Before Solving a Problem, Make Sure You’ve Got the Right Problem

Some smart thinking from Tim O’Reilly about SOPA

In my experience at OReilly, the losses due to piracy are far outweighed by the benefits of the free flow of information, which makes the world richer, and develops new markets for legitimate content. Most of the people who are downloading unauthorized copies of OReilly books would never have paid us for them anyway; meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of others are buying content from us, many of them in countries that we were never able to do business with when our products were not available in digital form.

via Tim OReilly – Google+ – Before Solving a Problem, Make Sure Youve Got the Right….

‘Misdirection, Doublespeak, Non-Answers, and Straight Up Bad Decisions’

They have really great projects that they start, but they seem to lack on idea of what the use case is, or the follow through needed to make them a success. Search+ seems like one of those things that the engineers pushed through without thinking about the ramifications.

I would argue that this was a decision made by the marketing department, and not by the engineers. If Google was being run my engineers, it might still look like this.

via ‘Misdirection, Doublespeak, Non-Answers, and Straight Up Bad Decisions’ — The Brooks Review.

When Google comes calling…

Its almost never about technology. Many companies that are built on tech believe that its the tech that enabled them to succeed. This is almost never true I know, Im biased. Its marketing and stories and connection and tribes and commitment and structure that build businesses. The technology is essential, but its not nearly enough.

via Seths Blog: When Google comes calling….

YouTube Embederrator

Needed a simple WordPress function to provide a way to build a YouTube video embed. This is a nice little trick. All you need to do is add a custom field that has a key of Big_Video and the value of the ID of the YouTube video.

[php]
function js_youtube_embed($width,$height) {
global $wp_query;
$big_video = get_post_custom_values(‘Big_Video’);
?>
<iframe width="<?php echo $width; ?>" height="<?php echo $height; ?>" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/<?php echo $big_video[0]; ?>?showinfo=0&hd=1" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
<?php } ?>
[/php]

Example, if this is your YouTube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1p6A7X64Qg, you would use C1p6A7X64Qg as the value.

In you template, the function would look like this:

[php]
js_youtube_embed(‘940’, ‘528’);
[/php]

The two values are the size of the video that you want embedded. So, in this case 940×528.

Been doing some hardware hacking…

One of the fun things about working at MAKE is having access to some fun tools like laser cutters…

I have wanted a Sous-Vide supreme for a long time, but the $400 price tag has kept it out of the kitchen. Using a few common parts from around the house, and a few from Home Depot, I built a controller that works just as well, and only costs around $35. For the uninitiated, sous-vide cooking, translated is “under vacuum”. Your food is placed in a vacuum sealed bag, and then cooked at a specific temperature. For a perfect medium rare, that temperature is around 130° f. So, what I built here uses a pid temperature controller regulate the power to whatever is plugged into it. In my use case, I have it hooked up to a crock pot, with the thermometer in the water. When the sensor notices a drop in the temperature, it turns the crock pot on, and turns it off again before it gets to hot.

Attempting my first sous-vide project. @seanragan would be so proud...

First experiment was eggs, and they were delicious, can’t wait to try the steaks tomorrow night.

If you want to build one, (and hey who doesn’t!) you can get all of the details here. Probably the only difference between my project, and the one that Sean did was he used a saw/drilling to cut the holes out, and I used the laser cutter at work. (Seriously, I need one of these at home…)

Water Bath Thermostat

Designers vs Coding

Good design and good markup provide structure to content. Good markup is a fundamental part of good design: beautiful on the inside, beautiful on the outside. HTML and CSS give another venue to provide structure to content in the native language of the web, and learning these guides decisions by surfacing the affordances of the medium. Design decisions are affected by both the content and the format, like how a sculptor would make different decisions if she were working with clay rather than marble.

via via Frank : Designers vs Coding.

However Vast the Darkness, We Must Supply Our Own Light.

Stanley Kubrick in his 1968 interview with Playboy:

The most terrifying fact of the universe is not that it is hostile but that it is indifferent; but if we can come to terms with this indifference and accept the challenges of life within the boundaries of death — however mutable man may be able to make them — our existence as a species can have genuine meaning and fulfillment. However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.

via Daring Fireball.