Archive for May, 2012

h1

NaNoWriMo in June

31/05/2012

What the heck did I just say? NaNoWriMo! Otherwise known as National Novel Writing Month. Ever really wanted to write a novel? Ever really not had the motivation or support? Yeah, well you’re in good company.

Here’s the solution. NaNoWriMo is a prizeless competition of the literary. The quest is to compose a 50,000 word novel in one moth! November to be exact. It doesn’t have to make sense. In fact, one of their catch phrases is “It’s all fun and games until someone has to read it.” It’s true.

WHY DO THIS TO YOURSELF?

Well, my exasperated friend, it’s to break the boundaries of perfectionism. It’s so easy to stifle your creative flow by worrying about plot points or good names for characters. The point is the just write and write and write with no inhibitions. It’s wonderful once you get the hang of it! Sadly this does come around finals, so it’s easy to quit mid month. But you have to think of it in an optimistic light. 10,000 words is 10,000 words is 10,000 words. It’s more than you had if you hadn’t attempted the challenge. And you can pick it all right back up when finals have passed. It also brings to light the fact that a novel doesn’t have to take 10 years. You can do it in no time.

This annual experience of awesome is something I highly recommend. Check out there website and start cruising. Either start a NaNoWriMo of your own for this summer or simply communicate with fellow writers. If you put in your zipcode you can easily find others participating in the event. I’ve attended several writing stations through this. It’s so nice to sit around with fellow word enthusiasts and toss around ideas.

Rules:

Do NOT think about what you’re going to write before November 1st.

Do NOT over think your plot.

DO participate in writing groups.

DO create something romantic, comedic, adventurous, and thrilling.

Also, I realize it’s not November. But I really wanted to bring you all this information. Especially during the summer. Doing a NaNoWriMo in July isn’t forbidden, and is honestly better timing for most of us. Enjoy!!!

~Brittany

Advertisements
h1

Bitcoin: Currency of the Future

29/05/2012

Bitcoin – the peer to peer digital currency that’s a perfect fit for Online Communities.

Intro Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Um63OQz3bjo

Benefits of bitcoin:

—–Bitcoin is global.

Bitcoins can be transferred to and from anywhere with internet like email.  There are peer to peer nodes that support the bitcoin system all across the world.  When someone sends bitcoins, they are visible to the reciever instantly, and can be spent within about 15 minutes.

—–Bitcoin doesn’t discriminate.

There are no requirements like gender, age, credit history, or minimum balance.  All you need is an internet connection.  Technical users can download the client from bitcoin.org and create a bitcoin address.  Others can sign up for a free online wallet.  A 10 year old girl in Singapore can send and recieve 0.001 bitcoins just as easily as a 45 year old man in the UK can transfer 1,000 bitcoins.  You can literally get a bitcoin address and start recieving bitcoins from other people in the next 5 minutes.

—–Get rid of more than just the penny.

Bitcoins are divisible to 8 places (or more in the future).  The smallest unit is 0.00000001 bitcoin.  This can be expanded so for all practical purposes, they are infinitely divisible.  Carrying metal around be it penny, nickel, dime, quarter, or even gold or silver is a hassel.  With a mobile phone and internet access, bitcoin can be used to digitally pay for something at a brick and mortar store or restaurant.  The infrastructure is continuously growing around bitcoin with gift/debit cards coming onto the market and mobile applications being developed.

—–Microtransactions for Commerce

With Paypal and credit cards, any transaction below 25 cents is impossible.  The Apple iTunes store doesn’t allow artists to sell songs for less than $0.69.  Applications can’t be sold for less than $0.99. The Google Play store has similar prices on music, apps, books, and movies.  Even gumroad won’t let you sell for less than $1.  These mostly stem from the problem of credit card and bank fees.  Bitcoin’s low fees open up a whole universe of possibilities in microtransactions that weren’t possible before.  Content creators can charge less for a song, and still make more money by cutting out a middle man (banks).  When prices are lower, sales increase.  What would happen if an artist sold a song for $0.20 or even $0.10?  These microtransactions could be the middle ground we need between the old media distribution model and full blown piracy.

—–Microtransactions for Charity and Crowdfunding.

Microtransactions can allow a large number of people to give a tiny amount to fund a project they think is worthwhile.  With Paypal, any transaction less than 33 cents goes straight to paypal’s pockets with none doing to the cause you wanted to donate to.  The Uncultured Project (UP) is one example of a cause that could benefit greatly from microtransactions.  Shawn Amed has recently been working in Bangladesh to build the John Green School so that more children can have a better place to study than fields.  Lately he has been having trouble raising money and the future of the school is uncertain.  He has said that $10,000 would help solve some of the problems he has run into.

Currently, Paypal is the best method to send a donation for most organizations and their supporters.  This is the method Shawn currently useds for UP.   What would raising money look like with bitcoin microtransactions?  Shawn has ~250,000 twitter followers.  Assuming 1/4th of those are genuine, how much would each one have to donate to raise $10,000?  Some would give more, some would give less, but on average, just 16 cents.  These followers are already interested in what Shawn is doing because they follow him.  They are priviliged enough to have an internet connection.  I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to say that they have a 16 cents laying around and would donate that 16 cents if it were easy to do.

Crowdfunding for future projects is becoming popular on fundraising sites like kickstarter.  Here too bitcoin can provide a benefit and lower the minimum donation amount.  More people will be able to support a greater number of projects by being able to split their money across more campaigns.  Raising funds for an anticipated product is another solution to piracy.

Kiva.org has looked into using bitcoins but they are still in a legally grey area.  Bitcoin suffers from the chicken and egg problem.  People don’t want to have bitcoins if they can’t spend them anywhere, and merchants don’t want to go through the trouble of accepting them if no one wants to spend them.  I think using bitcoins for the above advantages are as common sense as phasing out the penny.  For crowdfunding to work using bitcoins, everyone has to have at least a little bit of bitcoins.  There’s no minimum balance, and no monthly fee, so there’s not much harm in keeping a small amount.  Ideally everyone might have $5-$10 worth of bitcoin that they can use to spend on stuff on the internet.

Resources:

https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/FAQ

http://www.thebitcointrader.com/2011/12/kiva-bitcoin-project-on-hold-due-to.html

https://twitter.com/#!/uncultured

~Sean S.

h1

Alex Day Releases 3 New Songs

29/05/2012

Alex Day is something of a hero for me. He never seems to care what people think, whether it is about his frankly rediculous clothing, or his videos he rarely does anything other that put the thing he has made on the internet and say “here it is, enjoy.” This level of relaxation is heroic and I find that it is really something we can all strive to emulate. 

I mention this because just recently he released three new songs. Now available on Itunes and elsewhere (the usual places) they are three wildly varied and brilliant songs. I really recomend that you listen to them, which you can do for free here, even if you have no intention of buying them.

The video in which he annouced the released is here, and it showcases once again his attitude to life.

I would say more, but I want these songs to stand for themselves.

~Sean

h1

The Great Gatsby

28/05/2012

The Great Gatsby… what can be said about this iconic book?  Its listed as one of the “great American novels” and yet has been banned from countless libraries across the world.

I truly feel that this is a movie that has been a very long time coming.  I cannot think of a better person to play Jay Gatsby than Leonardo DiCaprio even if I am a bit concerned about Nick Carraway being played by Toby Mcguire.  I am also ridiculously excited for Baz Luhrmann to be directing the film.  He did amazing work on Romeo & Juliet, Moulin Rouge and Strictly Ballroom.  I just really feel that this mix of cast and director has a real chance to pull it off well.

Is it bad that I secretly want this movie to be really really really bad?  Like the kind of iconic bad that makes it good again so that nobody will EVER try to remake it? I ask this because I am afraid that if it is too good people will think that remaking classic books like this is a good idea.

What do you all think about this film?

h1

Anit-bullying video

27/05/2012

This is a great anti-bullying video that got the girl suspended* because one parent didn’t understand what the video is about.  There are some mistakes in the video but the emotion and tone of the video make it more powerful than most anti-bullying videos I have seen.

Please take a moment and share this with your friends.

*she has been allowed to go back to school after an appeal

h1

Nerdfighters meet Threadbangers

26/05/2012

For some reason I thought all Nerdfighters knew what Threadbanger was. But I’ve come to learn otherwise. Hence the article.

Threadbanger started the same way the Vlogbrothers did. Youtube and viewers. Now it is a full blown communal site of awesome. Creating, recycling, and decreasing world suck in their own way. I encourage everyone to explore this site.  Threadbangers focus on improving your surroundings through the aesthetic. Making your own chalk paint, how to make a T Shirt into a wedding dress, and how vinyl makes everything prettier. They often bring on fellow youtubers to instruct us on a new craft.

Their youtube site has this to say:

About ThreadBanger

Todays hippest trends arent in New York, Paris, or Milan. They’re waiting for you in your closet, your attic, and the thrift shop down the street. Make your own style, send us proof, and become a ThreadBanger! Email us: threadbangerstyle@gmail.com

They even have their own special hand gesture!

So, fan out and make new friends.

~Brittany

h1

Proposal of the year?

26/05/2012

Good morning friends.  I like finding little things to put a smile on my face and then sharing them with you.  Its little videos like this that make me believe that Disney does not have a monopoly on “true love”

Please watch and reblog.  This video deserves 100 million views