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 – ComingSoon.net – 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 noreply@twitter.com) 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

New IMDB Feature: Characters

October 12th, 2007

I can’t believe this new IMDB feature slipped by me. If you’re reading this blog, then I assume you have at least an inkling of an idea of what IMDB is. If not, it’s the Internet Movie DataBase and contains info about movies, actors, directors, producers, etc. Pretty handy, if you want to know everything about movies and tv as I do.

IMDB has two main cornerstones: Name pages, for all the people (actors, producers, etc) and Title pages for, ehm, all the titles (movies, tv-series, videogames, etc). Last week they added a new type of page to the mix: Character pages. Every character from a movie or tv-series or video game can have their own page including biography, quotes and appearances. The IMDB staff have already created 20000 character pages of the most well-known characters, but the idea is that users can add and edit pages.

This feature starts to get interesting when considering characters that appear in multiple series/movies or have been played by different people. For instance, did you know that Ursula Buffay, the sister of Phoebe in Friends first appeared in Mad About You? Or that Jack Ryan, a main character in books of Tom Clancy, has been portayed by Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck?

Sadly, I have noticed some problems with this new feature. Because the content is user generated, you only need one lazy user to create a new page for someone who already exists. IMDB gives a nice disclaimer:

The content of this page was created by users. It has not been screened or verified by IMDb staff.

But does this mean that there are also pages that are screened and verified? I’ve already stumbled on multiple pages for one person (King Arthur) and I wonder how IMDB will deal with this.

It’s an interesting new feature and it gives IMDB that extra dimension to create an even more complex network. If you’re looking to procrastinate, you can easily spend some time just clicking from one page to another. Don’t look at me like that; I never do that ! 😉

Just follow these simple steps:


Just Zapping

October 9th, 2007

House: Wow, House is back and it’s good! After last season’s slump, I was seriously considering throwing this series off my To-Watch list. So far though this season has been great (4×01 and 4×02). I loved the kidnapping of the guitar and the patient in the first episode. Also all the new doctors add this whole new dimension to the show. I wonder which of them are going to stay and for how long? I’m guessing Kal Penn and “Thirteen”. Does anybody else here think that “Thirteen” is somebody’s sister? I’m guessing Cameron’s.

Chuck: I’m still undecided on this series. It’s geeky, funny, but yet…I’m not really sure where it’s going. I also find it quite weird that the creators chose to name the character “Chuck” because there wasn’t any character on TV called Chuck so far, while now this season we suddenly have 3 Chucks (this Chuck, Gossip Girl rape guy and Pushing Daisies dead girl).


Journeyman: I wasn’t expecting to like this series as much as I do. It’s time travel, which most of the time means plots with gaping holes in it (too irritating for my logical mind; I hate it when they don’t think things through properly). Here though I’m not minding it that much and I think it’s to do with acting of the main guy. He somehow makes it less ridiculous then it actually is and I mean this in a good way!

Heroes: Did anyone else notice that the last episode (2×03) should have been called “Blue Screen” instead of “Kindred”? Last seasons special effects were always very subtle; this was just cringe-worthy. Shouldn’t a bigger budget mean “less crappy effects”? And the Maja/Alejandro storyline…zzzzzzzzzz. Get on with the cool stuff already.



October 6th, 2007

Another batch of interesting links from the blogosphere:

What Do You Give The Person That’s Got Everything? This. Yes, that’s right; even the most boring person can now have their own action figure. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s Super Accountant! [Via ChipChick]
Hero Builders

Polly Put The Kettle On: I used to be one of those girls that wore mood rings; I loved watching the ring change color according to the mood I was in, until (of course) I found out it reacted on warmth. Now, this is the grown-up version of the mood ring. [Via ChipChick]

Sneak Peeks: Take a look at the trailers for Sweeney Todd with Johnny Depp and Semi-Pro with Will Ferrell. Then check out new images and posters from Astroboy (!!!) and Iron Man (if you hadn’t since this trailer yet, click here). [Via FirstShowing]


Will Won’t Travel: If any of you were following Traveler, you might have heard by now that unfortunately it’s been cancelled. One of writers though has taken the time to write a blog post to round off all the loose threads.

Felicity’s Lost Alias: Since Lost I’ve not been that impressed by anything JJ Abrams has done. However, there are quite some people that think differently: Fox has just bought the rights to Fringe, a new supernatural series described as a cross between Twilight Zone and X-Files. What?! The next show isn’t about a university girl turned spy who get’s stuck on a deserted island and isn’t allowed to cut her hair?? [Via BuzzSugar]

Tags: Links