Six Tips For Destroying the Competition in Geoguessr

I just discovered the insanely addictive Google-maps-based game Geoguessr. If you’re not familiar with it, the game picks out a random Google street view location and you have to figure out where you are. It’s essentially a role-playing game where you pretend you blacked-out and/or were kidnapped by Carmen Sandiego, and woke up in a strange place on Earth. The closer you guess to the correct location, the more points you get. Sometimes you get placed on a busy interstate and can easily figure out your position, other times you’re on a desolate highway or on a small winding forest road which looks like it could be anywhere in the world. These 6 simple hints will allow you to zero-in on your location quickly, or at least ensure that you’re not guessing the wrong hemisphere.

1. Google Street View’s Range

Despite Google’s seemingly endless panopticonic abilities, they still have only mapped a small portion of the world’s streets. This information is by far the most important thing to know as it literally cuts your guessing options in half. It also explains why you’ll get a ton of locations in Brazil, the US, and Canada as opposed to other places in the Americas. Check out this map.

Street View

Think you might be in an African country? Bam! This map narrows your choices to about 3. Just placing your guess within South Africa will guarantee you about 2000 points. Continue reading “Six Tips For Destroying the Competition in Geoguessr”

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The Rise of Disqus – Is Social Media Commenting a Natural Monopoly?

Seeing as how I haven’t posted anything all that serious in a while, I decided to give this blog a bit more legitimacy by talking about something relevant instead of vikings or zombie shows. Don’t worry though, there will be plenty more of that in the future.

Without a doubt more and more people are heading online to get their news. According to Pew half of the country now gets their news digitally, but you hardly need their survey to notice the rise and growth (and eventual acquisition) of sites like Huffington Post, or the rise of online programming from already-established cable news networks, or that every local anchorperson, journalist, and meteorologist is on Twitter. Less visible are the communities that flock to digital news for social interaction.

Many, if not nearly all news sites have at least a forum to discuss the stories of the day, most will allow comments directly underneath a posted story. These comments allow an immediate response to breaking news, a chance of rebuttal to any opinion story, and, more importantly, a formation of news communities. Many news sites use their own internal commenting system and therefore have their own internal communities, others will allow users to login with other accounts like their Yahoo or Facebook profiles, yet for news sites and blogs using a third-party commenting system there’s a diversity drop-off. According to a 2011 study by Lijit, the commenting platform Disqus controls 75% of that market, destroying its competitors Livefyre and Echo. Disqus is now used on such prominent news sites as CNN, The Atlantic, Wired, Abrams Media, NPR, and the Onion’s A.V. Club to just name a few.

Continue reading “The Rise of Disqus – Is Social Media Commenting a Natural Monopoly?”