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The Problem with Internet Dating

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If you recall my post on Incredibly Specific Dating Sites (Darwin Dating is still the scariest!), I like to write about the subject. In my opinion, the problem with Internet dating is not meeting people; it's knowing when to stop meeting people. I should know, because for all intents and purposes, I met my fiancé online. And while sure, some part of finding your other half is simply perseverance and ultimate good fortune, another, perhaps larger part, is knowing the best game plan. Just like in hockey, the way a coach has to know when to pull his goalie, so must those who subscribe to online dating services know when to pull their profiles.

With more than 40 million people using online dating sites now, the very idea of meeting your partner via the Internet is no longer taboo. And it's awesome that so many people are doing it. But the more people using the services, the more tempting it is to keep your profile up even after you've met someone you like. Why? Because someone better could always come down the pike, right? And besides, what if it doesn't work out with the new person you like? Why miss out on the next person, or the next, or the next...

Why indeed. My theory is this: you need to give the person you like a fair shot, without distraction. And if you keep your profile up, you're not doing that... you're still playing the field, as it were. Of course, this is just my opinion. You may have another, and if you do, by all means, that's what the comments are for! Meantime, here are some factoids that aren't opinion.

Online Dating Magazine estimates that there are more than 120,000 marriages a year that occur as a result of online dating. (Online Dating Magazine - 2007)

-U.S. Online Dating Market to Reach $932 Million in 2011 (JupiterResearch)

- 31% of adults in America say they know someone who has used an online dating service. (Source: Pew Internet & American Life Project Report: Online Dating, March 2006)

- In 2003 it was estimated that three million people paid for an online dating service listing. (Source: Jupiter Research)

- In the first half of 2003, consumers spent over $214 million for online dating services. This number is 76 percent higher than the same time last year. (Source: Online Publishers Association)

- On average, those paying for online dating services spend a total of $239 per year. (Source: Jupiter Research)

- It is estimated that the financial growth of online dating will reach $642 million in 2008. (Source: Jupiter Research)

- As of February 2005, 33% fewer consumers are browsing online personals today than one year ago, causing the industry growth to slow considerably. (Source: Jupiter Research)

- Consumers spent $214.3 million on personals and dating content during the first half of 2003, up 76 percent from the same period in 2002. (Source: Online Publishers Association).

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The Library of Congress Wants Your Help Identifying World War I-Era Political Cartoons
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Alex Wong/Getty Images

The U.S. government’s official library wants your help. And it involves cartoons.

The Library of Congress just debuted its new digital innovation lab, an initiative that aims to improve upon its massive archives and use them in creative ways. Its first project is Beyond Words, a digitization effort designed to make the research library’s historical newspaper collection more search-friendly. It aims to classify and tag historical images from World War I-era newspapers, identifying political cartoons, comics, illustrations, and photos within old news archives. The images come from newspapers included in Chronicling America, the library’s existing newspaper digitization project.

The tasks involved in Beyond Words are simple, even if you know nothing about the illustrations involved going into it. The Library of Congress just needs people to help mark all the illustrations and cartoons in the scanned newspaper pages, a task that only involves drawing boxes to differentiate the image from the articles around it.

Then there’s transcription, involving typing in the title of the image, the caption, the author, and whether it’s an editorial cartoon, an illustration, a photo, a map, or a comic. The library also needs people to verify the work of others, since it’s a crowd-sourced effort—you just need to make sure the images have been transcribed consistently and accurately.

A pop-up window below an early 20th century newspaper illustration prompts the user to pick the most accurate caption.

Screenshot via labs.loc.gov

The data will eventually be available for download by researchers, and you can explore the already-transcribed images on the Beyond Words site. Everything is in the public domain, so you can remix and use it however you want.

With the new labs.loc.gov, “we are inviting explorers to help crack open digital discoveries and share the collections in new and innovative ways,” Carla Hayden, the library’s head, said in a press release.

Other government archives regularly look to ordinary people to help with the monstrous task of digitizing and categorizing their collections. The National Archives and Records Administration, for instance, has recently crowd-sourced data entry and transcription for vintage photos of life on Native American reservations and declassified government documents to help make their collections more accessible online.

Want to contribute to the Library of Congress’s latest effort? Visit labs.loc.gov.

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Live Smarter
Slow Wi-Fi? It Could Be Your Neighbor's Fault
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If your Wi-Fi connection remains interminably slow no matter how many times you restart it, you can probably blame your neighbor. It could be that there are too many people using Wi-Fi connections on the same channel, even if you're all on different networks. But, as Tech Insider teaches us in the video below, there is a way to circumvent this, returning you to the prime TV-streaming Wi-Fi speeds of your dreams. (These instructions apply to Mac users, but if you've got Windows, How-To Geek recommends a tool called the Xirrus Wi-Fi Inspector to do the same job.) It seems like a lot of steps at first, but it'll be worth it—we promise.

If you’ve got a Mac, hold the Option key while clicking the Wi-Fi symbol in your top menu bar. Go to “Open Wireless Diagnostics,” then when that opens, go up to the top left menu bar and click the drop-down menu “Window > Scan.” That will open up a window with all the nearby Wi-Fi networks. Click the “Scan Now” button on the bottom right, and your computer should recommend the best channels for you to use—say, you’re on Channel No. 1, but the best 2.4GHz channel is No. 3. Tech Insider recommends writing those down (there are options for both 2.4GHz channels and 5GHz channels).

Now, you’ll need to break out your iPhone. Download the AirPort Utility app, and go to your phone’s settings. Scroll down to the AirPort Utility app in your app list, and enable “WiFi Scanner.” Use the app to scan your house for Wi-Fi networks and note which channels are commonly used by your neighbors’ networks. (If you don’t have an iPhone, you can also use Acrylic Wi-Fi for Android or Windows phones.) This will help you avoid the most congested networks.

Then, log onto your router on your computer by typing your router’s IP address into your browser, just like you would any web address. From there, go into Wireless Settings, and change the channel your network operates on to one of the recommended options that you wrote down from your computer's diagnostics window earlier. And don’t forget to save!

This should help you get a faster internet connection by minimizing the amount of interference from other networks around you. Because the best neighbors are the ones who don't slow down Game of Thrones for you.

See the process step-by-step in the video below.

[h/t Tech Insider]

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