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Today's Tumblr: The Best of NanoWrimo

Precious nuggets of schadenfreude from the forums of National Novel Writing Month. The Best of NaNoWriMo

October 30, 2012

Father of the year makes prosthetic witch face for his 11-year-old daughter

Witch Prosthetic for my 11-Year-Old Daughter

October 27, 2012

This is a tough and fair review of Microsoft's new Surface tablet

An alternate universe – Marco.org
The diagonally-oriented camera is strange. In the one orientation it’s optimized for, it’s slightly annoying. In any other orientation, it’s almost intolerable. If I brought home a Surface and didn’t know this was a design decision, I might assume the camera was broken and return it. The maps app is very sluggish and doesn’t use vector graphics, making it feel old. iOS is so responsive and so liberal with animations that it has a very tactile feel, and rather than thinking “tap this button to open” or “swipe across this box to share”, conceptually, you just move the things on the screen with your fingers. The distinction seems subtle, but it’s important. Every action on the Surface feels deliberate. It feels like you’re using a computer. The standard gestures don’t help, requiring many in-from-the-edge swipes that not only aren’t discoverable but also frequently conflict with scrolling. My gestures often didn’t work, and it wasn’t clear whether there just wasn’t a hidden context menu at that moment or I just screwed up the swipe. Most of the animations also aren’t helpful, with minimal spatial consistency. Many animations seem arbitrary, not hinting at anything behaviorally useful. Microsoft has applied animations and gestures in Windows 8 about as effectively as they applied color in Windows XP and transparency in Windows Vista: they knew that Apple had been successful with these features, so they made a checklist and just applied them haphazardly. “Apple does animations, so now we do animations! Apple does gestures, so now we have gestures!” . . . The Surface is partially for Microsoft’s world of denial: the world in which this store contains no elephants and Microsoft invented the silver store with the glass front and the glowing logo and blue shirts and white lanyards and these table layouts and the modern tablet and its magnetic power cable. In that world, this is a groundbreaking new tablet that you can finally use at work and leave your big creaky plastic Dell laptop behind when you go to the conference room to have a conference call on the starfish phone with all of the wires and dysfunctional communication. . . .

October 26, 2012

Eliminating the Worthington Jet (don't worry; this ends up being about poop)

Poop Splash Elimination - Smarter Every Day 22 - YouTube...

October 23, 2012

Tunlr: A free method to watch streaming content from other countries

tunlr.net

October 22, 2012

A license plate fram that disables traffic cameras

noPhoto, License Plate Frame That Thwarts Traffic Cameras

October 14, 2012

The Do Not Track movement is coming under massive attack from advertisers and Republicans

So far the people that makes the browsers are on the consumers' side. After all, if one browser shares your info with advertisers and another doesn't, which would you use? Do-Not-Track Movement Is Drawing Advertisers’ Fire - NYTimes.com
The advent of Do Not Track threatens the barter system wherein consumers allow sites and third-party ad networks to collect information about their online activities in exchange for open access to maps, e-mail, games, music, social networks and whatnot. Marketers have been fighting to preserve this arrangement, saying that collecting consumer data powers effective advertising tailored to a user’s tastes. In turn, according to this argument, those tailored ads enable smaller sites to thrive and provide rich content. “If we do away with this relevant advertising, we are going to make the Internet less diverse, less economically successful, and frankly, less interesting,” says Mike Zaneis, the general counsel for the Interactive Advertising Bureau, an industry group. But privacy advocates argue that in a digital ecosystem where there may be dozens of third-party entities on an individual Web page, compiling and storing information about what a user reads, searches for, clicks on or buys, consumers should understand data mining’s potential costs to them and have the ability to opt out. “If you are looking up the word ‘cancer’ ” on a health site, says Dan Auerbach, a staff technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights group in San Francisco, “there’s a high probability that you have cancer or are interested in that. This is the sort of data that can be collected.” He adds: “Consumers absolutely have a right to know how their information is being used and to opt out of having their information used in ways they don’t like.” But the two sides seem to have reached an impasse. When the W3C met recently in Amsterdam to hammer out Do Not Track standards, as my colleague Kevin J. O’Brien reported in an article earlier this month, advertising industry executives and privacy advocates accused each other of trying to stymie the process.