Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

Setting up a “Writing Mac” | TUAW

September 18, 2009

by Dave Caolo on Sep 9th 2009 at 7:00AM

I’ve got a basement full of Macs in various states of repair, which shouldn’t surprise you. One of my hobbies is re-purposing those old machines. For instance, there’s a G3 All-In-One on my workbench which runs iFixIt.com when I’ve got a project. Additionally, I use a G4 iMac as a Daylite server.

I’ve also had a G5 iMac for a while, but nothing for it to do. Earlier this week, I gave it a fresh install of Mac OS 10.4 and thought I’d use it for blogging and other writing. No web browsing, Twitter, iPhoto or the like. Call it a “Writing Mac.” Here’s how I set it up.

Reduce distractions

The Dock and drives are hidden from the Finder. No Twitter clients are installed, and only a few bookmarks are in place. The home folder contains only the default items and there’s no music in the iTunes library. In other words, there’s nothing to compete for my attention.

Streamlined for work

I’ve populated the dock with apps that support writing and nothing more. I’ve moved it to the lower left-hand corner by choosing “Position on screen > Left” from the Dock preference pane and this little bit of command line editing from Shawn Blanc:

defaults write com.apple.dock pinning -string end

Now I can have the dock tiny yet accessible as I run my writing software. Speaking of which …

The software

You’ll see a few icons in my Dock. After the Finder and Mail, is Scrivener. If you’ve got a large writing project to complete, Scrivener is the companion you’ll want on your side. Research, outlining and organization is a pleasure with such a great application.

I’ve also got Apple’s Dictionary in the Dock because, believe it or not, ‘ol Dave isn’t so good with the spelling.

Next is Yojimbo (I had to upgrade to 10.5.7 to get this to run. D’oh!). I only started using this app recently, but I can see the appeal. When running, it puts a small tab on the edge of the desktop. It’s easy to drop bits of text, images or URL’s in there to use as reference. The good stuff, once reviewed, gets moved into Scrivener.

Finally is my beloved ImageWell for editing images for use here on TUAW. It runs on 10.4 and is just the tool for quick-and-dirty cropping and resizing.

At last, iTunes streams Radio Paradise, my favorite Internet radio station.

The best part is that there’s almost nothing to back up (other than Scrivener projects, which I drop in my Dropbox). If this machine’s HD croaked tomorrow, I’d be able to pick up where I left off with minimal fuss.

So there you have it, my Writing Mac. Aren’t legacy machines fun?

 

Posted via web from 23narchy in the UK

Setting up a “Writing Mac” | TUAW

September 18, 2009

by Dave Caolo on Sep 9th 2009 at 7:00AM

I’ve got a basement full of Macs in various states of repair, which shouldn’t surprise you. One of my hobbies is re-purposing those old machines. For instance, there’s a G3 All-In-One on my workbench which runs iFixIt.com when I’ve got a project. Additionally, I use a G4 iMac as a Daylite server.

I’ve also had a G5 iMac for a while, but nothing for it to do. Earlier this week, I gave it a fresh install of Mac OS 10.4 and thought I’d use it for blogging and other writing. No web browsing, Twitter, iPhoto or the like. Call it a “Writing Mac.” Here’s how I set it up.

Reduce distractions

The Dock and drives are hidden from the Finder. No Twitter clients are installed, and only a few bookmarks are in place. The home folder contains only the default items and there’s no music in the iTunes library. In other words, there’s nothing to compete for my attention.

Streamlined for work

I’ve populated the dock with apps that support writing and nothing more. I’ve moved it to the lower left-hand corner by choosing “Position on screen > Left” from the Dock preference pane and this little bit of command line editing from Shawn Blanc:

defaults write com.apple.dock pinning -string end

Now I can have the dock tiny yet accessible as I run my writing software. Speaking of which …

The software

You’ll see a few icons in my Dock. After the Finder and Mail, is Scrivener. If you’ve got a large writing project to complete, Scrivener is the companion you’ll want on your side. Research, outlining and organization is a pleasure with such a great application.

I’ve also got Apple’s Dictionary in the Dock because, believe it or not, ‘ol Dave isn’t so good with the spelling.

Next is Yojimbo (I had to upgrade to 10.5.7 to get this to run. D’oh!). I only started using this app recently, but I can see the appeal. When running, it puts a small tab on the edge of the desktop. It’s easy to drop bits of text, images or URL’s in there to use as reference. The good stuff, once reviewed, gets moved into Scrivener.

Finally is my beloved ImageWell for editing images for use here on TUAW. It runs on 10.4 and is just the tool for quick-and-dirty cropping and resizing.

At last, iTunes streams Radio Paradise, my favorite Internet radio station.

The best part is that there’s almost nothing to back up (other than Scrivener projects, which I drop in my Dropbox). If this machine’s HD croaked tomorrow, I’d be able to pick up where I left off with minimal fuss.

So there you have it, my Writing Mac. Aren’t legacy machines fun?

 

Posted via web from 23narchy in the UK

Dark Stalking on Facebook | PJF’s Pages

September 18, 2009

Dark Stalking on Facebook
For a while I’ve been using Facebook’s API and Facebook Query Language (FQL) via Perl’s WWW::Facebook::API module to run fairly innocent queries on my friends. If I visit a town, I’d like a reminder of who lives there. If I want to go rock-climbing, it helps if I can easily search to see which of my friends share that hobby. This is good, innocent stuff, and makes me glad to be a developer.

Last week I decided to play with event searches. If a large number of my friends are attending an event, there’s a good chance I’ll find it interesting, and I’d like to know about it. FQL makes this sort of thing really easy; in fact, finding all your friends’ events is on their Sample FQL Queries page.

Using the example provided by Facebook, I dropped the query into my sandbox, and looked at the results which came back. The results were disturbing. I didn’t just get back future events my friends were attending. I got everything they had been invited to: past and present, attending or not.

I didn’t sleep well that night. I didn’t expect Facebook to share past event info. I didn’t expect it to share info when people had declined those events. I haven’t found any way of retrieving friends’ past events using Facebook’s website, but using FQL made it easy. Somehow, implicitly, I thought old events would fade away, only viewable to those who already knew about them. I didn’t expect them to stick around for my code to harvest, potentially years into the future.

Finding my friends’ old events crossed a moral boundary I honestly didn’t expect to encounter. Without intending, I really felt like I was snooping. It didn’t matter that these friends had agreed to share this information under the Facebook terms and conditions. I would personally feel uncomfortable with this much information being so readily available, and assume my friends would feel the same.

However my accidental crossing of moral boundaries wasn’t the only thing that kept me awake last night. I was also kept awake by wondering just how much information could I tease out of the Facebook API. What could I discover? What if I were evil?

However I’m not evil, so I put my code on hold for a while and made a call for volunteers. I’d be restricting myself to just using the Facebook API, and without them installing any additional applications. I wouldn’t share their data in any way, but I’d be able to inspect and use it, and would try to provide them with a copy when I was done. To be honest, I was surprised by the response; I now have almost two dozen people who have agreed to participate, covering a wide range of lifestyles and privacy settings.

The results have been very interesting. I expected to be able to obtain personal information, including things like events, photographs, and friends; it doesn’t take much imagination with the FQL tables to find those. What was most interesting are some of the more creative queries I was able to run.

Most recently, I’ve been able to obtain status feeds, even for users who have very tight privacy settings, although I had to tweak my own application’s privileges to do so. I don’t know how far into the past these go, but they also come with likes information, and comments. This gives me a wealth of information on the strength and types of relationships people have. A person who comments a lot on another user’s posts probably finds that user interesting. If I descended into keyword and text analysis, I may even be able to determine how they find that user interesting.

But by far the most interesting part of all of this have been dark users. Like dark matter, these users are not directly observable, usually because they’ve completely disabled API access. In fact, some of these users are completely dark unless you’re a friend. They don’t show up in search results. They don’t show up on friends’ lists. You can’t send them messages. If you try to navigate to their user page (assuming you know it exists), you get redirected back to your homepage. These users have their privacy settings turned up real high, and are supposed to be hard to find.

However like dark matter, dark users are observable due to their effects on the rest of the universe. If a dark user comments on a stream entry, I can see that comment. More importantly, I can see their user-ID, and I can generate a URL to a page that will contain their name. I can then watch for their activities elsewhere. Granted, I can’t directly search for their activity, but I can observe their effects on my friends. For want of a better term, I’ve been calling this “dark stalking”.

What makes this all rather chilling is that I’m doing all of this via the application API. If your friend has installed an application, then it can access quite a lot of information about you, unless you turn it off. If your friend has granted the application the read_stream privilege, then it can read your status stream. Even if a friend of a friend has done this, and you comment on your friend’s status entries, it’s possible to infer your existence and retrieve those discussions through dark stalking.

While I’ve always considered people’s own carelessness to be the biggest threats to their own privacy, in the social 2.0 world it seems we need to be increasingly worried about our friends, too!

I’m preparing a detailed paper with the results of my research (which is still ongoing), but I will be presenting my preliminary findings at BarCampMelbourne, this weekend (11-12th September 2009), with a further update at the University of Tasmania Computing Society (TUCS) on the 2nd October. A conference talk will invariably follow.

If you want to keep track of my research, then you can join the facebook group, or the facebook privacy group. I prefer comments and questions to directly to the facebook privacy group, or to me directly.

Posted via web from 23narchy in the UK

Glass Microbiology | Luke Jerram

September 18, 2009
These transparent glass sculptures were created to contemplate the global impact of each disease and to consider how the artificial colouring of scientific imagery affects our understanding of phenomena. Jerram is exploring the tension between the artworks’ beauty and what they represent, their impact on humanity.

The question of pseudo-colouring in biomedicine and its use for science communicative purposes, is a vast and complex subject. If some images are coloured for scientific purposes, and others altered simply for aesthetic reasons, how can a viewer tell the difference? How many people believe viruses are brightly coloured? Are there any colour conventions and what kind of ‘presence’ do pseudocoloured images have that ‘naturally’ coloured specimens don’t? See these examples of HIV imagery. How does the choice of different colours affect their reception?

In response to these questions, Jerram has created a series of transparent, three dimensional sculptures.  Photographs of these artworks will be distributed to act as alternative representations of each virus. Ironically the coloured photograph of the HIV sculpture by David Sayer won an award from the Institute of Medical Imaging 2007.

The sculptures were designed in consultation with virologists from the University of Bristol using a combination of different scientific photographs and models. They were made in collaboration with glassblowers Kim George, Brian Jones and Norman Veitch.

Jerram said,
Its great to be exploring the edges of scientific understanding and visualisation of a virus. Scientists aren’t able to answer many of the questions I ask them, such as how the RNA is exactly fitted within the Capsid ? At the moment, the technology isn’t there to answer all these questions for certain.  I’m also pushing the boundaries of glassblowing. Some of my designs simply can’t be created in glass, Some are simply too fragile and gravity would cause them to collapse under their own weight. So there’s a very careful balancing act that needs to take place, between the limitations of current scientific knowledge and glassblowing techniques.”

HIV

Editions of this work are on display in The Wellcome Collection, London and Bristol City Museum. Dimensions – 8cm diameter. A further edition was auctioned for the HIV/Aids Charity AVERT, raising money for victims in South Africa. 

A letter from a stranger received Sept ’09…….

Dear Luke,
I just saw a photo of your glass sculpture of HIV.
I can’t stop looking at it. Knowing that millions of those guys are in me, and will be a part of me for the rest of my life. Your sculpture, even as a photo, has made HIV much more real for me than any photo or illustration I’ve ever seen. It’s a very odd feeling seeing my enemy, and the eventual likely cause of my death, and finding it so beautiful.
Thankyou.

Smallpox

During the 20th Century, it is estimated that Smallpox was responsible for 300–500 million deaths. The virus has killed more people than any other disease in human history. An amazing scientific success, Smallpox was completely wiped out in the 1970s through a program of global vaccination. Only two samples of the virus remain in existence, stored in high security labs of the USA and in Russia. The US Institute of Medicine, who are researching potential clinical uses for the controversial last remaining samples of living Smallpox, are using Jerram’s photographs for the cover of their report.

With commemorations around the world 2010 sees the 30th anniversary of the global eradication of the disease.

Swine Flu Virus

This sculpture was created to contemplate the issues of the Swine Flu virus; the global pandemic and the imagery presented to the public by the media. The Wellcome Collection have just acquired edition 1 of 5 for their gallery.  The artwork will be loaned to the Mori Museum in Tokyo for display, before being permanently displayed at the Wellcome Collection later in the year.

Solo Show at Smithfield Gallery

For the first time ever, an exhibition of all Jerram’s glass sculptures will be presented along with photographic works and video. Works include Avian Flu, Smallpox, HIV, Swine Flu, SARS Corona Virus and E. coli. Read about show in Guardian and Times.

From 22nd Sept-3rd Oct at Smithfield Gallery, London.  
Opening Times Mon- Fri 10-6pm.  
The launch will be 6-8pm on 22nd Sept.  Come one and all!

For enquiries about purchasing glasswork, please contact Smithfields gallery. http://www.thesmithfieldgallery.com/gallery/

 PRESS AREA

For high resolution images of glass artworks as seen on Jerram’s website contact: CarolineCaroline MT. Public Relations. email: carolinemt@hotmail.co.uk

Contact Wellcome Images for more photos of the Swine Flu Sculpture.

These sculptures are amazing.  Who’d have thought that viruses were so beautiful?  Click through to Luke Jerram’s site to see the pictures.

Posted via web from 23narchy in the UK

Scroll Britannia: England’s First Road Map | Strange Maps

September 18, 2009

ogilby

This extraordinary map, dating from 1675, details The Road From LONDON to the LANDS END Comencing at the Standard in Cornhill and Extending to Senan in Cornwall. It was made by IOHN OGILBY Esq[ui]r[e] his Ma[jes]ties Cosmographer and covers 308 miles and 3 furlongs (almost 500 km).

The life of John Ogilby (1600-1676) can be qualified without exaggeration as rather eventful. He freed his father from debtors’ prison by buying a winning lottery ticket, founded a dance school in London and later Dublin’s Theatre Royal, got shipwrecked on his return from Ireland, produced a very successful English verse transaltion of Virgil, lost all his property in the Great Fire of London (1666), and towards the end of his life managed to produce the Britannia Atlas (1675), considered to be the first road atlas of Britain.

The atlas set the standard for using 1760 yards for the mile, and a scale of one inch to the mile. It contained a large number of strip road maps like these, which proved popular in planning journeys throughout the United Kingdom.

The first strip on the left-hand side from this map takes in much of contemporary London, showing (bottom to top, i.e. east to west) part of the City of London (containing Cornhill), Southwark, Westminster, Hide Park, Kensington, Hamersmith, Turnham Green and Smallheere Green. The next strips are labelled A through E (at the bottom) and B through F (at the top), showing the orientation and order in which they should be viewed.

The strips take in places such as Hounslow, Stanes, Egham, Windsor Park, Bagshot Park, Basingstoke, Wotton, Whitchurch and Andover. The rivers and hills encountered are noted, as are the forks in the road, and the directions in which these lead. Andover, the last town on this map, is in Hampshire, and is still a long way away from Land’s End, the end point of this road map; indicating that this page is still a few scrolls short of being a complete map.

Some of the notes on the map are remarkable for their spelling of place-names; 17th-century English insisted on spelling bridg without the final -e; and Paddington was known as Pudington, for example.

Many thanks to Paul Kerrigan for sending in this link to Priddy’s Hard, a website about the eponymous area near Gosport in Hampshire. The link shows a number of maps, including this one.

Posted via web from 23narchy in the UK

Platonic Solids | Vague Terrain

September 18, 2009

[process2a: Dodecahedron]

In recent years, much of the discussion in the field of generative art has focused on complex systems and agent-based algorithms. While these can produce intriguing results, our aim lies in developing simple, deterministic and traceable generative processes. These simple processes have the advantage of more control: as they are highly determinable, their output is predictable and can therefore be easily refined through subsequent adjustments. We aim to show that a single deterministic process can generate a heterogeneous set of forms with an astounding degree of complexity.

[process3c: Tetrahedron]



In this project we explore three-dimensional subdivision algorithms. These have traditionally been used in computer graphics to produce smooth, rounded forms from coarse polygons. By modifying and expanding these established algorithms to include additional weights, one can generate forms with entirely different attributes. By varying the process’ parameters, we are able to affect a form’s topography, its curvature, its degree of branching, and on a further level its surface attributes. We recursively apply the subdivision process to a source form, which we restrict to one of the five platonic solids. These basic forms allow us to concentrate entirely on the scope of output inherent in the single generative process.



Many of the forms produced by our subdivision process appear plant-like and resemble organisms. Some have similarities with radiolaria depicted in Ernst Häckel’s Kunstformen der Natur. Different combinations of parameters, however, produce entirely new forms unlike those seen in nature. In both cases the forms’ geometric complexity is produced by an extremely simple and transparent process. The forms are thus entirely traceable and malleable.



[process3e: Hexahdron]

Forms in this project are generated using Processing and then exported as DXF files. Each form consists of 200,000 to 5.4 million faces. Subdivision algorithms in this project are based on the work of Daniel Doo & Malcolm Sabin, Edwin Catmull & Jim Clark, Jörg Peters & Ulrich Reif, and Charles Loop.

continue

Posted via web from 23narchy in the UK

Nudge Doodle

September 18, 2009

This is fantastic, but very addictive.  Watch your day disappear…

http://www.inudge.net/index.en.html

Posted via web from 23narchy in the UK

Buying is not the solution | mnmlist.com

September 18, 2009

Often when we want to solve a problem or make some kind of change in our lives, we’ll go out and buy something:

  • We want to get organized, we’ll buy containers or folders or closet organizers.
  • We want to lose weight, we’ll buy diet food or an exercise machine or a gym membership.
  • We want to help the environment, we buy green products.
  • To get out of debt, we’ll hire a financial planner or new financial software.
  • We want to save gas, we buy a gas-efficient car (perhaps a hybrid).
  • We want to start new hobby, we’ll buy new materials or equipment.
  • We want to do almost anything, we’ll buy new clothes for it (workout clothes, work clothes, yoga clothes, dressy clothes, hip clothes)
  • We want to make our house look better, we’ll buy new furniture or decorations.
  • We want to be cooler, we’ll buy new gadgets. Or cool T-shirts.
  • We want to improve our lives, we buy new books on different topics.

I could go on, but you get the picture.

But buying is not the solution. Or at least, it rarely rarely is.

Instead, buy less. Stop yourself before going out to buy things. See what you already have that you can use. See if someone else has it that you can borrow or trade or barter for. See if you can solve the problem without anything new.

Just a few examples:

  • To help the environment, consume less. Live simply.
  • To lose weight, eat less. Eat clean.
  • To get in great shape, try a minimalist workout by just walking or running or swimming or doing bodyweight exercises.
  • To get out of debt, spend less, save money, pay off debts.
  • To make your house look better, declutter.
  • To save gas, drive less.
  • To get organized, declutter.
  • To improve your life, read free stuff online, or just start making small changes over time.

You get the idea. Sometimes you’ll need stuff to solve problems, but again, see what you already have, what you can borrow from or trade with others, or as a last resort, what you can buy used.

Ironically, you might have noticed I’m selling an ebook on minimalism: The Simple Guide to Living a Minimalist Life. It’s $9.95, it’s Uncopyrighted, and it’s DRM-free.

You do not need to buy this ebook in order to live a more minimalist life. This blog will offer free ideas, as do other blogs, and you can do it on your own simply by reducing what you have and what you do down to the essential.

However, I do offer this ebook as a way to save you some time in doing a lot of research, and I hope if you do buy it, you’ll find it useful. I charge money for it to 1) raise money for a good cause and 2) help pay for my living expenses.

posted: 09 September 16
under: contentedness

Posted via web from 23narchy in the UK

BUSTED: Burglar Arrested After Checking Facebook During Robbery | Mashable

September 18, 2009

September 17th, 2009 | by Barb Dybwad

So apparently it actually works both ways: careless Facebook use can both get you robbed and get you arrested for burglary.

According to The Journal, a 19-year-old Pennsylvania man was arraigned earlier this week on a charge of felony daytime robbery. How did police catch him? Simple: the burglar left a trail, by way of checking his Facebook account before leaving the house with two diamond rings and forgetting to log out.

 

Jonathan Parker remains in custody on $10,000 bail, facing a maximum 10 year prison sentence if convicted. A friend of the defendant said Parker had asked him for help breaking into the victim’s house the previous night, so things are not looking too good for the perp.

What do you think: is this a case of Facebook addiction, or just a very dim burglar? If robbery weren’t such a serious matter we might consider this story pretty much hilarious. As Homer Simpson would say, “doh!”

 

Posted via web from 23narchy in the UK

New Hakim Bey (Peter Lamborn Wilson) interview

September 18, 2009

Posted via email from 23narchy in the UK