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After spending several weeks getting familiar with the various API systems available for interacting with social networking sites, I was starting to get tired of the disparate arrangements provided and the spotty feature fulfillment. I succeeded in setting up a micro/status blog that cross-posts status updates to both Twitter and Facebook.
Remote publishing to Twitter took an hour or two to get working correctly by using CURL to interface with it.
Remote publishing to Facebook took about two weeks, but that was mostly due to my persistence in wanting to publish status/micro blogs instead of normal ones.
Remote publishing to MySpace was looking like it would take until the MySpace developers got their API working correctly. However, in the process of trying to figure this one out, I stumbled on Ping.fm.
Ping.fm is, essentially the uber-cross-poster that I have been looking for. Setting it up took less time than setting up a direct Twitter cross-poster. Now I don't have to keep hunting down API's and libraries for using them to cross-post anymore; I just add them to my profile on Ping.fm when they become available.
I recently had the pleasure of witnessing, first hand, someone "level up" in Photoshop. I have always been a firm believer in the learning process consisting of a series of "plateaus", much like the leveling system for characters in just about ever computer game available these days.
As the ad hoc resident guru on all things computer related, I began with a brief discussion of their current level of understanding. After that, I simply began to demonstrate casual use of the application. By merely watching the way that I worked, she was able to deduce several new abilities and add them to her design repertoire.
It was fascinating to witness, I must say. What I take for granted as habitual casual use of a program contains years of learned responses that can each be correlated to various "abilities" associated with it.
Just like that, after months of struggling to learn the intricacies of Photoshop, she earned a new "plateau" of skills associated with Magic Wands...
Lesson? Don't neglect to stop in and check with your class trainer periodically, else you wind up missing the fundamentals necessary to ply your trade successfully.
Keep reading for a breakdown of the Magic Wand skillset under the Photoshop path specialization of the Designer class. ahem.
While some of us pine away for more pragmatic steampunk accessories, such as goggles, the team over at Weta has been building weapons. These are definitely not cheap, starting at just over $1k and going all the way up to $8k for the Unnatural Selector. Each comes in a designed case that further captures the steampunk essense quite nicely. Any one of these would be a great capstone to someone's steampunk collection.
I suppose it would be too much to ask for some adoring fan to gift something from the collection to me. There are a limited number of each weapon available, so it is not likely that you will get a second chance to pick one up, for yourself or for me!
Having ordered a box of Miracle Berry Fruit Tablets from ThinkGeek a few weeks back, I finally got around to experiencing them alongside a buffet of sour fruit. From watermellon to lemons to blueberries to lychee, we tried it all. Chew one of these tablets up and then eat some otherwise sour fruit, and you will be treated to a flavor change that results in just about any sour fruit tasting like it's been rolled in sugar.
However, as someone who typically goes out of their way to find the sour fruit for it's own sake, I was rather disappointed that this Miracle Berry took what I enjoyed and removed the enjoyable part.
Oh well, maybe they'll find something that makes sweet fruit taste sour... or maybe I should just stick with unaltered sour fruits.
I get asked why I use the Xaraya platform, from time to time.
Other CMS systems are Open Source, use PHP and mySQL, and support a modular architecture; why not use one of them?
Xaraya isn't a CMS system. Users of Xaraya employ it in a variety of different ways, but if you have to describe it to someone, it is usually just easier to call it a "CMS" instead of trying to explain that it sorta makes whatever web stuff that you happen to be in need of.
Everyone remembers the hype surrounding Ruby-on-Rails over the past few years, I'm sure. Working with Xaraya is a bit like working on Ruby-on-Rails... except you don't have to stop using PHP, which is easier to host and has a longer track record, not to mention the fact that it's what everyone is (finally) using for the web.
Smartpen's have been around for a while, granted. While they still seem to be tied to specially designed paper for use, Livescribe has come up with a new feature that will really appeal to fellow gadget-philes. Their new Pulse pen includes audio recording and playback.
This may not sound like anything revolutionary, given the vast array of MP3 players/recorders available, but keep reading. The recording feature on the Pulse activates while you are writing with it. The intended use is for instances like during lectures when you may wish to record the lecture itself. With the Pulse, you can record the lecture while you take notes, and the Pulse software associates your notes with the audio recorded when they were written, like a new type of bookmarking.
After spending over a year on the drawing-board, Quantum-Adventure is finally realized. At some point early last year, a group of us were discussing ways to provide a collaborative online medium for writing stories. The resulting digital architectural schematics implicitly included features that would allow writing a range of story types, from standard one-shot short stories to Choose-Your-Own-Adventures to story webs that allow readers to follow particular characters into and out of the main story line, or even into other story lines.
The concept was beautiful in it's simplicity, but was left wanting for lack of investors. Paying projects get prioritized, of course. After trying, unsuccessfully, to get another developer to collaborate on development of the idea, I finally rolled up my sleeves and got started, Fountainhead-style.
Now, after a couple months of development, solicitation and implementation of an attractive design, and many hours of debugging, Quantum-Adventure.com is live and working.
That's right; it's my fault. All of it. Every last thing.
Stub your toe? Get a speeding ticket? Lose your job? Your wife? Your car? It's my fault.
You can rest assured that the misfortune life has seen fit to dump on your life is through no fault of your own. Point that finger squarely in this direction.
It's my fault.
And it will continue to be my fault until Sunday, at which point everything is Karo's fault, and you can blame him.
Some time soon, however, you have to take your turn; a whole week of being the cause of all our problems. You will be responsible for my network connection going on the blink, for spilling my coffee, and for preventing me from catching and fixing that bug.
Until then, you can blame it all on me.
In a bold move by the Church of England, a public apology to Charles Darwin (posthumous, of course) has been drafted and will be included on a website that they are putting together to promote his views. The Church. Promoting the views of Darwin.
This is what I would like to refer to as the writing on the wall for Christians, as in "did ya get the memo?"
In a rare show of insight, the Church also reflected: "Hey! This is just like that whole Galileo thing that blew up in our face!"
Part of the process of acquiring the original data involved something called a Cohort study, which sounds a lot more interesting than it actually it.
Research on maximum life span indicated that the only variable which has been shown to impact biological limits is through calorie restriction. It seems that drinking your nutrients in a protein shake instead of consuming them the traditional method has some merit after all. Calorie restriction simply means that you concentrate your nutrients into as few calories as possible; fewer than most of our diets encompass, anyway. Calorie restriction studies suggest that "lifespan is increased for an organism if it can remain lean and if it can avoid any excess accumulation of adipose tissue...", but caution that nutritional intake should not be impacted if such a diet is to be successful.