CMS by Drupal
The Stumptown Comic Festival this year was 27-28 April 2013 at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland. I flew in from Germany late on the 27th, so I got to go to Stumptown on the 28th—my birthday. It was, as always, huge fun.
A highlight was Neil Brideau's 'zine sprint, which was sort of an inadvertent follow-on to Neal Skorpen's Instant Graphic Novel in which I participated previously. Only 6 folks showed up this year, which was a bit sad, but in two hours we put together a quirky little 8-page story 'zine. Check it out.
Amazon.com has a reasonably-priced, reasonably-convenient music store. So I've bought a lot of things from it. Like everyone else on the planet with a Linux box, however, I find Amazon's refusal to just give me a freakin' zipball of the MP3s from my album completely and insanely obnoxious. I understand, Amazon—you want me to install your POS downloader spamware. Not going to happen, even if you could be bothered to build it for my platform.
Hey, maybe Amazon will need a favor from me someday. In the meantime, here's how to actually be able to bulk-download your albums from Amazon Cloud Player on Linux…
The prime factors of my work phone number 7255393 are 2389 and 3037, making the phone number effectively a tiny RSA public key. I was inspired to discover this when Raphael Fernandez pointed out that 8675309 is prime. All of my family's and my other phone numbers are even. So is my SSN. My Driver's License Number is divisible by 7. So my work phone is the only primally interesting number that I can think of offhand that I own.
My sister-in-law, Nancy Larsen, passed away recently in a household accident.
Nancy was the oldest of three Larsen siblings. She was a Parole and Probation Officer in the Seattle area for more than 30 years and a collector of antiques from the Arts & Crafts period. Nancy is survived by her sisters Lynn and Joanie, and by two cats, Bandit and Bozo, that she loved very much.
We miss her greatly, and are grateful for your thoughts and prayers.
Was working on gluing together an emacs lisp mode for Nickle (that would last better than the last one I did) using a tutorial example when I noticed that Google Chrome had prompted me to offer its assistance, as shown below.
So I'm about to install the app RingGuard on my phone, when I notice that it wants permission to "take pictures and videos with the camera. This allows the app at any time to collect images the camera is seeing." Uh, seems a bit horrific for an app that has nothing to do with pictures or video. So I go to comment on the Google Play Android Store to alert people to probably not install this thing. But of course, I can't comment until I've installed the app. LOL. Caveat Emptor, I guess .
There are a million common hideous UI memes floating around. One of my least favorite is the use of the colors red and green as indicator colors.
First of all, about 8% of males (and 0.5% of females) are color-blind to some degree, and by far the most common deficiencies relate to ability to distinguish red from green. So this is a terrible choice of indicator colors: it would be hard to do worse. I spent an amusing few minutes Googling around to find out why these colors became standard for traffic signals, but concluded that it's probably anyone's guess—accounts vary substantially.
Secondly, "red means danger" is a complicated meme in our modern tech world. My Bluetooth headset has a red indicator on its power switch. It turns out that this means "Danger—the power is turned off!" I'd say that accidentally leaving the power on is a bigger danger than accidentally leaving it off, but really it's 50-50. Screening the power icons for "on" (IEC 5007, "1") and "off" (IEC 5008, "0") would have been a better choice. I just spilled coffee after finding that the lid button on my travel mug is marked with red for "Danger—the lid is closed" and green for "Go—the lid is open". Again, I would argue that the open lid is the bigger danger, but it's kind of 50-50. Best in this case would have been a design that makes it visually obvious whether the lid is open.
Bottom line: please get away from red and green as primary indicators of anything. As secondary indicators, they are probably fine. However, they don't convey enough of the right kind of information to be primary indicators, even to those who can see the difference.
Project Gutenberg is one of the greatest projects ever. I was really sad to read the obituary of its founder when I went to grab a giant pile of Sherlock Holmes just now. I was moved to donate $50, which is about what I can afford, and far less than it is worth.
So I clicked the "donate by credit card" buttons, because I certainly won't have anything to do with PayPal. I was prompted for all the usual credit card processing information…plus my phone number and email. I didn't want to give this information, so I left it blank—only to be told that my donation would not be processed without a syntactically valid email address. Being the persistent sort, and really wanting to help Project Gutenberg, I went ahead and supplied
This is when I noticed that the transaction was being processed by PayPal.
Moral dilemma: Do I support PayPal, who I regard as crooks, or fail to support Project Gutenberg, who I regard as heroes? Tough one. My final conclusion was this: Having personally seen PayPal take money from a nonprofit I am involved with (X.Org), I want to strongly encourage other nonprofits not to be victimized by them. So, instead of $50, I am donating this blog post.
Perhaps I'll use our nearly-defunct Postal Service to send Project Gutenberg a check.
For a while, I've been recommending the Barnes and Noble Nook Simple Touch to my friends as an e-book reader. I was wrong, and I apologize…
My family and I went to see The Bobs last night. They performed at the Alberta Rose Theatre, a small and intimate venue in northeast Portland, for the second time in less than a year. This was one of their final performances with current member Amy Bob Engelhardt who is going off to college, so she shared the stage with the vocalist coming into the group, Angie Bob Doctor. (Yes, this is a naming convention.)
The Bobs are the all-time greatest a capella group ever. Yes, I've seen all three seasons of The Sing-Off, been to live performances of The Blenders, etc, etc. Those folks are all really good, but The Bobs are better.
Technically, their performances are awesome; the more you know about vocal music, the more you will appreciate the difficuly level of the pieces they are taking on. Their cover tunes are hugely fun. More than half their material is original, though, and this is where they leave their competitors behind. These are strange songs, but for the most part they really work: hilarious and incisive.
The show we saw was the "Post-Holiday" show, so it had a lot of Christmas music in it. Bob's-style Christmas music, such as Christmas in Jail and Too Many Santas. We even got to hear the world premiere of a new Bob's tune, which was pretty fun.
More people need to see The Bobs. You need to see The Bobs. See The Bobs.