Monday, May 26, 2008

Beach Week Recap

So it turns out (I'm not sure I'm surprised) that I have a little in common with whales on the beach - it's quite clearly not my natural environment.

I made it 3 days without checking my rss reader, and for the remainder of the time I didn't read items, just starred a bunch. So today, catching up, has been pretty taxing. Luckily it was a holiday, so a fairly slow news day. I'm back down to a reasonable 20ish starred items. I don't think I'll try for any more rss-free days any time soon.

Couple of other things from the beach.
  • Running on the beach really isn't that exciting. The scenery never changes really (at least, the 5 mile stretch I was on), and it was windy (could have been a fluke, I don't know much about the beach) and sand blowing in your face isn't fun while running.
  • It occurred to me at some point during the week that though I expected the expression 'give props' was probably short for something, I had no idea what. I asked my friends (5 of us there), and none of us knew. Our librarian friend looked it up on WordNet (which was cool, I'd just started hearing about WordNet). Turns out its 'proper respect'. Makes sense.
  • We played some fun games while we were there (besides Dr. Mario, which did get brought out - what sort of nerd brings a Nintendo to the beach?). Settlers of Catan is a fun game - except I almost always get frustrated while playing. Eric had a game 'Pentago' that was also pretty cool. It's connect 5 on a 6x6 board, but after each turn you get to twist one corner of the board. We also played some Farkle.
  • I started wondering about perhaps making a blog for the calc 2 class I'm teaching in the fall. Trying to decide what it would include, and if I feel like worrying about privacy concerns and all of that. I guess UVA has some system in place for class collaboration, perhaps I should start there.
So what did my (not so) unconnected week miss?
  • I did, actually, get my Twine invite, which I was surprised by. Perhaps because I mentioned it here? I know that when I signed up for the invite, they asked for my webpage... are they monitoring to decide who gets an invite? Or was it just a coincidence? I haven't yet had a chance to play with it, but am looking forward to doing so from here (well, probably tomorrow) on out.
  • The XOXO (next version of OLPC laptop) looks like it could be cool (see here and here). I'm going to wait a while before I get too excited about it - see what it actually turns out to be. The $75 price mark was shockingly low, given the current version is at $188. Time will tell I guess. Also they're doing G1G1 again later this year (with current version laptops). I certainly don't need another, and I really, really hope they have their distribution issues worked out. Oh yeah, and I took mine to the beach as an excuse to test it in direct sunlight (like we don't get that in cville), and it worked beautifully (as expected).
  • I listened to a Semantic Web Gang podcast while I was away, with Barney Pell from Powerset. Got me excited about Powerset, and some of the people had pretty cool accents. So I downloaded a bunch more of the semantic web sorts of podcasts I've been avoiding. I still haven't gotten around to them.
  • Read a pretty interesting article from Newsweek - 'The Rise of the Rest'. Worth a look. Made me wonder what I should be doing to better prepare for global interaction. Any suggestions?
  • Found (thanks 'Discover' button in Google Reader) a cville blog I actually subscribed to, because it's about local tech. And it turns out I missed another interesting talk here at UVA. Sigh. Hopefully this is the last one I miss because I don't hear about it until after the fact.
Probably the highlight of the news I missed was the Roku Netflix set-top box (see here and here). I had basically forgotten about that news from January, but I'm kinda excited about it again. Sounds like its a really easy to use piece of hardware, in a reasonable price range... I'm debating about it. People have complained about the 'small' number of 'Watch Instantly' titles from Netflix, but I'm sure I could find enough to keep me occupied (like I need another distraction). If the Roku box was able to play videos from anywhere online (maybe embed a link in your Netflix queue?), I would have bought one already. Perhaps one of the other boxes that is set to come out later this year?

No comments: