Google Buzz hardly buzzworthy

Google Buzz is the latest Web application to be created by the Internet giant, Google. This application is Twitter-like in nature. Google Buzz allows users to post status updates from the ease of their Gmail account. These updates can be viewed by anyone on your contacts list from Gmail. However, this is where the problem with Google Buzz begins. While brilliant in concept, there are a number of downsides that heavily affect Google Buzz’s chances to become the Internet-wide force that Twitter has become in such a short time.

Privacy is a huge concern with Google Buzz because the automatic Web application that generates a list for you from your contacts. This is a huge issue, since the only solution is to go through and block each individual from seeing your “Buzz” updates. There is also another problem, these auto-generated follower lists can be viewed publicly worldwide. Not only is this a bit creepy, it creates a major concern since spammers will suddenly have all these lovely new contacts to use. To Google’s credit, they quickly realized the error of their ways and made solutions to this particular issue.

The early release of Google Buzz also had another not-so-pleasant issue. If someone were to click “Ok” when Google prompted them with the option to join Google Buzz and then decided after the fact that they didn’t wish to participate, they could scroll down to the bottom of the Gmail account page and click “turn off Google Buzz.” The page would then reload, and lo-and-behold the pesky Buzz just wouldn’t die! The button was completely ineffective on removing Google Buzz. The only solution was to disable public profile and then block everyone on your contacts list one at a time. This too was eventually fixed.

In essence, Google Buzz offers the exact same services as Twitter and other social networking sites. Not only can individuals post comments, they are also capable of posting images and videos in their comment stream. While this allows for a richer, social experience in a Twitter-like environment, it still fails to serve any real need on the consumers part, beside the hardcore “Twitterholic.” Goggle Buzz, while good in concept, just doesn’t translate to the needs of the people. Google has lost its cutting-edge feel, and instead seems content on trying to play catch-up.

Cover and story photo courtesy of Creative Commons

Parliament Square Tree

Tree in Parliament Square

This is yet another photo taken on my study abroad trip to London in May of 2009. I especially liked this tree because the leaves had a look that reminded me almost of bronze. Notice the shading is very close to that of the statue right next to it depicting Winston Churchill. The building behind it is probably rich in history. If the camera were to pan to the right, the viewer would see Big Ben and The Parliament.

Radford University, the past and present

Virginia is home to some of the best Universities in the south, and Radford University is now among them. In 2009, RU was recognized as one of the “Top 20 Public Master’s Universities” in the south by U.S. News & World Report, as well as one of the “Best Colleges in the Southeast,” by the Princeton Review. With a student body of over 9,000, RU is growing faster then it ever has before. As our history continues to grow, it’s always good to look back at the past, for without it, we wouldn’t be here today.

In 1910, the Virginia General Assembly created the State Normal and Industrial School for Women at Radford. More commonly known as Radford Normal, the first appointed president of the school was John Preston McConnell, ring any bells? The opening day of classes was September 17, 1913, an all women’s school with no dorms rooms, causing the girls to rent nearby buildings for housing. Over the next ten years or so, the school continued to grow, adding Tyler Hall as the school’s first residence hall, which opened in 1915. By 1921, the school had its own newspaper, The Grapurchat.

In 1924, Radford Normal became Radford State Teachers College and continued to grow, the campus was getting bigger and more students were attending. In 1937, President McConnell retired due to illness, and Jeremy Pate Whitt was named the acting president, who was previously the school’s registrar. On Jan. 1, 1938, David W. Peters assumed the role of president. Dr. McConnell passed away in 1941, just two years before Radford College merged with Virginia Polytechnic Institute as the Women’s Division of V.P.I.

Following the merger, RU’s enrollment began to rapidly rise, as students were able to take classes that used to only be available to men. In 1951, President Peters passed away, and Jeremy Pate Whitt once again took over as acting president, but died a few months after. Dr. Charles Knox Martin, Jr. took over on Jan. 17, 1952, and just twelve years later, Radford College had dropped their merger with V.P.I. as the school was growing faster than ever.

In the summer of 1971, Radford College went through one of it’s biggest changes, by the undergratuate admission of men. That same year Dr. Donald N. Dedmon took over for Dr. Martin as president, becoming the fourth in the school’s history. Eight years later, in 1979, Radford College became a University, and has been known ever since as Radford University.

In 1995, Dr. Douglas Covington became the fifth president, and served until 2005. Our current president, Dr. Penelope Kyle has been in office since. Now, with Division 1 athletics, 15 residence halls, state-of-the-art facilities and labs, over 140 academic majors and 185 acres of land, Radford University is proving to be one of the top-notch schools not only in the south, but all over the nation.

Cover photo by Kasey Sutphin

Story photo by Jordan Oakley

Welcome to winter

The snow has been falling for some time now, and it seems to me that no one has gotten over it. I find the overwhelming attitude of the student body to be a little absurd. You want school to be canceled as soon as snow is in the forecast? Go back to high school.

It is understandable that commuters may have a more difficult time getting to school on snowy days, but for a large amount of students,the commute isn’t really the issue. Students simply want a day off from school, and they think the snow is going to save them from having to sit through boring lectures and annoying exams.

Welcome to college, kids. Now you, or your parents, are paying for you to be here, and the school must supply what the student body demands, and that’s an education. If it seems safe for the majority of the students and faculty to attend classes, then school won’t be canceled. Even if the snow on the grass amounts to more than a foot, if the sidewalks and streets are cleared there is no reason to freak out.

It is important not to get your hopes up, because time and time again there will be snow on the ground; we are in the mountains after all. In the end, all of the excitement just annoys those of us who know better and disheartens those who haven’t. Snow in this area just isn’t worth getting riled up about.

I’m not saying that it’s a good idea to act as if nothing is happening and go about your usual business. If you tend to drive places outside of school time, then it’s still a good idea to stay off the roads when they are covered in snow. That will certainly keep you and your community safe. However, calling off classes for a tiny bit of snow, or snow that hasn’t happened yet doesn’t necessarily do anybody any good.

Another thing to do: dress appropriately for snow. Flip flops are not helpful if you don’t want to slide and fall on your butt. I’ve seen this happen in all types of bad weather on this campus. Just use common sense when you get dressed in the morning. Wear boots, a thick coat, gloves, a scarf and even ear muffs. If you don’t dress for the weather then you shouldn’t complain about the snow and the cold!

Thankfully for all of us, March is right around the corner. That doesn’t mean that it will be fabulous spring weather right off the bat, but there will be an improvement at least by mid March. Despite this semester being referred to as “Spring Semester,” it’s not really going to thaw out nicely until around April. So much for all the dresses you brought to school after break, huh? On the bright side, I’ve found a much needed friend for this semester, and that is AccuWeather. Kiss goodbye, and say hello to a Web site worth paying attention to. Trust me, you’ll need it this semester.

Cover photo by Erin Foley

Story photo by Kasey Sutphin

Games to look out for 2010

With this year just starting, it is time to look toward the future. This past year brought gamers over some of the best games seen in a long time. Here is a peek of what this year promises to bring.

Battlefield Bad Company 2

This is the second game in the Battlefield series, the first being one of the most popular games of 2008. Battlefield Bad Company 2 promises much more of the games fun, explosive environment. With more vehicles, it only means that the online play will be all the more intense as players will continuously need to move to find new cover as old cover is blown to pieces.

Final Fantasy XIV

This new multi-player online game, offered by Square Enix, is not meant to be an update or a replacement to Final Fantasy XI, which has been on the market for quite some time. FFXI will still be available to play in the foreseeable future. FFXIV takes place in a different world, and offers a bunch of new features and classes. This game promises to be one of the highlights of late 2010.

Final Fantasy XIII

With yet another Final Fantasy game, it looks like the year of 2010 will be heavy with them. FFXIII will take place in a different world from X or XII. Trailers from this game hype the possible return of the gunblade, along with a new summon-system of sorts. This is one of the most anticipated Final Fantasy games in recent years, with both XII and X-2 being complete and utter flops.

Hard Rain

Hard Rain is the cinematic master piece making its way to Play Station 3. While Hard Rain does contain parts of traditional game play, such as first person shooters and basic adventure games, it also throws in something new: the game follows multiple different story lines.

As you complete each chapter of the game, you will jump to another character whose life has been affected by the origami killer. Every decision you make in the game effects the final outcome. If one of your characters were to die, it dies for good, there is no going back to save them.

Heavy Rain has been described part movie, part video game by its developers. This has many critics on edge, stating that it may become more of a nich

Even When…


Even when your heart breaks
And they’re not there,
Life just takes,
All that’s fair.
Your heart wakes,
Your eyes to stare,
At what makes
You and your soul care.

Even when you make mistakes
And hurt someone,
You slam on the breaks.
Because you realize what you have done,
And when your soul aches,
Look to the sun.
He knows what it takes,
And in him you have won.

Even when you fall on the ground,
Don’t give up on your dream.
Just listen for a sound,
And something will gleam.
By the one who’s crowned,
He is supreme,
And he will surround.
Because you’re on his team,

Even when they aren’t around.
And you feel all alone,
Don’t go drowned,
You’re just in a zone,
Look to the rebound.
And how much you’ve grown,
Look at what you have found.
When you’re seated before the throne,

Even when everything’s not perfect.
And it seems it never will be,
Don’t let it affect
What you truly see.
For it’s direct,
And it’s a guarantee.
You can connect,
And you can be free.

Even when they reject,
And you feel ignored,
Remember he is here to protect
Just wait to be restored.
And gain the respect,
By getting your reward.
You will be correct,
Just look to the Lord.

Cover graphic by Kasey Sutphin

A tribute to Alexander McQueen: Remembering a genius

McQueen was born in London in 1969. He left school at an early age and started an apprenticeship at Savile Row in London. He went on to work for other designers such as Anderson and Sheppard and Gieves and Hawkes.

McQueen did a few stints at designers around Europe until returning to London in 1994. He went to design school and received a Master’s in Fashion Design from Central St. Martin’s College. He recieved critical acclaim when his collection was bought by famous Fashionista Isabella Blow, whom later became his mentor.

McQueen quickly became one of the most respected designers in the fashion world. He won the Brittish Designer of the Year Award four times from the Council of Fashion Designers of America and he was awarded the Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire by the queen.

McQueen went on to take over as Creative Director of Gucci and moved on to Givency in 1996. He also had his own label known best for its expertise in couture.

McQueen was found dead in his apartment Thursday, Feb. 11, 2010.

Cover and story photo courtesy of Creative Commons

Dragon Age: Origins the story begins

Dragon: Age Origins is not Bioware’s first role playing game (RPG), nor will it be its last. The game is certainly among the best from this publisher. Bioware, building off the success of Mass Effect, released Dragon: Age Origins just before Christmas, hoping to draw in a holiday crowd to buy their new RPG.

Game Play

Origins is fairly straight forward as far as RPGs go. The beginning has a slight twist. Based on which race and class you choose influences where and how the game begins, though after this initial stage that choice plays very little effect on the over all story, though it will occasionally affect how people respond to your character.

Actual game play is your standard RPG affair. You pick a class and race. Your job builds off a skill tree, allowing you to pick what abilities and spells you want your character to master.

The real twist Bioware threw into their new game is something borrowed from Mass Effect. What They borrowed is the decision-based storyline. The choices you make influence how the game goes. Even when making a character with the intention of being good, you sometimes find it to be more effective and simple to break down the door to get to someone who refuses to talk to you and apologize later to get them to do what you want. Each choice you make builds your reputation and can either make the game easier or harder.

The Good

There is so much that is good about this game it is hard to gather it all into one little section. The musical score to the game works perfectly, making the moments that are suppose to feel creepy feel, well, creepy and the ones that are supposed to feel epic. Character interactions between your party range from being funny to dramatic. This helps players build a bond to those characters they choose to have in their party. The game has a great twist at the end which leaves it open for them to make a sequel.

The Bad

The only thing I can be really be picky on are some of the non-playable characters and how they react to what you do. Often times their reactions to your actions make no sense at all. For instance, if you were to break down their door, a simple apology is all it takes to smooth everything over before you tell them to help you fight off a zombie invasion. It makes no sense that these people who were busy hiding would so eagerly agree to aid you after you broke into their home. This is just a brief example of some of the things that make little to no sense.


This is definitely a must-have game for RPG fans out there. The story and game play are deep and fun. It’s surprising at times to see how your choices affect the world, shaping how things play out.

Whim Rating 4.5/5

Cover and story photo from Creative Commons

Farscape: An amazing sci-fi and comedy

“Farscape” was a TV series that first aired on SciFi in the 1990’s. There are two aspects of the TV show that really make it great. For one thing, the show is a science fiction TV show with some pretty awesome graphics, as well as some cool action scenes. The other aspect of this show is the fact that it’s also kind of a comedy, and some parts in the show will make you laugh your head off. It’s definitely one of the best sci-fis out there, and it has an extremely well written story. The star of the show is a man named John Crichton, who in the very first episode, is a scientist working for NASA.

In the first episode he and his father are planning on conducting an experiment with a small ship that belongs to John. John goes up in the space shuttle while his father works with mission control down below. When John launches in his small ship from the space shuttle however, he suddenly goes flying into a wormhole in the middle of his experiment and it sends him off to a distant part of that galaxy, light years away from Earth. As soon as he comes out of the wormhole, another ship crashes into his and while his ship survives the collision without so much as a scratch, the other ship is destroyed almost immediately. He made an enemy within one minute of arriving right there.

John ends up on a living transport ship transporting runaway prisoners who are trying to escape from the peacekeepers, who are people who look like humans. The man who was piloting the ship that was destroyed by crashing into John’s ship was a peacekeeper, and that man’s brother sets his sights on taking revenge on John. As John explores this new part of space, far away from his home world, he learns all about the two major powers in that part of the space. The peacekeepers and the scarons, who are two races bent on destroying each other. John later in the series becomes the keeper of a deadly technology which has the power to destroy entire races, and even the entire universe if it’s used in the wrong way.

Both the peacekeepers and the scarons come after John, because they want this technology so they can use it to destroy each other in an inevitable war. John, along with the rest of his new friends on the transport ship he comes to know as his new home, spend the series outsmarting and eluding peacekeepers, scarons and other strange aliens who live in that part of space. When you watch Farscape you’re in for quite an adventure, because it’s not only an awesome sci-fi, but it’s filled with all sorts of laughs that you’ll enjoy over and over again. It has action and comedy like all good series however it has it’s fair share of romance too. For awhile, it was one of the best shows on sci-fi, and if you’re into science fiction Farscape is a show that you’ll love for sure.

Cover and story photos from Creative Commons

Manners on campus

I’ve noticed that many college students don’t seem to want to grow up. I realize that this time in a person’s life can be a rough transitional stage from child to responsible adult, but despite this, there is no excuse for causing the people around you discomfort.

One of my pet peeves is that horrible sound men like to make while clearing their throat. It’s not a coughing noise, but more like a sure sign that says, “I’m about to spit out a large amount of phlegm.” I’ve noticed when guys choose to make the throat clearing noise you can hear it from yards away, like an attack on your ears. If you need to clear your throat, it would be considerably better for those around you if you either waited until you’re in the privacy of a bathroom, or manage to cough it up and use a tissue.

Another very important point I would like to make to the student body is that just because you’re living away from home doesn’t mean you should make a complete and utter fool of yourself. This point comes up because of the freshmen living in a certain dorm, which I’m sure are similar to most of the other freshmen, or even the older population. What do I mean by this? I mean that running rampant up and down the halls yelling, giggling and making your neighbors absolutely miserable is not a good way to make friends. The freshmen in my hall drive me bonkers with their disregard for the rest of us who would really like to get our work done in peace.

Speaking of getting work done in peace, here’s a suggestion for roommates. If your roommate is sitting down carefully focusing on a piece of homework for a long period of time, it probably isn’t a good idea to start blabbing on the phone incessantly, and it certainly isn’t nice to try and start a series of very pointless conversations with them in order to lighten the mood. Leaving the room to talk on the phone when your roommate is busy is one of the biggest displays of respect, not trying to start conversation with them when they are busy; it just shows that you’re not selfish.

Also regarding roommates and suite mates: it is not nice to monopolize the bathroom. I have a personal issue with this seeing as my bathroom tends to have a great wall of clothes lining the back of it. The only things that I keep in my bathroom are two towels and some hand soap. Maybe I could keep slightly more if there was any room left, or if my towels didn’t move in unusual ways every couple of days or so. It’s nice to be able to trust the people you share a bathroom with. Being more conscientious about how much space you are taking up is important for anyone who lives with other people.

I want to point out that there are many other things students could work on. These are just a handful of major problems I’ve seen at Radford. Just remember that if you don’t like it when people do certain things, then most other people are probably on your side.

Cover photo by Erin Foley

Story photo by Stockxpert

Top 9 free iPod touch applications


For those who were lucky enough to receive an iPod touch this past holiday season, here is a little list of need-to-have free applications or apps for the iPod touch or iPhone.

1. Shazama

Ever hear a song and wanted to know who it was by and what it was called, only to forget it later? This is no longer a problem. The app “Shazama” will listen to a snippet of a song and in a matter of seconds, display everything about that song, from its title, to where you can get it. This used to be a purely iPhone app, but since the second generation of iTouch allows for microphone input, it has made its way to the iTouch.

2. IM+ All-in-One Mobile Messenger

This neat little app is all of your messenger options wrapped into one. It has everything: AOL Instant Messenger, iChat, Google Talk, Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo Messenger and more. This is perfect for those who can’t go without being in-touch with people for any period of time.

3. Scribble

Not the most useful of apps, but one of the more fun. Scribble allows you to create drawings and “scribble” over existing photos. From there, you can e-mail them using iPod Touch’s e-mail client.

4. Text Free Lite

This application does exactly what its name says it does. It allows you to send free text messages to be sent to US mobile phones. Misplaced your phone but have something urgent that needs to be shared? Not a problem, thanks to this app, however, there is no way to receive incoming text messages.

5. Social Networking Apps

This is a grouping of the several social networking site applications. For Twitter, there is Twitterific. This app allows you to view and publish tweets from anywhere there is Wi-Fi. There is also the Facebook app, which allows people to view and update their status on Facebook. Myspace app serves much of the same purpose as the other two, allowing quick, easy access to users’ Myspace accounts.

6. Wikipanion

“Wikipanion” allows for people to browse Wikipedia with ease on their iPod touch or iPhone. This app is perfect for those who enjoy browsing Wikipedia as both a way to expand knowledge and waste time looking for random facts.

7. New York Times

This app allows for you to read stories from the New York Times. The nice thing about this app is if the user wanders off away from a wireless hot spot but still wants to read the Times, they can. The app stores the latest stories when it has access to the Internet, allowing for reading later.

8. Instant Paper

This app allows for people to save Web pages for later viewing. This application is perfect for those long blog entries or articles that take forever to read. Unlike book marking, this app literally saves the page, allowing for it to be viewed offline.

9. Flashlight

This app turns your iPod Touch or iPhone into a flashlight. It even has the option to change the color of the lights. While not the most exciting app ever, it is still a rather useful one.

Be quick to get these applications while you can. It is only a matter of time before the publishers rethink offering these great apps for free. Who doesn’t love free stuff?

Cover photo from Sotckxpert

Story photo from Creative Commons

A week in the life of a Radford student

Every week is a challenge for all of us at Radford. To give you some chuckles, or maybe to make you feel better, I’m going to talk about my past week.

Monday was as difficult as ever, especially since no one likes Mondays. I tend to want to get all of my work done for the week within the first two days, so I was rather discouraged when I came back from the library to find my roommate still there. Apparently the snow from the weekend prevented her from going to work, and I knew there was no way in hell I would be able to quietly get through all of my work with her there all afternoon. Oddly enough, she decided to go do laundry that afternoon instead of sitting around, which gave me enough time to do my Media Performance project, read more Walt Whitman, highlight Information Technology words and write a journal. Fun, isn’t it?

Tuesday was dreadful as usual. I made the silly mistake of taking classes from 8 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. During my second class, it began to snow, again. I was convinced the “Snow Gods” were out to get me this semester. I just found out I had twice as much Information Technology homework as I had originally thought, and some of the work I did was pointless. Miraculously, my roommate decided to go to work anyway, and I managed to get work done and have two meetings canceled that night. As perfect as that may seem, I still despise snow, and I still wonder what possessed me to go to college in the mountains.

Wednesday I went to Muse Hall for lunch for the first time ever. It was amazing, and I suggest it to anyone who hasn’t tried it. However, that night I thought it was a good idea to get nachos from Salsaritas since I wasn’t that hungry. Big mistake. I’m not sure if I’ll ever eat there again. The cherry on top of everything on Wednesday was the world trying to prevent me from sleeping. I kept trying to say, “I’m going to bed now,” only to be distracted by my roommate insisting that she needed to listen to music. I finally went to sleep sometime after midnight only to wake up at 2 a.m. to my suite mates blasting Titanic on their television with both their bathroom and front door open. To my despair, they didn’t get the message when I shut their bathroom door, so I suffered through it until sometime after 3 a.m., when I was finally able to drift off to sleep again.

Thursday started at 7 a.m. for me when I woke up to find that my throat was sore and dry. All day I tried to convince myself that I wasn’t getting sick, and that maybe the electric heat bothered my throat. On top of having classes all morning, I had a 15 minute break to walk from class to Heth Hall in order to attend a speech for my News Reporting class. It would have been great if I wasn’t hungry, delusional from lack of sleep and getting sick. On top of that, I was supposed to have a repair man come look at the water damage in my room that day and he never came. As soon as I heard that classes were canceled the next day I booked it to Whim, got production done, and went to Blacksburg in order to wait out the storm in my boyfriend’s comfortable apartment. Hopefully my room won’t leak too badly from all the extra snow.

Every week is a challenge, but there is always a silver lining, and that would be the weekend. Here’s to hoping that doesn’t get just as screwy as the school week. Also, here’s to one last week without tests! It only goes downhill from here.

Cover photo by Rochelle Taguba

Story photo by Erin Foley

Oscar buzz for “The Blind Side

There is much Oscar buzz this year for Sandra Bullock in the Best Actress category for her role as Leigh Anne Tuohy in “The Blind Side. The movie has also been nominated for Best Picture, going up against other box office hits such as “Avatar” and “Precious just, to name a few.

The Blind Side” depicts the story of Baltimore Raven Michael Oher and his tragic yet miraculous upbringing. Oher, played by Quinton Aaron, is African-American and was born in Memphis Tennessee in 1986. With twelve other siblings, an absent father and a mother addicted to crack, things were never looking too hopeful for Michael. Going to school was never enforced at his house and Michael had to repeat both the 1st and 2nd grade. After breaking out of foster homes and not being able to live with his mother and siblings, Oher soon found himself homeless.

While sleeping on random porches and friends’ couches, one of Oher’s friend

He Sits in Darkness

He Sits in Darkness

He sits in darkness, knowing that he did wrong.
He tries to stop the tears that are flowing down his face,
Thinking why has this hiding been going on so long?
It’s like he is losing his humanity in the cold and dismal place.

Why can he do to put things back together?
His mind spins ’round, trying to find an escape.
Surely this pain can’t go on forever,
Can it be fixed with some superglue and tape?

A knock on the door interrupts his thought,
And when he opens it, on his face is not even a fake smile.
His eyes can’t believe what he has wrought,
When he sees the cops and their guns facing him, hostile.

He sits in jail now, wishing he could go back
And change the way his life was turning out.
But there was a light shining in the pitch black,
His friends still loved him, and he knew without a doubt.