Technology
Look how shiny it is!
Electric Sheep Project/electricsheep.org

This Week On The Internet: You'll go BLIND!

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People like shiny things. Shiny things have been

instrumental in human economic development since the bronze age, when we realized we could make kinda-shiny things super-shiny, and then use the aforementioned super-shiny things to kill people. Fast forward several centuries to 2007, where everything is super-duper-ultra-wicked-mega shiny, from that shiny black iPod Nano to, well, MacEwan Student Centre. However, among the shiny things, screensavers are easily the shiniest things of all. Whether you need something to test out that wicked new monitor you bought or just something to stare blankly at late at night after those brownies, here's the ultimate in shiny:

Really Slick Screensavers

Terence M. Welsh knows shiny. On his website are some of the shiniest screensavers to ever grace the Interweb, all available to download for free whether you use Windows, OS X or Linux. Take, for example, Hyperspace, a wicked replacement for the boring-ass Windows starfield screensaver and most certainly not recommended for those who get easily motion-sick. Other standouts are Lattice, which can be configured to display a never-ending parade of multicoloured doughnuts, and Helios, which creates an effect similar to a lavalamp, if said-lavalamp has blobs made of pure awesome. As an added bonus, those lucky enough to have a dual-monitor setup can make the majority span both screens, resulting in double the trippiness. Oh, and they also prevent Microsoft Word from burning into that $10,000 plasma screen.
Really Slick Screensavers
reallyslick.com

Electric Sheep

Do androids dream of shiny things? This philsophical question has bewildered and confused mankind since, uh, it was first asked by this article's author. Regardless, the Electric Sheep project is a good first step to discovering its answer. Developed by people who either have a huge love of fractals or simply wanted something to watch other than Mythbusters while stoned, Electric Sheep is a distributed network similar to SETI@home, where people submit custom fractal movies called 'sheep' to the server. The screensaver client downloads these in the background and uses the distributed computing power to link random sheep together, resulting in a constantly-evolving and insanely trippy screensaver. Ultimate proof that it's wicked-cool? Google runs a copy in their lobby.
Electric Sheep Project
electricsheep.org

Grid Wars 2

Finally, if seizure-inducing screensavers aren't enough, how about a videogame that'll make most epileptics run in fear? Grid Wars 2 is a clone of the Xbox's Geometry Wars for PC and Mac. The objective of the game is simple, steer your ship around the screen blasting the various other ships that spawn around you and avoid running into anything. This is easier said than done, however, as many of the enemies move insanely fast and other obstacles such as black holes suck up enemies (or even the player if you're not careful enough), eventually exploding in a shower of deadly neutrinos. This results in a fast-paced, incredibly addictive, amazingly colourful videogame experience.
Grid Wars 2
worldofstuart.excellentcontent.com/grid/wars.htm

Have a crucial tech question? Is something on fire? Is your cat in your PC, eating your megahutz? Email aendrew at gauntlet.ucalgary.ca!

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