Sunday, November 16, 2008

RSS Feeds

Why don't more people use feed readers? It dumbfounds me. I talk to coworkers and friends about a cool article I found on the internet using Google Reader, and they look at me like I'm an idiot. (This look, of course, in and of itself is not inappropriate in my case, but not for this reason.) Then I find myself explaining the concept to them in detail and with great passion. But I'm not sure if I've won over any converts at this point.

Do you check at least half a dozen websites on a regular basis? Do you have internet OCD and click on a single website multiple times in one day? A feed reader might help with your problem.

The concept behind a feed reader is to avoid having to check for updates on particular websites. Instead, you subscribe to a site's "feed" (or RSS feed) using your feed reader, and when a new post or article arrives on the site, a copy is sent to your reader. Thus, all you have to do is check your reader, not the multitude of sites you stalk over the course of the day.

Lifehacker regularly reviews various feed readers, but the most popular (and best one that I've found is Google Reader. It's very streamlined, allows you to star and email feeds to your friends, and integrates with many of Google's other applications. It's also one of the most user-friendly.

Regardless of which feed reader you decide to use, I highly recommend integrating it into your daily web browsing. It has saved me so much time--and elevated my site stalking to whole new levels.

Just a Reminder...

Barack Obama is half white, just as he is half black. And rather than taking away from the historical nature of his election, I think it adds to it. But why isn't this mentioned more in the media? Forgive the pun, but it's probably because we all want to see things in terms of clearcut black and white, no?

Monday, November 10, 2008


Well, things will change, that's for sure. I think Obama has his work cut out for him, at the moment at least. Imagine if Barack had been elected in 1992, without the economy staring giving him the death stare (death star?) day and night. Or would he have even been elected had this crisis not arisen?

The discussion on This Week brought up the idea that the Obama administration should try to push out the big planks of his campaign platform (healthcare reform, green initiatives, etc.) all at once, sort of like tearing off a band-aid, rather than staggering them over a year or two. I can't say it doesn't make sense. I just want some change.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Thoughts on the Election Season

For the first time in my life, I've followed in-depth, state-by-state polling during a presidential election, thanks largely to, an amazing site run almost completely objectively by Nate Silver. You know the man's got real cred when he's been on The Colbert Report. What have a learned from all this statistical complexity?

Well, for one thing, the electoral college gives power to the few and takes it away from the many. States like New York, Illinois, California, and Texas are simply locked in. Voters for the minority party in those states are just out of luck. I know it's controversial to say that their votes no longer count, but the result for the state has clearly been decided at this point.

What would switching to a pure population vote do to the election season? It would make New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago much more popular, for one thing. Rural voters might feel disenfranchised, as would the less populous states in the west. But isn't the point of a democracy to give all citizens the right to cast an equal vote? Is it time to make the switch?