Tagged With unproductivity

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Some folks opt for a home theatre, but in this case, a home entertainment geek opted to wire up his party space so that at the touch of the big red "Emergency Party Button", the lights are dimmed, the party lights come on, the dried ice machine kicks in, and the music starts. Awesome home automation job (we'll overlook the dodgy choice of music). :)The creator kindly put up a website detailing the equipment used, how it was put together and the cost of materials ($US634). Emergency Party Button

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Bugger it, it's Friday, let's celebrate some unproductivity time. Downtime's important after all. :) Alex Kidman has penned the "2008 Geek Movie Guide" over at PC Authority. I've heard that King of Kong is a ripper documentary, but I'm quite scared to contemplate a sequel to the X Files after all these years!One gross omission from the list is my must-see movie for 2008 - Indiana Jones and the Kindom of the Crystal Skull, which comes out next month (w00t!). No, it has no computers in it, but I suspect that geeks and nerds of all stripes will be hanging out to see it. :)

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Who knew it was possible? LOLcats just got nerdier with the birth of GraphJam - a site which mashes up pop culture references with... graphs. The site tagline is "Pop culture for people in cubicles" and I spotted some cute productivity and geek inspired graphs when I flicked through the site (Lifehackers will probably appreciate the Piechart of Procrastination).

The site was created by the team behind LOLcats, and like that venerable website, GraphJam also publishes reader's creations. The site was inspired by rap/graph mashup site JamPhat, according to a Wired interview.

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Here's a silly but fun download to kill some time on a Friday - by writing in burning letters on your desktop. Napalm (Windows XP or Vista only) is a little program inspired by the Linux-based Compiz window manager. Once you've downloaded it, Napalm has a pretty simple user interface which lets you write in big scary, fiery writing, all over your desktop. That's about all it does - although if you go to the Files tab and hit "Load" you'll see a few different variations on the fiery theme for you to play with. I reckon it's fiery wrath of god effect might be good for putting reminders on your desktop too (see left). :)Napalm - Your desktop on Fire

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Here's one for the Guitar Hero fans out there -  there's a free editor available which you can use to create, edit and upload songs for Guitar Hero. Logan over at our gaming site Kotaku pointed this one out - and it turns out the two developers behind the Feedback Editor are both Aussies. Onya guys. It's Windows only - 2000, XP or Vista, and requires DirectX 9 as well. GH nerds head over to Kotaku for the full story, or download the editor here.Make your own Guitar Hero Songs with Aussie-made Editor

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Here's a giggle for the GTDers out there (or the people who love them but think they're obsessive). The Look Shiny site has published a video guide to "NGTD" - Not Getting Things Done. It recommends books, TV shows, RSS feeds and YouTube as sources of procrastination material which, as an added bonus, can lead to increased stress if you leave them unattended. "For a real NGTD kick, join a bunch of social networks, then tell yourself you're going to follow everyone else's updates." I LOLed. :)

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YouTube has become such a ubiquitous part of the internet it's hard to believe that it's three years old today. Happy birthday you big timewasting sucker of bandwidth. (Whatever did we do for procrastination fodder in the days pre-YouTube?).Oh, and especially thanks for Project Awesomesocks, my favourite piece of fan-created video awesomeness ever, which mashes up Firefly/Serenity and the musical Wicked. :)

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APC magazine has posted its list of the Top 5 free open source games, along with a list of other free games which come highly recommended. Top of the list is a Super Mario-inspired 2D platform game called Secret Maryo Chronicles. Also on the list are a couple of strategy games, including Free Civ and a first person shooter called Alien Arena. As a bonus they've got a list of 'runners up' and a list of 'free but not open source' games including Sam and Max Episode 4. Should be plenty to chose from if you're looking for a free game to chew up some of your downtime.Top 5 best (free) open source games

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Microsoft (or rather it's PR company) made Fortune magazine's list of the 101 Dumbest Moments in Business list for 2007, for its gaffe when it inadvertently sent a dossier on Wired journalist  - to the journo himself. The 13 page dossier described him as "tricky" among other things - and of course became a pretty meaty story for Wired itself. That little PR disaster is old news, but I thought Fortune's list might make for some cruisy Friday afternoon before Christmas reading. :)

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Here's a fun tip courtesy of the "Google Tip of the Day" gadget for iGoogle. The Google Image Labeler
site lets you play a game and help improve Google's image search at the same
time. It's kind of an online version of Pictionary in reverse - you are randomly paired with a partner, both shown the same set
of images, and asked to provide labels for those images. When you and
your partner provide matching labels, you score points, and move on to
the next image. It's a nice brain exercise cum time killer.

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If you don't think you can count on your poor parenting skills and the angst of existence in our hellbent society to ruin your child's life, why not ensure it by chosing a nerdy name for him or her from the annals of science fiction? You have to wonder just how nerdy we've become when Sci-Fi Baby Names: 500 Out-of-This-World Baby Names from Anakin to Zardoz gets published. It got me to wondering how many girls are running around out there named Leia. Nice name, but do you think she'll ever forgive you for it?

I guess parents have been embarrassing their kids like this forever - my dad's middle name is Rhett because my grandmother was watching Gone with the Wind while in labour, and I've met a couple of people named after Lord of the Rings characters. So, do you have a nerdy name, or know someone who does? Spill all in comments please!

Aw, little Nuchadnezzar has your dimples!

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The Digital Inspiration weblog found a hidden Facebook feature—the ability to view your friends as a grid of profile pictures. Here's how: Step 1: Log in to your Facebook account and click the Friends tab.

Step 2: Select the drop-down box and click the list separator (-). You'll get back a neat collage of your entire friends list in profile photo thumbnails. Okay, so Facebook's not the most productive webapp out there, but it is great for networking. How do you get stuff done (besides playing Scrabulous) on Facebook? Let us know in the comments. Create a Photo Collage Using Pictures of Your Facebook Friends

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Flummox your coworkers with an "Insert Coin" message on the office printer using the HP Printer Job Language (HPPJL) command set. The Hackszine blog describes how to customise the Ready prompt on HP printers' LED display with a few simple commands: I haven't been able to test yet (no HP printer here), but if I'm reading the code right, you can actually do this right from the command line using telnet. Just telnet to port 9100 and type in the following:

\e%-12345X\@PJL JOB

\@PJL RDYMSG DISPLAY="MESSAGE HERE"

\@PJL EOJ

\e%-12345X Sadly, I don't have an HP printer here to test this out either, but I'd love to see someone pull this off. If you do, let us know how it goes in the comments. (Oh yeah, and here's how to undo it when the boss hunts you down.) Change the message on HP printers

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The next release of video game franchise extraordinaire - The Sims - will include climate change as one of the factors which can affect a player's city, writes the EcoGeek blog. The game, SimCity Societies, comes out next month.

"Players can build their cities with ecofriendly options, such as wind turbines, hydrogen fuel stations, and green buildings. Their decisions will ultimately drive the climate of their city and even imperil it with disasters should their CO2 levels go too high. Pollution also affects the health of the population, and quality of life. Building these green options are more costly than conventional ones, which lends a realistic approach to the game as well."
 
I have to admit that it's been a good few years since I was a Sims player, but it's awesome to see that they're building in some environmental awareness to the game. As the EcoGeek wrote: "The latest supercomputer climate models won't capture the interest that a video game can... Hopefully this Sim will be able to make an impact IRL."
 
SimCity - SimClimateChange