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I’ve decided to start blogging again this month only, during my brief reprieve between spring semester and summer classes.  I will admit that this is mainly because I’m jealous of all the fun Jack and Dash are having with their new blogs, Chopped and Skewered and Red Car, Good Point, respectively.

Pomegranate boba from Jacks travels in Taiwan.  How could you not want to read his food blog?

Example: pomegranate boba from Jack's travels in Taiwan. Semiviolent name aside, how could you not want to read "Chopped and Skewered"?

If you followed me in exploringberkeley’s heyday, you know that I originally began this blog as part of my marketing internship at TigerLogic to promote their search tool, ChunkIt!, to college students.  My bosses were great, and I had a pretty sweet job while it lasted — getting paid to blog about whatever as long as I threw in a bit of ChunkIt! here and there — but understandably, these days, experimental Web 2.0 marketing of a free product is kind of … not a top priority.

Thus, today’s post, while lacking in its usual snark and pompousness, is momentous.  It is my declaration of independence from corporate ties.

The Dead Kennedys, whom you may recall are a prime role model for blazing a path apart from corporations.  I know, I already used this picture.  Sorry.  Theyre awesome.

The Dead Kennedys, as you may recall from my most previous post, are an emblem of anti-corporate trailblazing. I know, I already used this picture of DK at the 1980 Bay Area Music Awards making a statement against the mainstream music industry itself and the commercialism of New Wave in their usual controversial manner (Wikipedia article). Sorry! I just think they're awesome.

I am now blogging for you, and me, and nobody else.  (Of course, I’m going to choose to write about much the same as I did before.  But the point is, I have the choice.)  For instance, instead of posting a nice family-friendly photo of the Dead Kennedys at the 1890 Bay Area Music Awards just now, I could have illustrated my point with a photo of Rage Against the Machine at Lollapalooza in 1993 during their protest against censorship by the Parents Music Resource Center (Wikipedia article).  But you can use Google Images to do that for yourself.

Over the past few days, I’ve sifted through multiple year-in-review lists, watched scores of trailers, and prowled Rotten Tomatoes for ratings.  Somewhere between The Dark Knight and Iron Man, the following 8 films may have escaped your viewing in 2008 but are now at the top of my to-do list.

These films aren’t necessarily Academy Award nominees or critics’ picks, though many of them are.  They were chosen for having an interesting premise and a fresh approach to their subject.

I’ve taken the liberty of compiling everything — movie posters, cast lists, ratings, synopses, trailers, and critics’ reviews — into one handy package for you.

So if you’re at the movie theater looking forlornly from The Day the Earth Stood Still to The Spirit, here are 8 alternatives for your consideration:

American Teen

Because it’s billed as a real-life ‘Breakfast Club’.

Directed by: Nanette Burstein

American Teen Rotten Tomatoes Rating

Documentary following the lives of four teenagers–a jock, the popular girl, the artsy girl and the geek–in one small town in Indiana through their senior year of high school. We see the insecurities, the cliques, the jealousies, the first loves and heartbreaks, and the struggle to make profound decisions about the future. Filming daily for ten months, filmmaker Nanette Burstein developed a deep understanding… See Full Description

Excerpts from critical reviews, courtesy of ChunkIt!’s My Chunks beta feature:

Cinematical.com’s James Rocchi’s Sundance 2008 review defends American Teen against concerns of overproduction and glossiness, and calls it “an engaging, stylish, and surprisingly smart piece of non-fiction entertainment”.

Next: Be Kind Rewind

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You already know that TigerLogic, the company Katelyn and I intern for, has a search tool called ChunkIt! that makes researching for a paper a breeze.  But what you may not know is that we’ve recently released a new ChunkIt! feature called Chunk Store that makes shopping online faster and easier than ever before.  So if you didn’t get exactly what you wanted for Christmas, here’s how to shop online for the perfect gift in five easy steps:

1. Type a basic product description into the ChunkIt! toolbar in your browser.

1. Type a basic product description into the ChunkIt! toolbar in your browser.

2. Choose from six popular online stores and scores of departments.

2. Choose from six popular online stores, including Amazon, eBay, and Best Buy.

3. Quickly scan the product descriptions of all search results without manually clicking on and reading through each product page.

3. Quickly scan the product descriptions of all search results without manually clicking on and reading through each product page.

4. Discover important details that you may not have seen otherwise; find the best product for you.

4. Discover important details that you may not have seen otherwise; find the best product for you.

5. Make your purchase directly from the Amazon store as usual.

5. Make your purchase directly from the Amazon store as usual.

That’s it!  Five easy steps and you can be on your way to your very own Sherpa Tashi Wool Winter Hat, or whatever floats your boat.  Visit www.getchunkit.com to download ChunkIt! in seconds, or to see the multitude of other applications this powerful search tool has.

To see the Chunk Store feature in action, check out this video narrated by our fellow intern Brian:

Well, after my last post on Britney, I thought it was fitting that I write about something that receives far less press attention but far greater significance. While many people, and admittedly myself, focus far too much of their energy on the latest tabloid drama or a upcoming television miniseries, I think the genocide that occurred in Guatemala, and went almost unnoticed by the rest of the world, deserves far more attention than Hollywood’s pop stars and celebrities.
After taking my first Ethnic Studies class at UC Berkeley this past fall, I was forced to open my eyes to the daily genocide that plagued much of Guatemala’s Mayan community. According to United Nations’ research 200,000 people were killed, 1.5 million people were displaced from their communities, and hundreds of thousands fled the country. Over 600 massacres were committed, and while 3% were committed by the Guatemalan insurgency, the overwhelming majority of these brutal, heartless massacres were committed by the military.

Using ChunkIt! to do some research, I found out that the indigenous Guatemalans’ livelihood depends on access to good, sufficient land; they are subsistence farmers. Over 60% of the population is rural and 2% of the population controls 70% of the land. For the Mayans, their land was not providing them with enough subsistence, and they needed relief from the horrible conditions of plantations and subdivided lands. As a result, 160 Mayan families created a colonization project in the Guatemalan jungle and built from scratch the village of Santa Maria Tzeja. In 1980 Guatemalan soldiers came and destroyed the town that had taken 10 years to build. They looted, slaughtered, and torched the town; they raped, beat and murdered the women, and when they found Mayans hiding in the village the mercilessly killed them.

Professor of Chicano Studies at UC Berkeley, Beatriz Manz, recounted her firsthand experience in Guatemala titled Paradise In Ashes.

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Manz hypothesizes that perhaps the genocide that occurred in Guatemala and more specifically in Santa Maria Tzeja, because the military felt threatened that the indigenous people were setting up their own villages in the jungle, or perhaps the military was attempting to discourage the Mayans from joining an insurgent movement, or maybe, the killing occurred simply because the military could. Whatever the reason, nothing can justify the lives that were taken, and the families that were destroyed as a result of this ruthless genocide.

Hi everyone!  Today we have a guest blogger.  Katelyn was my roommate last year in the dorms, and now she interns at ChunkIt! with me to show Cal students how they can research faster and more effectively.  She’s pretty awesome.  She got me addicted to The Hills, and today she’s going to tell you about Britney Spears’ new album, Circus.

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Alright, hello everybody! While my Saturday nights have recently been occupied by Spanish tests and Political Economy papers, I have discovered one of the best stress relievers- just in time for finals; Britney Spears’ new album, Circus, debuted last Tuesday. And, although her previous album provided the aging Britney fan base with one intriguing single, Womanizer, the new album is jam packed with techno-influenced dance songs perfect for a study break dance party.

Britney has experienced quite the transformation since she first appeared on MTV’s Total Request Live over ten years ago as a “not that innocent” teenager. Over the past decade, Britney has managed to produce six albums, two not-so-successful marriages, two baby boys, one blockbuster bust and the infamous bald fiasco we all wish we could forget.

Britney's close shave

Since then, however, Britney’s hair has grown out and she has managed to reclaim the hearts of her unwavering fan base. Last Sunday MTV premiered  Britney’s documentary, “For the Record,” in which Britney explained that there was a lot the public did not know about her life over the past few years.

“People think that you go through something in your life and you need to go to therapy, but for me art is therapy,” says Britney. “I sit there and I look back and I’m like I am a smart person, what was I thinking?”

Britney Spears

So, before you typecast Britney as another one of those pop artists gone insane drug addict, try to look past the superficial facade of Circus’ album cover, and listen to some art therapy.

I didn’t always blog for ChunkIt! at exploring berkeley.  My illustrious blogging career began this summer during my internship at TigerLogic’s San Jose offices, when I teamed up with Michael to craft a post about our crazy intern field trip to Berkeley to shoot a promotional video.

T.I.G.E.R.s storm Sather Gate.

The T.I.G.E.R.s storm Sather Gate. What did you do at your internship this summer?

Without futher ado, here’s some vintage Katherine from TigerLogic’s blog:

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T.I.G.E.R. Logic

By all outward appearances, I have a perfectly respectable grown-up job this summer. Every day from 9 to 5 (okay, 9:30 to 5:30) I sit in a cubicle and, as part of a team of interns, brainstorm ways to market ChunkIt! to college students. We have weekly objectives to accomplish, payrolls to be filled out, and status reports to be written. But once in a while, we all get to go out of the office and do something wild and crazy. And that’s when we transform from square-minded Clark Kents into marketing Supermen (and -women).

This week, we took a field trip to stage a protest in (where else?) Berkeley. We marched under the auspices of T.I.G.E.R. (The Innovative Group for Effective Research). Our topic of protest? Slow search times on the Internet. Our mission? To enlighten the good people of Berkeley about the birth of a solution. Armed with classic hand-painted protest signs adorned with biting witticisms such as “URL Sinners” and “Practice Safe Search”, we stormed through historic Sather Gate and up the steps of Sproul Hall. No longer would we stand by and watch as millions toiled through the daunting labyrinth of the Interwebs. As the 300 Spartans before us, we stood bravely on the steps of Sproul Hall and shouted, “This is CHUNKIT!”

The T.I.G.E.R.s evangelize to those in the dark about slow search.

The T.I.G.E.R.s evangelize to those in the dark about slow search.

Well, not really, but close. My fellow intern and cubiclemate Joli unleashed her talent as a singer/songwriter/choreographer with catchy protest anthems such as “ChunkIt Like It’s Hot” and “I Chunked a Page and I Liked It”*. JJ and Rob raged against the machine, leading the crowd in chanting “Orange Power” and “What do we want? (Faster searches!) When do we want ‘em? (Now!) How we goin’ to get ‘em? (ChunkIt!)” Meanwhile, cameraman Brian and aspiring reporter Steven recorded the day’s events with stunning cinematography and journalistic integrity.

A few bystanders tentatively approached us to see what the commotion was about. Other onlookers, mostly unsuspecting tourists, chattered excitedly amongst themselves. Some, possibly under the impression that they were witnessing the rebirth of the free speech movement, took photographs and home videos to show their friends and family why the town has earned the nickname “Berserkeley”. Our protest gained a touch of symbolism with a computer-shaped piñata labeled “Slow Search”. Hungry college students and small children partook in the festivities, wielding a ChunkIt! bat to bring slow search to its demise. One Berkeley native approached me to say, “I really approve of what you guys are doing here. I’d totally jump in and help you protest, but I’m so high at the moment, I don’t even know what I’m saying.” I thanked him politely anyway.

The T.I.G.E.R. team marches down Telegraph Avenue.

The T.I.G.E.R. team marches down Telegraph Avenue.

After exhausting our supply of business cards, losing our voices, and leaving the town plastered with “I Got Chunked” stickers, we trudged back to Shattuck Avenue for the long BART journey home. Just as Superman returns to his phone booth, we returned to our cubicles at the office and became Clark Kents once more…until our next mission.

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The result of our trip to Berkeley was the following video, edited by whiz kid Brian.  If you’re friends with me or another TigerLogic intern, look closely, and you may be able to spot us.

All riled up and hungry for more?  Browse ChunkIt’s YouTube channel or download ChunkIt! to save yourself from slow search before it’s too late.

*It should be noted that I do not under any circumstances condone listening to Snoop Dogg or Katy Perry.

I’ve written a few times before about my marketing internship at TigerLogic, a San Jose-based tech company with a new product called ChunkIt! that’s making waves with its unique approach to finding information on the Internet.

Sometimes, it’s hard for me to verbally explain how ChunkIt! extracts your search terms by previewing links.  I suppose it’s actually one of those things that is easier done than said.  But this month, a few people at the office made this new paper animation video as a tactile explanation of the ChunkIt! process:

The narrator is my friend and fellow intern Brian, while the hands in the video are my boss Jeff, the Marketing VP.  The paper animation method they used is pretty creative; it combines visual, auditory, and tactile learning all in one.  I liked the appealingly cheesy sound effects, and I think Brian and Jeff do a good job of explaining how our product works without being overwhelmingly technical.

As someone who isn’t necessarily as familiar with how ChunkIt! works as our intern team is, what do you think about Brian and Jeff’s video?

ChunkIt!, a search engine tool created by the company I’m interning for, was featured this year in an article called “11 Things You Shouldn’t Leave For School Without”.  The article was posted on Dumb Little Man, which is kind of like LifeHacker in that it teaches you tips for making your life easier.

The article’s 10 little-known but highly recommended websites for students includes OttoBib, an automatic bibliography creator tool; eFax, which allows you to recieve faxes as email attachments in your inbox; and Qipit, which allows you easily to turn cameraphone photos of your school notes into documents.

Of course, the website I was most excited about seeing in the article was getchunkit.com:

”Instead of clicking from link to link, this add-on is able to mine every link on a web page and pulls out the information for you. Makes researching 10x faster.”‘

Dumb Little Man about ChunkIt!

“11 Things You Shouldn’t Leave for School Without” was featured on Propeller this week, and has something like 1500 diggs on Digg.  If you’re a student, check it out and bookmark it; it has lots of helpful suggestions.

One of the neat things about living in the San Francisco Bay Area is the music scene here.  My friend Davin, whom I met at Cal, is in a band called Fox Culture.  They call themselves a mix of indie, alternative, and baroque pop; their sound is mellow and introspective.  Fox Culture is the kind of indie band that often does duets between one male and female singer.  They sound kind of like Broken Social Scene and the Arcade Fire.

Fox Culture after a gig at Santana Row in San Jose, CA.

Fox Culture after a gig at Santana Row in San Jose, CA.

“Oh yeah- ol’ school organ to set the stage; nice. Nice how you follow each other around vocally and musically. Like lovers chasing each other around town.”

Perry Farrell (Jane’s Addiction, Satellite Party, founder of Lollapalooza)

I used one of Fox Culture’s songs, “Phony”, in a video commerical I created at my internship this summer.  The video basically demonstrates my company’s new product, ChunkIt!, which allows users to find information on the Internet more easily.  I used Camtasia Studio to create a video demonstrating ChunkIt!’s applications to Last.fm, one of my favorite music websites.

Fox Culture recently entered and won a contest to be featured on an album from one of UC Berkeley’s largest student festivals, Caltopia Live 2008.  The album can be downloaded for free on iTunes and features 14 tracks from bands at UC Berkeley.  I just downloaded it, and will let you know which local artists I think are worth a listen.

“Gotta say, this isn’t a sound I usually gravitate toward, but there’s something about your music that gets under my skin–in a good way. Maybe it’s the subtle, off-kilter songcraft or the double vocals and hypnotic finger plucking, or the noise guitar at the end of Fireman. Your heart is really in this and it shows–and I don’t say that about of a lot of what I hear on this site. Lots of luck!”

Doug Brod (editor of SPIN Magazine)

If you liked the sound of “Phony” from my ChunkIt! Last.fm video, you can check out more Fox Culture songs on their MySpace page.