I try to avoid posts that are just links to other things. But this one is really good: If programming languages were religions...
Be sure to read through the comments. Many good additions to the list to be found there.
You know what I need? A new kind of RSS feed reader.
This feed reader would scan the posts for links and use common links as a way to consolidate or eliminate posts about the same thing.
Right now, for example, someone posts something cool at, say, Instructables. Then BoingBoing Gadgets points to it. Then the normal BoingBoing site points to the Gadget one, because they're hit whores. Then Gizmodo points to BoingBoing. Then the other Gawker blogs point to the Gizmodo post, because they're also hit whores.
I might end up with 6 posts in my feeds, all pointing to the same damn thing. Couldn't a feed reader figure that out and eliminate everything but the original post?
Hey Apple! Thanks for a new version of Safari! One that crashes all the damn time!
My former employer is in the news, but not in a good way. Last year, they published an awful comic book that tries to educate kids about how the court system works. Unfortunately, they're experts on court administration, not the laws themselves. (Except for Anne, who was utilized too late in the process to save it.) So it really, really, really, really, really, really, really sucks.
It basically reads like a RIAA propaganda piece, although Anne assures me it wasn't meant that way. Still, that how it reads. Anyway, now, a year later, the tech blogs are just learning about it. (Despite someone trying to clue some of them in on it a year ago.)
So, it's causing an uproar, one that's just gonna be ignored by the source of the comic and forgotten by everyone else in a week.
But, for now, here's a list of the blog posts talking about it. Have fun:
Noto Internet Piracy
I've left p2pnet.net for last, as they've had the most complete coverage. Unfortunately, they don't link the posts together. So here they are, in chronological order:
P2P comicstill online
The sad thing is that the NCSC does good work, generally. They just simply screwed up royally on this comic. They look like they're a front for the RIAA. Anne's been feverishly trying to correct misperceptions on the various blogs. But, frankly, if I didn't personally know her, I wouldn't believe her. (And even Anne doesn't know everything. Was Ramsey taking payments under the table? Or was it just another case of him being monumentally stupid.)
If you want to keep track of the blog postings, a Google search on NCSC propaganda will get you most of them.
While we were in Norway, I tried to take a lot of 3D shots. I'd take a photo, then move to the side a little and take another. Once home, I melded them together into a 3D image that you could view with red/blue glasses. Here are two of my favorite examples:
The problem? It's hard to keep everything level and at the same height. Much of the time, one shot would be crooked. Or one would be higher than the other. Convert those to 3D and you get an instant headache.
Sure, you could rotate one or the other, but then you still have to crop them to exactly the same size. It's just a pain. Plus, there's a time lag between the shots, meaning you can't take them from moving objects and you can't have things moving in the scene.
The solution would be to have two identical cameras, mounted next to each other. Then you could just fire their shutters at the same time. So, all I need to do is find a couple of cheap, but decent, digital cameras.
Wow! That's actually hard to do. I know there should be 2-3 year old cameras around for less than $100, but I can't find any. Anything below $100 is inevitably a focus-free piece of junk. Real cameras are inevitably more then $100.
I could scour eBay, but how many sellers are going to be selling the same model at any given time?
I really thought this would be easy. It's not. Grrrr!
But the battery on the Zodiac no longer holds a charge for more than a day. And the phone is pure crap.
So, what do I do? Here are some possibilities:
Get a new internal battery for the Zodiac. That would cost me about $25. And the new battery would have a third more capacity than the original (2000 mAh vs 1540 mAh). That would fulfill basic PDA needs and I could concentrate on a phone that just met my phone needs. Maybe one of the LG models with the slide-out keyboard. (I send way more text messages via my phone than I make phone calls.)
Get an iPhone. This would be pricy as hell, but everyone I know that has one loves it. On the other hand, I'm not at all happy with how Apple has gone all control-freak on it. If it's mine, I should be able to install any damn thing I want on it. The problem is that Apple is selling a complete mobile computer platform, but they want to control it as if it were just a phone. I'm willing to put up with that proprietary bull-shit on an appliance like a phone. I'n not inclined to for a mobile computer.
Get a Nokia N810 Internet Tablet. I've had a 770 for a few years now. It's cool, in its own way. But the software is flaky as hell, especially the browser. The damn thing hard crashes every time I try to use a custom sound as an alarm. (And this is a problem, as the built-in alarm sounds all scare the crap out of me when they go off.) But the cost for the hardware is on par with the iPhone. And I'd still need an actual phone.
Get some high-end, non-iPhone phone, that can replace a PDA. Maybe one of the BlackBerries? (How would I do email?) Maybe a Treo? (Then I have to choose between an aging OS and a bloated one.) I just don't know.
Maybe I'm just being too anal about Apple. I dunno.
Actually, the saddest thing is that we sold some of the consoles. That was a mistake. They were too much fun and I wish we had them back.
I've started on a little project. I'm working on a note-taking program. Why? Because nothing out there does what I want. I got the idea from a pretty-close piece of software called ZuluPad.
ZuluPad is a cross between a text editor and a wiki. It lets you mark text and create a new page linked to by the marked text, creating a set of hyperlinked text pages. And it's a good program. But it has some usability problems if you're trying to use it to make rapid fire notes.
First off, to make a new page, you have to highlight some existing text, then hit CMD-L. That takes time. I don't have time when I'm taking notes. I want to just hit CMD-L and have whatever word I just typed become the link and title of a new page. I even want to be able to hit CMD-L-L and have the two previous words become the new link.
Second, there's no keyboard shortcut to follow a link, that I can see. That makes me have to move to the mouse. That's not good if I'm taking rapid-fire notes. Third, when I go to an existing page, I'm left at the start of that page. That's odd, because, if I'm taking notes, chances are I'm going to want to append them to the existing page.
Anyway, the point is that ZuluPad is a great program, but not perfectly suited to taking notes. And I go to a load of meetings, and thus take a load of notes. So, here's what I want:
A plain text window. No formatting. No time to format while taking notes.
Press CMD-L and you get a new text window, with the previously typed word as the title. Hit CMD-L-L to use two words, etc.
In that new page, you can hit CMD-L to make another new page. All the pages created like this would be kept on a stack, displayed in a side drawer or something.
If the word you're on, or at the end of, is already a link to a page, then a CMD-L would go to that existing page, placing you at the end of the text. There's no point in a different command key. And you want to be at the end of the page, so you can easily add more info.
A shift-CMD-L would pop you back up to the previous page, putting you at the spot in the text from whence you left. The page you left would disppear from the stack display.
And that's the basic functionality. Page titles in the text would become hyperlinks to the appropriately titled pages.
The whole point is that I could be typing in notes and someone gets mentioned, maybe Tom Carlson. I type that in, hit CMD-L, type in a little info about the moron, then hit shift-CMD-L to go back to the main notes. Later, if I type that name again, it'll be automatically highlighted and I can follow that link to see the info about him I typed earlier, and perhaps add to it.
This is exactly what ZuluPad does, only the controls aren't designed to do this as quickly as possible from the keyboard. When I've tried to use ZuluPad in real meetings, I find that it just takes too long to highlight text or grab the mouse. By the time I've futzed with all that, the moment has passed. The result was that my notes in ZuluPad ended up being flat files, just as if I had used a plain old text editor.
There are some added features I'm thinking about. There would be tons of export options. I could dump the document as HTML, either as multiple pages or as a single page with internal hyperlinks. I could dump it as RTF. I could do some descriptive XML, or even something like LaTeX. I could even show the relationships of the pages graphically with DOT and Graphviz.
Another feature would be Glossaries. There would be a document-wide one, automatically generated out of all the page titles. But, you could also have customized ones. For example, when I'm on the "Tom Carlson" page, I could hit CMD-1 to add that page's title to Glossary #1. It would thus become my list of people names. I might use Glossary #2 for organization names. #3 might be acronyms. A given page could be assigned to multiple glossaries. The glossaries would be included in the export documents.
And the final feature would be alias titles. For example, if I'm going to have Glossary #1 consist of names, then I might want the "Tom Carlson" page to actually be titled "Carlson, Tom". But I also want the text "Tom Carlson" to lead to that same page. All I'd need to do is title the page "Carlson, Tom" and make the first line of the page read "AKA Tom Carlson". Additional AKA lines would add additional aliases for the page.
I know wikis can do most of this. But the problem is that they can't do it quickly, from the keyboard. I don't want this program to be a system for maintaining a hyperlinked document. There are tons of ways of doing that already. Rather, I want a lightning fast means of creating a bare-bones hyperlinked document that I can later export to some other tool to maintain and format.
Anyway, that's what bouncing around in my head right now.
Oh, I'm just a genius, I tell you.
We had this problem, see? One of our cats, Nicky, is a pig. He virtually inhales his food. We can't feed him with the other cats because he'll finish first, then eat everyone else's food. (In addition to being a pig, he's also physically stout. We think he's part Husky.)
So, we feed him in the downstairs bathroom, locking him in while the other cats eat at their leisure. (No, we don't actually lock the door. We just close it.)
Of course, given his prodigious rate of consumption, he's typically done before the others have even started. So first he cries to get out. Then he gets bored. Then he starts playing with the roll of toilet paper. He'll unroll piles of it. Then he'll eat some of it, rendering it unfit for its intended use.
So, what to do?
Take a one liter bottle of seltzer water. (Or pop. Or whatever.) Drink it all and rinse the bottle out. Then cut off the top and bottom, leaving a cylinder about as tall as a roll of toilet paper is wide. Then cut straight down the side. Round off the pointy corners and snap it over the roll of toilet paper! Sweet!
Why ain't there any good basic XML editors for the Mac? I know one guy you finally resorted to just writing his own.
And, for that matter, why ain't there any good simple graphic packages, similar to older versions of Paint Shop Pro, for the Mac? Everything is either really low-end stuff, on par with Microsoft Paint, or else some sort of Photoshop clone.
I needed to add a border to an image yesterday. I ended up resorting to running Paint Shop Pro 5 under Windows 2000 Advanced Server under VM Ware. Just to add a stupid border!