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Saturday August 30, 2014
Rest in Peace my Dearest Cat Saffron 1996-2014
Saffron, my cat and constant companion and friend of 17+ years passed away this week.
I have no words to describe how much I miss her. There is huge hole in my heart that I don't know how to fill.
Rest in peace my dear cat. I miss you so much.
Sunday August 24, 2014
Let's have some weekend Science and Tech! (A bit of a roundup!)
As some of you may know, I used to do some Tech News here at DC, but as the days went on, time got a little more constrained and real life slowly took over. However...even though I can't promise a full time thing, what I can promise, is one for you right now!!
Windowless Planes Offer Passengers Spectacular Panoramic Views:
An international design agency has come up with an intriguing and innovative new aviation concept that has won them a prestigious award - windowless jets.
Technicon Design’s idea is not to ruin your views while cruising through the air, but to enhance them. This would be achieved by filming the exterior environment and displaying it on inside surfaces throughout the cabin. Rather than being restricted to a small window, passengers would experience a spectacular panoramic views of the world. Of course, it would also be possible to display other things on the screen besides the sky, such as movies.
While this may sound gimmicky, removing windows has the added benefit of weight reduction and would also simplify plane construction. It would also allow greater flexibility when designing the interior of the plane.
Read more at http://www.iflscience.com...views#k77557fLHpV346hZ.99
Scientists Find Traces Of Ancient Star From The Beginning Of The Universe:
An ancient star has revealed traces thought to be from one of the Milky Way’s first supernovae. The discovery may help us understand the nature of the giant stars that once populated the universe.
Read more at http://www.iflscience.com...space#8OLKpVM1kS4ZzgMm.99
NSA and GCHQ agents 'leak Tor bugs':
The Tor Project says it believes some NSA and GCHQ agents are surreptitiously leaking it information to protect anonymity on the net.
Read more at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-28886462
Super-famous Instagranimals and their owners:
Wired.co.uk speaks to the people behind some of the most popular social media animals to find out how they build their audiences and what opportunities have arisen
Read more at http://www.wired.co.uk/ne...ranimals-and-their-owners
Android web apps get extra security with privacy wrapper:
On a mobile application, users typically have a single choice to protect their privacy: install the application or not...
Read more at http://www.wired.co.uk/ne...2/privacy-wrapper-android
Hacking our ears: how Dolby is bringing Atmos into the home:
Since Dolby Atmos arrived on the cinema scene in 2012, the technology has set a precedent for movie sound.
The intricate but sparse sonic landscape of Gravity, Godzilla's guttural roar, the rain-soaked urban jungle of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes... all of these have benefitted from the Dolby Atmos Cinema Processor and its support of up to 128 discrete audio tracks.
Read more at http://www.techradar.com/...mos-into-the-home-1262350
Gmail app hack works 92 percent of the time:
Computer scientists have discovered a method of hacking smartphone apps across Android, iOS and Windows devices that is effective up to 92 percent of the time on six of seven popular apps, including Gmail.
Read more at http://www.wired.co.uk/ne...21/gmail-hacks-92-percent
Heart failure patients healthier after ear stimulation:
Heart failure patients could live healthier lives by having nerves in their ears stimulated with a portable Tens machine.
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (Tens) machines are commonly used to alleviate back pain and are even used during labour. Now a team from the University of Leeds wants to adapt it to tackle health problems that are impacted by changes in the sympathetic nervous system, including heart disease and hypertension. The technique works by altering the signals that can make a heart beat too hard, by stimulating the vagus nerve.
Read more at http://www.wired.co.uk/ne...in-heart-disease-patients
Hackers easily seize control of nearly 100 traffic lights:
Taking over a city's intersections and making all the lights green to cause chaos is a pretty bog-standard Evil Techno Bad Guy tactic on TV and in movies, but according to a research team at the University of Michigan, doing it in real life is within the realm of anyone with a laptop and the right kind of radio. In a paper published this month, the researchers describe how they very simply and very quickly seized control of an entire system of almost 100 intersections in an unnamed Michigan city from a single ingress point.
Read more at http://www.wired.co.uk/ne...08/21/traffic-light-hacks
In Other News
Ebola crisis: The economic impact:
With more than 1,300 reported deaths from Ebola in West Africa, the virus continues to be an urgent health crisis, but it is also having a devastating impact on the economies of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
"The economy has been deflated by 30% because of Ebola," Sierra Leone's Agriculture Minister Joseph Sam Sesay told the BBC.
Read more at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-28865434
Ice Bucket Challenge ALS Donations Break $50 Million Mark:
The organization raised $64 million in all of 2013
The Ice Bucket Challenge is the gift that keeps on giving for the ALS Association. The organization raised more than $10 million on Thursday alone, it said, bringing its total haul since July 29 to $53 million. For comparison’s sake, the group raised $2.2 million during the same period last year.
Read more at http://time.com/3159673/a...cket-challenge-donations/ (Warning: Contains a video that Auto-Started on my browser.)
Giant Crack Appears In Earth In Mexico:
Video footage has emerged of a kilometre-long crack thought to have been triggered by an underground stream in northwest Mexico.
The eight-metre (26ft) deep trench opened up last week and severed Highway 26 between Hermosillo and the coast.
Captured by Hermosillo Desde El Cielo, the footage was shot by a drone flying along the length of the trench, which is up to five metres (16ft) across.
Read more at http://news.sky.com/story...ppears-in-earth-in-mexico
Thursday August 21, 2014
Talents and talent shows
Hi folks. Guess what: my girlfriend is on America's Got Talent this year! And now she's in the semifinals, holy cow. Her name is Abigail Baird, she's an acrobat, and her act is called Aerial Animation. Here's her first audition a couple months ago:
Aerial Animation AGT Audition
And her second performance in the Quarterfinals:
The official video doesn't include the judges comments, but it's here:
She has been working incredibly hard on this and it's pretty amazing to see her dedication and perseverance. She's been a professional acrobat and teacher for a number of years now and she has been getting by on earnings from teaching acrobatics to kids and the gigs she has been able to get here and there (it turns out making a living as an acrobat is hard!), but this could be an opportunity to perform full-time and it's tremendously exciting.
I've been pretty quiet around here lately, I have to minimize my DC time because otherwise it'll take most of my *free* time. But I still consider you guys part of my Internet family and this remains one of the best communities around, so I'm excited to share this moment in my life. I know some of you have already seen Abigail on the show, so hopefully it's interesting to know she's a distant DC cousin, in a way.
Abigail will be be on the live show again for the semifinals coming up August 26th, and she'll need votes to continue. If you're already watching the show, vote for your favorites, but maybe put a couple of your votes in for her even if she's not your top pick. If you weren't already watching, then you weren't going to vote anyway, right? So I figure you might as well give her *all* your votes. There are 3 ways to vote and you get 10 points for each voting method. But I'll go into all that a bit more in an update early next week before the show.
Anyway, I've been encouraged to post about this by mouser and other DC'ers, but in the spirit of community involvement I also want to open this up a bit more widely. Because as it turns out at least one other DC'er has an upcoming brush with fame (you know who you are), and maybe there are more! So if you've been on a talent show before, or have an appearance/audition upcoming, or you just have a talent you want to showcase, let 'er rip! Singing, dancing, expert armpit fart noises, playing the William Tell Overture on 5 parts of your body (real talent a friend of mine showcases at parties), whatever you can do, let's see it! In the meantime I'll be posting occasional updates about my sweetheart, including shameless requests for your votes.
Best keyword-powered program launchers for Windows: Find and Run Robot comes out on top
Martin Brinkmann, at the excellent ghacks, has a nice comparison of keyword-powered launchers for windows, and I'm proud to say that my own Find and Run Robot (FARR) gets the recommendation in the end.
The main idea behind application launchers is to speed up that process. Ideally, all you have to do is enter what you are looking for in the program's interface to load it right from there.
Most launcher apps come with shortcuts that you can press or active to display the frontend on the screen to start issuing your commands.
While most launchers support the basic operations listed above, it is extra features that distinguish them mostly. Some may support web searches for example or to run Windows commands to quickly shutdown the PC.
...While that is the case, it is Find and Run Robot that gets my seal of approval.
Regular Expressions 101
While working with regular expressions today I stumbled over regular expressions 101. Not only does it test your regular expression as you type, but it also picks it apart and explains it to you piece by piece. Amazing!
Wednesday August 20, 2014
7 Best Tools To Print To PDF (From The Web)
Nice roundup of virtual-printer tools that let you print to PDF from any application that can send output to the printer.
What’s the best PDF printer for Windows? We checked 7 of the most popular options to find out.
It’s kind of shocking that printing in Windows 8 doesn’t come with a PDF option; Mac and Linux users have had this by default for years. Windows users still need dedicated software, and it’s all of varying quality.
PDF printers let you save any file you can print as a PDF, meaning that any computer on Earth can open it without much trouble. Because these programs disguise themselves as regular printers, you can use them to create a PDF file in any program that lets you print. We’ve shown you how to print to PDF on Windows 8, but such software is by no means new: you can use it on any version of Windows.
Read Full Story: http://www.makeuseof.com/...g/7-best-tools-print-pdf/
Nextdoor: The anti-facebook social network for neighborhoods
Nextdoor is a social network designed to stay local within a neighborhood. I don't think the claims of how many "neighborhoods" are using it mean much, but I do love to see when people explore alternative spaces -- and especially when they take a concept and look for ways to invert it.
Nextdoor is a odd outlier among today’s social networks. Signing up is an onerous process, requiring substantial proof of both your identification and address. People post messages, but they are seen only by others in the immediate area, and there is no share or retweet button to proliferate messages across the network. It feels more like a modern update on a message board or web forum than a social network. But it has struck a chord across the country.
Tuesday August 12, 2014
Donate a Vote, Make a Mobile App Happen
I've recently discovered Applits
It's a social voting site that claims to make your ideas happen.
It works via voting and the app that gets the most votes goes into a list where developers and designers communicate to make the idea happen and you get a percentage of the profits.
This isn't much of a website review and I'm guessing, for developers, not many would like the thought of sharing an idea that might get stolen.
Can't say I blame you but for someone like me who has more ideas than skills, I find it reassuring that someone out there might make my ideas happen.
At the very least, I hope some users find some use to the page. Maybe an inspiration for a NANY project or an unexpected view of what some people's desire are.
Currently my ideas (2 public, 1 waiting for approval) need some vote so please kindly donate a vote or comment in the page or hell comment on this thread without signing up.
Why Oh Why Me?! Social Writer
The Extreme Undead To-do List
Friday August 08, 2014
Several times I've had pretty technically inept clients (friends) that want to send me files to do things with, or I want to get files to. And in many cases, its a recurring theme. With gmail pushing drive so files getting secured and not attached to e-mails and other avenues being either hard to use, or pay to use- not to mention, it's not hosted on your servers- it's hard to find something that just works.
Enter ProjectSend. ProjectSend is a self-hosted application (you can install it easily on your own VPS or shared web hosting account) that lets you upload files and assign them to specific clients that you create yourself! Secure, private and easy. No more depending on external services or e-mail to send those files!
Thursday July 24, 2014
Interesting stuff: Projection mapping on moving objects
Projection mapping on moving objects. This just keeps getting better and better:
More on it here and a "behind the scenes" video here.
Wednesday July 23, 2014
Deeper into the Windows Registry - Work-in-Progress Article on Gizmo's
Here's a very interesting long article -- a work in progress -- on Gizmo's Tech Support Alert site (one of our favorite websites), taking a comprehensive look at the Windows Registry.
The Windows registry is doubly obscure as it is both unknown to most of us and hard to understand. This is as it should be. The registry is a fundamental part of the Windows Kernel and its operations are relatively complex. If Windows is working properly then we, as users, should never see the Registry or any of its components. This article is not written for registry beginners, nor those wanting to edit the registry. Instead it provides a deeper understanding of the organization and management of the registry.
Thursday July 17, 2014
Re: Animal Friends thread
When I was very young I remember seeing a dog who had wheels instead of rear legs, and I cried because I felt bad for the dog. But that was misguided.
The amazing thing about animals is that they don't feel bad for themselves or need our pitty -- they take it in stride and just get on with enjoying life.
This warmed my heart:
Although.. come on lady, sticks are free, it wouldn't hurt for you to have more than one.
Google, designing the font of the future
New York Magazine has an article by a Kevin Roose, named "Google Is Designing the Font of the Future". It's quite interesting, but too long to merely copy & paste - so you will have to go yourself to read it:
Quote from: nymag
Google Is Designing the Font of the Future.
It's called "Roboto," and it works on everything.
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