Remaindered Links for 03 Feb 2011

JavaScript Console Without The Browser
It’s been difficult to test JavaScript code in the past as one would need to fire up a browser and work within it. Now you can work with JavaScript in your console (at least on a Mac). Here’s the setup and how to do it.

Why Is America’s Transportation System Stuck in the 1950s?
We still focus most of our transportation expenditures on the automobile, the interstate system, and it’s related cash-sinks. Public transportation, even walking, keep getting pushed out of budgets and initiatives. With a country growing more obese every year, we could probably solve a lot of health issues by encouraging more pedestrian or cycle traffic over sitting in a car all the time. But that’s a major initiative that would require the complete rebuilding of our urban and especially our suburban fabric.

iPhone Generates More Revenue Than All of Microsoft
One division of Apple does more than Microsoft entirely. Blame high profit margins or whatever, but Apple’s kicking ass and taking names and is one of the best companies out there right now from a financial perspective (with nearly $100B in the bank).

Convert HTML links to Soundcloud’s HTML5 widget
For those of you who use Soundcloud, here’s how to use jQuery to get links to your audio on Soundcloud to turn into their HTML5 player

box-sizing: border-box Cures What Ailes You
The box model is one of the more frustrating things about web development. Each browser handles it a little bit differently and padding vs width computations break many a page in development and sometimes in production. This sets the width to lock to the border, not the inside of the padding. Not sure why this hasn’t been the default since 2000, but it’s an option now, so start using it.

Remaindered Links for 27 Jan 2011

Understanding the bin, sbin, usr/bin , usr/sbin split
For anyone who works on a unix system trying to remember which binary lives an be hairy (unless you just throw all of these into your env chain, and then woohoo!). But why did they create so many directories in the first place? Turns out it was all about running out of disc space on a PDP-11 in 1970 when they built the first version of Unix.

Why are software estimations off by a factor of 2 or 3?
Michael Wolfe gives a great explanation of why standard models of estimating software often fail by using something more tangible to most: going on a hike.

Rails 3.2 and 3.2.1 out
Upgraded to these and things seem fine. 3.2.1 fixes a bug that exists as 3.2 was compiled with Ruby 1.9 and would throw all sorts of fun errors like

Invalid gemspec in [/var/www/railsapps/meticulous_admin/shared/bundle/ruby/1.8/specifications/activeresource-3.2.0.gemspec]: Illformed requirement [“# 3.2.0”]

Not good.

George Soros on the Coming US Class War
The Man who Broke the Bank of England and liberal financier George Soros does not have a rosy outlook for our current economic woes: “We are facing now a general retrenchment in the developed world, which threatens to put us in a decade of more stagnation, or worse. The best-case scenario is a deflationary environment. The worst-case scenario is a collapse of the financial system.”

Apple Cash Reserves near $100B USD
For a company that almost died in the mid 90s, they now have one of the largest war chests out there. It’s bigger than the GDP of many small countries. It’s also one of the few tech companies whose valuation is remotely in line with it’s actual holdings and worth.

Remaindered Links for 25 Feb 2011

TSA Agent Slips Through DFW Body Scanner with a Gun (Repeatedly)
At least we know that completely invasive and expensive machines are totally worth the cost, right? Give me my 4th Amendment back and cut out the security theatre crap.

Magnetic North Shifting North at a Fast Rate
The magnetic north pole has been moving north from the Canadian ice pack/Hudson Bay are up towards the physical North Pole of theplanet. This can affect not only compasses but other navigation aids as well. Get your updated magnetic declanation at the NOAA site since almost any map you have will be wrong.

Where Have All The Good Men Gone?
I’ll tell you where—they’ve given up. They’ve been drugged up and told to behave instead of acting like boys and competing and getting into fights and playing in the dirt. Extreme feminism has finally won, and a woman can finally do a man’s job. But with these men having no interest in doing a woman’s job, it leaves the woman doing both. Twenty-something girlfriends take care of and boss around their twenty-something boyfriends, and effectively replace the boy’s mother and then complain that the boy won’t become a man. Maybe it’s time to reinstate the draft.

Track Anyone via GeoLocations
We saw what happened when Adam Savage posted a photo of his car from his phone last fall and accidentally gave away his home address. Here’s another freaky thing that can happen. People can basically stalk your location. Think of it as the CIA room in The Bourne Identity but just on someone’s desktop. Of course, if you check in and broadcast religiously on FourSquare, this means nothing to you.

Gun Running Scandal at ATF
So the ATF has let people buy guns they know shouldn’t buy them so they can let them smuggle them across the border to then claim that the gun laws are too loose and therefore need to be tightened. Between the TSA and BAFTE, I’m not sure who is more corrupt and impotent as an organization. They should both be disbanded, since they appear to help the problem more than fight it.

Remaindered Links for 14 May 2010

It’s been a while since I did one of these but my RSS feed reader has been overflowing with reads so I’m going to start doing these as I have links to share again.

iPad Gets Kitchen Cabinet Install
I expect to see a lot more of these kind of things with various touch screen interfaces. The benefits of a computer in the kitchen are numerous, from looking up a recipe to playing music to video chatting while working. It’s a matter of time until digital connectivity is laced throughout life.

We Are Out of Money
No matter how many “green shoots” people keep talking about, a simple fact remains: Government from the local to the federal level is living outside of its means and eventually, there’s one outcome: bankruptcy.

Students Get In Trouble for Wearing American Flags on Cinco de Mayo
Another sign of political correctness run amok, four students were almost
suspended over wearing the American Flag on Cinco de Mayo because it was deemed offensive to the Mexican-American holiday. Luckily the school board in the area disagreed with the Principal’s take on it and the boys were not suspended. I think they should have gone back wearing Gadsen Flags.

Tax Bills at Their Lowest Since 1950s
For those complaining that taxes are through the roof, the numbers say otherwise. People in 2009 actually paid about 9.2% of incomes, as opposed to the historical average of 12.

Chicago Mayor Daley Wants Gun Case Heard by World Court
Obviously not content to simply strip Chicago residents of their Second Amendment Rights, Daley wants to take the case the Supreme Court declined to the World Court in the Hague. Citing numbers that have been proven incorrect (e.g. 85% of Mexican guns come from the US, etc.) it’s just another attempt at pushing a ludicrous agenda of control. Mayor Daley, put a sock in it.

Remaindered Links for 16 Oct 2009

National Review Author Says Woman’s Sufferage Bad for America | Almost hard to believe, but this is your right wing in action. Women voting is “bad for conservatism” and therefore “bad for society”.

Newspaper Redesign: The Story of a Beautiful Failure | iA was invited to submit a redesign of the Swiss paper, Tages-Anzeiger. This is a story of how they lost, and the designs they came up with. Beautiful stuff. It’s interesting to see a usability firm approach the newspaper format that has been effectively unchanged for almost a hundred years.

Overcriminalization: The Federal Gov’t Goes Too Far | a 66-year-old “diabetic with coronary complications, arthritis and Parkinsons” was targeted by the Fish & Wildlife service, his house raided by a SWAT team, and forced to serve 2 years in a Federal prison all for missing some paperwork on importing… Orchids. Your tax dollars at work.

Fossil Skeleton Predates Lucy | 1.2 million years older than Africa’s famous “Lucy” fossil, this shows that humans split off from other apes long before previously thought.

Hadron Collider Could Prove Hyperdrive | Reviving a 1924 hypothesis by a German physicist, Franklin Felber is looking to see if the concept of a hyperdrive could be proven on a near atomic level when the Hadron Collider starts back up in the near future.

Remaindered Links for 10 Oct 2008

NSA Eavesdropped on Americans, Journalists in Baghdad | Two whistleblowers came forward to allege that “it was common practice at the NSA facility [in the Green Zone] to not only record the phone conversations of ordinary Americans with no connection to terrorism, but to single out the exchanges that were somehow novel or salacious for sharing, ridicule, and general discussion.” Your tax dollars at work. How long until this happens domestically? My money is on that it already does happen here.

The Temper Trap – Sweet Disposition | Really, truly, one of the best new bands I’ve seen since MuteMath. From Melbourne, Australia. As Tom Bridge said in a conversation with me, “It has a great urgency to it. I MUST ROCK. IT CANNOT WAIT. ROCK!”

Honey Can Help Fight Sinusitis | Well, certain types, and it’s limited to petri dish testing. It goes to show that Mother Nature really makes the best medicine.

The Cab Ride I’ll Never Forget | Just a great feel-good story about an old lady and a cab driver. It’s the little things we do that make a difference.

Mad Men Illustrated | A great group of images of illustrated scenes from Mad Men. Well done art! (via .sara)

Consumers not waiting for Automakers to Install Plug-in on Hybrids | This shows the obstinance of Detroit on getting with the program. When people are moding hteir cars so much in order to increase mileage, it might be something to look into…

No-Tech Hacking | Security is often focused on firewalls and digital encryption and randomized passwords. This is a great look at how non-technical issues can often do you in, how situational awareness is paramount, and how you car, dress and haircut can tell someone more about you than you care to let on. (Defcon talk by Johnny Long)

Typography for Lawyers | Or other clients who just don’t seem to get it.

Grocery Items rise 10.5% from Last Year | Maybe food will be the next hot market. Of course, most of these things aren’t storeable, and these hikes all seem to be related to costs of inputs on the agricultural end as well as transportation costs.

Remaindered Links for 03 Oct 2008

Ask Umbra Gets Noticed by the New York Times | My friend, Jennifer Prediger, gets props from the NY Times about her new “Ask Umbra” featurettes on the environmental site, Yay!

Urban Vehicle Camouflage | Someone spent a lot of time to look like a generic fleet vehicle.

What Happened to Muxtape | Sad that the industry couldn’t figure out how to make this work in their favor. Seems they keep stepping on anything that would help them sell music.

Creating a Magical Rainbow Color Flame in Photoshop | Veerle comes through again with an amazing tutorial showing how to create a very nice effect in Photoshop.

And finally, a funny image from Amy Hoy:

Remaindered Links for 23 May 2008

1000 Abstract Brushes for Photoshop | These are the things I live on to do a lot of my design work. PaulW put out all these free brushes and they’re pretty cool. Enjoy!

Science vs. Religion | An xkcd style comic of science vs religion commentary.

Orphan Works: A Collosal Mess | The new orphan works proposed revision to the Copyright code is a crappy fix to a problem the copyright office brought upon itself. A nice op-ed piece by Lawrence Lessig.

As Homes Foreclus in US, Squatters Move In | Homeless are taking over empty houses owned by the banks and local authorities are having a headache getting them out and then keeping them out. And the squatters are getting smart about it too, forcing the banks into courts or offering to leave for cash.

People Moving Off Grid | In this case, off the grid means living out of their car. The city of Santa Barbara actually has set up lots where people can sleep in their cards form 7pm until 7am. How long until this starts to look like the 1930s?

$200-a-Barrel Crude Prediction | the NY Times has a article that references a Goldman Sachs analyst who believes that a super-spike could drive oil prices up to $200 a barrel.

Remaindered Links for 16 May 2008

As we’re off to play at the Bitter End in NYC tonight, I present the Friday link collection. Enjoy!

Houdini for Mac OS X | For you visual effects people, SideEffects is finally releasing a new version of Houdini for Mac that will bring it in line with the Windows and Linux versions. Just shows you how far the platform has come in the last ten years.

Foreclosure Filings Hit Record in April | Up 65% from last year, foreclosures are not only hurting families, but municipalities as well as their tax revenue plummets. Without property taxes, cities and towns will have to find new revenue streams, which means new and or different taxes.

Oregon: Our Laws Our Copyrighted And You CAn’t Publish Them | Cory Doctorow rips the state of Oregon on their recent claim that their laws are copyrighted and that they can’t be published outside of the state site. I’d be interested to see this go into court with the whole provision of critique or ridicule being considered fair-use. (via Waldo)

Farmer Outside Boston Preserving Endangered Livestock | A PhD in Pathology and fourth generation farmer, Jennifer Cermak has a small farm in Berlin, outside Boston, and helps maintain populations of endangered livestock species, many of them from the colonial era.

As Food Prices Shoot Up, So Do Backyard Gardens | I’ve got a balcony garden and it’s the same idea. The best way to eat local is to start in your own back yard. Then join a CSA locally. Then buy from local farmers markets. You’d be suprised how little you have to get from the actual grocery store.

Remaindered Links for 09 May 2008

Slow Down a Little, Save a Lot of Gas | What your parents always told you is true. You can save a lot of money, especially with gas prices going through the roof, by driving at a lower speed. The goal is to keep the RPMs of the engine as low as possible, so cruising in your highest gear at the lowest RPMs. This won’t work for those of you on the mountain, but it’s a good practice to get into anyway.

Ecobeam Systems | An interesting technology for construction that utilizes wood and steel girder-like beams to replace typical stud construction that can be curved, assembled on site, used to span larger distances, and utilize sandbags as bricks. Keeping this on the list for when I build to see how it could help in a passive solar system (thick masonry like wall = thermal stability)

Helvetica Serif | Joey the “Accordion Guy” posted the most brilliant and offensive type joke of the last year. Or call it Arial Serif. Everyone knows they’re the same thing.

Chloe the Labrador Retriever | Daily Puppy would be my downfall if my apartment building allowed for dogs. Instead, I can just say “aww so cute!” about other people’s labradors.

What WMATA Is Really Suggesting | New metro proposal for the system in 2030. I wish this existed today. It would be nice. Check out the map drawn based on the presentation by the guys at Greater Greater Washington.

California: Disappearing is $6Trillion in housing Wealth | At the rate housing prices are falling, the average homeowner will experience a loss of $85,000 in this year alone.

Remaindered Links for 02 May 2008

HCFS Not Natural says FDA | Finally, the FDA has declared high fructose corn syrup is not a natural ingredient, and therefore products containing it cannot be labeled as such. HFCS is one of the main components, in this author’s humble opinion, of our national nutrition and obesity problems..

Pizza Hut Delivery Driver Fired for Shooting Armed Robber | In more of the “don’t defend yourself!” news, Pizza Hut fired a driver because of a policy violation, even though he kept himself from being robbed. Another point of stupid corporate policies being followed to the letter because of fear of lawsuits.

BBC: Do You Need To Stock Up The Bunker? | Even the Brits are getting in on the end of the world preparations. It’s based off Barton Biggs’ book “Wealth, War and Wisdom” which talks about wealth preservation during war, specifically, World War II in Europe. Lessons are applicable to modern day life.

The Clean Energy Scam | Agricultural biofuels are not going to save the planet. In fact, they are hurting it just as much as oil through deforestation, agrochemicals, and more.

Algae: The Ultimate In Renewable Energy | Making biofuels from algae farms can produce 100,000 gallons of biofuel in an acre per year. Compare this to 30 for corn and 50 for soybeans. Bring on the pond scum!

Buffett Says Recession May Be Worse Than Feared | Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway and the world’s richest man at $62B, stated that this “recession will be longer and deeper than most people think” and “think[s] consumers are feeling gas and food prices and not feeling they’ve got a lot of money for other things.”

Remaindered Links for 25 Apr 2008

Gardening in Suburbia: Hot New Trend | Watch out, it’s the new hot trend! Turn your lawn into a garden! This is awesome to see and fits in nicely with the article from last week’s remaindered links about the town in Hampshire doing something similar.

The End of Flight as We Know It | An op-ed from the great Bacon’s Rebellion e-magazine this week about the end of cheap air travel and looking ahead at an era when international travel at the drop of the hat will only be for those “at the top of the economic pyramid”. “There is no way to have “low cost, safe, convenient flights.” No amount of traditional subsidy or oversight can mask realty. The only way that there can be safe, on-time air travel is for every ticket to cost far more than it has in the past.” All too true.

Costco Food Rationing | In certain Costco’s they are limiting the amount of certain items that people can buy due to international shortages (or perceived shortages) in things such as rice, oil and flour. Toss this into the debunk file for “it could never happen here”. Also see Riots, Instability Spread as Food Prices Skyrocket and Time Magazine’s No Grain, Big Pain article. And finally: The Wall Street Journal Suggests Americans Stockpile Food

A Message to Pennsylvanians from Bill Clinton | Bill Clinton’s speech for John Kerry in October 2004.

Now one of Clinton’s laws of politics is this: If one candidate is trying to scare you and the other one is trying to get you to think, if one candidate is appealing to your fears and the other one is appealing to your hopes, you better vote for the person who wants you to think and hope. That’s the best.

Oops. Bill, I guess Hillary didn’t hear that speech. Nor did anyone in Pennsylvania seem to remember it this past Tuesday. Pity.

Urban Planners vs. City Residents | Even the best laid plans are laid to waste by people who simply do not want to leave the place they live. Youngstown, Ohio’s city planners would love to shut down and raze vacant and run down areas, but the few remaining residents don’t agree.

Remaindered Links for 18 Apr 2008

Texas Oil Billionaire Bets on Wind | It’s nice to see private industry going after alternative energy. Mesa Power, owned by Texas oil man T. Boon Pickens, has put forth a plan to spend $10 Billion to build the largest wind farm on the planet. And it’s not from his “let’s save the environment” reasoning. He sees the profit in going green.

An Entire Village in UK Grows its Own Food | The village of Martin, nestled into the Hampshire countryside, is pretty nondescript. But the village has rolled back the clock and now over 2/3rds of residents participate in a program to grown their own food. The nearest supermarket is only six miles away, but most people are buying their food from the community allotment, which sells 45 different vegetables and over 100 chickens a week.

Nuclear Attack on DC: A Hypothetical Disaster | The Washington Times (which has typically been a very right-wing leaning paper) has an interesting “what-if” about a 10-kiloton detonation at street level near the White House. Some of the experts interviewed, such as Cham Dallas of the University of Georgia, claim that it’s a likely occurrence in the next 20 years. The bigger concern? The Metro area is in no way, shape, or form prepared to respond to something of this nature.

Coptic Priest Fights Fire with Fire | A Coptic (Christian) priest in Egypt has been named Islam’s Public Enemy #1 by an Arabic Newspaper. He has forged a discussion of the Koran and some of the more archaic laws present in the Hadith. He preaches in Arabic and asks deep questions and responds with a point by point argument that would win some of the toughest debates. The result? A frustrated ulema (a body of prominent Muslim theologians) and a large number of converts to Christianity.

Vitamins May Increase Mortality | Looks like highly processed vitamins aren’t that good for you after all. Michael Pollan’s points from The Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food ring more and more true every day.

Nalgene to Phase Out Hard-Plastic Bottles | Bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical present in certain hard-plastic Nalgene bottles, is being phased out. The chemical has been linked to neurological and behavioral problems as well as obesity, cancer and diabetes.

Remaindered Links for 11 Apr 2008

Food Riots to Worsen Without Global Action | The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation stated that “food riots in developing countries will spread unless world leaders take major steps to reduce prices for the poor.” Too bad all that grain is going to ethanol production.

Here Comes China | It was the British empire, then the American. It looks like China will be stepping up to the plate next. The power shift is beginning to make itself evident with the weakening Western economies and the surging growth in China’s economic house.

Email Sufficient to Modify Contract | Interesting business note that a series of emails can be considered signed writings used to modify an employment agreement. So, save those emails that are important, but just not in your inbox.

NYT and Wash Post Cover Preparedness | I was a little disturbed but also happy to see that the Washington Post and the New York Times both cover preparedness this week, albeit in different ways. The NYT appeared to go for the style angle of “isn’t that cute” while the Post had more of a proper view point of it all. Nothing wrong with being a Boy Scout, kids.

USA 2008: The Great Depression | The UK paper, The INdependent, puts forth some statistics about how we could be approaching a similar storm of economic hardship not seen since before World War II. They also point out use of food stamps and their increase.

Remaindered Links for 04 Apr 2008

Food for Thought | The Economist’s April issue takes on the food crisis and possible solutions. This article discusses the issues related to biofuels and how commodities prices jumping 300% are causing headaches for agencies like USAID and politicians alike. One of the solutions? the WFP’s proposed changes to shift away from emergency food and towards stabilizing production globally.

Find Your Dream Homestead | Tips on finding your little patch of land where you can start a farm. After 12 years in DC, this sounds absolutely amazing. Even Alaska. Anything but the typical trash filing into and out of the various chichi clubs.

Rick Rolled | Never giving you up, never letting you down… sounds like a dream guy, right? Well, the 80s hit has made a come back as a new internet meme called “Rickrolling”.

Simplicity: What we can learn about Usability | Pretty much the most succinct visual representation of why every client’s current app simply needs to be moved to the trash heap before beginning a redesign.

Shawn Baldwin Photography | A lot of amazing photography straight out of the Iraq conflict. Browse around the site, this guy has captured some powerful images.

April Foolery | A cool program that lets you change the message on an HP printer. Hours of fun will ensure. Be sure to setup secret camera.