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Entries from May 1, 2007 - May 31, 2007


How To: Beer Camouflage

I am, indeed, narcissistic enough to Google myself. The other day, I found that my sixth hit or so is an old article that Kelly and I wrote.

It's about disguising a beer can, thereby averting the wrath of policemen, MADD members and other authoritarian ageists. Hence, it is worthwhile for the average student, even during the summer.

You can download the PDFs on the LA Loyolan website or try to read it below.




Concerts Abroad

The sweet sounds of Willy Mason graced my ears last night in Cologne, Germany. I had never really listened to too much of his stuff before, he proved himself unto my musical tastes. The crowd of 50 or so in attendance gave him two encores.

Willy Mason

At the concert, I noticed a few things that I'm assuming are typical of most shows featuring North American artists in Europe:

  • Not as many people go. Not as many people know the artist. If mellow concerts are your thing, then concerts in Europe are probably your thing.

  • If you want to chat with the band, now's your chance. Although my friend and I didn't stick around to chat with Willy and his band, the chance of that happening for the willing is never higher. If you're the only person that is fluent in English in the crowd, you're one of the only candidates for a decent conversation.

  • You'll hear all of the songs that you wanted to hear. This might be exclusive to Willy Mason, but his second encore was more of a request-driven jam session. In the words of a famous Kazhakstani diplomat, "Very nice!"

It's pretty obscure, but has anyone else had similar experiences abroad?


Graduating Class of 2007: A Short Activity

Yes, I, Rosario Doriott, am graduating TODAY (or, I'm writing this entry earlier and editing the timestamp, but that's rather unimportant) with the rest of Yale's Undergraduate Class of 2007. Woohoo!

But, no, I am not going to depart with any words of wisdom. I'm sure all of you will hear more than enough of that today from everybody else. Rather, I'd like to propose a quick, easy activity --inspired by my high school sociology teacher.

In high school, this one teacher had all her students write letters to "their future self", stamp the envelopes, and give a "permanent mailing address". She mailed these letters 5 years later --paying for the extra inflation, herself.

This was an amazing idea, and I loved reading my own letter. However, with the price of stamps always, gradually increasing and not really having a way to delay the delivery of mail, yourself, it's not a very practical one. So, I'd like to propose the utilization Web 2.0 for those of you interested in writing to "your future self": and will allow you to place a call up to 2 years in the future. Designate a phone number, a text to be read, a voice, and whatever CallerID you feel like using. If the demo allowance hasn't been succeeded already (which frequently happens unfortunately), the call will be placed in the system for future delivery. Cool. Probably eerie, but still very cool. offers a similar service, using email. FutureMe will allow an email to be placed for delivery of up to 30 years in the future. Choose an email address you think you'll still have by then, and there you go. Type away. Probably much cooler.

Seriously, 2007. Tell "your future self" whatever. At the very least, you'll probably laugh at "yourself". ;)


Gmail Surges Attachment Size

Now you can use Gmail to fire files up to 20MB in magnitude. Unfortunately, with such an explosive file size, you won't be able to drop these bombs on people with other email carriers. But if you still insist on sending a file to the enemy, try one of these warships:


Facebook Applications: Initial Thoughts

Everyone woke up yesterday to the fruition of the new Facebook Platform and all of its related third-party applications. For those that missed the boat, this is a big deal and it seems cool. It's like buying third-party gadgets for your iPod, except you put them inside. Let's face it, no one likes an iPod burderened with FM transmitters, battery chargers, and the like.


The Rush

I, like everyone else, started adding any application that looked cool. iLike music service. 30 boxes calendar. file storage. Oodle Band Tracker. And then it hit me. I'm MySpace-ing my Facebook. What have I come to?

Coming Down

The reason why people have adapted to the other Facebook features (posted items, the NewsFeed) is because they were directly integrated with Facebook. While these are integrated with Facebook, they currently add unnecessary clutter to every page.

I see Facebook as a way to tersely provide necessary information about yourself and, secondarily, a method to keep up to date with friends. These new applications don't add to either one of these uses but rather add another layer of mud on top of a good system.

Just because we're stalking each other on Facebook does not mean that I'm going to check what your 8 different applications have to tell me, especially if these applications are inefficient (more on this in a bit). Most of these new applications seem to be subtracting for the concept of a social website, or they are the evidence that Facebook is no more than a waste of time. The RedBull Roshambull is one of those.

Some of my friends' pages now exceed 8 page-heights on my laptop.


All of this criticism should be seen as directed at the developers of these applications. Applications that are useless fluff will fall by the wayside. Truly ingenious applications will stick around and grow in popularity. The iLike music application, for example, is great in concept, but it's still rough around the edges.


I now realize that this is quite the curmudgeonly rant. Maybe I'm being too hard on the system.

May I'll write a HackCollege application someday. Now I just have to think of what it would do. Any ideas?


Site Change: We've Removed the "nofollow" Attribute From Our Comment Links

In an attempt to make HackCollege a friendlier site for all, especially other bloggers and commenters, we've removed the "nofollow" attribute from our link tags.

What does this mean? Every search engine has crawlers. The "nofollow" attribute tells a crawler to not follow that link and influence the site's overall ranking. The "nofollow" attribute was originally implemented to cut down on blog spam. But over here at HackCollege, we have Askimet installed and we don't have too much traffic. So we're not too worried about blog spam.

So please see this as a privilege and treat it as such. Thanks :)


Mysterious "Facebook Platform"

According to the Facebook Blog, the illustrious site will unveil some sort of new "Facebook Platform."

The new platform allows developers to essentially reprogram Facebook, not a luxury that most companies award to their users. This news has TechCrunch (and thereby digg) abuzz. We'll see if anything cool results.

-Kelly Sutton

P.S. Germany is fun.


Earth Day: April 22nd

So we're a month late. Agreed. However, we also know many of you didn't exactly participate in this year's Earth Day either. Come on. We know. But, hey, no worries. Now you can do your part. Let's save some energy.

Earlier this year, I read that a "Black Google" would save $75,000 a year:

From the lights out department - did you know that a cathode ray tube (CRT) monitor uses about 74 watts to display an all white web page, but only uses 59 watts to display an all black page? Yes, there all still plenty of these still in use, particularly in China and Latin America. Worldwide, about 25 percent of the monitors currently in use are cathode ray tubes, which means that they waste energy displaying white backgrounds. This can add up for sites with a global audience.

Take at look at Google, for instance, who gets about 200 million queries a day. Let's assume each query is displayed for about 10 seconds; that means Google is running for about 550,000 hours every day on some desktop. Assuming that users run Google in full screen mode, the shift to a black background will save a total of 15 (74-59) watts. Now take into account that about 25 percent of the monitors in the world are CRTs, and at 10 cents a kilowatt-hour, that's about $75,000/year, a goodly amount of energy and dollars for changing a few color codes.

That's insane! But it does make sense. So, here's what you can do:

1. Use Google-Black to search Google!
2. If you're on OS X, try hitting CTRL+ALT+APPLE+8.
3. Check out LifeHacker's Darken bookmarklet to blacken certain sites.

Then, be sure to read up on how the end of the world is near. Ahhhh, motherland!