Marco.org • About ▾

I’m : a programmer, writer, podcaster, geek, and coffee enthusiast.

toldorknown: “New Rochelle?!! Do you know Rob and Laura Petrie?”

Nope, although that’s pretty cool. I don’t live in New Rochelle, actually - that’s just where the management company’s office is. I live here.

The brand-name version of the generic version of the brand-name product

Melting Chocolate Bunnies (thanks, cultrvultr).

WOW. Incredible.

ben-well-i-can-always-make-up-something-at-least

What I saw was promising − lobster was the first ingredient in the filling, followed by ricotta cheese. This nearly knocked me to the floor, because almost everything else I eat is made out of high fructose corn syrup and corn oil. I had almost forgotten what food tasted like.

The Impulsive Buy » Trader Joe’s Lobster Ravioli

soxiam: tumblr t-shirt idea 1

December cleaning

I just deleted my MySpace account, even though I haven’t logged in for months, I hardly ever used it for anything, and it wasn’t doing any particular harm. I just didn’t want to be a part of that hideous monstrosity anymore.

Felt great.

With an estimated 175 million copies distributed in 2006, the IKEA catalogue is thought to have surpassed the Bible as the most published printed work in the world.

color averaged IKEA catalogue

Nobody is crying that people who used to go around selling ice to people do not have a job anymore because of the fridge.

Peter Sunde, Pirate Bay Admin on BBC’s Click programme (thanks AATW)

There is no money input into this system except venture capital. I remember a time, long long ago, when tech companies spent their own venture capital on each other, so revenues were all booked from the same small pool of money. Yeah, as I recall, it didn’t end well.

uncov on the “business” of Facebook applications

I don’t know which closely-guarded secret is more shocking—that the government has intercepted UFOs for more than 60 years or that Mitt Romney’s first name is actually Willard. Seriously. Willard.

Dan

I’m declaring email bankruptcy.

Jakob

For Supreme Commander, there currently exists no “adequate” CPU. As with its predecessor Total Annihilation back in 1997, faster processors just delay the onset of low frame rates and slow game speeds.

Dan’s Data. I first played TA when it came out in 1997 on Mark’s LAN between a Pentium 100 and a Pentium 200 MMX. It was downright painful, and you couldn’t run large games quickly until the era of the 450+ MHz Pentium III. SimCity 4 had the same problem, and might still.

I woke up at 5 AM and noticed that there had been a blackout and the clocks were blinking. Paranoid about waking up on time, I stumbled over and reset mine.

Then there was a second blackout, and I overslept anyway. Damn it.

mareen-awesome-love-the-fact-that-i-was-the

From webmarc:

I especially love that the implied serving suggestion is along side a latke with a dollop of sour cream. It’s like a treif double-whammy!

“Here Comes Another Bubble”, on Web 2.0.

Our condolences to IAC for losing Jakob.

Scott Heiferman at tonight’s NY Tech Meetup, held at IAC’s office (thanks, Anthony Volodkin)

Ben Gold:

Poor Marco. I know his is a picture of Jakob Lodwick, but on the right you can see some diet coke cans, a monitor, and a hand on half a keyboard. That’s where Marco works. He fucking stands up! I find this painful to comprehend. Apparently he doesn’t do it because he’s a masochist. He has some sort of back issue. Poor Marco, poor Marco.

Yes, I stand at work because of a herniated disc. My feet hurt for the first two weeks, then I got used to it. But I finished my back treatment and physical therapy months ago. I continue doing this not because I’m required to, but because it will reduce the chances of worsening the disc or having the most severe symptoms recur. It’s also generally nicer than sitting - I stay more alert, I burn more calories, I stay healthier, and my butt and thighs get more firm.

In other words: I choose to continue standing.

Don’t feel sorry for me. Try it. You might like it.

Andrea: “Morning coffee in a Tiffany blue cup. The guy who owns the cart says the cups set him apart. Smart!”

Genius.

Let’s have a geek-off. I’ll start.

I created individual EQ profiles for my 3 pairs of headphones in iTunes. When I have the wrong one set, I quickly notice and change it.

Tiff made me cookies! My favorite: toffee chocolate chip.

Missing the obvious

Ars Technica reports Apple’s big component order:

The fact that 13.3-inch panels are being ordered means that Apple will be launching something different soon. Smaller LED-backlit displays aren’t that much of a shock, but there was some discussion over whether Apple would use a 12-, 13-, or 14-inch display in the subnotebook. Now all we have to do is wait until January to put together the rest of the puzzle.

No, I’ll unravel the rest of the puzzle right now! Amazing!

Subnotebooks don’t use 13” displays. They’re usually much smaller, in the 8-10” range.

Apple already has a notebook that uses a 13” display.

The end.

There’s a weird dynamic when you mix unemployed people and working people in the same space.

Jakob

…and the perfect dessert this afternoon.

I had the perfect breakfast this morning…

toothpaste for dinner (thanks, Tiff)

Tiff’s really cold. Our apartment’s heat isn’t on very often because we don’t pay for it or control it. The management company figured out that they can turn off the heat between 10 PM and 10 AM and people will just assume they’re freezing because it’s night/morning.

kiyo:

You can get notes of any post by http://www.tumblr.com/dashboard/notes/{post.id} without authentication. (I don’t know if it was intended to be used) Check the notes of the post id 1. It’s an opportunity of some interesting application.

That won’t work later today. Sorry.

Music begins as sacred noise, the accompaniment to sacrificial ritual, a bacchanalian clamor in whose creation everybody participates. The next stage is the age of “representation,” where music making is the preserve of specialists (composers, professional musicians), and takes place at special events that have a symbolic, socially stabilizing function. The modern age is characterized by “repetition”: the mass-mediated circulation of musical commodities (records). Reified as a product, tarnished by everyday currency, and “stockpiled” by isolated collectors, music loses its magical aura. Individuals in the twentieth century are exposed to more music in a month than someone in the seventeenth century heard in a lifetime, but its meaning is increasingly impoverished.

Simon Reynolds’ Generation Ecstasy, page 46. (thanks, Alex)

Out of love with Starbucks

After going with people in the office every day at 2:00 for many months, I’ve decided that I don’t like Starbucks anymore.

I realized that I enjoyed the trip more than the product. Fundamentally, there’s nothing that I want to order there.

Back to free, excellent half-cups of afternoon coffee in the office.

Don’t miss Joel’s speech at Yale

Great speech about careers in software development, told around Joel’s experience.

From part 2, which is as far as I’ve read so far:

No matter how critical it was for Viacom to get this internet thing right, when it came time to assign people to desks, the in-house programmers were stuck with 3 people per cubicle in a dark part of the office with no line-of-sight to a window, and the “producers,” I don’t know what they did exactly but they were sort of the equivalent of Turtle on Entourage, the producers had their own big windowed offices overlooking the Hudson River. Once at a Viacom Christmas party I was introduced to the executive in charge of interactive strategy or something. A very lofty position. He said something vague and inept about how interactivity was very important. It was the future. It convinced me that he had no flipping idea whatsoever what it was that was happening and what the internet meant or what I did as a programmer, and he was a little bit scared of it all, but who cares, because he’s making 2 million dollars a year and I’m just a typist or “HTML operator” or whatever it is that I did, how hard can it be, his teenage daughter can do that.

Staying at home and Tumbling is the most productive way to waste time I’ve ever encountered.

Jakob Lodwick

I honestly can’t tell whether this is spam.

(thanks, evie)

Is there a more audible cereal than Grape Nuts?

Fred ordered this cardboard wall for the office, then went to L.A. for a week, leaving us to wonder where the heck it’s supposed to go.

In response to Bill Israel: “To other Tumblrs: where do you tumble?”

Here.

I’m un-following anyone else who posts about Jakob Lodwick and Julia Allison’s relationship today. Damn, people. It’s the internet. We don’t care.

Click for a slightly bigger version. (thanks, Mareen)

Jakob beat me to rach’s “anamorphic cup by ross mcbride”.

my name is dalas verdugo, all lowercase, as decreed by the good state of South Carolina. Legal papers available upon request.

dalas (thanks Told or Known)

Made the perfect egg cream tonight.

From a dollar store. Funny, yet sad. Someone’s actually going to buy and eat that.

I do not need an aggregator of my online presence because it makes no sense.

Alex Iskold, who narrowly escaped being unfollowed, with What I want my Tumblr to be

Bunny suicides (thanks Travors) - Click through and read them. What a wonderful way to spend a Sunday afternoon!

Low light photography tips

Bijan Sabet asks:

There is a street in our town where all of the homes have a bazillion xmas lights. I thought that would be good practice. […] I cranked up the ISO to 1600 which is the max on my RebelXT. I had the f/stop at 9. […] What else could I have done (minus a tripod which I’ll never carry).

You need to let in enough light to expose the sensor enough to produce a good image without a lot of noise. Sensors work as light collection devices: the longer the shutter is open, the more light gets in, and the sensor accumulates enough photons at each pixel to discern the different colors and brightness levels of your image.

Understanding what ISO 1600 and f/9 mean will answer this question for you.

ISO 100 is the baseline for sensitivity, which has an inversely proportional relationship to the dynamic range of your image (the difference between black and white). At ISO 100, the sensor uses its full range. At ISO 200, it only uses the bottom half, so what’s considered “brightest white” is the equivalent of half-brightness at ISO 100. The result is that the sensor can capture the image in half of the time (after accumulating half of the photons) as it would at ISO 100. Unfortunately, by reducing the sensor’s range, you also increase noise and decrease color fidelity and contrast. You should always use the lowest ISO number possible to achieve the shot-speed you need. And as a general guideline, I only go to ISO 800 on my XTi if I’m desperate, and I never use 1600 because it’s unacceptably noisy and “flat” in color.

The aperture (“f-stop”) number, f/9 in your case, expresses the diameter of the iris in your camera as the bottom half of a fraction: f/9 is short for 1/9, f/2.8 is 1/2.8, etc. See Wikipedia’s diagram. Because it’s a fraction, lower numbers mean more light. And because this is expressing the diameter for a circle, and the amount of light is determined by the area of that circle, f/2.8 is twice as much light as f/4. (There’s also an important focal depth-of-field relationship, but we’ll talk about that in a future post. Basically, f/2.8’s focal plane is much shallower than f/9’s.)

The challenge of night photography is that you either need a long exposure (with a tripod, which you didn’t have at the time) or you need to let in a lot of light. By setting your aperture to f/9, you severely restricted the amount of light that came in — so you had to crank up the ISO to compensate. As long as the depth of field is big enough, which I think it would have been for that shot, there’s no reason for you to narrow the aperture (raise the number) any more than necessary from your lens’ widest of f/2.8, which lets in 10 times as much light as f/9 and would allow you to drop the ISO to a more reasonable level.

If the depth of field is enough, you can even do better than that. No Canon zoom lens is “faster” (supports a wider aperture and therefore allows faster shots) than f/2.8, but there are plenty of faster primes (lenses that are fixed at a certain length and do not zoom — you zoom with your feet). The most common and affordable of these is the “Thrifty Fifty”: the 50mm f/1.8, which is a steal at about $75. If you’re serious about it and aren’t as concerned with the price, consider splurging for the $300 f/1.4 USM version, which not only lets in almost twice as much light, but is much better built, has a much faster autofocus motor, and is much easier to manually focus. Keep in mind that f/1.4 is four times as much light as f/2.8, and 41 times as much light as f/9!

Ultimately, though, even the fastest lens won’t be better for night photography than a $20 tripod.

Having a catch-all email address is interesting. I have no idea who was actually supposed to receive this.

Today’s xkcd: Couple

I am currently, yet again, being shut down. I am the only person I know, who can keep something up, creatively, for more than one attempt. Every person I have worked with creatively, with very few exceptions, has given. Yet I keep on going. Whether they get sick of it, burn out quickly, run out of money, or some other reasons… they give up. I, however, continue to burn on the imaginary fuel that flows within my body. Why can I not find a person like this to work with creatively?

Ian Jenkins

Ida at the Central Park Zoo — Aneilia

Jakob Lodwick’s current project:

My apartment. […] Phase two is buying things like rugs and lamps so it feels like I live in a home. So it feels like I’ve lived here for six months, not six hours.

The first time Tiff visited my Pittsburgh apartment, she had a similar reaction:

“It looks like you’re a squatter. Like you just put all of your stuff down and started sleeping here.”

She made me buy things that only women know about, such as curtains, hangers, and wall decorations.

I’ve finally realized that I’m not qualified to create my own website layouts.

me-talking-about-those-christmas-family

Office Troll. Cast includes Carrie, David, Marc, Todd, Alex, Steve Nelson (troll), Justin Johnson (camera), and me.

Stroke 9: Latest Disaster. My most-played song in iTunes, with 82 plays.

I actually haven’t heard it in a while. I just went on an obsessive kick with this album, Rip It Off, for an entire year. It’s a great album.

Bijan on MacWorld

Bijan Sabet:

What I want is a new, ultra-thin MacBook Pro. Not a stripped down MacBook. I want a kick-ass super thin MacBook Pro that includes:
  • flash based hdd. 80 gigs or more
  • 6+ hour battery life (need to make a cross country flight)
  • Long WiFi range
  • Built in EVDO modem (rev A)
  • ability to drive an Apple 30” monitor
  • ability to have 8 gigs of RAM
  • 12 or 13” monitor
  • express card slot

Well, they don’t make 80 GB SSDs, but you can see that the pricing would be prohibitive. 64 GB for $1,700 or 128 GB for $4,000.

You can’t get an ExpressCard slot, a 6-hour battery, and a discrete graphics chip (required to drive the 30”) in a super-thin laptop at any cost. There just isn’t enough room for the required parts — especially the battery.

8 GB of RAM is also a challenge, since the largest DDR2 SO-DIMMs on the market are only 2 GB, so you’d need to somehow fit 4 RAM slots in there. But that’s irrelevant, since Intel doesn’t currently make any mobile chipsets that can address more than Santa Rosa’s 4 GB limit.

But if you could somehow cram all of these required (and some imaginary) parts into a laptop with a 12-13” screen, it would be twice as thick as a MacBook and cost $4,000-6,500, depending on the SSD capacity.

Merry Christmas! (Sorry for crushing your dreams.)

What to do with spare change

  1. Accumulate it for a while in a bowl. (Or in my case, my junk drawer at work.)
  2. When the bowl overflows, bring it to a CoinStar machine. There’s probably one at your grocery store. They don’t take a fee if you choose to get your money as an Amazon gift certificate. Choose that.
  3. Spend it on something irresponsible but fun at Amazon, like a game or an iPod Shuffle.

Last time I did this, I had about $50 and got Supreme Commander.

I just did it again tonight and made $81. No ideas yet, but it’ll be something fun!

Thrill of the Road: Episode 3. This excellent video podcast by some friends of mine just keeps getting better. Check it out.

At about 12 minutes per episode, this is great for iPhones and video iPods. Subscribe in iTunes.

The Meth Minute 39: Watermelon Nights. Tiff: “Please Dan, make T-shirts.”

I have no idea what just happened, but I loved it.

Dear cable video networks and producers

I’m currently paying Cablevision almost $80/month for, essentially, this:

This is stupid. I’m on the verge of canceling my cable service because it’s stupid to pay that much money for the little use I get out of it. Plus, the Cablevision DVR is buggy and awful, and I hate even being inconvenienced by fast-forwarding through commercials (yet alone watching them if I’m unfortunate enough to be watching a live show).

I’m happy to pay to receive your content - but not $80/month for the other 200 channels I never watch. I’m even willing to pay your slightly high $2/show iTunes pricing for the convenience of portable, commercial-free shows (although they’re not cross-platform, and the resolution could be better).

But the selection of cable-network shows available on iTunes is terrible. It costs nearly nothing to distribute an already-produced show on iTunes. You’d even make money from it. Probably more than if I watch it on cable.

Get some deals together with Apple and get your shows up there!

Do websites need to look exactly the same in every browser?

I don’t think it’s that clear-cut.

If you have a graphically complex layout that depends on pixel-perfect alignment of images between different blocks, for example, it’s incredibly important that it looks exactly the same in every browser because it looks like a bug if it doesn’t.

But if IE renders your column 15 pixels wider than Firefox and Safari doesn’t support the background color on your drop-down select boxes, will anyone notice except you? Does anything else break? If not, who cares?

The best web designs aren’t huge, pixel-perfect monstrosities based on some insane PSD designed by someone who doesn’t know what implementation will require. They’re simple, flowing, and resilient. They won’t break if the content-length changes and the right column is longer than the left. They won’t break when someone over age 40 views the site and magnifies the text to 150% because they can’t read your trendy 11px Verdana. And they certainly won’t break if IE slips a few pixels into the margin somewhere.

Instead of wasting hours upon hours to hammer out every little browser difference in an overly complex design, just design it to accommodate browser differences in the first place.

Why anyone would want this on their tumblelog is beyond me.

So… this “analyst” is basically getting paid to speculate that Apple will update some of their hardware next year?

Comment on 2nd-gen iPhone, Apple TV revision in 2008

Carrie is THE busiest person in the office. Seriously. — webmarc (I filmed it! My first attempt at videography.)

What an idiot. Why are idiots such complete and utter idiots? Idiot.

Travors

Tiff and I got a little rosemary Christmas “tree”. It’s a rosemary bush in the shape of a tree. That way, after Christmas, we can kill it and make chicken.

Decorated with tiny LEDs and Buddy Christ.

Paul’s keeping busy at work.

I will say that if you are impressed by the “touch features” in the iPhone, you’ll be blown away by what’s coming in Windows 7.

a Microsoft Tablet PC test engineer (thanks, John). Yeah, I can’t wait to see that.

I’m feeling overwhelmed with the Internet wanting me to share things.

Stumblepeach on 22books

The success gave him a taste for using the Internet to sell things. You know, actual things, not just advertising.

Connected Ventures: Zach Klein not the man for the MySpace redesign

“It is no small accomplishment of civilization that a once life-threatening storm could become a beautiful and peaceful backdrop to a relaxing evening; and that a fire, once a necessary element of survival, could become a luxury simply to be enjoyed.” -Bryan Larsen (thanks, Jakob)

It’s 90’s Friday. Here’s Corduroy by Pearl Jam, an infectious, powerful song that gets stuck in my head for days. Buy the album and get it stuck in yours, too.

When I hear about a tragedy, and there is something remotely funny about the event, that’s the part that gets my attention. If a guy dressed in a bunny outfit kills a forest ranger, I can’t focus on the tragedy part.

The Dilbert Blog: The Ultimate Response

I recently had to customize a WordPress template. Now I know why everyone loves the Tumblr template language.

Numblr’s Christmas theme. We should require all custom themes to include a Paintbrush drawing.

STEVE JOBS AT HOME IN 1982 — “This was a very typical time. I was single. All you needed was a cup of tea, a light, and your stereo, you know, and that’s what I had.” (from Courtney via Jakob)

Tumblr language and the Broken Window theory

Jakob Lodwick:

It just occurred to me how civil the language is on Tumblr, in total absence of the FCC or any other regulating body. I rarely use vulgar language on here (relative to how often the words pop into my head!).

For me, it’s because I take pride in my tumblelog as a high-quality representation of myself and my interests. I don’t want to deface something I take pride in. I try to avoid swearing in Marco.org articles for the same reason (with one big exception — note the date).

Maybe it’s related to the broken-window theory, where being in nice surroundings encourages you to keep them nice, while you don’t give a second thought to making a bad environment worse (littering in a dump, peeing on the side of the football house during a keg party in college).

That, by the way, is roughly how I got into photography. Being extremely impressed with OS X when I switched in 2004, I saw my relatively crappy photos on the slideshow screensaver and thought, “I should really take some nicer photos to put there.”

IRC, online game chat, and most forums are such dumps that it’s easy to dump more swearing, hate, and personal attacks into them. But Tumblr is nice and doesn’t seem appropriate to vandalize.

If you think the rest of Internet needs net neutrality laws, that’s nothing compared with the backward-facing worldview of the established mobile carriers. You guys aren’t going to last long at this rate, and when it is all said and done no one is going to look back and longingly pine for the days of a handful of restricted carriers running closed networks.

DeWitt Clinton on T-Mobile blocking Twitter messages (thanks, John). Maybe we should change our slogan to “Tumblr: Not Yet Blocked By T-Mobile!” In related news, I predict a sharp iPhone-unlocking decrease in the U.S.

andreaallen:

In all seriousness, watching middle-aged couples dancing is my favorite type of people watching. Not because it’ funny, but because i

This post’s abrupt end, explained here, really scared me. I assumed it was a Tumblr bug, and it would probably be my fault.

I don’t know what’s funniest about this:

Throughout my day of errands, I kept coming back to my parking lot and watching this giant pointy ice sheet slowly slide off of this giant pointy car.

If you’re in our office bathroom at just the right time in the afternoon, only in the winter, you get this awesome creepy lighting.

Comparison of a regular yellowish CFL (left) and a 5500k version (right).

The 5500k is much closer to the whiteness of daylight, but compared to all of my other yellow lights, it looks extremely blue. It only looks normal and white when it’s the only light I can immediately see. (I’m glad I didn’t try to get the 6500k version. That would be far too blue in here.)

Maybe I just need to replace all of my bulbs with 5500s to trick me into thinking that winter is sunny and it’s not getting dark at 4:45 PM.

This has not been nice so far.

In addition to dumping a huge layer of ice and slush all over everything, the 55 MPH winds keep setting off people’s stupid car alarms.

That was the revelation. You’re an amateur developer until you realize that everything you write sucks. YOU are the Coding Horror.

Jeff Atwood in On the Meaning of “Coding Horror” (thanks, Bill)

Another random email. I don’t even know how I got this one from a *@marco.org catch-all. Highlights:

This was our view of the giant rain/wind/ice/slush storm today.

I installed this under-cabinet fluorescent light this weekend. Love it. It dramatically improves the visibility of stuff on the counter (which was previously shadowed when standing in front of it) and boosts the overall light in the kitchen.

Recommended.

When you order from Nuts Online (highly recommended, especially for cashews and pistachios), you can optionally include a gift message inside a selection of nut-themed holiday cards including this one.

Seasonal music: Eve 6’s cover of First Noel.

Our competitors tend to put the cross hairs on where we are now, and by the time they come up with a product that tries to match where we are now, we’re beyond them.

Greg Joswiak, Apple marketing

A lesson in scalability

Want to design your web application for scalability?

Host it at Rackspace, where it’s impossible to get a webserver for less than $800/month and bandwidth costs $2/GB… and that’s the rate for contracted plans, not overages.

You’ll make your app efficient.

Clearly, good judgment should be the most important quality in a president. But how often do you hear someone say that a candidate “has good judgment”?

The Dilbert Blog: Good Judgment

Waste

Many people post the same content in multiple places. For example, people frequently use Tumblr’s feed-import feature to copy Flickr photos, Delicious links, and Twitter messages to Tumblr. Often they’ll try to import entire blog posts, copied verbatim from their WordPress blogs.

Many applications and websites now boast the ability to simultaneously “blast” content to Tumblr, Twitter, Jaiku, Pownce, Facebook, MySpace, Orkut, IM networks, and whatever’s new this week.

It’s incredibly wasteful.

What happens to responses? Where does Google point? What if you need to edit or delete something you’ve broadcast to different sites?

Which site is “yours”? If you spew data all over the internet with no cohesion, do you have any particular online identity?

And what’s in it for the hosting sites if you’re blindly shoving data through their APIs and making them host your duplicated content indefinitely without really being a user of theirs?

I hope it’s a fad.

Additionally, “blast” is inappropriate for a service that sends multiple messages at the same time unless there is something explosive in the manner these messages are propelled. You may use the word “squirt.” Granted, “squirt” sounds kind of lame, but your service probably isn’t that hot either.

Dan on “blast” abuse

Don’t underprice your software in an attempt to appeal to cheapskates.

Daring Fireball: Pinprick

Weezer’s Christmas Song, an old unreleased B-side. It’s just as catchy and depressing as you’d expect from the time it was written: shortly after Pinkerton.

Dan Meth, 30 years too late

Board meeting. I convinced David to switch from doughnuts to bagels.

Dan’s post has just taught me that Disney sells Old Yeller dog food.

Doesn’t it seem like a bad idea to market dog food, containing some vague meat-based ingredients, with the name of a famously dead dog?

Me and the bee (photo by Paul, bee by Tiff)

The story of Jakob Lodwick’s green-striped hoodie

Kill the panda

I don’t know why pandas are always the representatives for movements to save endangered species.

Pandas absolutely suck at living.

They can’t eat:

Despite its taxonomic classification as a carnivore, the panda has a diet that is primarily herbivorous, which consists almost exclusively of bamboo. However, pandas still have the digestive system of a carnivore and do not have the ability to digest cellulose efficiently, and thus derive little energy and little protein from consumption of bamboo. The average Giant Panda eats as much as 20 to 30 pounds of bamboo shoots a day. Because pandas consume a diet low in nutrition, it is important that they keep their digestive tract full.

Right. Low in nutrition, because bamboo is nutritionally almost worthless. And they won’t eat anything else, even in forests full of other plants and animals.

They can’t reproduce:

A female panda may have 2-3 cubs in a lifetime, on average. […] Since baby pandas are born very small and helpless, they need the mother’s undivided attention, so she is able to care for only one of her cubs. She usually abandons one of her cubs, and it dies soon after birth. […] The cubs are able to eat small quantities of bamboo after six months, though mother’s milk remains the primary food source for most of the first year.

And the mother’s milk is almost useless because bamboo is very low in nutrients.

Pandas are the perfect example of natural selection working perfectly. They suck at living, and should naturally go extinct. Why are we interfering?

Activists for protecting endangered species should pick a better animal to represent their cause — one that’s actually supposed to continue living.

Disneyland announces plans to close the “It’s a Small World” attraction to deepen its water channel after the ride’s boats start getting stuck under loads of heavy passengers. Employees ask larger passengers to disembark—and compensate them with coupons for free food.

Yahoo News (thanks, Vertigo)

The 20” aluminum iMac has a crappy LCD

Do a quick review of Wikipedia’s guide to LCD types.

Looks like you’re FAR better off spending the extra $300 for the 24”. In addition to the massive screen real estate, the quality difference is huge.

Update: The pointy ice sheet on the pointy car is still there tonight, having slid further down. The right point has broken off, but the rest is intact.

irc.freenode.net #tumblrs

Oxford Health’s website showed this incredibly professional error screen. I didn’t feel like changing my “expired” password, so I tried entering the same one again. It’s smarter than that, but not by much — I just capitalized the first letter and it accepted that.

Mareen:

Cookie Monster: We are crazy bakers, Vivs and I. See

Perfectly captures the holiday spirit: making and eating junk food!

An afternoon snack: coffee and butter cookies.

Battling with Justin O.

david-one-of-the-girls-was-a-writer-shes-not

Garfield Minus Garfield

Who would have guessed that when you remove Garfield from the Garfield comic strips, the result is an even better comic strip about schizophrenia, bipolor disorder, and the empty desperation of modern life? Friends, meet Jon Arbuckle. Let’s laugh and learn with him on a journey deep into the tortured mind of an isolated young everyman as he fights a losing battle against methamphetamine addiction in a quiet American suburb.

Thanks, Travors.

I thought my sick day today would suck. (Last time I took a sick day, I missed Kevin Rose’s visit to my office.) Then I saw this from eatsleepdraw:

made this especially for Katie and Marco. hope you guys are feeling better.

I’m honored. Thanks!

Shopping for men

Google Maps: Fix your location. This is awesome for the sad birthday dramatization.

Marc:

Jakob and David determining if Jakob’s pants are of the houndstooth variety. Note the diagram David is creating.

David:

They totally were.

Screw the pants, is that an envelope on my keyboard? I got mail I never get mail! I always miss the good stuff when I’m out sick!

ARGH!

Amazing photo by Tricia Ward.

Mark discovers California

Tumblelogging is defined by it’s format: specific types of posts for different media and information, not it’s limited entry length.

Cameron gets it. (thanks, Bill)

Final pointy update! In case you missed the back story:

Today was warm enough (in the 40s F) to melt a lot of the snow, and there’s absolutely no trace of the ice sheet anywhere on the car. But it’s in the same spot, and there’s this giant pile of snow and ice behind it, so it’s pretty clear that it slid off and shattered sometime today.

The end!

That’s the cutest thing ever. The FogBugz kiwi logo falls asleep when you use it at night.

Jakob:

Amanda models monsterhoodies, which are coming soon. Photo by Justin Ouellette.

Great photo of a great hoodie design.

Macro shot of Jakob’s arguably houndstooth pants. They’re still arguing about it. To people who actually know stuff about fashion and fabrics: Is that houndstooth?

Toldorknown’s attempt at making these turned out like this:

Something went horribly, horribly wrong.

Factors involved:

  • Thanks to holiday marketing gone mad, normal pretzels weren’t available, only holiday shapes. Hence the oddly shaped antlers.
  • We greatly underestimated the coefficient of expansion of peanut butter cookie dough.
  • I didn’t think about hiding the “M” on the M & Ms until it was too late. Cover story created: those with the “M” were out clubbing last night, and that’s where bouncers stamp reindeer since they don’t have hands.

They were yummy, though. So mission accomplished.

Inappropriate gifts

Your Monkey Called:

Scrambling to find a replacement Christmas present; my coworkers inform me that a 12-month Curves membership is apparently “insensitive”.

Oh wow. Yes. Even if she wants to join a gym, do not give it as a gift. Especially that one, which is specifically marketed as weight loss instead of muscle-building or sports training, leaving absolutely no ambiguity. You can offer to pay for her membership later, at least a week after Christmas, but that’s not a gift — that’s just something nice you can do separately.

Other inappropriate gifts to get your girlfriend/fiance/wife:

A gift says, “I think you should have this.” Think of the messages these send:

And your original idea:

Tiff was a chocolate-pretzel factory last night.

Vote for Tumblr in The Crunchies

Marc LaFountain:

If you love Tumblr do something about it! Vote for Tumblr as the Best Startup of 2007 in The Crunchies!

Or use this more direct link to the vote page.

(This is probably the only time you’ll ever see a TechCrunch link on my site, and I might change my mind later and delete it. I’m using rel=nofollow, at least. This feels dirty.)

Told or Known gave my avatar a creepiness award, so I figured I’d give some back story.

It’s called Happyland. I didn’t make it, but can’t find a source link. It was originally from a Something Awful Forums thread, but I think this is actually a pencil/crayon drawing of the original (that I also can’t find), which was done in MS Paint.

See the big version on Flickr.

The Holiday Sweater Song (HD version), by our officemate, Justin Johnson. So this is what they’ve been working on. Awesome.

Tiff burned the praline mixture and had to pour it out into this jar to contain it. That’s boiling, molten sugar.

I’m so glad I had Tiff’s macro lens on the camera when this happened so I could take this (…right after I ran to put a box fan in the window to exhaust the apartment so the smoke alarm wouldn’t go off.).

Update: She didn’t “burn” it - she just cooked it past the “praline” phase and well into the “dark caramel” phase (up to 350 degrees). My mistake.

Right before the not-burn, this was constructed from the molten sugar by dripping a blob of it in cold water. This step can be avoided if I buy Tiff a candy thermometer. But I might make her do this anyway for the great macro photos.

What a hack. Only in CVS.

Going upstate for the week. No internet connection, no cellular reception. Posting, obviously, will be sporadic at best.

Have a great week!

Liberty itself has allowed the American public to freely choose passivity, illusion, and incompetence.

Jim Kunstler (thanks, AZspot)

Kendra:

Downtown Columbus, Ohio. As Marco said, “A cool city with no reason to go there whatsoever.” Very True.

I grew up in Columbus, and it’s a great city to live in: safe neighborhoods, plenty of office jobs, average climate (with both hot and cold extremes, for fans of either), great highways, excellent public schools, decent salaries, and very reasonably priced houses.

But there’s nothing noteworthy about Columbus. Nobody ever goes there unless they’re visiting someone who lives there or going to OSU.

That said, it’s a great place to settle down and raise a family, and if Columbus satisfies your needs, I highly recommend it.

Caught up on my Tumblr Dashboard’s pages 32-122 in the diner over 2 hours, fueled by coffee, a bagel, and my MacBook’s awesome battery life (only down to 50%!).

Going back to vacation now. Back soon.

Last March, the wise men who run Circuit City came up with the brilliant idea of laying off their more senior salespeople, who get $14-$15 an hour, and replacing them with new hires who get around $9 an hour. It turns out that this move was not very good for business. One of the reasons that people go to a store like Circuit City, rather than buying things on the Internet, is that they want to be able to talk to a knowledgeable salesperson. Since Circuit City had laid off their knowledgeable salespeople, there was little reason to shop there.

Circuit City executives ran the company into the ground and are getting rewarded handsomely (thanks, John). Retail is awful for many reasons, but this is one of the biggest.

How to pay bills online

  1. Run out of checks.
  2. Receive bills in the mail.

That made me figure it out pretty quickly.

Stuff is an extremely illiquid asset. Unless you have some plan for selling that valuable thing you got so cheaply, what difference does it make what it’s “worth?” The only way you’re ever going to extract any value from it is to use it. And if you don’t have any immediate use for it, you probably never will.

Paul Graham: Stuff (thanks, peroty)

They are selling death on little wheels.

Mareen on an airplane cigarette vending cart (photo). I had no idea these existed. You can’t smoke on any U.S. planes. Leave it to those crazy Germans.

Back to music and coffee

I’m back from my various holiday trips now. I probably could have taken today off, but being back is actually a huge relief.

I get bored of vacation after a day or two. While this is sadly unusual, I love what I do, and I don’t enjoy being away from it for very long.

Today, even though the office is mostly closed and hardly anyone is here, I’m standing at work, drinking coffee, and listening to great music while I work on something interesting, challenging, and fulfilling.

“Vacation”, to me, is like sleep: it’s nice when my body needs it, but I like to finish it in a reasonable amount of time so I can get back into my world.

Got Me Wrong, from Alice in Chains: MTV Unplugged. Every self-respecting 90’s music fan knows the Nirvana MTV Unplugged album, but most (myself included) spent that decade (and much of this one) without ever hearing the also-awesome Alice in Chains version. Strongly recommended.

My life is in teaching. To have a chance do that with a world audience is just wonderful.

Gilbert Strang, an MIT professor of a free online video class, in Wired (thanks, Stumblng Tumblr)

No matter that a deadly sharp can be fashioned from virtually anything found on a plane, be it a broken wine bottle or a snapped-off length of plastic, we are content wasting billions of taxpayer dollars and untold hours of labor in a delusional attempt to thwart an attack that has already happened, asked to queue for absurd lengths of time, subject to embarrassing pat-downs and loss of our belongings.

Patrick Smith, “The Airport Security Follies” (thanks, Merlin)

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