Archive for the Research Category

Free Education and Politicians Have Nothing to do With it

Posted in Research on October 28, 2011 by Ethan Dickenson

Well, you don’t have to spend a small fortune to get an education after all!  If your goal is to learn and increase your knowledge without investing a small fortune then this site should be of great interest to you.   Khan Academy provides college level courses free of charge via video clips on the internet!  Perfect for those of us who have the time and ambition to learn but lack the finances to extend our education.  I’ve always wanted to see if I had the capacity to understand and learn some of the more advanced courses in mathmatics and now I’ve got a way to explore that without laying everything on the line to find out.  Hats off to Kahn University for making it possible for anyone to learn to his or her own potential regardless of financial capacity (the only limitation being a computer and a connection to the internet…).


Wow… this site has some of the most important lectures available to humanity.  Here you can see the same lectures being given at some of the most prestigious universities in the world.




Diggin Today’s News

Posted in Desktop Enhancement, Entertainment, Graphics, Programming, Research, Web Site on August 24, 2007 by Ethan Dickenson

Digg has come up with some new front ends to their service. It looks like Intel sponsored one of the interfaces, which is the type of business activity they do a lot of. So I decided to download the Flashdigg object and run it on my PC. I’ve never scene a such a CPU intensive object! It had my AMD Athlon 3500+ maxed out consistently! Maybe they have something in there that makes AMD processors look bad ;). Just kidding, I haven’t even tried it on an Intel machine but I’m sure that Flash object will max out most of today’s desktop machines. The good news is that there is a great solution to that problem. Just log onto Digg’s site and let their processors do the work. There is no difference in the quality or look of the object and Digg has 3 more ‘views’ of their data.

This is truly the best way I’ve seen for staying up on the day’s news. You can view it through some really great visual interfaces and you’re only 2 clicks away from the actual story. Of course, the information you are getting is Digg data. Therefore, it is based on their ‘rating’ of the stories but Digg is as good a measure as anything else out there today. So with all things considered, this is a great way to get the news and you don’t even have to download anything. Just go to Digg’s site and pick which interface is the best for you. You can follow the link below to their website and start interacting with today’s news data right away!

Storing Web Pages Just got Easier

Posted in Download Management, Firefox, Firefox Extension, Research on August 18, 2007 by Ethan Dickenson

Zotero is a Firefox extension that will be of great value to you if you are maintaining a blog or doing research on the web or any reason that involves storing web pages. Zotero provides you with an interface that lets you store web pages, in a variety of formats, and retrieve them with a variety of tools. The trick to making it the ‘run away’ winner in the ‘best of breed’ category is based on three important variables.

  • Convenience – Zotero places an icon (it’s actually the word Zotero) on the bottom of your browser in the status bar. When you click on the icon, the bottom of your browser rises up about 3 inches and you see the Zotero interface. So the program is right on hand and ready any time you are.
  • Storage- Zotero gives you several ways to store the page you are looking at. You can link to the page, save the item as (I’m assuming) an html page so when you pull it up it will look just like it did when you viewed it, you can take a snapshot of the page (stores it in an image format), and you can write a note about the page that gets stored along with the rest of the information.
  • Retrieval- So once you have all this information stored away you need a way to get to it. While you were going through the process of saving all these links, web pages, snapshots, and notes, you’ve been creating a filing system. So you can navigate to the files just like you wouldanything you’ve stored on your hard drive. Zotero also provides a search engine. So if you’ve created a huge archive and the file system is just the tip of the iceberg, you can run a search and retrieve the information. There is even a way to index your files for optimized searching. You also have the ability to ‘tag’ the entry so you can look things up that way as well. Zotero doesn’t just list the files like you would see them on your hard drive, although you can ask Zotero to open the database file where they are stored, everything is bundled up nicely and delivered through their interface. You retrieve the item you’ve saved and then on the right side of the interface there are buttons and tabs that let you pull up the snapshot, notes, or associated files… In general, everything is bundled up very nicely and it’s a lot prettier than weeding through the files on your system.

To sum things up, Zotero does a great job of helping you store information and then making it available when you need it. It’s a big task, much more complicated than most extensions, and Zotero does it better than anything else I’ve worked with. So install it in your Firefox browser today. I’ve put a link that will take you right to Zotero below.

ps – In case you are wondering where the name comes from, this is a picture of Zotero, I thought he was a guy on a horse with a sword, but that was a long time ago…