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28 February 2007

I Blog Therefore I Am

Are you a thinking blogger or a blogging thinker? Now here is a blogger hmmm thinker blogger/thinker who deserves a platinium version of the Thinking Blogger Award. Not only Lorelle VanFossen writes about the meme on The Blog Herald, but adds value to its meaning when she questions the definition of a thinking blogger and asks "What does it take to qualify as a thinking blogger?" She literally "is living, and writing, [her] passion."

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27 February 2007

Due To Overwhelming Demand

It seems from the results of yesterday's post, everyone wants the Natalia avatar back. Though, I was expecting more votes on the silhouette of my head. The poll is still open in case you have changed your minds but I have abandoned the plan to stick with the "blinking cartoon character" avatar for a week. I was a bit put off by the rude private messages I got on MyBlogLog. The blogosphere seems to be a colder place for the male gender.

Since this post doesn't offer much of your daily dose to keep thinking, I would like to take this opportunity to introduce the categories of posts I have on my blog:
I hope you will excuse me for not providing genuine "content of value" for today. After all the hard work I put in this blog, the discouragement I get just doesn't leave much will to write. I have learned a lesson yesterday and that is marketing your blog is considered spam even if your link doesn't lead to a pop-up trying to sell you Viagra. I'm sorry but there is nothing for sale here.

I have also decided to switch from being an active user to being a passive user on MyBlogLog. So, if you would like to reach me and get a quick response, please send me an email. Feel free to spam my inbox with emails containing links to your latest posts. Don't worry, I will not flare over simple things like these because an email can be easily ignored if it is a sales pitch. Keep tuned for quality content.

The sun sets today to rise again tomorrow.
- Ilker Yoldas

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25 February 2007

Search Music with Your Voice

Sing, hum, or whistle to instantly find your favorite music and connect with a community that shares your musical interests. Midomi is the ultimate music search tool because it is powered by your voice. Give it a try. Truly amazing! You can create your own profile and contribute to the database by singing your favorite songs that you can later share with your friends. The next time anyone searches for that song, your performance might be the top result!

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24 February 2007

Safeguard the Web for Children

FACT: Children today are often left alone with a computer and sometimes visit pornographic sites accidentally. I'm not a parent but exposure to sexual images can warp their innocent and delicate minds to an extent that could affect their future behaviour. Something had to be done about this and my blogger friend Mihaela Lica has my full support for this great initiative. Basically, Blogger Power, is an open letter to all adult website owners:

"Please require a password-protected login before allowing even free access to explicit adult content. We understand that selling porn is your business and we respect your right to make a legal living. But understand our legitimate concerns and work with us. You already have the “warning adult content” on your websites. Yet kids, who are not legal customers of your product, ignore the warning. So to prevent them from having direct access to explicit images, texts and sounds, the simplest way is to have a password-protected login. No more 'free tours' before a visitor supplies basic information."

Protect the innocent. As a graphic designer, I have previously shown my support by creating a special artwork (favicon) for this just cause, but that isn't enough to make me sleep in peace at nights. Like Jon Harmon said "These web site operators are not the kind of people who are easily shamed out of bad behavior." We need all bloggers to encourage adult sites to do the right thing and keep children safe.

Your voice matters. As you might already know, I'm not a fan of blog memes because they usually don't refer to relative content but are merely created to have search engine optimization effects. However, this is not a campaign against pornography as a whole. Nor it is not about restricting legitimate free speech and legal commerce. This is just a common sense request to protect the kids. For that reason, I urge the following 20 bloggers to help with their support entries:

You can join this campaign by writing about it on your blog and tag 20 others, even if you haven’t been tagged. Let's show them the Blogger Power!

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23 February 2007

Get A PC Ads

LinuxI REPEAT: I got nothing against Apple! The last thing I would want to happen is create sides of different computer users and watch a war start over it. Just like Cat the Mac-lover said, "life is too short to buy into their con." Everyone makes a choice from the number of available operating systems and my personal choice is Ubuntu Linux! But I'm not going to tell you anything about it. Just watch these new spoof videos from Paul the Mac-hater.

There are numerous web hosting companies that offer a multiplicity of web templates. You can use these templates whether you are running an internet home based business or intend to run an affiliate marketing program. The 70-270 certification exam measures your aptitude to apply, direct, and troubleshoot information systems that integrate Microsoft Windows XP Professional.

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22 February 2007

Cult of Apple - Part 1

Before all the Apple fanatics jump on me, I want to make one thing clear. I don't hate Apple. In fact, I support their lead to a design conscious consumer electronics market. Though design doesn't always mean simple, like Albert Einstein once said "Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler", I will criticize Apple products later. I felt the need to write this article because I'm a bit concerned about Apple fans' behavior. Where does the fierce loyalty come from?

It all began so humbly. Most people with a passing knowledge of the history of the personal computer are aware that Apple founder Steve Jobs is famous for his "reality distortion field": his ability not only to deny objective fact but also to convince anyone within his reach that black equals white and yes is no. But how many have heard this advice on how to deal with Jobsian rhetoric?

One beggar telling another beggar where to find bread. Evangelism marketing is an advanced form of word of mouth marketing (WOMM) in which companies develop customers who believe so strongly in a particular product or service that they freely try to convince others to buy and use it. The customers become voluntary advocates, actively spreading the word on behalf of the company. Evangelism literally comes from the three words of 'bringing good news' and the marketing term justly draws from the religious sense, as consumers are literally driven by their beliefs in a product or service, which they preach in an attempt to convert others.

Signal without noise. Guy Kawasaki, an ex-Apple-employee, is credited as being one of the first to use evangelistic methods to promote a computer brand, focusing on creating passionate user-advocates for the Apple brand. Apple formerly had a "Why Mac?" evangelist websites. The page no longer exists, but the company currently has a Get a Mac campaign page, which gives numerous reasons why PC users should switch to Macs. Kawasaki has recently switched from using Macs to using Linux, because he's disappointed in the route that Apple has taken. This could be interpreted, that Apple has become a just another regular technology-company and perhaps it was all lust from the start.

Think Differently. First of, Steve Jobs is charging enough for his products, at least he should have the decency to buy a dictionary! "Think Different" is not grammatically correct. Second, stop making fun of your competitors. In an article for Slate magazine, Seth Stevenson criticized the campaign as being too "mean spirited," suggesting that, "...isn't smug superiority (no matter how affable and casually dressed) a bit off-putting as a brand strategy?". A psychologist, Kelton Rhoads (Ph.D), made an 18-page analysis [PDF] which examines influence tactics in Apple's carefully-worded and well-executed comparative campaign. It also includes references to several criticisms made regarding the veracity of this campaign.

Argumentum in terrorem. An appeal to fear (also called argumentum ad metam or argumentum in terrorem) is a logical fallacy in which a person attempts to create support for her or his idea by increasing fear and prejudice toward a competitor. In the 'Viruses' commercial, Mac claims none of the viruses for PCs affect him, but macro viruses do not rely on the operating system but instead individual pieces of software, thus letting them work on either Macs or PCs with the affected software. There are spyware known to attack any operating system with a compatible browser. Moreover, Chris Szurgot, developer of Visual Studio 2005, thinks of the 'Viruses' commercial as FUD. It is also not the first time Apple engaged in a marketing strategy of disseminating negative (and vague) information on a competitor's product. This Apple commercial, called "Lemmings", was aired during the 1985 Super Bowl, the year after the famous "1984" commercial was aired.

What is a cult? According to Cult Information Center in London, every cult can be defined as a group having all of the following five characteristics:

1. It uses psychological coercion to recruit, indoctrinate and retain its members
2. It forms an elitist totalitarian society.
3. Its founder leader is self-appointed, dogmatic, messianic, not accountable and has charisma.
4. It believes 'the end justifies the means' in order to solicit funds recruit people.
5. Its wealth does not benefit its members or society.

Who do cults recruit? Cults want people who are:

  • Intelligent.
  • Idealistic.
  • Well educated.
  • Economically advantaged.
  • Intellectually or Spiritually curious.
  • Any age.

Is Apple a cult? If that question wasn't answered from what I wrote above, then here is a quote from Jeannie Mills, ex-member of The People's Temple, later found murdered.

"When you meet the friendliest people you have ever known, who introduce you to the most loving group of people you've ever encountered, and you find the leader to be the most inspired, caring, compassionate and understanding person you've ever met, and then you learn the cause of the group is something you never dared hope could be accomplished, and all of this sounds too good to be true-it probably is too good to be true! Don't give up your education, your hopes and ambitions to follow a rainbow."

To be continued..

Any constructive comments welcome.

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21 February 2007

Born to Be Wild

Dirt bike games with realistic physics for brain stimulation! Similar to the Line Rider toy I mentioned before, here is the brand new Free Rider flash game. Click on the pen icon to draw a track and use the star icon to add checkpoints. Then click on play icon and use the arrow keys to drive the bike. The yellow cube button turns the lines into a 3d landscape. What's great about this game is that you can easily save and load track codes.

Share your favorite tracks in the comments section.

I just wished it was as good as TGMOTO2 (online flash game) or X-MOTO (open source download). Enjoy!

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20 February 2007

Listen to Soothing Music Online

Jazz and Rock are more popular than ever, but the charm of old, tranquil music, is everlasting. Here is a handy website for a quick zen moment when you don't feel like looking through the online radios. Currently in Beta, Free Soothing Music is the place to relax and listen to some really soothing music, for free! You can listen to "easy" music instantly or browse categories such as Exotica, Lounge, and Mood Music just to name a few. Great find the day before my biggest post yet!

UPDATE: Broken link fixed. Thanks for the email Ahmed!

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19 February 2007

Top 10 Reasons to Live Against All Odds

A story of awe and inspiration. Abigail and Brittany Hensel (born 7 March 1990, United States), are dicephalic conjoined twins. Brittany is the left twin, and Abigail is the right twin. They have two spines which join at the pelvis. They have two stomachs, three lungs, and two arms. Here is a footage from "Joined for Life: Abby and Brittany Turn 16" via The Learning Channel.

Conjoined twins are a rare event in the world's delivery rooms. They occur about once in every 50,000 births, but 40% are stillborn, and, curiously, 70% are female. Conjoined twins are always identical: the product of a single egg that for some unknown reason failed to divide fully into separate twins during the first three weeks of gestation.

These young ladies have a wonderful positive attitude and have adapted well to live an incredibly normal life. Have a look at their most recent photo album below. How can you not respect them for how they are dealing with the cards they were dealt? Yet, I wonder. How could one of them take a test and the other not see the answers of the other? What if one had insomnia while the other wanted to sleep all the time? If one girl wants to go left and the other wants to go right, who (if either) would have dominant control of the legs? If one of them kisses a boy, would the other just look away? Would they marry one man (what if one didn't like the husband) or two (and have very awkward times in bed)? Would their kids have similar traits? Wow.. these things could boggle the mind.

This reminds me that there is so much that we take for granted. Don't forget, your life could have been a lot harder. Stop complaining about the simple things in life and be glad that you have your health and family.

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18 February 2007

Save Energy with Black Google

Technically speaking, Kevin Thompson claims an all white web page uses about 74 watts to display, while an all black page uses only 59 watts on CRT monitors. The difference being 15 watts. Mark Ontkush does the math and calculates how much energy could be saved by switching Google's background to black. I use an LCD display but after looking at solid white pages for a long time, it is like you are staring into a light bulb. Google makes me dizzy!

Would changing Google to black really help save the environment? I'm not an expert to tell how accurate these figures are or whether it makes a difference at all (somebody please call the Mythbusters)! Still, it sounds like a good idea. At the very least, how we can conserve energy by doing little things is thought-provoking.

To change the background color of Google and Youtube, you need to download the Stylish add-on for Mozilla Firefox (don't tell me you are reading this blog with some other browser) and install your favorite userstyles to customize. That's it!

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17 February 2007

Free Favicon For Your Blog

Sorry, did I say free? I meant freelance! It's not a shame if you don't know what a favicon is, Wikipedia is here to help. "A favicon (short for 'favorites icon') an icon associated with a particular website or webpage. A web designer can create such an icon, and many recent web browsers can then make use of them. Browsers that support favicons may display them in the URL bar, next to the site's name in lists of bookmarks,.. etc."

Why do bloggers need a favicon? Having a favicon is yet another way to establish your identity and make it easier for people to remember your site among a pile of places. These icons are everywhere (bookmarks, tabs, URL) and are often used on other sites for blogrolls. The favicon is such a simple piece of promotion, you really should have no excuse for not implementing it straight away. Think about all the extra exposure you can get. Creating a favicon is quite easy if you are, well, creative.

How to create a favicon? Any appropriately sized image can be used (16×16 pixels). Personally, I find Microsoft Paint to be the best tool to play with pixels, given there is some image (like a logo) to play with in the first place. Then, use a generator to create the ICO file. Note that an ICO file is not just a renamed BMP (bitmap). It is a completely different format. Think of it as an archive of images (they can store other sizes at the same time). Although, browsers these days support other file formats as well, such as PNGs and GIFs. Finally, when you have created your favicon image, simply upload it to the root of your site and add the HTML code to the head of your page. Guidelines are in the Wikipedia link above.

Looking for some inspiration? I'm pretty sure you have seen some nifty icons while browsing the Web. Look at your bookmarks to see which ones stand out. Alternatively, check out the 50 remarkable icons organized into categories by Smashing Magazine. Then there are examples from my designs. Apart from my own blog, I have created a number of favicons for other sites. For example, when I designed the logo for GR8Egypt, I also used the associated brand image for the icon.

Here is a selection of my pixel art:

GR8Egypt - Collection of interesting stuff to keep you entertained.

Blogger Power - Safeguard the Web for children.

John Chow - The Miscellaneous Ramblings of a Dot Com Mogul.

MyBlogLog Blog - The official blog of your favorite social network.

Brohans - Hand picked videos for crazies.

Quickest way to get a favicon? For those of you who are not technically inclined, I can design a fabulous icon (compliant with multiple browsers) for just 20 bucks. I can work from the look and feel of your blog, or any images you provide. Let me know by email if you are interested.

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16 February 2007

First Miss World Turns 94

Since little time is left from all the design tweaking and responding to the comments (which I am so grateful), I want to share something short I read in a Turkish newspaper today. Keriman Halis Ece (1913) is a former Turkish beauty contestant, who became Miss Turkey 1932 and also Miss World 1932. Following the introduction of the surname act on June 21, 1934, Mustafa Kemal Atat├╝rk gave her the surname "Ece", which means "queen" in Turkish.

She participated 1932 in the Miss Turkey beauty pageant that started only in 1929 and was promoted by the newspaper Cumhuriyet. She was elected the most beautiful Turkish woman in the contest held on July 2, 1932 in ─░stanbul among eight candidates. Keriman Halis was sent then to the Miss World contest held in Spa, Belgium to represent Turkey. On July 31, 1932, she was crowned Miss World among competitors from 27 countries, achieving Turkey’s first title at an international beauty contest after three years only of its existence and less than a decade after the founding of the Republic.

'Yes, very nice' you might say, but the question in my mind, made me think: What is the secret to a long life?

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15 February 2007

What Did You Get for Valentine's Day?

February 14 is the traditional day on which lovers express their love for each other; sending Valentine's cards or candy. But instead of discussing about the candy that I got (!), I would like to follow up on some of my previous posts because I feel that these updates are too important to be overlooked. Plus, I don't want to mess up the already long posts by making them longer!

First of all, I would like to thank all my friends who provided feedback on yesterday's post. I made some changes according to the suggestions. What do you think?

- Removed Translate panel. Let me know if anyone needs it back.

- Bookmark/email this post. I will remove or replace them in the future.

- Down sized the fonts. Does it look better now?

- Shuffled the sidebar panels. 'About this Blog' panel didn't look good when higher up.

- Huge RSS Feed icon near the top. For all you RSS-aholics out there! If that isn't big enough, check this out:

Feed Me!

UPDATEThinking Blogger Awards: . Are you a thinking blogger or a blogging thinker? Probably the best meme blogosphere has ever seen. Well, I guess it would be better if I didn't limit the number of nominations to 5 but that is the whole point. Only the best gets a 'Thinking Blogger' award! =)

Due to its nature, the nominated bloggers are (obviously thinking and) making little adjustments to the rules. For example, Greg added:
"If you do not follow the rules, snakes will take up residence in your basement and you will get a flat tire. Or worse. Tires will take up residence in your basement and you will get a flat snake. "
But it doesn't seem to work all the time. Myers like snakes, and adds:
"Extortion just won't work, especially when the threat is so tantalizing."
John L. Bell went further and specified a criteria:
- No blogs with so many contributors coming from so many directions that they have an unfair advantage over solo practitioners.
- No blogs that I rely on primarily as news digests, however much I rely on them.
- No blogs that I see have already received the Thinking Blogger designation.
Tim Abbott added inclusive criteria, emphasizing:
- Blogs I read daily and that post regularly.
- Blogs that stimulate thoughtful commentary and foster informed debate.
- Blogs that present ideas and information that are consistently fresh, unusual, and thought provoking.
This is creativity! But the most important thing is that I found really nice blogs through this meme in the past few days. And it's not just me. As far as I can see from the comments left on those posts, lots of great content is brought to people's attention. Some of the blogs really makes me pause to think.

For example, one of the blogs tagged by Nirmala is called Indexed, a blog which is worth a daily feed. The blogger mentioned is Jessica Hagy who draws Venn Diagrams and graphs on Index cards to get her point across. Imagine a graph with the X-Axis as number of brain cells stimulated and the Y-axis as number of words. Most blogs reside in the upper left corner. Indexed sits comfortably in the lower right. This delightful sketch, "What are you getting for Valentine's Day?", seems to fit here just in time:

What are you getting for Valentine's Day

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14 February 2007

Ask the Reader: Blog Usability

Happy Valentines Day! Today's hot topic will not be this consumer driven holiday though. As you might have already noticed, I'm a part-time graphic designer. Actually, it is more of a hobby. This means I'm not a ninja (coder) but I know enough HTML to get my template to do what I want it to do. Nevertheless, I feel it is not perfect and some of my friends complained informed me that it loads rather too slowly.

So, I asked for help from experts! Fortunately, Jeff Atwood from Coding Horror was very kind to take time and give me with the following advice:

"It looks fine, but if it were my blog, I would reduce the size and number of graphics.

I'd also remove the star ratings, the email / social bookmark links, the 'translate' panel, and other items that are unlikely to be used.

I would also move 'Fresh Comments' up on the right hand side above subscribe. Also, I think 'About Me (My profile, contact me)' should be higher than the bottom of the page."

I thought of removing the star ratings before but I changed my mind when I saw that whenever people don't comment on the post they tend to use the rating to provide quick feedback. However, it was a heavy drag on loading time and removing them made a huge difference. Perhaps the reason why I get so few comments is because it makes you visit another page to leave one (or you guys are just too lazy =). I think I need to move the 'leave a comment' box under the comments and eliminate the unnecessary step.

I am not sure how to proceed with the other suggestions so I need your view on this. If you are against the removal of any of the features listed in this poll below or there is something else not mentioned, please help me improve my blog by leaving a comment. Your feedback is very valuable and much appreciated!

Note to Internet Explorer users: there is a comments link at the bottom right corner of each post but it seems to be invisible for some reason. I have to find a solution for that sometime soon but if you can't locate it, feel free to leave a message in MyBlogLog community.

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13 February 2007

Seizure Optical Illusions

Ever wanted to experience the effect of magic mushrooms without eating them? OK, maybe you will not experience a trip with visions and revelations but here is a good source for optical illusions and more info on how they work. However, the important thing I would like to share with you today is this wicked website I recently discovered with the following message.

"CAUTION!! The figure shown below may feel you sick. This image may be dangerous. Please do not link to this image directly. Please do not upload this on your webpage."

Since I can't upload them here, please think twice before clicking his link: Akiyoshi Kitaoka. Hope it doesn't cause seizures like infamous anime films!

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12 February 2007

Girl With Thousand Arms

Divine Inspiration for a Monday Morning! I've seen this video a while ago, but I didn't think about blogging it until I saw the post on Wishful Thinking by Mark McGuinness (who kindly allowed me to use his headline for this post's introductory sentence). However, I did learn more about Guan Yin via his link to Wikipedia. Thank you for sharing this information Mark!

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11 February 2007

Thinking Blogger Awards

Too many blogs, not enough thoughts! Nevermind, that didn't rhyme (blobs?). What I've been pondering on since I tagged Divya Uttam (and she tagged me back!) is the purpose of these so called blog memes. What is it? Could it be word of mouth marketing? Could it be search engine optimization? Or more simply, is it a form of 'innocent' link baiting?

The reason why I participated in 2000 Bloggers was because.. well, I don't know. It was the first thing that introduced me to the concept of memes. When I saw it coming up on MyBlogLog, already some 800 people were part of it. I thought I had to rush in to participate, hoping I could make it before the rest of the 1200 spots were filled in less than 5 minutes! It wasn't the case, as I found out, because it was a one man organisation. I then checked Wikipedia for more information on memes and it seemed like these were around for quite a while. I am just glad no one tagged me on '5 Things You Didn't Know About Me' because I wouldn't have taken it. The idea behind that is quite simple. When I started this blog, I decided not to include any personal stuff, because I already keep in touch with my friends through emails and more recently MyBlogLog. Besides, I'm not a celebrity, who cares about my private life?

Now Divya tagged me on the Z list. I wouldn't mind putting it here as well but I don't know if I, or my readers, would relate to any of the blogs listed. That is, provided they click any links there. In fact, I can share my experience with you. I clicked some of them and to be honest I wasn't wrong about what I thought earlier. It is a list but just too random! This is also the sole reason why I don't have a blogroll. There are far too many blogs I read on a regular basis and not all of them are even closely related to what I blog about. How would I know which ones, from the wide range of blogs, would be of interest you too?

Moreover, blog search engine Technorati is not quite happy about these kind of things due to their SEO effects. Some bloggers also feel uneasy targeting the search engine algorithms, namely: Amy Gahran, Jeremiah Owyang, Zoli Erdos, Jason Kaneshiro, Tony Hung, Blog Bloke, and Dawud Miracle (in chronological order of posts). The only good thing about the Z list is we know who started it. I was curious who started the '5 Reasons Why I Blog', and if I went through all the people who got tagged I would eventually arrive at the blog that started it all, but I couldn't be bothered to find out! What's more, it is not certain that I would end up finding something that would make me think.. or at least something I could relate to. I agree with Zoli when he said "links are good, but they are supposed to refer to content." For example, if he didn't guide me to the blogs that discussed this issue (names above), it would probably take me more time, if not impossible, to hunt them down in search engines with all the link pollution caused by the 2000 Bloggers project.

So, I have decided not to join any memes in the future. My aim with this blog is to offer content that is interesting, informative and things that could really help my friends who are reading it. But how can I leave the world of blogging memes without starting one? =) This is the beginning of a new blog meme and, no, it is something more imaginative than the X list.

It is called '5 Blogs That Make Me Think' and I am tagging the following bloggers for the first list:

1. Don To Earth by Donald Crowdis,
2. Own Your Brand by Mike Wagner,
3. Creative Design by David Airey,
4. Evolution.. not just a theory anymore by Greg Laden,
5. Aa..ha! [Thinking Inside The Blog!] by Nirmala Pal.

Congratulations, you won a !

Should you choose to participate, please make sure you pass this list of rules to the blogs you are tagging. I thought it would be appropriate to include them with the meme.

The participation rules are simple:

1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think,
2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme,
3. Optional: Proudly display the 'Thinking Blogger Award' with a link to the post that you wrote (here is an alternative silver version if gold doesn't fit your blog).

That was that! Please, remember to tag blogs with real merits, i.e. relative content, and above all - blogs that really get you thinking! It is the first time I am starting something with my blog so I hope it doesn't come back to haunt me.

Happy link-love-sharing, whatever it is!

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10 February 2007

Haiku Movie Reviews

Most of us have very limited time and anything that helps saving it gets a thumbs up from me. First of all, Haiku is the art of Japanese poetry, usually consisting of seventeen syllables - organized into three lines of 5, 7, 5. Traditionally, these poems represent an intense emotion or vivid image of nature and is designed to lead to a spiritual insight.

Ever wanted to know about a movie before you watch it? Avoid going for the bad ones by reading the quick movie poems on Review in Haiku. It is even shorter than watching a trailer, plus funny! If you find these reviews too long, then check out the one word rating. In any case, a movie can only be either 'Awesome', or 'Good', or 'Okay', or 'Bad', or 'Awful'.. I'm loving it! Meanwhile, don't forget that film criticism can help you decide which movies to see but it is very subjective by nature. Here is a nice example for Borat's movie (2006);
Borat go U.S.
Mocks America. Is nice.
Pamela no like.

Rating: Good.
Subtle, precise and concentrated! But, personally, I would disagree on the rating and give it 'Awful'.

Ever wanted to watch several movie trailers in one page? Okay, I'm using too many cliches today but I have to mention MG Siegler's other blog, Trashing Trailers, as well. In this one, you can load all the trailers at once and come back to watch them in a row when they are done downloading. Another time saver in an age of sluggish Internet connection speeds! For me at least..

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09 February 2007

Most Popular British-made Car

The original Mini is considered an icon of the 1960s. In the international poll for the award of the world's most influential car of the twentieth century the Mini came second only to the Ford Model T. When production of the classic Mini ceased in 2000, BMW, the new owner of the brand, announced its successor – the New MINI (written in capital letters).

Some Mini enthusiasts reject the claim that the MINI as the natural successor of the original car - others simply dislike it - yet others were amongst the first to buy the new MINI when it was launched. There are many reasons offered for the negative point of view. One notion is that the classic Mini could have continued in viable production for many more years had it not been 'killed off' to make way for the MINI. The new MINI is larger than the classic Mini. It is around 55 cm longer, 30 cm wider, weighing 1050 kg rather than 650 kg. That, together with the departure from the spartan minimalism of the original, has proven objectionable to some enthusiasts. Others resent the manner in which BMW took the Mini brand name from the Rover group. However, many Mini owners take the opposite view and embrace the new car as a logical succession of the original and view it as the only way the concept could have continued in the light of modern safety, emissions and manufacturing principles. Some Mini clubs go so far as to ban MINIs from their club meetings - others actively seek car enthusiasts from both camps. This spectrum of attitudes has been noted with other retro-car releases such as the Volkswagen Beetle and is far from being unique to the Mini community.

Here is the brand new TV spot of the MINI Cooper with a movie trailer-like style to it. Hammer and Coop looks so good, I wished it was a real movie!

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08 February 2007

5 Reasons Why I'm Thinking

I'm not a fan of blog memes but I could not help but make this post because I was tagged by my dear friend, the one and only, beautiful Jean MacManus. It always makes me wonder who is the one to start these things in the first place. Some bloggers might be quite frustrated (no?) when tagged but I think at times it is beneficial for my reader friends. So, here is 5 reasons why I blog:

1. Knowledge grows when shared. This is my favorite quote of all time and my main motivation to blog.

2. Makes me feel good. If anything was of little help to someone (I hope) then sharing information always made me feel good.

3. Meeting like minded people. The Internet would be a cold place without blogs and receiving comments from readers who like what I write might lead to some great friendships in the future. If you come to Turkey, you can stay my house!

4. Just another hobby. Time left over from studying, sports, and hanging out with friends, this is what I enjoy doing. Its some serious fun!

5. Not for the money. Blogging is not one of my career aspirations so no amount of money will buy me. But hey, I made 5 bucks from Adsense, now I can go buy a magazine that will keep me thinking!

I'm tagging Robert, Divya, Anita, Tisha and John. I would love to hear the reasons why you blog!

On the lighter side, I would like to finish off this post with a (de)motivational poster I got in my inbox. For all you bloggers out there, no matter the reasons why you're blogging! =)

UPDATE: I got tagged again for the same meme by Ray Dotson, Media Lizzy and Louiss Lim.

[ This post is brought to you by Obama Shirts ]

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07 February 2007

Digg Winamp Skin

Here is something I wanted to do for a long time. There are two things that I need a fix every single day; a source for what's popular online and, of course, food for the soul - music! Being a design and usability conscious person, I look for the cleanest and the fastest ways of doing things. In this case, the weapons of choice are Digg and Winamp.

Digg is a site that I check to find interesting news submitted and "dugg" by users. I think the reason why it is the most successful social bookmarking site on the web is not only because it is a democratic system where users have the editorial control over front page material, but also because the design and usability is perfect. There is nothing to criticise! Its functional, user friendly design is removed of all the unnecessary clutter and elements you don't need.

Winamp has focused on four primary design tenets that drive its success: Continued focus on the size and performance of the player itself, support for the widest range of audio and video formats of the major players, unique features for the audiophile looking for the highest quality output from a digital media player and a design architecture that allows as much community-driven extensibility as possible. Enough said!

Now, let's make some fusion! Inspired by the Digg WMP skin I found yesterday, and after 5 hours of pixel play in MS Paint, I made the Digg Winamp Skin:

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06 February 2007

Keep Your Readers Thinking

Wouldn't it be nice to share the information here on your blog? It is called Blidget (short for blog widget) and best described by its developer Widgetbox. "A blidget turns any blog into a widget. And, we don’t just mean an RSS feed widget. Now you can easily create a customized blidget to include any elements from your blog such as photos, post links, images, audio clips and other digital content."


Grab the thinking blog widget here, or by clicking on the "Get My Widget" button above. It takes a few simple steps to install it. If you decide to use it, please let me know in the comments. I would love to hear your experience and see how it looks on your blog.

[Via: Lancerlord]

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05 February 2007

Test Your Lung Capacity

The Internet is getting more interactive everyday. Here is an interesting new website that allows you to test your lung capacity online. All you need to have is a microphone and then blow as hard as possible when instructed to determine lung capacity. The flash website then graphs your input and allows you to compare your capacity with a top athlete's. Have a go!

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04 February 2007

The River Puzzle

I'm a sucker for mental stuff! Here we have an IQ flash game that is supposed to provide employment for those who solve it in China. I got it in my inbox sometime last year, so nothing new for those who get a lot of forwarded emails. Everything is in Chinese but the aim is to get everyone on the other side of the river, and the following rules apply:
1. Only 2 people allowed on the raft,
2. Cop can't leave Thief alone with others,
3. Mom can't be with boys without Dad,
4. Dad can't be with girls without Mom,
5. Children alone can't operate the raft.
Initially the puzzle seems daunting with a large number of possible moves, however there is in fact very little choice as the wrong moves prevent any further moves. There is only one possible solution produced with the least number of moves. Give it a try before checking out the comments for a hint and the solution.

Start by clicking the big blue circle on the right.

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03 February 2007

What You See

Might not be what you get. In order to make sense of the world it is necessary to organize incoming stimuli into information which is meaningful. Sometimes even photographs can be creative enough to distort reality. I said even because photography is popularly synonymous with truth - 'the camera doesn't lie.' What about false perspective?

Don't trust your eyes, they can fool you!

See what I mean? :) This illusion is apparently called the Gestalt effect based on general assumptions the brain makes during perception, which is more fully described as
"the form-forming capability of our senses, particularly with respect to the visual recognition of figures and whole forms instead of just a collection of simple lines and curves."
Discuss what assumptions you made.

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02 February 2007

Top 10 Real-life Games

People adopting elements and acting out the role of characters from video games is always fun to watch! Staged mostly by fans, as you might expect, certain videos are low-budget (amateur!) shorts. I have not included any scenes from the movies based on games (they tend to have a bad reputation). Here is the Top 10 list of live action performances for your enjoyment:

1. Grand Theft Auto

2. Double Dragon
3. Tekken
4. Counter Strike
5. Devil May Cry
6. Pac Man
7. Super Mario
8. Sims 2
9. Mortal Kombat
10. Legend of Zelda
Honarable Mention: Paperboy Ad
Which one is your favorite? Other clips that did not make it in the Top 10 list (for various reasons) are posted in the comments section.

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01 February 2007

The Internet is Not for Granted

Picture this. How would you feel if a clone of you was made, without your permission? Recently, I spotted some blogs taking bits and pieces from my content - that includes text, images and anything else! I hate saying this but I have to remind you that it is illegal to do so and take your attention to the button in the bottom right corner of my blog, with the text "some rights reserved" under it.

Creative Commons is a non-profit organization that offers an alternative to full copyright. With a Creative Commons license, you keep your copyright but allow people to copy and distribute your work provided they give you credit — and only on the conditions you specify there.

Here are my conditions:

You are free:

  • to Share - to copy, distribute, display, and perform the work.

Under the following conditions:

  • Attribution. You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor.
  • Noncommercial. You may not use this work for commercial purposes.
  • No Derivative Works. You may not alter, transform, or build upon this work.
  • For any reuse or distribution, you must make clear to others the license terms of this work.
  • Any of these conditions can be waived if you get permission from the copyright holder.

Legal action can (and will) be taken for blog plagiarism but there are also other options:

"What To Do When Someone Steals Your Blog's Content - Blog Plagiarism" by Darren Rowse

"What Do You Do When Someone Steals Your Content" by Lorelle VanFossen

"Dealing With Website Plagiarism: When Someone Copies Your Blog Content?" by Amit Agarwal

Thank you for your co-operation! :)

[Thumbnail image: Comic Art Collective]

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