Archive for June 2007
Nevermind… all fixed now.
Has anyone successfully received a non-AT&T text message on their iPhone yet? I’m getting nothing here…
Test from iphone!

Announcing ElectionVine: Distributed Presidential Elections

This morning on Newsvine, on Mike Industries, and on thousands of blogs across the world, we launched ElectionVine.

ElectionVine is a giant distributed polling system designed to gauge the momentum of the U.S. Presidential race through the eyes of the independent internet and blogosphere. While traditional polling methods are carried out by single organizations, ElectionVine is entirely in the hands of site owners like you.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Head to electionvine.com and get your personalized poll code. You can customize what your poll will look like so it fits the colors of your site and even personally endorse a candidate if you’d like.
  2. Place your poll code in the sidebar of your site or blog and watch the votes come in.
  3. Check your own site’s political breakdown right from within the poll itself or on the ElectionVine Leaderboard.

Cumulative vote totals on the ElectionVine leaderboard will continue to rise up until the presidential primaries, but users’ votes will reset every month, allowing you to essentially see an entirely new set of data every 30 days.

The coolest part of ElectionVine, however, is that once you’ve voted on one site (say, Techcrunch), your vote will automatically count on any other sites you happen to visit thereafter (say, Mike Industries).

The dream of ElectionVine is to collect the most distributed view of how the election is shaping up online, and for that, I ask the assistance of you, faithful Mike Industries reader. We’ve provided two quick, unobtrusive methods of embedding, via a standard embed tag and via the newly developed WEDJE javascript method.

So head on over to ElectionVine and set up your polling place today. The country and The Vine thank you!

How To Keep Widgets From Slowing Down Sites: WEDJE

The whole world is going to widgets. This overused, overhyped term refers to third-party code one places on their website or blog in order to display such things as Flickr photos, Twitter status, or iTunes playlists. Everybody and their mom is putting out widgets these days, and although only about 1% of them are useful or interesting, they are an important new distribution mechanism that is changing the way companies think about syndication.

But there is a big problem with widgets: they slow down the sites that use them. In the best case, you have a company like Flickr whose servers are almost always snappy, and in the worst case, you have a young startup that is constantly struggling against increasing demand and occasionally can’t serve up any code at all.

The problem is that in either of these cases, the completion of your site’s loading and rendering depends on someone else’s code living on someone else’s server. Including a fast and reliable Flickr widget still slows your site down by at least a split second and including a less stable one can leave your site hanging indefinitely.

We’ve been developing what we think is going to be a gangbusters widget at Newsvine over the last few months but just as we were getting ready to deploy it, Intern Rob and I hacked together what we think is a method of deploying widgets in such a fashion that they don’t affect the load times of their parent sites whatsoever.

Following is a breakdown:
→ Read the rest of this entry

Processing Imagery on Flickr

Good stuff. Need to check on viability of enlarging and framing!

Is It Okay To Eat 50 Year Old Cough Drops?

So after my post about the disappearance of Pine Bros. cough drops, Freckles discovered there was an eBay auction offering up one unopened box of the honey-flavored variety. The rub being that they were from a production run in the 1950s.

I placed a bid of $6, won the auction, and my 50-year-old box of cough drops is now en route. So the question is: what is the shelf life on an item like this and are they safe to eat? If yes, I will eat them. If no, I will just keep them as memorabilia.

Any scientists out there in the audience? What happens to honey and glycerin over the course of 50 years? I have actually heard that honey is the only food in the world that never spoils.

The Most Useless Infographic Ever

The purpose of infographics is to take data that is initially tough to interpret and distill it into some high-level knowledge that readers can remember and take away with them. Upon picking up a six-pack of Cottonelle last night though, I think I found the most useless infographic ever:

Yes indeed. It’s a visual reminder that:

  • 1 x 1 = 1
  • 2 x 1 = 2
  • 3 x 1 = 3

That’s good times. And there’s even a 1-800 number you can call for further details as well as a website where perhaps you can plug in different values and see how many single rolls a quintuple roll would equal.

If I were the makers of Cottonelle, I’d probably use this space to showcase and romanticize the process by which they get Aloe into the toilet paper. I’ve always wondered about it.

For much better examples of infographics, check out a great book Rex showed me: Understanding USA.

Guide to Folding Great Paper Airplanes

I need to start doing this competitively again.

Shared
Humanity's deep future:

A group of researchers at the Future of Humanity Institute talk about where our race may be going and how artificial intelligence could save or kill us all.

Steve Jobs speaks about the future at the International Design Conference in 1983:

31 years later, it’s safe to say this is one of the most prescient speeches about technology ever delivered. Jobs covers wireless networking, tablets, Google StreetView, Siri, and the App Store (among other things) many years before their proliferation. A fantastic listen.

How to travel around the world for a year:

Great advice for when you finally find the time.

LiveSurface:

A fantastic app for prototyping your design work onto real world objects like billboards, book covers, and coffee cups. This seems like just as great of a tool for people learning design as it does for experts.

50 problems in 50 days:

One man’s attempt to solve 50 problems in 50 days using only great design. Some good startup ideas in here…

How to Do Philosophy:

If you’ve ever suspected that most classical philosophy is a colossal waste of time, Paul Graham tells you why you’re probably right.

TIME: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us:

Stephen Brill follows the money to uncover the pinnacle of corruption that is the U.S. Health Care system. A must-read article if there ever was one.

DIY Dot Org:

A beautifully designed site full of fun and challenging DIY projects. I could spend months on here.

The Steve Jobs Video Archive:

A collection of over 250 Steve Jobs videos in biographical order

Self-portraits from an artist under the influence of 48 different psychoactive drug combos.

Water Wigs are pretty amazing.

David Pogue proposes to his girlfriend by creating a fake movie trailer about them and then getting a theater to play it before a real movie. Beautiful and totally awesome.

Jonah Peretti's letter to BuzzFeed’s employees:

If you’re wondering what a excellent blueprint for a modern media company looks like, look no further than Buzzfeed CEO Jonah Peretti’s latest email to his employees. In it, Peretti explains a lot of his company’s virtues, the most important being a relentless focus on always providing what’s best for the user. Vox Media (operators of The Verge) is the only other company I can think of which approaches this level of reform and execution.

The Covers Project:

I love this so much: a cross-referenceable database of cover songs, searchable by song or artist. Slowed down, acoustic covers — no matter the song — are so enjoyable to me that I wish it was a requirement to play one at every show. If you like them as much as I do, make sure to check out M. Ward’s Let’s Dance or Sun Kil Moon’s entire album of Modest Mouse covers.

“More and more people in this country no longer make or do anything tangible; if your job wasn’t performed by a cat or a boa constrictor in a Richard Scarry book I’m not sure I believe it’s necessary. I can’t help but wonder whether all this histrionic exhaustion isn’t a way of covering up the fact that most of what we do doesn’t matter.”
- Tim Kreider’s denunciation of the cult of busyness is excellent. (via jimray)