scrap pad

usability discussions

on conducting discussions with users during usability testing: Guidelines for Getting More Out of Users’ Verbal Comments. via


Garfield made funny: The Garfield Randomizer. via a post on why Garfield isn't funny.

map of sacramento farmers' markets

Farmers' Markets in downtown Sacramento, CA (mostly from

lat/long lookup

latitude/longitude lookup (geocoding-geolocator). find the lat & long of a place by scrolling and zooming on a yahoo map. via

images in google maps

on google maps image cutter - java app that chops & zooms an image so you can display large (not necessarily spatial) images through the google maps interface (pan/zoom). hrm. (the thing itself: Google Maps Image Cutter)

geospatial analysis with google earth

this session looks really interesting: On-the-Fly Spatial Analysis With PostGIS and Google Earth. it's at the "FOSS4G 2007" conference (open source for geospatial things) in late September.

mime types for KML/KMZ

KML mime types: application/ and application/

broadband access

India To Offer Free Broadband by 2009. at slashdot.

twitter obsession continues

The coolest thing about twitter is how easily it translates to all kinds of mediums. It makes the same kind of sense in whatever context you choose to consume it in: on its own as a website, as RSS, as SMS, as IM, as a Dashboard widget, and as a standalone app like Twitteriffic.

apt description of microformats

Microformats are intended to be “simple conventions for embedding semantic markup in human-readable documents.”

from WaSP on accessibility of hCalendar's date format (via simon willison)

embarassing fact

I am obsessed with Lily Allen's song "Smile." I think I will go listen to it again.

Mozy backup

Mozy beta for Mac OS X. mozy is an online backup service with encryption. this is exciting.

gmaps spatial analysis... near future?

also at the sac drupal meetup, someone very briefly mentioned that they were doing spatial analysis of a sort with google maps: doing queries within a polygon. which is the first step (and very build-upon-able) towards gmaps becoming an actual GIS (Geographic Information System, versus just a viewer of geographic data). something about reno journalism students and drupal...??

sac drupal meetup:

I went. it was fun. also, weird: knowing that I'm comfortable where other girls would not be. is that raising the entry barrier for other women? I almost feel like I am doing a disservice to others of my sex (gender is another ballgame). then again, maybe it's the opposite?

I definitely carry around an "I am right" mindset, which is often an impediment to adopting new approaches to things, but which can also be good for guarding my self-esteem and allowing me to continue advocating for myself. I don't use this mindset all of the time, though.

Yahoo! India Maps

Yahoo! just launched India Maps. look pretty different than yahoo maps of the US.


was at a meeting yesterday about the digital divide and broadband internet access in CA. There was a guy there who talked about (among other things) creating content specifically for low-income users, which makes a lot more sense after realizing he works for One Economy, the org that does The Beehive.

digital->analog, by hand

printing film on an inkjet. via kottke.

From a technical standpoint, this process renders a terrible quality image... I shot my last roll of Kodachrome in 2005, the year it was discontinued. In this regard, it [this experiment] is a kind of awkward memorial to this sturdy film stock...

Apple revenue up 21%, and profit...

Apple's profits are up 88% from last year!?!

KML to shp

apparently GPS TrackMaker can convert a bunch of different geographic data formats to KML (reference). what I was really looking for was something to convert KML files to shapefiles, which might be something like ogr2ogr and a shell script.


Google Earth's EULA says:

The Software is made available to you for your personal, non-commercial use only. †You may not use the Software or the geographical information made available for display using the Software, or any prints or screen outputs generated with the Software in any commercial or business environment or for any commercial or business purposes for yourself or any third parties.

to which my boss says, "eh."

darryl recommends

the tv show "Heros."

flash drives are cheap these days

2 GB flash drives for $20 at newegg.

thing I want to measure

thigh size of women vs. men.

new panic software!

Announcing Coda 1.0. Coda at

"puke a rainbow"

that's so totally *not* what I thought when I saw this: puke a rainbow.


organic industry - chart of who owns who.


restive: "(of a person) unable to keep still or silent and becoming increasingly difficult to control, esp. because of impatience, dissatisfaction, or boredom." this word means the opposite of what it sounds like! but wait: the second definition in my dictionary is "(of a horse) refusing to advance, stubbornly standing still or moving backward or sideways." also, a synonym: contumacious.

roommate's thoughts

last night my roommate was thinking about how:

  • entertainment is a social glue
  • shared cultural events act as a substitute for shared events


diminution: "a reduction in the size, extent, or importance of something." used on cartalk.


Originally uploaded by sarahfelicity.

fresh spring rolls

Vietnamese Summer Rolls - aka fresh spring rolls.


Dealing with winmail.dat and unreadable email attachments. Outlook generates an attachment called "winmail.dat" when you send RTF or HTML emails. It contains formatting information, but the info is only usable by Outlook, so users of other email clients will see a weird "winmail.dat" attachment.

herby smell I think I like

comfrey plus sage.

user corrected geocoding

updating your business location in Google Maps - move the pointer, get a postcard with a confirmation key, the data doesn't get fed back to Google's data provider.

Arno Pro

pretty new serif font by Adobe: Arno Pro. so many variants. via daringfireball.

picasa + google earth

geocoding photos with Picasa + Google Earth. see also: Panaramio, a georeference-oriented photo sharing service. It is showing up by default right under "Geographic Web" in the Layers panel of my Google Earth, and Stockholm, Sweden is particularly well photographed.

California hikes

California Hiking links - haven't found anything super-useful there yet, but I'm still hoping. Mike and I are willing to go up to 3 hours from Sacramento.

phone calls with google

use google to make free calls to businesses. "even on pay phones," except when do you have a computer near a payphone?

GIS use cases

light article with some health-related GIS use-cases. via the all points blog.

web app use behavior groups

Google on its' mobile strategy:

Rechis said that Google breaks down mobile users into three behavior groups:

  • A. 'Repetitive now'
  • B. 'Bored now'
  • C. 'Urgent now'

via all points blog.

Google Earth limitations

Why Google Earth Won’t Be the Default Viewer for GIS Information. I wonder how GE has addressed these points in the two years since that was posted.

also: "no one actually works at the Googleplex." on a more serious note, GE updated its New Orleans aerial imagery early this April (2007). geographic data like aerial photos need metadata.


mobile soundproofing panels at mefi.

current ups ads

UPS whiteboard ads people have been talking about.

hey, iPhoto users

iPhoto keeps your deleted photos on disk. so go delete them with the "Empty Trash" item under the main iPhoto menu.


Maine's favorite liquor: Coffee brandy. via Jen.

Allen's [Coffee Flavored Brandy] is so popular that its different bottle sizes rank first, second, sixth and ninth on the Maine Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations list of the top 25 alcoholic items sold last year.


chickens and rabbits. youtube. I miss having a yard with animals in it. via kottke.

on HTML5

HTML5, XHTML2, and the Future of the Web. Simon Willison's talk, "What the heck is HTML 5?" goes in the same direction, but as a 5 minute lightning talk.

Doha, Quatar

5 short sketches of Doha, Quatar at Ethan Zuckerman's blog.

baseline grids

Setting Type on the WEb to a Baseline Grid, at ALA, and Compose to a Vertical Rhythm, at 24 Ways. this excellent sxsw "web typography sucks" presentation brought baseline grids into the spotlight recently (and is more succinct than either of the previous articles).

some podcasts

rails honesty

from the much-linked Interview with Twitter Developer Alex Payne (Rails scalability issues kerfluffle): I really appreciate when people are honest about their favorite framework.

  • None of these scaling approaches are as fun and easy as developing for Rails. All the convenience methods and syntactical sugar that makes Rails such a pleasure for coders ends up being absolutely punishing, performance-wise.
  • There shouldn’t be doubt in anybody’s mind at this point that Ruby itself is slow.

community tech toolkits

The Community Technology Network of the Bay Area has some interesting toolkits (we want to do something like these at my work): digital storytelling, web building with Drupal.

mobile phones in activism

Three cool mobile phone activisim things: endangered species ringtones, news headlines via SMS in Zimbabwe to circumvent government censorship, and SMS for women in South Africa who are victims/potential victims of domestic violence. from - Mobile Phones for Civic Engagement. It seems to me that the growing presence of cell phones in the global south is much more significant to efforts for social change than in places like the US.

see also: Ethan Zuckerman's Draft paper on mobile phones and activism.

awesome cat photo plus bitching

photo on flickr: cat and a crane.

via a post on the flickr blog about a project to mail out 1,000 paper cranes and have people send photos of them back. someone says about the paper crane project thing, "I'm always amazed by the creativity and inventiveness shown by folk round here." since when is sending art in the mail and asking for a response creative or innovative? regardless of an individual project's coolness, the concept isn't "creative" or "innovative" anymore.

flickr guide

Newbie's Guide to Flickr. via the flickr blog.

long title, long read

characteristics information and communication technologies need for success in the nonprofit world: "low costs, low complexity, high maturity, high relevance." it's taking me forever to get through this report: "Bridging the Innovation Divide: An Agenda for Disseminating Technology Innovations within the Nonprofit Sector."

skin google reader

Google Reader Theme. via simon willison. theme page points to the Firefox extension Stylish, which lets you add custom styles to any page.


"e-social" - asocially absorbed in cell phone/computer/ipod/etc. coined by defective yeti's aunt. word/neologism.

on ending projects

Paul Ford of on launching websites (specifically, Harper's Magazine)

One, two, three: I will never get enough praise; of course I failed; and what I did was not particularly important.


geometry puzzles - build figures with limited numbers of blocks. via defective yeti linkblog.

15 lbs germs

There are about 13 trillion cells in the human body, while there are about 14 trillion bacterial cells living on the skin alone, as a normal, healthy population. That doesn't include fungi. Fully 10% or something of dry body mass is bacteria-- that is what, 10-20 pounds of germs?

from on girl germs.


do x/html doctypes specify anything about how css is parsed? for example, which css version (1/2/3) to expect?

defining a projection

Defining a Projection for a Shapefile or Geodatabase with ArcToolbox (with ESRI's ArcCatalog or ArcMap).

easter pic

photo of a chick pulling a wagon. via kottke.

communications plan

links on communications plans for nonprofits, from Ben's post on a Nonprofit Communications session at NTC 2007:

nonprofit tech interests

Organizers' Collaborative "Pre-Conference" Survey - things semi-technical nonprofit people are interested in learning/talking about


twittervision: twitter messages on a map. fascinating. via that o'reilly post.

authenticating (or not) SMSes

with the rise of twitter, other services will be getting texty too:

It’s not just Twitter and Jott who are susceptible to these issues. Unfortunately, I’ve come across cell phone companies, credit card companies, and even banks that rely on Caller ID information to authenticate their customers. Because it is so easy to spoof Caller ID, it is clear that Caller ID information should never be trusted to authenticate users, and many financial institutions have learnt this the hard way.

Given the popularity of Twitter, similar phone+IM+email mash-up services are likely to be created in the very near future. I sincerely hope these services realize the implications of authenticating users based on incoming SMS headers and Caller ID information.

Twitter and Jott Vulnerable to SMS and Caller ID Spoofing. via daring fireball.

drawing toothpaste for dinner

How To Draw Toothpaste For Dinner: Secrets Of A Cartoonist (youtube). via


"If Windows users cared about consistency, they wouldn’t be using Windows." - Daring Fireball blurb on Adobe CS3 UI

anti junk mail service

GreenDimes - a $36/year service that stops your junk mail. via a comment on that 37signals fly on the wall post.

chat + group blogging

2lmc's spool-style chat/group blogging always seems really fun to me. also, 37signals "fly on the wall" post.

flickr pro signup...

uses PayPal?!? weird.

Coudal Partners admiration

I've long admired Coudal Partners because they're a design firm that puts a significant amount of effort into doing fun things for themselves: movies, online features, the Museum of Online Museums, a great website. They also have a [growing] array of design-centric business projects: JewelBoxing (CD/DVD packaging), The Deck (think-they're-better-than-you ad network), Pixie discs (live recordings of The Pixies), lowercase tee (kids t-shirts), pinsetter (letter pins). They went from doing design for regular clients to doing design for themselves. From an article on Coudal Partners in the Chicago Sun-Times:

"The whole work-for-hire thing in design and advertising, where the client owns everything outright, is a broken model," he said.

Since 2002, Coudal, 46, has stitched together a number of projects where his eight-employee firm enjoys an ownership stake.

poetry movies

poems by Billy Collins, with animations. via coudal. I especially like Forgetfulness.

logo animations

a few logo animations from big companys' ads.

hard boiled eggs

how to hard boil eggs: cover them with cold water in a saucepan. bring to a boil. turn down to a simmer for 11 minutes. take them out and rinse them in cold water until cooled. I don't like any runnyness in my eggs, ever.

book sculptures

rumpled book sculptures. via kottke.

sms from the web

Gizmo SMS - send free text messages. met a guy at NTC 2007 who had Gizmo on his Nokia N770 internet tablet: "I don't have a telephone."

listserv drama

I joined an email listserv this morning and already there are five messages of drama about what should and shouldn't be posted to the list and who is or isn't a list ogre. A little bit of apathy would go a long way for these guys.

link from Ben

Ben sent this link on technology plans for nonprofits, which really interests me. it was written in 2001, but hasn't aged signficantly beyond a few mentions of operating systems. I hope to do some more reading and talking about technology and communications plans over the next couple months.

two books I don't recommend

His Majesty's Dragon, by Naomi Novik. stuffy and humorless. all one thing after the other. the main character spent most of the book being more proper and doing his duty better than everyone else. notably, he spent a good amount of time thanking other characters.

The Book of Jhereg, by Steven Brust. all the plot lines are backed up by intricacies that only the main character seems to know, and he only starts knowing them when the plot needs to move forward. solutions basically fall into his lap. the plot elements that are probably supposed to be funny... aren't. also, it brings up huge cultural issues, discusses them for one and a half pages, and then drops them entirely.

on the other hand, I read all of both of them, and am bothering to note their titles.


cooking pancakes like heroin. spoon, syringe, etc. via kottke.

Speed Scrabble

Speed Scrabble - so much fun. we (family) played all afternoon, and now I want to play some more.

first post

First! - video on being a first-post-er. via ?

library refuge

How the Public Library Became Heartbreak Hotel: public libraries are day shelters for the homeless. via ?

custom map creation ui in google maps

O'Reilly Radar >Google Launches MyMaps. it's a feature where you can make google maps with points, lines, and polygons on them, and access them as a link or make a KML file. via simon willison.

spare change

meyer on guilt about giving/not giving to panhandlers.

I give [charity] to one hundred poor people on the assumption that I may find one out of a hundred who is worthy and I will have the merit of helping him. But you refrain from giving to one hundred poor people... lest one of them be unworthy. Therefore know that the average beggar who holds out his hand is presumed to need the money and you should not concern yourself with hidden matters. - Rabbi Chaim Halberstam

Iranian typography

Iranian Typography. the modern stuff (posters and book covers) is really pretty. via ?

easter vader

Vader Egg.

Amazon S3 and MySQL

MySQL Interface to Amazon S3. so amazon's s3 can be used as a MySQL storage engine. I think. via simon willison


noodle folding (youtube) - video of a chef folding dough (12x) to make noodles. via ?.

color scheme

dabble db (a web app) customizes colors based on customers' logos. via simon willison. uses saturation and lumninance.


where I go for healthcare in Sacramento: Mercy Medical Group.


Thing I learned about inflating my tires: Presta valves have a screw-tip. So, on the left, the valve cap is on. In the middle, the cap is off, but the tip is still screwed down. Trying to pump the tire up with the valve tip screwed down won't work. I tried it. For a month. On the right, the tip is loosened. This is how it needs to be for pumping.

presta bike tube valve, in 3 positions

(this photo on flickr)

what I don't like about food blog photography

depth-of-feild abuse.

pickled eggs

pickled eggs sound gross to me but the weird picture in this article is making me curious. via serious eats.


I didn't open my laptop once between 5 pm Friday and 1 am [after] Sunday night.


who I am