Friday, December 31, 2010


Proof #1,231 that innovation is not dead: the jelly wobbler.  (After all, jello's not going to wiggle itself.)

Brian Eno completes his Seven Sessions on a Milk Sea video odyssey with Instant Nuclear Family (Extended Version)

More tunes for your listening pleasure, Robert Fripp's Soundscapes, Live 2010, an interview and performance.  So-called Frippertronics involves an improvised, layered, tape-looping technique based on Fripp's electric guitar playing.  (It's about an hour long so start the audio in another tab and continue reading here.)

Here are some completely fun and totally unproductive web sites with which to wile away your holiday.

Oddly, "rig pumping" is not a pr0n term but instead applies to sailboats (and it's a bad thing).  But by using CFD one yachtsman figured out a better place to locate the second sail furler and eliminate pumping.

Also not a pr0n term, "growth guy" Verne Harnish has identified 4 trends growing firms should heed.  I was a little excited because one is "mesh businesses" but instead of referring to CFD meshing he's talking about the internet and business opportunities built around sharing (think Groupon and ZipCar).

The blog post "Do engineers make good CEOs?" [Ans.  Sometimes.] made me start thinking about a series of parodies on "do engineers make good blanks."  Got sidetracked by "do engineers make good pr0nstars."

Here's a list of the 57 lamest tech moments of 2010 including the demise of Google Buzz, various lawsuits, and my favorite - Polaroid naming Lady Gaga as creative director.

Hubspot lists the 9 reasons why your social media strategy isn't working including "You're not having fun."  I think the main reason is "Your social media channels are overly self-promotional."  No one likes a party guest who talks only about themselves.

Those Hubspot folks publish more web site tips than one can keep up with.  I don't know how many of these SEO tips we're missing.

In this infographic comparing Twitter and Facebook demographics, their respective users are remarkably similar with 2 notable exceptions.  Twitter users are much more likely to update their status daily (52% versus 12%) and Twitter users are more likely to purchase a brand they follow (67% versus 51%).

Yes, this is late but here's holiday greetings the FEA way from Siemens PLM.

3DTin is a browser-based 3D model builder.  I did not have the patience to build anything nor draw comparisons with Google SketchUp.

Here's a web page with double goodness.  First, you can download hi-res images in multiple sizes of web browser logos.  Second, the background is a cool snowflake effect.  Scroll all the way to the bottom of the page and move your mouse back and forth.

What questions keep entrepreneurs up at night?  #4 Is it wise to take angel investing from my Uncle Larry?  [No.]  #13. A customer wants to pay us a bunch of money for some custom features, what do we do? [Take the money and do the work.  Duh.]  #24. I love my company, but most of my time is spent doing things I don’t love.  How do I fix this?  [See following paragraph.]

This brief article from business author Patrick Lencioni struck a chord with me because of a single quote: "Though plenty of people in the world say they want to be successful, not that many are willing to humble themselves and do the simple things that might seem unsophisticated."

More on business leadership: 14 ways to be a great startup CEO includes what I would say is #1 "A startup CEO needs to be the personal voodoo doll for the startup." Or you could just read these startup blogs and become a better entrepreneur. 

"You should be aware that some asshole is signing your name to stupid letters."  Possibly the greatest letter ever printed on NFL letterhead and the fact that it's from my hometown Cleveland Browns is even better.  I wish I had the balls to use this at work.

Here are the top 10 blogs for writers 2010.  Not much time to benefit from this - wish the list was for 2011.  (That's my excuse for continuing to write like shit.)

OK all you mathematicians.  What the hell kind of freaky confluence of seemingly unrelated constants is Euler's Identity? This is like the scariest thing I've seen all year.  It gives me the heeby jeebies.

For those of you who aren't in the CFD biz, you may be curious what this mesh generation thing is all about.  Here's a nice video of an unstructured mesh being generated using a Delaunay algorithm.  The hot thing (pardon the pun) is to use CFD to simulate and then improve data center cooling.    Swansea University is helping the Bloodhound Supersonic Car project with CFD.

Proof #450 that only a poor musician blames their instrument.  A cool video animation done entirely in Google Docs.

The one person who'd really enjoy this either doesn't read this blog or won't admit to reading it:  the Hirshhorn Museum acquired a major piece by Dan Flavin, untitled (to Helga and Carlo, with respect and admiration) Quoting from the linked article, “By the sheer amount of light [Flavin's first 'barrier'] produced and the aggressive manner in which it overtook (or “abused” in the artist’s words) the room that defined its dimensions, Flavin’s barrier might be considered one of the first examples of what today is known ubiquitously as ‘installation art’ — or what Flavin referred to as ’situational.’”

In other art news, photographs of hand-tossed water just aren't doing anything for me.  Perhaps it's my profession - fluids have been demystified somewhat.

Ever wonder what the opening sequence of The Grinch was supposed to be like?  Here's a draft of the lyrics for what became Trim Up the Tree.  ("Hang dang-danglers on the bath tub.")   Old news: H.R. Giger will contribute to Ridley Scott's Alien prequel.

More reading from the user experience book club.  The official website of author Brad Meltzer.  Ten books for entrepreneurs from 2010. (I've only read one.  Boo hoo.)

Something for my computer systems administrator friends: Everything Sysadmin.  Dear software vendors: please help out your customers' sysadmins.  #10 is interesting: DO publish documentation on the web site (not a PDF).

And for my tech support friends, the 10 commandments of customer support.  #4 Ask the right questions.  (When I was in my 20s I had all the answers.  When I was in my 30s I began to realize how little I knew.  In my 40s I became happy simply to ask the right questions.  In my 50s I'd like to go 30 minutes without having to pee.)

Advice for programmers: use proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation in your source code comments.   And learn how to type faster.  (That typing class I took in high school has paid off thousands of times over.)   Learn Python by watching these videos from Google.  And something computer science students should love: what do sorting algorithms sound like?  Real Vim ninjas count every keystroke - using VimGolf.

A paper template for making your own 3D glasses.  (Red and blue cellophane not included.) "Don't forget to cut out the eye holes!"  Get a free countdown clock for your web site at

Every paragraph in this article contains concepts that confound my ability to understand, let alone summarize.  That never stopped me before so here goes.  Application of the mathematics of topology to quantum mechanics predicts a new form of matter governed by new laws of physics.   Physicists are already building conductors and insulators that use these new laws to govern how electrons move.

Here's a nice article and discussion on CAD accuracy and tolerance.  What is trinitramid good for?  It's 30% more efficient than current rocket fuels.  (And it's good for the earth - yeehaw!)   For all your space news check out Encyclopedia Astronautica.

QWOP is absolutely the world's worst computer game.  (They have an iPhone app!)

For the first time in history, the atomic weights of 10 elements on the periodic table are being changed to intervals rather than fixed values.  I hope these guys who etched the periodic table on a strand of hair don't mind redoing their work.  Not to be outdone, these scientists put the world's smallest Christmas card on a human hair.  Finishing with the tiny things, here are 10 views of snowflakes through a microscope.

Of the five essential components of a good product manager, market authority comes first.  Authority comes up again in this article with tips on how to write persuasive messages.  Write better to sell more by establishing trust and convincing prospects that your product is right for them.  I would back off a bit on the "convincing" part and instead go more for teaching prospects where your product excels.

The International Institute of Not Doing Much urges us to slow down.  (Lazy bastards.)

More competition for my Roomba.  The Dust Ball claims to work better in large spaces for which the Roomba isn't designed but I bet it can't get under my couch.

Poutine is fast becoming a food trend.  I gotta get me some of this.

How did something simple get so hard?  In the tradition of the adage "No job is finished until the paperwork is done" here's a web site that tells you where to put the toilet paper when you're done.  (In China toss it in the bin, not the bowl.) 

Unfortunately, they're sold out otherwise I'd use my Xmas money to get myself a carbon fiber toilet seat for only $279.

Teh interwebs continue to deliver value in terms of incredibly useful sites that you instantly become hooked on.  For example, Is today Sunday?  Slightly more useful is what is my screen resolution? Here is a cool but frustrating typography-based CSS hover layout.

Yet another article on whether the computer spells the end of reading: A Better Pencil.  Keeping things in perspective, the reviewer points out that every new technology has been demonized as "a threat to literacy and a corrupter of youth."

Human existence is about self-perpetuation, from procreation to graffiti.   Here's a brilliant idea for making a time capsule out of a light switch faceplate.  (Beats writing on the wall behind the wallpaper.)

I check Clients from Hell every once in a while to make sure our creative consultants aren't writing about us.

Hours and hours of census and mapping goodness here with this NY Times census mapping app where you can map a lot of different data by city and block.  Shown here is a racial distribution in Fort Worth.

A huge highly-detailed map with audio links to American English dialects.   Speaking of maps, find the time anywhere in the world with this World Time Clock and Map.

Recall a recent post about the USAF building a supercomputer from PS3s?  Well, Sony has stuck it to Uncle Sam by removing the ability to install Linux.  You'd think they would've learned from their attempt to create a backup system using Betamax.

...go in one year and out the other.


Francis Shivone said...

I will be spending way too much time on some of these websites. The NyTimes census site is unbelievable. Thanks.

John said...

You're going to keep trying Is it Sunday until it says yes, aren't you?

cd0103 said...

I just love your site. Found you through Francis Shivone. Do you mind if I share with my FB friends?

John said...


Thanks for the compliment. Yes, sharing is the whole point, isn't it? Hope they like it too.

cd0103 said...

Cool! Thanks.