Ghost – Just a Blogging Platform

There was a Kickstarter launched the other day that seems to have caught the attention of internet goers and bloggers alike. Ghost is an open source blogging platform that focuses on blogging. In the video, John explains how WordPress has grown up over the years and is no longer just about blogging. Personally, I have always hated the WordPress interface and thought it was rather difficult to navigate. There are several ways to add a new post, but the best way is hidden away inside the admin panel. With Ghost, there is a split view that shows Markdown (a markup syntax) on the left and a rendered live view on the right. Ghost Split ViewIt looks beautiful and elegant. There are few alternatives to WordPress that really back how powerful it is, but they are also more complicated. Ghost appears to be as simple as it gets. I have already backed the project on Kickstarter and recommend that you check it out also.

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A Week With Pebble

If you’re not too familiar with Pebble, the best introduction for it would be here. Pebble is a smartwatch that connects to your mobile phone via bluetooth. It is capable of displaying incoming texts, emails, calls, and just about anything else from your smartphone.

I finally received my Pebble on 4/20 after backing it over a year ago on Kickstarter.pebble_box I originally ordered a white one, but a few weeks ago they sent me an email saying they were unsure when the white watches were going to ship and offered the opportunity to switch colors. Being the patient person I am, I immediately replied OK’ing the switch.

I’ve had Pebble on my wrist for a little over a week and a TLDR for you would be, “I don’t know what I did before it.” For starters, the watch tells you the time! I never owned a watch before, and always pulled my phone out of my pocket to check the time. Well with Pebble, that’s a thing of the past! Jokes aside, when a text or email comes through to your phone, the watch vibrates and promptly displays the message and sender right on the display. It’s insanely convenient to not have to pull a phone out of your pocket to see who is trying to reach you.

During calls, it also shows who you are talking with and how long the conversation has been going on for, which has more uses than you can  think of. The watch faces are super easy to switch and fairly simple to create. My Pebble Faces is a quick showcase site that lets you quickly download other users designs. Much of the software is open allowing developers to hack away creating their wildest dreams.

The only thing I wish it had is a microphone so I could do quick dictation replies. You instinctively want to respond right from the watch after reading a text. Maybe future iterations will carry such a feature. The rumors say that since Google went with Glass, Apple is most likely working on a watch to further the wearable tech. If they come up with anything as easy and awesome as Pebble, people will be lining up for weeks to get one!

Social Pirate Expirement

An indie game development company named Greenheart Games stirred up talk today over their newest game release, Game Dev Tycoon. Throughout the game, you relive gaming history through research and innovation while you attempt to create the next blockbuster game. The game starts off in the 80’s with a PC being the only available platform. As research ramps up, the first gaming system to be released is the Nivtendo TES.

What’s interesting is that the developers actually ‘leaked’ a modified version of the game to several torrent sites yesterday. This version of the game eventually becomes unplayable thanks to pirates ironically stealing all of your created games.Image

I won’t ruin the best part of the ordeal, but you can check out the full story here. It is worth noting that around ~94% of people who played the game, were doing so on the pirated version. With the digital media advancing as fast as it has been, I applaud these developers for finding a way to raise awareness for a stifling issue that is faced.

Extreme Pinning

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I know someone has already talked about pinterest but I want to too! I was absolutely against making a Pinterest account because I had heard how addicting it could become. Last semester I took an online class called Education and Computers. One of our assignments was to create a Pinterest account and make an Education themed board. I logged on for the first time and did not really know how to navigate the site. My roommate who was already an avid pinner, showed me the ropes. In no time I was pinning, making new boards, and had downloaded the Pinterest app to my cell phone. I found myself pinning this and that and everything in between. I would be pinning instead of doing what I was supposed to be doing. I was pinning during class, while doing homework, before bed, when I got up. It was ridiculous. Finally after the project for class was done I had to delete the app off of my phone. The app just made it too convenient to log on and get distracted. I wasn’t literally addicted to pinning, I was just bored most of the time and Pinterest was a fun way to pass the time… wow that sounds very similar to what an addict would say. Hmmm. Well anyways I have since re-installed and uninstalled the app multiple times. Whenever I feel like im getting to distracted I uninstall the app. I still keep my account and sometimes log in on my computer.

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With this all said, Pinterest is amazing! It is so much fun and it has so many interesting and helpful resources. There are all kinds of ideas and how to directions for anything you could really imagine. It allows you to browse a large amount of resources at one with just pictures and blurbs and return to them and their full details when you have more time or actually need to know the details. I am actually basing my final blog project on the education board I created. I have taken the ideas and helpful information others have shared and presented them in a way that I feel they are helpful while giving my opinion and such. When I start teaching I will definitely be using some of the material I find on Pinterest.

Rutgers Day

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Yesterday was Rutgers Day here at RU. I went with my family and I have to say, there were some really great things out there. I only got to make it around College Ave but I read about some of the other things that were going on around the other campuses and I would have loved to see them. One of the best things I saw yesterday was this older gentleman at the Asian American Culture Club table. He was a master paper cutter. He was cutting all kinds of animals out of paper plates and making them into hats. He just did it all from memory. In some cases he just improvised and did it from skill. For example, there was this lady in front of me in line and she was with her dog. When it was her turn she asked for something and the man said “I do you and him together?” the him he refers to is the dog. So he has them turn their heads sideways and proceeds to cut their profile out. It was absolutely incredible. I can honestly say that I have never seen anything like this before. The animals he was cutting out were all so realistic and detailed. There was not a list of items to pick from, you just told him what you wanted and he would cut it out. So cool. Unfortunately I do not know how to put the actual YouTube video of Master Cheng cutting but here is the link. I hope you watch it!

More and More News on the Boston Bombings

With technology at our disposal, news can be shared at the click of a button. In this case, the seemingly daily updated happenings of the Boston Marathon bombings have been posted all over the web. I have read two articles (and many more), but I suppose I will share my findings of articles 1 and 2, for now.

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(source: http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2013/04/26/boston_bombers_carjack_victim_danny_escaped_the_tsarnaev_brothers_at_a_shell.html)

The first article was uploaded two days ago and deals with two friends of the Boston Marathon bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. The young men (Azamat Tazhayakov and Dias Kadyrbayev) were arrested for visa violations, and originally hail from Kazakhstan. Additionally, they are charged with possibly sheltering Dzhokhar after the bombings. Apparently, according to a recent update, one of them is actually sharing a cell with Dzhokhar.

The second article was also posted two days ago, and recounts the experiences of a carjack victim of the two suspects. A 26-year-old, Chinese immigrant student of Northeastern University, known only as “Danny,” was lucky and quick enough to escape from the vehicle. Danny apparently pulled over his car to answer a text, and his responsible habits were rewarded in a twisted way.

He was carjacked by the marathon suspects, more specifically Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Danny cleverly pretended his English was lacking enough to not understand the brothers clearly. His chance of escape came in the form of a gas station, where one of the brothers stepped out to buy gas, and he grasped his chance. He ran, fearing bullets at his back, but was able to flee just in time. Danny was able to alert the authorities, and his call was able to most likely prevent even more casualties. The brothers’ next target was reported to be Manhattan.

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(source: Anna Silman from http://observer.com/2013/04/new-york-on-heightened-state-of-alert-after-boston-bombings/)

With the internet, specifically news sites and social media sites like Twitter, we instantly are informed of any new developments of literally almost everything. Hopefully we will all be informed of the details of the bombings, which are still a bit shaky and ambiguous. This last link, offers a comprehensive list of the facts about the whole situation.

Online Petition Against Orson Scott Card

I was suddenly reminded of this article after the influx of interest in superhero comics/movies that popular upcoming Marvel Comics titles such as Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World drew in these past weeks. Especially on websites like Tumblr, where users have been furiously posting and reblogging gifs of Tom Hiddleston as Loki with unruly long hair.

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(source: http://www.comicbookmovie.com/fansites/notyetamovie/news/?a=74216)

As always, the internet proves itself as a powerful means of communication. For those who are not in any way, comic book aficionados, there has been a huge controversy over the hiring of famous science fiction writer Orson Scott Card, who is conversely “infamous” for his unrelenting opposition of homosexuality and same-sex marriage.

It is quite an understatement to say that this is a very delicate issue. A month ago, the backlash from the fans of DC concerning Card’s anti-gay views drove artist, Chris Sprouse, to withdraw his involvement with the project, ultimately putting the the series on hold.

Why is there so much backlash, one would ask? Perhaps it is not merely the opinions of the writer, but the particular superhero he was hired for. Orson Scott Card and other various writers and artists were hired by DC Comics for the new Adventures of Superman series. Superman has long been a figure synonymized with freedom, justice, and “the American Way.” Regardless of whether Card’s views on homosexuality are his own rights, many fans feel that by hiring Card, DC is essentially abandoning its accountability to its fans.

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(source: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/enders-games-orson-scott-cards-422456)

Card is known for his highly acclaimed novel, Ender’s Game (which is set to be a future movie this year), but unfortunately, he is more recently recognized for his caustic views on homosexuality and same-sex marriage. Some store owners are apparently boycotting DC Comics, refusing to stock issues of the Superman series. Even a studio executive for Card’s own film, Ender’s Game, expressed concern that Card’s direct involvement with the film might serve as a detriment to sales. Ouch.

In the aforementioned article, as well as other similar articles chronicling the lengthy, polemical issue, the comments posted by guests and users are equally just as heated. The main debate is that by hiring Card, DC is demonstrating that they support a bigoted, hateful person, consequentially . On the other hand, others say that forcing Card to leave due to his views is extremely hypocritical. The debates range from religion, civil rights, morality, and the list goes on…  

All DC Comics had to say on the matter, “As content creators we steadfastly support freedom of expression, however the personal views of individuals associated with DC Comics are just that — personal views — and not those of the company itself.”

The petition has currently drawn up about 17,000 signatures from fans.