Saturday, March 19, 2011

Any person who knows all the answers...

Two words not often found together: Penile spines.  Why chimps have them and I don't.

When it comes to breasts I fancy myself a bit of an expert, but I've never knitted one.

This fellow has issues with Shakespeare, one of which is fear: "I suppose I simply fear a person who was able to view the human beast so truly."  But at least we've found Shakespeare's original portrait so we know what he looks like.

Dead and Dying

Is the business card dead?  I say no.  But I'm also the person with a museum-piece cell phone and a Franklin day planner instead of an iPad.

Are phone calls dead too? Nope.

Shocking news from the Eating Dead Animals Department.  Beef consumption peaked in the mid 1970s and now chicken consumption almost exceeds that of beef.  Pork consumption (3rd place) hasn't really gained or lost ground over the past century.  Sorry, Arnold Ziffel.

 I just thought this was a pretty picture.

Why So Many Questions?

Here are 8 questions to ask before you start blogging.  #2 "People read my blog because it helps them _______."  Feel better about themselves?  Exercise their proofreading skills?

Here are the 3 greatest survey questions to ask people about your web site.  What is the purpose of your visit?  Were you able to complete that task?  If not, why?

And here's a competing set of top questions for your customers.  #5b What else are you not getting from us?  (I like the "else.")

Just the Facts

More GPU resources than you can shake a stick at at

A list of 58 user interface and style guides from Apple to Yahoo!

Essential visualization resources.

Lists Calm the OCD In All of Us (Or CDO as I call it with all the letters in alphabetical order)

IBM give us this list of the the five innovations that have great potential in the next five years (Five in Five).  They are
  1. 3D interfaces (not feelin' this one)
  2. Devices with a 10x longer battery life.  (horray!)
  3. Real-time, distributed "social" sensing of the environment.
  4. Personalized routes from your GPS
  5. Harvesting energy from data centers.
Aviation Pr0n
  • Cool time-lapse video of a Minuteman IA being installed at the Air Force Museum.
  • F-35 flight testing.
  • The story of the Super Hustler, a 1950s design of a Mach 4 bomber to be launched from beneath a B-58 Hustler.  A simply awesome story.
Earthquake and Tsunami News
  • The NY Times offers satellite photos that are superimposed with a slider for you to interact with before and after.
  • A Google maps animation of the earthquake swarm.
  • Scientific American explains the quake for us.
  • A friend thought I'd understand the situation in Japan better if it were framed in terms of poo.
Everyone's gone mad this month.  March Madness has spawned these:
  • Beard Madness
  • Beer Madness
  • Art Madness (America's favorite post-war artwork. My money's on Pollock's Lavender Mist.)
Which engineering schools are ranked best by US News?
  • #13 Texas A&M
  • #70 Syracuse
  • #85 Univ. Texas at Arlington
CFD Consultants and Applications
CAE News
  • Symscape's March 2011 newsletter is now available.
  • PTC's Creo blog offers their views on best practices for a multi-CAD environment.
  • CD-adapco's STAR American Conference 2011 will be held in Chicago on 28-29 June.
  • Spatial's spring 2011 newsletter is now available.

Remember vinyl LPs?  Remember picture discs?  Somewhere around here I have the picture disc version of Styx's Pieces of Eight.   It is nothing like this Rotary Signal Emitter, music and animation both on an LP.

Know Your...

Know your veils, from abaya to tudong.

Know your pasta.

Know your science.  The paper Happiness is assortative in online social networks actually means that happy tweeters congregate and happy tweets can lead to more business.

Two Engineers Walk Into a Bar

What exactly do engineers need to know about computer science?   All too often engineers see CS as a tax on their work.  One man's attempt to solve this problem is the Software Carpentry blog.

The Cranky Product Manager lets a developer post on her blog this article on the Five Stages of Debugging.  Stage 1: Resistance, aka "works for me."  (Works For Me is an actual choice for resolving a bug in our bug management system.)

Why do women quit the engineering field?  Over half leave because of working conditions (poor ones, presumably), too much travel, lack of advancement, or low salaries.  (This brief article might actually be useful if it also answered the question "compared to what?"  How do the reasons for women quitting engineering compare to those for men?  They say 30% of female engineering graduates later left the field but how many men do so?  This is why I hate statistics 87% of the time.)

Social Diseases and Media

This makes you feel unoriginal, like even our problems aren't new.  Information overload, the problem child of the information age, is actually a 2300 year old problem. Dang that printing press!

Twitter doesn't want you to write anymore Twitter clients.  (Do they expect us to use their web site?) This is one man's reply.

Thank you, Microsoft, for reducing worldwide sp@m by 39%.

What can you learn about public relations (and social media) in the Army?  Quite a bit including how the concept of sphere of influence can be applied.

What are the 7 essentials of a good blog post?  A "great headline" and "insanely great content" tie for #1.  (Not too surprising.)  The author's content tip is RITE: relevant, interesting, timely, and entertaining. 

It's official: stop writing e-mail (and web site, for that matter).  It's "email" and "website."

Nick makes cool prints, this one of London.

Bits and Bytes

Will you be attending Business of Software this October in Boston?  To help you decide, here's a video of Peldi Guilizzoni's (founder of Balsamiq) talk from BoS 2010.

DocBook is a schema for XML (and other languages) for writing books and papers about computer software.  Its definitive guide is available online for free.

Software that I'm afraid to install: F.lux automatically adjusts your computer's display to time of day - warm at night, sunny during the day.

In See Analysis Data's True Colors, the authors provide tips on how you can tell whether the color plots of stress computed by your FEA analysis are any good.  They point out how your mesh (of course, it's always the mesh) can contribute to poor results.  I learned that Gaussian integration (a core mathematical technique in FEA) really likes elements with aspect ratios of 1 (i.e. a cube is better than an 8 foot 2x4).

How great is HTML5?  It allowed this guy to write an Asteroids-like game in 4 hours.  (Asteroids was my first video game favorite followed by Centipede and Breakout.)  And for reference purposes, here's an HTML5 cheat sheet.

 WeatherSpark is one of the coolest weather sites I've run across.   Unlike most sites that only forecast, you can go back in time to see a history, averages, highs, lows, and other fun stuff.  The screen capture above shows 2 years of weather history.

The Denouement

Here's part 2 of what your favorite classic rock band says about you.  Some excerpts:

  • Genesis - You know what a steeplechase is.
  • UFO - You have burned yourself urinating on a campfire.
  • King Crimson - You have spent an entire afternoon watching a screen saver.

I love a dystopian future as much as the next guy and I've seen 12 of the 18 films on this list of the most horrifying movie dystopias, but The Island?!?!  Really?  The movie itself was horrifying.

Enjoy this two and a half minute video review of movie title sequences in Art of the Title.

And now, a game - play Katamari on any website.

The End

...likely misunderstood the questions.

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