Face it. You’ve been at plenty of parties and gatherings where you’ve found yourself in a sticky situation. Maybe you’re at a party and you want to approach a certain attractive someone yet you don’t want to use a pilthy opener. Or you want to network with someone at a conference but you need a good way to introduce yourself.

MixonMixers has made sticky situations even more sticky!

Wait, let me explain. At some parties and nearly all conferences / workshops, participants wear name-tags. Instead of just having one’s name (and business / agency info), how about affixing a small sticker with a graphic showing what kind of personality or interest you have? Perhaps a Spock graphic showing that you’re a true-blue Trekkie, a peace symbol sticker for down-to-earth folks, a Hogwarts sticker just for the heck of it, or a Shrek sticker revealing your inner child. That way, other people would get a glimpse of what kind of person you are just by looking at your name-tag, and conversations would be begun much more easily.

That’s the entire premise behind MixonMixers. At MikonMixers, the host(ess) can select from thousands of different icons (or even design her/his own or hire others via the webpage to design them!) and then order dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of sheets of different icons. Then s/he can distribute them to participants at parties or conferences. Nice!

Pricing seems a bit steep and may be a bit confusing at first. It charges a declining rate depending on how many hundreds of sheets you order and how many icons you put on these sheets. For example, MikonMixers charges $1 per sheet (and a $9 set-up fee) of 21 different stickers when you order just 1-99 sheets, 90 cents (with no set-up fee) per sheet for 100-249 sheets, and so on.

Be sure to give yourself enough time when ordering this for your next event. Up to 7 business days are required for shipping small orders, and longer for larger orders.

Go forth and create sticky situations!

I use Weather Underground (Wunderground for short) as my source for all weather-related info. Most of its weather info is free, and for a low low yearly fee of $10 you can get access to more services like longer animations, no ads, and a few other goodies.

I’m a freak for radar maps. I love checking radar maps and seeing if any storms are coming, trying to predict how long it would be before it starts to rain (or, heaven willing, snow!) in my area, how severe the storm may be, etc. etc. I’ve been quite disappointed with most of the radar maps out there, even on Wunderground … Until I came across a new Weather Underground feature: WunderMaps.

(Click on the image for a larger view)

WunderMap Screenshot

This feature uses zoomable / moveable Google Maps as its underlying map. Since Google Maps is my favorite mapping application, this is already a big plus in Weather Underground’s favor. There are a good variety of options and settings with different animation options (and don’t forget, you get even more options and longer animations if you pay the low low $10 yearly fee), including:

  • NEXRAD satellite data, with adjustable opacity, number of animation frames (up to 6 if non-paying, up to 15 if paying member), adjustable frame delay, and off/on storm tracks.
  • Weather station data, with options for various weather-related information
  • Severe storm warnings
  • Webcams (nice!)
  • More satellite data (I presume on the cloud cover versus NEXRAD data which only displays precipation info)
  • USGS river information, including water flow, flood stage, and other info
  • Model data showing pressure, accumulated precipitation, different models, and much more
  • Hurricane data
  • Fire data, including fires in the area as well as smoke cover

To find the WunderMap for your town, enter the zip code of your town in the search box at the top and then click on the “WunderMap” link.

If you think your favorite online weather radar gives better info, let us know in the comments!

Some trivia: Weather Underground, for some reason, took its name from a radical leftist organization from the 1960′s and 1970′s which incited at least one riot and bombed several buildings (including the U.S. Capitol, Pentagon, and U.S. Department of State). Don’t you love a website on the fringe? Uh, not …

Some screenshots of the various WunderMap options:

Facebook makes it easy for people to find and contact you. Now, the question is, do you want them to find you? Fortunately, there’s a Facebook page where you can make changes to whether non-friends can find and contact you.

If you go to the Facebook Search Privacy page, you’ll see a range of settings. You can set who can find you via the search box on Facebook (everyone, your networks, friends of friends, friends, and/or custom). You can turn off the “public search listing” that shows up in Google (!!) — I forgot about that one myself. And you can turn on or off several settings for how people can view or contact you; whether they can see your picture, send you a message, add you as a friend, and/or view your friend list. (I didn’t realize my “view your friend list” was still checked! I’m gonna uncheck it right now.)

See screenshot below.

Facebook Search Privacy

Now, go forth and make yourself invisible to non-friends if you want!

This is part of an on-going series of posts on Facebook privacy.  See related posts on photo albums, profile page, and search options.

Facebook LogoCan anybody and their taxi drivers view your Facebook profile? Do you really want them to?

Facebook has made it possible for you to individually set the privacy levels for almost all areas (or “boxes”) on your profile page via its profile privacy page. There, you can adjust privacy settings for the profile as a whole, for your basic and personal info, status updates, photos and videos tagged of you, your list of friends, your wall, and your work and education information. You can set these individually to be viewed only by your friends, by your friends and network(s), or by friends of friends. You can even customize these settings by picking one or more of these options. See screenshot below (click for a larger view).

Facebook Profile Privacy page

I thought my profile was limited to just my friends. Much to my dismay and while checking my profile privacy page for this post, I discovered that my profile wasn’t limited to only my friends. In fact, when I joined the Washington, DC network so that I could have Facebook Chat, my privacy settings were changed (without my knowledge) so that EVERYONE in the Washington, DC settings could view my profile! Aiiigggggh! The screenshot above shows that “Only Friends” and everyone in the “Washington, DC” network can see my profile stuff. I’m changing my settings so that only my friends can see my profile and the boxes on it.

Anyway …

Many folks may want to make sure their profiles are viewable only by their own friends. Some folks are more, ahem, open or seeking or adventuresome and may want to open up their profile. Either way, you may want to check your profile privacy page and make sure the settings there are what you want (or expect!) them to be. In my case, I’m glad I checked — I didn’t know 8,000,000 people in Washington, DC could view my profile. (And in fact, just about anybody can change or add their network to Washington, DC even if they’re not living there.)

This is part of an on-going series of posts on Facebook privacy.  See related posts on photo albums, profile page, and search options.

Facebook LogoI loooove Facebook. And so do many of my friends! In our photo albums, we post photos of our kids, of ourselves (whether it be sunnying ourselves at the beach or something a bit more decent), of our friends, even of our pets doing stupid tricks or just looking cute (come to think of it, so do the photos of our kids).

What many people don’t realize is that each photo album has its own privacy setting. When you first create a photo album — whether it’s your first or 10th — its privacy level is automatically set to “Everyone.” That means everyone can see it. You can choose from several privacy levels: Everyone, My Network and Friends, Only people at your network, Friends of Friends, or Only Friends. You can even customize who can and can’t see these photos. See screenshot below of the page that appears when you create a photo album:

Facebook Create Album Privacy Settings

If you only want your Friends to see these photos, then be sure to select “Only Friends.” Otherwise, everyone and their hairdressers would be able to see YOUR photos even if you’ve got the rest of your profile restricted to Friends only.

You can go back and check the privacy setting of all of your albums all at once via Facebook’s Photos Privacy page. Here, you’ll see a list of all of your photo albums with the option of changing the privacy level of each of these albums. Too bad there’s no option to change all of the albums at once — so if you’ve got 20 albums, it’ll be tedious changing each one individually. Be sure to click on “Save Settings” at the bottom of the page once you’ve changed the privacy setting(s)! Here’s a screenshot of what this page looks like.

Facebook Album Privacy Settings

So, go forth and have fun on Facebook, and be careful with your privacy!

This is part of an on-going series of posts on Facebook privacy.  See related posts on photo albums, profile page, and search options.

When I got onto my computer, I opened Facebook — and saw a friend’s status message that said:

woke up at 5:35 am… thanks to earthquake, that shake in Indiana

Earthquake status message on facebook

Whoa, an earthquake? In Indiana?! I sent that friend a wall-to-wall message asking if it was a meteorite strike rather than an earthquake, like what happened in another part of the USA the day before. No, it was indeed an earthquake, she said, and a 5.4 magnitude earthquake at that.

CNN soon confirmed it. A 5.4 magnitude earthquake took place in Illinois, and was felt as far away as where my friend is in Indiana. There are photos of damage. CNN has (at this moment) even stripped its home page to the bare basics to make it load quicker because so many people have been “hitting” CNN’s home page for news.

CNN earthquake article screenshot

I’ve heard of people using the social features of the Internet to share news.  This is similar to when people use Twitter to get out of jail in Egypt.  But this is my first time I’ve heard of a major news story from a friend via Facebook before I heard of it elsewhere on the news.

Getting word out about something newsworthy on a national scope, and having friends hear about it first before the news even report it? That’s something new, and that’s certainly something powerful.

Folks who are in the earthquake zone, keep us updated via your Facebook status messages, willya? And hope all is well at your homes and elsewhere.

MyPunchbowl Now Travels

April 15, 2008

MyPunchbowl logoMy favorite party-planning website, MyPunchbowl, just got better. It has partnered with Kayak.com and is now offering flight / hotel / car search services directly from the MyPunchbowl site. That is, guests who confirm party attendance can now make travel arrangements as well. Convenience, with Punch served with it!

Specifically:

  • Event hosts can search flights, cars, and hotels directly from their MyPunchbowl account
  • Event guests have travel search capabilities directly within the MyPunchbowl save the date or online invitation
  • A simple option enables hosts to choose whether or not to display the travel center on the guest view

Not sure yet if guests can make reservations directly from the MyPunchbowl site, or if they’d be taken to Kayak.com to complete arrangements.

MyPunchbowl and Kayak.com

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