Tuesday, June 17, 2008

My first Spore Creation

The Spore Creature Creator Trial was released today for PC and Mac today. If you aren't familiar with Spore, read up on it on Wikipedia. It's a virtual life game from Will Wright, creator of Sim City and The Sims. This release is just the creature creation portion of the game, with limited options. You can get it here.

Surprisingly, its a lot of fun to just mess around with the different options available in the Creature Creator and create your own creature. You can also buy the full version of the Creature Creator, containing four times as many options as the trial, from the EA Store for 9.95 as a direct download for PC starting tomorrow. The boxed PC/MAC version comes out thursday, according to Bestbuy.com. Mac users will be able to download a copy from GameTree Online.

A really cool feature this has is the ability to upload videos to YouTube directly from the program. Here is my first creature, Horny:

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Hulu just got awesome

Hulu, the joint-venture between NBC and Fox, just got more awesome. Earlier this week, "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report" were added to its growing library of TV shows.

I don't watch too much TV, but there are a few shows I must catch. Now that Stewart and Colbert have joined "Heroes" and "The Office," I have no need for cable anymore. O, and Hulu also runs in 480p with no lag on FiOS.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Automated DVD Rental is the greatest thing ever!

So my local supermarket recently got a one of those new automated DVD Rental machines, and its great. It costs just a dollar a night to rent a DVD; the system requires a credit or debit card to rent to enforce that. It uses RFID (radio frequency identification) tags located on the discs themselves to track rentals. Since I work part-time at the store, I find it to the be the best way to see new releases on DVD.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Fallout for free!

According to Joystiq, GameTap will adding the Fallout series, presumably Fallout, Fallout 2, and Fallout Tactics for everyone to play for free! YESSSSSSSS! Just in time for Fallout 3!

For those of you confused about why I'm happy, all I can say is that you now have the chance to make up for missing one of the greatest games of all time. Fallout, a role-playing game originally released in 1997, was set in a post-apocalyptic version of southern California. Below is the original intro sequence from the game, narrated by Ron Perlman.

Friday, May 23, 2008

New Weezer Video!

Sorry for the delay loyal readers. Besides class requirements, the main reason I posted on this was to procrastinate. Since school's out, I haven't had much to procrastinate doing.

Stereogum informed me of Weezer's new video for "Pork and Beans." The song is decent, reminds me of "Beverly Hills," but the video is pretty hilarious, with appearances of many YouTube celebrities and references to a bunch of internet memes.

While the recent track leaks from Weezer's new album have left me hopelessly disappointed about the band's future, they still can make a pretty good music video.

While this may be the first "live-action" mash-up of old YouTube classics, South Park did it a couple months ago in this hilarious fight scene that includes many of the same personalities and memes.

Both videos are below.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Uwe Boll

Switched recently published a list of their picks for the most obnoxious people on the internet. Check it out here. The pick for number 9, German film director Uwe Boll, is a hoot.

In case you aren't familiar with Mr. Boll, he is notorious for making absolutely terrible films that usually based on videogames. Besides, the ridiculous things mentioned on Switched (including making fun of 9/11 in his new movie),the most ridiculous thing he's done was challenging Michael Bay to a fight. Like, a real fight. In a ring. On pay-per-view.

As I was writing this, I came to the realization that I'm part of the problem of obnoxious people on the internet. As much as people dislike the people on this list for being completely obnoxious, this list (and this post by extension), are really only making the problem worse by giving these people attention. Maybe all they want is attention in the first place? Conclusion: The internet is probably the greatest thing to happen to attention seekers ever.

Saturday, May 3, 2008


Before I went to see Iron Man last night, I was cautiously excited. I had high hopes for the movie, directed by Jon Favreau (writer and star of the classic Swingers) and Robert Downey Jr, but I recalled the many times those hopes were destroyed by terrible superhero movies (X3, Superman Returns, etc).

Well friends, Iron Man, did not disappoint at all. Downey Jr. was incredible as the super rich armsmaker/inventor Tony Stark. Gwyneth Paltrow was perfect as his assistant Pepper Potts, and had great chemistry with Downey Jr. Jeff Bridges' Obadiah Stane was hilarious and menacing. The only weak performance among the main cast was Terrence Howard as Air Force man Jim Rhodes. It seemed like he just didn't care at all.

The movie did a great job appealing to a mass audience while throwing in some great nods to the source material. The action scenes were great and, as I said above, most of the lead performances were brilliant. The humorous scenes strattled the "too corny" line without going over it, like Spider-man 3 did. From what I could tell, the theater I was in loved it. For the comic fans (indluding myself), the couple of references to S.H.I.E.L.D. needing a new acronym as well as the end credit sequence with Nick Fury were appreciated.

See Iron Man. You won't be disappointed, unless you are a curmudgeon.

Monday, April 28, 2008

The future of this blog

I want to continue with this blog, but I don't know how. I really enjoy writing about social networking, but I also enjoy writing about a lot of other stuff. I could start some more blogs, but I don't write enough to justify that. I could start writing about my personal life, but I don't think I could do that to my loyal readers (you are out there right?). I'm just a pretty boring person, plus I already tried that back in high school with my Xanga. To show you, here's a fake post that I easily could have written on my old Xanga.

Evan's Xanga!!!!!111oneone

October 03, 2002

So today I went to schooll and lerned some stuff. then i went to home
and listened to weezer. they are like the greatest band ever.

Currently Playing: Soul Calibur II on gamecube. I'm like really good
with taki the ninja. seriously, her ninja moves are

Who would want to read that? Nobody. That's why I stopped writing about my personal life.

I think I'm going to continue this blog, but change the focus away from social networking technology and such. But I need a new title. I like using "Ramblings" in the title, because I like to ramble. But it needs more. I will probably be writing about general tech stuff, business, social networking, video games, and entertainment. I also enjoy self-deprecating humor if you couldn't tell already. Right now, I'm leaning towards "Unmused Ramblings." But that title really needs a good subtitle. What do you think?

And here's a question I want to pose to everyone in our class. What are you going to do with your blog after this semester? Are you going to keep writing on social networking? Are you going to use it as general personal blog? Are you going to let it languish in the blogospere with no more new posts? Or will you simply delete it?

Friday, April 25, 2008

Two Amazing Cover Songs

Here are two amazing cover songs that I recently found on YouTube. The first is The Fratellis' cover of Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower" that evokes the excellent Jimi Hendrix version of the song. The second is Kate Nash covering "Fluorescent Adolescent" by Arctic Monkeys.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The future of social networking?

Whats going to happen to social networking in the future? I have a few ideas, but I'll save them for later. First I want to talk about something I think will not happen.

This post (from last November) on the NY Times Bits blog, describes how Google and Yahoo! are going to use their e-mail programs to create a sort of organic social networking service. Now here's why I don't think this is a good idea. I don't really use e-mail to talk to any of my friends. I use AIM, Facebook, and Skype. I use e-mail almost entirely for mailing lists, and other website communications. While I can't speak for others, I would gain little benefit from either of these services.

I really don't know what the future of social networking will look like. I feel like the cycle of the new "next big thing" replacing the old "next big thing" will continue for a while, until someone figures out a genius way to actually make money over a long period of time using social networking.

Friday, April 18, 2008


Midway just announced that the next Mortal Kombat game will be called Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe. The DC Universe, you know, Brandon Routh, Christian Bale, err.... Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and all the rest.

What is this, the late 90s?

Way back when, the Marvel vs Capcom games were awesome. Mainly because Street Fighter is awesome and Marvel is awesome.

Mortal Kombat hasn't been a good game since MK Trilogy on PSX and has pretty much fallen off the pop culture radar. Plus, the only successful DC property right now is Batman (which is likely why he's in this game's logo). The game is probably going to be terrible, like pretty much all DC-based games. I'm going to buy it, though, its just too goofy to pass up. Check out the official website here.

Source: http://blog.newsarama.com/2008/04/18/mortal-kombat-vs-dc-universe/

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Yahoo! OneConnect

When it comes to mobile applications, Yahoo! is king, at least on my Nokia 6126. I use Yahoo! Go everyday to search, map, check my e-mail, check the weather forecast, and read the news. Its attractive, easy to use, and has a lot of features in one place. If any company is going to make the ultimate mobile social networking service, its Yahoo!

Later this year, Yahoo! will be launching their next mobile app, Yahoo! OneConnect, and it has me really excited for the future of mobile social networking. It going to support IM (including AIM, who uses Yahoo! Messenger anyway?), social networking (including MySpace, Facebook, Last.fm, Twitter, LinkedIn and others. According to this News.com article, the service will also let you know if any of your friends are nearby, using GPS and/or triangulation.

For all the great possibilities of this service, it could potentially take internet stalking to a whole new level, and turn it into real stalking. As with anything else, people will need to be extra careful with who they link up with on Yahoo! OneConnect.

Even with those reservations, I can't possibly express how cool this app will be. Just check out the website for even more info. Also check out this video for a demonstration of the service.

Monday, April 7, 2008

YouTube and the race for President

YouTube's YouChoose '08 channel is an interesting example how the internet can both help and hurt candidates. Today, on the channel's front page, there is a link to this video making fun of Hilary Clinton's chances in the upcoming election.

The link to this video is directly below the link to the Clinton campaign's official YouTube page. That is certainly not something that Mrs. Clinton would appreciate being there.

While the internet provides a medium for politicians to share their views, recruit supporters, and rally their base, it also allows them to be ridiculed in the same space. As much the campaigns try to present the perfect image of their candidates, there's no stopping something like this.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Recruiting Blogs?

I was reading Microsoft's JobsBlog, and I don't really understand the point of it. If this is a "recruiter blog," what does it have to do with recruiting? Is this blog supposed to recruit people to work at Microsoft? Or is it just supposed to be good PR for Microsoft? Most of the posts are related to job-search topics, and few are related to Microsoft. Can anyone help me out here?

Monday, March 24, 2008

The future of the news

Its no secret that the old fashioned news outlets are dying out. According to this article from Media Life Magazine, the old stalwarts of the TV news, the network evening news broadcasts, are losing of much of their younger viewers to cable news and the internet. And newspapers continue to decline in readership.

While I do not think the future predicted in the EPIC 2014 video will happen exactly as portrayed, we are on way to something similar. Already the signs are there. Technologies like Google Reader combined with subject specific blogs and news sites allow people to get there news on very specific topics from very specific viewpoints. While the regular newsmedia has its share of bias, its nothing compared to some of the blogs and websites out there. Instead of the internet making us less ignorant, it may end up making us more so.

Monday, March 17, 2008


I think online collaboration has great potential. Say an organization needs to have a document created by managers in 3 locations across the country. A number of relatively recent developments allow that document to be created in the virtual, without resorting to costly travel.

By now most everyone has heard of Skype, the free VOIP service. It allows anymore to call another computer with for free, and it also provides video call service too. Combine Skype with the collaborative features Google Docs, which lets you collaborate in real time with other people on documents, spreadsheets, and presentation, and its like your in the same room.

Skype itself has some sweet collaborative features, too. There are many plugins that allows for things like screen sharing, virtual whiteboards, etc.

Lynda Gratton, in her article for the Sloan Management Review, makes a few good point sabout online collaboration. Most notably, organizations need to make it easy for online collaborators to learn about each other, and that its best that some colloborators already know each other. Teams will be much more productive if they know where others responsibilities lie and what others are skilled at.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Networking for a job

Last summer, I got incredibly lucky. After the spring semester ended, I was planning on going home and going back to the Supermarket I worked at in high school. A few days later, my dad lets me know that the company he works for needs college students to test their new software. It was a great job with great pay for a summer job, and I learned a lot about IT.

Its March and I still haven't found a job for the summer. I doubt something like the testing job is going to happen again. I'm going to start taking the advice in this article from Boston.com. It'll be tough, but I think I can do it.

Before I embark on that journey, I just posted my resume on Monster.com. Hopefully that works out. By the way, I really hate that website, way to many obnoxious ads.

I looked into some websites for business networking, like LinkedIn.com, and I'm going to them a try. If enough of my friends sign up, I think it could end being extremely useful once I graduate.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Ebay Desktop

I found this on Download Squad.

Ebay just released Ebay desktop, a sweet program that lets you manage do everything you can on the Ebay site from your desktop. It also includes feeds and notifications when you are outbid, among other things. This is definately going to make Ebay easier. You can get it here for Windows or Mac.

Monday, February 25, 2008

EA-Land.... The Sims Online: Let's try this again

I found this on Kotaku today.

To summary, EA is bringing The Sims Online back, making it free, and calling it EA-Land. They are also adding connections with Facebook and enabling user-generated content, among many other improvements.

Here is the EA-Land official site.

With the addition of user-generated content and the ability to buy simioleans (currency) with real dollars, it seems to me that EA wants to create a competitor to the popular Second Life. I'm just confused as to why they decided to use the architecture from The Sims Online but not leverage the "Sims" brand in the name.

Who is behind Facebook?

This piece about who put the money behind Facebook raises a number of interesting questions.

The CIA, through In-Q-Tel, has a large investment in Facebook. Does this mean that the CIA is actively using Facebook to spy on US citizens? Why else would they be interested in such a tool?

I know some people that don't use Facebook because of questions like these. But seriously folks, what could the government do knowing that your favorite movie is "Grease 2"? Besides laugh, of course. Nothing. Thats why I'm not worried.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Most Anticipated of 2008

After seeing a number of lists about the most anticipated movies and videogames of 2008, I decided to make my my own. Here we go....

My most anticipated video games of 2008:
10. Project Origin (PC, PS3, 360)
9. Resident Evil 5 (PS3, 360)
8. Spore (PC)
7. Battlefield Heroes (PC)
6. Quake Zero (PC)
5. Mario Kart (Wii)
4. Street Fighter 4 (TBA)
3. Left 4 Dead (PC, 360)
2. Starcraft II (PC)
1. Fallout 3 (PC, 360, PS3)

My most anticipated films of 2008:
10. Zack and Miri Make a Porno
9. BrĂ¼no
8. Forgetting Sarah Marshall
7. Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist
6. Wanted
5. The Incredible Hulk
4. Hellboy 2: The Golden Army
3. Quantum of Solace
2. Iron Man
1. The Dark Knight

Let me know what you think!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Second Life

I plan on starting my Second Life adventure soon and I really don't know what to expect. Mainly, I have no idea idea whether or not its going to be fun. Most of the online games I have played involve shooting guns and/or slaying monsters. I've never played an online game that did not have a clearly defined objective.

Is Second Life even a game? It certainly looks like one. You control a 3D avatar in a virtual enviroment, similar to many games I've played. Or is Second Life just an extremely embellished social tool? Maybe its both.

A big issue I have with Second Life is that spending real money to buy fake money. I've never really liked the idea of buying virtual dollars, it seems like a waste to me.

We'll see how it pans out once I enter the world. I already created my avatar (Roland Schuttelanz) and completed the tutorial, but I haven't done anything beyond that.

Friday, February 15, 2008


This is a little off topic, but an amazing computer game was released today. Its called Audiosurf. The best way to describe it would be that its puzzle racing game that makes its tracks from your music. You select a song and a character that determines the style of game you want to play, and the game creates a track for you to play along with the song. You have to try it. You can grab the demo on Steam right here. If don't you want to use Steam to try the game out, you can download a standalone demo here.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

iReport Update

Just a couple days after I last wrote about I-Report, CNN has relaunched the initiative and rebranded it iReport. This time, none of the content is filtered or approved by CNN. It should be interesting to see how big this gets. Check it out at iReport.com

Monday, February 11, 2008

YouTube and Video Posting

Broadband connections have made video easy to share on the web and YouTube has become a model for an entire generation of websites. It seems that everybody with a domain name is starting up a video site. Myspace has a YouTube clone called MyspaceTV. There's also Dailymotion, another clone of YouTube.

Besides these blatant YouTube clones, a number of web sites are doing something new and creative with video posting. Gamers have long been recording there virtual accomplishments and uploading them to the internet. A new website called WeGame lets gamers record videos of gameplay and then automatically upload it to the website with their software.

Also many traditional web sites have added the ability to upload video and other user generated content. CNN.com has I-Report, where users can submit their own news reports.

I see web video continuing to grow in popularity and, hopefully, there will be more unique websites than YouTube clones.

Monday, February 4, 2008


If you live on a college campus or in a trendy part of town, chances are that you've seen a Threadless t-shirt. Threadless.com is website where anyone can design a t-shirt and submit it on the website. After submitting a design, it gets voted on by the site's community. If the submission does well, anyone can purchase it on the website.

Threadless is a breath of fresh air when it comes to t-shirt sites. Rather than the lame movie references and stupid jokes that fill most other sites designs, you can really find something unique on Threadless. What makes the site genius is that the submission and voting process allows the consumer to be involved in the entire design process.

I think that this kind of business-consumer, collaborative, marketing is the future. This Business Week article describes how Nike is letting its customers design shoes in-store and then purchase them. I expect more and more companies to roll out similar initiatives.

BTW, I'm crossing my fingers that this design goes into production soon.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Microsoft bids $44.6 Billion for Yahoo!

Read the WSJ.com article here.

According to that article, one of the main reasons Microsoft wants to acquire Yahoo! is help them complete with Google in the online ad market. Besides that, I really don't see ANY reason for Microsoft to do this. Theres little synergy between the online services that Microsoft and Yahoo provide. They both have IM, mail, maps, a web portal, search, an online music store, and many other overlapping services. It appears that Microsoft wants to strengthen their "Live" online services, a brand that doesn't come close to living up to its origonator, Xbox Live. Another thing to consider is that "Yahoo!" is a much stronger brand than "Live."

So here's what I see happening if this goes through: They combine their ad services. Everything else stays seperate. Would Microsoft waste the "Yahoo!" brand. No. Would Microsoft throw away everything they have done with "Live"? I doubt it.

Even it does work out, they still won't be able to dethrone Google.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

What happens when you blog

I found this on Wired.com today, a diagram of what happens when you post to your blog. Check it out.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Blog Networks

Many businesses not only use blogs to create goodwill among customers and potential customers, many specialized websites run their own blogging services.

IGN.com, a video game and entertainment website owned by News Corp. has a blogging site called Club.ign.com. It's a unique network that hosts blogs written by IGN editors, IGN users, and game developers.

The blogs of IGN editors generally serve the purpose of the Microsoft blogs discussed in Naked Conversations by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel. They write about what do at their jobs, places they visit, events they take part in, etc. An example is the blog of Matt-IGN.

The blogs of game developers try to illuminate the process of game development, allow consumers to get to know the people behind the games, and, of course, promote their games. As I'm writing this, the most popular developer blog is Bethesda Softworks'. Bethesda is the DC-area company behind the Elder Scrolls games and the upcoming Fallout 3. Recent posts include a profile of developer Erik Deitrick, and an introduction by the Executive Producer of Fallout 3.

Most blog networks are either open and content free like Blogger or corporate like Weblogs Inc. (Engadget, Cinematical, TV Squad). Club.ign.com has a unique place in all of this. It publishes its own corporate-backed content, allows other companies to publish on it, and even allows individual users to do so.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Social Networks and Value

In Howard Rheingold's Smart Mobs, there is an interesting discussion of how the value of networks increases exponentially as new nodes are added, Reed's Law. In the five years since Rheingold's book was released, Reed's law has been proven again and again.

Wiki's have surged in popularity in recent years. One of the main reasons is Reed's Law. While it may not be apparent at first glance, Wikipedia is a social network. Different authors collaborate on articles, linking them to other articles. Behind the scenes, authors and users discuss changes to the article.

Wikipedia had to have started as a single page. Let's say that article was "France." By itself, that article have very little value. But when someone creates a "Napolean" article linked to "France, and in turned linked to "Corsica." As the number of articles on Wikipedia increases, the value of each article increases exponentially. How many times have you gone exploring on Wikipedia starting somewhere like "Washington, D.C." and ending and following a trail of articles to "The War of 1812" and reading about when the White House was burned? Wikipedia is a social network of encyclopedic information that works as describe by Reed's Law.

Wikipedia isn't the only Wiki that acts like this. There's "how-to" wikis, comic book wikis, programming wikis, etc... Theres also a number of websites, like answers .com that use Wikipedia as the source for their content. The development of the wiki has made the internet even more valuable that it used to be.

It's important to think of social networking as more than just instant messaging and profile websites.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

My First Post

Hello, I am a student at American University. This blog is for the class Six Degrees: Social Networking and Business. I'm going to be reading some stuff related to this class. Then, for your benefit, I will be writing MY opinions of the subject matter of what I read and respond to the author. On my honor, all posts on this blog are my own.

I have had many experiences with social networking. I had a Xanga back a in high school, I have a Facebook, and now I have a blog. Those all are great, but my personal favorite social networking tool goes by the name last.fm. It's a tool that keeps track of all the music that you listen to on your computer and then the website provides recommendations and connects you with people who have similar music taste. You can also listen to custom radio stations, find concerts, and much more. My profile can be found here. You should try it out.