Tychaios - Random in the Greek

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Ways To Make/Save Money!

Everyone likes to save money. I found this website about free financial advice, that gives us numerous ways to save and make cash. It gives good financial advice to people and tells about the little things that we can do to save money, or make a little extra cash in a short period of time.

I have tried the paid online surveys. These work very well if you are consistent in filling them out. I seem to recieve the most surveys through www.greenfieldonline.com and www.mysurvey.com. It is very simple to use. You just have to go to the website and register for the surveys. Then the company sends you surveys through your e-mail that takes anywhere from 5-30 minutes to complete. Once you finish it, you are either entered into a monthly sweepstakes, or your account is credited for the amount of money posted in the e-mail.

Another site that you can be successful at making quick cash is through www.treasuretrooper.com. This site has an assortment of activities that you can participate in once you have registered with the site to make money.

So, if you have a little extra time on your hands one night and want to make a little money, try joining one or more of these sites. Simply follow the instructions, and you will be saving and making money in no time.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Thought Controlled Computer

Humans using their brains to directly control computers sounds like something from a Science Fiction movie (The Matrix and I'm sure others). In fact I once read a book series in which the main character is paralyzed and receives an implant that allows him to remotely control robots as if they were his own body.

While this sounds really far fetched, many break throughs are being made in the area of direct Neural Interface Systems. A company called Cyberkinetics is currently developing a Neural Interface System called BrainGate.


They hope that it will allow impaired individuals to regain some motor capabilities. The system makes use of an implant on the motor cortex of the brain. Brain signales usually sent to limbs are intercepted and used to move a mouse cursor or other tasks.


Matthew Nagle is the first person to try using BrainGate. He was paralyzed after being stabbed in 2002. After getting involved in the BrainGate program he is now able to change TV channels in his room, move a cursor on screen, and play pong all by thought!

The BrainGate system can even pick up brain signals from patients unable to move or speak! One study volunteer who was unable to speak after a brainstem stroke used the BrainGate to type. Cyberkinetics CEO Tim Surgenor hopes that the BrainGate will be FDA-approved in about four years, which is great news for folks with physical impairments. The potential for such technology is amazing! Who knows what the future may hold?


Some Videos About Brain-Machine Interfaces


Cyberkinetics Website


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Saturday, September 16, 2006

Star Trek Gets a Face Lift

Tonight we celebrated my grandfather and uncle's birthday at my uncle's house. After the festivities my father was channel surfing and found an episode of the original Star Trek. We started watching, amused by the primative visual effects and acting. It is amazing how far visual effects and even acting have progressed since those days.

When I arrived home I began doing some research for an article. I was looking around Wired News and saw an article about plans to upgrade the visual effects in the 79 episodes of the original
Star Trek series.

CBS Paramount Domestic Television is heading up the project. They will replace the exterior shots that originally used minatures, shots of galaxies, planets, the ship's flight path, and the backdrops on new words will all be touched up with modern computer graphics.


The graphics aren't all that is in for a make over. Apparently they will also enhance the sound and music for the show's intro. William Shatner's classic intro, beginning with "Space, the final frontier," will still introduce the new and improved series.


I thought this was a pretty neat. Who knows what is next...maybe the original
Star Wars Trilogy?

Click Here to take a look at the original article on Wired.com

Friday, September 15, 2006

Youtube Videos to Ipod - For Free!

Ever wanted to transfer your favorite Youtube videos to your Ipod so you could share your favorite videos with your friends. Enter iTube (or Podtube for Mac), the free solution to your Youtube to Ipod conversion worries.

With this program all you have to do is enter the Youtube URL and the program will download the video. Once the download is complete iTube will automatically convert and import the video directly into iTunes.

You don't even need an iPod. After downloading the videos you can still watch them in iTunes. A great way to quickly and easily build a library of your favorite Youtube videos.

I downloaded this program and two minutes after the installation I was watching a video in iTunes. This program does the job just as advertised. Best of all it's free!

iTube Homepage (Windows)

PodTube Homepage (Mac)

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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Virtual Ipod - Music On Demand

Ipods are great. I have one of the old ones, 4th generations I believe. I enjoy having all of my music and podcasts at my disposal everywhere I go. It's great!

A website called Blogmusik has recently begun offering a Radio on Demand Service. However, it is more synonymous to a virtual Ipod. The control panel even looks similar to an Ipod with an option to choose between black and white. (but shhhh...don't tell Apple.)

To access the music you don't even have to register, although without registering you can only listen to one song at a time. Registering allows you to create play lists that will be saved even after you log off. Just like having your own personal radio station with no advertisements.


The quality of the music I have listened to has been superb. It’s pretty close to CD quality. The music I've listened to does sound better than some internet radio I have heard. Also, the site claims to have 125,000 songs currently available, which I'm sure will increase in the near future.

I highly recommend Blogmusik. It's a great way to listen to the music you want without advertisements or to preview music before you buy.

BlogMusik - Hompage

BlogMusik - Myspace

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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

It's a bird, it's a chainsaw, wait no...it's a Lyrebird!




The Brain Food Podcast featured the audio from this video on their show. It sounds so unbelieveable that I decided to check out the video. Quite amazing. I did alittle research about this awesome bird and here is what I found.


There are actually two types of Lyrebirds that live in Australia, the Superb Lyrebird and Albert's Lyrebird. These birds measure from between 98cm for the male Superb to 90cm for Albert's Lyrebird. Both birds inhabit the eastern coast of Australia. However, they are rarely observed in their natural habitats. The male Superb Lyrebird also exhibits a huge, srikingly beautiful tail that it fans out while attempting to court a female.


The beautiful and incredibly complex songs created by the Lyrebird are made possible by it's syrinx, which is a voicebox-like muscle common to all songbirds. The Lyrebird's syrinx is incredibly complex allowing it to mimic the individual songs or flocks of other birds, other animals, human noises, machinery, explosions, and even muscial instruments as you can see by the video. Yes, the bird is actually making those noises!



The Lyrebird actually received it's name by mistake. During the early 1800s a specimen was being prepared in England by a taxadermist who had never seen one alive. He thought that the bird held it's tail straight up at it's rear like a peacock and in doing so resembled a Lyre. However, the Lyrebird actually fans his tail completely over his entire head and back.


More information about these amazing birds can be found at the following links:



Wikipedia: Lyrebird


New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service


Unique Australian Animals


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Sunday, September 03, 2006

Magic Squares, Latin Squares, Number Place, and Finally Sudoku!


Sudoku is the latest puzzle craze to sweep the globe (literally). If you have no idea what "Sudoku" is or if you would like to know the history of these addictive puzzles, read on.

Sudoku is a completely logic-based number placement puzzle. Now, if you are a math-o-phobe and your mind just let out a scream, you can relax. It requires no math skills at all, save counting from 1-9. Here is the concept. You are given a grid (usually 9x9) with six 3x3 grids within it. What makes the puzzle are the starting numbers that you are given. These numbers are called
the "givens." They help you solve the puzzle.

Using the givens as a guide you must place numbers in such a fashion that the numbers 1-9 appear in every row, column, and box. You can never have the same number in any given row, column, or box. Simple, yet challenging. These puzzles give your brain a great workout, plus they are fun and very addicting!

History

The exact time and place in which the concept of Sudoku came into existence is unknown. Many think
that it is related to Magic Squares that were transmitted from the Chinese to the Arabs in the eigth century.

In Islamic literature these Magic Sqaures first occur in the Jabirean Corpus, which are writings assumed to have been written at the end of the 9th or 10th century. This document suggested that the squares were used as charms for easing childbirth, pretty strange if you ask me. The Magic Squares next appear as Latin Squares in Arabic Manuscripts from the 13th century. Next, in 1707-1783, Leonard Euler showed in his paper On Magic Squares how to contruct them with a certain number of cells.

Sudoku puzzles that we are familiar with are actually a special case of Latin Squares. The 9x9 puzzles most commonly seen today were first printed in the late 1970's in Math Puzzles and Logic Problems magazine by Dell Magazines. This company gave their puzzles the incredibly exciting name...Number Place!

So, contrary to popular belief, Sudoku puzzles were not an original product of Japan! The name was however, it was created by Nikoli, a Japanese puzzle creating company, in 1984. This company discovered Number Place puzzles and promptly dubbed them originally Suuji Wa Dokushin Ni Kagiru, ("the numbers must be single" or "the numbers must occur only once").

In 1986 some improvements were made to Sudoku which made the puzzles widely popular. Among these changes was the shortening of their crazy long name. The name Sudoku is derived from Su meaning "number" and Doku meaning "single, unmarried".

So, how did the U.S. rediscover these puzzles? Well, it seems that Wayne Gould a retired Hong Kong computer programmer and puzzle fan took a trip to London where he tried to convince The Times to publish the puzzles. They did on November 12, 2004. After that Sudoku quickly took Europe and even Australia by storm. However, it wasn't until April 2005 that the New York post began to feature Sudoku's regularly. By July the Sudoku craze had begun in the US.

There you have it. The History of Sudoku as we know it. From ancient China to Arabia, America to Japan and back again. I wonder why Dell Magazine's version of essentially the same puzzle never took off. Maybe it's because of it's lame name "Number Place" or perhaps Sudoku just required the right Information Driven generation to fully appreciate it's logical goodness.

If you would like to read more about the history of Sudoku check out the following articles:

The History of Sudoku

Wikipedia Article "Sudoku"


Where to Get Them

Simple Sudoku
Windows program that makes high quality Sudoku puzzles. The user can also choose between five levels of complexity - from Easy to Extreme.

Websudoku.com
Great site that allows you to print puzzles for free.

Sudoku.com

Tips for solving as well as some puzzles to print. They also have a program you can buy for $14.95.

Sudoku.com.au
An Australian site that allows you to print many Sudoku puzzles.

Daily Sudoku
Daily Sudoku puzzle. You can play online or print.

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Frappr - IRWLC



So, I've been listening to the Brain Power Podcast lately, which I highly recommend to those of you who love finding out about random things. Anyways, on their website they have a link to their Frappr Map. Curious, I decided to check out this Frappr. Pretty neat site if I do say so myself. I've seen similar things in the past not done quite so well. I was so impressed infact that I have decided to create my own map for the Tychaios Blog.

So quickly add yourself to my IRWLC (Interactive Random Webfriend Location Collector) otherwise known as Frappr Map.

Enjoy!

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