These are my old Personal Updates from 2007.
12/4/2007 Personal Message
Hey everyone! Welcome to December!
I've been more focused on my code projects, that I am not going to upload my work from 11th Grade this year. Maybe I'll get someone else to do it, or do it eventually.
GridView, my app for Facebook 420,000 THOUSAND users with about 50,000 users every day!!!!! It's growing at about 10,000 new users every 24 hours. GridView lets you add all your friends profile pics to you Facebook profile for you and your profile visitors to see.
GridView recently launched GridView Mosaics, which lets you make a photo mosaic of your profile picture with your friends as tiles. Recently, I improved the quality of the Mosaics to contain 4 times the tiles, showing 4 times the detail. Unfortunately this takes up a lot of server resources, I've almost outgrown (mt)'s (gs) system. Looks like it's soon time to move to a dedicated server!
- Mugs from $11.99
- Mousepads from $10.99
- Luggage Tags from $7.49
- MyCards from $9.99/pack
- Magnets from $5.99
- Stickers from $4.99
- Keychains from $4.99
- Greeting Cards from $.99
- Postcards from $.99
GridView is reported by Adonomics, a 3rd party Facebook analytics system, to have a valuation of $203,462! I am currently in talks to bring a partner on board to help grow GridView and turn it profitable. If you have ideas about that, contact me (see below)!
Our Dynamic Website Building Instruction and Practical Experience Group Study is nearing the halfway point. Tomorrow, we are finishing up databases, and we plan to start working on SeniorQuoter next week. For more information and student work samples, see this post on the SeniorQuoter site.
School is going OK for me. I am increasingly interested in what goes on around the classes. This month is my campaign to end the draconian "Classrooms of the Past" technology policies. I am also looking at running a desktop background contest. I hope to do this next year for my senior project, so that I may dedicate the time to do it properly. Properly meaning set up a comprehensive website, selecting a judging committee and writing the contest rules.
Also, new Tecker 911s are out! The last 3 episodes are: Episode 24: Windows Movie Maker, Episode 23: Wikipedia Reliability, and Episode 22: Firefox Add-Ons Editing is going slow, but Reed, a new member is helping me to speed it along. I trained him this weekend, so hopefully he can turn them out faster. In the upcoming year, I hope to delegate more and more of the Tecker 911 tasks to younger members. We now have a half-a-year lead time between filming and releasing episodes!
I am also working with a start-up on a new, secret project. It will be very cool! It addition, I am mentoring a student on a new Firefox extension to be distributed through ThePlaz.com Networks.
All for now! (Isn't that enough!)
10/6/2007 Personal Message
Hey everyone! 11th Grade is about 1/8th over. I haven't posted any of my non-typed work online. It looks like I won't have the time for that this year. May be I'll get someone else to do it, or do it eventually.
GridView, my app for Facebook I wrote on the last day of 10th Grade in about 5 hours now has over 250,000 THOUSAND users with a current growth rate of about 5,000 new users every day'!!!!! GridView lets you add all your friends profile pics to you Facebook profile for you and your profile visitors to see. I was totally blown away by the popularity. We're also rolling out GridView Mosaic, which creates a photo mosaic of your profile picture, with your friend's profile photos making up the tiles. I am rolling this out to users as fast as I can; I'm having some scalability issues now.
Tecker 911 just had a booth at Haverford Township Day. We were selling DVDs of the first 25 episodes, and raising local awareness for the show. We also hosted a live technology question and answer session. 7 people asked their tech questions to us. You can catch Episode 30, some time in the the future. Meanwhile, you can catch photos of our booth and Haverford Township Day 2007 on Flickr.
My Dynamic Website Building Instruction and Practical Experience Group Study starts in about a month. I've planned out the first 25 days so far, the part where I teach PHP and MySQL. I'm excited. Potential participants, remember to file your paperwork! SeniorQuoter is being used by our school this year, and is already reducing the work load on the yearbook department. Plus, I recived word that at least one other school is using SeniorQuoter to ease the collection of their senior quotes.
My new computer is really sweet! It's a HP Pavilion Media Center m8100y with 4GB RAM, a Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 processor, and a 22" monitor. We got it all for less then $USD 1,400 (+tax) after getting $480 in discounts! It really runs fast. The only time I maxed out the processor is when encoding h.264 video for iPods. Otherwise, the hard drive is the bottle neck for the computer.
Dictionary Robot, my tool to help you look up a bunch of words at once is stalled. GridView took off, school started, and I am working on a secret project for someone who is paying cash for me to code for them. Because I need cash, I have to work on that at this time, at the expense of working on some of my other stuff.
8/10/2007 Personal Message
Hey everyone! I've been busy this summer working on web projects. Let me give you an update!
GridView, my app for Facebook I wrote on the last day of 10th Grade in about 5 hours now has over 26 THOUSAND users with a current growth rate of about 1,5000 new users every day'!!!!! GridView lets you add all your friends profile pics to you Facebook profile for you and your profile visitors to see. I was totally blown away by the popularity. We've had some stability issues over the last week, and it was overwhelming my old server, so I had to move ThePlaz.com to a new server from (mt)mediatemple. I haven't yet been able to re-enable Memcached a magic program which vastly improves the speed of MediaWiki, the software that runs ThePlaz.com and Wikipedia. So my apologizes if the site seems slow while I sort this out.
Also, speaking of ThePlaz.com, Chemistry and IAG 3H work is now online. That brings to an end 10th Grade uploading. Looking ahead to next year, I got my 11th Grade schedule. It's going to have to be changed to include my Dynamic Website Building Instruction and Practical Experience Group Study which will take place 2nd Quarter, 1st Block next school year. I'm so excited for that!
Tecker 911 is slowly releasing episodes. 16 are out already with like equal that number in the can. I'll try to speed up the release schedule. Meanwhile, enjoy Episode 16: RSS, Episode 15: Destroying Stuff!, and Episode 14: Ubuntu.
My family is getting a new computer! It's a HP Pavilion Media Center m8100y with 4GB RAM, a Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 processor, and a 22" monitor. We got it all for less then $USD 1,400 (+tax) after getting $480 in discounts! This should speed up Tecker 911 production by giving me a star system to edit on.
Teckcasts is a new podcast channel on iTunes which combines the best of w3life, Tecker 911 and our friends at sjTechZone. Subscribe if you like to hear about Technology. You can find me on Teckcasts on Tecker 911 and also Leetspeek where I am a regular guest offering my kinda-weekly rants about the technology industry.
Over the summer I visited Cornell University in Ithaca, along with Niagara Falls in Canada. Pictures are on flickr and can be seen in the 'Random Pictures' sidebar on ThePlaz.com. All of my pictures (over 8,000) along with most content on ThePlaz.com, is freely reusable under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 license.
Dictionary Robot, my tool to help you look up a bunch of words at once is roughly complete. I still need to smooth out output and add extra features. Look for it to open in a few weeks. It has been a great lesson in 'hacking' (more like adopting - a mash-up) a program to do what you want.
So, I'm looking forward to another great year, not only on ThePlaz.com, but on the entire family of ThePlaz.com web services. Thanks for visiting!
Personal Updates are still available as an RSS feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/ThePlazPersonalUpdates Or you can get an email whenever I update this
6/19/2007 Personal Message
Hey everyone! Happy summer! Just got out of 10th Grade and this gives me lots of time to work on some cool new web projects!!
I forgot to announce my Dropdowns for MediaWiki were recently updated. They now support pop-overs, have smaller, cleaner code, and have some cosmetic changes.
There are now over 8,000 of my photos on Flickr. All are freely reusable under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 license. You can also see 3 random photos on every ThePlaz.com page on the sidebar.
I am also working on a new project, Dictionary Robot. Dictionary Robot will take a bunch of words you throw it and look them all up in the dictionary. It will be very handy when you have a long list of vocab words to look up.
You can still listen to the music I like to listen to while I'm working for free at Pandora, an online radio station. Pandora has categorized each song in over 140 categories and offers very good recommendations.
Personal Updates are still available as an RSS feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/ThePlazPersonalUpdates Or you can get an email whenever I update this
5/20/2007 Personal Message
Just got back from Monty Madness with our robotics club. We came in 8th in the seeding rounds and wnet up againts alience #1 in the semifinals. The first time we beat them 140 to 23, the highest score at the competition. But #1's defense was too much for us, and they eliminated us.
I also got to ride a Segway with founder's Dean Kamen's brother or cousin (sorry, I forget) (he looked just like Dean). It feels really weird. You only need to shift your balance, not lean, to move. It was hard to get the hang of, because you want to pull back to stop, but you only need to shift your balance (or just even think "stop")
I now have about 5,000 of my photos on Flickr. All are freely reusable under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 license. I have also added a script which displays 3 random photos from my collection each time a page on ThePlaz.com loads. For some reason, it is only showing the ones from the cruse I took. I must find out why it is only showing these.
I took the AP Macro Econ exam. Two of the the three open ended question were about things I wasn't too sure about. All of the practice questions I had seen seemed to be more based on stuff I was more sure of. I confused the discount and federal funds rate, and international economics always make my head spin. On both practice tests I took I got 50 out of 60 on the multiple choice section. Hopefully I got the same. 60 questions always make you tired and cranky, but I answered them as best as I could. I think I got either a 4 or a 5. Hopefully I got a 5, but I don't know how this test breaks down in regards to scoring.
Also, I just re-discovered Pandora, a personal online music station. This is the station I'm listening to now. Pandora has categorized each song in over 140 categories and offers very good recommendations.
5/7/2007 Personal Message
I recently installed Memcached on ThePlaz.com wiki. I'm seeing a massive speed increase in page generation times. The homepage use to take 50 seconds to load, other pages generated in about 10 seconds. This was unacceptable. Now with Memcached I see about 4 seconds the first time a page is generated and then about a second for subsequent page loads. This big increase is because Memcached stores common database (MySQL) queries on the server and can retrieve them much faster then the database. Hopefully this will make ThePlaz.com more usable.
I purchased a Flickr pro account a month ago and have uploaded over 3,000 photos so far from my back collection. All are freely reusable under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 license. I have also added a script which displays 3 random photos from my collection each time a page on ThePlaz.com loads.
3/30/2007 Personal Message - Spring Break
I'm witting this in a hotel in Miami. On Sunday I will leave for a Western Caribbean cruise on the Carnival Valor. It's 76F outside and sunny. This is going to be a fun trip. I'll post pictures when I get back. Have fun on your spring break wherever it is. Havertown is still lots of fun and I know some of my friends are in Europe.
We (Team 484) didn't do so well in Annapolis at the regional. We came in 26th out of about 55 teams. We weren't picked for the finals, but were last in the "dog pond." See more at Team 484#Annapolis Regional.
The Drexel robotics regional is ongoing now. I was only there for the set up and practice day, but we did very well that day. We were the first to be inspected and all practices went very well.
3/13/2007 Personal Update
ThePlaz.com's traffic has been growing. We now receive about ~1,400 visits and ~4,000 page views a week. 80% of that is from Google. MediaWiki reports 71,943 page views, and 6,021 edits on Special:Statistics.
Tecker (http://tecker.net) the social question and answer service aimed at tech users is continuing to do really well. We are expanding slowly; we have about 60 users now. We just added advertisements to Tecker and Tecker 911, both network and featured (direct, no network). As always stay tuned at our development blog at http://blog.tecker.net/. We are just putting finishing touches on the page with recent answers.
The Tecker derivative, Conflicter (http://conflicter.org) is not doing well. Conflicter is a place for frank discussions on global issues. I finally opened it to the public, but no one knows about it. Maybe activity will pick up.
Tecker 911, the video technology help webcast is coming along nicely. The first 8 episodes are up at http://911.tecker.net and have been aired on Channel 11 in Haverford Township. 7 more episodes are in the can, I need to edit 5 of them. Each one takes approximately 2-3 hours to edit, so it always takes a while.
The first semester classes are all up online and organized at ThePlaz.com. I'm a month into 2nd semester and online postings are really behind. I am also working on posting some other things, which were not required for school.
Last time I wrote, the build season for our FIRST robotics club, Team 484 started recently. Now it's over. After putting in about 4 nights a week for 6 weeks our robot is done and shipped. The Chesapeake Regional competition is this weekend. We leave tomorrow for it. I will try and get pictures and a report up when I come back.
Personal Updates are now available as an RSS feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/ThePlazPersonalUpdates
1/10/2007 Personal Message
Jeeze. It's really been a while. Two months instead of the normal one month intervals. I had a good holiday break, and got lots done. In the past two months, we recorded 15,000 page views and added about 1,000 pieces of content. See MediaWiki.
Tecker (http://tecker.net) the social question and answer service aimed at tech users is doing really well. We are expanding small, we have about 50 users now. We were featured on net@nite episode 8. net@nite is a weekly call-in show about new technology websites ("Web 2.0") hosted by TechTV's Leo Laporte. net@nite is part of the TWiT podcast network. The TWiT podcast was recently rated as #9 on TIME's top podcast list . As always stay tuned at our development blog at http://blog.tecker.net/.
I am also creating a new derivative, Conflicter (http://conflicter.org). Conflicter is a place for frank discussions on global issues. This is being done in conjunction with my Cultures Project. The site has languished, but I will finish it eventually.
Tecker 911, the video technology help webcast is coming along nicly. The first 4 episodes are up at http://911.tecker.net and are starting to be aired on Channel 11 in Haverford Township. The show is coming along nicely, now I just need to find the time to edit three more episodes already filmed and edit the unboxing of my new cameraphone.
Speaking of busy, I am really swamped. End of the semester is comming up at the end of the year and that means all of the teachers are dumping work on us, finals to study for, and final projects to do. See my groups paper on Globalization. The World Cultures Portfolio also is a nightmare of work.
PS. I don't know what happened to the photo section. I think it kinda died. Sorry. I think I will take it off the homepage now ;)
My friend (and Tecker partner), Michael Gdovin, has launched his business, w3life (http://w3life.com) and his personal website Gdovin.net (http://gdovin.net) two months ago. Not much has happened, but check it out.