Atlas Obscura is (pardon the cliché, but it is) a really cool collaborative effort to share rather less known, even hidden places of interest. For example, did you know a natural nuclear reactor exists? There are also articles and a search feature so if you can’t think of anything to search for, hit the random place button and be surprised at where you end up.
During the years MacGyver aired (1985-1992), I watched the ABC series as often as I could. Many others did likewise hence the shows popularity. Obviously, MacGyver was one of those television shows, for reasons I’m not going to get in to here, turned out far more special than originally intended as the cult following of this fictional character played by Richard Dean Anderson attests not to mention all the mainstream references. Now, several years later MacGyver is making a comeback with a New Line Cinema feature film in the works. Get back up to MacGyver speed with this MacGyver marathon.
Starting on Monday 15th July Cloo TV will be running All day MacGyver marathons every Monday. The marathon will play from 8am Monday mornings until 5am Tuesday mornings (21 hours) and appear to consist of around 11 episodes each day which will include a replay schedule to allow you to catch episodes if you missed them earlier.
Though Google may have a monopoly on mainstream Internet consciousness, they definitely are not the be all end all of search engines. Here are a few you may never heard of. They are worth checking out because even if you know Boolean logic and advanced search techniques you can still end up with a lot of content you prefer not to wade through.
Legendary Kingdoms Heavy Metal Search Engine – I created this one after frustration using Google to look up bands like Riot, Rage, Anvil, and others. The engine features over 300 hand picked sites, many so obscure they won’t show up in the first pages of regular search engine searches (if at all) and make this site a must for finding out what happened to so and so.
Word on the Wire – I really dig this one. Type in your search and up comes results from Blekko, You Tube, Twitter and Google Images in four columns. It doesn’t get better than this for general purpose search engines.
Blekko – Calls itself “the spam-free search engine.” And from my limited use of it the claims seem to be true. Blekko uses slashtags (explained in their tutorial) that can reveal search results they say are impossible to get in other search engines. I tried out the slashtag concept and am impressed.
Zuula – Another general purpose search engine. Quite fast though the results come from other engines. In beta, but works quite well. You can set search preferences.
Writer’s Knowledge Base – A Search Engine for writers.
Million Short – ‘Competes’ with Google by removing the top million popular indexes from it’s search. A sidebar lists the sites it blocked content from. Personally I didn’t find this one anywhere nearly effective as the intro video dramatically implies. It is also very slowwwww.
SymbolHound – Got a problem with a character you don’t know the meaning of or even know what it’s called. This site will help you. Simply type or paste the character in the search box and get answers.
Blinkx – Not awesome by any means, however this is the best video search engine I tried. Much better than Live Plasma. You can sign in with Facebook.
Search Engine Colossus – A giant compendium of Search Engines. Not well designed or as easy to use as it doesn’t have a search function, just lists to sift through. Nevertheless, if you’ve got the time and patience, it is useful for finding a wide spectrum of Search Engines.
Chogger is a super fun site that allows you to combine uploaded pictures and art you create right on the site into a comic strip. Here is what I came up with off the top of my head.
I created this strip anonymously as a test of what a person could do at the site and my girlfriend liked it enough we used it for a birthday card.
Chogger is fully functional even if you don’t want to log in. On top of that it’s free with no strings attached.
Racklove is a site dedicated to helping stolen bikes find their way back home. Not a bad idea though one has to wonder at how effective such a site may be. Certainly better than no site, so you might as well bookmark it. Of course, if you have heavily modified your bike like the one below you probably don’t have much to worry about.
Regardless, it’s always a good idea to lock your wheels up no matter where you are. Years ago I had a bike stolen when I ran into an apartment building to deliver two Post-Bulletin newspapers; I was in there about a minute and in that short amount of time someone took my favorite ride.
Aaron Swartz, whose efforts were instrumental in blocking Congress from passing less than sane Internet censorship laws, committed suicide on Friday, January 11th, 2013. R.I.P.
If you download software from Cnet (download.com) you may wish to read this post and the reports on the linked pages regarding a computer infection problem from a formerly reliable site.
Personally, I haven’t had problems downloading from Cnet and that seems to be because I download directly, never using their installer, the source of current complaints against the site. However, I’ve always wondered how Cnet’s ‘professional’ software reviews could often be so different from the average everyday user reviews. Opinion, user experience and the quality of said users computer hardware are certainly factors in such differences of opinion; however, after reading this blog post about Cnet downloads infected with third party malware via their installer and then reading the complaints on the Cnet forum, I find trusting their reviews and service in the future to be doubtful at best.
Really, what kind of trustworthy organization okays and even requires you to deal with third party advertisements and sneakware? The answer: NONE.
Cnet claims, “All offers included in the Installer are tested to make sure that they conform with our security policies prohibiting malware and spyware, and all may be declined or opted-out of without affecting the initial download.” Oh really? Then why all the user complaints Cnet? And why have you let this go on for so long? Obviously, your security is a joke and you have failed to live up to a common maxim – show don’t tell. Don’t tell us how secure your downloads are, show us.
From now on, if I even use Cnet again, it will be for learning about and finding software. When it comes to downloading a find I’m only going to do it from the company and/or individual who created it – the source and NOT Cnet. In my opinion a few extra seconds of searching is worth saving yourself hours of frustration.
Embarrassingly, I have to admit I’ve contributed to the Anvil story. That said, I am not in this DVD nor do I know the band on a personal level; however the first time I met Lips was at Smiler Coogan’s, a small bar in Chicago, and the first thing I said to him was, “are you in one of the bands?” It was February 1999 and Anvil had been around for over 20 years. The initial look on his face was the same look you see often enough throughout this heartfelt documentary – melancholic frustration; yet there was some-kind-of-a-determined-hope behind those eyes as he said, “Anvil.”
The second time I met Lips was in 2002 at the Classic Metal Fest in Cleveland, Ohio and this time I managed to get a shot of him with Mark Edwards from Overlorde. If I remember correctly, it was Lips idea to hold the Flying Vs like this.
Needless to say, they kicked ass.
Fast forward ten years and I am finally watching The Story of Anvil. It came out in 2008/2009. Watching, I totally sympathize with their plight and decide that I should review this DVD even if everyone that might be interested has already seen it. So the first thing I do is find their website in my bookmarks so I can fact check and see what updates there may be. This is what opened up in my browser:
Okaaayy, so this obviously isn’t their website anymore. Anyway, I find Anvil’s official website easy enough (The Legendary Kingdoms specialized Heavy Metal Search Engine makes this cakewalk). I also find that the DVD has its own site and that there is a Story of Anvil book.
And now I come to realize that I’ve written as much of a review as anyone would be willing to read online, only I haven’t really reviewed the DVD, I’ve only written about my brief personal interactions with Anvil. Shamefully, this review is the kind of horse hooey that happens to this grossly underrated band. Even worse, I haven’t bought the DVD, I checked it out from the library. They deserve better.