Twitter Poetry

So, I did one of those things where it grabs random tweets from your stream and makes them into poetry? And I have to say…strangely poetic!

To hide
by Shane Halbach

Terrifying thing I’ve ever seen
Weird, how do you know my parents?
Same accounts!

Me 23 consecutive form rejects.
Leave a lot of wiggle room…
There could be side effects
“I have to go to the bathroom”?

Welcome to Night Vale
Another story sale

Does everybody hate me? MADNESS
The $25 car repair
But it’s just different I guess.

Not too bad, actually (possibly with the exception of the attempt to type out the lyrics of Thunderstruck). Just, you know, watch out for those side effects.


Give it a whirl and post the good ones in the comments!


But what does it all mean?

It is so hard not to participate in rejectomancy.

The editor of a magazine that has a story of mine just followed me on Twitter. That’s got to be a good sign, right?

But here’s the thing: I don’t list my twitter on my cover letter. I do list my website which in turn lists my twitter, which would seem to indicate that said editor has been to my website, no?

Perhaps I’m reading too much into this…

[Edit: I wasn’t.]

Librarians tried to save society, and failed

The other day I had a thought that so completely stunned me, that I just stood there with the shower water running down my face: librarians were so ahead of their time!

Librarians have been stalwart defenders of our information privacy before we even knew what information privacy or data mining was. Even in this digital age, libraries don’t keep records of what books you’ve checked out. This is not just poor record keeping, but a conscious effort to ensure people cannot use our own information against us. 70 years ago, librarians were already envisioning the case where someone could use the fact that you checked out a copy of Mein Kampf to blacklist you from getting a job.

Nowadays, companies like Google and Facebook keep track of every move we make online, correlating it, cross-referencing it, and (of course) selling it. If you search for a product, Amazon immediately sends you an email about similar products. Then it sends an email to your friends, who might also like products that you like. If you buy peanut butter, Yahoo puts you in touch with singles who have jelly. If you fart, Steve Ballmer bursts through your window with a can of deodorizer (the one that your best friend gave five stars on Yelp) (Yes, I know it doesn’t make any sense that your friend is rating fart deodorizer on Yelp, except that 1) your best friend is kind of crazy, and 2) this was the fart deodorizer sold by a special “beans only” restaurant. It’s downtown) (And by the way, that wasn’t exactly the craziest part of that sentence anyway, so lay off alright?).

We hardly exist as people anymore; we’re just chess pieces in the game of mass consumption. Our very existence generates money for other people. Every product we buy, every link we click on, ever celebrity we tweet about is stored in a database for later use. Employers are Googling job applicants and demanding access to their Facebook profiles before hiring them. All of a sudden, you’re wishing you hadn’t done that review of Mein Kampf on GoodReads.

And librarians saw the writing on the wall, tried to stop it, before it was even technically possible to do it.

Good job librarians. Sorry we didn’t listen to you before it was too late. Anything else you want to warn us about?

Google+ Extensions

Now that I’ve been using Google+ for a while, I’ve found the need for a few add-ins to make things work a little better. I should note that these are actually add-ins for Chrome, not directly for Google+, so they will only work for you if you use Chrome (and if you don’t, then I don’t have much sympathy for you anyway). I’ve been using these for a while now, and I will vouch for each of them.

Start G+ – This extension is essential! This one consolidates my Facebook and Twitter accounts with my G+ account. I can make a post in G+ and have it automatically go to Twitter and Facebook. I can see all three of my feeds in one stream. I don’t actually like having my Facebook stream combined with the other two, so I turned that option off. At this point it is still easier for me to view Facebook via Facebook, so that’s a personal choice for me. But I basically never used Twitter at all, and now I am, because it’s conveniently co-located with a service that I like. The downside is that people who follow me in more than one place have to deal with repeat messages, but I already had my blog going out to all of those places, so there was already a lot of overlap.

+PhotoZoom – When you hover over an image, it pops up full size. I thought this one sounded stupid, but everyone kept recommending it, so I tried it. It’s amazing! I’m so used to it now that I try doing it in Facebook all the time. Some examples of when I use it are: when I get a notification that someone changed their profile picture, the thumbnail is so tiny you usually can’t figure out what it is a picture of, but it’s not necessarily worth clicking on the image to see it bigger. By the same token, when someone puts up pictures, sometimes the thumbnails are good enough for most of the pictures, but you want to see one a little closer. So you can just mouse over it, and you don’t have to be taken out of the whole flow of your stream to see it.

Useability Boost for Google Plus – This is a really minor one, but it just tweaks the CSS a little bit of the G+ page. The main thing it does is change the background from white to gray, and add a little space in between posts. This might not sound like much, but it makes it so much easier to read. I tried turning it back off once, and I had to put it right back on.

+Comment – This was a way to collapse comments. When I went to get a link to where to download it, it seemed to be gone from the app store. Upton further review, it seems that it was not needed anymore, because Google+ folded that functionality into the base program. So, good on you Google. Looks like I can uninstall this one.

The one thing I’m really missing is something to automatically push my blog posts out to Google+. Right now it automatically goes to Twitter via WordPress and Facebook via Networked Blogs. But there doesn’t seem to be any equivalent yet to push things out to G+. So I am manually pasting the link in every day, which is kind of tedious.

Anybody know of anything to do this? Any other extensions you like?


I finally had some time to play around with Google+, the new social network from Google.

I was inclined to dislike Google+. Google got me twice recently with their over-hype of Google Wave and Google Buzz, both of which were awful. After those two debacles, I believe I was on record saying, “That’s two strikes Google!” Well, Google will be happy to know that they’re back in my good graces with this one.

Google+ is very, very similar to my preferred social network, Facebook, but it is, in fact, better. Although I am a Twitter user, I do not like their interface. I know there are plenty of twitter fans out there, but I’m not one of them. So Google+ has them beat by a mile in my book.

Basically, Google learned the lessons of those that have come before. Sleek, clean interface (sorry MySpace), and more-tightly integrated security over who can see what (sorry Facebook), while keeping all the good features, such as image tagging and “liking” a post (or +1 in Google+ lingo). And the best part so far? No annoying game messages! (sorry Farmville) We’ll see if that changes in the future. I have a bad feeling there’s no way to stop it.

The best part about Google+ in my opinion is the integrated concept of “circles”.

Basically, all of your friends are categorized into one or more circles, such as “friends”, “family”, “acquaintances”, or anything else your heart desires, such as “college friends” or “red-headed step-children”. Then, whenever you do anything on Google+, you decide which circles you’d like to do it in. For example, are you telling the entire world what you had for breakfast, or just your family? Are you sharing that picture with your co-workers, or just your close friends? Do you want to see the whole stream/newsfeed, or do you want to skip the updates of mere acquaintances?

I have been using the lists feature on Facebook for quite some time in this manner, and I love it, but it always sort of feels like a late-game add on. It is a bit more difficult to use and manage, not nearly so tightly integrated. Whenever I tell someone about it, they’re always surprised to hear it exists. And really, I think it more closely represents the way we *want* to use a social network. There are some things we want to share with some people, and not others. We need the ability to sort through the overwhelming amount of information and read the updates we care about.

So, +1 to you Google+!

The problem, however, is that the thing that makes social networks social is, well, people to socialize with. Since most of the people I interact with are on Facebook, then I have to be on Facebook too. I can’t just up and switch over because I feel like it, abandoning my entire existing social network. And, although Google+ is better than Facebook, it is not *enough* better, that everybody is going to up and move. So, for the time being, I guess I’m stuck with two websites to check.

So, if you’re on Google+, you can find me here. And if you’re not, drop me a comment, and I’ll send you an invite.

[Stuff] my dad says

Did you ever know someone who just says funny things? Just a quote generating machine? Well, thanks to the Internet, you don’t have to enjoy this person all by your lonesome anymore. Take 29 year old Justin, who lives with his 73 year old curmudgeon father. He just takes the things his dad says on a daily basis and throws them up on a twitter account, and just like that he got a T.V. deal.

*Warning* The *ahem* [stuff] his dad says can be a bit profane and/or vulgar. His dad doesn’t have much of a filter on his mouth, which is part of what makes this so funny! I edited the ones below.

So here is a random sampling. Click on the link above to read pages and pages of this stuff. It is hilarious and addicting.

  • “Son, no one gives a [crap] about all the things your cell phone does. You didn’t invent it, you just bought it. Anybody can do that.”
  • “The baby will talk when he talks, relax. It ain’t like he knows the cure for cancer and he just ain’t spitting it out.”
  • “Here’s a strawberry, sorry for farting near you…Hey! Either take the strawberry and stop [complaining], or no strawberry, that’s the deal.”
  • “The worst thing you can be is a liar….Okay fine, yes, the worst thing you can be is a Nazi, but THEN, number two is liar. Nazi 1, Liar 2”
  • “Your mother rented this film, What Happens In Vegas. I thought it was going to be non-fiction, but it’s fiction, and it’s about some idiot.”
  • “Don’t touch the bacon, it’s not done yet. You let me handle the bacon, and i’ll let you handle…what ever it is you do. I guess nothing.”

Who needs a phone charger?

Now this is some cool technology! Basically, Nokia has come up with a way to harvest ambient radio waves and turn it into electricity to charge the battery of your phone. In other words, your cell phone could slowly recharge in your pocket and could essentially stay in standby mode forever, without ever needing to be recharged. Think of all the energy that is roaming around us via cell phone towers, power lines, radio transmissions, etc. that is going to waste. Tapping into and using that otherwise wasted power is like finding another natural resource. That’s thinking green!

Going a completely different direction now, I came across this humorous article about people who start Twitter accounts, post just one message, and quit. That article led to this blog about “1 post wonders“, that is, people who make blogs with only 1 post, never to post again.

Hopefully reading a few of those blogs will help you appreciate my blog a little more. 😉