November 29, 2014

Things in store (, )

by fluffy at 5:58 PM

If you want to buy any of my crap for holiday gifts, now is a good time. It isn't on sale or anything, it's just the time of year for that. (This store page is just to aggregate all the stuff I have for sale at other places into one spot. I'm too lazy to build my own cart and digital fulfillment stuff.)

Also I like my stupid HTML and CSS tricks so I'm more just showing that off. This site looks great in lynx.

It probably doesn't work in IE though. Sorry, IE users.

(Also I've already gotten a couple of requests for things to make into prints on Redbubble. If you have anything you want to be able to buy, please let me know!)

September 7, 2014

Let's build a social network! (, , )

by fluffy at 4:43 PM

Lately I've been on a huge RSS-evangelism kick. I don't want to see it die out. It's an open standard that was built to enable the free sharing of ideas on the web in a transparent, simple, free manner, without any advertisers dictating what you could or should see.

Unfortunately, advertisers are what fund the systems that make it easy to get and share online, and as a result, the various getting-online services have a vested interest in keeping people captive within those networks; the last thing they want is to make it easy for people to import or export feeds that can be used on other systems.

The thing is, there is a totally-open distributed social network out there already, hiding in the aether; you just need to find it. Here's my guide to connecting to it without too much work. I'll try to keep things simple, but feel free to make suggestions for making it even simpler!

September 4, 2014

Reminder Me (, )

by fluffy at 2:57 AM

For a long time I've been needing a service that gently reminds me to do errands around the house in a way where I can just get around to doing it, but keep getting reminded if I forget (things like cleaning the cat box, watering the plants, etc.). I was using an iCal calendar for this but that didn't quite work out for me.

But, hey, I still use an RSS reader, so I made a simple RSS reminder-generating service. And you can fork and install it yourself, too.

August 4, 2014

Rise from the grave (with yeast) (, )

by fluffy at 7:05 PM

I've brought Schadenfood back to life. This time around I'm just running it with Octopress and a managed phpBB installation, so hopefully this new site won't meet the same fate as the old one.

January 26, 2012

DuckDuckGo (, , )

by fluffy at 8:55 PM

As part of my ongoing crusade to get Google out of my life as much as possible, I have switched my search engine to DuckDuckGo. It is mostly pretty good (and a lot easier to do in Firefox by installing the search plugin), although there are still a few rough edges.

One of the more annoying things is that it still tries to overcorrect things that it seems as errors, which can make it pretty difficult to look up pages on programming things.

However, there is also a pretty troubling thing in the way that they've implemented SafeSearch; rather than simply filtering the search results to remove adult content, they also remove potentially-adult-material-generating terms from the search phrase itself. They try to whitelist non-adult-oriented uses of words based on phrase matches, but it's pretty clumsy, and anyway it's a pretty stupid way to try to sanitize results. Annoyingly enough, it's also all-or-nothing; you can turn off SafeSearch entirely, or you can try to figure out how to get a phrase through the rather arbitrary filter.

So of course I've taken screenshots of what I'm talking about.

January 20, 2011

The Internet You Need ()

by fluffy at 7:34 AM

Even without a successful Kickstarter funding campaign, Mark still finished his Net Neutrality PSA. Go take a look, and if you're in the United States, write your congressperson!

November 11, 2010

Early literacy causes prosopagnosia? (, )

by fluffy at 4:20 PM
From Ars Technica, Literacy may have stolen brain power from other functions:
The decreased activity in response to faces seemed to occur in those who achieved literacy during childhood (it was one of the only differences between them and adult learners). The authors suggest that the area that responds to faces normally expands with age, and learning to read may limit this expansion by putting nearby brain areas to other uses.

This isn't to say that you're going to be worse with faces if you know how to read well, although the authors indicate they're going to look into that to find out. But it does indicate that literacy involves a new specialization in some areas of the visual system, which ensure that the centers involved with processing language become just as active as if they had heard the words spoken.

According to my mom, I taught myself to read at a very very early age (she says that at 18 months I got obsessed with letterforms and reading the cereal box and so on, and I certainly remember being able to read at the age of 3 and wondering why all the other kids needed the teacher to read storytime books out loud), and I am also profoundly bad at facial recognition. So, while an anecdote is no substitute for data, it's certainly something to think about.

Frankly, I feel that it's been a reasonable tradeoff for me.

August 3, 2010

May 26, 2010

Put a swing on it (, , )

by fluffy at 8:12 AM
The Swinger is a simple Python app which uses a music-analysis web service to automatically convert any straight-rhythmed song to a swing rhythm. Of course, my music tends to be a bit weird in the rhythmic department, so I decided to try a few of my songs through this.

I especially like what it did to Baby, Be Quiet — it completely changed the song's character. Run Faster didn't fare as well (although it gets better once the guitars kick in). &counting actually worked pretty well; it's a bit ironic that it had an easier time with the beat on that than with some of my other songs. And of course, Sometimes It's Hard To Keep Yourself Moving was conventional enough that it worked out.

I did try a few other songs, which just became unlistenable (due to stretch artifacts) and didn't even get any rhythmic modifications (such as Sorry To Inform You and Double Take).

September 15, 2009

Kickstarter ()

by fluffy at 4:53 PM
My good friend Ken just pointed me to Kickstarter, which is sort of a venture capital system for creative talent. If you're a musician, filmmaker, animator, artist, author, etc. who needs funding to get a project off the ground, Kickstarter could be a useful way to go about doing that.

November 10, 2008

OLPC has been a disappointment ()

by fluffy at 11:16 AM
So maybe this project will fare better.

October 21, 2008

Yes ()

by fluffy at 8:28 AM

October 16, 2008

September 16, 2008

It's all making sense now ()

by fluffy at 10:12 AM
From an article about Tina Fey's portrayal of Palin:

Meanwhile, Republican presidential candidate John McCain's adviser Carly Fiorina said she found Fey's portrait "very dismissive" of Palin.

"The portrait was very dismissive of the substance of Sarah Palin, and so in that sense, they were defining Hillary Clinton as very substantive, and Sarah Palin as totally superficial," Fiorina told MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell.

(emphasis mine)

Suddenly it's all making sense. I just hope Fiorina does to McCain what she did to Hewlett-Packard.

July 16, 2008

Yet another gender test ()

by fluffy at 8:00 AM
This one is very easy to take, though: it just analyzes your browser history.

My results: 50% female, 50% male. GO FIGURE.

July 15, 2008

May 19, 2008

YouTube is so passé ()

by fluffy at 1:48 PM
Apparently, the new hotness is making fake video reviews on Amazon.

April 30, 2008

April 18, 2008

While I appreciate good design ()

by fluffy at 8:51 AM
here are several examples of one of the biggest problems we had on Kindle. I'm having especially strong flashbacks for pages 6, 15, 16, 18, 19 (holy crap!), 23, 24 (way to break conventions just for the sake of breaking conventions!), 25, 29, and 30.

Also, I'm sure 10 would have probably broken things in an interesting yet subtle way.

(One might say that seeing this gave me a TOC-tic.)

March 4, 2008

More reasons to abolish DST ()

by fluffy at 4:32 PM
Not only is it jarring and confusing, but it turns out that it doesn't save energy at all.
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