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Entries from January 1, 2007 - January 31, 2007


Wednesday Night: Movie? (Firefox, Win)

I have a great post coming tomorrow (Thursday) for how to get your drink on, but, for tonight, some of you who aren't doing homework might take the time out to relax and watch a movie.

At Yale, "Do you wanna come over and watch a movie?" is a classic pick-up line.

But, moving on. If you don't have Netflix (tsk, tsk) or don't want to spend money over at Blockbuster, there are lots of options available on the Internet. I've previously posted on this, but I'll do a quick re-cap:

If you've got a nice, large desktop area, then it might be fine watching a movie from your computer screen. Click on the movie to make it fullscreen. But, if watching movies on your computer isn't your style, let me teach you all how to download them and then burn them to playable DVDs (should you have a DVD burner and, obviously, a DVD player) in just 5 steps.

Step 1. Head on over to Simplistic's Move Links and pick a flick! If you get a screen that says it's busy, just chill out. The Internet can have lines, too! Now, choose your movie (from the many links on the left). For this example, I chose "You Got Served". Go ahead and click. See all the parts? Each part is about 20 minutes.



Step 2. Get the video's address. In Firefox, right-click > View Page Source. Then, use Edit > Find to search for Part 1. Scroll, and then you will see src="http://...". Typically, I believe these are all dailymotion videos, but I could be wrong. In any case, you have to find the address (the "src=") for each "part". For "You Got Served", there are 6 parts, so there will be 6 unique addresses.



Step 3. Download the entire movie to your computer using KeepVid. Remember the addresses you collected in Step 2? Copy, Paste these into KeepVid. Select "Dailymotion" or whichever source the addresses are from (could be YouTube or Google), and then click Download. A window will now show up below! Right-click and Save Target As... to your Desktop. This will be a .flv file. Download for each address.



Step 4. If you don't have it already, download and install DVD Flick. This is some amazing open-source software that will allow you to burn movie files onto playable DVDs! How nice!


Step 5. Configure your settings, add titles, and create your DVD! If that's not self-explanatory enough, go ahead and read Lifehacker's Hack Attack Tutorial.



Exercise in College, Part 1

Catchphrases usually don't annoy me that much, but the "freshman fifteen" seems to have been beaten to death. Sure, some people do gain a few pounds the first term of the freshman year. Big deal; you can gain a pound or two over the weekend from too much beer. From what I have witnessed and experienced, the freshman fifteen is not specific to only freshman year. The undesirable weight gain always has to do with a lack of self-control. Sounds harsh, but it's true. And I definitely did eat ice cream every night freshman year. But this post isn't about weight loss.

It's also a common myth that exercise equals weight loss. No matter which diet you're on or not, it all comes down to a simple equation of how many calories you ate and expended throughout the day. That's enough of a rant on the general obsession I see with weight loss.

So let's talk about exercise: how often, how long, where, what, when, etc. I'll draw mostly upon my personal experience, with a few sources elsewhere.

The Most Important Thing

Exercise regularly. This does not translate to five times a week for 30 minutes or three times a week for 50 minutes. It's different for every person. Try to exercise when you're just coming off of your sore streak and before you're entirely rested. It's tough, but it builds character. In my case, it's after about two or three days. This period will shrink the more you exercise.

"I don't have time."

Yes, you do. This was the excuse I used for awhile until I realized that exercise made me feel more like getting work done and even simply being awake. Rather than stalking people for a half hour, go work out. Every one has time to exercise.

Your Conscience Says You Look Funny While You Exercise

We all do. Make a sport out of how ridiculous you look in your work out attire. It helps take your mind off of it.

And there's something about talking to a member of the opposite gender dripping in sweat and smelling like a water treatment plant that makes them so... attractive.

The Effects

Exercise to feel good, not to lose weight. Chemicals fly around, your body does some stuff, and you feel better. Poof, magic. The science is not particularly relevant, but read about it if you would like. Because regular exercise effectively keeps your system clean, blood flow increases all around. For both genders, it means more oxygen for your brain. For guys, it means increased blood flow to a certain... organ. (Note: not substantiated by [real] evidence.)

The bottom line: exercise a few times a week.

Possible Outlets of Exercise (Especially for Our Poor College Selves)

Some forms of exercise are most expensive than others. Some forms of exercise are just plain boring.

  • On campus or near campus exercise facility.

    If you are lucky enough to have an exercise facility/rec center/workout room on campus, use it. Especially if it's included in your tuition. Especially if your parents are paying your tuition. You don't want to find yourself graduating having never stepped foot inside a free gym. Here at LMU, we've got a nice rec center and ass-crazy tuition. Not using it would be foolish.

  • Run.

    To get to school, you probably use this fancy new technology called a road, maybe even a network of them. Running is the cheapest form of exercise: you only need shoes and shorts. Be sure to check out The Top 7 Things To Know To Begin Running. Use MapMyRun to keep track of distances run.

    Running does have a few downsides, though. I would say it has a steep learning curve; once you break that three mile mark, you will feel insignificant (and not hardcore). Running on dirt trails is usually ideal, but these aren't always available. Running on pavement is certainly do-able, but your knees will probably start hurting.

  • Bike.

    Bikes are staples of transportation on larger campuses. Many students seem to never consider using them for exercise. I've recently fallen in love with road biking. It's relaxing, you cover a lot of ground, you get to explore, and you have a reason to leave campus. Biking also has a certain cult to it; wave to every other road biker you pass, they will wave back. This odd camaraderie motivates you for that one last climb. And you feel like a bad ass.

    But having to get off campus to do some serious riding can be a downside, especially if you go for a ride during rush hour. The city of Los Angeles is surprisingly bike friendly, but not every city will have bike paths every which way. Getting started in biking is also a little pricey: you'll need a decent bike and a helmet. Shorts, gloves, and decent pedals are also a must if you plan to use biking as your primary method of exercising. Check out craigslist to grab a bike and eBay for some decent gear.

  • Intramurals

    The amount of exercise you can get from intramurals varies from campus to campus. If you've got a hardcore team that actually practices, this will probably be all you need.

The All in All

Get out there. Go running with a friend. Spend a few minutes on a bike in your gym or on the road. Be something Uncle Sam would be proud of.

Leave a comment or two about how you work out, you buff man/woman you.


Windows XP: The Lightweight Champions

So my friend Lindsay sent me a link to Matt B Thompson's "Light or [Lighter-Weight Apps] to Replace Memory Hogs in Windows XP", asking me, "There are a lot of programs listed. Which, if any, does HackCollege recommend?"

Alright, I'm not sure I did the "[ ]" right, but, either way, Matt's got a great list of software that won't slow down your computer. And that's definitely one of the things that annoy me with Windows XP! I mean, with all the programs I'll have running at once, it slows down --which does make sense but nonetheless still pinches my productivity.

So, of his great list, I personally am currently using and therefore highly recommend the following:

About these programs,

  • Media Player Classic will play practically every type of media (audio, video) that ever exists.

  • Firefox is a "duh".

  • Thunderbird is a lot safer than Outlook.

  • AdAware SE will keep the adware off your computer (adware is bad!).

  • And Meebo is an Internet-based version of AIM.

I think I'll even add to my own collection:

That will hopefully replace my Adobe Reader 7.0 with something sleeker and simpler. Furthermore, I also recommend (which weren't on Matt's list):

Let me know about any other great programs in the comments. Open-source software is always a plus!


Site Maintenance, New Coverage (Music), and [Free] T-Shirts

Man oh boy, have we been busy. Some happenings:

  • The HackCollege look. Rosario's been busy, and so have I. It's Rosario's last year as an undergrad, so she's got more than enough going on. I bought a road bike and been having plenty of fun with that while trying to brainstorm and iron out the new look (I swear).

  • Musical goodness. On my long bike rides, I've got plenty to think about. I mostly think about how to improve the site and if time travel is possible. One aspect of college life we've been missing out on has definitely been the drug-induced, questionably melodic "college" music. So we're going to start writing about good music, not necessarily the "indie" music you will hear on the latest episode of "The O.C." (Blegh.) Keep your eyes and ears peeled.

  • T-Shirts. Who doesn't like sweet t-shirts? Once I get my next paycheck, I'll be buying a few. In fact, if you're a reader and would like to represent your HackCollege love, I will buy you a t-shirt. Unfortunately, I am poor and cannot buy the whole world a t-shirt. I'll do my best. I figure everyone wins that way: you get a shirt, and other people learn about the site. And who doesn't want a free t-shirt? Shoot me an email if you're interested.


Quick Note: About the Layout

We're still working on the layout of the site. Kelly is a very busy man.


How To: Destroy Procrastination (All Platforms)

A new semester is starting for all of us. What's our common enemy? Procrastination.

But what is the demon I speak of? Well, industrial psychologist Piers Steel of the University of Calgary thinks he has procrastination all figured out:

Steel developed the equation U = E x V / I x D, where U is the desire to complete the task; E, the expectation of success; V, the value of completion; I, the immediacy of task; and D, the personal sensitivity to delay, as a way of mathematically mapping a given individual's procrastination response.

Yeah, alright... But how do we destroy it? Well, I've got two tips for you all:

1. Learn a new equation: (10+2)*5. This method requires a timer, a to-do list, and an hour. The equation will help you remember the steps:

* 10 - Work for ten minutes with single-minded focus on moving toward completion on a single task. Ten minutes, and that’s all you’re allowed to do is work, work, work. No cheating, because (DING!) you actually get a break when you’re done…
* 2 - After ten minutes of sweaty, dedicated work you get a 2-minute break to do whatever you want—drink coffee, read 5ives, call your bookie, whatever. When the two minutes are up, it’s back to work on the next task on your list. This is important.
* *5 - You’re going to iterate this four more times for a total of one hour’s working/breaking

And it's a requirement to take the 2-minute break! You can't skip it! Also, the focus is not actually to complete anything in 10 minutes --just to inch your way toward the finish line.

2. Download the Chindogu Clock (available for all platforms). If you've got a 3-page paper that will take you 3 hours to write, but you always seem to procrastinate just enough to always be late in turning it in, this is your solution:

It's guaranteed to be up to 15 minutes fast. However, it also speeds up and slows down in an unpredictable manner so you can’t be sure how fast it really is. Furthermore, the clock is guaranteed to not be slow.

Many of us have used this method before, but with this clock, you'll never know how "fast" it really is, so you can't cheat. Oh, I love it.

And... This was my 2-minute break. Back to reading Kundera.


Amazing (and Free) Music at Daytrotter

While doing the typical college guy thing and trying to learn how to play the guitar better, I stumbled upon a fantastic website, Daytrotter. Admittedly, the site caters more towards the indie/emo/what-the-fuck-is-this-music genres. But we all know evident drug use and good music go hand in hand.


Daytrotter is actually the name given to sessions played by traveling bands. Since any successful band tours around the country, they are bound to drive through Rock Island, IL. If a band so chooses to stop in to Futureappletree Studio One, they are invited to share with the world some of their musical talents. To quote Daytrotter's about page:

They use borrowed instruments, play with their touring mates, utilize a often unkempt toilet, eat some food and then cram back into their vans for the last half of the drive. What they leave behind is a pile of ashes, sometimes a forgotten stocking hat and four absolutely collectible songs that often impart on whomever listens to them the true intensity that these musicians put into their art, sometimes with more clarity than they do when they have months to tinker with overdubs and experiments.

When I first stumbled upon Daytrotter, my face nearly melted off when I listened to "Shut Up I am Dreaming of Places Where Lovers Have Wings" (warning: link plays music) by Sunset Rubdown. You're lucky I am here writing today. Maybe that could explain the sudden lapse in postings.

Anyway, check out Daytrotter for some of your favorite bands and see if they have any songs. All of the songs are pretty good quality and of the utmost rockery.

Melt Your Face: Daytrotter


Lifehacker's Note Taking Roundup

This might be redundant for a lot of readers. (We assume that most people that read HackCollege also read Lifehacker.) Anyway, Lifehacker published a slick little note taking roundup today.

Check it out.