I’m Getting a Wii Tomorrow

I’ve been hoping to get a Nintendo Wii system since it’s release; however, I figured that I would be in for a wait with the high demand and not knowing when more Wii systems will arrive anywhere.

This may not be the case. I received a very reliable tip from an employee at a store not too far from where I live: this store will place a shipment of Wii systems on sale tomorrow. Apparently, very few people know the details about this and I’m really excited to get my hands on one of these consoles. Me and a friend of mine will be heading out early tomorrow morning to claim our Wii systems… I’ll update after I get one!

Update: Yes, I got one. Waited 5 hours, 30 minutes. I love it. Here are some photos from camping at Best Buy.

Application Received!

Application Complete

Looks like my application did go through after a few hours of waiting for their web site to come back online. The status means it’s waiting to be looked at by a committee. Exciting! I’ll know the decision in a month (December 15).

I still have to send in my applications for several other colleges. They don’t have very tight deadlines though… 🙂 I’ll get to them tomorrow.

Things You Don’t Want To See When Submitting Your College Application Online

Application Error
Unable to connect

I was about to submit my University of Illinois application when these lovely screens appeared. I still can’t access their server after 30 minutes of trying to log back in. Just a bit worried about my application, which is due by Wednesday… I hope these issues work themselves out soon!

Scrivener: The App for Writers

I stumbled across Scrivener yesterday from a blog post I can no longer remember. I downloaded it today and I found the interface so initiative I’m already using it to write my college essays.

This Mac OS X app is great for efficiently writing. I am able to separate my writing into sections which have their own meta-data, such as notes and tags. I can also annotate and highlight my work. In addition, a live word count is always visible which is a big deal for writing papers which have a word limit or minimum. Plus, it has a full screen mode (similar to WriteRoom) that allows me to focus on writing by eliminating everything else on the screen. There are just too many good features to list here.

I’m not even a professional writer and I am loving this program for writing my small projects. I’d recommend checking out Scrivener, a product of a one-man operation, by download the free Beta 3 or the freeware Scrivener Gold (a very early beta of Scrivener).

I’ve tried both versions and they are both very nice. The Beta 3 is very polished and looks great and is simpler to use; however, I think I’ll stick with Scrivener Gold for now because it’ll always be free and has everything I need. 🙂 Plus, I can always upgrade later to the full version.

So, if you’re into writing or just forced to in class, try Scrivener to save your sanity when writing your next work.

College Application Essays

These next few weeks will be the most difficult of my senior year: getting applications in for college. I have most of them filled out but I still have personal essays (or “statements”) to write for a few colleges. The University of Illinois requires two essays: one for your personal description and one for your professional description. However, each of these are limited to about 300 words in length.

I’ve drafted my personal essay this last weekend and it weighed in at 750 words. It’s extremely difficult to say everything I want to say in such a limited amount of space, and given how these essays can make or break an application, it’s important to get it right. In all honesty, I wish that all colleges would require a personal interview with an admissions officer. That way, I could express so much more and answer concerns or questions that the school might have about my academic, personal, and professional backgrounds… much more so than I can squeeze into 300 words. Impractical? Maybe, but it would be better in my case.

By the way, I didn’t make class president (despite some awesome campaign stickers), but I did make class treasurer. I get to manage money and that’s fine with me! Plus, I got a senior parking space… it’s a win-win.

MySpace Profile Facelift

MySpace RedesignAbout a month ago, I followed the excellent guide to style a MySpace profile over at Mike Industries. He detailed many details about the challenges he faced in his blog that I shared when doing my own (still awful) modifications when I first signed up for a MySpace. I never thought I would be able to have my profile look as appealing as his styled goodness, however, he was nice enough to include some sample CSS for all to enjoy. Finally, I can seperate myself from the thousands of awful profiles that litter MySpace. Yay for Mike!

I took his code and with some changes and my own graphics I finally have a MySpace profile worth looking at (see screenshot at right). I’m very happy with it: it’s about as good as it could look without overlaying the whole page or commenting out chunks of HTML. Check it out, and have a look at Mike’s guide to make your own.

Social Currency

I just read an interesting article called “Social Currency” by Douglas Rushkoff. This guy really hits the nail on the head regarding the purpose of content to most people, both offline and online. Although the article is a bit dated (written in January 2001), the concepts he illustrates are still very relevant today.

He explains:

We think of a medium as the thing that delivers content. But the delivered content is a medium in itself. Content is just a medium for interaction between people. The many forms of content we collect and experience online, I’d argue, are really just forms of ammunition — something to have when the conversation goes quiet at work the next day. An excuse to start a discussion with that attractive person in the next cubicle: “Hey! Did you see that streaming video clip at streamingvideoclips.com?”

Social currency is like a good joke. When a bunch of friends sit around and tell jokes, what are they really doing? Entertaining one another? Sure, for a start. But they are also using content — mostly unoriginal content that they’ve heard elsewhere — in order to lubricate a social occasion. And what are most of us doing when we listen to a joke? Trying to memorize it so that we can bring it somewhere else. The joke itself is social currency. “Invite Harry. He tells good jokes. He’s the life of the party.”

I couldn’t explain it better myself. Check out the rest of the article.