[nerd] Google Games: I beat Sergey Brin’s score on Angry Birds ! ^^;

Google Games, part of Google+, Google’s new foray into social networking, has just been released into the G+ wild, and I naturally tested out Angry Birds today.

Interesting.

Even more interesting. Not going to lie, briefly contemplated sending it. But Sergey probably gets millions of notifications from people he doesn’t know already.

The thing I like most about Google Games is how the games are in its own page/stream. If you don’t play games, you don’t have to see that so-and-so got a new cow, or added someone to their underground crime organization. However, by putting Games right at the top, accessible by one click, you can see how Google is taking social gaming more seriously than Facebook, where you need to go click a few more buttons to reach apps. Facebook is clearly worried about competition from G+, as it just quietly changed its terms of service.

Though to me, that change to Facebook’s TOS seems more like a defensive move rather than a mobilization technique. If anything Facebook should be trying to outrun Google, instead of trying to use its hefty weight to crush G+ to death.

I think I’ll be playing that castle game on Google Games sometime..

[nerd] fasdlkfjsda Navi and Nappa Twitterbots!!!

So there I was, in the middle of a lazy summer afternoon, downloading piano sheet music for Zelda’s Lullaby, like any respectable nerd. Like any narcissistic nerd, I tweeted about it.

Then, I got this tweet from Navi.

http://twitter.com/#!/AnnoyingNavi/status/92342539679576065

CAN YOU SAY MASSIVE WIN? If you don’t know who Navi is, SHAME SHAME. ENLIGHTEN YOURSELF NOW.

Then I discovered the existence of another Twitterbot. NAPPA.

NAPPA NAPPA NAPPA

Again, if you don’t know who Nappa is, please watch the video below for your edification.

Yeah, massive nerd here. I use Silver Bird, Chrowety and Power Twitter.. and sometimes Twuffer as Twitter clients.

[tech/nerd/ohmysnickerdoodles!!] a lightning look at Google+

Courtesy of my nice tech buddy who I’ve mentioned before, at 1AM in the morning, I received an invitation to Google+ (Google Plus), the new social network that Google has started to ‘field test’.

This is what my Google homepage looks like now (with my annotations):

 

Overall, you notice a cleaner design for Google, and an integrated social experience. Quick status updates are just ridiculously easy to make.

 

If we click on the +Michelle in the upper-left corner, I will be directed to my “stream” of updates from people I follow.. which looks eerily like a cleaned-up Facebook:

People whose profiles are public I did not redact. Otherwise, everything else is redacted.

You’ll notice at the top there are these mysterious looking icons that would probably do better with names instead:

Starting from the left, the first icon is for your “stream” as pictured above, the second for pictures on Picasa, the third for your personal profile (about, Buzz, +1′s, Photos, Videos, Posts), and the last, for your circles.

This is what my about page looks like, much cleaner than Facebook’s “Info”:

I seem so emo in my introduction..

But you’re probably wondering what circles are.

Again, I only redacted those who weren't set on public.

Circles are groups in which you can choose to share certain things with. Just got a high score on Professor Layton? Share with geek friends! Just ate at Pinkberry? Share with girly peoples! However, the only gripe about this system of circles that Mr. Farhad Manjoo actually mentioned is that we have to manually manage the groups. Once we “friend” someone, we need to actively put them in circles, a concept that Facebook has tried with Lists and Groups, but failed. Friends change all the time, and so do our interactions.

I imagine Google+ to have two main challenges: (1) convince Facebook users to convert (2) cleaning up their information overload. In November 2010, Google slammed Facebook over importation of user data– Facebook would import Google data, but Facebook would not allow anyone else to export. Clearly, Google was eyeing a time in which it would need to import Facebook data, to make the move from Facebook to Google+ easier. Like many others, I have a huge amount of data (especially photos) in Facebook, and that alone might just make me stick to Facebook, however ugly it is. The second hurdle of Google+ is the organization– for example, the four icons that I pointed out earlier. On the surface, it’s hard to tell what they are for, and to me, Profile (the third icon), seems just like an poorly thought-out amalgamation of everything Google couldn’t fit into other areas. The organization is unclear, and if there’s anything to be gleaned from the age of iDevices, people like simplicity.

However, I do like some things about Google+, so far:

  • You can edit past posts, disable commenting or sharing.
  • The meme +1 is sufficiently different from Facebook’s “like.” However, Buzz and other products such as Google Reader still have the “like” button.. they really need to get around to replacing them.
  • The concept of “Hangout” sounds pretty cool, in which you can have up to 10 friends on video chat together; besides chatting, you can also watch YouTube videos together.
  • Privacy options are simple and easy to set. I can’t tell you the number of times I tried to delete accounts on sites and I had to go trawling through multiple pages to find it. Go to Account Settings and the Delete profile and remove associated social features and Close account and delete all services and info associated with it are all right there.
  • Google+ automatically loaded in https://, the secure protocol, unlike Facebook, where you need to flip a switch buried in its abstruse privacy options (grumble, grumble).
  • There’s a new feature called Data Liberation in which you can download and backup all of your Picasa, Profile, Stream, Buzz, Circle, and Contact data, in case anything happens– increasingly relevant for cloud-computing.

Overall, I think Google has created a good alternative to Facebook. But it’s definitely not a threat yet. Hopefully, with this field trial, they can start to tweak and really perfect it. I hope Google takes this opportunity seriously, because being on the Official Cr-48 Pilot Forum makes me realize how many people love Google and would review and test their beta products for free. The release of Chromebooks has sort of been a flop, mainly because the price barrier ($500) is too high when a comparable netbook (that can do Chrome and more) costs less– exactly what many Cr-48 pilots complained about.

Confused? Want to learn more? Visit Google’s explanation of Google+.

 

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[blog/nerd] my #followfriday edit.. so purdy..

I understand why some people love doing edits (besides gaining a lot of followers), because the end result is so pretty! However.. there’s really not much point to it unless you like doing it for the art, because online peoples are means. Once you stop doing edits or do them less frequently, people unfollow in droves. I felt kind of guilty– though I do update every day (10 posts), a lot of it is quite randomz. So I was thinking, better galvanize my lazy self and do some Photoshopping for #followfriday.

Inspired by Coldplay concert posters, this tutorial was pretty easy. I did some improvising with more layers so I could have better control of deleting what I did not want. After the first smoke curl, I was pretty much finished because I needed a space for the names and Jonghyun takes up more than half the space. I thought the random bars were a little too much.

Maybe I should review PS tutorials on a more regular basis. Or even, heck, write alternatives for tutorials I found utterly confusing. Maybe.

[tech] $h!rtl3ssTAEMIn. yes. that was my password.

the Lulz boat

Lulzsec has been taking the technology world by storm now, hacking into Sony, the Senate, the CIA, etc. However, I’m sad to say, it has not received much general media coverage, except for little mentions on ‘hacking’ which do not even say the name of ‘Lulzsec’.

How to pronounce Lulzsec:
loooolz (a variation on lol, denoting laughing at a victim of a prank) + sec (like how you say the beginning of “security”, where it derives from)

Now that we have that name barrier out of the way, why should you care about these renegade hackers? Well, they’ve publicly released e-mails and passwords from sites they’ve hacked, exposing internet users to fraud and malicious acts. This action is especially damaging since most users just use one or two passwords for every single account they have. If you want to see if any of your details were released, visit here.

Lulzsec has declared that it wants to take on the “fat cats”, which generally points toward one direction: banks. Er.. so.. though Lulzsec says it’s not in it for the monies, but other people like monies a lot. I’m not sure about you, but I don’t like my monies getting stolen..

The simplest way to provide a preliminary barrier and protect yourself against this hacking is to use different passwords for every account. So if one account is compromised, everything else won’t fall like dominoes.

Yes, I know, that means I have more than 20 passwords. It’s not impossible. $h!rtl3ssTAEMIn was incredibly easy to remember, and according to howsecureismypassword.net, it would take a trillion years for that password to crack. The strength of my newest WordPress password? Let’s say in the neighborhood of nine quadrillion years.

The trick is to settle on a theme you like and you’ll remember easily. For example, your favorite books. A sample set of passwords could be:

  1. D3@thly01H@llowS
  2. Am3r!c@n02P@stor@L
  3. M@d@m303Bov@rY
  4. P3rfum304Murd3R
  5. Th305Hobb!T
  6. S3p@r@t306P3@cE

Things to note:

  • I replaced e with 3, a with @, i with !
  • In the middle of each title, I put numbers: 01, 02, 03…
  • I capitalized the first letter of each word
  • I capitalized the last letter of the password
If that patterning is too taxing on your brains, you can create a base password, such as: D3@thly01H@llowS, and then for each site you visit, you’ll add something unique–
  1. Facebook: D3@thly01H@llowSF@CEbook
  2. Twitter: D3@thly01H@llowSTW!Tt3r
  3. WordPress: D3@thly01H@llowSWORDpr3ss
Do whatever makes sense for you, but always make sure that your passwords:
  • are at least eight characters long.
  • include at least one symbol, one lowercase letter, one uppercase letter, one number.
  • do not have whole words in it. What I mean is, don’t use “dancing”; “d@nc!ng” would be better, because last I checked, “nc” and “ng” aren’t words in the dictionary–dictionary words are easily run through by password-breaking programs.

However, I bet some of you are still thinking, “All I have is a dinky mail and Facebook account. I really don’t need this 15 character password, Michelle! You dinky blogger nerd!”

Unless you really profess to live under a rock, you will have online dealings with sensitive information someday. The way the internet is moving, it’s toward greater transparency towards your identity– you can see this in the new commenting system Techcrunch implemented to stem the flow of trolls, and the new system WordPress has started, both letting users comment via Facebook, the ultimate destroyer of anonymity. It’s better to start strong now than to regret it later. Possibly one day, stealing your Facebook account details will be akin to stealing your passport (that is, if Google Wallet concept ever takes off).

Oh, one more thing.

Completely change your passwords every six months.

I’m due for a revamp soon. Fun.

blog refresh, still minimalistic. possible blogroll introduction.

A response to my new tumblr– I needed a new banner, so I seized the opportunity to sharpen my Photoshopping skills. Not a huge design change, but definitely (several) layers of subtlety were added. It does not look too complicated, but it took the better part of the day to create the images.

To create the images’ text, I relied on this tutorial, though I would not use it again, for it was confusing, and I had to read the comments extensively to clarify. For the super-nerds, the fonts used in the images are Century Gothic, Calibri, and Segoe Script. Using Typekit, the font used as the text headers is DejaRip, and for the body, Liberation Sans. I used Photoshop CS5 to create the images.

My about was updated accordingly; it is no longer just an image, rather text with clickable links. Join and contact were edited a bit and made concise.

One thing is new, though. If I get at least two submissions, I plan to put a blogroll on the column to the right. What is a blogroll? A list of blogs you would recommend to your readers. If you would like to be on the blogroll (tumblr, WordPress, Blogspot, Typepad, etc.), either comment below or contact me and drop me a link. In return, I would like you to do the same and list me under your blogroll. That is, if that doesn’t bruise your ego too much.

ah my pretty tumblr. post will soon follow on the artist who works with dead flies!

[blog] Michelle, why all dis random tech crapz showings up on theinnocentlam?

I used to write for TechDrifts, which I’m informed, will disappear in a few days or may not disappear (an evil force is abound). So before it went into darkness, I exported all my posts and imported it to the innocent lam. The best ones out of those I have written for TD I have selected to be at the helm of my blog. If you wish to go trawling through the rest, click here.

Also, I mention someone called Ian in several posts. He’s my buddy! (Evil tech buddy, nonetheless.)

Meanwhile, I am working towards a five post special on … kpop! So please enjoy Michelle the nerd this time, instead of Michelle the fangirl.

Michelle the nerd has fondness for evil Pikachu.