Tech


“I” is often unnecessary. I mean, who else would be speaking (in such a self-centered medium)? Gaining a new appreciation for Spanish. (This one has made it’s way into my email.)

Conjunctions such as “and” “because” “since”, etc, can often be replaced with a period and left unsaid, merely implied. Likely NOT a good idea for email.

Actually using my pretty decent vocabulary. Picking the precise word becomes very important; active verbs are usually the shorter way to go.

Incidentally, blogging is totally jacking up my concept of title case. Not capitalizing “about” and “from” just doesn’t look right.

He repeatedly declares that good technology requires the liberal arts, to global audiences.

Now (okay, couple weeks back, I’m slow) he shoots down the classic student entitlement whine.

Student:

Because I have had such good experiences as a college student using Apple products, I was incredibly surprised to find Apple’s Media Relations Department to be absolutely unresponsive to my questions, which (as I had repeatedly told them in voicemail after voicemail) are vital to my academic grade as a student journalist.

Jobs:

Our goals do not include helping you get a good grade. Sorry.

Jobs is a wacko, and there are plenty of days I hate Apple despite being a die-hard Mac user, but you gotta appreciate.

Roger A. Safian, a senior data security analyst at Northwestern, says that unlike Amazon, the university is unfortunately vulnerable to brute-force attacks in that it doesn’t lock out accounts after failed log-ins. The reason, he says, is that anyone could use a lockout policy to try logging in to a victim’s account, “knowing that you won’t succeed, but also knowing that the victim won’t be able to use the account, either.” (Such thoughts may occur to a student facing an unwelcome exam, who could block a professor from preparations.)

The NYT on password security.

So, Apple released a new version of iTunes on Wednesday, and changed the icon for the first time since 2006 or so, and a lot of people think the icon is ugly.

So, yesterday, the iTunes 10 icon started tweeting. And for about six hours or so, suddenly about twenty different computer icons were tweeting, snarking on each other, pushing back at people. The Safari icon is a good place to get a bit of the flavor. People are talking about it under #iconsftw—it seems to still be going on a bit.

And, yeah, pure trivial silliness—but also a spin on the internet meme that I think takes a bit more work than hashtags, and works a bit more directly interactively than lolcats, and maybe has something intriguing to tell us about personas…. And I’m not really paying attention and don’t know much about various types of fandom, but what’s going on with these Star Trek characters?

Also, is anyone on twitter that I’m not already following? Because I’m terrible at commenting these days, and have just been lurking (or letting the RSS pile up over a thousand). And I’m not posting very much, either (though per usual, thoughts on brands, sewing, and community are brewing in drafts). So, anyhow, leave a twitter name in the comments if you’ve got it.

We’d worry about making our diaries public because that would tell everyone what we think. We’re less clear about the implications of letting strangers collect information about what we want, what we like, what we buy, and what we habitually do late at night when we’re tired.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden at Making Light

From a comment in discussion:

I, like much of my generation, don’t actually expect privacy anymore. We understand gaming the algorithm so that the information we would like to bury gets buried behind a wealth of other links and information, too deep to find casually.

ETA, though not entirely the same idea (this one you should definitely go read):

Standing at the front desk of a restaurant on the phone with a complete stranger was the absolute last thing I expected from a harmless tweet about meeting friends from the internet and a link to my location.

So, maybe the Kindle beats the iPad as an ebook reader (although, at $140, I could justify a Kindle now and still buy myself a second-generation iPad next year), but with the iPad, things like this are available to a mass audience with a couple clicks:

One example is the ‘Enhanced Edition’ of Nixonland, by Rick Perlstein, a chronicle of our 37th President. The book contains the full text of the book first published in 2008. It also includes 27 videos of the former President and newsreels that put those turbulent years into perspective.

Or things like this:

Civil War: America’s Epic Struggle (US$4.99) from MultiEducator Inc. is a full history course in an iPad and iPhone app. It contains at least as much information as most textbooks on the Civil War at a fraction of the cost, while adding elements that no textbook can. There are 24 multimedia presentations, some as long as nine minutes, a nice selection of music popular during the Civil War, and a wonderful navigation system that just makes sense.

I think there are people out there who see the internet as a way of employing the same old techniques of SHILL, SHILL, SHILL. A hundred years ago, they would have rolled up to you in a wagon, shouting about their tonic. Fifty years ago, they would have rolled their vacuum cleaners up to your door.

Maureen Johnson, “Manifesto

Commenter PHB at Crooked Timber:

There are many different definitions of identity, not all of which make sense. I prefer the view that an identity is a set of assertions about yourself that you may lay claim to. So in a sense everyone only has one identity and has only ever had one ‘identity’. But in practice we expose different sets of claims depending on the circumstances. Nobody puts their membership in Alcoholics Anonymous on their CV.

In response to Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook:

“You have one identity,” he emphasized three times in a single interview with David Kirkpatrick in his book, “The Facebook Effect.” “The days of you having a different image for your work friends or co-workers and for the other people you know are probably coming to an end pretty quickly.” He adds: “Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity.”

Huh. I’m concerned, naturally.

…in the last week or so:

  • how to access Recent Calls on her cellphone (40-ish friend)
  • how to right-click on a macbook (student, senior)
  • that a car will blow warm air when the temperature dial is on red even if the fan is not on or anything (30-ish friend)

Really?

This seems sad.

Plus, of course, the many thesis students I have introduced to the magic of page breaks and automatically created tables of contents.

Writing this down somewhere I know I can find it again, since it’s the second time I’ve had to teach myself:

iPhoto saves a duplicate of rotated photos, because it saves the original untouched copy of all edited photos, and a rotation counts as an edit. Thank you, iPhoto—hard drive space may be really cheap these days, but not on a laptop.

So, when space gets really tight on my laptop, I start rotating photos before I import them into iPhoto. Actually, since iPhoto ’09 stopped re-organizing photos into folders behind the scenes and just using dates for folder names, I now create folders before importing too.

But, when you edit a JPG, it loses quality. So you need something that does lossless rotation. Enter Xee, a lovely little piece of freeware that is a tad underdocumented.

In Xee, open the first image in the folder. Use cmd-arrow to flip through the images. When you get to one that needs rotating:

  • cmd-R to rotate (or cmd-shift-R to rotate the other way)
  • option-0 to resize the image to the window and see what you’ve got (optional)
  • cmd-S to save losslessly
  • cmd-arrow to go to next image.

This is why I didn’t import photos between late September and Christmas—too much friction in the workflow. Sorry to all those people I was supposed to send photos to in the betweentime. Or between Christmas and April. Yeah, my bad.

Six months ago, Anil Dash predicted what would happen when Facebook let you pick your own name for http://facebook.com/yournamehere. One part read:

June 13, 4:04pm: A white guy named David discovers every variation of his name on Facebook is already taken, and finally reconsiders the condescending contempt he’s always had for black people who give their kids unique names. This tiny bit of racial reconsideration is the only unequivocally good news to come out of the Facebook Usernames launch.

About a day after posting how I used my phone more than ever before, I went to slide it into my purse while leaving the house, missed the pocket, and dropped it about 4.5 feet onto my concrete stoop, where it bounced down onto the next step.

Oops.

No case, either.

The glass shattered.

But the phone still works fine, and the glass shattered in place, it didn’t fall out of the frame. I used it, even, although it felt a little prickly. I immediately drove to the AT&T store and bought a plastic film protector (set of three). As the glass continued to spiderweb, producing little shards, I had to take off the first film and put on the next one, but so far that’s holding up.

Not very comfortable to read on, though.

I’m just hoping I can hold out until the release of the next iPhone (June? July? August?) this way….

I think I’ll buy a case for the next one.

when you have an ecosystem populated by talented people who make really good stuff, it’s a nice place to be.

Written about Apple, but applicable to many things, including an academic department (in which case “make really good stuff” includes teaching).

Such a weak blogger these days—old quotations are all I have for you, at the moment.

Standing in a fabric store, researching which type of satin is best for pillowcases, how much satin I need, how to pick good thread.

Taking quick and easy shots in the process of sewing. I need to do more of this, I like to document things in the making.

Shots of pretty brocades in the fabric store to send to my friend so I can learn her tastes before making her a gift.

Shots of fabrics I want to make something from someday. I anticipate a lot of A-line or full skirts. Trying to figure out how I could make beautiful raw silk an everyday fabric, since I don’t need formal clothing.

Syncing my custom Fabrics, Projects, Patterns relational database to the phone so that I can continue to add pictures, ideas, notes on the go. In fact, I find myself adding pictures on the phone, because it’s way easier than using my laptop.

• • •

Unfortunately, I see a lot of rationale here for moving up to a phone with a better camera when Apple (presumably) releases one this summer. Maybe I can hold out another year. Planning to jailbreak after my warranty is up and the new one is out—that should help.

I missed Robert Darnton when he came through to speak about the future of the book, but in the Wall Street Journal:

In “The Case for Books,” he described the ideal book he imagined a decade ago. He envisioned a pyramid, with the top level a text monograph with links to supplementary essays. Readers could then “continue deeper through the book, though bodies of document, bibliography, historiography, iconography, background music, everything I can provide,” he wrote. “In the end, they will make the subject theirs, because they will find their own paths through it, reading horizontally, vertically, or diagonally, wherever the electronic links may lead.”

Technology is about to make real this sort of deep engagement with information. Mr. Darnton’s next book, “Poetry and the Police: Communication Networks in 18th Century Paris,” will be a history of street songs in the French capital. There were no newspapers and half the population was illiterate, so news was spread by song. “Parisians wrote new verses to old tunes literally every day,” he says, “tunes being a great mnemonic device for spreading the word in a semiliterate world.”

He found the original tunes in the National Library in Paris and had a cabaret singer record them for a modern audience. These recordings can be incorporated with text to create a full information experience. Combined text and audio seems like a perfect offering for the iPad.

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