Mar 17

google-apps.gifSo what’s with this new-fangled Google Apps thing?

To me, it initially just seemed like a fancy version of Gmail. However, as I really started delving into it, I was thoroughly impressed.

Here’s the general description from Google:

Communicate…
Give your users Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Talk accounts that
use your own custom domain, helping them to stay connected and work
together more effectively.

Collaborate and publish…
Docs & Spreadsheets lets users share files and collaborate in
real-time. The Start Page is the first place your users will look to
preview their inboxes and calendars, access your essential content, and
search the web.

…and get on with business.
It’s all hosted by Google, so there’s no hardware or software to
install or download, and minimal setup and maintenance. You can get up
and running quickly, even if you don’t have technical resources.

To try it out for myself, I moved all the email accounts for my web development business to Google Apps Standard Edition. I have to admit, the changeover worked flawlessly. All I had to do was verify my domain by uploading a file to my server. Once verified, I was able to get the email moving to Google’s servers with a few simple MX record changes (and as far as I know didn’t miss one single email in the process). Soon after, I created some additional CNAME’s so I could access the calendar, document, and start page functionalities a little easier. Once those few things were done, I tinkered around with some of the admin controls in Google Apps, but for the most part, the process was complete. It all worked amazingly well.

I am totally sold on this system. I think this new offering will change the way many small, medium, and large businesses handle their communication infrastructures. The real advantages come with the Premier Edition of the service. The most important additions are as follows:

- 99.9% uptime guarantee for email
- 10 GB of space (and I suspect that will grow in the future)
- No ads in emails
- Conference room and resource scheduling
- A very poweful API system (including custom sign-on, authentication, user provisioning & management, and support for email gateways allowing backups of data).
- Email migration tools (in the works)
- 24/7 support via phone/email
- A variety of 3rd party applications and services to enhance the system
- Extremely low-cost ($50/user/year)

Yes, the amazing email client is incredible with it’s spam filtering, organizational ‘labeling’, and search functions, but the other tools included are the pieces that will create an evolution in how businesses operate (in my humble opinion):

- Imagine having the ability to have incredibly powerful calendar/scheduling tools without the hassle and complexity of expensive Exchange servers.

- Imagine being able to only allow certain groups of people (or individuals) to see certain calendars and events in real time, with just a few simple clicks.

- Imagine having a chat client integrated with your system that allows quick and effortless communications instead of picking up the phone or waiting on email responses. What if this client was embedded throughout the system and all communication could be archived and saved for security/legal purposes? What if that chat client also allowed voice calls to be made for free over the internet?

- Imagine being able to collaborate on documents or spreadsheets with teams of users all in real time over the web. What if you could publish these documents for only certain members of your organization to see? What if they could be saved in popular document and spreadsheet formats for desktop editing?

- What about a very powerful, yet simple & easy to use corporate start page that has important information customized for each particular employees’ job functions and can be easily branded?

- What if your users could access this data anywhere in the world with just a browser? No more need for VPN’s (to access email securely), Outlook clients, software updates, et cetera.

- What if the majority of these systems integrated with wireless/portable devices like BlackBerry phones with little-to-no effort?

- What if this entire system was simple to administrate for even the largest of companies? You would hardly need one employee (at most) to manage the system. No exchange server experts needed ever again (sorry guys)!

- What if this amazing system was hosted in some of the most secure and reliable data centers in the world (Google’s) and optimized for world-wide use? No more worrying about expensive hardware, licensing, storage, bandwidth, replication, or down-time concerns.

- What if there were a plethora of 3rd party and advanced packages allowing custom email gateway services, archiving, security, authentication, et cetera?

It’s all available right now!

So go and check out Google Apps Enterprise Edition… no matter what your company size, it has the potential to save your company time, effort, and vast quantities of money while increasing productivity and profit. Seems like a no-brainer to me.

Feb 07

A while back, a friend of mine showed me some “secret” photos he had from a Nuclear Power Plant located on the East coast

At first, I was a little worried that he had ascertained the photographs in some clandestine way.  However, it turns out that a close friend of his actually worked in the reactor and had taken some these amazing pictures of the inside bowels of a modern nuclear reactor.

Feel free to check all the pictures out in my gallery if you have a bit of interest.

Interesting Note:  That blue glow seen in some of the pictures is no Photoshop effect my friends; it's actually Cherenkov Radiation.  According to Wikipedia, the glow is caused by “electromagnetic radiation emitted when a charged particle passes through an insulator at a speed greater than the speed of light in that medium. The characteristic 'blue glow' ” seen above is an example of this phenomenon.

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Dec 31

When I read this, I scratched my head:

Technalign, Inc. has announced it has released its Beta 1 Pioneer
Linux Christian Edition operating system to the community. The beta includes
many of the features that come standard with Pioneer Linux. The application
includes the King James Bible and many study applications. 


“The Christian
Edition provides users with the ability to get full support from our user
community as well as boxed sets from authorized resellers,” claims
Technalign CEO Dianne Ursini. “The Christian Edition provides users
the ability to purchase products for full support or download the free
version”. 


The Pioneer Christian
Edition replaces the Frontier Christian Edition previously retailed by
Technalign's partners. There will be a non-installable edition available
for Windows users who only want to use the Christian Edition for study.


Technalign requests that users report back any applications they would
like added as well as applications that they wish removed along with bug
reports.  The commercial versions
have minor differences between the free version. Individuals may choose
from either the free version or a boxed set available from the over 600
Technalign partners in the US and Canada. 


The Pioneer Linux
Christian Edition is targeted at new Linux users as well as experienced
Linux users who are looking for a study guide as well a solid operating
system. The Pioneer Christian Edition provides compatibility with many
existing proprietary applications, Pioneer enables migration to Linux
with a minimum of effort. By running the most popular desktop Office suite,
users can keep their data safe and secure, and initially not learn a new
application. 

I think I've now seen everything.  And yes, I'll be downloading it tonight.  Do you want it too?  It can be found here.

Dec 09

What exactly is déjà vu anyways? 

According to this source, “Déjà vu, French for 'already seen', is the illusionary feeling that one
has previously witnessed or experienced a new situation, and has been
reported to occur in up to 96 per cent of the population.”  I have always been slightly freaked out by that feeling.  I always sorta wondered about the real cause of it, but never really took the time to figure it all out. 

So that's why I found this article so interesting: 

“A blind man who feels like he has 'already seen' some unfamiliar
situations is challenging the long-held belief that déjà vu involves
sight, according to a new U.K. study.

Hearing and touch and smell often seem to intermingle in the déjà
vu experiences,” said the study subject, whose name has not been made
public. “It is almost like photographic memory, without sight obviously
… as if I was encountering a mini-recording in my head, but trying to
think 'Where have I come across that before?'.”

Continue Here if you'd like to read the whole article (and I highly reccommend it).

Nov 27

True or False: “In space, if unprotected pieces of metal touch each other, they stick
together permanently.”

Believe it or not, it's TRUE!

Somehow, I had totally missed this fact in all my years of knowing random facts.

Click Here to read more about the reasons why (I found it pretty darn interesting and sadly obvious once I understood why).

Nov 24

I stumbled across a pretty interesting site today.

Basically, you are looking at a nicely formatted readout of the best of hate groups in the United States.

It's got most of the most popular: Black Separatist, Ku Klux Klan, Neo-Nazi, Racist Skinhead, Christian Identity, Neo-Confederate, and “other”.  Oh yeah, all kinds of fun.

Anyways, if you are bored and need something to do, check out your state and see what's around you.

Click Here to check it out.

Nov 14

I got a good laugh out of this article I found over at Treehugger (and no I'm not a tree hugger myself). 

Basically, it's a “Hybrid” emblem that you can put on any car you own.  At the current time, I don't own anything that qualifies as a gas guzzler, but I guarantee I'll by putting this emblem on my Ferrari when it arrives (just like the picture says).

Sadly, I don't think this emblem is really available, since Sky Maul (the source) is only a parody magazine of the in-flight shopping catalogs found on planes and what-not.  Regardless, I'm betting someone will produce this thing for real in the future.

Click Here to check it out!

Sep 11

I can't really claim that you'll see God by checking out the image below… but you will at least be slightly impressed by the results of the image if you actually follow the instructions properly.  Basically, this is just a simple persistance of vision image, but this particular one has really neat effect (of seemingly visions of God or some similar spiritual being).

Important note:  The image below is not a subsitute for a belief in God.. it's just a trick!

Make sure you stare at the four dots in the image for 30 seconds straight, then lean back and shut you eyes.  Keep them shut!  Now look for the circle of light.. do you see it?

Sep 08

Caught this story on The Allen Almanac earlier today.   Apparently,  there are some Dolphin's that have done some pretty amazing things!

Excerpt from Guardian Unlimited:

“At the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in
Mississippi, Kelly the dolphin has built up quite a reputation. All the
dolphins at the institute are trained to hold onto any litter that
falls into their pools until they see a trainer, when they can trade
the litter for fish. In this way, the dolphins help to keep their pools
clean.

Kelly has taken this task one step further. When people drop paper
into the water she hides it under a rock at the bottom of the pool. The
next time a trainer passes, she goes down to the rock and tears off a
piece of paper to give to the trainer. After a fish reward, she goes
back down, tears off another piece of paper, gets another fish, and so
on. This behaviour is interesting because it shows that Kelly has a
sense of the future and delays gratification. She has realised that a
big piece of paper gets the same reward as a small piece and so
delivers only small pieces to keep the extra food coming. She has, in
effect, trained the humans.

Her cunning has not stopped there. One day, when a gull flew into
her pool, she grabbed it, waited for the trainers and then gave it to
them. It was a large bird and so the trainers gave her lots of fish.
This seemed to give Kelly a new idea. The next time she was fed,
instead of eating the last fish, she took it to the bottom of the pool
and hid it under the rock where she had been hiding the paper. When no
trainers were present, she brought the fish to the surface and used it
to lure the gulls, which she would catch to get even more fish. After
mastering this lucrative strategy, she taught her calf, who taught
other calves, and so gull-baiting has become a hot game among the
dolphins.”


I wonder if anyone is concerned that maybe the Dolphin's might attack one of the trainers?  I can see the headline now: “Dolphin kills trainer, buries under rock, trades for fish“.

Click Here to check out the entire original article (an interesting read).

Sep 05

I found this little game really quite odd, but strangely intriguing.  It's a simple simulation called “Falling Sand Game”.  After a few minutes of tinkering, I found out this thing was fairly complex and had a large variety of rules governing this fake “world”. 

I soon let a bit of time slip away and began experimenting with all the variables and options. 

If you have some free time, you should check out.  It's just another diversion from your busy work day.

Click Here to check it out!

Aug 25

This is for gearheads only! I stumbled across this incredible video while reading this article at Autoblog. This thing is wildly impressive.

Imagine a 2,000 HP street legal car that can be dialed back to “only” a 1000 HP for pump fuel (street) cruising.

“The video shows what happens when 522 cubes of big-block Chevy
are subjected to 10 PSI or so of boost and stuffed into a classic
Pontiac LeMans. We’re going to warn our readers that a bit of rowdy
driving occurs past the half-way point, so if you’re easy upset by
hot-testing a rev limiter on public streets, it’s probably best to skip
to the next post. On the other hand, if you want to see what happens
when 1000 HP is applied in 3rd gear at 20 MPH, by all means roll the
clip and prepare to receive some goose bumps. Polite words fail to
accurately describe such a diabolic creation. Note, too, just how mild
mannered this thing is when driving at sane speeds.”

Click Here to check out the video!

Aug 24

Normally, embroidery is a topic I wouldn't normally discuss with anyone.  It's a fairly mundane and well… worthless topic of discussion for the most part.  Recently however, one of our sister companies, Scrubshopper.com (a leading retailer of medical scrubs), made a very fascinating and expensive purchase. 

The machine in question is a Tajima embroidery machine capable of re-creating almost and picture, text, or design imaginable on a piece of cloth.  This thing is not only fascinating to watch, but spits out some darned impressive results.  The machine requires several days training for the operators to understand how to use it's complex functionality, but once complete.. the results are pretty amazing.

Anyways, us Eponym guys found ourselves in their building watching this machine for a while the other day and I decided to shoot some footage of this “robot” in action. 

They also set me up a nice 10% off coupon for all of you!  Just go to http://www.scrubshopper.com and enter the coupon code “dustin” (without the quotes) when you are finishing the order. 

Meanwhile, Click Here to check out this amazing machine in action!


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Aug 15

So there we were:  Memorial Day, nothing to do, visiting the family in Illinois

My cousin Blake, who is an avid gun collector (little to my knowledge), offers up the oppurtunity to shoot several fairly well-known guns of differing types.  In the ensuing mayham, I captured a short clip of my soon-to-be-wife shooting an AK-47 and a 9mm pistol. 

I just thought I'd share the footage with you since it's fairly entertaining. 

I found it funny how the AK-47 threw her back on the first shot and how the ejected shell casing of the 9mm scared her.  Truthfully though, I was pretty proud of her.  She did really well considering it was only her second foray into gun shooting (the first was clay pigeon shooting with a 12 gauge).


Check out the video by Clicking Here!


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Jul 25

Here is another example of a poor newscaster fumbling with words and simply making a hilarious situation.  I can't help but wonder if she was thinking about the topic before-hand or if it was something else coming up… what on earth made her say that?

Regardless, it's funny that she slipped up in that way.  I hope she didn't lose her job over it.  Even  more than that, I hope the “blind” man who actually climbed Mt. Everest didn't get overly teased by his friends over it.

Note: In no way am I poking fun at homosexuality, so please don't be offended.  It's a funny video.. so laugh.

Click Here to check it out!


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Jul 19

This is a fairly old site, because I remember seeing it quite some time ago.  Although there are certainly ulterior motives going on here (like advertising and what-not), it's fairly interesting to see an estimate on when I will die. 

What I found most disturbing was the huge differences in death dates by simply changing the mode from “normal” to “pessimistic” or “sadistic”.  Who knew being a pessimist could be so damaging?

I am slated to die nearly 17 years earlier if I set it on pessimistic and nearly 37 years earlier on sadistic.  WOW.  That's a lot of years.  I guess I need to change my attitude.  Don't worry though, I'm slightly pessimistic, not sadistic!

I wonder if this thing is even slightly accurate if it's totally made up?  I guess I'll never know.

Click Here to check it out.

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