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    November 26, 2013
    The World’s Largest Christmas Light Display

    When it comes to holiday decorations, David Richards has a philosophy:  go big or go home.  Indeed, he went big, and his home is all the more noteworthy for it.  In 2011, David Richards broke the Guinness World Record for most lights on a single Christmas display.  Last year, he lost the record to a family in New York.  Now, he’s back and better than ever.  David Richard put up 502, 165 lights to break the Guinness World Record for most lights in a Christmas display.

    “It was sort of a reason to do it again, and they didn’t break it by very much,” said Richards, who lives in Canberra, Australia.  ”I thought 500,000 was a nice, round number so I decided to go all out because I may never do it again.”

    So just how big is the display?  Well, he’s got almost 30 miles of wires strung up on his house and yard, and his monthly electricity bill has gone up by $2265 in US dollars, but it’s all worth it.  There’s already been a wedding at the light show, and the display’s cost is sponsored by a green energy company, so it’s not like it’s going to make the Aussie barrister and his family too uncomfortable to pay off their record.  Amazingly, Richard started putting up his decorations in October (and you thought your neighbors put their lights out too early) and worked every weekend between then and the big debut to get things up and running.

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    November 6, 2012
    Amazon Makes Amazon Prime A Monthly Subscription

    Amazon Prime is a great service.  Free two-day shipping, free e-book rentals, streaming video… what’s not to like?  Well nothing, except for maybe the $79-per-year price for the service.  Assuming you don’t get a lot of stuff shipped to you and are already a Netflix user who doesn’t have a Kindle.  But for the holiday season, that two-day shipping might make the difference between a happy holiday and a very displeased family.  Amazon is now offering Prime services for $7.99 a month.

    Granted, for a year of Prime, that’s going to be more money.  Specifically, $95.88 for 12 months of service, but the point is now you can get Prime for the key shopping months of November and December (or birthdays, or whatever special shopping reason might require you to have 2-day shipping) without signing up for the entire year.  That’s a pretty clever move.

    Also clever is a new initiative from Amazon, called Amazon Lockers, that is interesting.  Basically, you can go to certain locations–in this case, Staples is the latest place to jump on the Lockers bandwagon–and pick up your Amazon deliveries in a safe, secure location.  No rain, no snooping neighbors, no dogs looking for a bathroom, just your Amazon goodies waiting for you.

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    August 9, 2012
    The Internet Keeps Getting Faster

    Remember when you had to use a modem to dial up and connect to the internet, and that 56k seemed like it was as fast as anyone would ever need?  Well, that sure ended quickly for me once I was exposed to the wonders of high speed internet.  Now, anything less than 10 Mb per second seems like it’s a crawl, and if I have some network connection issues?  Forget about it!  The good news is:  the Internet is getting faster and faster every day, according to Akamai.  The bad news is:  it’s still not fast enough for consumers.

    Still, if you want your best possible connection, pack your bags and head off to Delaware.  (If you’re already in Delaware, congratulations!)

    “Delaware  [yes Delaware] remained the fastest state in the union, with an average connection speed that improved 24% quarter-over-quarter to just over 10 Mbps.  New Hampshire remained the second fastest state, improving 15% to 9.4 Mbps.  All of the top 10  states joined Delaware and New Hampshire in having quarterly changes that exceeded 10%, as did 38 other states across the country.  Only Minnesota, California, and Nebraska improved  by less than 10% as compared to the fourth quarter of 2011, though they did not trail very far behind, with average growth rates around 9%.   Arkansas remained the state with the lowest average connection speed, though it increased 14% quarter over-quarter to 3.6 Mbps.”

    That sounds great, but the world leader in high speed Internet, Hong Kong, offers speeds peaking at 49.3 Mbps.  The United States, with a peak speed of 28.7 Mbps, was a respectable but distant 8th place.

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    April 4, 2012
    Wordless Wednesday: Mystery Bumper Sticker

    Via Jalopnik

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    February 16, 2012
    Romance Blooms Over Words With Friends

    Playing Scrabble doesn’t strike me as the sexiest activity.  I mean, I’ve played Scrabble for most of my life, but it has never ended up being any kind of sexy shenanigans, a meet-cute event, or anything worth writing about.  I’ve made some good friends–provided they didn’t beat me at the game–but that’s about as far as it goes.  Apparently, Words With Friends is different.  In a recent survey, 10 percent of WWF players say a game has lead directly to a hook-up, while 44 percent flirt in play and 47 percent admit to having a crush on someone they’ve played with.  Part of this is due to the random opponent feature, which is used by 30 percent of the Zynga game’s 20 million monthly players.

    “It’s the purest version of fate.  When two people meet, it’s that they’ve hit that button at the exact same moment in time,” said WWF co-founder Paul Bettner.

    I used to play Literati (the Yahoo Games version of Scrabble/Words With Friends) all the time in my college days.  Not only did I not get a crush on anyone or hook up with an opponent, most of the time I didn’t even get a decent game of Scrabble out of my randomized Yahoo opponent.  Maybe I’m too competitive for my own good.

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    December 4, 2011
    Holiday Cards For The Geek

    It’s that time of year.  If you haven’t gotten your cards in the mail (or your e-cards in the email), then you’re watching the clock tick and sweating over your choice of cards.  Do you get individual cards?  Do you send a mass card?  Do you do a combination of the two?  Well, if there’s a geek in your life and you want to do something they’ll appreciate, why not consider one of these 12 geeky holiday cards as seen on Mashable.

    For example, the above card?  That says “Happy Holidays” in binary code.  If your intended target can understand that, he or she is a bigger geek than I will ever be.  There are lots of other fun cards, too, including multiple cards that feature Pac-Man, so if Pac-Man Fever still grips your helpless friend, maybe one of these cards will provide a cure.  Even if they don’t, I imagine these geeky greetings will still inspire knowing smiles from the technocentric among us.

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    November 30, 2011
    Google Rolling Out New Google Bar

    Currently, when you’re using Google and the Google family of products, you get a nice black bar at the top of your screen.  It shows your Google+ information and links to often-used Google products:  Gmail, News, Maps, Video, Images, News, and More.  Well, don’t get too used to this bar, because according to Google, it’s going away.  Google is going to change their user interface on their homepage to change from a bar to a hover and scroll drop-down menu.

    Here’s a video from Google to explain your new way of doing things.

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    This comes on the heels of Google’s Reader redesign that I hate with a passion, and like Google Reader’s changes, this is another change Google is forcing on its users.  However, it’s a less objectionable change, since you’re not losing any functionality, it’s simply being expressed in a different way.  I’m not a giant fan of the static NavBar-style UI (like the one on WordPress, for example), but I also am not crazy about the hover-and-click navigation method.  There’s no real elegant solution to this problem, but at least Google is doing something to change things and make navigation easier (unlike, for example, Yahoo).

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    November 22, 2011
    The Portal Bedroom

    Portal is a unique phenomenon among video games.  It’s enjoyed by people of all ages, races, and both genders, pretty much equally.  It’s fun and interesting without resorting to violence to be entertaining.  Long story short, Portal and Portal 2 are two of the most fun video games I’ve ever played, and I remember when I used to kill entire days playing Tetris.  James Farr and his son Vector (best name ever) bonded playing Portal 2 together, so James wanted to do something special for his son.  Vector Farr has the best-looking Portal-themed bedroom ever.

    Just watch this and try to deny it:

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    While the theme itself is cool, it’s the decorations that make it worthwhile.  The Companion Cube night stand, the fact you have to place a weight on the red button to open the bathroom door, GLADoS watching overhead, the pillows?  Yeah, this might have the most attention to detail of any bedroom I’ve ever seen.  Stunning, stunning work, James.  You’re pretty much the second best dad ever, after my dad (who put together a University of Kentucky-themed room for his son when his son aka me was in middle school).

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    October 31, 2011
    Carving Pumpkins With Science!

    Carving pumpkins the normal way is a lot of work, even if it is a lot of fun.  Fortunately, a science teacher named Mr. Bergmann showed his chemistry class a much more fun, much quicker way to carve a pumpkin.  The key, boys and girls, is science.  The best way to carve a pumpkin is via explosion.

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    How does it work?  I don’t know.  One thing I can tell you for sure is that you do NOT want to try this at home, unless you’re a chemistry teacher.  Apparently, this teacher has a whole YouTube channel where he performs cool science stunts, so if you liked that, you’ll want to visit CBergmann12′s YouTube homepage.  Also, you may want to wear eye protection, just in case the science gets too awesome for your brain to handle and it makes your eyes blow out.

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    October 25, 2011
    Party Rockin’ An Epic Halloween Light Show

    YouTube user KJ92508 is famous for his holiday lights.  He’s done some epic displays in the past, but they’re nothing like what he’s put together for Halloween 2011.  Simply put, this is the most epic (and most environmentally friendly!) Halloween light show he’s ever done, and the results are magnificent.  He takes LMFAO’s inescapable Party Rock Anthem, added four singing pumpkins, tombstones, and thousands of lights (standard, flood, spot, and strobe) to create one of the most awesome animated light shows ever.  This display is larger than last year’s, but it uses less energy thanks to the upgrade to LED lights.

    Check it out below!

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    I wish I had half this skill, either creatively or technically, because I’d love to do something like this for my house (whenever I get a house).  This is spectacular, though I’d imagine the neighbors might get a little tired of it.  The music is broadcast into car stereos and not pumped over loudspeakers, but the flashing lights must make any neighborhood epileptics nervous.

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