Posts Tagged ‘Social Networking’

The Holy Trinity of Online Video Watching

April 18, 2012

In this post I am going to breakdown how Torrents work and introduce you to three sites that will revolutionise your online entertainment experience. Theoretically I use Torrentz, Project Free TV, and Veetle to access the shows and movies I want to watch.

Torrents or BitTorrents are files shared with the BitTorrent  p2p (peer-to-peer) network, or a file-sharing protocol.  In simpler terms, BitTorrents are files shared by a group of individual computers on the network rather than stored on one central server.  BitTorrent p2p sharing breaks the download into chunks ranging in size between 64KB and 4MB and distributes it across several different computers as opposed to just one. The person who first creates a torrent for any file is called an initial seeder.  People who have all the chunks are seeders, the more seeds the quicker the download will be. Once you finish downloading the file then you become a seed. People who do not have the whole file yet are called peers.  Peers are not seeders but the more peers the faster the download because peers can share the chunks of the file that has so-far been downloaded.  This is especially important if the number of seeds is low or decreasing because peers can piece together the file with the chunks they have between them.

In order to download a movie you first need to search for the file on a BitTorrent search engine, theoretically I use Torrentz.  One simply enters the title of the movie they want and a list of BitTorrents will appear.  There are two columns of numerical values to pay attention to: the green numbers represent the seeders and the blue represent the number of peers. High numbers of each are best for download speed.

 

Once the torrent file has been downloaded it must be run using a BitTorrent client.  You cannot download BitTorrents without a BitTorrent client; for example: uTorrent for Windows, Vuze formerly (Azureus) for Mac, and BitTorrent for Linux.  BitTorrent Clients keep track of what chunks of the file you have and which parts you still need to download.

*It should be noted that using BitTorrent is legal but downloading copyrighted material is not.

BitTorrents are not the only way to watch films and TV shows.  You can stream TV on a great site called Project Free TV. I love this site however it takes some getting used to because of the buffering and advertising.  If you don’t have a strong internet-connection it can take ages to buffer.  The other drawback is the ads.  Sometimes you click on a link for a program and you inadvertently trigger two or three pop-ups.  Some of the ads are over-laid and you need to close them before the play button becomes accessible.  Also, if you are streaming a film you may have to close a pop-up every 20 mins or so.  In any case, project Free TV is a great option because it streams quite fast and they have an extensive selection of programs and films.

Watching live streaming channels in high resolution is also an option which brings me to Veetle.  You just need to download the plugin (65 MB) and then you can watch live streamed TV in HD, high-definition.  They use the latest codecs for the best video quality and there is no buffering required.  Obviously it’s live so you can’t pause or fast-forward but it’s free and not frequently interrupted by ads.

Veetle has a few extra features worth mentioning: you can download the app and live stream TV on your iPad, iPhone & Android phones, and you can broadcast live video in HD.   Veetle has over 10 million viewers a month, which is not bad for the little Sillicon Vally start-up.

Now here’s an impressive UFO video:

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I *Heart* Facebook!

March 26, 2012

I *heart* you so much that I wasted 45mins of my day coming up with this cute heart design made out of hearts.  You would be surprised how hard it is to make, or maybe you wouldn’t because after 5 mins you would probably realise it was a waste of time and quit, nevertheless I give you….

...........................
.....<3<3<3......<3<3<3
...<3<3<3<3<3..<3<3<3<3<3
...<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3
...<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3
....<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3
......<3<3<3<3<3<3<3
........<3<3<3<3<3
..........<3<3<3
...........<3<3
............<3

I defy anyone to accomplish this in less than 45mins!

After you cut & paste this into your Facebook comments or status bar it should look like this:

Now I leave you with an elaborate Russian dance flash mob with a marriage and some army dudes set to Putting on the Ritz…to be fair they should have called it Putin on the Ritz…nevermind

Chrome Users Only!

March 26, 2012

What I am about to show you is going to revolutionize your Google Chrome experience.  There is a little known extension called Speed Dial that allows you to access the websites you visit much more easily – It’s called Speed Dial.

It has a lot of features that the old interface doesn’t.  For instance you can customise your thumbnails.  It has an exhaustive list of icons to choose from for popular social media platforms like Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter etc.

It also allows you to customise how many thumnails you see.  I have mine set up at 5 columns wide but you can have as many as nine columns by nine rows.

Now depending whether you work on a Macbook or a PC it is very easy to add/remove/edit dials (as they are called).  On a PC you just right click to edit or remove a dial, and on a Mac hold Command + click.  To add a dial just hover over the + sign and click!

The options menu is located at the righthand top of the screen beside the address bar, click the little lightening bolt and select options from the drop down menu.  Here is an sample preview:

The Speed Dial Google Chrome extension is completely free just type Google Chrome extensions into your browser and click on their web store, then scroll down until you find Speed Dial.  Here is a link: SpeedDial

Also here is a very funny video of a cat:

Super Slick Umbrella-ella-ella

February 16, 2012

image

Finally an umbrella that defies the rain. The new Senz umbrella looks as aerodynamic as a Stealth Jet and ostensibly cuts through the rain and wind like one.  The umbrella is designed and constructed to withstand 100kph winds and won’t flip inside-out.  Its design is modern yet practical. The longer spokes at the back keeps the rain off your heels but more importantly you can turn it sideways and fit two underneath. The eye-savers on the spoke-ends are a thoughtful design feature – ever walked through
crowd on a rainy day?  Need I say more? A Sense umbrella will run you £40 if you buy from the website at senzumbrellas.co.uk

Burners Burning Mad…Greed to Blame

February 4, 2012

Tickets from the Burning Man Main Sale are sold out and many of the festival’s veteran burners have been left out in the cold.  Angry Burners have dubbed the recently adopted ticket system a failure as they vent their frustration on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Richard West a.k.a. Mr C, world class DJ from the 90’s electronic music band, The Shamen posted his displeasure with the new system on Facebook yesterday calling the system a “HUGE FAIL” and shaming StubHub for allowing scalpers to use the platform to gauge Burners at $1,500 a ticket!

Last year tickets sold out for the first time in Burning Man’s 25-year history. The new ticket system was intended to make ticket distribution fairer.  It involved an initial registration process followed by two rounds of ticket sales.

The first Pre-Sale round happened in November/December 2011 and 3,000 tickets were sold at $420 each with a limit of 4 per person.  Next came the Main Sale round which took place in January 2012.  In this round, Burners could select the tier price that best reflected their economic circumstances: 40,000 of these tickets were sold at $240, $320 and $390 with a limit of 2 per person.  The final Secondary Open Sale is due to happen on March 28th 2012 and 10,000 tickets will be made available for direct purchase at $390 a piece.

This year organisers did away with the Scholarship and Low Income Programs in favour of a single more streamlined Low Income program for Burners who can’t afford the regular lowest priced ticket.  Four thousand of these Low Income tickets priced at $160 a piece will be made by special application starting on Wednesday, February 15, 2012 at 12 noon PST. Applications will be accepted until tickets run out or Monday, May 1, 2012, whichever comes first.

In the previous first-come first-served system, Burners had to get into an online queue and success or failure in procuring a ticket depended on whether you made it into the queue, if you could wait around your computer long enough to be processed and other factors like your internet connectivity etc.   The new system was meant to be better because organisers could apply a filtering system to the registrants to remove known scammers, and it resolved the issue of having to queue.  However, the new system does not come without it problems either.

Marian Goodell, Director of Business and Communications for Burning Man has acknowledged that only about 20-25% of the key people from major theme camps and art groups have so far received notifications for tickets.  It would seem that the introduction of the new system was the impetus for many people to get their friends to purchase tickets for them to increase their chances in the random selection, kind of like how buying 100 lottery tickets as opposed to one increases your chances of winning.

Organisers are discouraging Burners from purchasing tickets from scalpers and secondary sources like eBay, Craigslist and StubHub and asking them to use their Secure Ticket Exchange Program (STEP), a safe and secure web-based system set up by organizers to re-distribute tickets at face-value while protecting Burners from scalpers.

Fans will be quick to point the finger at Burning Man organizers but as the popularity of the Burning Man festival grows so does the impact of the festival on its immediate natural environment and this has a direct effect on regulations set by Nevada’s Bureau of Land Management agency (BLM).  At the end of the day the outcome will depend on the compunction of the individuals who cheated the system and bought more than 4 tickets.  A true Burner will sell their extra tickets through STEP to ensure that the art and theme camp teams make it to the festival because without them it’s just a bunch of people baking in the desert.

Adobe Photoshop But Not

May 9, 2011

Hi guys,  just a quick post to tell you about a great online photo editing program that can be downloaded and is better than Pixlr!  It’s called GIMP, short for GNU Image Manipulation Program.

GIMP has capabilities for detailed image retouching, free-form drawing, resizing, editing, cropping photos, photomontages combining multiple images, converting between different image formats, and it can also be used to create basic animated images in the GIF format.  Best of all… it’s free!

Check it out and have fun playing with it – see link below:

GIMP 2.6 http://www.gimp.org/downloads/

Now here’s a funny video of a talking dog:

“I Accept Plactic” – The Future of Marketplace Social Networking

March 19, 2011

It’s no big suprise if the name Jack Dorsey (@Jack on Twitter) rings a bell.  He is the founder and CEO of a US based company called Square.  He is better known however for his brainchild Twitter. 

Twitter is the king of social networking platforms boasting over 200 million users and counting.  While working at Odeo, a San Fransisco podcast publishing and aggregation site, Dorsey came up with the idea of Twitter which he launched in July of 2006 issuing the first tweet in history: “Inviting co-workers“.  Dorsey went on to conceptualise  Square, a service that allows any person or small business to accept credit or debit payments anytime anywhere (in the US) simply by downloading  the app and attaching the small plastic credit-card reader to a mobile phone or ipad.  A single swipe of a card through the reader is all it takes, there is no contract, monthly fee, extra equipment or merchant account required and it’s simple to sign up, all you need is a US bank account, physical mailing address, social security number and Bob’s your uncle!  Dorsey invisions ipads and Square card readers in the backs of taxi cabs replacing the video advertising screens.  Dorsey predicts that just as Twitter is the future of communication, “Square will be the future of payment”.

Now check out this funny video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFwgblszf6s

My Top Ten Twitter Tools for 2011

January 23, 2011
Here is my list of the best Twitter tools I have come across this year.  Hope you enjoy.
  1. Topsy.com – Is a social media search engine.  Enter any term and find out who’s tweeting, blogging, reporting or YouTubing about it.  You can also track your tweets and blog posts by entering either your Twitter handle or the title of your latest blog in quotations.
  2. Retweeting – otherwise known as a RT (RT@ Haarpia… for instance) is like referencing a source in an academic paper, it’s also considered a courtesy to give credit where credit is due. There is another reason why RT’ing is good: as you may or may not know, when you first follow someone they do not know you exist and cannot see your tweets, by RT’ing you remind them that you exist and they might appreciate the RT and follow you back…or not.
  3. HashTags – hashtags are fun and useful.  A popular hashtag is #Follow Friday where people broadcast new, favourite or cool people they are following like this: #FollowFriday @haarpia, @detr_X, #syncwinnipeg etc.  You can join trending hashtags by adding your own tweet to the back of the hashtag, for example: #TaylorSwift – Kanye stole your mic not your virginity, get over it! The beauty of hashtags is that your tweet is added to a timeline of tweets with the same hashtag so people that are not following you get to see your tweets.  You can add a hashtag to certain words like names, places, brands etc. So if you were tweeting a link to an article on Darfur, you would put a hashtag in front of Darfur, like this: #Darfur
  4. Bit.ly – is a URL shortener.  With only 140 characters to work with, it’s good to have a service that shortens URL’s, need I say more?
  5. Social Oomph.com – is a site that has features like auto-follow/unfollow.  It also allows you to set criteria for following people which is very helpful because although it may be courteous to follow people that follow you, sometimes spammers follow you and you wouldn’t want to auto-follow them! A set of criteria will weed those people out. It also has options for auto-thank you/auto-greetings; it’s hard to keep up with new followers especially when we get the notifications and we’re not near a computer.  With this feature you can greet and thank new followers automatically or include a link in the message directing them to your Facebook page, blog or YouTube channel.  Additional features also allow you to rotate between a few different greeting options so that not everyone gets the same one. Scheduling future tweets is another good feature for when you want to send tweets out at a time when there is high Twitter traffic but can’t. This feature makes it easy to get your tweets out at a whatever time you want.
  6. Twitcam.com -Twitcam is a live video streaming site that posts your video description and link to Twitter for all your followers to see. While broadcasting you can chat with your viewers via a Twitter window located on your broadcast page. Once you’re done going live, it archives your video and displays it on the same page. There is no sign up required and it is 100% Free (ad supported), it doesn’t require any software and can handle up to 100,000+ viewers and also gives you an option to broadcast your video on other social networks.
  7. MyTweeple.comis a friend/follower managing dashboard. It has very cool features that allow you to publicly or privately put tags on followers which makes it easier to search for them and adds another layer to listing them.  It also enables you to follow, unfollow, hide, block or “ding” a follower directly from the dashboard. What is Ding you ask? If you ding a follower it is a warning to others that this person is a spammer or a general nuisance. The site also offers an option for jotting down private notes about a particular follower as well.  I’m sure I don’t need to explain why this might be useful. It also has some great display features. For instance, it shows who your following, who is following you, who you’re following that follows you, and it has an option to see people that you’ve unfollowed. Other display data includes name, screename, location, description or tag (word or phrase) for each of your followers.  Additional information and options displayed for each of your followers include who they’re following and who’s following them, how many tweets they’ve made, and you can see their lists and recent tweets. The only glitch to using this app is that you need to sync regularly with Twitter but they make it easy by enabling you to schedule an automatic sync from the dashboard.
  8. Nearbytweets.comLets you see tweets in any city worldwide on any subject.
  9. Tweepsync (http://sync.tweeptycoon.com/)- Isolates those you follow that don’t follow you, those that follow you that you don’t follow, and it lets you bulk unfollow or follow, as the case may be. They’ve also added a new feature which allows you to unfollow people that you are following in bulk. I guess this feature is for those of us with followers remorse.
  10. Selective Twitter Status – lets you update your Facebook status from Twitter AND you can choose which tweets to send to your Facebook status — just end a tweet with #fb – it’s that simple!

Now here’s a great video:

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