Category ArchiveMiscellaneous

Hardware &Miscellaneous &Software 21 Jul 2008 10:20 pm

Tilted Twister – a Lego Mindstorms robot that solves Rubik%u2019s cube

Tilted Twister – a Lego Mindstorms robot that solves Rubik%u2019s cube: “”

(Via .)

Miscellaneous 02 Feb 2008 02:01 pm

Prediction Markets at Google

The Google blog has a fascinating entry entitled, “The flow of information at the Googleplex” which links to a paper, “Using Prediction Markets to Track Information Flows: Evidence From Google”, which reports research on data gleaned from studying prediction markets inside Google.

Miscellaneous &Philosophy 13 Jan 2008 10:26 pm

Fwd: How to Enjoy a Convention [Phil Agre]

Fwd: How to Enjoy a Convention [Phil Agre]: “Think about this sociologically. You have a gathering of several
thousand people from one profession. Most of them work in middle of
nowhere places with two colleagues, one of whom they loathe. They spend
all year teaching the writings of other people (some of whom are their
heroes) to 19 year olds. Some of those heroes are walking around the
hotel. Of course they’re looking at the name tags.”

(Via Conference Presentation judo.)

Art &Miscellaneous 04 Dec 2007 01:12 am

Motion Design Movies

Ben Hopson is a designer who makes really cool movies of his designs.

Wow. That’s really cool.

Miscellaneous &Software 09 Oct 2007 12:02 pm

Cool Tool: Goog(le) 411

Cool Tools mentioned Goog(le) 411 today. It’s a free phone information service that also connects you to the number. It also doesn’t have the obnoxious 20 second ad up front like the other free 411 services.


Miscellaneous &Software 10 Apr 2007 12:20 pm

Moon Lander using the CANVAS tag

What was old is new again 🙂

Moon Lander using the CANVAS tag

Miscellaneous &Programming Languages &Software &Words 19 Feb 2007 12:11 pm

Capistrano Manual Website as PDFs

Since the Ruby on Rails Manuals site seems to be permanently down, I created a zip file of pdfs of the website from the last version on the Internet Archive WayBack Machine as of June 2006.

There is also a handy cheat sheet for Capistrano that someone made.

Miscellaneous 01 Feb 2007 08:07 pm

Bottle Deposit Puzzle

Here’s a fun little puzzle, just to get the blog flowing again.

If a bottle with a deposit costs $1.10, and the bottle costs a dollar more than the deposit, how much is the bottle worth?

For the answer, run this ruby program:

puts "#{?i} pennies"

or, just look up the ascii value for ‘i’ and you have the penny amount.

Language &Miscellaneous &Philosophy &Science 29 Jan 2007 12:08 am

Links to free educational resources

free educational resources online.

(Via jennawrites.)

History &Miscellaneous &Philosophy &Politics 13 Jan 2007 12:10 am

“Live or Dead”, as Bush says

Today — this morning — something happened that I didn’t understand until tonight. I was doing my commute from the Santa Cruz Mountains to Mountain View. I was already over the hill and on 85. It was about 9:10 and I was listening to Democracy Now on KPFA. The news, delivered in Amy Goodman’s even voice, was of the 15 Republican congressmen standing with the new Democratic majority against Bush’s plan for escalation in Iraq– the “surge” as he spins it. I had, without much deep consideration, signed a petition the day before to congress expressing my feelings against the escalation. Slowly, almost imperceptibly, as I listened to the report, I started feeling happy, like it was going to be a good day. Normally, Democracy Now kills my mood, but this morning I felt some spirit. As I drove down 85 towards Moffett Field, I felt good, maybe even like I should have a funny joke to tell, or a prank to play at work. I wasn’t really sure why. I was glad that the Congress was finally standing up to the president, but I didn’t think too much about why I felt good.

When I got home tonight, it was kind of exciting. One, because it was Friday, and two, because the weather was getting really cold. So cold that the night sky becomes crystal clear and you can see twice the number of stars as usual. I watched the outside temperature reading on the Prius’ screen drop as I headed over the hill. 45 in Mountain View. 41 in Los gatos. 39 climbing the Summit. 37 coming down the hill. 41 in Scotts Valley. 39 in Felton. The second time it dropped to 37, the screen actually popped up a special message saying, “Outside temperature: 37 degrees.” It seemed to notice that something was unusual. Finally, it was 36 degrees on our street as I pulled up the driveway. It almost never gets that cold here.

When it does get that cold here, it’s an event. You build a big fire, drink warm drinks, and hang out close to the fire. It’s too cold and too rare an event to waste the evening watching TV. So, we made a good dinner, and then listened to the Simon and Garfunkel box set we got for Christmas. I realize now how little I knew Simon and Garfunkel’s work. The box set has 5 albums spanning the 60’s. The early stuff is pure folk, but with really rich harmonies and inventive songs. It seems also inspired by Bluegrass and gospel music. As they progressed into the 60’s the songs got more political and more edgy, sometimes even angry. The late 60’s songs were sometimes downright strange, but still beautiful.

While listening, I got the same feeling I had back in music appreciation class hearing chants from the middle ages. Though the music sounds really foreign, it speaks to something universal in you in a quiet, hallowed way. The composer is removed by centuries of history, yet, it comes through that at some level they had to deal with some of the same problems you have, and they might have even felt the same way about some of them.

Tonight, I realized that, for the first time in a couple of years, I have some renewed hope for the future. I hadn’t really realized it had departed; I knew something was wrong for the last several months, but I didn’t know what. I thought it was just the rigors of stretching myself trying to write good research papers, or getting ready for the holidays, but that wasn’t it. I realize I had come to feel that the government was beyond redress and that the powers that be were hell bent on destroying the world and that nothing could stop them.

Tonight, I realized that it might be possible, once again, to be heard. That, once again, getting involved might actually help things get better. I don’t know what the answers to Iraq are, but I think it might be possible to find something better. I don’t know what to do about our national debt, but surely with the riches we have we can find a way to become solvent again. For all the people without health insurance, this time we need to make it happen. For the masters of war, I hope your time will end soon.

The hope makes me want to get involved again. Tonight I wanted to call my friends and family and talk about the cold spell that we are sharing all over the western United States. Even the ones who aren’t out west, I wanted to call up and tell them about what was happening here. It felt important to share and talk, even about small events. It feels important to get involved in a way that it hasn’t felt in a long time. It’s a pretty good feeling that I didn’t even realize I was missing until tonight.

(Oh, I think there’s going to be an anti-war rally in San Francisco two weeks from tomorrow, to mirror the one scheduled for D.C. I can’t wait.)

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