scrap pad

scifi music video

The Strokes - You Only Live Once. bits of 2001 and the Voyager program. via I-forget-who.

old finder scripts

how is this page still around? mac os x 10.1, anyone? Toolbar AppleScripts for the Finder. the scripts are not necessarily any good: the snapshot script, for example, closes all Finder windows except the front one. oops.

removing dock icons

how to make applications run without dock icons. mostly useful for quick applescripts. mac os x.

web page capture

Screengrab! - Firefox extension that captures a whole web page as an image. better than paparazzi (mac app for this) because: logins. cross platform. part of the browser. via slackermanager, I think.

social network profile as a business

beyond bands. TwitterLit posts the first line of books to twitter with an amazon associate link... I wonder how much money they make from this? (via slackermanager, "TwitterLit is genius")

also, twitter is a social networking site.


after a few years of resistance, I'm on Facebook now.

paper music video

Regina Spektor's On the Radio plus cute drawings. youtube. via jen.


I made a chart, which basically represents the flow of every IM conversation I have that is longer than five messages:

update: multiple people have told me this chart makes no sense. which is kind of the point. even if it weren't ugly and confusing, it would still make no sense.

JPG 2.0 magazine

Derek Powazek – The Real Story of JPG Magazine. a big internet drama that I didn't bother to read about until now. it's about fuzzy levels of ownership and control, and not being businesslike (for better or for worse). but, cool: JPG magazine was first created from web submissions, but the next step was opening up the publishing process to the community. which turned into a sort of community magazine creation tool. What an awesome awesome idea! I'm sure there are other contexts where this would make a lot of sense: not necessisarily just for magazines, but online-community-created compilations of information that get printed? awesome.

our data?

The Data Bill of Rights. on rights consumers should have over the data they/we create as we consume. via everyone. also: this says it is our data, because it is based on our actions; traditionally it has been the company's data, because they collect it. is the creation of data in the actions that are observed, or in the observing? a tree-falls-in-the-forest type question.

usps stamp prices

Is it a good idea to invest in "forever" stamps? at For most people it's a convenience issue rather than a cost issue. *all* stamps should be "forever" stamps so we never have to spend our lunchbreaks in post office lines buying $0.02 upgrade stamps (oh, my life is full of trials).

learning to wipe?

A Wet-Wipe Manifesto. via kottke.

google maps street view

google maps now has "street view" for some major cities. view pictures of the city from the streets. it's like amazon's street view that they recently discontinued, but way cooler. high res, pan and zoom, easy travel down the streets, with smooth transitions. the only place I could think of to use as an example: my favorite burrito place in SF. via kottke.

Facebook platform

Facebook platform. I was too busy last thurs/fri to read any actual news about this. "f8"

hiking water filter

I finally got a water filter for hiking. it is the Katadyn Hiker PRO Water Filter which is on sale for $48 at REI.

favorite applescript

I use this applescript at least eight times a day. it goes:

choose color

It brings up the system color picker. As of today I also have applescripts for bringing up the character palette and keyboard viewer (all launched via launchbar and a few keystrokes.)

hiking stove

homemade Esbit Stove. basically a wind screen, but pretty! light! and unlike all the can stoves, buildable with scissors. uses esbit solid fuel. a larger version of this would also be a good wind screen for my alcohol stove...

pinhole camera

pinhole camera in an altoid tin

choosing ads

Ethan Zuckerman on when big media builds Web 2.0. lets users choose what ads will be shown on their personal pages. (this is a more radical/user-driven take on being able to approve and remove ads that run on your site, as in Ryan North's ad network, "Project Wonderful.")

Snow Mountain

pretty pictures of Snow Mountain, a hike Mike and I did part of a few weeks ago. Our hike was snowy though.

gps unit

we recently got one of these at work: Trimble - GeoXM Handheld. I have two problems with it (right now): 1. I can't get it to connect to our wireless network. It never prompts for a password. All the setup asks for is the "network key" which afaik is not the same thing as the password. 2. The only battery meter I can find on it is tucked away in the "settings" section, and somehow has no setting to display it in the menu bar. Ugh, Windows Mobile. It does make reassuring noises when you click on things, though.


Jen is writing a monthly column called "Queerbie" in The Bollard!


whales in sacramento

augh bears

hanging bear bags. also, bear canisters are really expensive.

new glasses

I just got two pairs of prescription eyeglasses for $25: black with red, and green glasses with checkers. A little out there, but also exciting. probably really cheap, but I will be reporting back on quality/fit.

just installed

FuzzyClock. gives the approximate time in words. maybe this will help me keep from squeezing "one more minute" out of everything. via 43folders.

cheap fancy glasses

my pupillary distance is about 63 mm. yes, I am buying cheap prescription eyeglasses. uh, multiple pairs.

rearranging the menu bar

in mac os x, you can rearrange the menu bar items at the top right by holding down the command key and dragging. you can't rearrange 3rd party icons, though, only built-in ones. Rearrange Your Menu Bar Icons.


SymbolicLinker: make symbolic links on mac os x from contextual menus in the finder. via daringfireball.


"Drobo": flexible, transparently redundant storage for consumers. has so many lights it needs a sleep mode. via waffle.

nice US data for GIS has a bunch of nice US data—census, environment, geology, etc. plus boundary files to go with it. Except it only goes down to county level, so it's really not super-useful for local maps.


One of my favorite things I've learned this year is how to not feel excluded from peoples' lives when they're doing other things/doing things I don't want to do/in other places/hanging out with other people. Feeling excluded or unable to be a part of something is a different thing from jealousy.

gzip unzipper for windows

7-Zip: zip and unzip gzip, bzip2, tar, etc. on windows. free.

Prairie Dog

enjoyed this band at Old Ironsides last night: Prairie Dog. Sacramento band. apparently they play in SF and Sac fairly often.

path button in the finder

LifeHacker suggests adding the "path" button to finder windows' toolbars. Actually, don't: just command-click on the title of the window. It's been a Mac OS feature since at least OS 7.5.

repurposing silly web apps

interesting use of e-cards and twitter by activists in Africa and Egypt

heard on NPR

"Pabst Blue Ribbon: supporting local music nationwide." sponsorship message.

HUD database

get data from HUD: HUDuser SOCDS. building permit data, etc. from 1980-up.

old walkman

from a dumb article on "retro" objects that designers like, the 1979 Sony Walkman. It's wicked flash, and has left and right volume sliders, which afaik is unusual even on stereo recievers these days.


I am getting a new Google search results layout that is too wide for my Firefox window:

update: the width is fixed now, but I still prefer the old gradient-free layout, where the search types weren't in the "account" header. eh.

generic housing logos collection


I can't wait to order/get Joey Comeau's new book of short stories, It's Too Late to Say I'm Sorry.


sometimes when people say, "I was thinking that exact thing!" as if it means we have some great kinship, I want to reply that it actually means that neither of us is very original.

funny, or sad?

the request was "put this name on the photo of the children on a jungle gym." so I practiced my housing-logo-cliché vocabulary. It goes over a photo of children on a jungle gym, which Ben says makes it (or me?) "morally bankrupt."


Boy on a Stick and Slither: "I'm not sure people should have the right to party." comic via rstevens/dieselsweeties.

free pretty icons

I have a crush on the famfamfam Silk Icons. it is a cc licensed set of over 700 16x16 px png icons.

minimum wage

U.S. Minimum Wage History, graphed. via I-forget-who.

hearing and age

Mosquito tone (17 kHz)

bathroom signs

bathroom signs: what is the icon on the left? a hole to squat over? ...?

when I have $$

I really want to start taking photographs with film again.


list of some Mac OS X processes

webcam for skype

Mac compatible webcam: Ecamm iMage Webcam, $59.95. My logitech quickcam laptop thing is shit for consistency (with the Macam drivers). (more in this skype comment thread)

audio visual rental in sac

video camera rental in Sacramento

bike commute month

It's "Bike Commute Month" in the Sacramento area... I joined the Bike Kitchen team. Logging my biking miles is almost exactly the same as logging everywhere I go; the 150 miles I plan to bike this month includes work, grocery shopping, and going places with friends.

grown ups and sex

45-65 year olds talking about their sex lives. at the nytimes. hearing the things they are thinking about sex and their self-awareness makes me feel not so distant from them, sexually.


when my screen colors are inverted, I am never sure if my computer will work normally.

Bike Auction

for october, if I'm even here: Davis Bike Auction.


things people can make with MacFUSE: MacFUSE Tech Demos from Amit Singh's Macworld 2007 Talk - Google Video.

read/write S/FTP in the Finder

I was surprised not to find this in OS X when I switched from OS 9. MacFusion does this! I think. via daringfireball.

business cards

designers' business cards. via kottke, whose RSS I just unsubscribed to.

distance between geographic coordinates

I did this by converting the spherical (ish) longitude and latitude coordinates to vectors, finding the angle between the vectors, then finding the arc length based on that angle and the Earth's radius. It involved conversion between spherical and rectangular coordinates, dot products, and the arc length formula. Because doing this more than once by hand stinks, I fed a space-delineated list of longitudes and latitudes to this php script:


// $text_coords = "longitude1,latitude1 longitude2,latitude2 ...";

$coords = explode(' ', $text_coords);

$last_lat = NULL;
$last_long = NULL;
$total_dist = 0;

foreach ($coords as $co) {
  list($long, $lat) = explode(',', $co);

  if ($last_lat !== NULL) {
    // calculate distance, add to total
    $a_lat= deg2rad(90-$lat);
    $a_long = deg2rad(360+$long);
    $a[0] = sin($a_lat) * cos($a_long);
    $a[1] = sin($a_lat) * sin($a_long);
    $a[2] = cos($a_lat);

    $b_lat = deg2rad(90-$last_lat);
    $b_long = deg2rad(360+$last_long);
    $b[0] = sin($b_lat) * cos($b_long);
    $b[1] = sin($b_lat) * sin($b_long);
    $b[2] = cos($b_lat);
    $angle = abs(acos($a[0]*$b[0] + $a[1]*$b[1] + $a[2]*$b[2]));
    $total_dist += 6378.1 * $angle;
  $last_lat = $lat;
  $last_long = $long;

printf("distance in kilometers: %s\ndistance in miles: %s\n", 
  $total_dist, $total_dist/1.609344);

The space-delimited list of longitudes and latitudes just happens to be the way paths are stored in KML files. The point of this whole exercise was to find out how far I biked Monday morning: 19.7 miles, if my math is any good. For distances this short, factoring the curvature of the Earth is pretty silly; I'd tell you how silly, but not tonight.

notes after finding out how silly: if the points are close together (mine are less than half a mile apart), the straight line between them is basically indistinguishable from the arc between them. But after converting to rectangular coordinates, it's easier and makes more sense to calculate angle and arc length.

notes after talking to Evan: yes, the Pythagorean Theorem is a easy and fairly accurate way to find the distance between points using their latitude and longitude (rather than converting lat and long to sperical coords), but you have to find an approximate factor of degrees longitude to miles in a particular latitude, and it only works for that particular latitude (and the corresponding latitude on the other side of the equator). And good luck finding the distance between far away places.

comparison from friday night

falafel with hummus is like a chicken omlette.

the awesomeness of census file 1 (SF1)

When downloading pipe-delimited sections of SF1 by census tract, you come accross a list of 286 smaller data sets. One of these is "P38. Group Quarters Population by Sex by Age by Group Quarters Type." There are 646 columns in this set alone. All in all, there are 8113 columns of census data for SF1 by census tract.

new strain of feminism

"Although these actions are incredible, they marginalize the majority of women who are unable to, or just don't particularly care to, achieve such things. Fortunately for the less impressive among us, a new strain of feminism has emerged in which mundane activities are championed as proud, bold assertions of independence from oppressive patriarchal hegemony."

from Women Now Empowered By Everything A Woman Does in a "Mother's Day" edition of The Onion.


ICT: Information and Communication Technologies.

side effects

another weird side effect of deleting my login keychain: Spotlight decided it hadn't indexed my disk yet, and spent the day indexing. also, nausea and dizziness. *spotlight hate goes here*

keychain ugh ugh

I have an encrypted disk image for which I know the password. When I try to mount it, it doesn't prompt for a password, it just shows a dialog saying "the disk image failed to mount" because of an "authentication error." This morning I/the Apple Genius deleted my default keychain. Is there a way to get it to prompt for my password, or did I lose the encryption key (and hence all access to the dmg) with my default keychain?

solved it: went to the Keychain Access app's preferences and hit "reset my keychain." then the dmg requested a password, as usual.

hijacking color

"match color" command in photoshop CS - adujust the colors in a photo based on another image. via kottke and others.

organizing knowledge

"use everything as a label, filter only when we need outputs" - from a writeup on the book "Everything is Miscellaneous".

a "youtube for portland, maine": (via the bollard). eh, "a youtube for ..." but, there's some local content: anti-bear trapping ad.

dream from last night

just remembered an awesome dream: I was going traveling again, but only for three weeks, and with a much smaller bag. It was all quick decisions and rushing, getting in the airport line and wondering, "where am I flying to, again?" I was flying into Dublin, same as before, but then thinking about going to France and possibly eastern Europe. During the dream I was aglow with the adrenaline of not having plans, thoughts of vegetables in France and of finding a companion in the hostel to go with to Prague.

getting a job here in Sac, reason 1: I'd have the money to quit and go travelling. soon.

for my windows computer at work

a little util that minimizes unused windows. Downloads: Lifehacker Code: Swept Away (Windows).


Tags: Metadata as a 'filing system' at lifehacker. pretty awesome and futuristic, but also old-fashioned: manually creating tags vs. letting spotlight figure it out. I'd like to be able to tag/add metadata to files as I name them, either in save dialogs or in the finder. *spotlight hate goes here.*

useful to know

flickr uploadr 2.3 released may 1. universal binary, faster startup, filters added. via daringfireball.


The Condiment Packet Museum : Hot Sauce. love the way these look all gridded out. via kottke.

Panama Canal

time lapse of going through the Panama Canal. youtube. via kottke.

future reference: useful python libs

python libraries that "I basically consider required to get any real work done."

job title

the "Scunthorpe Problem" at wikipedia. when words are filtered because they include obscenities within them. note to self: specialist. (via

usps commemorative

Leia and R2D2. via flickr's random interesting photos (which contains mostly: girls, sky, flowers, buidlings, with plenty of wide-angle lenses and sepia).

hex number, everywhere

on the spread of "The Number," the key that unlocks AACS-encrypted HD-DVDs (this means very little to me except: it is something to do with ripping HD-DVDs... which are a new DVD format). the number is in hex: "09-F9-11-02-9D-74-E3-5B-D8-41-56-C5-63-56-88-C0". also, a fortune on flickr. also, a screenshot of digg shortly after they removed the original post (hah!).

debug JS in IE

free JS debugger for IE (how to debug javascript with microsoft's visual web developer express). via simon willison.


Apparently it's illegal to put a pet door in the door between your garage and your house because of fire regulations. "Your insurance would be useless," the guy on the phone from Lowes' says. Now I'm wondering what's the next best option for litterbox location; if we get a cat, my roommate doesn't want it going outside.

Jon Stewart, being serious

Jon Stewart on Bill Moyers Journal. Jon Stewart talked about coverage of the Virginia Tech killings:

I was following the internet headlines all day and there was this enormous amount of space and coverage devoted to Virginia Tech, as there should have been, and I happened to catch a headline lower down which was: 200 people killed in four bomb attacks in Iraq. I think my focus on what was happening here versus this peripheral vision, this thing that caught my eye, and I felt guilty for not having the empathy for their suffering on a daily basis that I feel that I should.

(quote from the last 1/8th or so of the clip, which is longish.)

AMI stands for

AMI is "Area Median Income." AMI for Sacramento is $46,602/year/household. Average household size is 2.6. I make something like 60% of AMI, which falls into the "Low Income" (50-80% AMI) category.

more shp -> kml

Free GeoTools: Recap of "Exporting Shapefiles To Google Earth" Series. a bunch of ways to convert shp files to kml files.

shapefiles in google maps

displaying more complicated shapefile data in google maps: Thematic Polygon Shapefile Display In Google Maps. doesn't involve a specific shp -> kml conversion; the java app handles that, and builds the html/css/js to display it in a browser.


who I am