Sunday, September 28, 2008

Jimmy Chows Down [Season 2] Update

For those of you who have been patiently been waiting for more Jimmy Chows Down's your first taste from Fall 2008! These are the first three episodes from Season 2 in reverse chronological order. Let me know what you think in the comments.

California Tortilla

Metro Silver Diner

Foster's Grill

If you'd like to see all the videos, check out the archives. If you go to GMU, check out our Facebook group too!

Two Walks for Two Good Causes

If you're reading this post it's either because you know me personally (what's up!), know me from the internets somewhere (hit me up on twitter!), or randomly stumbled into me via Google (this one's a bit more awkward...what's your sign?). No matter who you are, I hope you'll consider the following.

This Saturday, there will be two walks for two different cures. One will be in Reston, VA to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. It's called Light The Night and it raises money for research on blood disorders and cancers. One of the really neat things about this walk is that it happens at night and everyone hangs on to a different colored balloon. Some are red, some are white, and some are gold. The first represents someone who supports the walk (with a red blood cell). The second is for someone who has been affected by cancer indirectly (with a white blood cell). The last is for people who have survived cancer (gold cell?). It creates a simulation of the blood stream as everyone marches with illuminated balloons.

Sadly I cannot attend this event because I have a conflict, but my scholarship group is going to have a team and I figure with the connections I have online, I should be able to do some good for them.

A walk I will be able to attend is on the very same day, in the morning. It's the AIDS Walk, which benefits the Whitman-Walker Clinic in DC. If you live in the DC area at all, you've probably heard of it before because of all the fantastic things they do for HIV/AIDS patients. The disease is one of the most debilitating ones out there and most of the treatments are almost as bad as the original symptoms. The clinic not only supports patients directly, but funding also goes to research for better treatments or possible cures. I WILL be attending this one with my community service fraternity (Alpha Phi Omega), but unfortunately I really can't spare the $15 for registration.

As a microbiologist, I really understand a lot of the science behind both of these disease groups. Viruses are remarkably hard to combat and without more funding, it will be a long time until we find true cures. Blood disorders are just as bad because their effects are systemic.

So here's how this matters to you. If you have 5 or 10 bucks laying around that wouldn't pull food out of your mouth if you spent them, consider giving to one or both of these great charities. Specifically I'd love to see 5 dollar donations to each from a whole lot of people. If you want to give more, please contact me at, because I would really like to get a proper registration fee for AIDS walk.

For the Light The Night page, go here:

For the AIDS Walk page (updated link), go here:

If you give to one or both of these for my teams, let me know in the comments or via email and I'll make up a little post for all the donors. If you have a website/twitter/something like that, I'll put that up too! Let's use all this networking we have on the internet for some good. Thank you!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Off The Beat: They've Kind of Built Up

School has been really picking up so my blogging activities have been on the low side. Here's what I've been up to since my last "Off The Beat."
As you can see, I've been mostly just subsisting on my MakeUseOf staff position. Hopefully I'll get a lot more done in the next few weeks (exams are finally calming down). Also, I'm trying to figure out how to write greeting appears to be a fairly decent way to make money from little to no work.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Mason Tech Beat on Wordle

If you enter my blog into Wordle (a cloud generator), you get the following:

Pretty neat, eh? I don't like that it creates an un-clickable Java result, but otherwise it's a pretty neat system. I don't even like tag clouds because I think they're useless, but I don't mind this one too much.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Google Chrome Zips Through the Tubes [Reaction]

Everyone is clamoring about Google Chrome, so I figure I should throw in my two cents as well. If you haven't heard, Google just dropped a big old stone in the internet and they're watching to see how big the ripples get. With effectively no warning (they announced it one day and released it the next), the search engine giant has created a web browser that is fairly polished and ready to take on some of the biggest contenders out there.

Let's back up a little bit before I dive into the nitty gritty. Remember, Google is the largest and richest company devoted to user actions on the web. While search and Adsense may be their bread and butter, NONE of that would be possible without web browsers. Many people have speculated about the possibility of a Google operating system before, but the idea of a Google browser has never been as popular. As it turns out, everyone had it half right.

Google lives entirely on the internet. They have made the occasional foray into desktop applications, but those are always heavily dependent on the ability to "call home." A true Google OS doesn't make a lot of sense, but think about Google's platform. Its services don't depend on anything other than a web browser. Providing that browser is, for Google, THE SAME as providing an OS is to Microsoft. Google Chrome will unify the browser, the web platform, and the web apps under Google's digital empire.

Now that we've identified the purpose of Google Chrome, how does it do in the wild? Well, keeping in mind that it is still an early prototype, it is fairly remarkable. The install process is simple, non-intrusive, and would make my parents comfortable with it from the get go. After this, it offers to do the standard transfer of bookmarks from popular web browsers. Once you've finished, it simply drops you into the interface and lets you go on your way. The screen has a single bar at the top, which they are calling the "Omnibar," and a very minimalist set of control buttons.

Instead of a program toolbar at the top of the browser, the screen is defined by the tabs. Because each tab is its own process in the operating system, the tab is considered the highest level of differentiation in Chrome. Supposedly in the future, each tab could have some independent settings for different kinds of browsing. The commands you are familiar with are found in either the "control this page" or "control Chrome" drop-down buttons.

If we leave out the more mundane commands, there are several that readily call attention to themselves. Next to "new tab" and "new window" there is also a "new incognito window" option. This command brings up a new window that is colored differently to indicate that it browses the web without picking up tracking information (aka Porn Mode). There is also a "create application shortcut" option. It creates a bookmark that will replicate the function of a program shortcut, but instead of opening a .EXE file, it's opening a link to a web app. While this may seem a bit silly right now, it is certainly Google's intention to make web-based programs much more of a reality.

This is a reaction, not a full review, so I'll save any other jewels of wisdom for later. I suggest you give Chrome a try and see if you can use it for something. For the moment I'm using it when Flock crash-cycles uncontrollably (in other words, fairly frequently). Leave your thoughts in the comments!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Yeah It's Been a Week...I've Been Chowing

Hey All...
The blog's still alive and everything, I've simply been INCREDIBLY busy with my life on other sites (and that real life thing too). Once things calm down I should be posting more regularly. Please keep the faith and keep subscribed though...I'm hoping to get my Google Chrome reaction up soon!

To bide your time, check out my latest installment of Jimmy Chows Down...the first of Season 2! We had audio problems, but they've all been resolved!

Permalink to the video

Sunday, September 7, 2008

"Jimmy Chows Down" Gears Up for Season Two [Teaser]

We've finally gotten the first "Jimmy Chows Down" in the can for season two! While we polish it a bit, here's a bit of an advertisement we made:

Jimmy Chows Down Teaser from Connect Mason on Vimeo.

It's a bit silly, but then again, so am I! Comments? Keep in mind we made this from beginning to end in like 20 minutes. If you want to watch last season, here's our temporary page.
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Off The Beat: Race Your IM in XP or Your Software Will Get on Digg in Burbank, Little Girl

Wow, it's been a few more days than usual between "Off The Beat" segments so a few more stories to report. Also, I managed to create a flame war and GOT ON THE FRONT PAGE OF DIGG!!!

The big thing is obviously the article that got on Digg. It's a first for any of my works and I really feel like I should be able to do it again too. One thing that makes me a bit sad is that my really decent articles about software are much better than the one that got on Digg, but listy articles just travel faster up the pipeline so this one made it instead.

Also, I really will be doing a Jimmy Chows Down tomorrow so it should be up next week and I will link to it.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Goodnight Burbank Lives!

Great news! I just got an email back from Hayden Black and he told me the following:
"We're on hiatus right now but Season 2 is being prepared for."
I am incredibly glad that the show "will go on." If you haven't already, check out Goodnight Burbank and subscribe on iTunes. You won't regret it!

Also, in a post to come I'll tell you about Hayden Black's newer project (haven't really gotten a chance to check it out yet).
The content of this page is completely the creation and opinion of James Rogers. He is affiliated with Connect Mason and formerly Broadside Online but the relationship only governs republication, not content.

Further, in the interest of full disclosure, this author holds minor financial investments in Apple, Inc. and Advanced Micro Devices.