Life is a Mystery

9 February 2010 . Comments Off on FFR: Color

FFR: Color

I love color. One of my favorite college courses was a class on color theory where I learned that color was a lively thing, capable of surprise and even deceit. I enjoyed this article on The Meaning of Color today. I also want to recall this nice color theory tutorial.

The course was taught by Richard Lytle and was, I think, largely based on the plan set out by Josef Albers in his book Interaction of Color. I wish more art departments had such welcoming courses, so many jump right into drawing and never look back.


14 January 2010 . Comments Off on FFR: Web hosts

FFR: Web hosts

A great thread on the Code4Lib list gives shoutouts to a number of web hosting services. Every few years I take a look at this market, so I wanted to remember to look at these in the future: Heroku (for Ruby), Slicehost (now owned by RackSpace), Linode (founded in 2003), WiredTree (noted for Drupal), DreamHost (which I’ve used too), and Sonic (run by geeks).

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13 January 2010 . Comments Off on FFR: Inklet

FFR: Inklet

I’ve been wondering why nobody has done this. Inklet makes the modern Mac trackpad a pen tablet as well. If I had a newer MacBook or Pro, I’d be checking it out.

16 September 2009 . Comments Off on FFR: Waze

FFR: Waze

If I ever get an iPhone, I’d like to drive around with Waze open on it! Maybe I can convince Mary to give it a try.


28 July 2009 . Comments Off on Scanning Documents with iPhone at Ponoko

Scanning Documents with iPhone at Ponoko

I ran across a story about a cool iPhone apparatus that makes scanning documents with the iPhone simple. This is a neat idea, the iPhone can make a serviceable scanner in a library or at home, a great alternative to copying costs.

But even better was the service the creator of this apparatus had used to build and sell it. Called Ponoko, it is a website that lets you build almost anything you can imagine. You design it, you price it. Ponoko makes it, ships it, your customer assembles it.

I love sites like Jakprints where I can print almost anything and CafePress where I can design and sell t-shirts and other swag. Now I can come up with a crazy idea for a physical object and have that instantiated in the world. Cool.

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24 May 2009 . Comments Off on FFR: Media Temple

FFR: Media Temple

Media Temple looks like a vendor to consider for high-end web services.

21 May 2009 . Comments Off on FFR: TimeGlider

FFR: TimeGlider

Another way to create timelines.

11 May 2009 . Comments Off on Holy processing, Batman

Holy processing, Batman

I love this example of Twitter users passing along data despite themselves. It pulls together so many threads: Processing for visualization, data mining for gathering facts from Twitter, geolocation via MetaCarta, even a bit of Wolfram to round it all out. Though there are all sorts of legitimate critiques about the role of Twitter data for tracking disease vectors, the interesting fact, for me, is that one person was able to leverage free form Twitter entries into a visualization of non-trivial data in just a few days time. This is a new world.

There are rumors that Apple is interested in buying Twitter. Alex thinks this may be an attempt by Apple to shore up its aging and less-than-reliable iChat infrastructure. I think it may be about data. Whoever makes Twitter less of a fail-whale service will be sitting on an unprecedented hoard of realtime data, the commercial possibilities of which are as yet unimagined. We are just giving our lives over to this massive dataset. I’m not sure that’s a bad thing, but I do wonder what it will create.

16 January 2009 . Comments Off on FFR: Scrapblog

FFR: Scrapblog

Scrapblog might be fun, especially for kids.

15 January 2009 . Comments Off on FFR: Free File

FFR: Free File

The IRS is now (well, tomorrow) offering tax prep software for free. I wonder how well it will work and what provision it may make for state taxes (none, I imagine). I should probably check it out. Last year I had some luck with TaxACT, but IRS provided free software would do even more to get me off the Intuit endless upgrade loop.

Eric Celeste / Saint Paul, Minnesota / 651.323.2009 /