kwc.org Photos Spare Cycles MythBusters

Category: Web Stuff

February 2, 2007

Cordurl

Cordurl mapPaul launched with a new toy I like: Cordurl. It's like tinyurl for geographical locations. For example, http://cordurl.com/M9G-6E 'links' to a NASA Shuttle Landing Facility. Paul even integrated it with geonames so that links to related Wikipedia articles show up.

December 12, 2006

Gotuit Scenemaker: interesting idea, not ready for consumption

gotuit.jpgOnline video site Gotuit has launched their Scenemaker tool, which has a great idea behind it: allow users to "videomark" a particular portion of a video and add their own tags, title, and description. I take a lot of videos at book author events, and this would mean that I could videomark a particular quote or Q&A response instead of breaking up the source video. It also means less of the "funny part occurs 2:14 in." It's not all that different from the spirit of purple numbering, for those familiar with that effort.

However, I can't really recommend using it just yet. Maybe in the future, but not just yet. I tried to videomark one of my Neil Gaiman videos, with frustrating results. It was a bit klunky but not too terrible to select the "scene" that I wanted to clip, and it was nice to be able to just load in a video from Youtube. But then came the "and now what?" moment. I wanted to post the video somewhere so I could share my clip, but the only buttons available to me were load, edit, delete, and save. All save does is save your progress clipping the video.

Then I watched the tutorial video, which ends at the exact point where I got stuck. This is where I started saying, "what the hell?" as there these are the three big features they tout:

  1. Bookmark or "Deep Tag" Scenes Found Inside Online Videos From YouTube and Metacafe
  2. Share Only The Scenes In A Video You Want
  3. Embed The Individual Scenes on Your MySpace Page, Blog or Web Site

I was still stuck on #1. I hadn't shared or embedded yet. After skimming down their gigantic FAQ, I found the answer I wanted: I have to wait until my clip shows up in their search results, load that video, and then I get the control to post the video. Yes, you have to keep searching again and again until your clip turns up.

On top of that, their site kept logging me out and the only way I can video "my videos" is by hacking a query string. These are not insurmountable problems, but it does seem that this is a tacked on feature that hasn't really been integrated into the concept of the overall site just yet.

In case you're curious, here is the result of my little test:

December 8, 2006

Google Reader switch

update: now sorting by oldest (thanks davextreme for the link)

Yes, I have finally abandoned Bloglines, which has carried me so far into the world of feeds. I have some quibbles with Google Reader, but the big win for me was the fact that it doesn't mark items as read until you read them. I tend to power through lists of hundreds of items at a time; Google Reader lets me stop halfway through, Bloglines demands I finish the job. It still took bp teaching me a couple of keyboard shortcuts I missed (shift-n, shift-p, and shift-o for navigating the list of feeds) to become fully comfortable with the switch.

Pros:

  • Doesn't mark items as read until you've read them, which makes it much easier to plow through feeds incrementally.
  • Better keyboard navigation. Bloglines has a shortcut for reading the next feed or folder, but there's no way to really tell what is next.
  • Can have more than 200 unread items in a feed, which means that you can catch up on everything you missed while on vacation.

Cons:

  • Not as easy to create feeds for things like weather, packages, and social sites.
  • Organizational system for read items is poorly integrated and modelled -- its not terribly clear what tags are, you can't browse by tags ('gt' -- goto tag -- is not the same as browsing), and you can't segment starred items by tag. Bloglines only has clip blogs, but at least they made sense to me.
  • Only loads entries 20 at a time. Once you make it to the 20th item, it loads the next 20. This wouldn't be so annoying if they loaded the next 20 when I got to the 18th or 19th item, but as implemented it means you have to wait for the next 20 items to load.

November 9, 2006

Virtual Earth 3D

I've been playing around with Virtual Earth 3D, and at least when it comes to flying through realistic 3D models of major US metropolitan areas, Microsoft has gone into the lead over Google Earth. You have to install an Internet Explorer plugin, which isn't so bad when you consider that Google Earth is a separate application and didn't have a Mac client for quite awhile. Once you install it, I've enjoyed easily switching between map, satellite, birds-eye, and 3D views.  For some reason I am getting SimCity flashbacks.

There's room for improvement. The zoom controls are very wonky: 3 out of the 7 zoom levels launch you into outer space and it loses track of where you are on the map! Their attempt at incorporating virtual billboards into the models is also fairly crude (see screenshots below) and they are still missing models for some very landmark buildings (e.g. Prudential Center and Fenway Park in Boston). Nevertheless, this delivers one of the best out-of-the-box 3D mapping experiences for this sort of software (i.e. Google Earth), and it seems that Microsoft made very good choices in acquiring Vexcel and Geotango to make this all work.

San Jose: nice model of the new Richard Meier City Hall building, but what's that weird spec over the hills? Why, it's one of Microsoft's floating billboard ads in the middle of nowhere!

San Francisco: When I last checked Google Earth, you couldn't get a good model of the Transamerica without downloading custom models (a pain, really). Virtual Earth 3D includes nice models of the Transamerica and Coit Tower, but I don't seem to recall a large floating orange billboard atop the Transamerica.

Boston: Impressive model of the Christian Science Church Park and Hancock building, but what's a Boston skyline without the Pru (Prudential Center, large flat area just above church)?

More info:

October 23, 2006

Nice outdoor vacation tool

The National Park Service has a "Find a Park" page that makes it easy to browse lists of national parks by activity, proximity, or both. There are convenient pop-up descriptions that make it easy to quickly find out more about the parks you've listed.

Find a Park

Testing out blip.tv

blip.tv has a faster uploads, less limits, cleaner UI, and more geeky bells and whistles than YouTube or Google Video, but it seems to be heavily Microsoftian in video format -- that may just cancel the rest out. I'm giving it a test above to see how it works out.

October 2, 2006

A9 drops a bunch of stuff

A9 has launched a redesign which features a nice continuous scrolling feature, but their redesign always comes with heavy cutting: bye-bye A9 Maps with street photos, Amazon discount, yellow pages, history, bookmarks, diary, and toolbar. Where other services like Google and Yahoo are racing to add more, A9 has opted for less, which would be admirable if I didn't happen to like what they dropped. The A9 maps and Amazon discount were the only two reasons I ever went to a9.com. The A9 maps were a bit under featured to be killer -- they could never tell me what I was looking at -- but it did make it a useful service distinct from other mapping sites. It's difficult now to look at a9.com and see what they offer that's unique other than their own fancy UI widgets.

A9: What's New

August 16, 2006

Sharpcast Beta review

sharpcast.gifI've spent several hours checking out Sharpcast Photos and thought I'd post my initial thoughts. Sharpcast has a great syncing technology, which they've chosen to showcase by deploying a photo-sharing solution with both Web and Windows clients. You can install Sharpcast on multiple machines in order to easily share your photos between them, and you can also share albums with specific people.

This isn't quite a review because I believe that utility of Sharpcast will largely depend on business model decisions that haven't been made yet: Sharpcast is more alpha than beta, as you are limited to 2GB of storage and the future pricing and limits are unclear. Case in point, Flickr offers me 2GB/month of photo upload (at a price), which guarantees its long-term usefulness for me; Sharpcast's 2GB total is nothing more than a toy to play with for a couple of months. I understand the need to not have to build up a massive storage farm just yet, but I take over 2GB of photos at a single wedding.

"Sharpcast Photos is optimized for accessing, sharing, and backing up photos." I kept this in mind when checking it out so that my comments would be contexted to the intended product. I also kept in mind my dad and my sister, because if I'm going to share, I should be able to share with my family (Flickr is not so strong in this regard).

So, going on the three activities that Sharpcast does list -- accessing, sharing, and backing up -- I've recorded my thoughts, followed up with a list of some peeves I had with the UI along the way.

Continue reading "Sharpcast Beta review" »

July 10, 2006

co.mments.com: lots of love for SixApart

Assaf of co.mments.com has to be the most responsive developer I've ever dealt with. Awhile back I posted about liking co.mments.com, but wishing it supported MovableType 2.x blogs. Assaf stopped by saying he would have MT 2.x covered shortly, and did. This made co.mments.com useful for 99% of the blogs I visited, until SixApart launched Vox. Unsurprisingly, co.mments.com didn't work with the brand new service, but I e-mailed Assaf, and now he's implemented support for both Vox and LiveJournal. So whether I'm commenting on MovableType, Vox, LiveJournal, or Blogger, co.mments.com is letting me follow the conversation. That's great for me -- maybe not great for you ;).

May 26, 2006

30boxes: it's all coming together

30boxes.gifLast month, 30boxes added e-mail integration to their online calendar tool. You forward the e-mail to their add [at] 30boxes.com address and whatever is in the subject line is used as the "one box" event information (e.g. "Birthday Party May31 5:30pm tag birthday"). Handy and essential, but not much of a "Wow!" factor for me.

More recently, 30boxes added event mapping support. If you add a location to an event, which they make pretty easy, it will mark it on a Google Map and display the weather forecast. The map nerd in my scores this with a wow factor, even if it isn't as useful as e-mail integration. Between the two it means that you can pull up a calendar event, check the e-mail that started it, look at where the event is, and even find out what the weather will be like when you get there -- pretty much everything that I might want to check prior to an event. You can even get the same mapping support with events from your upcoming.org calendar that have location data.

30boxes has worked with upcoming.org from the start and they keep coming up with more and more features between the two that increase my usage of both. I've signed up for a Google Calendar but 30boxes has held my attention. Google Calendar is a good Google product, but it does things the Google way. In order to support public calendars, Google crawls the entire Web and gathers every calendar it can find. That's great if I quickly want to find the Redskins' football schedule, but the Google way precludes great synergistic integrations like 30boxes and upcoming.org. I'm sure the GCal + GMail integration will be fantastic, but with 30boxes is better targeted at a Web-savvy audience.

April 15, 2006

I'm a 'Director' now (YouTube)

directorYouTube just launched their 'director' program, which kills two birds with one stone. It eliminates the recently imposed 10-minute limit on videos and it also adds much better branding to your videos (one of the few things that Google Video did better). The 10-minute limit is an arbitrary limit meant to discourage the posting of copyrighted TV programs and movies. Although YouTube built part of its popularity on the availability of such content, they are trying to make nice with the TV studios and even boldly suggesting that the TV studios post content themselves.

The intent of the director program is fairly clear: make people jump through a couple extra hoops so that they feel more accountable for the content they post. In exchange, make the people feel 'cooler' by giving them a 'Director' title and providing better branding. You apply for the Director program, so presumably they at least screen the contents of the accounts they approve. It only took me a day to get approved and none of my videos are high-quality, so I think just about anyone who doesn't break the rules will get approved.

The improved branding is important. YouTube used to make it really difficult to link to your own Web site from a video, which annoyed me when I was posting MythBusters Q&A videos and couldn't even link to my blog post about the event. Now if you go to one of my videos, you can see there's even a kwc.org logo, a big red directory stamp, and a link to my blog post. You also get to specify custom "Director Details" fields with a particular video: Video URL, Custom Field #1, #2, and #3. As an example of a custom field, they mention 'price,' which presumably you would use if you were selling the full video elsewhere. The custom fields appear in the same upper right box as your director logo.

March 8, 2006

YouTube vs. Google Video

I recently had the chance to try out YouTube vs. Google Video as a video publisher. I had some clips from the Tour of California that I wanted to put online and my DSL doesn't do the best job hosting video.

It's hard not to notice the rise of YouTube. It seems that everytime I see a video link I end up on that site and they certainly seem to have the attention of NBC, which is sending cease and desist after cease and desist for SNL videos (is SNL officially no longer lame?). I've run across Google Video much less frequently. I wasn't sure if this was due to laxer policies on the part of YouTube in allowing content like Oscar clips or if YouTube was superior in some manner.

I believe I now have the answer: YouTube is far, far superior. Google Video does have a better video uploader, but that's about its only advantage. For my test I uploaded the same Tour of California clip to both services. Google Video took over 24 hours to 'verify' the video. I still have a video that I uploaded on February 21st (two weeks ago) that is in the 'verification' process. Time it took YouTube to post my video online: instant. 24 hours is just a mind-boggling long time to have to wait, let alone two weeks. As far as I can tell, Google Video doesn't even tell you when your video is ready, so you have to keep revisiting your video status page.

YouTube also has three features that Google Video does not: tagging, commenting, visitor counting, and rating. I don't care much for ratings, but tagging makes it easier for people to find my videos, commenting is nice for feedback, and visitor counting tells me whether or not it was worth my time even posting the video.

Both services seem to degrade the quality of the original video. The cycling videos I uploaded weren't of the greatest quality as they were shot with an ELPH, but they were definitely more intelligible than these:

Nevertheless, if you don't have to server to host the video and you want to get the video online to share with others, I highly recommend YouTube as the route to go.

February 15, 2006

Almost useful Caltrain site

iamcaltrain is an attractive mashup of Yahoo maps, Flickr, and the Caltrain schedule. I've posted my own Caltrain hacks before (Caltrain vis, Caltrain tags), so anything that makes my commute easier is bound to catch my attention. iamcaltrain almost did it, but it needs a couple of tweaks:

  • I can get a station-to-station schedule, but I can't bookmark it
  • Reloading clears the schedule I'm looking at
  • Bug: To get from Mountain View to Menlo Park leaving right now it gave me the option of taking the next train to Menlo Park (15 minutes) or taking the same train all the way to San Bruno and catch a train back (1 hour 24 minutes).
  • Bug: If I type the name of a station in the start or end boxes, it assumes I'm typing an address

February 6, 2006

30 Boxes: immediate wow

30boxes.gifAfter hitting refresh all day, I finally managed to get a beta account on 30 boxes, which is a Web calendar with fancy features like:

  • a text box at the top where you can quickly add events like "Tour of California Feb 19-26" or "kwc's Birthday Oct 31 repeat yearly". I've found this box to be much, much faster after a 10 second learning curve.
  • overlay your local weather on top of your calendar.
  • little touches, like giving you a link to check your Gmail in order to retrieve your signup confirmation and getting a user icon from Flickr if you give it your Flickr account name.
  • export to iCal so that you can view it in iCalendar, Sunbird, or other apps
  • subscribe to your upcoming.org profile.
  • share your calendar with friends (anyone else feel like signing up? let me know)
  • uncluttered display: the calendar takes up your whole browser window

I've only been using it 15 minutes and I'm gearing up to switch over from my Yahoo! Calendar. Every other "Web 2.0" calendar site I've tried in the past (at current count, about three) has failed to immediately impress or convince me that it is in anyway better than the good ole' Yahoo klunker. I'm a little hesistant to jump ship so quickly. The last technology that convinced me to leave Yahoo! behind was Gmail, so it's been quite awhile since I've had to deal with the ramifications of having my personal workflow moved from one system to another. It appears that they may be in need of a little more polish before I'm ready to migrate, but given all the little touches in there so far it seems that whoever is in charge of their development will get it polished up nice and shiny.

January 1, 2006

Rocketboom on TiVo

rocketboomWhen I first found out about Rocketboom (their Firefox or Internet Explorer video), I had the hardest time trying to figure out how to automatically download their video content and get it onto my PSP. The two videolog programs I tried, FireAnt and Videora, both crapped out when I tried to get them to convert the video into PSP format. They both also had many other small, annoying errors that made the effort exceed the value of the content -- I'm not going to spend 10 minutes downloading 4 minute videos. So I gave up.

Now that Rocketboom is on TiVo, I'm back on the wagon. It appears on my Now Playing list, no stupid error messages, no maintenance time required. I initially subscribed to support the general idea of being able to download video off the Internet, but Rocketboom itself has some gems. Granted, I think it's still hit or miss. Monday through Thursday is generally done in a mock news format that I can best describe as four minutes worth of Moment of Zen clips from the Internet. "Casual Friday" rounds out the week and is my favorite. No news, usually their own cheap music video.

I'm still going through the archives online, but the favorites I've marked so far are:

All of the videos come with links to the source footage if you want to know what you just saw.

December 15, 2005

Busy break

To all of you out there that are hecka busy with work like me: we all deserve a break for Cute Overload!.

December 3, 2005

Good design - Weber

I just used the Weber Web site to order some replacement parts for a grill and I have to say I was impressed enough to write this short review. The highlights:

  • They have a simple pictoral guide to help you figure out what model you have.
  • You're also given the choice of ordering the replacement part online or finding a nearby dealer.
  • When you click on an individual dealer it shows what they models of grills they carry.

November 15, 2005

Amazon adds tagging

You can now tag products on Amazon -- I've already tagged some of the ink cartridge supplies my printer uses so I can find those pages again easily. I see this feature being useful as both a bookmark manager to find a product again at a later time and a discovery feature to help me find accessories or similar items. Amazon doesn't have a good way of finding supplies for my PIXMA ip4000R printer, but one PIXMA ip4000R owner tags their supplies then I'll have an easy way to search using tags.

Unfortunately Amazon deployed the current tagging feature in a non-commital manner. The tagging interface doesn't always show up for products and it's currently difficult to search for products based on tags. It also takes three clicks from the homepage to find the page that lets you manage your tags (__'s Home, Your Amazon Home, Manage Your Tags). I'm cautiously optimistic.

FYI, you can search for products with a particular tag like so:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/tagging/glance/yourtag/

For example, http://www.amazon.com/gp/tagging/glance/printer/

It's a bit obtuse but it saves a bunch of clicking.

November 14, 2005

$10 dressup at Threadless

The $10 sale at Threadless started today. Too bad I'd already ordered my You Are What You Eat and Pandamonium shirts. Of course, with all good sales come the lines -- cheap t-shirts require great patience.

September 28, 2005

Rzoto beta

Josh Tyler, creator of Helio-Courier and ChameleonReader (nice RSS reader layered on top of Bloglines that I use) has taken another stab at RSS reading with his latest project, Rzoto. Rzoto is a Firefox plugin that examines the sites you read to see whether or not there are feeds associated with them. It builds a page that lists the discovered feeds and does some smart sorting. Rzoto is now in its beta phase and Josh needs some users to get feedback.

For those of you that don't understand RSS/ feeds/Atom/aggregators, or just don't like the process of tracking down a feed and manually subscribing to it, you might want to give it a shot to see if it can save you time checking Web sites for updates.

You should give it a shot even if already have a reader setup -- Rzoto does all the work for you so it doesn't require any extra effort. You'll probably find some feeds that you didn't realize existed before.

September 20, 2005

Food thoughts

Wandering the Yahoo! cafeteria, it seems to be a less cool Google cafeteria. The Y! cafeteria has some nice things, but you get them for free at Google.

They were out of coffee.

August 1, 2005

Gender swapping, easily

Here's a fun little tool to occupy your bored time: regender. It swaps male and female terms in a Web page. Sometimes the effect is barely noticeable, but in the case of Wikipedia's Masculinism and Feminism entries it's A Whole New World. Other pages I found interesting:

July 29, 2005

destagnation of feeds

josh and I were discussing at lunch how your list of feeds can start to stagnate. You get a fixed list of blogs you read and you can go through periods where you stop exploring for new content. It's kind of like when you have TiVo and you stop watching as many new programs.

To counteract this, here's a list of feeds I've more recently started reading for my entertainment:

July 25, 2005

Amazon Recommendations

amazon.qtip.JPG

July 14, 2005

Protective Tour Googles

Courtesy of Hogue, I now have this greasemonkey script to shield my eyes from inadvertent Tour revelations. I've pasted the code below for those who may find themselves in similar situations requiring selective news display.

As for real world news filters, Team Uni is doing a great job protecting me already. At dinner tonight parakkum told me to keep my eyes on my plate and not look up -- Stage 11 was on TV. The alarm was unnecessary as I'd seen Stage 11 this morning, but it shows that the team is on form today and ready to go.

// ==UserScript==
// @name No Tour
// @description pop up an alert on any page containing Tour de France info
// @include *
// ==/UserScript==

var badness = new Array(6);
badness[0] = 'armstrong';
badness[1] = 'tour de france';
badness[2] = 'cycling';
badness[3] = 'yellow jersey';
badness[4] = 'lance';
badness[5] = 'tdf';

function check() {
	var body = document.getElementsByTagName('body')[0].innerHTML.toLowerCase();
	for (var i = 0; i < badness.length; i++) {
		var index = body.indexOf(badness[i]);
		if (index > 0) {
			var temp = document.getElementsByTagName('body')[0].innerHTML;
			document.getElementsByTagName('body')[0].innerHTML = '<div 

align="center"><h1>SHIELD YOUR EYES</h1></div>';
			alert("The goggles, they do nothing!");
			alert(badness[i]+" is mentioned on this page");
			document.getElementsByTagName('body')[0].innerHTML = temp;
			return;
		}
	}
}

window.addEventListener('load', check, true);

July 6, 2005

Fun tools and resources

Gmaps Pedometer: a great Google Maps hack that lets figure just how long that bike ride to work is and even send that route as a link to friends.

NumSum: for those simpler spreadsheets that don't need Excel (i.e. all of them).

Five Ingredient Recipes: when cooking for myself I try not to exceed three steps in my cooking process, which includes unwrapping the package to stick it in the microwave. Five ingredients implies at least five steps, but I may be willing to sacrifice.

Rapid Afterimage: this optical illusion still throws me.

July 2, 2005

Site loyalty

wombat posted about an entry about site loyalty, listing the software he uses in various categories and also discussing the loyalty inherent in that particular category. I was originally going to parallel his entry and list the software that I am currently using, but instead I turned this into an entry on how to take current Web services and increase site loyalty and value, with a main focus on how I believe that history is becoming the next big thing in Web services, along with three examples of how current services might evolve.

Site loyalty is ultimately determined by the value of the data that it stores and delivers. The sites that I use are the sites that have the highest value of data (e.g. Flickr, del.icio.us, Gmail, Chameleon/Bloglines), and recent trends in Web services have increased both the value of data and rate at which it can be acquired. Some examples:

  • Tagging: Tagging layers data upon data. The addition of a tag to a photo adds categorization information to that photo and it also links that photo to other's that have the same tag, including photos taken by other people. Therefore, a single photo includes its own data, as well as the means for finding other photos of a similar quality and people with similar interests. Good tagging services have features to suggest and autocomplete tags, which increase the speed and amount of tagging.
  • Search: The search space used to be a zero-switch-cost arena. Google conquered Altavista, and Microsoft and others were full of the belief that they could supplant Google with superior search technology. I think this current crop of competitors is wrong, mainly because the search engine space is now different. Both Google and Yahoo are adding in features that collect and store your data, making you more loyal to their service. They also have the ability to tie a single search box to the multiple sources of data that they are collecting. The latest is search history and 'personalized' search, which collect data without requiring any additional interaction. Add to that e-mail, desktop search, and blogs and the search box has a memory of where your data is and how you want it.

The most important data that I think that services will start collecting is history. I've already mentioned how Google and Yahoo are collecting search history, but there's also Amazon, which perhaps has been the leader in collecting and reguritating it's knowledge of your use of the service. Amazon's recommendation wizard, based on my purchase history, is one of the main reasons I continue to use the service. The current generation of social bookmarking services (Spurl, My Web 2.0) offer the ability to automatically save a version of the page you are bookmarking, creating your own miniature version of the Wayback Machine just in case that old bookmark gives you a 404 or the page is modified.

History hasn't taken over the Web yet, maybe because of privacy concerns, but here are three examples in three different categories of how I think the Web could evolve to use history:

  1. RSS Aggregators: every RSS aggregator should keep track of every link that you click. Although I can always easily bookmark a link, there are far too many cases in which a page I read becomes important long after I've closed the browser window. A time-indexed, feed-indexed, searchable history of links I've clicked would be an invaluable tool for recovering that lost link.
  2. Event organization/calendars: Event organization tools (e.g. evite) and online calendars view events as things that will occur, completely ignoring things that have occurred. One of my main reasons for sticking with Yahoo Calendar is that it has a detailed record of most of my major activities; it is a sparse journal of my life. Similarly, evite pages, which are the focus of attention prior to an event, are completely ignored after an event. Yet, the evite page has many things going for it: people that went to the event have the link, and it provides the means of contacting everyone who did attend the event. Many of the events I attend end with an exchange of e-mail addresses, followed by the exchanging of photos several days later. If the evite page faciliated this post-event process, it could become a record of events that you have attended, mixing the traits of social calendars with that of journals.
  3. News sites: The New York Times requires you to login to view any article on its site. Therefore, it knows every article that you read. Imagine that the end of the year is coming up and the Times is putting out its "Year in Review" articles. In addition to these articles, they could offer loyal readers a "Personalized Year in Review," based on the articles that you clicked on and read. Every day of the year you would know what happened, as judged by your own interpretation of news-worthiness. Of course, there's no reason to limit this feature to an annual review.

June 22, 2005

I am Walmart

Some friends and I pitched in for an Amazon Prime upgrade a couple months back and it's completely changed my shopping habits. Instead of browsing around trying to choose $20 worth of items to buy so I can get free shipping, I treat Amazon like a just-in-time supply delivery system. If my photo printer tells me it's running low on yellow ink, I quickly log into Amazon, order the $10 cartridge with free 2-day shipping, and by the time the ink is dry and new cartridge is waiting for me at my door. For gift buying, I can ensure precision gift delivery with the 2-day shipping, or overnight for an extra $4 when I'm really doing "just-in-time" shopping.

The resupply isn't quite perfect yet. Today I had to go to Home Depot to pick up replacement bulbs and a new light switch. It would be nice to envision a future in which, via RFID or by taking a photo of the item, I could save myself the effort of combing Home Depot's aisles and instead have the replacement parts waiting for me on my doorstep, delivered by my just-in-time Amazon supplier.

May 20, 2005

Greasemonkey-ing around

I finally started having fun with Greasemonkey. Greasemonkey is a tool for Firefox that lets people write their own little programs on top of any Web site. There are various scripts to clean up site annoyances, such as scripts to remove CNN's ad columns or scripts to remove posts by Xeni on BoingBoing, but the type of scripts that have tipped me into using Greasemonkey are the time savers: autocomplete for Del.icio.us and a hack for This American Life that switches links to the downloadable (instead of streaming) audio.

I never looked at an actual Greasemonkey script until today when mfkenney posted a script to the Flickr Hacks group. His script modifies Flickr photo pages so that clicking on the photo title pulls up a menu that lets you click to the thumbnail/small/medium/large/original photo .jpg versions -- without this script you have to click through two or three pages to get the same result (link to script). mfkenney released it under GPL so I made a quick (1 minute) modification to the script that links to the "photo zoom" page instead (the photo zoom page provides HTML for posting the photo into a blog entry): Modified FlickrAllSizes script.

NOTE: To use either of these scripts you'll need Firefox, and you'll have to install Greasemonkey. You can then come back to this page, right click on the link, and select "Install User Script."

May 1, 2005

Backpack: way cool, way too much $$$

Update: (5/2/05) Backpack has upped it's limits since I originally wrote this entry. Free accounts now get 5 pages (up from 3) and the $5/month account get 20 pages (up from 15). They also increased the storage for the $5/month account from 25MB to 40MB. In the entry below I've indicated some of these changes, but it seems silly to have little "(update: )" or strike notations everywhere, especially when these changes don't really change the way I feel about their pricing. The most important limit to me is "20 pages." How useful would a Wiki that could only store 20 pages be? How useful would a blog with 20 entries be? The feature I like about Backpack is that it makes it easy to create content. Their pricing stands in opposition to these potential uses and only makes sense if they are targetting this at business users that can afford the extra $$$ for higher limits -- but why target business users when you already have Basecamp?

original entry follows...

I've been playing a bit more with Backpack -- it combines much of the free-flow composition of Wiki with the ease-of-use and power of structured data (e.g. todo lists). When they release it to the public it might become a very useful 'application' for me and my friends to plan events together, but...

...we're not going to be able to plan that many events with it because the free account only gives you 3 pages total (update: 5), and the non-free plans are way too friggin' expensive. And by 'way', I mean WAY.

As a pricing reference point, I would compare it to Flickr, which I use constantly and have a two-year Pro account for.

FlickrBackpack
$25/year$60/year*
2GB/month25MB total (now 50MB)
Unlimited photosets15 pages (now 20)

* This pricing is based on Backpack's basic account (cheapest non-free account).

It's just not even in the same ballpark. Even when Flickr cost $40/year (pre-Yahoo), it was still a bargain compared to Backpack.

The 15-page limit is especially egregious. I can begin to understand the 25MB cap on file and photo upload, but limiting me to having 15 pages that hardly take up any space and are the central feature of the service is just plain assinine. IMHO, $60/year is a terrible price to pay for 15 Web pages, even if they are super-snazzy and editable. I could delete an old page to make more room, but why force me to do that? With the advent of Gmail and Flickr I thought we had gotten past that whole notion of having to delete old information.

April 29, 2005

Got my backpack

update 2 (5/3/05): I (still) like Backpack -- it's a well designed technology, with a diverse set of potential applications. However, I think their page limit is whack (i.e. it eliminates many of those potential uses by making them unaffordable). My extended gripe is here.


I got my Backpack account today and I'm pretty excited. I've been bastardizing 37signal's project management software, but Backpack should do away with that as it makes it easy to build pages with lists, links, notes, images, files, etc... that you can share with friends. All of it can be edited quickly and directly in the browser.

While I was at PARC I worked on Sparrow Web, which was a technology for making easily-writable Web pages, and I've been missing that technology ever since I left, so it's nice to have what appears to be a good, fast, free, easy-to-use writable Web page system.

I'll write more once I have a chance to really test drive it.

Update: here's our Fred Steak Planning Page that honeyfields and I put together. They're not opening Backpack up to the public until Tuesday, so until then I won't be able to give anyone the ability to edit the page, which makes the Fred Steak page rather pointless right now.

April 14, 2005

Craigslist + Google Maps Followup: Urbanrenter

As a followup to my Craigslist + Google Maps post, Josh sent me a link to urbanrenter, which does with the Craigslist/Maps brainmeld did, with a few bonus extras.

Urbanrenter uses data from Craigslist to display both macro- and micro-level rental details -- you can tell, for example, that living south of 280 is hecka expensive (darker map shading), and if you zoom in there are circles representing individual Craigslist listings. This provides a good resource for figuring out where you can afford to live as well as finding apartments for rent there.

Urbanrenter also features draggable maps like Google Maps, a feature that Peter Norvig noted as one of Google's "differentiating features" at the BayCHI panel two nights ago. The implementation is a little different -- Urbanrenter uses a single, over-sized map image, whereas Google Maps uses multiple map tiles, with some lying off-screen (somewhat akin to old videogame implementations). Google's implementation gets the nod for now (dynamically resizable, smoother loading), but it's good to see that others have this feature.

Overall, I'm also preferring the Craigslist + Google Maps meld to Urbanrenter for the task of finding an apartment. C+GM is easier to use overall -- Urbanrenter requires you to type in a street address or zip code (neither is an easy detail if you don't already live in the area) to get the listings, and the overlays showing the locations of listings is not as easy to read. These seem like small quibbles that could easily be fixed.

April 8, 2005

Craigslist + Google Maps

I've seen several Google Maps hacks since its recent release, but this one takes the prize for actually being useful: Craigslist + Google Maps

You can see all of the Craiglist apartment rent/sale listings overlaid on a Google Map, and if you click on a listing it will show you the details for that listing, including pictures. You can also narrow the listings down to your particular price range.

Having used Craigslist before to find housing, I know that this would have saved a lot of time and effort.

March 4, 2005

stat obsessed

I've only been using MyBlogLog for a day now, but it's darn cool. It tells you, in realtime, what links people are clicking on your Web site, and all you have to do to enable this is place a single link of javascript on your pages.

This feels much better than studying Web server logs, which are polluted by search engines and referrer spam. I can figure out what entries people are reading and what links they are finding interesting, and it's also like a trip down memory lane as it is pulling out specific links and the link text -- I can read "hbar in slug smoot^2 per fortnight" in my stats and go, "Oh yeah, I remember when we played around with the Google calculator."

February 22, 2005

kottke

Wikipedia contributors are voting whether or not to delete his entry, and the Daily Show features a segment mocking the media/blogger relationship, I guess it's about time that someone like Jason Kottke goes 'pro' as a blogger.

I don't know if I care as much about the promotion of blogging to the title of 'profession' as much as I wish that more sites offered the opportunity, NPR-style, to contribute $$$ (like MozillaZine, for example). Perhaps it's more important for a design-aware site like kottke to stay ad-free, but part of me grimaces whenever I visit BoingBoing and see the site plastered in ads (unless it's a site like Daily Kos or Eschaton that is promoting their political causes).

When you do the math, I spend $25 on a hardcover that lasts me three train trips. $30 for a site I read everyday and steal design cues from is a bargain.

I'm a kottke.org micropatron.

February 13, 2005

sparklines for del.icio.us

Update: and just like that, they're gone. I guess they were bogging down the del.icio.us server too much.

del.icio.us sparklines are fun. Previously, I had read a proposal to put sparklines in Wiki, but this is the first large-scale service I know of (I'm happy to hear about others) that's actually implemented them in use. If you don't know what sparklines are, you may want to read some sample pages from Tufte's upcoming book that introduce sparklines.

So far I only know how to get the sparklines to display on the del.icio.us popular page, but you can also retrieve individual sparklines for specific links by adding "img" to the del.icio.us url link. Using Josh's Chameleon as an example:

The del.icio.us url link is:

http://del.icio.us/url/c83730234c1e59226f42ccf0b882d3ae

The sparklink url is:

http://del.icio.us/url/img/c83730234c1e59226f42ccf0b882d3ae

which looks like this: sparkline

February 11, 2005

For del.icio.us users

This experimental del.icio.us posting interface is fantastic. It shows you tags that others have used as well as a list of your own tags so you can click and choose tags instead of typing. (yes, this is the same as nutr.itio.us, but that's been offline for quite awhile)

February 4, 2005

delicious gmail

The grand merging of two of my favorite Web services: del.icio.us gMail. ponderer/tony wrote a script that downloads pages that you've added to del.icio.us and forwards them onto Gmail. This way, if the page goes offline you have a saved copy, and you get Gmail's fast searching as well.

BlogPorter

I've been playing with blimp-master Josh's experimental blog-reading tool, Chameleon. It's a modification to bloglines that does some additional tracking and mining on top of your reading. To crib from Josh's description:

Do you like Bloglines? I do. But the number of feeds I was trying to deal with quickly got away from me. I don't think folders are the answer. Therefore, I've created this work-in-progress, which does a few cool things:

  • Keeps track of which feeds you read, how often, and when
  • Figures out which feeds are your favorites (based on some heuristics), and highlights them -- in the feed list, as well as bringing them to the top (you can adjust the threshold on this)
  • Periodically identifies the top links in your subscribed feeds -- much like Blogdex, but for your feeds only.
  • Shows you your usage 'score', per feed

This uses the Bloglines Web Services, so you'll need a Bloglines account. And you still have to use Bloglines to do most of the maintenance of your account (add/delete feeds, etc.). But use BlogPorter to read your feeds, and you'll see the features start to emerge as it learns about you.

I'm waiting until my usage score starts stabilizing before I start commenting more on that specific feaure, but I will say that the blogdex-like feature that shows you which links are popular in your current feeds is pretty cool, as it has already pulled out what the hot conversations are as well as the hot links.

Josh is looking for some more people to test it out and provide feedback, so if you're a bloglines user you may want to give it a shot. It utilizes your existing bloglines account so there's no additional setup.

Pets, blog-style

rabbit(this is mainly for honeyfields) "Blog Pet" is a little rabbit that sits in the sidebar of your blog. If the Japanese translation is anywhere near correct, it reads your daily entries and "learns" new words from them, which it then repeats back to you. It will also try to find articles related to your postings and even collects visitor statistics. Here is an adorable screenshot of the blog pet learning to say "Master!"

Blog Pet

January 20, 2005

Zen Ocean

I've already posted the bad, so here's a theme that's actually rather cool (watch the diver as you scroll): css Zen Ocean

October 16, 2004

Am I hallucinating?

I'm used to some of the links I post here overlapping with Slashdot, whether it be because I copied the link from there, or because /. readers mine the same sites I do for links. But seeing Jon Stewart's Crossfire appearance linked on the frontpage made me go, "WHAAAAAAAAA?!?!?!" I know that /. recently launched politics.slashdot.org, but the Stewart/Crossfire link isn't even posted in that section. Does this mean that /. readers are a bunch of stoned slackers?

October 15, 2004

Willie's back

William Gibson has returned to his blog, this time with a mission.

August 2, 2004

Another cool feature

del.icio.us just added a cool feature: you can now take the intersection of the tags you assign, which may simplify my tagging in the future. For example, I have a 'blogs' tag and a 'mozilla' tag, so if you select both you get my link to asa's blog (mozilla developer). The UI works fairly well too. You click on the first category, and then shows you a list of related tags that you can do a intersection with.

Cool bloglines feature

The new citations feature that I have just recently noticed on Bloglines makes it even more useful than Technorati in finding entries linking to your blog. It's improvements over Technorati include:

  • speed (though this is probably due to the # of users on it)
  • the ability to customize your search to search inside or outside your bloglines subscriptions, which makes it much easier to find the random strangers who are linking to your blog.
  • includes LiveJournal entries.
  • seems to preserve entries much longer than Technorati, so you can find much older links.

Of course, it doesn't have the same level of API openness that Technorati has, and despite the inclusion of LiveJournal blogs, Technorati seems to carry some blogs that Bloglines does not, which makes their search results complementary, rather than competitive.

Citations search

July 7, 2004

Another day, another blog

Bloglines has updated their service with a major new feature: clip blogs. Bloglines is an online service that lets you subscribe to RSS feeds and view them within a browser window. It is currently my feed reader of choice, as it works from any computer with a browser and Internet access, and the interface offers the features I want in a feed reader. With the new clip blogs features you can click on an entry to publish it to your clip blog while you are reading your feeds. Here's mine:

http://www.bloglines.com/blog/kwc

For many people, I imagine this is a simple and easy way to start sharing links and get involved in the blogging world. It's integration with the feed reader is also nice, as it creates a simple workflow between finding the links and publishing them.

I still think that MovableType bookmarklets are easier-to-use because they work outside of the feed reader. Also, the current bloglines service doesn't make it very easy to quote the original entry (unless I'm missing something). Most people don't have easy access to a MovableType installation, though, and Bloglines is a good feed reader that is also completely free. Personally, I'm still waiting for the service that makes it easy to do remaindered links posts into my blog ala kottke.org (perhaps a future MT plugin?).

June 25, 2004

Tip: Adding an Amazon wishlist to your blog

Want to add your wishlist to your blog? Adam Kalsey has a cool little script that's easy to add to your site, once you figure out your wishlist ID.

NOTE: It will only list the name of the items on your wishlist. There are more sophisticated ways of including your wishlist that will include images of the items (using MovableType and the MTAmazon plugin), but using this tool is simpler and works on non-MovableType pages. Instructions are in the extended entry.

Continue reading "Tip: Adding an Amazon wishlist to your blog" »

June 24, 2004

Free (temporary) image hosting

These are two, quick and simple sites for posting an image online (temporarily). It doesn't get much more simple than this. The front page of each site has an upload field, and after you upload the image it gives you the image's URL. No signing up or other hassle involved.

Both sites are for temporary image upload, so it's not particularly useful for blogs, but it is good if you're trying to:

a) post an image to a message board, auction, invite service, etc...
b) exchange an image with a group of people

- TinyPic Image Hosting (my uploaded image)
- TechImage (my uploaded image)

Of the two, tinypic seems better, if only because the describe they terms of their service -- images removed after 30 days of no hits or after 10,000 hits -- and their UI is ever-so-slightly more polished. It's not clear what TechImage's rules are. Tinypic also allows you to upload via URL, and the image URLs it generates are, well, tiny (e.g. http://tinypic.com/99b5).

I hope services like these become more prominent; a fair amount of bandwidth on my site is taken up by people posting images from my Web site directly to message boards.

(via fwak)

May 26, 2004

Caltrain bot

After all my previous whining about the horrid online Web pages for getting access to Caltrain's schedule, I've now found a way of quickly accessing the schedule that I like (and no, it's not offered by Caltrain or transit511). Apparently someone on orkut is hosting an AIM chatbot called 'caltrainbot' that responds to simple requests. It's faster than the transit511 site, and it lets me get arbitrary station-to-station schedules based on the current time much faster. It's also a lot easier to access using my cellphone.

Here's a chat log:

me: next menlo park to mountain view
caltrainbot: Next train leaves menlo park at 4:04p and arrives mountain view at 4:18p
me: help
caltrainbot: Actions:
next (station) to (station): show the next train from station to station
remaining (station) to (station): show today's remaining trains from station to station
all (station) to (station): show all trains from station to station stations: show 'official' station names
fortune: display your fortune
about: show info about this bot
help: this message
me: remaining menlo park to mountain view
caltrainbot: Remaining trains from menlo park to mountain view:
Leaves 4:04p, arrives 4:18p
Leaves 4:34p, arrives 4:48p
Leaves 4:57p, arrives 5:11p
Leaves 5:18p, arrives 5:31p
Leaves 5:43p, arrives 5:57p
Leaves 5:55p, arrives 6:08p
Leaves 6:09p, arrives 6:23p
Leaves 6:41p, arrives 6:54p
Leaves 7:04p, arrives 7:18p
Leaves 7:35p, arrives 7:49p
Leaves 8:04p, arrives 8:18p
Leaves 8:34p, arrives 8:48p
Leaves 9:04p, arrives 9:18p
Leaves 10:04p, arrives 10:18p
Leaves 11:04p, arrives 11:18p

(via John R Chang: Blog: caltrainbot)

March 27, 2004

Newsjunkie by keyword

PubSub lets you create virtual RSS feeds based on a search term. For example, you can subscribe to Nanotechnology, Stanford, or a search term of your own, and it will return articles from over a million blogs. Here's one I created for the mars rover.

If only Google News could add this feature to their search -- they have news alerts, but those are e-mail based.
(via Brad Choate)

Update: With Brad Choate (maker of fine MovableType plugins) showing up in the comments within 10 minutes of my posting, this made me realize that this is a powerful tool in support of Scalzi's Law of Internet Invocation. Instead of having to actively Google your name to find new mentions of yourself, PubSub will deliver all new occurrences of your name directly to your news reader within minutes of it being posted. Those Internet Spirit Summoning spells will work that much quicker now.

March 16, 2004

Updated to my transit511 rant

After my previous rant about how Transit 511 took over Caltrain's schedule and made it completely unusable, there's finally been some improvements. I claim no causality between my rant and the change, but I would like to believe that a chorus of similarly peeved individuals led to the change.

You can once again select and start and end station and view the schedule for just those two stations, a feature that existed on the Caltrain site before Transit 511 took over.
[Here's an example with Mountain View and San Mateo][sched].

<newrant>From the example, you can see that they are still really stupid and stick the schedule inside of an embedded frame, which makes it really hard to print. Interestingly enough, if you click on "accessible version" or "printable version," it gets rid of this stupid embedded frame. It's not that they don't have a usable version, it's just that you have to request it specially.

They also don't have the old feature that allowed you to select a start/end time so that you don't have to view the schedule for the 5am trains you'll be sleeping during.</newrant> [sched]: http://transit.511.org/schedules/detail.asp?cid=CT&rte=5081&day=1&dir=NO&fst=12%2CCALTRAIN STATION - MOUNTAIN VIEW&mc=stops&tst=23%2CCALTRAIN STATION - SAN MATEO&image1.x=15&image1.y=9

March 8, 2004

Amazon Arbitrage

In college, while I was taking a Microeconomics course, I found out there was a perfect lesson in arbitrage using the textbook for the course. It turned out that the textbook was significantly cheaper on Amazon's UK site. Not only did this save you money purchasing the textbook, you could even make a profit by "returning" it back to the MIT bookstore (this required that you find someone in the course who had bought it for full price, then offering some split of the profit). My memory isn't perfect on this, but I also believe that the price you got for selling it to the MIT bookstore used (which didn't require a receipt) still allowed for a small profit. I never took full advantage of this as I was far too lazy, but imagine the possibilities...something like this deserves extra credit in an econ course.

Now there is an online tool that makes this Amazon arbitrage even easier. It lets you search for a book on Amazon, and then compare prices across Amazon's UK, Germany, Canadien, and Japanese sites, including in shipping costs. This is an example using an economics textbook that saves you about $20 (I can't find my old textbook, which had a difference of ~$40+).

Half.com does something similar by allowing you to compare prices across multiple online sites, but pricenenoia is the first I know of that allows you to do arbitrage across different markets (US/UK/etc...), where price differences are more pronounced.

February 9, 2004

Didn't know you could do that with CSS

I saw this interesting post over on Jon Udell's blog that shows how you can modify your CSS to automatically include images and text before or after a <pre> or <blockquote> tag. He even goes as far as to insert of the photo of the person who made the quote. I'll have to go through some of my old entries and see how this can be of some use. I also didn't realize that you can assign multiple classes to an element, which should help pare down the size of my stylesheet.
- Jon's Radio

Ooo, pretty new toys...

Today was a good day in software and hardware:

Firebird is now Firefox, and version 0.8 is now available for download. Haven't noticed that much that's different, other than the new download manager. 0.7 was already really solid for me.
- Mozilla Firefox - The Browser, Reloaded

At last - something I've been waiting for ever since I saw the first demonstration images. There is finally an affordable consumer camera using the Foveon chip, which makes digital photos look a lot more like real film photos. This page explains the differences between Foveon's X3 technology and other digital cameras.
- A Gamble on a $399 Digital Camera

Keyword search is back on Technorati, which is better than Google when it comes to finding fresh blog entries.
- Sifry's Alerts: New and Improved! Technorati Keyword Search...

Finally, Thunderbird 0.5 (Mozilla Mail Client) is out. They haven't renamed it to Thunderfox yet I guess:
- Mozilla Thunderbird

January 29, 2004

Gettin' del.icio.us

I've slightly updated the right sidebar of the site to use del.icio.us to manage my bookmarks more. del.icio.us is a site the manages your bookmarks for you (similar to blogroll). You visit a site, click on a button, and the site is added to your del.icio.us list. They'll even publish your list as RSS if you like.

What makes del.icio.us different from blogrolling is that it lets you tag entries, which makes a lot more sense than organizing your bookmarks hierarchically. This way, I can have a Jython link sit in both my "Python" and "Java" subsets.

This is part of my overarching scheme to push all Web-related content off of my desktop and back onto the Web, where it belongs. One of the things that frustrates me is that when I sitdown at a new computer, none of my bookmarks are there for me to use. Now, I have a semi-organized system that should eliminate this problem, and breaks down my bookmarks by task:
- daily news reads: bloglines
- sites to follow up on/sidebar: blogrolling
- filing cabinet for bookmarks/older links/links less frequently used: del.icio.us
- bookmark annotations/bookmark search: kwc.org/blog

del.icio.us/nowhun

January 6, 2004

Web Design reference

This looks like it will be a really cool resources to use when I finally overhaul the brittle and redundant CSS holding this site together:
- Web Design References
(via IDBlog<Gunnar<Zeldman)

November 24, 2003

Posting b/c I don't want to lose the link

the5k.org has some cool entries demonstrating the limits you can push CSS on the Web, and by limiting the size of the Web you get a pretty focused idea.

November 11, 2003

For home and abroad

This sounds like a really awesome idea for a Wiki:
Main Page - Wikitravel

When I backpacked across Europe, many of the places we visited were due to the suggestion of people we met in hostels. This seems like a good way to transport that experience onto the Web that's more adaptable and less compressed than the travel guides, though its still not a replacement (e.g. it needs some maps and the content is still being created).
(via Joho the Blog)

November 6, 2003

Nooooo!

I was really excited today to get my free Caltrain train and parking pass from work. My excitement quickly disappeared when I clicked on my bookmark for the Caltrain schedule and got a 404 not found page from a site called 511 Transit Info. I thought this was odd so I went to the Caltrain site and clicked on their schedule link, only to discover they've transferred all the schedule information to the 511 site, which sucks!

<rant>
Here's what it used to be like to get the Caltrain schedule:
1. Click on interactive schedule
2. Click on Mountain View
3. Click on Menlo Park
Result: a nice listing of the departure and arrival times for the train. It was so nice and succinct that I could have it load in the sidebar of my browser and stay open while I surfed other sites.

Here's what it's like to use the 511 site:
(version 1)
1. Click on Trip Planner
2. Type in address that you are leaving from. If you click on "map" you get a zoomed out map of the entire Bay Area that it expects you to navigate by repeated zooming (which is very slow to load).
3. Repeat step 2 for the address you are going to.
4. Enter in specific time that you are leaving
Result: it tells me the time of the next two Caltrains, nothing more. After all that effort it didn't even tell me anything about the bus route to get to the station.

(version 2)
1. Click on Schedules
2. Select Caltrain
3. Select Northbound/Southbound
4. Click on Weekdays (the only option listed)
Result: table embedded inside of another Web page. You have to click on scrollbars to find the appropriate column. If you are travelling far it is unlikely that you can see the station you are leaving from and the station you are arriving at on the same page. (If you click on printable version you get a Web page that is wider than my 20" LCD monitor).
</rant>

October 29, 2003

Photos for that site redesign

Cool features of a stock photo site:
1) royalty-free
2) search by color: istockphoto lets you specify a color and will return photos in its collection that match that color, ensuring harmony in your CSS design
- istockpro
(via Zeldman)

October 24, 2003

Unintended consequences

I was playing around with Amazon's new search inside feature and came across some interesting side-effects of the new search algorithm. For example, the top three search results for "Arnold sucks":

  1. Ten Things I Wish I'd Known Before I Went Out into the Real World by Maria Shriver (Author) (Hardcover)
  2. Crime Fiction II : A Comprehensive Bibliography, 1749-1990 by Allen J. Hubin
  3. ARNOLD : THE EDUCATION OF A BODYBUILDER by Arnold Schwarzenegger

Man, those must be some harsh lessons Maria Shriver is dealing out.

You can't play the "suck" game with everything, but there's still enough fodder to have a little bit of fun. For example: "Microsoft sucks":

  1. Word 2002 For Dummies
  2. Microsoft Access 2002 for Dummies
  3. PowerPointŪ 2002 For Dummies

Any other gems out there? (I posted this on 1010, but I had too much fun with this to not post twice)

August 29, 2003

Elegant CSS Rollover

This seems like a really cool use of CSS: Fast rollovers, no preload needed (via Zeldman)

Zeldman also posted a link to Containing Floats (Complex Spiral Consulting) from Eric Meyer's new consulting company, Complex Spiral. The rollover and floats articles go well with one another.

July 30, 2003

How common are you?

Too many people named Steve? Well you can get exact statistics on how common first and last names are by searching the 1990 census. But alas, it could not find a boy named Sue.

Update: Jed sends me this (reformatted for space):

The 1990 data can be found here: http://www.census.gov/genealogy/names/. There are complete files at that site, but here are the highlights:

TOP 10 LAST NAMES
name           freq   cum.freq  rank
SMITH          1.006  1.006      1
JOHNSON        0.810  1.816      2
WILLIAMS       0.699  2.515      3
JONES          0.621  3.136      4
BROWN          0.621  3.757      5
DAVIS          0.480  4.237      6
MILLER         0.424  4.660      7
WILSON         0.339  5.000      8
MOORE          0.312  5.312      9
TAYLOR         0.311  5.623     10

TOP TEN FEMALE FIRST NAMES
name           freq   cum.freq  rank
MARY           2.629  2.629      1
PATRICIA       1.073  3.702      2
LINDA          1.035  4.736      3
BARBARA        0.980  5.716      4
ELIZABETH      0.937  6.653      5
JENNIFER       0.932  7.586      6
MARIA          0.828  8.414      7
SUSAN          0.794  9.209      8
MARGARET       0.768  9.976      9
DOROTHY        0.727 10.703     10

TOP TEN MALE FIRST NAMES
name           freq   cum.freq  rank
JAMES          3.318  3.318      1
JOHN           3.271  6.589      2
ROBERT         3.143  9.732      3
MICHAEL        2.629 12.361      4
WILLIAM        2.451 14.812      5
DAVID          2.363 17.176      6
RICHARD        1.703 18.878      7
CHARLES        1.523 20.401      8
JOSEPH         1.404 21.805      9
generics         1.380 23.185     10

July 8, 2003

Disposable E-mail

This is a cool service that I found out about on Lessig's blog: Jetable's disposable e-mail. Jetable lets you create e-mail addresses that are valid for one to eight days depending on your preference, which is perfect for signing up for online services that require you to receive a confirmation e-mail. This also allows you to, as in Lessig's case, post an e-mail address on your blog for feedback without exposing you to the inevitable spam.

June 17, 2003

Stock Photos

Copyright is a destructive issue, so I'm glad these royalty-free photo sites are out there: stock.xchng and iStockphoto.com.

June 11, 2003

CSS Zen

Eric Meyer really has some sweet CSS stuff. I had already admired his css/edge site, and today I found a link to his Dave Shea's CSS Zen Garden.

My favorites:
- Meliorism
- Boddhidarma
- What Lies Beneath (like the appearance, don't like the side scroll)
- arch4.20

Also, mezzoblue is the best looking blog I've ever seen.

Update: Eric Meyer kindly pointed out that CSS Zen Garden is Dave Shea's work (sorry for the improper attribution - both of you have great sites!).

March 11, 2003

Googlewhack: French Military Victories

Someone forwarded me this funny googlewhack: "French Military Victories"

In the event that this no longer works, here's albino white sheep source.

what is this?

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