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Thursday, February 15, 2007


Enough container. Give me some content.

My colleague Daniel Sato, I think it’s fair to say, is a man of few words.

When he speaks up, then, it’s usually for good reason.

He wrote an entry today about multimedia photojournalism presentations, and I thought he was right on the money. I agree with him 100 percent, but I’m almost too angry about the whole thing to add anything constructive right now.

The key quote: “The thing is, technology and the way we present our work is always going to change.” Amen. God willing, I’ll still be learning new technology long after all my professors are dead. Teach me the things that don’t change.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


Fontify your existence

Bad handwriting

At last, you can make your typing as hard to read as your handwriting. Fontifier offers an easy way to turn your handwritten letters into a TrueType font usable in any application. Fonts cost nine bucks, but you can preview them for free. Hint: Keep a consistent baseline, or you’ll end up with too-high letters, like the a in my alphabet.

Friday, April 8, 2005


Ogling Google

Sure you use Google, but do you realize just how much more you could be using it? Forget finding the right specialized dictionary, just Google define:. Calculation or conversion? Google it. Just the other night, I needed area in square miles when I had kilometers. Googled 34km^2 in mi^2, and bingo. “Square miles” or “sq km” works too. Google rules like that.

They aren’t the first to have a map service with aerial or satellite photos, but they certainly have the coolest service yet. Google maps switches quickly between map and photo, and lets you drag and zoom either one around without a lot of slow reloading. This isn’t much of a scoop, I realize — the feature is a few days old, and it’s been in the news. I’m just urging you to check it out.

Here, I’ll get you started with two of the most scenic places I had the opportunity to earn a living: on the San Francisco waterfront in that big wedge-shaped building facing the green park strip, and on the Oakland waterfront under the giant green roof. Google will even draw a pretty line between the two for you.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004


Macintosh: The Campagnolo of computers

There’s a blog I enjoy called The Cult of Mac, and the title pretty much says it all. A great post there the other day discussed a Bicycling magazine article on the legions of people loyal to Campagnolo components.

The parallels between Mac addicts and Campy cultists are striking. Both pay a premium for well-designed, visually appealing products, often featuring unfamiliar technology that later becomes standard. Both are proud minorities, giving the collective finger to companies with a virtual monopoly in the field (Shimano, in case you haven’t heard, is the Microsoft of bicycle components). And both groups include extremists that take things a little too far. But I’ve said enough; read the story.

Thursday, July 22, 2004


Zip codes pass like stars before my eyes

zipdecode is way too entertaining and informative. Written by a doctoral candidate at MIT, this beautiful web application is essentially an interactive zip code map. It’s the implementation of it that’s so amazing.

Click on “zoom,” then start typing in a zip code. Behold the quiet beauty of government planning.

The interface is so fluid, it encourages poking around and trying to make sense of the arrangement. Manhattan is 100. Washington is 200. Los Angeles is 900. San Francisco got 941. Can’t win ’em all.

I know this sounds dorky. Go check it out yourself.

Thursday, July 1, 2004


Fun with awful music

I just got this link to an audio experiment proving just how crappy and formulaic Nickelback’s music is. They’re really on the periphery of my music awareness, so I was doubtful, but this is funny stuff.


This is Bush country

Not this site, of course, but the part of California from which it originates. Personally, I have a thing against chimps in general, and ignorant ones in particular. But the little slice of central California that I call home has already voted for Bush with its campaign contributions. I know because www.opensecrets.org told me so. Want to know who your town supports? Want to know the names and addresses of all the contributors, along with how much they gave and to whom? Of course you do. It’s pretty interesting.

Saturday, May 29, 2004


A couple cool links

There are two great sites that I’ve been meaning to add links for, but I keep forgetting. Luckily, two legal issues in the news have caused me to remember.

The California Coastal Records Project has thousands of aerial photos of the coastline, and they’re fascinating to look through. Once you pick a place to start, the site makes it easy to cruise up and down the coast, zooming in when you want to. Since I don’t have any friends with boats, planes, or helicopters, it’s all new to me — my local beach is a different place when you’re looking east.

Like me, Barbara Streisand has a home that’s visible in a photo on the site. Unlike me, Babs has sued the creators of the site for making her more vulnerable to stalkers or some garbage like that. (In fairness, her home is a good deal more visible than mine, and she’s much more stalker-worthy than I.) Now she’s the one paying their legal fees. Hooray!

On the other coast, www.nycsubway.org has been on my mind because of New York’s proposed ban on cameras in the subways. There are a lot of fools like me who think trains are cool, photogenic things, and they’re rightfully hot and bothered about not being able to take pictures anymore.

Funny thing is, I thought there had always been a ban on cameras in the subway. Last I knew, there was, but apparently they lifted it in 1994, by which time I was in California and unaware of what the MTA was doing. That’s why you won’t find any pictures of the NYC subway here. Except for a little video. Shhhh.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004


Something I’ve always wanted to do

Today’s Chronicle had a good article by a man on a quest to walk every foot of San Francisco’s streets. I really enjoy walking around the city, and I often thought about trying to walk it all. After reading the particulars laid out by this guy (2,350 streets, 850 miles), I’ll probably think about it a lot less.

When I move back, though, I’ll probably resume work toward my goal of visiting all 200-odd city parks.

Sunday, August 17, 2003


People say, “Oh my God this really works!”

I am positively speechless when it comes to the Flat-D.