This is another great story from the midpoint of the web as we know it, right around the time I was getting out of front-end development for good and transitioning to design direction: The secret plot within YouTube to kill IE6 once and for all. Having dedicated endless hours to learning about and developing around all of the bugs in IE6, I appreciate the guerrilla motivation behind this story, and applaud the developers responsible.

Date posted: May 2, 2019 | Filed under geek, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

What is this?

Simple Opt Out is drawing attention to opt-out data sharing and marketing practices that many people aren’t aware of (and most people don’t want), then making it easier to opt out.

It’s a site with deep links to the actual pages where you can explicitly request opting out of data sharing that you never opted into in the first place. There are a bunch on here that I need to contact tomorrow.

Date posted: April 24, 2019 | Filed under geek, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

technical difficulties

That was strange. As far as I can tell, my .htaccess file was corrupted through a hack in the Akismet spam plugin in WordPress; I tracked down the root cause yesterday and rebuilt the file last night, but it took until this morning before everything was happy. You may now return to your regularly scheduled weblog.

Date posted: March 31, 2019 | Filed under geek | Leave a Comment »

I’ve been listening to a podcast about the Apollo 13 disaster and it’s led me down a rabbit hole of interesting information. When I was in the third grade, one of our readers had an article about the event and it fascinated me. Did you know that all of the film from the Apollo missions has been scanned and posted (unedited) on Flickr? Someone put together an animation from that footage of the damaged Service Module.

Date posted: February 21, 2019 | Filed under geek, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

I’m on the couch sipping a cup of coffee while Finn, who has off from school today, sleeps in upstairs. I have off from work today myself, but it’s only most of the day, as I still have to teach tonight. Last week was canceled due to the ice storm so the class is sort of a week behind (I assigned the second project via email so we’ll see how this whole thing shakes out today). Overall it’s going OK this semester, even though they’ve packed my class with 18 students, the absolute maximum–and frankly, about 4 students too many. They did contact me last week about teaching the branding class again in the fall, which would be ideal; I’m tired of this syllabus and would like to mix things up again.

I did sell the other two radios on Saturday morning, which made me a little sad. I had plans at one time to fix and refinish the Philco tombstone, but the reality of the situation is that we just don’t have anyplace to put it. The buyer apparently got the Telefunken set working and mentioned that he specializes in repairing the electrical bits, so I might get in touch with him later in the spring to fix one of the sets I’ve got here. File that under future nonessential plans.

I’ve been learning a lot about my sleep habits with the Fitbit. Namely, even though I lay my head down on the pillow at 11PM and get up at 6:40, I’m only averaging about six and a half hours of sleep every day. Analyzing the data, it looks like I’m going down easy at first, and then bouncing up and down out of restful sleep starting at about 4AM or so. I’ve always worked better at night: my peak concentration hours start at about 8PM and go to 1AM, but I can’t follow that schedule anymore. I’m going to have to train myself to close my eyes at 10:30 religiously to make up for the loss.

Today’s plan is to get some stuff around the house done. I have wood ready for the refrigerator surround ready and want to put that in place first thing. I’ve got to keg the beer that’s been sitting in the basement for the last four months; god only knows what that will taste like at this point. Then I want to measure the greenhouse for new footers and new plastic, and make a plan to refurbish it for a fresh crop of tomatoes in the spring.

Date posted: February 18, 2019 | Filed under brewing, geek, projects, radios | Leave a Comment »

Amazon announced yesterday that it’s buying Eero, a company that makes mesh wireless devices that apparently work very well. I’m not excited by this; I’m exhausted. The Verge says it perfectly:

It’s exhausting thinking about how rapacious big companies are when it comes to our data. It’s exhausting to think about how difficult it is for independent companies to stay independent.

I wanted a Nest thermostat really bad too.

Date posted: February 12, 2019 | Filed under geek, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

This is an online security checklist recently published as the result of a podcast discussion. There’s a ton of good information in there, not the least of which is 1.1.1.1:  a DNS lookup service that promises not to sell your information to third parties. My switch away from Chrome is long overdue.

Date posted: January 14, 2019 | Filed under geek, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

It’s quiet here in D.C. with the government shutdown. The train station parking lot half full, the sidewalks are empty and Union Station is eerily quiet.

I’m currently squeaking through this week with about $7 in my pocket until my next paycheck, because of the previously mentioned refrigerator purchase and an unexpected pair of vet bills for Nox, who was throwing up his food constantly around New Year’s. We got him in to the vet and they gave him an exam and a shot of anti-nausea medication which made him pee all over the vet tech and scream as if he was being declawed with a power drill. He went back in a few days later for a sonogram, which cost more than the first visit but should rule out any foreign objects in his system (there was a cat ahead of him with a Christmas ribbon clogging his small intestine, due for a costly visit to the surgeon). In the meantime, he’s eating rabbit-based food, our supposition being he’s allergic to chicken. He’s been holding it down and mostly back to his normal self. I will admit I enjoyed his sudden shift into total lap-cat mode when he wasn’t feeling well; as he recovers he’ll go back to his semi-ambivalent healthy state. 

Over the weekend, I set up Lightroom to export all of my 2018 photos as JPGs and uploaded them to our Prime Photo account, something I’ve done with most of the earlier photos in our library. Having that done is good, but my next project will be upgrading our basement server to handle more files. It’s currently only limping along with 2GB of RAM, a pitifully small amount, so someday soon I’ll throw another 8GB at it, as well as swapping out one of the smaller drives with a 6TB unit to increase internal storage. Ideally, I’d replace the boot drive with an SSD unit, and if money allows I may do that as well. Honestly, when I look at it and realize it’s a 12-year-old machine and still running dependably (unlike the G5 tower it replaced) I’m amazed–especially since I bought it for $50 as a decommissioned unit from work.

Date posted: January 3, 2019 | Filed under geek, general | Leave a Comment »

This is part of a LEGO kit we got Finn for Christmas. It’s a technical set that includes a motor drive, motion sensor, and secondary motor element. We built a tracked robot that is programmable through a tablet app to move in 360˚, make sounds, shoot a shoulder-mounted projectile, move its head, and recognize sound and movement. The whole thing was accessed through the app, including the build process. She and I had a blast putting the whole thing together at the dinner table.

Date posted: January 2, 2019 | Filed under finn, geek | Leave a Comment »

The New York Times yesterday published a story about how Facebook shared user data with select corporate partners, including contact lists and private messages.

Facebook gave Netflix and Spotify the ability to read users’ messages, and other tech giants including Microsoft, Amazon, and Sony access to data on users’ friends, according to hundreds of internal documents obtained by the paper and interviews with dozens of “former employees of Facebook and its corporate partners.”

I looked on my phone and was surprised that I hadn’t already deleted the app (I never use it) but finally did so this afternoon. 

Date posted: December 19, 2018 | Filed under geek, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »