Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Digital Clock. Dancing Girls. Ok.

I found this screensaver that consists of, uh, a digital clock alternating with dancing Japanese girls. And some breezy samba music as well. Don't think too hard about this one. It is what it is.

Monday, April 28, 2008

A Rare Stockyards Artifact

When I moved to the near south side of Chicago, right away I wanted to find out where the Union Stockyards used to be. This historically famous place is now just acres after lonely industrial acres of bottling plants and truck storage facilities (see this Google map), with the exception of the limestone gateway still standing in its original location.

I was surprised to stumble across this old tourist's pamphlet from 1903 which gives an interesting glimpse into what passed for tourism at one time. In its heyday, seeing the assembly line slaughtering of animals at the Yards was a "must" for any visitor to Chicago.

Thanks to Sharon Williams' Chicago History blog, where I found this.

iPodia - iPhone-optimized WikiPedia

I just replaced the Wikipedia Safari link on my iPhone with a link to iPodia. It will bring up a WikiPedia gateway that renders everything in iPhone-friendly output (see the pic of the home page). It's not perfect...it loads kind of slow and it interprets input a little differently than the real Wikipedia...but definitely very useful.

Another one I just found is Wapedia.

While I was searching for this, I also found an iPhone app called Geopedia that will use the internal GPS to bring up Wikipedia references to items that are currently geographically close to you.

SpyPig...find out if your email has been read

I have two friends who have a strange pathology when it comes to email. They initiate emails but seldom reply. I'll get a friendly, chatty email out of the blue after I haven't heard for months, but if I reply to it, never a followup. Usually I'm not the type of person who wants to track an email receipt (as you can do in Outlook with other people on the same Exchange server), but with these two characters, I'd like to know if they're reading what I send them.

In comes the free service SpyPig. I just tested it and it works; it will let you know when the recipient has opened your email. It works the same way as "magic pixels" are used by ad agencies to see how many impressions their ads are getting: you paste in code for an image (which can be invisible if you like) that is hosted by SpyPig. When the reader opens the email and the image is requested from SpyPig, SpyPig sends you an email that your email was opened. It's a bit of a hassle, in that you have to fill out a form for each email you need to send; but when you really need to know if that extra-important email has been read, it's worth it. Of course, if the recipient happens to read it in a text-only email client, it probably won't work, but that's probably rare these days.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Musical Roller Coaster

An animation that takes a roller coaster through a musical score, with symphonic music: http://www.diretodoforno.com.br/zko-roller-coaster. It appears to be an advertisement for a Chamber Orchestra in Zurich (Zürcher Kammer Orchester), produced by an ad agency called Euro RSCG Zurique. It would have been better if the notation actually reflected the music the whole time, but you can't have it all.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Becoming a Google convert

I've just "got religion" on Google docs, and I think I'm going to go whole hog into google photos, google spreadsheets and blogspot now. I am dead sick of the hassle it has been to manage my own webserver & Moveable Type server for my blogs OnTheCode, Atom Smashing, White Hot Thing, and Unsuspecting Air Molecules. I'm turning it over to Google, and here's my first post!