Posted on Monday, December 29th, 2008 by Shachar Pessis
NORAD Tracks Santa – For more than half a century, the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) and its descendant organization – the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) – have been tracking Santa’s flight route on each Christmas Eve. The tradition began in 1955 after a Colorado Springs-based Sears Roebuck & Co.’s advertisement for children to call Santa misprinted their telephone number. Instead of reaching Santa, the phone number put kids through to the CONAD Commander-in-Chief’s operations “hot line.” The Director of Operations at the time, Colonel Harry Shoup, had his staff check the radar for indications of Santa making his way south from the North Pole. Children who called were given updates on the gift-bearing hero’s location, and a tradition was thus born. In 1958, the governments of Canada and the United States created a bi-national air defense command for North America, i.e, NORAD. NORAD inherited the tradition of tracking Santa’s whereabouts. Since then, NORAD men, women, family and friends have volunteered their time to personally respond to phone calls and emails from children on Christmas Eve. In addition, NORAD tracks Santa using a designated website. It is said that millions of people who want to know the exact location of Santa are checking him online. Thank God for the Internet. How else could we have figured out Santa’s location just as easily as we can track the ETA of a commercial airplane?
Jacquie Lawson eCards – Jacquie Lawson is an artist whose expertise includes illustration, drawing, painting, design (including architectural perspectives), book illustration and cartoons. In the autumn of 2000 Jacquie created her first animated e-card, the “Christmas Cottage,” and sent it to a few of her friends by e-mail. Over the subsequent weeks she was amazed to receive e-mails from hundreds of people all over the world who had received the e-card from friends. The flattering responses brought Jacquie into the e-cards business, and she has created a site that offers various e-cards for different occasions. The e-cards are viewable for free, but you will be required to join (12 $ yearly fee for an unlimited membership) if you’d like to add a personal note to them. Although Christmas is already over, you can still wish your friends a Happy New Year in style.
The Laugh Button – If you feel the need for a bit of a giggle, then you have reached the right place. The Laugh Button offers a comprehensive list of online comedy excerpts. Users can choose from one of the following playlists: Editors’ picks, Users’ top-rated picks, Random picks, Comedy TV . You can also simply search for your fave comedian or topic. I tried all of their offered channels and I found to be the most pleasing of all was their search feature’s execution: its accuracy and variety are quite impressive. I even found one of my fave skits as a child – Ice Cream Man – Eddie Murphy. As I explored the site, I was wondering how come the Laugh Button offered only audio plays of their offered content? Why don’t they offer embedded videos of comedians? This boggles me and I’m sure you’ll feel the same in this video-abundant era of the Internet. Nevertheless, my overall experience of this site was an enjoyable one so sit back, listen, and laugh your head off…
kaChing – kaChing sounds like a sound Chandler Bing would make. The truth is, this site is far from being funny. kaChing, the well-known sound of a cashier’s machine, is a social investing community dealing with virtual buying and selling of any US stocks and ETFs. kaChing participants compete as virtual money managers, and as of mid 2009 you will be able to link your brokerage accounts to the portfolios of the Top KaChing Managers and automatically follow their trades. As strange as it might seem, they had received the SEC approval to do so. This comes as a surprise particularly due to the KaChing disclaimer: “kaChing does not make any representations or warranties as to the accuracy, completeness, or relevance of any information posted by the users of the kaChing application or other third party sources.” My personal thoughts on the matter are that kaChing is a great knowledge application and it should stay this way. Linking it directly to brokers’ account could lead to cases of fraud. Feel free to follow my kaChing profile but I can’t make any promises or guarantees. I would appreciate it if you didn’t link me to your broker’s account ;-).
Top 10 TIME – Time Magazine has completed a Top 10 Everything of 2008. What does ‘Everything’ exactly mean? Well, it basically means that you can find 2008’s top fifty of the following fields of interests: Albums, Animal Stories, Awkward Moments, Best Biz Deals, Best Performances, Breakups, Buzzwords, Campaign Gaffes, Campaign Video Moments, Children’s Books, Crime Stories, Editorial Cartoons, Election Photos, Fashion Moments, Fashion Faux Pas, Fiction Books, Financial Collapses, Fleeting Celebrities, Food Trends, Gadgets, Green Ideas, iPhone Apps, Late Night Jokes, Magazine Covers, Medical Breakthroughs, Movies, Museum Exhibits, News Stories, Non-fiction Books, Oddball News Stories, Olympic Moments, Open Mike Moments, Outrageous Earmarks, Photos, Plays and Musicals, Political Lines, Quotes, Religion Stories, Scandals, Scientific Discoveries, Songs, Sports Moments, T-shirt Worthy Slogans, TV Ads, TV Episodes, TV Series, Under reported Stories, Video Games, Viral Videos and Worst Biz Deals. One thing is certain, this is a great pass time activity for snowy days. I went through more than ten lists and can assure you that these lists are enjoyable, comprehensive and totally impartial. BTW: my personal fave list is Top 10 Magazine Covers. The magazines are well chosen and are absolutely stunning. Also, I thought it was nice that Time Magazine even created this list to begin with, because no one would have missed it if it didn’t exist. Moreover, by creating this list Time Magazine is giving primetime to its competitors, but hey, isn’t providing the best for your readers the very essence of objective journalism?
Serious Eats – Serious Eats is a website focused on celebrating and sharing food enthusiasm through blogs and online community. The unique combination of community and content brings together distinctive food news, reliable eating advice from all over the world and the best recipes from cookbook writers, chefs, and the Serious Eats community. Serious Eats reflects the pleasure and joy we all derive from celebrating, discovering, cooking, eating, and sharing great food. Make sure you don’t miss the Photograzing section. It is updated daily with excellent food photos that make you want to munch on the screen. Yummy!
The 5th Medium – What is The 5th Medium (t5m)? In the old days, one would be informed of the world’s affairs via newspapers and/or radio. Once television came along, the visual communication medium made yet another jump. Now that we have the Internet as a digital information provider, the avenues through which knowledge is gathered and consumed are virtually infinite. The 5th Medium can be seen as the online video revolution which brings all of the above mentioned mediums together. t5m wants to be part of this revolution by specializing in creating and producing video interviews with celebrated people and special venues. I watched two full interviews with Kelly Slater and Roger Sanchez and I must complement the site’s production endeavor; everything from the editing to content is exceptional and well performed. I was mesmerized throughout the interviews I saw and, as a result of such an excellent experience, my conclusion is that t5m will, no doubt, play a leading role in the online video revolution. Despite all my praises however, the only thing I feel they lack is interviewers with major figures; Kelly and Roger are indeed interesting people but it would have been better if t5m could nail video conversations with mega-celebs and outstanding individuals such as Brad Pitt, Steve Jobs, Thomas Friedman or Madonna, just to name a few. Kapish?
egofoto – The egofoto is a project by Senol Zorlu – a photographer and researcher of children living on the streets. The egofoto project emerged from the intention to show individuality and dignity of people living under conditions which the western world isn’t that familiar with. The images and portraits reveal life in the poverty-stricken areas of the world and these produce a fascinating expression of the personal view of people and instances. This site is both beautiful and thought-provoking. Strongly recommended.
Ashtons Family Resort – Help the Ashtons family open unique resorts in different places around the globe! From the Alps to Africa, there’s something different about each resort you open. Serve clients, keep them entertained with fun activities and earn money! With your income, you can create your own landscape design, buy a variety of devices and purchase upgrades. Do you like this kind of games? If you answered yes, you can find similar ones on our Skills Faveline. Enjoy!