Surf's up -
Memorial University is full of archival treasures. As a student and as a journalist, I've had the good fortune of being able to take advantage of its many resources, particularly the peerless Centre for Newfoundland Studies.
You don't have to be on campus to gain access to some of the treasures. Indeed, a good few of them can be seen on your screen, whether you're in Portugal Cove or Peru.
Memorial University: Digital Collections Initiative
Most people in the province have at least heard of the Terms of Union, but how many have read them? Through the Digital Collections Initiative, you can see the original text, page by page. That and scores of other documents have been scanned and made accessible, with new material still coming in. You'll see boat designs, interviews, historical records, materials from professional groups ... the list goes on and on.
I was particularly intrigued with copies of Sir Wilfred Grenfell's magazine Among The Deep Sea Fishers, which helped spread the Grenfell word far from the shores of Labrador. Yes, it's not like seeing the real thing, but even at the university, the alternative before these pages were scanned was microfilm. Even better: I was able to download what I want as a PDF, so I can look at it later, at my leisure.
Have a look around. There are some gems here.
James Joyce's great novel is being adapted in a graphic-novel format, available on this still-developing website. Some Joyce aficionados may be offended to see the novel's characters and events (all of which unfold on a single Dublin day in 1904) depicted like a comic book, but others ought to be impressed by Robert Berry's adaptation, which is bold, imaginative and really entertaining. To augment the experience, each page is linked to a readers' guide. Let's hope Berry and his collaborators have the stamina to continue.
Is your company or organization using Twitter to communicate with its audience or employees? To allow multiple users to access a Twitter account, consider Cotweet, which has become popular with companies huge and small. Among its features are a keyword-monitoring tool and an ability to assign tasks to particular employees.
If you dug a hole from St. John's straight through the planet, where would you end up? As it turns out, it's in the ocean south of Australia. This is an application that makes a fun mashup with Google Maps; plot one point anywhere on Earth, and see where the end point would be.
Inside Rock Band
How did Rock Band launch and turn so quickly into a pop-culture phenomenon, far beyond what people (even its creators) imagined a videogame could be? And how did the Beatles version come to be?
The Chicago public radio program Sound Opinions offered some unique insight on its latest show, available as a downloadable podcast on this link, with an interview with Greg LoPiccolo, who not only helped develop Rock Band but also helped concoct rival game Guitar Hero.
For more on the show, go to soundopinions.org.
Set yourself on fire ... or at least a jpeg of yourself, or of anything else, for that matter. Photofunia has some cool ways to play with your own image, from casting your mug onto a stamp or a full-wall poster or a television set or ... well, you get the picture. So to speak.
Can't You See I'm Busy?
"Boss mode" is a phrase that was invented about, oh, a few hours after the first PC-based game was introduced. I remember seeing a keyboard-shooter game that ripped off Asteroids in which hitting a function key brought up what looked like a spreadsheet.
Can't You See I'm Busy adapts Boss Mode, except that the entire screen for each of the three games looks like either a spreadsheet or a text-based program.
John Gushue is a writer in St. John's. Blog: johngushue.typepad.com. Twitter: twitter.com/JohnGushue.