Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Blogs I Read Regularly and (More Importantly) Why You Should Too!

See that little box down on the right hand side of this page?

Not that one. Look further down.

The one that says "Blogs I follow". There you go!

Those are all cool blogs. But rather than just trusting in my personal tastes, I'm going to give you my reasons that you should be reading these too. So, in no particular order...
  • GeekDad:
    One of a series of blogs hosted at, the GeekDad blog is aimed at, well... geek dads (and moms). It covers toys, science, cool books, video games, movies, robots and many other cool things that you, as a geek, will likely enjoy. What's better? Many of the posts tell you how you can relate these things to your little geeklings. As a GeekDad myself, I really love this site.

    A couple of great posts:
    Descent: Dungeon-Crawling, Pure and Simple
    Treasure Hunting with Kids
  • Frankensteinia:
    Readers of my blog will already know of my affinity (read: obsession) with all things Frankenstein. With that in mind, it should be no shock that the Frankensteinia blog is one of the first blogs I ever started reading regularly. As the title suggests, Frankensteinia covers Frankenstein in all forms: movies, books, tv, artwork, comics, toys...the list is endless. If you have even a passing interest in this classic monster, you have to visit Frankensteinia!

    A couple o' creepy posts:
    Bernie Wrightson's Frankenstein
    The Bride Unwrapped (NSFW)
  • WWnD: In Exile:
    If you're reading my blog, odds are you're already aware of the musings of Wil Wheaton, geek extraordinare. In case you've been living under a rock, Wheaton's the unrivaled guru of geekdom. Sure. He played on Star Trek: The Next Generation and Stand By Me but that's not what makes him the go-to guy in the geek universe. Wheaton plays RPGs, video games, collects toys, codes and... the list could go on. I won't go into massive specifics here since Wil's covered any questions you might have here. He will tell you that he's Just a Geek, but you don't get elected of Secretary of Geek Affairs above luminaries like Steve Wozniak and Joss Whedon without some serious geek cred. It doesn't hurt that Wheaton's also a GeekDad.

    A couple of geeky posts:
    this is for uncle warren
    Phoenix Comicon Rock Band Video Roundup

Now that you know my reasons for reading this fine selection of blogs, you can feel safe adding them to your bookmarks. You're welcome!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The 8 Coolest Things about Google Wave

Later this fall, Google plans to release another attempt at taking over the interwebz. This morning, I watched the Google Wave demo video over on YouTube and I'd say that Google may come close.

To save you the time watching the 1 hour 20 minute video with a lot of inane babble and tech/business talk, I took notes as I watched it and now pass those along to you. To put it simply, Google Wave appears to be a real-time mixture of e-mail, IM, bulletin boards and file sharing. It's actually quite cool, especially since it's all done from within your web browser of choice (i.e. no software to download and install). So without further ado, here are the...

8 Coolest Things about the Google Wave Application.

1. You can instantly add a friend to a conversation.
A couple of you are waving (remember...a wave is sort of like an e-mail with IM built in) back and forth and want to add a friend or two to the conversation. Easy peezy! Just drag and drop their picture or avatar into the wave and they're sent the entire conversation and can now participate.

2. The Playback Feature
After a friend has joined your convoluted and lengthy conversation on the merits of DC vs Marvel comics, rather than try to figure out who said what and when. He can simply click the "playback" button and it'll show him the original wave that started the conversation. Then by clicking next, he'll see step by step when comments were added. Now he can jump in wherever he likes and show you how Dark Horse trumps both of the big two.

3. Instantly Add Files
You know how your mom still can't figure out how to attach a photo to an e-mail? Well with Google Wave, it's easier than ever. Your photos from your "my photos" folder are show on screen. To add them to a wave message, just drag and drop them to the wave window and you're done! It still doesn't mean your mom can figure it out but at least it'll take less time for you to explain over the phone when she calls to ask you how for the 18th time this week.

4. Instant Blogging
For me, this one was a show stopper. You can write a wave complete with photos and links and then just drag the avatar from your blogging service of choice into the wave and it's instantly posted to your blog. No more logging in and editing from within the blog service. You can do this from any wave. Say you and your friends have a cool conversation that you want to post to a blog? Done.

5. Mobile Waves
There will be apps for cell phones to do a lot of waving while on the go. The demo showcased a couple for android phones and the iPhone but they didn't work due to alleged network problems. It's still a work in progress and the Google reps say it'll be ready by Wave's launch.

6. Collaborative Waves
Another cool feature from a writing standpoint. Have you ever co-write a story or blog post with a friend or two? Now you can do that without passing files back and forth. The way it works is that you write the first draft and send it to your collaborators. They edit it and you see instantly what changes they made via color-coded highlights. Then you can just toss it back and forth until it's done. Then hit that blog service avatar and it's posted within seconds. Brilliant!

7. Combining Waves
I can see this becoming the successor to forwarded e-mails so prepare to get a lot of cute pictures of animals, spooky chain waves and sappy inspiring stories this way. If you want to forward a wave to friends, you simply drag the wave title from it's appropriate box into a new wave and it's added as a link. Then select the recipients and "Viola!" you're done!

8. Yes/No/Maybe Gadget
Say you're sending a message to friends or associates and need to know who's going to join you at the premiere of the new G.I. Joe movie, just click on the gadget button and recipients of the wave can select yes, no or maybe and add comments. Example: "No. The Joe's power suits look like Power Rangers. Ack!"

What makes all these functions even cooler is that they're done in real time. If you send, edit or comment on a wave, it'll appear on your friends screens within a split second. For example, in the section of the demo on adding photos, the recipient had thumbnails of the photos on his end even before the full image file was uploaded from the sender.

Oh and there's a bonus #9 for those like me who are Twitterholics, rather than try to top the coolest social networking idea to come along since...well...e-mail, Twitter is integrated into the Wave app so that you can tweet and read tweets without logging in or using a specialized app like TweetDeck or Twhirl.

In the end, the demo showed off a lot of cool functions of the Google Wave. Yes, a few didn't work and one or two crashed...but it was a test so I forgive them for that. I can't wait to see the finished project and see if it's as simple and fast as the scripted demo made it look.