Monday, March 30, 2009

10 Privacy Settings Every Facebook User Should Know

Facebook is a lot like an unfamiliar church. It's terrifying if you've never gone before, but generally more scary to think about going then actually being there (then again, maybe its like Pringles).

Everyone has different privacy needs
. Teachers don't want to be searched by students, lawyers by clients, artists by admirers (but maybe they do) and everyone else doesn't want their boss to receive off hours (hooky playin') status updates. That's why the article "10 Privacy Settings Every Facebook User Should Know" from All Facebook is such a great read. Learn how to create groups (ahem, high school!), how to remove your profile from Facebook's and Google's search engine (students!), and other nuggets that keep you pictures, status or whatever, under lock and key.

And remember this sage advice, you don't have to worry about someone posting a picture of you with panties on your head, if you don't wear panties on your head in the first place.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

To the seat with the clearest view

Take a trip to a planetarium, and all eyes will be focused on the screen above, lost in a little slice of the universe brought to earth.  But what about the machines that create those images?

Their purpose is a bizarre reversal of a large optical telescope, taking an internal view of the universe and projecting it on a dome, rather than creating a view from peering outside of one, but the aesthetic is somewhat similar. Another curious similarity is how much they look like some early satellites.  

These beautiful works of art and engineering deserve consideration too. has a list of their picks of sixteen of the most interesting.  Commencing countdown, engines on.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Who can resist a box of contents?

We all have junk drawers, full of bits and bobbits just waiting to be made useful.  Their lonely vigil may be coming to an end, thanks to the friendly geniuses at Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories.  Their current project is a glorious mash-up of meme, chain letter, flea market, and Christmas - The Great Internet Migratory Box of Electronics Junk.

... a progressive lending library of electronic components. An internet meme in physical form halfway between P2P zip-archive sharing and a flea market. It arrives full of wonderful (and possibly useless) components, but you will surely find some treasures to keep. You will be inspired look through your own piles, such as they are, and find more mysterious components that clearly need to be donated to the box before it is passed on again.

You can start your own box, or add your name to the TGIMBOEJ wiki for consideration.  Make your case - only the worthy will be chosen.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Riff Tracks

Do you ever miss the bygone days of sitting in a darkened basement with your geekiest friends, the greasy scent of microwave popcorn on your fingertips and the burned kernels spitting across the room as you laughed your ass off to MST3K? Have you not heard of Riff Tracks?

Riff tracks allows you to download over 70 feature length tracks from Michael J. Nelson (aka Mike, sixth season star of Mystery Science Theater 3000) so you can listen to them in-sync with your favorite (and not so favorite) movies. So fire up the nuke machine, invite only the friends you could count on to see the Watchmen, and be prepared to rip Neo a new one.

While syncing commentary with your favorite movies has the je ne sais quoi “Dark Side of the Rainbow” feeling, you can also visit Cinematic Titanic, created by Joel Hogdson to continue “the tradition of riffing on ‘the unfathomable’, ‘the horribly great’, and the just plain ‘cheesy’ movies from the past” in straight up DVD format. They have live shows too, so bring the missus and kids.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

What is the Atomic Weight of Helvetica

In the work-a-day world, most people rely on a few tried and true fonts.  I'm a Times and Default Sans Serif user myself.  But Cam is here to remind us of the possibilities.  Using statistical calculations that could very well have torn the very fabric of space/time assunder, he has created an elegant chart to group, sort, and categorize the 100 most popular, influential, and notorious typefaces in use today.  Periodic table style.  Check it out, and start having some fun with your TPS reports.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Speak Lol Speak

Look, I...I don't usually write posts about this kind of thing but--It's a dictionary for Christ's sake! I had become infinitely frustrated at my inability to decipher comments on youTube. Also, I had a vague sense that the cat asking for a hamburger was using some kind of thinly veiled, racial slur. But, no! Now, I understand that these mis-communications were brought about by Lolcats Speak. Goodbye, ebonics! Hello, shiny new paralinguistic, idiosyncratic dialect!

Speak Lol Speak carries the Definitive Lolcats Glossary. Take "University" courses like Lol 101 or Lolcats Basics. Or just use the glossary to look up "words". Soon you'll be deciphering texts and comment threads with the best of them.

Good. Got it? Now show your grandmum. Kthx.

Monday, March 16, 2009


It's true. I have a secret weapon when it comes to tidying my iTunes (curse you DRM!). Not that I would ever, EVER mind you, share music with my mates. I certainly wouldn't accept music from their iPod devices either. But if you sometimes find that the songs in your digital musical collection (ahem) mysteriously have the track information missing, there is help.

Created for music lovers by music lovers, Tune Up software cleans up the meta tag mess your music is in. Songs without titles, artist, or album info are corrected with the click of a finger. Missing cover art ruining your album flicking mojo? Tune Up will fix that too. And look up the upcoming gigs of your most played artists. And find their YouTube videos. And that geeky concert t-shirt you missed.

Its simple, intuitive, and impressive. Let me know your thoughts on Tune-Up. Then spread the love.

Friday, March 13, 2009


While trolling the wonderful ModCloth online store (a great source for one-of-a-kind vntage clothes) I stumbled upon their companion blog, ModLife. It's got quirky product info for green stuff, snapshots of inspirationally hip, vintage street style, DIY projects and the random foray into top ten lists. What are you waiting for? Go, go!

Oh yes, and lest I forget, ModLife has a totally rockin' interview, with a production costume assistant from the set of Mad Men, "From Modcloth to MadMen a Costume PA's Story".

Thursday, March 12, 2009

It's a simple question of weight ratios

There are certain things you need to know when you're king.  Your name, your quest, and the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

How to Write A Song and Other Mysteries

I became enamored of Suzanne Vega in Junior High. Those quirky lyrics and haunting melodies would later remanifest themselves in an affection for Ani Difranco and Dar Williams. Certainly, by High School, I was annoying enough to hum snatches of her songs in philosophy, literature and even band class.

A few days ago I found the piece de résistance. Vega writes an opinion blog with the New York Times titled, "Measure for Measure: How to Write A Song and Other Mysteries". Start your tour into her dynamic psyche with "Tom's Essay" and in depth look at how she created the hit "Tom's Diner" (much better a capella, I say, though I guess its easier to dance to with DNA's driving beats). Then muddle your way through more of her creative pieces about the life and times of the songwriter kid.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

We have to go back

French designer Cedric Ragot is the creator of furniture and interior design pieces that combine function and fancy. His Flight 815: Flight of the Fireflies lamp (yes, as in Lost) is a perfect example. Sadly, only six were manufactured. Color me bitterpants.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Please Say Something

David O'Reilly has created innovative animated short films using a raw, stripped down aesthetic (perhaps you will remember some of his animation for the "guide" sequences in Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy). Xeni Jardin of Boing Boing described his style as "somewhere between Kubrick, Kaufman and Ketamine".

His short film "Please Say Something" won the Golden Bear for best short film at the 59th Berlin International Film Festival and is a moving tale of love, self absorption and domestic abuse involving a digital cat and mouse.

Check out the question and answer segment with O'Reilly from Boing Boing, where the artist describes his work exploring the production of "emotion and authenticity with something blatantly artificial and unrealistic. You can even do it without facial expressions."

Thursday, March 5, 2009

One divided by Twenty-four

Optimizing space in a "pocket flat" is nothing new for many urban dwellers. But Hong Kong architect Gary Chang has turned it into a art form, using his 344-square-foot apartment as his canvas. 24 different layouts are possible thanks to sliding walls and folding furniture units.

In Mr. Chang’s solution, a kind of human-size briefcase, everything can be folded away so that the space feels expansive.

The wall units, which are suspended from steel tracks bolted into the ceiling, seem to float an inch above the reflective black granite floor. As they are shifted around, the apartment becomes all manner of spaces — kitchen, library, laundry room, dressing room, a lounge with a hammock, an enclosed dining area and a wet bar.

This is the fourth renovation to the space, and was inspired in part as a way to combat the clutter of an ever expanding CD collection.  The New York Times has the full story and photo gallery.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Crooked Letter

Sean Williams, (who has been compared to China Mieville, Philip Pullman, Ursula K Le Guin, Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, and Michael Moorcock, gosh that's good enough by itself, isn't it?) is the author of numerous works for adults, young adults, and children, covering new space opera, science fiction thrillers, fantasy, and horror. He's written for Star Wars (the New Jedi Order Series and the Force Unleashed novelization) and Doctor Who (Midnight in the Café of the Black Madonna from the Destination Prague Anthology) and has called his new award winning novel

" attempt to take all the world's religions and wrap them up in a crazy Darwinian package that even a hardcore atheist like me might be tempted to buy."

Now his publisher, Pyr (in a daring move) is offering his new novel, The Crooked Letter, free as a PDF without DRM. The author's confesses that he's always wanted to release a novel via the web. A move I think will only drive the uninitiated to his further works.

After attending a recent meeting of the Society of Young Publishers in London, where the Marketing Director for the Orion Group declared the internet a death knell for print. I fought the temptation to sound off in disagreement. The book market is undergoing an identity crisis similar to say, National Geographic's aversion to color pages, the big Four's record labels pathetic cling to DRM delusions, or American car companies fatal hesitation to perceive long term green economy trends, syndromes that I shall now refer to as product DEATH (Delayed Evolution and Adaptation to Technology Hierarchies). Book publishers are stubbornly refusing to think outside the box when it comes to the future of their own franchise not realizing that books corner the market on the greatest commodity of all, ideas, and while print may be floundering, technology is re-imagining how ideas are conveyed and commoditized. Authors purvey vision and publishers purvey authors, being uniquely poised to transform higher communication the way ipod transformed your music collection.

Anyhow, download The Crooked Letter, unless you’re a publisher to which I say, evolve!

Update: Mirrors can be found here and here if traffic is hells a busy.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

This will revolutionize the Kessel run

Space, as we know from Douglas Adams, is big. Really big.  Samuel Arbesman's Milky Way Transit Authority distills the great vastness into a map that is elegant, accurate, and whimsical. Inspired by the classic London Tube map originally designed by Harry Beck, this work:

... is an attempt to approach our galaxy with a bit more familiarity than usual and get people thinking about long-term possibilities in outer space. Hopefully it can provide as a useful shorthand for our place in the Milky Way, the 'important' sights, and make inconceivable distances a bit less daunting. And while convenient interstellar travel is nothing more than a murky dream, and might always be that way, there is power in creating tools for beginning to wrap our minds around the interconnections of our galactic neighborhood.

His MWTA website also has links to other, earthly maps, including my personal favorite, the World Metro Map.