Tech

Others declare me a guru

This is truly funny and sweet. Just recently someone using a pseudonymous sockpuppet to mock me said I was a self-proclaimed guru. It was a direct slam against the text on my about page. I ignored it because it was clear they simply didn’t read the whole page.

Then, today, one of my students and a local journalist, Bob Wells writes an article about two other WordPress experts and I!

WordPress gurus speak

Thanks Bob! You da man.

Go give the Boulder Reporter a lookee see!

AC Adapters

A friend of mine went to South America recently. He prudently went to a Boulder store to get a power connector adapter – and was promptly given the wrong thing by an ill-informed shopkeeper. So, upon reaching his destination, he ended up having to buy something that would work. Here’s photos of the adapters he needed:

These cost around $5 USD… the one’s recommended in Boulder – I think he said around $20. He took the bogus ones back and asked for a refund.

Double-check before you buy!

Implantable Cancer Vaccine

Hat tip to Slashdot:

SubComdTaco writes “Harvard has announced their approach towards an implantable cancer vaccine (press release here). To anyone familiar with how the immune system works, this appears to be a synthetic lymph node, an intriguing bit of biomimicry. From the Science Daily article: ‘A cancer vaccine carried into the body on a carefully engineered, fingernail-sized implant is the first to successfully eliminate tumors in mammals, scientists recently reported in the journal Science Translational Medicine. The new approach, pioneered by bioengineers and immunologists at Harvard University, uses plastic disks impregnated with tumor-specific antigens and implanted under the skin to reprogram the mammalian immune system to attack tumors. The new paper describes the use of such implants to eradicate melanoma tumors in mice. … The slender implants… are 8.5 millimeters in diameter and made of an FDA-approved biodegradable polymer. Ninety percent air, the disks are highly permeable to immune cells and release cytokines, powerful recruiters of immune-system messengers called dendritic cells. These cells enter an implant’s pores, where they are exposed to antigens specific to the type of tumor being targeted. The dendritic cells then report to nearby lymph nodes, where they direct the immune system’s T cells to hunt down and kill tumor cells.'”

Read the Science Daily article

Logo Design

Great article on logo design.

Logo design in today’s world is totally underrated. People don’t understand how important a good logo is and how valuable it is to their business. Let me guide you through the basics of what makes a good logo, while also walking you through the process of creating the identity and logo design for one of my recent clients, Vero, a limited liability company based in Miami, Florida. Hopefully, this will give you an understanding of what actually goes on behind the scenes while creating a professionally designed logo.

Read the rest at Layers magazine.

Tough Job

Thermal Craft Insulation Installer at work in attic

Just finished a series of upgrades to my home via the Climate Smart program and wanted to give kudos to two of the contractors:

Thermal Craft Insulation Co.

303-817-3006

Larry Meeks

and

Cooper Heating and Cooling

11780 Olde Wadsworth Blvd

Broomfield, CO 80020

303-466-4209

The picture at the top of this entry is the installer Dustin busting his nuts blowing in insulation in the teensy-tiny section of my split-level’s attic. When he came back out he was COVERED in the cellulose insulation – the guy really went after it. The blow-in from the outside of the house (holes drilled through the walls) took a couple of days and he did a SUPERB job. Can’t say enough good about the work.

The HVAC system and hot water heater were done by Cooper Heating and Cooling. Every single person I dealt with was polite, professional and knowledgeable. The salesman, Jim Reynolds was completely versed in the Climate Smart program, had all the paperwork straight and the install went 1-2-3 by the numbers. The new unit works flawlessly and I’m thrilled to death.

I’d tell you about the experience I had with the windows (Accent) but suffice to say I was less than pleased and let it go at that.

Bullet Porno

Lovely photography of bullets impacting/penetrating metal.

Such an incredible race we are that we can create such astounding devices.

Sad that we first turn them to killing.

Imagine these images but substitute a soldier’s body for the impact surface. Then substitute a friend or loved one.

The images take on a whole new dimension of horror.

Think about it.

I can only vaguely express my joy

IBM orders MS Office out of the building.

IBM Throws Out Microsoft Office

Sep 12, 2009

360,000 IBM workers have been told to stop using Microsoft Office and switch to the Open Office-based software Symphony.

Quoting an inside source, the German economic newspaper, “Handelsblatt” reports that staff at IBM have been given ten days to change to Symphony, IBM’s in-house Lotus software. The use of Microsoft Office will in future require managerial approval. With immediate affect, the Open Document Format (ODF) will rule at IBM with the file ending .doc soon belonging to the past.

The Political Future

by Mary Pitt

One may hear much speculation as to the future of the Republican Party as that once-august group find their following at a historic low and they have to turn for leadership to radio commentators and historic losers from their past. The most-asked questions in the television fora is, “Where is the future of the Republican party?”

The future of the Republican Party may be seen if one looks closely at the other side of the aisle in today’s Congress as well as in secondary positions in the administration. After years of hearing references to RINO’s, (Republicans In Name Only), we now are beginning to count the DINO’s. A new President who was swept into office on a wave of Progressive support is finding his path to the restoration of our nation blocked by Senators and Representatives who profess to be of his own party.

The most prominent of these may well be Secretary-of-State Hillary Clinton. Her history since her failed attempt to establish universal medical care at the beginning of her husband’s first term has been one of compromising and conceding to opponents the very heart of the principles which she professes to espouse. After eight years of watching her husband as his major successes were in the area of maintaing and improving the status quo to the benefit of the financial masters, she was so well schooled in the politics of survival as a politician that her record for supporting the policies of George W. Bush is all but unblemished. In the Senate, she diligently worked to become the leader of a “half-a-loaf coalition” that we may call the DINO’s.

These DINO’s are a combination of the Blue Dog Democrats and some almost-Republican opportunists who insist that we must cling to “the way we’ve always done it.”. (If we have always done it right, why is it not working?) In coalition with a few “moderate Republicans”, they have done an admirable job of foot-dragging and hampering the passage of President Obama’s most progressive proposals. On the other hand, under the influence of Secretary Clinton and the many other re-treads from the Bush and Clinton administrations, the President too often has no choice but to follow their lead into the old tactics of compromise and coalition in order to make any progress at all.

The Progressive movement watches, aghast, as they are marginalized by the title of “fringe groups” and the “middle way” is presumed to be the proper path. The younger members of Congress are held in check by the seniority system which allows them little influence until they have become sufficiently “trained” to be allowed committee chairmanships and other positions which would allow them to assist in the needed reforms. There may be hope if the Progressives can continue to cling together in common cause through another election cycle or two and dislodge many of the bought-and-paid-for old veterans who like things just the way they are.

Both parties are represented in the House and the Senate but that may be misleading. There may well be the same sort of crisis in the Democratic Party as the Republicans now suffer. The result will be a lot of aisle-crossing as more Progressive members are added, pushing the “moderates” to the right and to the left as the parties re-align in an effort to keep their power. The future of both parties is currently represented in Congress but, with the continued efforts of “we, the people”, the lines will be re-drawn. The war-mongers and mind-benders will be pushed out to the Libertarians and other militant parties, the present middle will be the right, and the Democrats will become more Progressive in their attempts to restore a nation that is free and democratic.

This occurence will be dependent upon maintaining the fervor of the common people to re-establish their power. With each election, as more young people are inspired to public service and more war veterans return home with the determination that nothing like the George Bush administration, ever happens again, we will become “a more perfect union”. Then and only then will we be able to proudly boast of the government which was visualized by the Founders in forming our precious Constitution.

Exploded 128

exploded 128 by Garry Booth

(click image to enlarge — only if you are wearing absorbent clothing, don’t say I didn’t warn you)

Ohmigawd. Oh.Mah.GAWD. Accurate right down to those pesky deeply-buried top screws. siiigh… (wipes away tear)

Go nowget.

If you drove one of the earliest Macs, this is an official ‘Holy Relic’ – and should be treated as such.

Garry Booth has created a lovely piece of artwork that any Mac Geek would be proud to have.

Good job folks!

I hope the folks at Denver Apple Pi see this soon.

Surplus

Hat tip to Bifurcated Rivets:

from:

Gin, Television and Social Surplus

by Clay Shirky

Here’s something four-year-olds know: A screen that ships without a mouse ships broken. Here’s something four-year-olds know: Media that’s targeted at you but doesn’t include you may not be worth sitting still for. Those are things that make me believe that this is a one-way change. Because four year olds, the people who are soaking most deeply in the current environment, who won’t have to go through the trauma that I have to go through of trying to unlearn a childhood spent watching Gilligan’s Island, they just assume that media includes consuming, producing and sharing.

Go read the rest, it’s well worth it.

Dialogues Within the Specialized Brain

Joy Hirsch is a professor of Functional Neuroradiology, Neuroscience, and Psychology at Columbia University in New York City. She is also the Director of the Program for Imaging & Cognitive Sciences, PICS, a university-wide core imaging facility to study brain and mind. Her Imaging Center aims to apply advanced and developing imaging technologies including functional magnetic resonance imaging, fMRI, to observe both the structures of the brain and their internal connections as well as to investigate fundamental processes that underlie brain-driven functions.

Hirsch’s research focuses on the investigation of the brain circuitry that underlies cognition, perception, and action. She studies conscious and subconscious neural processes that mediate emotion and cognition in healthy individuals and in patients with psychiatric, neurological, and developmental disorders.

Her research on language was the first to show that the mechanisms involved in acquiring a second language occur in a part of the brain separate from parts used in learning a primary language. She and her group have also pioneered studies of obesity and eating disorders, autism, vision, and inter-brain communications.

I’ll be attending and possibly liveblogging.

Mariah Power

The Windspire is a low cost, attractive, plug-n-produce wind power appliance that provides a safe and attractive method for harnessing power from the wind. At only 30 feet tall and 2 feet in radius, Windspire is distinguished by its sleek propeller-free design, ultra quiet operation, rugged construction, and affordable pricing. Designed for operation where we live and work, it comes complete with a high efficiency generator, integrated inverter, hinged monopole, and wireless performance monitor.
Hat tip to Doug’s Dynamic Drivel! Go check out the video!

Games: “a year from irrelevance”

From A Tree Falling in the Forest:

Long and thoughtful article about the electronic games industry. The closing paragraph:

I don’t believe either of these examples provide a roadmap for sustaining our industry. However, they do provide effective warnings about complacency and fetishistic attachment to existing consumers. We have to start taking risks again. We are not at the point of drastic Cadillac-like measures, but there should be a risk component in publisher portfolios. The gap between the sub USD one million XBL/PSN downloadable and USD 20 million console game is to great to have nothing in between. Traditional publishers’ relevance and the premier creators of interactive entertainment is under attack by movie studios, Miniclips type sites, DVD games, Facebook apps and other social network games and a ton of others. They are using the same game mechanics and the same hooks we abandoned years ago in favor of the pursuit of “advanced technology.” The audience is being conditioned to pricing models that don’t demand up front investments of USD 60 or monthly subscription fees. It is not just a question of a simple interface change. The Wii mote led the horse to water, but so far they are not drinking. We need end to end revisions. Changes in production, release timing, marketing and pricing. We can continue to believe EA, Actard, Microsoft and Sony will always dominate the market operating business as usual – kind of like MGM and Cadillac – or we can look to new audience segments and determine how we can make the changes needed to remain relevant. If we don’t I am afraid my son’s generation will view today’s games as the new polyester shirt.


The rest is well worth reading.

Nanobatteries

From MIT Technology Review

Monday, March 16, 2009

Nanocapacitors with Big-Energy Storage
Nanopore arrays combine high power and storage capacity.

By Katherine Bourzac

The ultimate electronic energy-storage device would store plenty of energy but also charge up rapidly and provide powerful bursts when needed. Sadly, today’s devices can only do one or the other: capacitors provide high power, while batteries offer high storage.


In a paper published online this week in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, the Maryland group describes making 125-micrometer-wide arrays, each containing one million nanocapacitors. The surface area of each array is 250 times greater than that of a conventional capacitor of comparable size. The arrays’ storage capacity is about 100 microfarads per square centimeter.


Holy crap…!! That’s impressive as hell for something so relatively-easy to manufacture.

Imagine an electric car that can go a thousand miles on a charge and recharge in under 30 minutes.

This is the research that will make this possible.

When Great Planes Go Bad

From:

SR-71 Disintegrates around pilot during flight test

The cumulative effects of system malfunctions, reduced longitudinal stability, increased angle-of-attack in the turn, supersonic speed, high altitude and other factors imposed forces on the airframe that exceeded flight control authority and the Stability Augmentation System’s ability to restore control.

Everything seemed to unfold in slow motion. I learned later the time from event onset to catastrophic departure from controlled flight was only 2-3 sec. Still trying to communicate with Jim, I blacked out, succumbing to extremely high g-forces. The SR-71 then literally disintegrated around us.

From that point, I was just along for the ride.

Read the rest

One Year Later

From David Alison’s Blog:

Switching from Windows to Mac – One Year Later

Not Perfect But Close Enough
My Macs have not been perfect mind you. I continue to get Time Machine errors that correct themselves on the next try (can’t it just auto-retry once and THEN tell me there was a problem if that failed???). From a design standpoint I like the fact that the top level menu is fixed and context sensitive because it cuts down on every window having a menu bar, but it means that on multiple display systems that menu may be a screen or two away from what I am working on.

– there’s much more. It’s a great article and must-read for PC die-hards (and you knows who you is… signficant glance)

FAA Network Hacked

From Slashdot:

coondoggie writes “The Federal Aviation Administration has joined the growing list of government agencies that have had their supposedly safe systems hacked. The agency this week notified about 45,000 employees that one of its servers was hacked into and employee personal identity information was stolen. The FAA was quick to say the server that was accessed was not connected to the operation of the air traffic control system or any other FAA operational system. It did say two of the 48 files on the breached computer server contained personal information about more than 45,000 FAA employees and retirees who were on the FAA’s rolls as of the first week of February 2006.”


From the comments on the article, it appears that it might well have been a development server that had SSNs of real employees on it.

Brilliant.

RIAA still slimy

(From a friend with inside experience in the music publishing business and extensive computer networking background, I trust his opinion implicitly.)

RIAA and BSAS favorite lawyers taking top DOJ posts (from Gizmodo)

I am not sure why the DOJ is packed with a bunch of corporate loving lawyers that like to sue people and business. I do not think these jerks can serve the public best because they have a perceived conflict of interest in preserving what they have been advocating. In the RIAA’s eyes, all people that use peer-2-peer technology, of which one use is file sharing, are criminals to be sued.

They want to shut down the first next generation computer communication model since client-server. I do not advocate pirating music, but I have an issue with an organization that sets up a dragnet and abuses our judicial system for their gain when the legal theories being used are questionable (i.e. making available for distribution argument is equal to illegal distribution).

By the way, you do not upload anything to a P2P network, you share a directory on your local machine. So, by having the software they are targeting and a shared directory that contains music might make you a target if they can illegally access your machine.

Currently, the RIAA is making deals with ISPs to police your connection to the Internet. Do you like spying on your communications by non-governmental entities? Do you believe you should be able to download music from the Internet you already own with a end user copyright? Do you think entities like ISPs should self-deputize in order to fulfill the RIAA’s version of justice? The RIAA wants ISPs to shutoff your broadband pipe if they believe you are pirating music. Where is the due process?

The BSA is a front group for Microsoft among other IT companies like IBM, Sun, HP, etc. Essentially, the BSA tries to encourage people to tattle on people if they are using pirated software or try to influence governmental policy either to enforce copyright or entrench MS in government. I am not an advocate of pirating software, but setting up a gestapo-esque atmosphere raises my hackles.

Have you heard of Sen. Orrin Hatch a BSA cyber champion. He proposed a “kill switch” for your computer if you were pirating software. Even more importantly, though, the BSA is used to fight governments considering moving off of MS technology to open source software like Linux and ODF (Open document format). ODF does not imply a move off of MS technology, but it is in MS’ interest to keep all government business in their format.

Why should government keep taxing people to pay for MS licenses that use a format that restricts non-MS applications access to public documents? The non-MS applications have to use a plug-in that can cost a royalty fee. By the way, MS Office can read/write ODF docs with no added expense for a plug-in. I feel strongly about these issues. Nevertheless, I can see that there is a conflict of interest with these individuals with regards to doing what is best for the public versus what is best for copyright holders. I already wrote the White House to let them know that this is “change I can’t believe in.” I urge you to do the same. Right now.

Air Traffic Creeps Towards Gridlock

As Congress Stalls, Air Traffic Creeps Toward Gridlock

From Wired

Congress still hasn’t agreed on how to fund the Federal Aviation Administration, which means the agency will keep muddling through on a shoestring budget that keeps the lights on but does nothing to prevent the air traffic meltdown everyone knows is coming.

There’s little chance Congress will approve a reauthorization package before the stop-gap measure that’s been paying the bills expires in March. The reauthorization lays out a blueprint for meeting the air transportation system’s needs and creates the mechanism to pay for it. Another six-month extension would cover the FAA’s operating expenses, but it wouldn’t finance the improvements that must be made. Topping the list is the NextGen air traffic control network that will replace a system built on World War II technology. Getting the $20 billion system in place is imperative. Without it, the FAA says the nation’s air traffic control system will be effectively gridlocked by 2015.

Read the rest at Wired

Mac is 25

apple_mac_128_outside

The Apple Macintosh is 25 today.

25 years of being better, simpler and more fun.

I’ve been using them since that first day and it’s been quite a ride.

To all those that have chanted: “Apple’s going out of business this year” – you were and are wrong.

Long live the Mac!

apple_mac_128_inside

How it began

History of the Internet is really cool animated documentary by Melih Bilgil showing how the Internet has evolved from its ARPANET origins. The video is illustrated using PICOL icons, an project that helps provide free and open icons to help facilitate a common pictorial language for electronic communication.

History of the Internet from PICOL on Vimeo

Via LaughingSquid, Boing Boing and Nowhere Else

Little Thompson Observatory News – 1/16/09

Little Thompson ObservatoryFriday 16 January 2009  7:00 – 11:00 PM

Public Star Night at the Little Thompson Observatory

850 Spartan Ave at Berthoud High School

(park east of the high school; directions are posted on our website, www.starkids.org)

Our guest speaker for Friday January 16, 2009 is Bryan White, known from past years for his great 3-D comet slide show as well as an out of this world Aurora Borealis show. Bryan White will be showing slides that are “old” pictures of Hyakutake, Hale-Bopp, and the occultation of Saturn by the Moon and of course, select Aurora pictures from 2002, 2004, and 2006.  He thought it would be interesting for people to see that there is still outstanding Aurora in Yellowknife during the solar minimum.  The total show will take just over 1 hour.  Bryan also has a surprise in store for us. But he promises it will be spectacular.

Little Thompson Observatory Aurora 1Bryan has visited Yellowknife in the Northern Territories several times over the last few years and has taken some incredible pictures of this natural phenomenon. If you still remember his great 3-D comets slide shows he gave the past couple of years at LTO, than you know this one will be very exciting.

Little Thompson Observatory Aurora 2Bryan has been interested in Astronomy since 1957 when he had just moved to a farm in rural Michigan. One summer evening he went outside shortly after sunset and observed a bright naked eye comet just over the tree line. It was Comet Mrkos that had just been discovered. That stimulated his interest in Astronomy and he has been studying it ever since. Bryan began taking astro-photos in 1985 when Halley’s made its visit. He noticed, that his favorite photos were where the Comet included trees, mountains, etc. that gave the comet a sense of scale plus made the image more interesting. Then in 1996 during the Winter Star Party, he was planning a trip for Hale-Bopp when it was announced that Hyakutake was discovered. While relaxing on the beach he remembered his grandfather’s old stereoscope. Bryan mused, why couldn’t he take 3-D pictures of the upcoming Comets? He went out and bought another camera and a bar that held the two some distance apart and started taking 3-D images of Hyakutake. By the time Hale-Bopp came he had the technique down. From that experience, which left him with over 1200 Hale-Bopp comet slides, he has developed a great interest in the Aurora Borealis.  Please see his website for more information http://www.astro-photo.com

Due to the large interest in this show in past years, we will use the Berthoud High School Auditorium for Bryan’s presentation. Please use the East door to get to the Auditorium. Volunteers will be on hand to help you with directions. The doors will open at 7:00pm and the show will start at 7:30pm.  The Observatory will be open after his slide show, probably around 8:30pm

Weather permitting after the presentation, visitors will be invited to look through the large telescope at various celestial objects.

Public star nights are held the third Friday of each month (except July, when we are closed for annual maintenance).

If you have any questions, please call the observatory information line at 970-613-7793 or check the LTO web site at: www.starkids.org

Sincerely,

Meinte Veldhuis
President, Little Thompson Science Foundation

iPod Juice

Just got a replacement battery for my iPod Mini (kindly given to me by my pal DJ Cline some time ago) from iPod Juice. The installation is fairly simple – provided you follow the (lovely, full-color glossy) instructions to the letter.

Even being careful I managed to narf one of the little ‘teeth‘ they warn you about. ‘Slow‘ and ‘firm‘ are your watchwords. Don’t hurry and do not use ‘gorilla-strength’ at any point. One false move and you have an expensive paperweight, albeit with a brand-spankin new battery.

Read the instructions all the way through and study the (excellent) photos carefully – they’re very helpful.

$36 (roughly) was all it cost to restore my vintage iPod Mini to proper multi-hour ear-shattering condition.

Thank you Mr. Cline. (and Mr. Echternacht for the assist).

Makers

from: Laughing Squid 1/3/09 1:15 PM Scott Beale Television Video

MAKE magazine, Twin Cities Public Television and American Public Television have just launched the wonderful new weekly series Make: Television featuring half hour HD episodes profiling “Makers”. Make: Television can be viewed on public television (broadcast and cable), online (YouTube & Vimeo) or downloaded DRM-free.

Make: is the DIY series for a new generation! It celebrates “Makers” – the inventors, artists, geeks and just plain everyday folks who mix new and old technology to create new-fangled marvels. The series encourages everyone to invent, revent, recycle, upcycle, and act up. Based on the popular Make magazine, each half-hour episode inspires millions to think, create, and, well, make.

A segment from the debut episode of Make: Television features Cyclecide Bike Rodeo.

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