a glob of nerdishness

June 29, 2007

To be or to spoof

written by hjon @ 9:46 pm

If you don’t have an iPhone but want to see what an RSS feed would look like on one, take a look at this hint from MacGeekery. The short, easy version is to change the general.useragent.extra.firefox value in Firefox’s about:config to be “iPhone”. If you try this and to see this site’s RSS feed as seen by an iPhone, here’s a convenient link.

iPhone fanboys

written by hjon @ 9:37 pm

Ok, so I’m not getting an iPhone (and don’t plan on even getting a cell phone anytime soon), but it is kinda fun to see what some people do the instant a new Apple product (or other hyped-up gadgets, not just Apple’s) comes out. For example, Think Secret has a gallery of their disassembly project, and AppleInsider has an article summarizing the take-apart job that the folks at iFixit did very soon after acquiring an iPhone.

Finally, for anyone who wants to see what it’s like to open up an iPhone box for the first time, CNET has been so kind as to post a video of the unwrapping of their iPhone.

June 28, 2007

“Better” recycling?

written by hjon @ 8:41 pm

Global Resource Corporation (GRC) has a finely tuned microwave which takes plastics and turns them back into oil, gas, and a few leftovers. There’s a video showing the results of putting old tires through this process.

I don’t know if this is necessarily “better” than just recycling plastic the way we do currently, but it certainly provides an alternative as well as a way to reclaim oil that we’ve already used.

[via Slashdot]

June 27, 2007

Interface evolution: iPhone as home computer

written by natevw @ 5:48 am

I came across Philip Greenspun’s Mobile Phone As Home Computer at about the same time as Apple revealed a guided tour of their expensive (and hopefully excellent) new cell phone.

If Pilot/Photographer/Peregrinator/Professor/Philip Greenspun was on the right track in late 2005, Apple is on the right track now. The iPhone already has most features on Greenspun’s “What must it do?” list: Web browsing, email, calendar, contacts, digital photos, music and movies. Further, as he hopes, none of the desktop applications the iPhone syncs with (Address Book, iCal and iTunes, plus services on the Web) rely much, if at all, on the files/folders paradigm. Even the iPhone’s main menu focuses, arguably, less on applications and more on organizing documents into categories of appointments, photos, entertainment and the like. This could have been more revolutionary — Bruce Tognazzini rightly berates the “hard separation of email, SMS, and voicemail”, which also turns up in the separation of “Photos” and “YouTube” from the other multimedia accessed via “iPod” — but regardless, there is no visible hierarchy of endlessly-nested folders containing files and other files that open those files and more files to tell those files where the other files are. I digress…

There are other more disruptive/revolutionary ideas in Greenspun’s article which Apple has chosen to forego in lieu of what is, in undistorted reality, simply an evolutionary device done well for a change. I think, though, that users will appreciate being able to take smaller steps away from the familiar into the future via subtle changes in the computer interfaces they already know.

June 26, 2007

About 197,500 pennies

written by natevw @ 6:30 am

The iPhone contract rates have been announced. Take a mandatory 2 year contract at a minimum $59.99 a month, plus a $36 activation fee and the $499 phone. All together? An obligation to pay US$1974.76 (plus tax?) by July 2009 if I were to get the iPhone this weekend.

I’m guessing my wife won’t let me, though I don’t blame her.

June 22, 2007

Highschoolers’ likely iPhone fall

written by natevw @ 11:28 am

Last night, at a farewell party for a teacher my wife worked with, the iPhone came up in conversation. I asked some of the teachers if they thought any of their highschoolers would show up next fall with the $.5K + $XX/month device in their pocket. Yes, “there’s always at least one kid who shows up with the latest and greatest”. The end of June is a great time to release a phone for students with summer jobs — late enough to have some cash, early enough to not save it all for winter.

During the summer, what more technology does the average highschooler want to use than their cellphone, iPod, email, and Web? A few highschool haunts like MySpace and eBaum’s World might not work, as Apple seems to have decided that Flash only belongs to the “watered down, kinda-sorta looks like” version of the Internet (Jakob Nielsen would agree). However, there are plenty of gathering sites that don’t make prominent use of Flash, to say nothing of the dedicated YouTube client that comes installed. With all the features and fashion of the phone — and with credit card companies always eager to take on new victims — the iPhone could easily be a big hit among students.

June 19, 2007

Reality Gameshow

written by natevw @ 12:08 pm

“When the people gathered together on one of the great trial days, they never knew whether they were to witness a bloody slaughter or a hilarious wedding. This element of uncertainty lent an interest to the occasion which it could not otherwise have attained.”

Sounds like television ratings explained, but “The Lady, or the Tiger?” predates the first televised game show by almost sixty years. I wonder if there was advertising around the gladiators’ Colosseum in ages past?

June 18, 2007

A silent game of telephone

written by hjon @ 8:01 pm

I can see it now: “Hey everybody, let’s play telephone! Except, let’s link arms and see how well the message transmits. We can form the largest human network!”

Bones could allow data swaps via handshake

[via Slashdot]

By the way

written by hjon @ 7:43 pm

I’m back. School is out, Senior Design is over, summer has started, and so has work. (Did you like that? The alliteration with the “s”?) In fact, I also went in on a website with my brother (and his wife), so I may be switching over to that this summer, as well. When I do, I’ll provide a link. Otherwise, I’ll try to catch up here, posting some more about Senior Design, etc.

Tips and Tricks for Ruby on Rails

written by hjon @ 7:40 pm

But not from me. However, here is a “What I Wish I Knew” for Ruby on Rails.

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