Archive for April, 2003

Free Ice Cream

I’ve always been a fan of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Maybe it’s because I grew up in Vermont, or maybe it’s the environmental and charitably concious way the company has operated. And then again, maybe it’s because it’s just damn good ice cream.

Anyhow, today is Free Cone Day. Find out if there’s a scoop shop near you.

While you’re there, check out the new(?) benjerry.com. Roll over the navigation buttons and watch them “melt” and drip into sub-navigation options below. Clever. It’s handled with Flash, but still a cool effect.

iTunes 4

So the big news today was Apple’s announcement of new iPods (don’t they look like an artist’s rendering?) and the iTunes Music Store, where you’re able to browse and purchase 200,000 songs in AAC format. It’ll be interesting to see if this catches on.

But what really struck me was a couple of features in the new version of iTunes that was also released today. Most notably the ability to share your iTunes library and playlists with any other computers on your network, using Rendezvous. Like file sharing for your MP3s. What’s nice is that if you have a multi-computer set up, all your separate files can be combined and played from one computer — not to mention accessing at work, where everyone is already connected. Instant radio station.

Lazy Chef: fruit smoothies

I’ve been thinking for awhile about starting a web site called The Lazy Chef — tips and workarounds for people who like to eat good stuff, but are well… lazy. Maybe someday.

Anyhow, here’s a first entry: easy fruit smoothies. A couple of card-playing buddies of mine actually tipped me off on this method (one such buddy). Buy a few bags of frozen fruit (strawberries, peaches, pineapple, whatever). If there’s a Trader Joe’s near you, they have a pretty decent selection. Buy some orange juice. Plop a bunch of fruit in a blender. Add some OJ. Add some sugar (optional). Mix. That’s it.

Because the fruit is frozen, there’s no need to add ice. The result is like a sorbet shake. Completely natural, but delicious. I should also mention that I loathe the word “smoothie”.

A Touch of Class

What I was trying to say in my post on CSS Inheritance a few days ago, is more coherently described by Tantek back in December in his A Touch of Class post. Specifically the “Context before class” section.

If you haven’t read it, and you’re building sites with CSS, it’s completely worth it. A really simple way to decrease code using inheritance.

Rolling My Own

Was just reading Tantek’s post on why creating a weblog by hand is more satisfying than using a blog app to do the job. I fully agree with him — and do the same for identical reasons, likening it to a craft. It’s often a bummer to see so many weblogs using default themes that come with the application.

The only reason I built a weblog application was for the experience in doing so — realizing that I could. But more importantly, it gives me an arena to play with stuff — XML, Perl, XSLT, etc. And like Tantek, being able to quickly and easily change markup whenenver I want to experiment is key.

While current weblog authoring tools might add more functionality to this site, for me simplicity is king.

Acrobot

Acrobot is a really handy tool for automatically finding acronymns and abbreviations in a text block, and then wrapping them in abbr and acronymn tags — with their respective titles. It also clears up the difference between abbr and acronymn and when it’s appropriate to use either or.

I had just been thinking I should add automatic parsing for abbreviations to SimplePost, but now maybe I don’t even have to.

CSS Playing Cards

BrainJar.com:

“This example demonstrates using CSS to graphically display standard playing cards on a web page … the method here uses the positioning features of CSS and a few standard HTML tags and character entities to create realistic looking cards with a minimum number of images and HTML tags.”

A nice display of CSS positioning. Be sure to check out the finished demo as well.

The Most Unbelievably Annoying Thing for a Pedestrian

While I’m walking to or from the train station, I use crosswalks. Approximately 3-4 times per commute, the following happens. I step out on the crosswalk. The approaching car on the far side lane that is going really damn fast, slows down and kindly motions to me that it’s OK to cross. I start making my way to the other side of the street — BUT. There’s an evil car going even faster, behind the good car, that is severely annoyed that good car is stopping for no apparent reason. There’s plenty of room to the right of good car (this is always just a two-lane road), so evil car speeds up and goes around good car — to the right. See fig. 1 below:
crosswalk diagram
Now one of two things can happen here. Either I get hit, or I have to stop in the middle of street and wait for evil car to speed past me while I gesture appropriately. I’m stuck. This annoys good car, because even though they were nice enough to let me cross, they have to sit and wait for evil car to pass before I can get to the other side a la Frogger.

This is the single most annoying thing that happens to me throughout the day. And it’s guaranteed to happen at least twice. Carry on…

Enigmo

Enigmo is quite possibly the most addictive puzzle game I’ve played since Tetris. It’s a new shareware game for Mac OS X, with can’t-put-it-down playability and amazingly great three-dimensional graphics. Download the demo and you will be forced to buy it. (link via what do i know)