For the past four years, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta has participated in Extra Life, a gaming marathon in support of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals®. This year the annual 24-hour charity event will kickoff at 8 am on Saturday, October 20th.
Gamers interested in participating need to first register on the site, and then get friends and family to sponsor their efforts (playing video games all day). Sponsorship can be in the form of a monthly pledge or a one-time gift. From there, gamers just select the children’s hospital they want to play for (CMN Hospitals are located in the US, Canada, UK and Australia). Registration is completely free, with a suggested $15 Platinum option available to those who want in on the prizes and goodies awarded to top players.
More information can be found on either the Children’s Healthcare or Extra Life websites. It can’t hurt to participate if you have the time.. especially if you’re gonna be sitting in front of that Xbox anyway.
Hmm. The more I look at the word “trees,” the less it looks like the correct spelling. Imagined typos aside, if you’re in Atlanta this Saturday trees will be taking center stage at the once-a-year Tree Sale put on by the nonprofit organization Trees Atlanta.
Located in the Cabbagetown / Reynoldstown area, the Trees Atlanta headquarters will be packed with all types of trees and shurbs, including (eventually) mighty oaks, magnolias, hydrangeas, redbuds, Japanese maples, dogwoods, and more. To further entice humans into bringing home one or more of these branch-bearing beauties, Trees Atlanta will host a festival with music, food trucks, and a sheep petting zoo. In addition, there will be demos on tree planting and pruning, informative booths, and more topiary resources than you can shake a stick at.
So, come out on Saturday and save a tree. You’re sure to spot some Ripplers loading up their wheelbarrows and trucks with some of Atlanta’s indigenous (and cheap) oxygen-makers. Or, at the very least, having some grub and digging on some pet sounds. See you there.
Between now and the October 26th release date, Microsoft is allowing curious folk to check out the all new Windows 8 (both the 32 and 64 bit versions) with a 90-day evaluation download available at MSDN and TechNet.
While intended for IT professionals and app developers, anyone can to take 8 for a spin. Microsoft’s hoping that early use of their new OS will create some buzz. However, since this trial version cannot be upgraded to the eventual full release, it’s suggested that users install the RTM download on a virtual machine or a separate hard drive (always a good idea when previewing software).
According to initial reviews, the Windows interface has been greatly streamlined, prominently features Microsoft’s Bing search engine, and contains a Store (similar in nature to the much beloved Apple Store). In addition to the changes in style, Windows 8 boasts less battery drain, faster downloads, and quicker installation of apps. Whether or not Clippy makes a return to the scene has not yet been determined.
Although Georgia isn’t one of the states with a ban on tossing tech gear in the trash, it’s a good idea to recycle your outdated towers and ‘tops, unless you are particularly fond of heavy metals seeping into your ground water.
In Atlanta, we recommend donating your old, but functioning stuff to Computers For Youth, an organization that provides “more than 100 high-poverty public schools with training for teachers, students and their parents along with a free broadband-ready home computer loaded with educational software and 24×7 bilingual help desk support.” It’s a good cause, and the people at CFY are always super appreciative for the gift of what would otherwise end up in the garbage.
Hotmail is going the way of Zip drives and Qwikster. Not now, but soon and for the rest of your life. It’s all part of Microsoft’s rebranding of their quickly fading web-based email service. Instead of revamping Hotmail or introducing a completely new product (something Microsoft hasn’t done all that well in quite awhile), the powers that be decided to take the popular Outlook client to the cloud. And it’s already getting good buzz, with over a million users having signed up in the first few hours of it’s debut on Tuesday.
Though still widely-used, Hotmail has been the butt of many jokes inside the tech world (which is not where I recommend you look for comedy). It’s due in part to the popularity of Google’s revolutionary Gmail service (and to a lesser degree Yahoo!). But the new web-based Outlook promises to be a real competitor, featuring a streamlined browser that makes sorting and composing emails pretty easy. For those used to Hotmail’s somewhat clunky interface, it should be a welcome change. And for those wanting an equally powerful alternative to Gmail, Outlook will not disappoint. Whether or not it will steal anyone away remains to be seen, as early sign up is not always indicative of sustained use (Google+ anyone?).
DropBox has announced that a number of usernames and passwords stolen from other websites have been used to hack into DropBox accounts. This came to their attention a few weeks ago when people reported receiving spam from a number of DropBox.com email addresses. As it turns out, one of the stolen passwords was that of a DropBox employee, and a document from his account contained the usernames and passwords of many users. This compromise in security is largely responsible for the spam emails, as well as much of the hacked DB accounts.
So, what can DropBox users do to prevent further security issues? First, change your password on the DropBox site (linked devices will remain linked). Second, if you’re one of those people who uses the same username and password combo on multiple sites… stop doing that. Hackers used stolen name and password combinations from other less secure sites inorder to login to DB accounts. Had the passwords been different from those used on DropBox.com, these accounts would not have been in jeopardy.
Recently in an episode of my favorite podcast, America’s Test Kitchen, the hosts talked to Mary Roach, author of Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void about astronaut food, eating, and what happens after eating. In discussing the history of space food and eating at NASA, Mary explains a curiously human tangent to all the science. When space flights transitioned from a couple days in a cramped cockpit to spending months in space stations, the astronauts found their environment was missing an essential piece of equipment: a dinner table.
At Ripple, we’re fueled by the espresso drinks made on our in-office machine. But unfortunately the M29 Selectron is not very portable. So, when at home, we employ time-tested techniques for making caffeinated beverages. And in case you didn’t know, there are lots of different ways to brew those beans.
There are those folk who swear by one technique, but it’s really just a matter of personal preference. Some like the full-bodied taste and texture of French Press. Others are more inclined to seek out the clean and balanced cup that using a paper filter produces. Of course, there are more unique and stranger approaches, but in an effort to not make this analysis anymore convuluted, we’ll focus on presses and paper filters.
This week I’m trying something radically different than my normal routine. I’m going to try to limit myself to one espresso, coffee, or similarly caffeinated drink per day. It’s a bold choice considering I haven’t gone more than a day without ingesting at least three (usually an Espresso in the morning, Americano in the afternoon, and some Earl Grey after dinner) in quite awhile. But what began as a love of good coffee and strong tea has become an addiction that makes mornings without caffeine something of a cross between sleepy and irritable. I’m sure my fiancee could be more descriptive, but for the sake of brevity (and in avoidance of slander), I’ll leave it at that.
That’s right! There’s a monthly competition in Atlanta where baristas from all over town (and sometimes beyond) get together, pitch in 5 dollars, and try their luck at pouring the best latte art. And from what we’ve observed, the Atlanta barista community knows how to throw a party.
Sooo… latte art? Yep, if you’ve ever ventured beyond the corporate chains to an independent coffeehouse you’ll likely be familiar with the hearts, flowers, and more abstract designs that can be created from pouring frothed milk into espresso by way of skillful, steady hands. It’s a sight to see for sure, but also a good indication that the person across the counter actually cares what goes into the cup.
You can catch the next Throwdown this coming Thursday, May 10th, at Octane Westside. It’s free to attend and watch. And if you’ve had some experience on an espresso machine, you can toss in a fiver and bet on your ability to craft a cash-winning pour. You might even spot some Ripplers in the crowd cheering for the competitors. So, whether your all in for the competition, or just a sideline spectator, we urge you to head to Octane, get a beer, and check out this Atlanta-born experience.