Interesting links for January 7th:

Tags: Links

Episode 7: “You can retire and then unretire?”

Great, funny video from Bill Gates’ final CES keynote speech about his last day at Microsoft. Appearances by Matthew McConaughey, Jay-Z, no I won’t spoil the rest, just watch it:

Interesting links for January 5th through January 6th:

Tags: Links

Interesting links for January 4th:

  • 55 Must See Movies of 2008 | /Film – Another preview list of the films coming out in 2008, ordered on release date. Mentions two films I hadn’t heard of before: Nick and Norah?s Infinite Playlist, and Synecdoche, New York.
  • Phil Wheeler – Online Gallery – Pretty pictures. Mind Hacks: “They’re psychological in both senses of the word, as some contain images associated with psychology, but also often contain hidden images, visual illusions and distortions.”
  • 60 Dumbest Celebrity Quotes – How dumb can some people be? “I get to go to lots of overseas places, like Canada.” – Britney Spears, “I think gay marriage is something that should be between a man and a woman” – Arnold Schwarzenegger,
  • Top 87 Bad Predictions about the Future – Great collection of quotes from famous people about wrong predictions. Being a movie fan, I especially love this one: “Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?” H. M. Warner, co-founder of Warner Brothers, 1927.
  • School in a cave – Photo shoot of children attending class at the Dongzhong (literally meaning “in cave”) primary school at a Miao village in China. The school is built in a huge, aircraft hangar-sized natural cave, carved out of a mountain over thousands of years by wind,
  • Top 60 Japanese buzzwords of 2007
  • Why 2008 Will Be An Awesome Year For Movies « – List of the most interesting movies coming out next year. Besides the obvious ones (The Dark Knight, Indy IV, Star Trek), there are a couple more obscure ones (Blindness, The Box, Repo! The Genetic Opera!, Zack and Miri Make A Porno).
  • How to Draw a Face: A Mystery – Story about a guy whose father drew a comic “face” (at least it was a face in his fathers eyes) on his birthday cake every year and who wanted to finally know where the face came from.
Tags: Links

Episode 4: “Right or Left Brain?”

Now I know this video isn’t really an optical illusion, but I can’t figure out what to call it then. Something like divergent perception, or so? I’m also not completely buying the whole right side/left side of the brain story (not in this case at least). I’ve seen this video a couple of times and after a while it switches directions. With most of these types of visual tricks, you can figure it out and force your brain to perceive it in another (I love jumping back and forth between the two perceptions of this image). This one though still continues to elude me.

Interesting links for January 3rd:

  • Jazz Up Your WordPress Admin – A list of themes for your WordPress Admin. Sadly there aren’t that many out there and the default theme is ugly. I’m using the Tiger style now, but have the feeling there should be even better ones out there.
  • Benoit Mandelbrot Fractal Art Contest 2007 – Beautiful fractal images. I wish I could have posters of some of these. I especially like Stardust, Air, Dreamtime Persistence and Mono Mania. What are your favorites?
  • Law & Order: London in Development – – I never got into watching Law & Order, but some people might like the idea that ITV is negotiating a 13-episode order with NBC.
Tags: Links

Interesting links for January 2nd:

Tags: Links

Threadless Holiday Sale!

November 21st, 2007

I just love Threadless T-Shirts. After getting two of them a couple of months ago, I’ve been waiting for a good excuse to get some more. Well, now Threadless has a Holiday sale with all T-Shirts for $10! The girl tees cost normally $17, so it’s quite a nice discount. I ordered two cute tees: Ambition Killed The Cat and Three Plus…One.


Threadless also has a great way to give discounts to members: StreetTeam points. The idea is that every StreetTeam point is worth $1.50 store credit. You can earn 1 point by submitting a photo of yourself wearing a Threadless T-Shirt and if that photo is chosen for the product page, you can win 10 points. Another way to get points is to link to Threadless with your unique StreetTeam URL, and if that referral results in a sale, you get 2 points. Meaning if you click here, I’ll get $3.00 discount!


I’m still looking for someone else who also collects StreetTeam points, cause I’m now “wasting” points. I’ve already ordered T-Shirts twice, meaning I could have “given” someone a couple of points. So anyone out there who wants the points of my next order? It seems to me if you coordinate it right, you can end up with a nice discount.

Tags: Fashion, Geeky

Tips To Un-Bacn Your Inbox

October 27th, 2007

Since joining Twitter, Facebook and other social networking sites, my Gmail inbox has been plagued by “useless” notifications of people following me, poking me, messaging me, and other not-so-important [insert verb]-ing. Also since starting this blog, I’ve been receiving notifications when someone has commented or referred to one of my posts. It’s not that I don’t want to receive these notifications, but I don’t want them cluttering up my inbox either. In the past months, the term bacn has been coined to indicate these type of emails (as in: not spam, but still fatty and unhealthy). To quote wikipedia:

Bacn (pronounced bacon) is the term given to electronic messages which have been subscribed to and are therefore not unsolicited but are often unread by the recipient for a long period of time, if at all. Bacn has been described as “email you want but not right now”.

I know some people don’t care about bacn at all and just ignore all these types of notifications. But I truly want this info, just not in my inbox and in my own time. So how can we un-bacn our inbox? Here are a couple of tips on how to get a bacn-free Gmail inbox.

Tip 1: Turn Off Facebook Notifications and Use The RSS-Feed

From all the new social networking sites, Facebook bombards you with the most inane notifications; someone wrote on your wall, someone wrote you a message, someone tagged you in a photo, etc etc. The uselessness of these actions itself aside (why leave a message on FB, if you know my email address?!? why add and tag photos in FB? Use Flickr!), you do want to stay somehow informed on all (or at least some of) these actions. So, what should you do in my opinion? Firstly, turn off all notifications: go to My Account, Notifications, then uncheck all the boxes. Of course, if you don’t mind the emails, but only want the really important ones (like someone adding you), just leave that box checked. Secondly, what a lot of people don’t know, is that FB offers a RSS-feed of all your incoming notifications: you can find it at Inbox, Notifications, in the right column bar. I’ve added it now to my Vienna and check it only once in a while, when I feel like it.


Tip 2: Use Gmail Filters and Gmail RSS

Apart from Facebook, most other sites don’t offer a handy RSS-feed for your notifications. Yes, they have the option not to receive any emails at all anymore, but how do I then find out which people have added me or if there’s a trackback to my blogpost? Here’s what I do for all notifications that come into my Gmail account:

Step 1: Gmail Filters
Create filters that identify all the notifications that you don’t want in your inbox, make them skip the inbox (archive it) and apply one common label to all of them (like “notifications”). Gmail offers several ways to specify the search criteria: for instance, you could use the email address (all Twitter notifications come from or subject title (Upcoming emails always start with [Upcoming]).

Gmail Filter

You could leave it for what it is now and check the notification label whenever you want. Our original goal is obtained; the bacn is not in the inbox anymore. However, I still like to be somehow alerted that I’ve got notifications:

Step 2: Gmail RSS
This has actually been around for quite some time and it’s basically what Gmail Notifier and similar apps use to see when Gmail has new mail:

gives you the RSS-feed of your inbox. What you might have not known though is that it’s not limited to only the inbox:

fetches the RSS-feed with the label “label”. This means all the notifications you just grouped into that one label, has now become a very useful RSS-feed. Of course, you could also create a label/RSS-feed for every type of notification you receive; I personally prefer just the one though.

If you wanted you could also add the Facebook notifications the way I just described, but there’s a reason I mentioned the other tip first. For starters, an incoming email can only be automatically archived; you can’t mark it as read and you certainly can’t delete it, because it otherwise wouldn’t appear in the RSS-feed. This means that once in a while you should check your notification “label” and delete/mark as read/whatever you want to do with it. Next to that the RSS-feed items are minimal, only giving the first line of the email. In most cases, though, this seems to be sufficient; the first sentence usually gives some inkling away what the gist of the notification is.


What I’d really like to see in the future is that I receive bacn via something like Twitter or Jaiku. In my mind that’s where that information seems to belong; it shouldn’t be in your inbox with the important messages and it also doesn’t really fit in your RSS-reader with news items and blog posts. While I like the Gmail Filter/RSS combo, I feel there’s more potential in it if more options were available. I would love some means to automatically delete items with a certain label if, for instance, they’re more than a month old and I definitely would want the whole mail in my RSS instead of just a snippet. The Filter/RSS combo can also off course be used for other purposes, like mailing lists, but without getting the complete mail in your RSS-reader this just wouldn’t be useful enough.

So, I hope you’ve found this tips helpful! How do you deal with bacn at the moment? Leave your own tips and tricks behind in the comments.

Tags: Geeky

As the world around us is slowly becoming more geek friendly, I can’t help but wonder how and why this has come about. With entire tv-shows revolving around geeks to high fashion runway models wearing horn-rimmed glasses, being a geek has become more and more acceptable and, even stranger, fashionable. But how and when did this exactly happen? And, more importantly, is this just a phase society is going through, with over a couple of years geekiness being “out” again? Or are geeks here to stay?

It never fails to amaze me how many people call themselves geeks nowadays; from the hard-core computer programmer to the beauty pageant contestant (who owns a mobile and a iPod, and thus of course in her eyes is a geek) to kids addicted to Harry Potter/LOTR/Star Wars, the present-day labeling of “geek” is something to be embraced, not run away from.

While many people may have accepted this new positive embodiment of the geek, there are some that fail to notice the transformation of the definition of geekiness, still clinging on to the outdated demeaning meaning. In fact, if we take a look at a couple of dictionaries, we see the following definitions:

    1. A person regarded as foolish, inept, or clumsy.
    2. A person who is single-minded or accomplished in scientific or technical pursuits but is felt to be socially inept.
  1. A carnival performer whose show consists of bizarre acts, such as biting the head off a live chicken.


  1. an unfashionable or socially inept person.
    • [with adj. ] a person with an eccentric devotion to a particular interest: a computer geek.
  2. a carnival performer who does wild or disgusting acts.
For starters, let’s write off the carnival performer definition; if the world was embracing that type of geek, it would be a very sad, sad world to live in. Looking at the rest of the definitions, you can’t fail to notice the negativity imbued in them: foolish, clumsy, socially inept, unfashionable, eccentric. While this might have been true in the past, current geeks aren’t typically defined by these qualities. Many geeks may have one or more of those qualities, but nowadays it isn’t that what labels them a geek.

Another preconception that people have concerning geeks is the “single-minded or accomplished in scientific or technical pursuits” aspect. While you do have geeks in these areas, I believe it is not limited to only these areas. Besides the computer geeks and math geeks, there are also movie and book geeks to even something as inane as roof tiling or daisy-chain making geeks.

The definition that comes the closest to what in my eyes the present-day geek is:

a person with an eccentric devotion to a particular interest

The problem I have with this definition though lies in the word “eccentric”, which somehow conjures up the idea that it is strange and not completely normal. Further this definition disregards the amount of knowledge a geek holds over the subject. The real definition of a geek should be:

a person with a passionate devotion to and an extensive knowledge of a particular interest

This fully captures the concept that geeks have a deep, extensive passion of a subject without them being completely socially awkward.

What I see occurring though, is that since geekiness is now “in”, there are a lot of people that call themselves geeks, because it is fashionable to do so, but still believing in the old interpretation of the word. At the same time, there are many people that actually are geeks, yet also still hold on to the outdated meaning, and thus, don’t label themselves as geeks. With the advent of the internet, it has become much more easier to immerse yourself into one particular topic and to connect to other like-minded individuals. It is in part, because of this connection that these people don’t see themselves as geeks, since they are socially active.

So what is the future of geekiness? Will it somewhere in the future be “out” again and will the term be once more demeaning? Or will the more modern definition of geek be embraced and will a whole new wave of geeks emerge in the process?

Tags: Geeky