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Friday, May 30, 2008

Second Life; World of Warcraft

I can't find it, but I watched part of a news segment last night on CNN that discussed the psychological impact (both negatively and positively) of virtual worlds on people. First discussing Doom, they moved into more current games such as Vice City, and then branched into a 10-15 minute spiel on how Second Life is wonderful for marketing and making money. How one lady went from $35,000/year in real life to $85/year online designing her own clothing line, and a guy was doing six figures/year in online consulting for advertising and marketing agencies. Then they moved into a 2-minute blurb on World of Warcraft and how this couple had met in WoW, and then got married. They then moved back to discuss the financial benefits of Second Life.

My wife asked, "So you meet people in that game you play?" (I've been playing WoW since January.) I hope she well understood when I mentioned how hilariously flipped the news segment was. Having played both, I found Second Life to be the social network where folks "venture out", all the while constantly being asked about your first life. World of Warcraft was a pleasant change from what was becoming a fairly seductive environment where every girl is a knockout and every guy is the basis for masculine pleasantries. No one asked about real life except perhaps the occasional "What part of the world are you in?" and perhaps a "How old are you?" (Keeping language in perspective should you be grouped with a 10-year old.) But near all of the game is about discussing your in-world characters and I haven't found there to be as much "socialism" as there was in Second Life. Well, then again, I did hear a story about a guy that was stabbed in the leg (in real life) during game play. People do vent and share some RL things, but again, nothing like what I saw in Second Life.

I wish I could find the article that portrayed these two online virtual worlds in the way it was. Granted, WoW isn't going to make you too much money in RL (not that it can't), but the world of Second Life isn't "as much" about marketing and making money as it has become about socializing and "venturing out". There's a reason every girl is a knockout and every guy is the basis for masculine pleasantries. And there's a reason World of Warcraft is one of the top online virtual games to date, and it doesn't have very much to do with finding your soul mate.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

iGoogle Themes

Do you Google? You need to be signed in to Google be able to see this...

http://www.google.com/ig?skin=http://kdcinfo.com/ig.xml

This is just something I threw together to test the iGoogle Themes development arena. Fairly simple really. Still considering whether it's worth it to go further on the layout: What is where and color scheme. I just did this up pretty quick to test the waters. I also didn’t go through all the attributes that can be set.

Short of getting a theme added to the iGoogle Theme Directory, which can take a little doing, there is an "iGoogle Theme Manager" gadget you can add to your page to add this or similar themes [semi]-permanently. When you add the gadget to an iGoogle page, allow it access*, and add the URL above to the list. I also did up a work-related test theme, but I'm not sure I can post that here publicly.

* Allowing the iGoogle Theme Manager gadget access: Aside from the general iGoogle cookies that are shared, I couldn’t find any security issues or risks. It does seem however that iGoogle developers have given it their blessing.

Note 1: The centered image in the footer appears to be "off" in IE. However, it looks good in FireFox. (At the time of this posting anyway.)

Note 2: I tried to see if Yahoo! had something similar I could toy with, but was unsuccessful in my search.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Multi-Page Notebook App

The only open source equivalent I found for this program was discontinued back in 2004. Although the obsolete version of the app still runs on XP, I’m not sure about scalability for when we downgrade to Vista. Also, don’t believe either of these apps runs outside of Windows at all (short of wine, sorry *nix buffs, but then you probably have one built in  ).

What it is:

  • RightNote is a multi-page notebook that allows you to store and organize an unlimited number of notes in one file.

  • Each page contains a hierarchical tree which can contain virtually an unlimited number of notes.

  • Each page can be devoted to a different category, and typically you'll find you don't need more than one or two files to organize most things in your life!


Small-fee Commercial Notebook App: RightNote
http://www.bauerapps.com/RightNote.html

Discontinued Open Source Notebook App: KeyNote
http://sourceforge.net/projects/keynote/

I’ll be shelling out the $20 for this (or $30 if I don't make it in time for the special deal). I already shelled out $30 for an Explorer replacement (xplorer2: http://zabkat.com/ ) and I’ve been more than happy with that.