Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Lifehacker Pack 2009:Essential Free Windows Downloads

Lifehacker Pack 2009: Our List of Essential Free Windows Downloads

Another version of things to load up immediately on a Windows PC. Lifehacker, by the way is a quality publication that comes up with many useful ideas and apps.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Bicycle Route Mapping

My friend Tom is an avid cyclist. When I came back from Florida I mentioned several websites that I have been using to map various routes, as well as tracks from my various GPS tracking devices. He send me his findings as well as this update:
    Here's an update: is still the best I've found, although all of them have warts. My maps are at Don't forget to hover your cursor over the elevation plot, and note the full-screen mode. Those two features put it ahead of the others.

    Two others I found recently are Similar to but no dynamic elevation or full-screen mode Pretty good; multiple tracks; tiny editing and display windows are a big drawback

    And as I told you before, is a nonstarter for various reasons.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Worldmapper: The world as you've never seen it before


For those who like Maps, this is a tour de force in maps. There are many themes followed in the same format: a web page with explanations accompanied by a PDF suitable for posting on a bulletin board. In addition, they back up their maps with the data used to produce them.

Monday, March 16, 2009

tipjoy | the easiest way to give and make money online

tipjoy | the easiest way to give and make money online

What a great idea: you set up a small fund (say $5) and give small tips (one guy askedfor just $0.10 and had amased $246) to people who provide services or information that you like.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


MagicJack far from enchanting - The Boston Globe

Actually, the review is much better than the headline would suggest. My major problem with this is that I don't make that many long-distance calls and so I wouldn't save that much money. But, if I were willing to let go of my regular telephone, I could connect this to a spare old computer and eliminate the charge for the phone.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Job Losses In Recent Recessions

Here is a very disturbing graph of unemployment that has been published by Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House.
When I sent this to my friend Richard Homonoff, he replied:
You might want to take a look at William J Polley's blog post titled, "Employment losses continue to be in line with 1981-82 recession."

He looks at the eleven recessions since WWII.

He has a chart that is more comprehensive than Pelosi's.
In the chart below from that reference, the current unemployment line is in orange, is situated about in the middle of the pack and ends at 12 months.

It does appear to me that the Speaker is simplifying things to support her arguments in an unfair way. I don't think either side of the debate should do this -- even it if fits my own leanings. That only weakens your argument once smart people (like Richard) start digging deeper.

Says what we all think...

Don't click on the start button below if you are offended by profanity. If, on the other hand you find the use of profanity at times the last effective means of expressing your outrage or excitement, then click on...

Monday, February 02, 2009

Things I ran across today

Charles Kuralt: We listened to Charles Kural's America on the way down to Florida.

Alan Berliner: Early Sunday morning, we saw part of a documentary by Alan Berliner on Sleeplessness. It was fascinating and this guy is a very good documentary film director/producer.

EasyBloom: Very clever device for measuring environmental conditions for growing plants. Came from a discussion on xBBN about devices for measuring sunlight.

: Nice sealed camera case that shoots automatically when it detects motion. Put right in front of your bird feeder for terrific closeups.

I did not run across the groundhog today.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Google Charts

While I wasn't looking, Google has made some major improvements to their spreadsheets. One impressive capability is the ability to generate charts from dynamic data. Here are some examples:

Here is a more complex trig function charted:

And of course, the ever present pie chart. Google documents appears to be practically all I need from Excel in terms of charts.

Of course, the real payoff is when you can chart dynamic data retrieved from sources of data on the web. Here is the temperatures this month in Boston derived from numeric values on a web site generated by the National Weather Service and charted by me in Google Spreadsheets. As the days go on, new entries will appear in the website and be appropriately added to the end of the chart, all without me lifting a finger...

Pretty cool stuff.

I have always been fascinated by taking data produced by one system and combining with either data from another place or processing it automatically to produce something else. These days these are called "mashups". In the last 20 years this is the easiest way I have ever done this. You've been able to do this with excel for a long time, but it is far more complex and awkward. Google really understands the web and creates systems that work well on the web.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

MUTO - An Ambiguous Animation

Here is an amazing website and several animations I just ran across. It boggles the mind to think how much time must have gone into creating the first 6 minute film.

Here is the explanation of the video:

Here is the video:

MUTO a wall-painted animation by BLU from blu on Vimeo.

Here is another video by BLU: