Online Insights on fiveAA, Sunday, September 23, 2007

September 23, 2007

We have mentioned Facebook in passing before, but I thought I had better give it a proper mention on the show because it is gaining popularity quickly, especially among adults, as opposed to MySpace which is dominated by teenagers. About 250,000 Australians are now using Facebook.
Facebook is described as a social utility that connects people with friends and others who work, study and live around them. You can use it to keep up with friends, and upload an unlimited number of photos, share links and videos.
All that’s needed to join Facebook is a valid email address.
To connect with coworkers or classmates, use your school or work email address to register, then once you’ve registered, join a regional network to connect with the people in your area.
There are some pretty interesting applications being added to it, along with some dumb ones.
Dumb ones include:

  • Booze mail – you send a friend a picture of a drink
  • Food fight – you send food items to each other in a food fight
  • Werewolves, zombies and vampires – you create these avatars and then bite or chomp or fight people and earn points

Good ones include:

  • Marketplace Book Exchange – you enter the ISBN of the book(s) you want to buy and Facebook alerts sellers, and vice versa.
  • Scrabble – I am in the middle of a game of scrabble with a friend. Every time I log on, I see she has made a new word, I then add my word.
  • Cities I’ve visited – this is neat, an interactive map where you can plot the cities you have visited, and then see your friend’s maps.

Thinking Rock
Last time I talked about Inbox Zero – an organisation blog to help with productivity. Tonight, I have an Australian piece of software called Thinking Rock which is a free application for collecting and processing your thoughts following the GTD methodology.
GTD stands for Getting Things Done, which is also the title of a book by management guru, David Allan.
The theory behing GTD is that a lot of our mental energy is directed towards trying to remember and manage all the things that we want or need to do. Therefore, we need a system for offloading our brain so that we can clear our minds to become more proactive and able concentrate on what is important to us.
Thinking Rock allows you to collect your thoughts and process them into actions, projects, information or future possibilities.
Actions can be done by you, delegated to someone else or scheduled for a particular date.
Projects can be organised with ordered actions and sub-projects.
You can review all of your actions, projects and other information quickly and easily to see what you need to do or to choose what you want to do at a particular time.
The Aussie programmers behind this software say that if you are too busy to download it, you definitely need it.

Eats Shoots and Leaves
Punctuation Test – These days we shoot off email, text, and instant messages with impressive speed, and often with embarrassingly bad grammar.  Inspired by the successful book “Eats Shoots and Leaves”, this site is a fun game of 20 questions that test your punctuation skills.
It focuses on apostrophes and commas.
Example: Is an apostrophe needed here? The kittens coats were dripping wet.

World’s wackiest holidays
Everyone loves an excuse to have a day off of work, but admittedly some holidays are just a little stranger than others. Created by LinkInn.Com, this fun piece lists “The World’s Wackiest Holidays”, and includes such bizarre traditions as:

  • India‘s “Holi, the Festival of Colors” where Indian girls throw gulal (colored powder) on each other during a Hindi holiday which marks the onset of spring. The word Holi comes from Holika, a scarf in Hindu mythology that prevented one of Lord Vishnu’s followers from being burned on a pyre.
  • Spain‘s annual Tomato Fight which takes place in late August, where thousands of people pelt each other with over 250 lbs of tomatoes in a span of 60 minutes in an event modestly described as the world’s largest tomato fight.
  • The lesser-known “Hadaka Matsuri, The Naked Festival” which takes place in Inazawa, Japan. This is rather curious. There is a photo of this on the website. There seem to be hundreds of men in loin cloths and hidden somewhere in their midst is one fully naked man. Touching him is believed to bring good luck and happiness.

Today in Literature
Literary buffs will want to bookmark this cool website, an online calendar that celebrates the anniversary of events relating to legendary authors and books.  “Great Books. Good Stories. Every Day”, TodayInLiterature delivers a daily dose of interesting articles, stories, and news
Friday was Stephen King’s birthday. And that day’s post shared some interesting insights into the man who has brought us numerous thrillers. The Shining, Carrie, Christine, The Dead Zone, etc.
King’s first memory is of playing the Ringling Brothers Circus Strongboy and dropping the cinder block on his toes.
One of his babysittes, he remembers, was fired when she fed him seven fried eggs for breakfast and locked him in the closet for the day, where he “yarked” and slept until mom came home from work.
The piece also covers critics comments with one saying “King will be remembered as a sociological phenomenon, an image of the death of the Literate Reader.”