fuses rock, jazz, bluegrass, folk, and many other types of music to create a relaxed but passionate style of music. My friend lent me a CD of theirs entitled "The Deepest End, Live in Concert" and features many of their famous songs along with famous guest such as Bela Fleck and the Dirty Dozen brass band. Great stuff. Here is some more info on Gov't Mule.

The last group I mentioned was the Grateful Dead. They formed in 1965 as one of the first jam bands and are considered one of "the pioneering Godfathers of the jam band world." The genre of music that this group created had never been heard before and this unique style of music has led to their popularity. Fanatic fans that followed the band around began to become known as Deadheads. When the Grateful Dead formed, The Beatles and the Rolling Stones had already been around, so their music had to differ from anything anyone had ever heard. The rich mixture of blues, folk, rock, and more gained interest in the music industry. This new style of music stayed popular for 40 years as the band toured from 1965 to 1995. The band broke up in 1995 after famous guitarist, Jerry Garcia, died of health problems. However, the legend of "The Dead" lives on in a group entitled Dark Star Orchestra. Formed in 1997, DSO was formed as a tribute band for The Dead and performs shows exactly as the original band, therein recreating history. The Dead will remain immortalized in history forever but if you've never heard their music I highly recommend listening to something right away. Info on The Dead and DSO.


Monday, April 23, 2007

Earth Day and going green.

There is 16 days of left (including weekends) until I am completely done with school (I get done with finals on Wednesday). I can't believe how fast this school year has gone by but I still have a lot to finish before I can go home. Well, I didn't get that summer internship that I applied for, oh well guess I'll have to look for something else. Yesterday was Earth day for those of you who didn't know, so I've decided to give you my perspective on global warming and the issues surrounding it.

Many of you know about Al Gore's documentary/power point presentation "An Inconvenient Truth" that provides hundreds of facts on the global warming issue. Gore provides evidence that there are no dissensions in the scientific community that global warming is a problem for our world. However, in the media there is a split between journalists who believe it is a problem and those who don't. I personally think that there is a problem with global warming but I think it is becoming a little over sensationalized because of Al Gore's high profile status. We do need to reverse the trends that have been going on for the past two decades and this can only happen if everyone pitches in. Many activists will give you a long list of things to do that are environmentally friendly but sometimes they just aren't possible. For instance, many environmental activists tell us to start riding a bike or walking to work/school but for many of us that is just not possible. Even if school or work is less than 5 miles away we all enjoy sleeping so if you wanted to walk you would need to wake up an hour earlier! Then all the scientists who study sleep health would complain because the environmental scientists are telling people to get up an hour before they need to, imagine those fights.

There are some easy ways you can help the environment and I'm sure you've probably heard many of these. The easiest thing you can do is recycle everything you can. At my house, the city recently distributed recycle bins that are as large as the trash cans and my family has probably cut the amount of waste in half since these new recycle bins were available. Newspapers, plastic bottles, scratch paper, and many other things can be recyclable. You can also switch your interior lights for your house. They are a tad more expensive but they light rooms better, longer, and produce far less energy waste. One other thing that is very easy is to watch how long you keep your lights on. Whenever you leave a room and you know you won't be back for a while, turn off the lights to save money and the environment!

Here are some more tips on making your house "green"

Well these were just a few reiterations of tips that I have heard in the past. If you have any other tips, please share them because there is no harm in keeping the environment clean.


Saturday, April 21, 2007

Mac vs. Windows vs. Linux--Part 4

Sorry for such the delay between operating system posts I got bogged down with writing a speech and a paper along with the tragic events at Virginia Tech. Well here goes the last post, I think I'll talk about some positives and negatives for each system.

Lets start with Macs: Some complaints of the Mac are its expensive price tag. The cheapest Macs go for about $1100 while comparable PC's with Windows can be as low as $500. Another complaint is that some software is not always compatible for Mac as soon as it is for Windows. Also, Macs have had a problem of overheating laptop batteries (but this is also prevalent in some brands of Windows PCs). There are not many other complaints besides that, that I know of but there are probably more.

Windows: Because Windows is the most popular operating system in the world, there is a large amount of viruses, spyware, and adware. This is the biggest complaint of Windows because it slows down the computer, erases files from the hard drive sometimes, and even make the computer unusable. Another big complaint about Windows is that it can sometimes be very difficult to use. For instance, all of the programs inside Windows are tied to each other and if one program stops running, sometimes the system shuts down completely. Those are only the complaints I can think of now but I'm sure there are more.

Linux: The biggest complaint with Linux is that there is quite a bit of hardware and software that does not work at all with Linux. Also, there is not enough support for novice users to be able to understand how to use the system and that makes the operating system hard to use. Other complaints include diffuculty of installing the system and lack of music and video files supported.

My preference of systems is Windows, I like to use it because I have been using it for so long and I know exactly how to use it. I have not had a virus on my computer since I've had it. All it takes is the right tools to keep the viruses off and the computer will be fine. I do think that Macs have a very intuitive design and they are very easy to use but they are out of my price range for now. As for Linux, I have tried using it but with Windows it is very difficult to dual boot both systems (well it is for me, if you can help me, please do).

Well, thats all I've got for now. Thanks for reading this series on operating systems. Hopefully, I've made it somewhat informative to you non-tech savvy readers. If you disagree with anything I've said or have anything to add to the discussion please leave a comment. Have a great weekend.


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Never forget Virginia Tech

Let's keep them in our prayers and ask for the forgiveness of Cho Seung-Hui's soul. You may not agree with that right now but I think that is the way those that are grieving will only heal right now. Please do not try to put the blame on the government, the school administration, or anything else. It is only one person's fault. There are 93 schools represented in that picture, keep up the support the Hokies need it.

ABC Story
Yahoo Story-A look at the victims

Here at OU today, we had a minor scare this morning. At 9:50 AM, a mass e-mail was sent out from the University President, advising all students, faculty, and staff to stay indoors until an all clear signal was given. In an email sent at 10:19 AM President Boren stated:

"TO: All Students, Faculty, and Staff

The OU Police Department has made a saturated search of the area where a person carrying a suspicious object was spotted. No person with a weapon has been found. It is now believed that the person was possibly carrying a yoga mat which was mistaken for a weapon.. We should therefore proceed with the normal schedule. The individual carrying the items was described as a caucasian male of student age partially balding or with short hair and wearing a yellow shirt. If such a person is seen carrying a suspicious object it should be reported to the OU Police Department at 1911 or 325-1717 or blue phones should be used. If anyone feels that he may have been the person who was seen and was thought to be carrying a weapon that person should also call the OU Policy Department to reassure the community.

Thank you for your cooperation

David L. Boren

Later on, the student that had been carrying the "mysterious object" had self-identified himself to the OUPD and told them he was only carrying an umbrella and not a weapon. Although this was not anything serious, I am glad to see that our university is taking everything seriously and not leaving anything to chance. The easiest way to prevent tragedy is over cautiousness, so I applaud the administration and OUPD for keeping all students, faculty, and staff safe. The time period right after this tragedy is the most vulnerable because of possible copycat attacks so be aware of anything suspicious. Again, please keep the VT family in your prayers, whatever religion you may practice.


Virginia Tech shooting leads other universities to take precautions.

For those of you who don't know about the events that transpired today, turn your TV to the news or check out Yahoo!. The biggest news of the day was the Virginia Tech shootings, with 33 people killed and more wounded in the hospital. These horrible events that occurred today have prompted other universities around the country to take extra safety precautions.

Here at the University of Oklahoma, the president of the university has sent an email reading:

"As an extra security precaution in light of the tragic events at Virginia Tech University, the security doors in our residence halls will be locked 24 hours a day for the remainder of the semester and require an ID card or room key for access.


David Boren
Before now, residence hall floors were just locked from 10PM (12 PM on the weekends) until 7AM or 8AM but as the note says, the doors will be locked 24 hours a day for the rest of the semester. I believe that this is a necessary precaution for the university to take and I applaud them for their efforts. A friend of mine a Texas Tech told me that there was an increased security presence on campus and he believes there would be more precautions coming.

As a fellow blogger (link) says, this is a very scary situation because it is just one or two events away from occurring here or at any other university campus in the nation. Hopefully, other campus will take security precautions or any other actions that will prevent this from happening anywhere else. This is the worst shooting massacre in the U.S. (I believe) and worst on a university campus since the University of Texas shooting in 1966 (EDITED from 1964). Please keep the departed, the wounded, and families and friends involved in your prayers. If anyone at other universities has any other news about safety precautions, please let me know.

EDIT: I recently found this story from a few first hand sources at Virginia Tech. One of the students was in the class next door to the class that was shot and told a story of his teacher risking (possibly sacrificing) his life so his students could get out. Read the full story here.


Monday, April 16, 2007

Mac vs. Windows vs. Linux--Part 3

This post will cover an overview of operating systems that run off of the Linux kernel. Operating system kernel's connects a computer's hardware to applications that run on the computer. Since all operating system's run off of a kernel you may be wondering what is so special about Linux. Well, the Linux kernel is open source (or free) which means that anyone can alter its code and anyone can use it without having to pay a dime. There are many distributions of the Linux kernel in the form of many different operating systems. A list of Linux distributions can be found here. Most times, Linux is used to run servers because it is the most reliable but I will talk about the distributions that are meant for desktop and laptop computers.


Since there are hundreds of different types of Linux it is difficult to discuss the features of just one system. So, I will talk about some of the applications that many distros use. Due to the open source aspect of Linux, all the applications are open source meaning there is no Microsoft Office, iChat, or iTunes. Instead, programmers from all over the world have created quite a bit of applications that make using Linux very easy. Instead of Microsoft Office many distros use which is very similar to Microsoft's product is free, many of you use Mozilla Firefox and since it is open source this is the web browser of choice for many distros. Instead of using AIM, you will often times find GAIM (which recently changed its name to Pidgin, because AOL was complaining) which allows you to connect mutliple IM services into one application, there is even a Windows version (not sure about Macs) found here. Linux has been long associated with computer programmers and techs but recently, there has been some good news for Linux.

Dell recently announced they would be shipping their computers with a pre-installed version of Linux on it. This is great news for people who are tired of using Macs and Windows but are afraid of using Linux because they don't know how. With Dell pre-installing Linux, customers will be able to get support from Dell instead of having to scour internet message boards for help. I have been experimenting with Linux lately and the distribution I have been using is Ubuntu (link). This is a really popular distro and has about 8 million users so far. It is quite easy to use but I have not had any luck with it yet possibly because I don't have enough time. Everyone should check it out, the company that makes Ubuntu will even send you a free CD so you can try it out!

Well, that is all I have about Linux. It is a very stable and reliable operating system that deserves more attention than it gets. Many of you may not be tech-savvy but know you sorta, kinda know what that Linux thing is that some of your computery friends talk about. The most important thing you should know about Linux: it is completely free and won't cost you a dime!

Thanks for reading this series about operating systems. I think tomorrow I will wrap it up and talk about my preference. I will also discuss some of the pluses and negatives of each system. On an unrelated note, The Big Event was a great success and I will post pictures up very soon. I got to paint a room in a Hispanic preschool in Oklahoma City. It felt great to help others out and hopefully I can get out to do more (and you too!).


Saturday, April 14, 2007

Mac vs. Windows vs. Linux--Part 2

Today I will continue the series discussing, well actually over viewing the separate operating systems and in the final post I will discuss the positives and negatives of each system. Anyways, this post will overview Microsoft's operating systems:

Windows (XP and Vista)

Most of you run a version of Windows and those of you who run a different system are probably still familiar with it from using it in places such as
schools and libraries. Microsoft holds about 90% of the market when it comes to operating systems and most business, governments (local, state, and national), and universities choose Windows. Like Apple, Microsoft began in the 1970s (1975 to be exact) when the Personal Computer industry was just a fledgling industry. Microsoft's first entry into the business was with DOS (Disk Operating System) in 1981 which was popular until about 1995. Besides operating system's, Microsoft has created a popular gaming console, Xbox (and Xbox 360), and a claimed "iPod killer" Zune but has not lived up to its name (more Microsoft history can be found here; link) Windows XP was released in late 2001 and about three months ago, Windows Vista was released and will soon become the major operating system from Microsoft. I have decided to overview both systems because XP is still the dominant system as many of you have not switched to Vista, therefore I will probably go into more detail about Vista.

(Windows XP Desktop, a sight very familiar to all of you)

Windows XP was designed by Microsoft for general use in homes and at businesses. Like OS X, Windows XP utilizes a GUI for users to quickly and easily access the computers inner workings. Older versions of Windows' operating systems were very prone to crashing and not very reliable, XP fixed most of these problem with increased security and reliability. Inside XP, you will find a powerful system that allows users to do more than ever. Multiple users can quickly switch accounts in XP without closing any programs or logging off. Another great feature of XP is its Remote Desktop function which allows system administrators to fix a computer without having to visit it (that is, only if it has a software problem). Windows XP allows users to listen to all of their favorite music in Windows Media Player, while Windows Messenger allows users to chat with their friends and family all over the world (detailed XP overview can be found here). While XP does not come with a word processing software, Microsoft Office is a very powerful (and valuable) tool that allows users to create, share, and edit documents like essays, spreadsheets, and presentations. XP is a relatively stable system considering the amount of users it has but Vista has certainly increased stability and security.

Windows Vista is similar in design to XP but has many enhancements ranging from security to visual appeal. Windows Aero, the new GUI, provides a more asthetically pleasing look to Windows and provides transparencies, live thumbnails, live icons, animations and eye candy. In Vista, there is a bundle of productivity and entertainment tools such as a Calendar, Address Book, DVD Maker, Web broswer (Internet Explorer), and Speech Recognition software. Vista also features Parental Controls which allow administrators (in this case, parents) to monitor what their children are doing and restrict access to certain programs and websites. A new Sidebar is present in Vista that allows users to personalize Gadgets that include clocks, weather reports, stock updates, news updates, and many others. Another very powerful and helpful tool in Vista is Shadow Copy, this program creates a daily backup of all changed files without the user ever having to worry about it. This is a useful tool in case something happens in the system and it crashes, the user still has all of their files available for use. There are many other features in Vista, but the ones I presented to you are the ones I think enhance usability in this system. A more detailed list and overview of Vista can be found here.

I hope this has given you a good overview of the old system, XP and the new system, Vista. If you notice any mistakes I made or think I should add something to the post, please let me know, I am open and willing to suggestions.

Next up I will cover the relatively unknown operating system (actually a kernel, which I'll discuss in the next post) Linux. The next post may be delayed until Sunday because I am participating in Big Event here at OU which is a campus wide community service event but I'll actually be in Oklahoma City at the Latino Community Development Agency. Thanks for reading my blog, I appreciate all of you who are back and I am especially thankful for all of you new readers. Let's hope for some good weather instead of all this cold! Have a wonderful weekend.


Friday, April 13, 2007

Mac vs. Windows vs. Linux--Part 1

Today, I will start the discussion about the three main operating systems that most people in the world run on. There will be four parts to this discussion, one post explaining each operating systems good and bad points and then my opinions on all three for the last post. I will try to remain objective about each system. We'll see how that goes but I think I can do it. I know this discussion has been going on since the inception of all of these operating systems but I'd like to give my readers an overview of the systems before any arguments take place. Also, I realize I will make mistakes when talking about certain systems, so please comment and let me know. First up:

Macintosh (or Apple, Inc.)

Oh, the wonderful multi-colored Apple. It has changed to a single color since the early days of Apple, Inc. (which is a very good thing) but the company has also recently changed its focus. Apple Computer began by just selling Personal Computers in 1977. I will spare you from the long history of Apple, but if you would like to find out more check out this Wikipedia page (link). Apple has been innovating the Personal Computer industry for a long time and it is no doubt that many great things have come from the Computer. In a recent "top 10 best tech products of all time" list (link), Apple had two products on the list: the Apple II and the iPod. The Apple II was the Personal Computer that "ignited the industy" and theres no need to explain the iPod. After taking many shots at branching out from the Personal Computer industry, in 2001 Apple inserted itself into the portable music player market. Now that you know some of what Apple has done in the last couple of decades, let me tell you some of the specifics about its newest (with the next version coming out this summer) operating system: OS X .

This is the OS X Desktop, this picture is featuring the dashboard widgets that allow the user to quickly check stock quotes, weather, the time, and many other things (link to Dashboard widgets). The Graphic User Interface (GUI), which allows people to interact with computers with visual icons and other graphical elements (most of you probably use this everyday on your computers; Wikipedia link), on Macs is very friendly to users and provides an uncluttered and simple desktop space. OS X, has a number of tools to enhance usability. Some of these tools include: Exposé, which allows users to quickly tile all open windows on the desktop with a keystroke in order to get a quick overview of what is open; Spotlight, a search function that quickly browses all files and folders if find anything on the computer; Fast User Switching, allows multiple users to share a computer without having to logout or close programs when switching. Along with these features, OS X has a slew of organizational tools: Address Book, iCal, Sticky Notes, and others. Tiger also allows users to browse the internet and chat with friends quickly and safely with the Safari web browser and iChat Instant messaging client.

Along with allowing users an enjoyable expierence while using OS X, Apple has created an operating system that is powerful enough to compete with other brands and allows users to connect to each other quickly and simply. The Networking tool makes connecting Macs over a local network very easy but still provides enough speed across the network. Parental Controls are also a big plus in this system allowing parents to control everything that their children see on the computer. Security is second to none in OS X, with very few viruses and spy ware, allowing users to use the computer without having to worry about hackers or worms infecting their computer. Apple has utilized OS X to its potential, making it safe, secure, and fun for all users. The next version of OS X, Leopard, coming out of Cupertino, California (Apple Headquarters) is speculated to come out in early June(EDIT: It has been pointed out to me that Apple has recently delayed the release until October) and will enhance many of the features available and make the operating system even easier for the users.

I hope this post has informed those of you are not familiar with Apple's operating system and for those of you who are familiar with it, please comment on this post and let me know what else I should've included and let everyone else know the other features of this fantastic OS. The next post in this series will cover Windows' operating systems--a little bit of XP and a little bit of Vista.

Official information from Apple's website can be found here: OS X Overview


Thursday, April 12, 2007

Dallas Stars--4 OT, postponed the OS posts

Okay, so I said yesterday that I would have the first part of the three part series about Mac vs. Windows vs. Linux, but I lied. The Dallas Stars game is about to go into the fourth overtime and I really can't concentrate long enough while listening to the game to write a good post. Yes, I am only listening to this game because here in Oklahoma we didn't get it on TV, so I am forced to listen to the web broadcast. I will do my best to get the first part out tomorrow.

Even though I can't offer you a post about operating systems (OS), I did learn a neat trick for all of you Firefox users. If you've ever wondered if you can open up multiple tabs as your homepage (or even if you haven't) well I will tell you how to do that right now! First of all you need to open up Firefox. Then:
  • Go to the Tools Menu on the Menu Bar at the top of the page
  • Click on Options at the bottom of the menu
  • Make Sure the Main (it may have a different name in your browser) tab is open. This tab should have the homepage settings on it.
  • Place your cursor after the homepage you have currently and insert a vertical line "|"
  • The vertical line is a combination of (Shift+\)
  • Add another web page. You can add as many as you want.
Hope this has been a cool tip because I have always wondered if this was possible. Well now that you know that I hope by the time you have read this that the Stars have won! Keep on the look out for the first part of that operating system post! Take it easy.


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

A tweener post

I am planning on writing a three part series about the Mac vs. Windows vs. Linux battle. I was going to write it tonight but I figured I could be writing forever and I should gather some thoughts and research before I begin this endeavor. I will definitely have the first part of this series up tomorrow, promise. If you have any thoughts on this subject before it hits the site let me know and I will incorporate it in my posts.

In other news, I am now the (co) Webmaster for the NSCS (National Society of Collegiate Scholars). I'm not even gonna link to the current website because, well I'll just say it needs some work. The website might not be updated for a while but when it is I'll let everyone see it.

So, while you're waiting for my fabulous future posts, please go read some fantastic poetry at my very good friend James Barger's website (link). Also, check out this new site that has become an internet phenomenon called Twitter. It is a mix between a blog and IM, it allows you to post what you are doing right at the moment. You can read more about Twitter and its other rival Jaiku (which I have not used) here at Rubennerd's Blog (link).
Okay, that is all for now. Don't forget about my posts for tomorrow! They will definitely appear.


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The tax man cometh

It's mid April and for all you working folk, this is one of the worst times of the year. Well, for those of you that only work summer jobs, tax time consists of five minutes of filling out a form and getting back anywhere from ten to thirty dollars. If you work full time and have money all over the place, well this is a terrible time for you. My father has always held the belief that if he is getting money back from the IRS he fills out his forms in January but if the IRS wants money, he waits till the very last day. This is obviously a good idea because you want your money from the IRS as soon as possible but when you have to give up your money to the IRS, keep it as long as possible. Personally, I did my taxes two weeks ago and got nine dollars back! Yet for some people, they wait until the very last day and stand in line for hours at the post office.

Why must people insist to wait until the very last minute? Is it the inherent procrastination gene found in most of us? I believe that when are raised as kids and we put off assignments or tasks to do until the very last minute and this carries over into our adult lives. Throughout our schooling, most of us have at one time or another put off that five page paper until the night before. Some of us are good enough writers to pull off the high B but many of us need the extra time to earn that quality grade. Therefore, we end up getting a C because we rushed through the paper so we could get to sleep. These values of timeliness and perseverance that we are lacking came from our school days. Most of the times, our parents try to instill these values in us from an early age but we just shrug them off and think we'll do stuff on our own. Very quickly do we learn how very wrong we were. Now that we are all grown (most of us), we should try to "re-learn" those values that will help us succeed later on in life. Taxes are due, so if you haven't done them, start out "re-learning" those values by getting those taxes in before the end of the week and don't wait till next Tuesday.

On a related note, I was doing my taxes online and came across a funny picture. It asks the user if they are blind. Now, I know that there is software that allows people who are blind to read websites but I really found this photo funny. Is it as funny as I think or am I crazy?


Monday, April 09, 2007

YouTube and the election

Well, I'm back in Norman and have just a month left of school. First year of college flew by pretty fast, but it was also a great experience. Easter was just fine and dandy, I got Caddy Shack from the "Easter Bunny" which I will watch sometime this week. I have been taking time to post because I enjoy blogging but I also want it to be about something of interest. A topic that (hopefully) will not bore you away from my page.

On my way from Dallas to Norman I plugged in my mp3 player (an old school Creative 256MB) to a FM transmitter and found a station full of static, just what I needed. Before I left home, I loaded up some podcasts (for those of you who don't know, a podcast is sort of like a radio show but it can be downloaded and listened to whenever you like; Wikipedia Link) to listen to but to my dismay, my AAA battery was running out of life! Luckily there was just enough battery to listen to about three podcasts. The last one I listened to was a show called Cranky Geeks (Episode 57), a show hosted by long time tech journalist John C. Dvorak ( and they talked about the internet being utilized in the upcoming election. On YouTube, a mash up of the 1984 Apple Super Bowl commercial (Original Commercial) was released with Hillary Clinton as the talking head and the girl with the sledge hammer wearing the Barack Obama logo (Link). This ad has caused a bit of controversy because the creator of the video mash up is unknown, so it could be anyone.

On Cranky Geeks, the panel discussed what they thought would happen with sites like YouTube and MySpace. I wrote about the primary elections on MySpace a few days ago which you can find a link to on the right side of the page. YouTube in the election seems very intriguing, could this be the election where we see the highest 18-34 year old turnout since the seventies? On many of the candidates MySpace profiles, videos have shown up of the candidates speaking to the viewer as if they were one-on-one. This provides candidates a way to speak to voters without the media being involved or having to explain their platforms in thirty seconds. YouTube videos also let regular people like you and I create video questions for the candidates to answer--and many times they will. Advertisers will also be able to advertise to a greater number of people for half of the cost. Will the Internet play a large role in the 2008 election? I think it will effect us in a way larger than any of us can imagine. So many people's lives in my generation (18-34) revolve around the Internet and thus far these candidates have done an exceptional job of tailoring to us. If you are 18 or older (or are going to be 18 or older) by November 4, 2008, listen to what the candidates have to say and vote for one that you agree with, not the one with the biggest fan base or money. Use the resources on the Internet and vote with your brain.

Here are some more thoughts from another blogger on the Election and MySpace: (Link)


Saturday, April 07, 2007

British soldiers say they were put through a mock execution

The other day I posted about Iran releasing British soldiers and that the soldiers had not been harmed (Link). Well yesterday, seven of the fifteen soldiers who had been captured and released held a press conference and told their story to the press. Some of the soldiers believed they would be executed at some point during the thirteen days. The soldiers told of being blindfolded and hearing gun cocks while one of the soldiers exclaimed "Lads, lads, we're going to be executed - do something." Lieutenant Felix Carman told about their ordeal:

"The following morning we were flown to Tehran and transported to a prison where the atmosphere changed completely. We were blindfolded, our hands were bound and we were forced up against a wall. Throughout our ordeal we faced constant psychological pressure.

"Later we were stripped and then dressed in pyjamas. The next few nights were spent in stone cells, approximately 8ft by 6ft, sleeping on piles of blankets. All of us were kept in isolation.

"We were interrogated most nights, and presented with two options. If we admitted we had strayed, we would be on a plane back to the UK soon. If we didn't we faced up to seven years in prison. We all at one time or another made a conscious decision to make a controlled release of non-operational information.

"We were kept in isolation until the last few nights when we were allowed to gather for a few hours together, in the full glare of Iranian media.

"On day 12 we were taken to a Governmental complex, blindfolded and then given three piece suits to wear. We watched the President's statement live on TV, and it was only then that we realised we were to be sent home."

It is a good thing that the soldiers were not killed but this is an awful thing for Iran to do. The soldiers even talked about how they were just doing a routine boarding patrol which was 1.7 nautical miles away from Iranian waters. 66 other patrols had taken place in the same waters where the British soldiers were captured. So, what was the Iranian Navy doing in Iraqi waters? Once again, Iran shows their defiance to any kind of rules governing warfare. How far will Iran have to go, defying rules of engagement, before anyone tries to stop them?


Snow in April--in Texas, Football, and DRM less music

Today's Weather (4/7): High of 46 F with chances of snow. This is April, when was the last time it snowed in Texas at this time of the year?Well, this is some pretty crazy weather for Easter weekend. I'm back home for the holiday and luckily I don't have much to do besides relax.

OU is having their "spring" football game today in Norman and I know last year that it attracted 20,000 people. That's gonna be 20,000 really cold people today good thing I decided not to go. Although, I would be really interested to see the quarterback battle again. From what I've read in The Oklahoma Daily, OU's student newspaper, Sam Bradford has the edge in the competition but freshman phenom Keith Nichol is pushing hard at the starting job. The Running Back position is stocked full of amazing runners. Allen Patrick, the experienced senior who filled in when Adrian Peterson was hurt last year did an awesome job. Then we have DeMarrco Murray, another freshman phenom who has had some long runs in spring practice looks to be the next Adrian Peterson. Okay, enough about Oklahoma football for now--for those of you who don't really care.

The other day I talked about iTunes taking the DRM out of their music catalog (Link). I would like to encourage everyone to purchase at least one track from the store. This will show Apple that the consumers really don't like DRM and soon the price of the tracks will fall. DRM music tracks may cost less but they also limit who can buy the tracks. Right now, only iPod users can put iTunes music on their MP3 players but without DRM anyone can buy music and put it anywhere they want. Un-DRM music also makes it easier to share a couple of tracks between friends instead of them being locked out. So once again, if everyone could just spend $1.30 on a DRM less music track (not to mention the quality of the music has doubled!) Apple would reduce the price and other online music stores would take the DRM out of their music. One day it will happen, lets make it sooner rather than later. If you want some more information about this situation, check out Boing Boing's article here.


EDIT: News was released today that Microsoft will be taking the DRM out of their Zune music store! See, its already happening! (Link)

Friday, April 06, 2007

Summer internship.

Everyone is searching for a job or internship this summer and I am not exception to this. I have been searching for an internship to gain some experience over the summer but haven't had any luck until yesterday. Most companies only have internships for juniors and seniors because they are more experienced than freshman. I got an email from OU career services about an internship at Site Selection Group, a company that helps large corporations find locations for distribution centers, call centers, and other things of the sort. They contact communities around the world and gather information from them. Information like:
  • Education
  • Demographics
  • Population
  • Tax Rates
This gives companies a good idea of what would happen if they moved some of their offices or other buildings to the community. So, I contacted the VP of this company and he set up phone interview with me. This was a very new thing for me because I have always done interviews in person. The interview went very well and the VP seemed like a nice person. He told me about what the company does and what I would be doing over the summer. My job would be to enter data into databases, it would be a good experience and I would be making $10 an hour and working 40 hours a week. I'm hoping to hear if I got this internship next week, so here's for hoping.

Here's a link to the company: Site Selection Group


Thursday, April 05, 2007

Iran lets British soldiers free

British soldiers who had been captured in Iranian waters 13 days ago were let go earlier today. Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called the release of the prisoners a gift to the UK. Many of the soldiers apologized for their actions and thanked the Iranian government for letting them go. They also said they had been treated well and no harm was inflicted on them.

This is very good news because it was taken care of politically and there was no need to use any military force. However, President Ahamdinejad's comment that the release was a gift was a little bit odd. I don't see it as a gift, I see it as good publicity for him so he doesn't look like the bad guy he has been portrayed as lately. In the end, it is a good thing that the soldiers were released so we can be thankful for that. Here's some more commentary on this situation: (Yankee Commentary)


Presidential Race goes high tech (again), Obama raises $25M

Myspace. Love it or hate it, it is one of the most influential websites of the last couple years. It has more users than the entire population of Mexico and if it could be a sovereign nation, it would be the 11th largest country in the world. Next January Myspace will hold an online primary for the presidential candidates. Users will be asked to select one of the candidates on January 1 & 2, 2008. Many candidates already have Myspace profiles (check them out here).The turnout will be very interesting but as TechCruch says in their article (Link) a Facebook primary would be more legitimate because users are verified and there is less of a chance for candidates to create face profiles and stuffing the ballot box.

In other news, Barack Obama has raised $25M in the last quarter signaling him as the chief rival of Hillary Clinton and possibly the front runner for the Democratic nomination. With plenty of time to fund raise until election time, the nomination is still up for grabs but it is seems that Obama and Clinton are pushing the hardest to obtain the nomination. This election's Democratic party nomination process is far more interesting than the Republican party nomination process. While the Democrats have a fierce battle of old and new, the Republicans are lacking with any wow factor. Rudy Giuliani and John McCain are fine candidates but don't have anything exciting between them. Will the GOP try to fire up this race to garner more attention for the party or will the Democrats run away with the excitement factor (if you can think of political races as exciting) in the political races? Let the race begin.


Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Daylight Savings Time didn't help

Today wasn't a very busy day, which was a good change of pace. Big accounting test tomorrow that I should've studied more for. Tennessee won the Women's NCAA Basketball Championship. That is not what I was hoping for but they certainly do deserve it. Congrats to them and hopefully OU can get there next year!

Everyone felt the affects of the Daylight Savings Time switch last month (if you didn't know, it was a three weeks earlier than usual) but the affects were not noticed by power companies. The purpose of the switch was to reduce power usage by Americans but there was not a noticeable difference. Most power consumption comes from appliances like washers, dryers, fridges, and TV's (especially plasma TV's). The DST switch did nothing to change habits of Americans using these appliances. The only affect the DST switch did have was on computer users scrambling to update their computer so the time would be correct and they wouldn't be late for any upcoming engagements. Lawmakers will make a final decision after a few years of the switch being in place, but ultimately it did nothing and should probably be switched back. Read more here (Link) from ars technica about the DST switch.


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Un-DRM music from iTunes

Today, EMI group and iTunes announced a plan to allow customers to purchase un-DRM (Digital Rights Management) music from the iTunes music store. For those of you who don't know, DRM locks in a music file to a specific media player and mp3 player. In this case, Apple's DRM locks music files purchase from the iTunes store into the iTunes media player and the iPod. At The Herald's blog (Link) you can read more about this major announcement in the technology and music industry.

I think that this is fantastic because it may start the beginning of the end of DRM (Link) which will be fantastic. No longer will you be locked into buying music from the iTunes music store and only being able to use it on an iPod! For those of us (myself included) who don't own iPods for whatever reason, this is great because the music store at iTunes is by far the most comprehensive store and we can now purchase tracks and use them on portable media players that aren't iPods.

Will we see other online music stores un-DRM their music? Hopefully very soon.

BBC Story


OU Swim Complex

Today wasn't as bad as it could've been. My Spanish test was alright but I'll wait to see how the grade is in a couple of days. In Accounting today, there were two Jordanian men sitting in on our class. I have no reason why but they sat right behind me, was interesting. Our professor told us some facts about Jordan, from Wikipdedia of course, and then one of the Jordanians stood up and thanked us for having them and then addressed our professor by the wrong name! Only a few people noticed it and our professor had this look on his face like, "uh, okay..anyways," good times.

For those of you who don't attend the University of Oklahoma, there is a hotly contested issue on campus. The board of regents and the UOSA (University of Oklahoma Student Association, Link) have proposed a plan for a new swimming complex (Link) to replace an aging facility that will be demolished in a few years. On April 10th and 11th, the student body will vote to add $3 per credit hour to university fees beginning Fall 2010 to pay for some of the costs of the swimming complex. Some students are very against this because they believe the $38 million to build it is far too much and should be used on academic buildings throughout the campus. Students who are for this proposal believe the swimming complex is a great idea and would enhance the campus and provide more activities for students to do.

My stance on this issue: YES, the swim complex would be a great idea and will greatly benefit the campus. Although I may never use it, I believe it would be awesome for future students to get to use. $3 per credit hour over four years of education is about $360-$390, which is about the same as rent for an apartment in Norman.

If you go to OU, what is your stance on this issue? Do you think a swim complex would be good for the University or would it be a bad idea?


Monday, April 02, 2007

April Fools!

Welcome to April. Just five and a half weeks of school left for the college kids, two months for the high school kids. I didn't have any pranks pulled on me today and didn't hear about any good ones. Anybody have a good story?

So, I have two tests this week: Accounting and Spanish. My Spanish test is tomorrow and I'm probably 60% ready. Maybe I should focus a little bit more and actually study. Hmm. The Accounting test is going to be pretty difficult but I have decided one thing from this class: I will never be an accountant. I could not stand classifying accounts and figuring deferred revenues and accounts payable all day. Blah.

Nothing else really to note for today (er, yesterday). Baseball started today. The Mets beat the Cardinals. Was pulling for the Cards but oh well. In the Women's NCAA Basketball Tournament, Tennessee and Rutgers will match up for the title. My pick: Rutgers. Just because I really don't like Tennessee or their terrible fans. On the Men's side tOSU and Florida will battle it out in Hotlanta tomorrow night at 8 PM on CBS. My Pick: Florida 87 - tOSU 83. Tell me your picks for the game. Okay, enough sports although more will come in the future.

That's all I have to write for now. Any comments are welcome and appreciated. Thanks for reading.


Sunday, April 01, 2007

Starting back up

So, I have decided to start blogging again. I'm not sure how many people will actually read this or what kind of topic I should make the blog about. Any ideas?

It is almost April, wow. Florida and Ohio State will be playing for the Men's NCAA Basketball Championship on Monday. Same teams as the football Nat'l Championship. Who's gonna win it this time? I need Florida to win so I can win my pool.

If you haven't heard, I have been in three movies, two which have been released up until now. Here is the link to the second movie: Shotgun 2. Hope you enjoy it and if you haven't seen the first movie, search around that website and watch it before the second one!

In other news, I was inducted to the Alpha Lambda Delta National Freshman Honor Society. Yeah, I had to wake up at 6 AM on a Saturday morning for a diploma and a pin. Well, I shouldn't be complaining because it is quite an honor and I am very pleased that I was accepted to it. I'm not sure if I'll get involved with it yet but I will think about it.

This weekend was parents' weekend and my family came to visit me. We went to the OKC Nat'l Memorial downtown this morning. It has almost been 12 years since it happened, my brother and sister didn't even know what happened so everything had to be explained to them. I feel older and older everyday. My parents also wanted to visit Campus Lodge, the apartments I am staying at next year. They were very impressed by the rooms and all the amenities that were provided, which is good because they are paying for it. Thats about all I did with my family, there wasn't that much to do but thats okay, they were all tired and my brother was getting crabby.

Thats all for now, I will try to write in this everyday. We'll see how that goes. Leave suggestions if you have any. Thanks for reading.

EDIT: I failed to mention that on Friday night after the tornado watch (or is it warning) was over, Sharon had dinner with my family at the caf (for free!) and shared a brownie with my mother. She also had a roll. That is all.