Category Archives: cool

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Very cool: Gregorian Chant Music Generator!

A very cool site that allows you to mess around with Gregorian chant music in all kinds of ways. Fun! And also great if you want to have it playing while you work Gregorian Voices • Relaxing Music Generator

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The Apollo 11 mission as told through the astronauts’ heart rates

This is fascinating: The Apollo 11 mission as told through the astronauts’ heart rates | Popular Science

Here’s Armstrong:

A good reminder that even the best prepared and most cool can still have elevated heart levels under stress.

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If you are serious about taking food pictures…


You might need this: This desktop lightbox makes your lighting setup as advanced as your camera | Yanko Design.

Ok, you like do not need this. But it is a pretty cool lightbox. Worth checking out, if only to fantasize about.

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A smart poster that knows the weather (and a great alternative display)

Is this:

It uses smart ink, so it’s low power. But it changes throughout the day, based on the information it gets from the Internet. It looks great, and it’s around $134, which is not bad.

I’d like to see more tech do this. A fine marriage of high tech and aesthetics.

For more information, see A smart poster that knows the weather | Yanko Design

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How to build a hydroponic garden using stuff from IKEA


Fascinating: THE BOOK – Eliooo.

 

Thirty five links worth a look

Here’s a long list of things I had saved in Instapaper that I thought worthwhile, but never blogged about individually. While I hadn’t blogged about them, they are still worth a look:

  1. World population may actually start declining, not exploding.: one of those things I wish everyone thought about but don’t.
  2. sexplainer: good for teens and parents of teens
  3. Gibson Guitar: Min-ETune™: for those who want to take up guitar playing and want to stay in tune
  4. Networks and the Nature of the Firm – From the WTF? Economy to the Next Economy: the important on networks of all kinds when it comes to business.
  5. Anyone Depressed About The State Of The World Needs To Look At These Stunning Charts – Business Insider: keep your eyes on this and be more optimistic.
  6. Contact the ISS: fun! How to contact the space station!
  7. A property crisis: interview with Thomas Piketty | New Philosopher: a thoughtful discussion with one of my favorite thinkers in the world now.
  8. The Forthcoming–Behavioral–Economics of Abundance: more ideas on economics
    Mr Money Mustache: not a bad source of financial advice
  9. How I built a seven-figure business without employees – The Globe and Mail: not sure if everyone can build a business this way but it is fascinating to think about
  10. How you can grow your own tropical fruit, even in winter – The Globe and Mail: now if you want to grow fruit instead of money, you might find this interesting
  11. One Weird Old Productivity Tip: ha! For those who know their way around the operating system and want to be more productive
  12. Create Custom Flooring with Carpet Tiles & Area Rugs | FLOR: a novel idea for people who want nice rugs but have odd spaces or don’t want the commitment of a rug
  13. Slot-In Storage — Shoebox Dwelling | Finding comfort, style and dignity in small spaces: a very smart storage / shelf system. I might build something like this myself some day.
  14. Data Mining Reveals the Extent of China’s Ghost Cities – MIT Technology Review: fascinating. China has all these ghost cities, with buildings but no people, and this article shows how the author went about finding them
  15. A Lifelong Queens Resident Finds High Ground In The Bronx – Curbed NY: For NYC fans, Curbed NY. Also a reminder than NY has great places everywhere and since Amazon has staked a claim to parts of Queens, the next big place is likely the Bronx.
  16. Fooling The Machine | Popular Science: the next frontier of AI and IT security: deceiving AI.
  17. Top four sports cars around $15,000 – WHEELS.ca: a good reference for people looking for affordable cars
  18. If insects have consciousness, what then? – The Globe and Mail: from the always interesting Peter Singer.
  19. The Wannsee Conference: the entire Conference and film on YouTube. The banality of evil captured in 90 minutes.
  20. A Better Kind of Happiness | The New Yorker: good ideas on happiness
  21. The Lesser-Known Design Legend Behind The Rise Of The PC: IBM was smart to work with Sapper. While Ive at Apple gets plenty of worthwhile credit and recognition, Sapper deserves as much for the brilliant design work he did with IBM.
  22. 7 Ways to Reduce Anxiety in Your Home Through Design – The Aesthetics of Joy: not feng shui but interesting nonetheless
  23. Japan’s ‘no immigration principle’ looking as solid as ever | The Japan Times: it is often lost on people commenting on Japan with regards to robots and demographic information that the country has a very tight immigration policy. If you are one of those people, you should read this.
  24. Austen Heinz’s suicide and depression in startups – Business Insider: the success of startups is often reported and celebrated. The flip side is often kept hidden. Here is a piece on the flip side worth reading.
  25. Stop Worrying About How Much You Matter: the benefits of being less relevant. Really. Over time, we will all be irrelevant. If relevancy bothers you now, read this.
  26. Some Practical Thoughts on Suicide | The Blog of Author Tim Ferriss: well said.
  27. Is the human body becoming obsolete? – Motherboard: more interesting ideas.
  28. Cost Benefit of Google Perks – Business Insider: or why more companies could and should offer similar perks!
  29. The realist’s guide to being an online entrepreneur: for new entrepreneurs, worth a look
  30. The Thoughts of a Spiderweb | Quanta Magazine: fascinating
  31. This is Your Brain on Habits – Positive Psychology News: how to make and break habits
  32. 808 Site Found: Five Drum Machines Now Live In Your Browser – CDM Create Digital Music: fun! Put a drum machine in your browser.
  33. Inside the Shop of the Last Great American Watchmaker: for fans of watches and craft work generally
  34. StartupStash – The curated directory of tools for your startup: what it says. Good resources.
  35. Scared Of Failing? Ask Yourself These 6 Fear-Killing Questions: good advice
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Cinephilia & Beyond on the Blade Runner Souvenir Magazine


A visit to this page is a must for Blade Runner fans: Blade Runner Souvenir Magazine: A Fascinating Blast from the Past from the Heart of Ridley Scott’s Masterpiece • Cinephilia & Beyond.

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The Official Collector’s Edition Blade Runner Souvenir Magazine is a wonderful source of information, abounding in great photos and articles; a genuine treat both for hardcore fans of the film and all the newbies who just got introduced to the world of Rick Deckard. There are a lot of fascinating stuff here, but we’re especially excited about the interviews with Philip K. Dick, Ridley Scott, Harrison Ford and Douglas Trumbull. We’re incredibly thankful to webmaster Netrunner from brmovie.com, who put a lot of effort into digitalizing the magazine and even contacted Mr. Friedman to get his blessing for the endeavor. While Netrunner shaped the material by separating photos from the accompanying text, we chose to offer you a .cbr file of greater resolution and quality, so you can browse the content more easily. If we may, we’d like to suggest using a little program called ComicRack for checking out this priceless blast from the past. Enjoy the read!

 

Are you a replicant? 

In honour of Blade Runner 2049 coming out today, here’s your chance to see if you are a replicant with this:

You say: I don’t need to take the test because I’m not a replicant. Some replicants believe that. 🙂 Better take the test.

Very cool. Build a Google Home for Only $35

This is a pretty cool DIY project: The AIY Voice Kit Lets You Build a Google Home for Only $35.

Now, I have my qualms about letting Google have access to so much personal information. If you do not have such qualms and you want to build a cool project, click the link and head on over to Wired, where they have more information on it and how to get it.

How 5 different creatures flap their wings

Fascinating: How 5 Different Creatures Flap Their Wings

Karl Lagerfeld and his Atelier in Paris (a must for book lovers)

Karl Lagerfeld in his atelier

The Selby has a gorgeous photo shoot of the atelier of Karl Lagerfeld. Anyone who dreams of having a library in their home will love it. The photo above is just a taste: for a feast, see: Karl Lagerfeld at his Atelier in Paris in the selby

A primer for Pokemon Go

It’s only been out for a very short time, but already there’s at least one primer for it, here: Ten Things I Wish I Knew When I Started ‘Pokémon GO’ – Forbes. If you want to leapfrog others playing it, read this and then get going.

The beauty of when science and poetry intersect

According to a post by Clive Thompson,

Recently, two scientists got interested in the poem, because they realized these two facts could be used to determine precisely what time of year Sappho wrote the poem.

The poem, the post, and the work the scientists did are all great. Highly recommended. (Click on the link to the post for more details.)

Glitches as a design pattern for fabric

The good folks at Glitchaus have taken an oddity of the digital world – glitches – and used it as the basis of their designs of scarves and wraps. If you are in need of either, or you’d just like to see some innovative fashion, it’s worth visiting their site.

29 IT links to things I am working on or interested in: AI, Python, Netscaler, automation and more

Things I am interested in or working on these days: AI, WebSphere setup, Python, Twitter programming, development in general, configuring Netscalers, cool things IBM is doing, automation, among other things.

  1. If you have the AI bug and think you want to do some Prolog programming, you need this: What Prolog implementation to choose? What’s fastest? Compatibility?
  2. Deep Learning is hot in AI. If you want more info, this is good: Deep Learning Tutorials — DeepLearning 0.1 documentation
  3. Sigh. This debate never goes away in AI: Why AlphaGo Is Not AI – IEEE Spectrum
  4. More on the hysteria that AI brings: The founder of Evernote made a great point about why AI (probably) won’t kill us all – Vox
  5. Ignore most AI hysteria, but do read this: What does it mean for an algorithm to be fair? | Math ∩ Programming
  6. Want to whip up a quick mobile app? Consider: Mobile App Builder – new service now available – Bluemix Blog
  7. For power users, there’s: How to create an insane multiple monitor setup with three, four, or more displays | PCWorld
  8. Need virtual images? Take a look at this: Images | VirtualBoxes – Free VirtualBox® Images
  9. For hardcore WAS users, this is helpful: Installing optional Java 7.x on WebSphere Application Server 8.5 (Application Integration Middleware Support Blog)
  10. A classic. Anyone tuning WAS needs this: Case study: Tuning WebSphere Application Server V7 and V8 for performance
  11. Want to learn Python? Write your own Twitter client? Or do both? Then there’s this: How To Build a Twitter “Hello World” Web App in Python | ProgrammableWeb
  12. More on programming Twitter: How To Use The Twitter API To Find Events | ProgrammableWeb
  13. Nice little project to try, here: Create a mobile-friendly to-do list app with PHP, jQuery Mobile, and Google Tasks
  14. Creating Simple Responsive HTML5 and PHP Contact Form | Future Tutorials
  15. Setting up a Linux system? Then you want to read this: Most secure way to partition linux? – Information Security Stack Exchange
  16. Want to learn Linux? This is essential! IBM developerWorks : Technical library concerning Learning Linux
  17. If you are doing performance work on Unix, you will likely use vmstat. Even if you know vmstat, this is good to review: What to look for in vmstat – UNIX vmstat command
  18. Wow! OS/2 is still alive! OS/2: Blue Lion to be the next distro of the 28-year-old – Yahoo Finance
  19. Talk about old tech! This makes OS/2 seem fresh! It’s Insane that New York’s Subway Still Runs on This 80-Year-Old Switchboard | Motherboard
  20. I was doing some work on Netscaler and found this useful in comparing the set up of one Netscaler config with another: Export Netscaler Config – NetScaler Application Delivery – Discussions. This is also useful:  Netscaler 9 Cheat Sheet.doc – netscaler9cheatsheet.pdf
  21. I thought this was a good development for everyone interested in Node: IBM Buys StrongLoop To Add Node.js API Development To Its Cloud Platform | TechCrunch
  22. Alot has changed with IBM’s OpenPOWER. Forbes gets you up to date, here: IBM’s OpenPOWER: A Lot Has Changed In Two Years – Forbes
  23. Cool stuff here: Access your Docker-based Raspberry Pi at home from the internet · Docker Pirates ARMed with explosive stuff
  24. I was using Perl scripts on Linux to send me messages to my mobile device via Pushover. This was good for that: pushover Archives – Perl Hacks
  25. I was also using WinSCP for that and this helped: Scripting and Task Automation :: WinSCP
  26. For all those trying to succeed in IT but feeling you are running into ceiling, you should read this: Tech’s Enduring Great-Man Myth or this When It Comes to Age Bias, Tech Companies Don’t Even Bother to Lie | Dan Lyons | LinkedIn
  27. Linus Torvalds is always interesting, and this is especially good: Linux at 25: Q&A With Linus Torvalds – IEEE Spectrum
  28. Very cool! Particle | Build your Internet of Things
  29. And finally some links to good stuff on UML online: Multi-layered web architecture UML package diagram example, web layer depends on business layer, which depends on data access layer and data transfer objects.

Should you take St John’s wort for depression, and other advice on supplements

This is a wonderful interactive chart that shows you how worthwhile (or worthless) certain supplements are, based on evidence (as opposed to anecdote or worse): Snake Oil Supplements from Information is Beautiful.

If you are a fan of a certain supplement, you can use this chart to discover what it is good for. And if you have a certain health concern, you can use the chart to determine what may work and what’s a waste of money.

If you like this, check out more of the charts on the information is beautiful site. They have lots of good charts.

It’s the weekend. You need to be inspired to exercise. Here you go

I find this ad powerful.  And very inspiring. It’s from the past London Paralympics and if you need a jolt of motivation to help you get going on your workout, check it out:

How to run Minecraft on a mainframe and other cool things

Here are two interesting pieces of innovative things people have done with Minecraft. The first one, New Minecraft Mod Teaches You Code as You Play, is a novel way to learn how to code. If you have a young one who loves Minecraft and whom you want to learn how to code, this may be a good way to do this. The second one is an amazing story found on Reddit: My experiences with running a Minecraft Server on an IBM Mainframe.

I was amazed he managed to get it to run, albeit slowly. Needless to say, a Mainframe is not an ideal platform for this software. Still, that he did get it to run is a testament to his ingenuity and also the flexibility of Minecraft and the IBM Mainframe.

Something cool: an ‘Alien’ gargoyle on an ancient abbey

It’s not a hoax: there is a  gargoyle on a 13th century abbey that looks like something out of Alien. Seems the old gargoyles were falling apart and artisans were recently brought in to make new ones…and well, someone took a few liberties.

All of the new beasts attached to the abbey are excellent. You can see more of them, and more of the story, here:  ‘Alien’ gargoyle on ancient abbey from BBC News

Something beautiful: DIY geometric paper animal sculptures by Paperwolf

These paper sculptures by Wolfram Kampffmeyer (aka Paperwolf) are gorgeous. You buy them and make them yourself. Simply go to Etsy, here, and order a from a range of different animals, sizes, and prices. Great gift idea, too.

If you want to see more of them, you can also check them out here: DIY Geometric Paper Animal Sculptures by Paperwolf. Not surprisingly, from Colossal.

Some beautiful and inspiring examples of floor tiling to inspire (or fright you :))

This post, 12 Creative Ways To Use Floor Tile from Design Milk, has some beautiful and imaginative uses of floor tiles. The one above is one of my favorite, but all of them are great.

On rose gold, white gold, and gold generally

There was a lot of scoffing when Apple recently released this

and claimed the colour was rose gold. It’s pink, was the common reply.  But as this piece shows ( The Semiotics of “Rose Gold” – The New Yorker), rose gold is a specific material. It refers to an alloy of gold to which copper has been added. For that matter, white gold, which is an alloy with nickel or manganese, is also a specific material. Jewelers know this, of course, and Apple is smart to associate with the metal (gold) vs the colour.

The New Yorker piece is fascinating. Worth reading, especially if you are skeptical about the colour.

 

Something beautiful: an Infinite Bridge in Denmark

This is a really beautiful bridge. It is relaxing to look at…it’s likely more so to walk upon.

For more images of it, see Infinite Bridge in Denmark – Fubiz Media

My daughter has an etsy store so of course I must promote it! :)

The link to her store is here: Light Bulb Pendant Necklace by PortalJewelry on Etsy. Please send her all your spare cash so she can get rich and take care of her Dad. 🙂

It seems only yesterday I was helping her set up a blog to write about her summer, and now this. Time flies.

Amazing. Sculpture made from beauty supplies. Via collosal

Just from a technical point of view, these Incredible Peacocks Constructed from Beauty Supplies over at Colossal are amazing. However, they are not just technically amazing, but aesthetically quite striking, too.

Collosal has more photos showing this work. Well worth seeing.

Two good articles on David Hockney in the Guardian

The first one is a summary of his new show in L.A.: David Hockney unveils new works on perspective created in Los Angeles | Art and design | The Guardian.

The second one is a meaty interview: David Hockney: ‘Just because I’m cheeky, doesn’t mean I’m not serious’ | Art and design | The Guardian.

I enjoyed the interview alot: it is a great review of his career, plus it talks about many other great artists of the second part of the 20th century.

Anyone interested in modern art would enjoy both of these.

Travel posters! To Mars! From SpaceX, of course.

Travel Poster: Phobos and Deimos

 

It’s great that SpaceX has put travel posters to Mars among their other photos on flickr (SpaceX Photos | Flickr). Of the three I saw, the one above was the one I liked the best. Head over to Flickr and check out the others.

It’s fun now, but perhaps such advertisements will be less fantastical before the 22nd century.

In 1996, James Fallows wrote about Microsoft, the Internet, and even something called Java

I remember all this, but for those of you who feel like the Web has always been with us, it’s worthwhile reading his piece, The Java Theory in The Atlantic.

He didn’t know it at the time, but everything was about to change. I enjoyed reading it, first with hindsight, and then reading it while imagining/remembering what it was like then.

Worthwhile.

Would you like to design your own modern chair?

With Diatom » SketchChair software, you can.

These chairs aren’t for everyone….

…but as far as cool ideas go, I think this is one of them.

Do your kids love Lego? Then you may want Pley, a Netflix for Lego

Pley is a cool idea and much like Netflix is. You subscribe to the service, you get a new Lego kit. Once you build it and enjoy it for awhile, you send it back and they send you another one. Your kid always has new kits to build, and you avoid having their room fill up with Lego.

For more on this, check out: Cool Tools – Pley.

Here comes Yik Yak: a mini primer (plus 2 or 3 — ok, 7– thoughts on it from me)

By now you have heard of Yik Yak (or were curious enough to click through). Here are three links that can tell you more about it:

  1. If you want to get the basics, check out this: You Asked: What Is Yik Yak? | TIME.
  2. If you are a big user of Yik Yak, you most likely are on campus. College students are where it is seems to be taking off. Like any platform, eventually you see people coming out with ways to take advantage of it. Here it was used to have a back channel for a speech Ted Cruz was giving: Ted Cruz Has Skeptics at Liberty, and They Use Yik Yak – Bloomberg Politics.
  3. And here it was used for cheating on exams! Another Use for Yik Yak on Campus? Cheating on Exams – Wired Campus – Blogs – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

My thoughts:

  1. Yik Yak is a platform. Like any platform, people using it will invent new uses for it. I expect to see Yik Yak used in all sorts of innovative ways, and I expect it will grow as a result.
  2. Yik Yak is big on college now. But it likely won’t be limited to that audience. Facebook was also once limited only to colleges. Look how that turned out.
  3. Yik Yak is partially a response to all those Privacy is Dead advocates and those saying young people don’t care about privacy. Yik Yak is anonymous, and I expect there will be more social media going this way. It’s hard to exploit users when your service does not depend so much on identities.
  4. Anonymous social media is also a dangerous thing in the wrong hands, as is illustrated in some of the examples.
  5. Social media needs to mature to a position that is not anonymous but also protects people privacy. Otherwise people will tire of being abused by one or the other and shy away from social media.
  6. I think social media and the people who create it are anywhere near that mature yet.
  7. Privacy lives. Privacy is all about control about information about your life. To say privacy is dead is to say no one has control over information about their life, which just isn’t true. What is true is that new technology will continue to come out and force you and everyone else to think about privacy and what you want to share and what you want to keep to yourself.

 

 

Would you like to create your own fabric or wallpaper? Well, now you can.

Head over here: Spoonflower: Shop, design custom fabric, wallpaper & gift wrap and you can see how you can take your own images and designs, have Spoonflower print it, and send it off to you. Very cool.

8-bit popup cards: the perfect project for gamers/nerds/etc.

Not only are these cards cool, but if you go to this link, 8-bit popup cards | Mini-eco, you can learn how to make them yourself!

The elegance of (some) IKEA furniture

Domaine makes the case on this page and here on this one .

Can you spot the IKEA in this photo?

How about in this one?

Of course, it’s the composition and layout of all the furnishings in the room (and the room itself) that makes the spaces look great. However, you can also see the IKEA pieces, as the centerpieces, more than hold their own.

THE wall sticker decoration for computer geeks

I am not sure if wall stickers are passe or not, but this one, from Retro Basic Custom Wall Sticker – Spin Collective UK, appeals to the computer geek that I am. If you know one or are one, and you want to get this, the link has all the details you need.

On living in Manhattan, by Zadie Smith (a most wonderful piece of writing)

There is so much good about this piece by Zadie Smith that if I started pulling in quotes from it, I would essentially replicate it.  It’s an effortless read, and yet even as I was reading it, I could feel how great it is. I had the feeling of racing down a high mountain on skis, exhilarated and impressed by the beauty and amazed how fast I am going and then it is done.

So, yes, I recommend you read: Find Your Beach by Zadie Smith | The New York Review of Books.

 

10 historic photographs an instant earlier

This is fascinating: 10 historic photographs an instant earlier.

If you immediately see in your mind the photo that comes after this one….

…then head on over to that site.

It’s Monday. You need inspiration. Here’s Yves Rossy flying around Mt. Fuji using a jetpack

So for those of you who say, “Hey! We were promised jetpacks!”…well, like the future, they are hear but just not evenly distributed.

For this videos  and more on this, go here: This Man Flew Over Mt. Fuji on a Real-Life Jetpack, and It’s Absolutely Breathtaking – Mic.

Want to see the 15 Best Drone Photos of 2014? Of course you do :)

There’s some great photos at the link below, but my favorite may be this one:

You can actually see the shadow of the drone on the eagle’s wing.
The rest are here: The 15 Best Drone Photos of 2014.

If you need an early winter pick me up, here’s a 1 minute video of a crow snowboarding

It’s no fluke: if you watch the whole thing, you can see he is into it!

Crows are remarkable. Via YouTube and  someone on twitter….I can’t remember who though. Thanks, whomever you are!