Monday, May 31, 2010

The secret of happiness is freedom...

OMG Beaver Nuggets!

Nick Cross created this video demonstration of the animation process from storyboards through final production drawings for one of his cartoons.  Here's a relative comparison of Disney character size from 1937's Snow White through 2009's Princess and Frog.

Oh how I loved the 1970s TV show UFO.  And don't get me started on the gals with the purple hair.   Here's the trailer to the upcoming movie Predators (and not an Alien in sight!).  The 10 weirdest films ever made?  Brazil (#4) isn't so much weird as it is jumbled.  Eraserhead (#7) is disturbing, not weird.  And Fantasia (#10)?  Somebody must've run out of ideas.

The periodic table of the elephants.  And the periodic table of sentiments.

These 30 photos of Saturn taken by Cassini are truly amazing.  Here's what is supposedly the highest resolution composite image of the Milky Way.  And there's a lot of astrophysics in this article, but apparently astronomers saw something and have no idea what it could possibly be.  Closer to home, this world map has been color coded by number of photographs on Panoramio to come up with a measure of touristiness.

Perfect examples of what teh interwebs is good for: a collection of found bookmarks, a collection of vintage lunchboxes.

Norwegian software company Webnodes makes a counter-argument to Joel Spolky's dire warning against rewriting your software product from scratch.   While there's no doubt that some of the factoids are true (it'll take longer than you think and one reason the original code is such a mess is that it has decades of fine tuning that works) the investment can pay off.

In defense of Phil Collins

If efficient CSS rendering is important to you, your web development skills are more finely tuned than mine.  On the other hand, even I can appreciate the palettes, patterns, and colors at COLOURlovers.   If you're more interested in typography, try the Google Font API.  Is Firebug truly the most popular and powerful web development tool?

My golf swing (last seen in 1989) never did this to a golf ball.

Google provides this list of the 1,000 most visited web sites including (#993), (#782), (#456), and (#73).  (Yes, Facebook was #1.)  Smashing Magazine presents a how-to guide for implementing your web site's archive page (or as we call it "What's Old").  And Hubspot offers tips for your landing pages.

Only you wordies will enjoy this brief animated evolution of the alphabet

What type of developer are you?  The Ninja?  The Experienced Old Man?  Intel confirms that it won't compete with NVIDIA and ATI.  Hidden features of Perl?  The language is so eclectic I thought all the features were hidden.  Formula 1 racing returns to America in 2012 with the United States Grand Prix to be held in Texas.

This video of the world's largest airship being inflated is strangely arousing.  Here's a titillating video demonstration of fluid-structure interactionFart facts (including the daily average of 14 farts.  Hooray!  Overachiever!)

Tecplot released Tecplot 360 2010WindSim is a CFD-based wind farm design tool.  Ceetron can help you postprocess your CAE results.  Generate airfoils on-line using the JavaFoil applet.  Marechi from the folks at Vcollab is a new (currently in beta) social site for exchanging 3D models and animations.  Optimal Solutions' Buzz is their blog for the latest news about Sculptor.  If you've never seen Sculptor in action, here are some videos.  Here's Part 5 of Symscape's CFD Novice to Expert series.

Hubspot presents some examples of great presentations and the ones by Presentation Zen's Garr Reynolds are especially great, perhaps because I like his use of famous jazz musicians.  I especially like the quote from Charlie Parker: "Master your instrument. Master the music.  And then forget all that bullshit and just play."

"XYZ Scientific Applications, Inc. has made a critical theoretical break through in automatic hexahedral mesh generation. Due to this theoretical break through, XYZ Scientific Applications, Inc. has embarked on a three year program to build the first truly automatic general purpose hexahedral mesh generator."

This news is about 6 months in the making but Tech Soft 3D has acquired from Adobe all the 3D technology that Adobe originally obtained from TTF only a couple years earlier.   This technology includes the CAD readers and PRC technology at the core of Adobe's 3D PDF.  In their news release, Tech Soft 3D looks forward to providing the technology in pure library form.

Constant Contact, the ubiquitous e-mail marketing people, acquired NutshellMail in order to more fully integrate with the social media experience.  We use Constant Contact but I'm not sure how this acquisition will impact us.  This article from Mashable provides a bit more insight about the "why".
Fast Company makes the case that information visualization is the next frontier of design.  And Business Week pays homage to infoviz guru Edward Tufte.  If you think infoviz is all about making charts in Excel and PowerPoint then you might want to take a look at Hans Rosling's talk from TED 2006.  The folks at Juice Analytics put a fun spin on it with gems like "chart-based encryption - data goes in but no information comes out."  If the world had a population of 100, what would those people be like?

Hours of fun await you at Ball Pool.  Bizarre app of the week: use IS Parade to create an animated parade of all your Twitter followers.

...and the secret of freedom, courage.  --Thucydides

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Love and work...

Special Anal Retentive Edition

A periodic table of superhero powers (Element #45 Lc - Luck is a superhero power?  Able to win the lotto with a single ticket!  Does this imply hidden meaning to the the ELP song Lucky Man?  )

How to organize your spice rack.

Keep your sideburns precisely trimmed

Find a ZIP code by entering an address.

Do you gotta go RIGHT NOW?  Use Sit or Squat to find a public restroom near you.  And if you find yourself needing TP, tweet for it like this fella in Japan did (successfully!)


The Journey of Mankind is an awesome map-based visualization of the peopling of the world.  (Creationists can skip this.)

Hypnotizing video of morphing cartoon characters.

A time-lapse, panoramic photo of the endless day.

The Z Machine at Sandia National Labs.

Awesome time-lapse video of space shuttle Discovery being prepped for STS-131.


Why just eat a pancake when you can eat a Star Wars pancake?

Jim makes his own pancakes.

A BLT please, and hold the L and T.

How do you make lasagna better?  Add more layers (100 to be exact).

Hungry for soup?  Ask Noodlr, the noodle soup oracle. 

Craft beer sales were up 7.2% during 2009 with favorable projections for 2010.  When economic times are tough, nothing soothes like a fine brew.

And, I hope you've enjoyed American Craft Beer Week perhaps with Stone's Arrogant Bastard or Rogue's Double Dead Guy.


Here's this week's obligatory article about Facebook's privacy settings

In the NIST Digital Library of Mathematical Functions you can find gems like polylogarithms.

How to personalize vim.

Some people lose the TV remote.  Jupiter lost a stripe.

Automatic detection of sarcasm in online product reviews.  (Yeah, right.)

When is a plane flying not just a plane flying?  When it's a pregame flyover.

Tired of current video formats?  The WebM project plans to bring us another.

A declassified 1964 report on a history of NSA's computer usage.

More lessons learned in 30 years of programming (#1 it pays to share everything you know.)

TrueCrypt - free open-source encryption software.

Want to create an app for the iPhone?  Here's an introduction to the iPhone SDK to get you started.  Here's my idea for an app that you're welcome to steal.  A speech to text converter that sends a text message.  (Hopefully you see the irony in this.)

Instead of using passwords, try OpenID.

Only hardcore fans of data visualization (can you say "Tufte"?) will enjoy this article on ACM Queue about a tour of the visualization zoo.

High school students get to solve real engineering problems (design the tail of a business jet) using real engineering software (Pro/E, Windchill, and EFD.Pro) in the Real World Design Challenge.  Congratulations to this year's winner, Baldwin High School from Kansas.

Share your digital designs on Thingiverse.

Add the Cooliris plugin to Firefox and browse photos and videos.   

Big Business

First-time entrepreneurs can find 59 resources from legal to marketing to hiring in QuickSprout's handbook.  One resource stands out on this list: how to close your business permanently.

Here's a company that posts on their web site a list of 100 reasons why you'd want to work there.  #45 is "Average age at the company is 30.2".

I'm not sure what CrunchBase is good for.  A wiki about tech company gossip?

I like The Productologist blog not only for product management info but because the name requires precise articulation.

How to recognize the signs that your new product management job is going to suck: #4 there are more
documentation writers than QA engineers.

Artsy Fartsy

The Art of Noise retrospective Influence is due out this summer!

Are these the 100 greatest writers of all time?  (Honestly, I didn't know Faulkner was ranked #1 until after I decided to add this link.)  I do absolutely, positively, 100% agree with this statement about Faulkner: "His command of syntactical structures pushed the language forward at least seventy-five years, which is to say nothing of his mesmerizing use of dialogue."

One person's list of the 90 best cartoons of all time.  Speed Racer at #87?  A little low.  Rocky and Bullwinkle at #6 - nicely ranked.  Notable omissions: Atom Ant, Huckleberry Hound, Magilla Gorilla, Pink Panther.

You've heard of the MoMA.  Here's the MoBA - Museum of Bad Art.

Brice Marden talks about Rothko and Newman.  "The beauty of painting extends into the beauty of his [Rothko's] image."  (Apologies if that sounds like BS art-speak.)

The Modern Art Notes blog has moved to


It's time for part 4 of Symscape's series, CFD Novice to Expert.

Symscape's May 2010 newsletter

The CFD Lab at UMass Amherst

Intelligent Light released FieldView 12.3

Video history of the Iowa Institute of Hydraulic Research (after hearing and reading about Fred Stern for years, it was nice to see what he looks like)

Vintage 1961 video about fluid mechanics

Blue Ridge states the case for Upfront CFD

CFDesign 2010 wins NASA Tech Briefs' 2009 Product of the Year

Siemens PLM released NX 7

5th annual conference on Advances and Applications of GiD, 26-27 May 2010, Barcelona, Spain

Best Practices for Engineering CFD, 13-14 Sep 2010, Chatou, France

EnSight introduces "Me Too" to vote for features on their forum

Tecplot add-in: PLOT3D exporter

Boltzmann equation QED

Get your technical graphics industry news and commentary from VEKTORRUM.

How do you save 285 million years of diesel fuel per year?  Let NASA and Lawrence Livermore streamline tractor trailers.

Evidence of Brain Damage

The Terrafugia isn't a flying car, it's a drivable plane?

Good advice never goes out of style: 1951's How to Survive and Atomic Bomb.

This Steve guy sounds pretty cool.  (Must eat more meat.)

SPIN.  No freakin' clue.  A true head scratcher.  Must be French.

While you're reading Horse Bits at work, use idlekeyboard so "the man" thinks your working.

Well, the Rovio isn't getting great reviews so maybe I should set my sights on an Anybot.

An online version of Centipede?  There goes the afternoon.

A list of unusual words including one of my favorites, callipygean (having well-shaped buttocks). 

Teh Interwebs

Hubspot's marketing hubs.

I've been using GIMP for about a year after switching from Paint Shop Pro so I thought these 35 GIMP tutorials would be helpful but there's not much call for light saber effects in my graphics. adds a trick to URL shorteners: the ability to protect the link with a password.  For example, if you know where I work, you'll be able to  resolve this link:

Use Tinysong to share music via a short URL.  For example, here's what I'm listening to right now:

What aspect of marketing doesn't Hubspot have an opinion on?  Here they present ten rules for improving your presentations.   I'm easily violating 30% of their recommendations.

Because Hubspot's #1 rule was "start on paper", here's a great link to paper tools and toolkits for web designers (including templates for sketching your iPhone apps).

A controversial, counter-intuitive social media secret: link to your competitors as a way of increasing your traffic.

Yet another way to interpret color preferences: ecology.

Got you some fugly Javascript?  Clean it up with jsprettify.

Do you fear losing your tweets?  Fear no more: BackupMyTweets.

Or maybe you just want to be able to search Twitter like an expert.

Secret fear: appearing on Web Pages That Suck.

36 blogs about social media.  (Chasing your own tail anyone?)

Best practices for designing sign up forms.

And tips for designing terrific tables.

Here some tips for accounting for social interaction in your designs.

A guide to negative space in web page layouts.

...are the cornerstones of our humanness.  -- Sigmund Freud

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Virtue itself turns vice, being misapplied...

This was inevitable: the Snuggie Sutra.  If you know what (oYo) is, you don't need to read this page about Boobicons. Two old things that are new again:  I played a lot of Asteroids as a kid (both in arcades and on the Atari 2600) so this HTML 5 Asteroids is awesome. (No quarters!)  And if you remember using LaTeX for word processing and publishing,  there's now latex-lab, a web-based, Google-docs integrated version. 

The SR-71 Blackbird is cool enough, but its recently declassified SR-71 flight manual is now available online.  Want to live-tweet a conference?  Better learn the protocol first.  How to critique a web page in 30 seconds or less (#4 scan the page for 5 seconds, then write down what you remember).

Of the undergraduate majors that yield the top 10 salaries, only two aren't engineering or computer science.  One of those is physics.  Before clicking through, guess the other.  This HTML5 canvas gradient demo had me entertained for 3.5 hours.

Star Wars inspired USB flash drives.  How to use GIMP to create graphics for your website.  Forget about running CAD software on an iPad - run CAD software in your browser.
 Tips on writing a good blog post (#4 Instead of writing for the masses, write for someone in particular.)  Here are Isobar's web app coding standards (they use spaces, not tabs).  Here's an online htaccess generator.  CSS 2.1 and CSS 3 cheat sheets.

Paracloud GEM is a 3D pattern modeler.   I'm not really sure what that is, but the pictures of what it does are pretty cool.

Looking for a nice steak in Fort Worth?  Try the Cat City Grill on Magnolia Avenue.  The decor is a like a snooty steakhouse but the food and service are comfortable and friendly.  (If only their web site didn't play music.)  Knovel is online search for engineering and technical information.

Panoramic photos of the NYC skyline from 1876, 1932, 1988, and 2013.  Now you can kneel before Zod online.  Why do people conduct code reviews: to reduce bugs going forward (84%) and to share best practices (72%).

rooohu aooooo oarawh aorcrawhcanraaowo wowhrranahcac ahwhaooo aoacwo ohooooorahwo anrawhrrhurarrwo cacrorcahahohooooor.  (Translation: You too can translate English into the Wookie language Shyriiwook.)

Predictions for 2010 from the Conference on the Future of Engineering Software:
  • Continued consolidation (50+%)
  • Fewer new entrants (44%)  Pshaw, I say.  Established companies are notoriously bad about imagining anyone or anything new entering their market.
  • Disruptive, non-traditional market entrants like SAP and Oracle.
I want Heike Weber to paint my office.

All the latest in programming jargon.  We have already adopted the term "jimmy" (clueless/new developer).  My favorite is "bugfoot" (a bug that can't be reproduced and only one person saw it).  Rich Minrov offers this product management assessment tool.

Mozilla's plans for Firefox 4 can be distilled down to this: be more like Google Chrome.  Here's a recommendation that startup founders get a hobby.  (What the hell is hay bucking?)  The lean startup methodology is a new way for getting your company up and running.

Hot on the heels of last week's postal abbreviations, here are your secondary address abbreviations (BSMT = basement).  Color theory too complex for you?  Try this simple color theory.

Boeing's new Phantom Ray UAV looks kick-ass.  Before opening PowerPoint to work on your next presentation, begin by asking why: Why does this matter?  Twitter's business center is out of beta and now being made available to companies on an invitation-only basis.  Hubspot presents more social media statistics than one person can possibly digest.  (In fact, there's enough noise here to make people not give two shits.)

30 tips on B2B social marketing, including "The key to participating in social conversations is to be helpful."  I've heard of a flying car, but a flying jet ski?  Art made from Twitter: Don't Tell Ashton.  A collection of bowling scoring screens.

OK, now go play Asteroids.  You know you want to.

...And vice sometimes by action dignified. --Friar Laurence, Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare

(Yes, I watched Romeo + Juliet last night.  It is one of the best film adaptations of Shakespeare's works I've ever seen.  The one with Leonardo DiCaprio.  Don't be hatin'.)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

He who hates vice...

Goto, enter "elgoog" and press I Feel Lucky.  Telling time should not be this hard: the geek clock.  See what's new in OpenGL 4.0.  This year is the 20th anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope.  How well does your browser support HTML5?  (Firefox scored 101 out of 160.)  If you see a fallout shelter sign and don't even stop to think about it, then you may enjoy this history of the fallout shelter

How in the hell does swearing relate to authenticity?  It doesn't.  Apparently what's old is new again: know your audience.  What matters is not the vocabulary but the context.  Do I drop f-bombs when talking to my mother?  Of course not.  (Happy freakin' Mother's Day!)  With my beer drinking pals, it's another matter entirely.  And I've never heard one of my beer buds swear at all (nor does he drink beer).  People just need to learn how, where, and when to use language of any kind and get over it.  Profanity serves its purpose as do lesser-used words like "ennui", "perambulate", "mammiferous."  They are all precise ways to express thought and emotion.

There's a new, rather incomplete, web site called What Is CFD.  Anyone know who's responsible for this?  On the other side of the CAE news spectrum, Schnitger Corp's Hot Topics from the world of engineering and design is a worthy read.   A survey of CAE companies at COFES 2010 yielded a split forecast for 2010: 23% still predict a moderate negative impact on business while 20% predict a positive impact.  Eng-Tips has a CFD Forum.

You can't swing a dead cat without hitting an infographic on the web these days.  So why not make your own personal infographic courtesy of Ionz.  Here's infographic guide on men's room etiquette. And of course an awesome infographic about bacon (the earliest bacon reference was in the year 1560).  Finally, here's an example of an infographic that really pissed me off: The American Family's Financial Turmoil.  (Note the histrionics in the name.)  How poor is it?
  • "The house is worth $160,000 but the family owes $95,000 on it to the bank."   Why the "but"?  40% of the house is paid for through some combination of down payment and monthly payments.  Is the expectation that they should've paid cash for the entire amount up front?  
  • Here's more dishonest wording: "No one has a retirement account (in 50% of American households)."  Why just not go 100% with the misleading words and turn the parenthetical into a tiny footnote at the bottom of the page?  
  • "They have no mutual funds, stocks or bonds."  The implication is that Wall Street is somehow the investment mecca.  Go to the bank, open a savings account, get a CD, start an IRA, participate in your employer's 401(k).
  • "$117,951 is the average American household's debt."  Interesting number, down to the dollar.  However, how much of that is the house?  How much is the car?  Student loans?  Credit card?  That information might be just a tad more insightful.
  • "$2 trillion is the combined amount of personal debt held by Americans."  At least they didn't compute this down to the dollar ($2,345,681,495).  But it's a meaningless big number nonetheless and comparing it to the GDP of Great Britain provides no illumination whatsoever.  
    How to drop tweets onto your site using Blackbird Pie.  Do you product managers wear too many hats?  If you know what a vinyl LP is and actually have some, you too might contribute to Sleeveface.  Get your science news from PhysOrg.  Actually, he is a rocket scientist.  The official website of musician Ant Phillips.  Know your URLs.

    If you love G.I. Joe like I did as a kid, you'll enjoy these 10 neat facts about him (#6 He has a scar on his cheek because otherwise Hasbro couldn't copyright him).  My Joe was about a foot tall, came in the wooden foot locker with two levels of storage for his gear including sidearm, rifle, radio, backpack, canteen, belt hoster, a full set of clothing and boots that could be changed, hair hair not painted on, and fully articulated.

    I hate it when folks like Smashing Magazine publish lists like Web Design Trends for 2010 because  it makes my web work look crappy by comparison and highlights more stuff I don't know (you'd think I'd be use to that by now).  Their list could've stopped at "Design for Delight" because "Horizontalism" isn't working for me.  And what is it with designers and their fixation with typography?  More from Smashing on modern css layouts.

    According to research, 27,000 trees are cut each day just to supply the world with toilet paper.  Americans (we're number one!) use 23 kilo per capita annually while the Danes occupy the other end of the spectrum at only 13 kilos.   (Methinks something is rotten in the state of Denmark.)

    Provided for education, not debate. (via 9gag)

    Someone's going to hell: woman runs down Lord Jesus Christ in crosswalk.  Victor Taba's web site is just fun to watch.  Parents are getting their baby names from Twilight.  I guess Joel and Neil got tired of everyone mispronouncing Pecha Kucha so this year at Business of Software it's Lightning Talk.

    Life Upfront boldly claims that 80% of all businesses can benefit from a social media presence and Roy at Forrester believes there are benefits for product development too.  Ning, the social networking platform, is dropping its free service.  If you don't want to pay, here are your alternatives to Ning.  Hubspot has compiled a list of resources for using Facebook for business marketing.

    Chris will be excited to learn that Sotheby's is auctioning Mark Rothko's Untitled 1961 on May 12th and its estimated selling price is $18 to $25 million.  This auction also features fabulous works by Agnes Martin, Jackson Pollock, and Morris Louis.  There is even a Dan Flavin for Rick expected to go for $600,000 to $800,000.

    Six Revisions offers this guide to writing a decent About Us page for your web site, recommending you follow the rule of the 5 W's: Who, What, When, Where, How.  (I realize "How" has a little "w" in it, but c'mon man - 5 W's?)  Max Design offers a simpler way to do CSS resets.  A detailed study of Google's redesigned search results.
    • 29th ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2011), 07-12 May 2011, Vancouver
    • Part 2 of Symscape's CFD Novice to Expert
    • CFD consultants InfoMec
    • ESI reports 7.1% annual sales growth
    • CFD consultants SLR 
    • Seimens has moved PLM World to Dallas on 27 Jun - 02 Jul due to flooding in Nashville.
    Awesome reference material: street suffix abbreviations, a guide to addressing mail, international codes for phone calls, and a guide to those care symbols on your laundry.  May 23rd is National Lucky Penny Day.  I don't have a lucky penny, but I do keep two lucky nickels on my keyboard.

    From my friend Walker to me and now from me to you: computer graphics meet music in the Whitney music box.

    ...hates mankind. --Pliny the Younger

    Saturday, May 1, 2010

    Made to Stick - A Formula for SUCCESs

    Most business prose can at best be deemed professional and at worst mind-numbingly dull. If you contrast this with proverbs, urban legends, and other popular messages that resonate seemingly on their own you have to wonder – what makes some ideas survive while others wither and die? It's this question that Chip and Dan Heath answer in Made to Stick.  (What follows is not a review but rather just my notes on the book.)

    The answer is SUCCESs: Simple Unexpected Concrete Credentialed Emotional Stories

    Simple pertains to the forced prioritization (like the lead in a newspaper story) of your message to its core. Simple includes compactness, the elimination of secondary and tertiary points (“If you've said three things you've said nothing.”). Simple doesn't mean simplistic. You can make your message profound and complex by tapping the audience's memory through the use of layered schemas (things they already know). Furthermore, good metaphors are generative in that they inspire novel thinking.

    Unexpected messages get our attention by surprising us (by breaking our guessing machine). The surprise must support your core message and must make sense when your audience thinks about it (not surprise for surprise's sake). These surprises hold the audience's enduring interest on the journey from mystery to understanding. Curiosity exists when there's a gap in our knowledge but that's a problem because people think they know more than they actually know.

    A concrete message avoids the abstraction of language and eliminates cultural differences in interpretation. Using concreteness as a foundation for abstraction is a basic principle of understanding. This is where the Curse of Knowledge comes into play as experts tend to overuse abstractions because they've forgotten what it's like to not understand. Concrete does not mean “dumb down”. Instead it means to find a universal language which everyone understands; no doubt this will be concrete.

    Ideas become credible through celebrity, authority, or even anti-authority endorsements. Application of vivid details further enhances credibility, but one must be careful to reduce the details to “human scale”. Credentials become stickier when the audience can test them for themselves.

    Emotion makes people care. This is important because they won't act until they care. Emotion is important also because too heavy a reliance on data makes your audience more analytical and less likely to act (i.e. cold). You don't have to create this emotion from scratch. Instead you can piggyback on an idea they already care about; and one thing that people care about a lot is themselves. Therefore, engage WIIFY: what's in it for you. You should be aware of and appeal to the two models of decision making: analytical (what is the best choice?) and identity (what would a person like me do?).

    A credible idea makes people believe, an emotional idea makes people care, and the right story makes people act. By putting knowledge into a framework, stories become like a flight simulator for the brain, making the audience act or at least think about how they'd act. By creating a story that illustrates overcoming a challenge, bridging a gap, or solving a problem the audience is engaged on your side instead of evaluating an analytical argument that almost makes them an opponent.

    Summary: For an idea to stick with an audience it must be simple, it must be unexpected so they pay attention, it must be concrete so they understand and remember, it must be credible so they agree and believe, it must be emotional so they care, and it must delivered as a story so they are able to act. But beware the curse of knowledge which can render everything useless.

    Quotes are nothing...

    This week's post sucks. Do not read it.

    How does my ESTJ MBTI correlate with GTD? Around the world with sausages (for example, Croatia's kulen). Having trouble breathing? Follow along with the breathing circle. Real estate is probably cheap in Survival Town. Who doesn't like James Bond? Found in Rolls has been merged into the Ask About Coins blog.

    If you're into drawing and animation, this series of blog posts from Temple of the Seven Golden Camels called A Kick in the Head about fundamentals is really interesting: Part One, Two, Three, Four.

    When a professional computer systems administrator rants "I hate computers" you should listen, especially to observations like "Even when things go right, users are left to feel powerless and stupid." How many Twitter tools can there be? Quite a few according to this list from oneforty. According to this infographic about how fuel flows into energy consumption, we waste 44.6% along the way.

    Seth Godin's five rules for amazing PowerPoint presentations is (unsurprisingly) similar to Edward Tufte's. But "no more than six words on a slide"? Really? A Marine Corps genereal is less subtle: "PowerPoint makes us stupid." Look out, Admiral Ackbar, it's a crap. Do your gardening one square foot at a time. What motivates you? Check out Maslow's hierarchy of needs.

    I have no problem generating nonsense, but for others JabberWordy might help with selecting a nice nonsensical domain name. ( is available!) The diskette is dead. HP paid $1.2 billion for Palm. Total Spectrum's marketing blog. Know your ampersands. Lists, lists, and more lists from Listverse.
    What is the world coming to when the actress who played Thelma Lou on the Andy Griffith show gets mugged in the town Mayberry was based on? By a dude named Shirley, no less.

    Crap that doesn't work: Keyonary claims to be an online dictionary of shortcut keys for your favorite apps but apparently its favorite apps aren't mine - the only apps I got results for were Photoshop and InDesign, two apps I don't even own. This We Know claims to reveal U.S. government data about your community but it leaves a little to be desired in the accuracy department. For example, I don't know how my hometown can have a population of 19,636 and yet have 101,491 homeowners.

    If Puerto Rico becomes the 51st state, I sure as hell hope they don't redo the flag with all the stars in a circle. Find out what Facebook is revealing about you. Seth Godin doesn't paint a rosy picture of the future of higher education (#4 The correlation between a typical college degree and success is suspect.) Get a college education 140 characters at a time by following these professors on Twitter.

    Did you know the Association for Computing Machinery published a guide for how to name your computer? Some are common sense (don't enumerate names, don't use your name, don't use long words or words with ambiguous spelling). We use the idea of themes for computers at work (authors, rock bands, cities). My new computer's name is Anakin. An interesting timeline of evolution.

    I warned you not to read this. Now I suggest you clear your mind with white noise.

    ...but inspiration for the uninspired. --Richard Kemph