While there are lots of great rooms that consist only of neutrals, I think every room benefits from bright colours. If you can’t paint your walls — and many people who rent cannot do that — there are ways to get around that, as this article shows: Put Down the Paintbrush: 10 Ways to Add Color Without Painting — Renters Solutions | Apartment Therapy. Some require more require more work than others. Others, like in the photo above, just require some a book shelf, coloured paper and adhesive. (If you are stuck for coloured paper, go to a place that sells sheets of wrapping paper.)
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My daughter asked me for good on line resources for people interested in learning about programming. I’ve collected a number of them here. If you know of any more, please let me know.
Code School and Codecademy are both well done sites that teach the basics of programming. I’ve used Codecademy and liked it alot. People say good things about Code School too. For example, at Code School they came up with this fun way to learn Rails: Rails for Zombies.
Code.org is another highly publicized site that teaches programming, though it seems aimed more at younger people. Still, a good site: Code.org
There are tons of of programming references here -> Become a Programmer, M—–F—–. (Yeah, that word is what you think it is. Still, that site has alot of great links.)
Last, but not least by any means is a great story for anyone learning to program but is worried about it. So How Did You Learn How to Program? : A Cubicle Of My Own. I highly recommend this to anyone who thinks “I really want to code and use computers” but is put off by the culture or the attitude of other programmers or for any reason is thinking that they can’t do it. You can. Really. Give it a try.
Take 2: Over at Kottke is a good post on why we shouldn’t be blase about robots replacing us (Humans need not apply).
The one fact is that as microprocessors get small, cheaper, and faster, the ability to make robots gets easier and cheaper. That means more people can experiment with them, from individuals to corporations. Soon robots will be ubiquitous, just like personal computers and now smart phones are ubiquitous. And just like now there are fewer and fewer jobs without computers or smart phones involved, soon there will be few jobs without robots involved.
I don’t think this will result in robots taking all the jobs. My belief is that there will be a mix of robots and people doing work for some time to come, rather than just robots replacing people. But robots in work and play and all aspects of our lives in inevitable and coming soon. (Depending on your work day, you may not see this as a bad thing.)
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Posted onSeptember 29, 2014|Comments Off on The typical American room, and incidentally, the importance of home decor
This is not a typical American room:
No, not because of the actors in it. It’s not typical because it is interesting. It is packed with things to capture the eye. It is a “typical” room to an art director of a TV show.
To see and think about the typical American (and Canadian) room, I highly recommend this piece, The American Room — The Message — Medium. The author takes a number of YouTube videos to explore the typical American room and what it means. It sounds potentially boring, but I found it thought provoking.
I think home decor is important. The furniture you choose, the pictures you hang, and the color of the walls you choose are important. It stimulates the mind and gets you to think about yourself, your world, and your life. I read once that the great artist Ferdinand Leger painted his floor red because he wanted it to stimulate him to produce better art. You need to live in rooms that make you better. The typical room discussed in the article has none of that.
Here’s me hoping you strive to furnish your home in a way to gives you a better life.
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Posted onSeptember 29, 2014|Comments Off on Technology that matters: Andrew Bastawrous’s Visionary App
Andrew Bastawrous has developed Portable Eye Examination Kit, or PEEK, a combination of app and clip-on hardware that allows a smartphone to become a portable optical clinic. How significant is this? To do this type of procedure from a state-of-the-art hospital, you need $160,000 plus skilled staff to run it. PEEK costs about $500 and needs one eye specialist in the field with some training.
I’ve been planning on making bread for…well, years. I made it decades ago, but for various reasons, I never got back into the habit of making it. The last time I tried was after I picked up the book “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day” and hoped to jump on the no knead bandwagon. But the boule I made wasn’t very good and the book and my bread making went back on the shelf.
Two things happened to me recently to give it another go. First, I found a new copy of “The All New Purity Cook Book”. This book is the one I grew up with, and it is heavily oriented towards bread making. An old cook book, but a great one. Second, I wandered into a store and found a Black and Decker refurbished bread maker for a $29. I decided it was time to try making some bread again. You can see my results above. (And yes, the shapes are off, but hey, I am learning, just like you will be!)
Veteran bread makers won’t learn much from my notes below, but new bread makers might. Things I learned:
Of the three approaches, the bread machine is the easiest. Not surprising. What I also learned is that the no knead and the traditional way are also not so hard. But the bread machine is still simplest. If you are feeling a bit courageous, skip buying the machine and try the other methods.
I had fresh flour and fresh yeast: both are cheap, and if you aren’t sure how fresh yours are, I suggest you get some new stuff. Stale yeast and flour that is old and off will make it hard if not impossible to make good bread.
I used to fret over water temperature and air temperature when I used to make bread, but this time I relaxed and just made sure the water was not hot and not cool, and didn’t worry if the temperature was 110F or some exact measure. It still worked. Likewise, for a warm place, I just stuck the bread in the microwave to rise. It was fine. I didn’t have to worry: the house wasn’t drafty or cool, but the microwave works well if it is drafty or cool in your place (or you have excessive AC, maybe?) Of course, don’t turn on the microwave while the dough is in there.
My bread maker made a lot of noise at first and moved around a fair bit on the counter. Be careful not to have it too near the edge, and if all bread makers are as noisy as my refurb, don’t put it on before you go to bed.
There’s not much to making bread maker bread, but follow the instructions. I made an exception for seasonings they wanted to add to the bread. I skipped those. But when it comes to water, oil, sugar and salt, flour and yeast, stick to the recipe.
It didn’t call for it, but I brushed some butter on the bread after I took it out of the oven. It looks better in my opinion.
As far a the five minute artisan bread, I messed it up the first time I tried it today. I tried it again, though. First, I halved the ingredients in the book for the master recipe. This was fine. Second, the trick to blending the flour into the water is to measure out the flour and slowly add it before you add more. The first time I more or less dumped it in and the dough was very difficult to work with. Also, the water ratio they use seems to be a bit slight. There’s always more flour then I can blend. I ran luke warm water, wet my hands, then mixed the loose flour in. It took me a few goes at this before I managed to incorporate all the loose flower into the dough. Without that extra water from my hands, I couldn’t get all the flour blended.
The other benefit of halving the ingredients is that you have less bread in your fridge. It takes very little to mix up a new batch and my fridge is small and I don’t have room for all the dough they make with their recipe. If you are the same situation, chop the recipe quantities in half.
The authors of the no knead bread recipe stress kosher salt: I used plain old table salt and it worked fine.
Other than the things I mentioned, the no knead approach works great and the bagette I made was delicious: slightly chewy on the outside and nice a tender on the inside. I like the bread maker, but if you wanted easy bread, I highly recommend that book.
Finally, I did the traditional approach and made the challah bread. There’s a few more steps, but it’s still really easy, right up to the part where you braid it. The braiding is not easy but the recipe itself is easy: you just need time.
Rather than type in the recipe I used, I recommend this recipe because of the highly detailed description of how to braid the bread. My recipe had all the same ingredients and steps. Two exception: 1) in my recipe, after the dough has risen for 1.5 hours, I punched it down to deflate it and then formed six equal sized dough balls. And then I covered them and let them rest for 10 minutes. Then I started to braid. When the braid was formed, I brushed it with vegetable oil. 2) It also has more sugar than the recipe I made: mine only used 4 teaspoons of sugar for the whole recipe: this one uses more and the result should be a sweeter bread.
This recipe will result in a whiter challah bread than others I have had. I suspect those recipes have more egg yolk added to the bread. It’s still delicious white.
Good luck making the bread. I am sure you will make nicer looking bread for sure.
Posted onSeptember 27, 2014|Comments Off on Thinking of painting one wall in your house a different colour? Before you do, consider this
Not for everyone of course, but this article shows you a novel way of turning a good idea – painting one wall of a room a different colour to make the room more interesting – and going one step further. The result is something like this:
Posted onSeptember 26, 2014|Comments Off on If the new Mozilla Firefox OS smartphone seems familar, there is a good reason for that
Look at this picture. Amazing how similar these two phones are, yes?
The reason for this? The specs for the new smartphone are remarkably similar to those specs of the original iPhone. The phones even look similar, as you can see.
Two key differences between the original iPhone and the Firefox phone: release data and price. The Firefox phone is going to be priced well under $100, something an iPhone never has been (for good reasons).
Overall, I think the wider distribution of smart phone technology will only lead to greater overall benefits to the recipients. It will be interesting to see what change this causes. I think the net effect will be good.
Posted onSeptember 25, 2014|Comments Off on Authentic rum is coming to the Fortress of Louisbourg in Cape Breton
Thanks to the folks at Authentic Seacoast and Parks Canada, it looks like rum and the rum trade will be coming to the historic site in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. The news release says:
After almost 300 years, rum is once again being stored behind the massive stone walls of the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site.
Authentic Seacoast Distilling Company Ltd., Parks Canada and Fortress Louisbourg Association are collaborating on a multi-year project to enhance the visitor experience at the Fortress through an authentic interpretation of the historical rum trade of 18th century New France. The Magazin du Roi will serve as a warehouse to mature carefully selected Caribbean aged rums for use in special edition Authentic Seacoast Distilling Company rums.
Posted onSeptember 24, 2014|Comments Off on En papillote: six simple seafood dishes (and a bonus dish, too)
Over at Kitchen Daily, they had a feature the use of en papillote (whether that is using parchment, foil, or some other material). Of the recipes there, these are the ones I look forward to trying soon, especially the first one.
Posted onSeptember 21, 2014|Comments Off on Are you planning to move to a small space? You need this list
Over at A CUP OF JO is “15 Genius Tips for Living in Small Spaces” that really are worth a read if you live in or plan to move to a small apartment or condo or dorm. It’s advice taken from a couple that live in a 250 square foot place, and they practice what they advise. 250 square feet is very small, as you can see:
And yet it looks like a beautiful space. Take a look.
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Posted onSeptember 19, 2014|Comments Off on Phishing alert! Look for emails with the subject: Your iCloud Account Invalid Address #fb
This phishing attack is really good. Other than text like “we regret to announce” and a misspelling of “Apple”, most of the phrasing is well done and it all looks very official. Of course they sent it to my wrong email address, so that was another sign it was a phishing email. Most of the links are valid, too, except one that points to myioscare.uk. So yeah, beware. Here’s the text of the email:
Apple ID – <my email address at work>, (19 – September – 2014)
This notice is to therefore to inform you we regret to announce you that your Apple/iCloud Account (<my email address at work>) has been temporarily frozen until we can verify your iCloud Account details. This security measure to protect your Apple Account from unauthorized usage. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.
You will be unable to access Apple sync/backup or the iTunes/App Store & Apps Store until you update your Apple/iCloud Account details on file, we urge you to complete validation as soon as you can. Failure to update your account details within a 74 hours can result in deletion of your Apple/iCloud Account to protect our system.
How can I validate my Apple Account and restore my iCloud/Apple ID?
Just proceed to the highlighted link below to verify ownership of your Apple ID. Log-in in using your Appe/iCloud login and password, then read the instructions.
> Validate My Apple/iCloud Account
While using Apple products and apps, you’ll still sign in with your primary e-mail address as your Apple account.
If you have queries and want support, please visit the Apple Account Care site.
Case Validation Request: #UJ13HA41317-EU11
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Not only will it help you get set up, but it also has a list of projects to get your started on doing something useful with it. As well, there’s some links to other resources.
There’s lots of material on Raspberry Pi’s on the Web, but if you haven’t found them yet, try this one at ReadWrite and get started.
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Posted onSeptember 18, 2014|Comments Off on Two good articles on the new economy (work is changing)
These two articles: In the Sharing Economy, Workers Find Both Freedom and Uncertainty and Is owning overrated? (both from the NYTimes) look at how people are changing their how they work and what they own in the new (American) economy. I don’t think there is one thing driving these changes. Partially it is how people feel about work, but also what type of work is available to them. Plus technology is allowing for people to work and own in ways not available before.
I found the first article depressing. My hope is that as more companies like this come along, they will need to compete more and this will be better for the workers. Indeed, this seems to be happening to Uber as Lyft (and likely others) come along. As for renting, I think there is a limit to this. While it makes sense to rent some things, I believe that subset is alot smaller than one may initially imagine. What may happen is that people own things for smaller windows.
What seems certain is that the days of working for one employer for along period of time is only going to decline further. Additionally people may conspicuously rent or hold for smaller periods of time and then release things.
Time and changes in the economy will tell.
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Chromecast is great for putting YouTube videos on your big screen TV. The problem for me, though, is finding good videos to watch: I want to spend less time searching and more time relaxing. 5by.com answers that problem by providing you videos picked by them around themes. I have just started with it, but it looks good (in more ways than one).
Posted onSeptember 17, 2014|Comments Off on NYC has a good problem to have (some thoughts and observations)
New York City has a good problem to have: it’s getting increasingly more expensive to live there. In the second half of the 20th century, it had the opposite problem and the question was would anyone want to live in all but small parts of it. Those days are gone, so much so that Manhattan became too expensive for most, which partially led to people moving to Brooklyn. Now even Brooklyn is getting too expensive, according to this: Moving Out of Brooklyn Because of High Prices – NYTimes.com.
It’s not surprising to me: NYC is more desirable than ever to move to. Yet the parts of Manhattan and now Brooklyn that people find too pricey are not the whole city. I expect in a few years from now people will be talking about great spots in Queens and the Bronx and how they too are becoming more expensive.
Globally populations are leaving small towns and rural areas and moving to cities. Cities like New York will be the beneficiaries of this, and will grow accordingly. Assuming they are well run cities, they will find ways to accomodate newcomers, and the parts that were cheaper will rise in value.
I don’t see NYC getting cheaper any time soon. It will be more what parts of it people live in, and what the housing will look like. I expect you will see more high rises built in places where none were before, and more and more neighborhoods being gentrified.
Like alot of folks, I am interested in the MEAN stack, but in getting started, I haven’t found too many concise, all in one, pieces on the topic that are good intros. (I am sure there are some: I just haven’t found one.)
To increase the amount of control I have: I may not have an issue with others using this data and there may be times when I think there is a benefit to me to have this data accessible. Generally I don’t, but I like the option. This product helps with that.
To encourage more people to make such products: if this campaign is successful, I hope to see more businesses attempting similar but different and possibly better products, which is a benefit to me and people like me who values their privacy.
it’s not foolproof. By that, I mean anyone with enough motivation could still use the data you inevitably will give off when you are using your phone to extrapolate things about you. As well, there are other ways you can be tracked (E.g., abusive apps).
In my case, I think the reasons for outweigh the reasons against, and that is why I have pledged to this Kickstarter campaign . I would encourage you to pledge as well.
Posted onSeptember 15, 2014|Comments Off on Lost your iPhone? A PIN won’t save you from it being abused. Here’s why
My son misplaced his phone. I assumed he was safe because it had a PIN on it and it was locked. Turns out someone must have found it and was using it to rack up big long distance phone bills. Here’s just one way people can do this: 3 Ways to Bypass iPhone Passcode – wikiHow.
Obviously I am not encouraging people to do this, any more than I would encourage people to steal or commit other crimes. I am encouraging you to call your provider whenever you can’t find your phone.
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Posted onSeptember 9, 2014|Comments Off on Eight quick thoughts on the Apple Watch: its more than watch, more than IT.
Here’s eight quick things I concluded while watching Apple talk about their latest product: the Apple Watch
In the future, you won’t own one Apple Watch, you will own several. For the record I have two shuffles and a number of iPods. I can see the same with Apple Watches.
I expect Apple to experiment with different face types over time. The only thing that changes more than IT is fashion. So expect a steady stream of changing Apple Watches, which will embed fashion and IT.
I also expect Apple to launch partnerships with an array of other companies like high end fashion houses. Just like others make sunglasses for Tom Ford, Prada, etc., I expect Apple to make watches for them. They will be able to use higher end materials, like gold and expensive leather. They might even come with high end apps. Jony Ive was right to say that high end watch makers should be nervous. Apple can work with others to make high end watches that have sophisticated IT: not many (any?) can claim the same thing?
This is also tough for copycat IT companies like Samsung. Apple can now move at the pace of fashion, which is faster than the pace of IT. Plus fashion is about taste, which is an essential part of Apple. It is in their DNA, so to speak. Not so with other mobile device makers.
The Apple Watch is not simply a watch, any more than the iPhone was simply a phone. There is alot of emphasis on the watch part right now, just like there was alot of discussion about the phone part of the iPhone at first. I expect that to change over time.
Right now the Apple Watch depends on the iPhone or other device: it is secondary. I expect the Apple Watch will become the primary device over time, especially with advances in IT. It will be possible to become primary and that makes sense, because you don’t have to carry it: you simply wear it.
Apple has two wearable devices right now: the Apple Watch and Beats. Expect more and more. I expect even Apple eye wear. Unlike the fiasco that is Google Glass, it will be done correctly the first time. And like the watch, you will have more than one pair.
I don’t expect Apple to make a wide range of wearable computing devices. Apple tends to focus. They have a limited range of personal computing devices: I expect them to have a limited range of wearable devices.
P.S. The Apple Watch is not the iWatch. A small shift. Also, this has been a good day for Tim Cook. He is an understated CEO, but he has transitioned Apple from Steve Jobs very well. His first priority was to steady the company. Now he is charting a new course. Apple shareholders are lucky.
Lastly, these are my opinions only, and not my employers.
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2) Talk to your doctor. Discuss this article. Then decide.
I’ve seen a number of articles like the one in FiveThirtyEight saying one shouldn’t take vitamins. Others treat them like chicken soup, saying: they can’t hurt. Regardless, if you are putting anything that is not food into your body on a daily basis, it only makes sense to talk to your doctor.
(Image via the “Vitamin” section of Wikipedia)
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Posted onSeptember 8, 2014|Comments Off on A fashionable option for men who don’t want to wear leather shoes (or Tom’s shoes)
If you are a man (or someone who like to wear shoes traditionally associated with men) who doesn’t want to wear shoes from leather, don’t want to wear Converse or Toms shoes but do want to wear dress shoes, you have what I think is a good alternative: Delli Aldo shoes. I came across them via Cool Tools (a newsletter and a section of Kevin Kelly’s website) and I think they are great for a number of reasons:
they are very stylish
they come in a wide range of styles
they are low cost
they are vegan
Beware: they run large (e.g. if you wear 8, consider getting the size 7 or 6.5) and they stink the first few days you get them (then apparently they do not).
For more information, check out the link to Cool Tools or go right to Amazon and pick up a pair.
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Of course the best thing is to do what it takes to get some sleep the night before. Or call in sick and get some rest. If neither of those options are available, what you read in that article may be the thing that saves you.
P.S. Thanks for reading this. If you have found it useful and you’d like to say thanks by buying me a coffee, you can do so here. Thanks! That’s awesome!
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It’s a quirky feature of vox.com that explains things with diagrams versus “listicles”. I like it, and of the various posts that they’ve done, I got the most from this one: 40 maps that explain the Roman Empire
Should you share this with kids? It depends: one of the 40 items talks frankly about sex. If you are ok with that, then yes! for the overall piece is highly education. Kids or not, I highly recommend it to you.